Yawgmoth’s Whimsy #42: Swinging in Type 1

Remember – in Type One, the Power Nine aren’t what kill you; it’s what you cast with the Power Nine that destroys. Want to know the most common cards that can turn any losing proposition into a rout?

A lot of people have written articles explaining why Type One is too expensive or is actually cheap and why it is really popular or is really dying, or how you can win or automatically lose if you don’t have the power 9. That’s kind of pointless for a strategy site – those belong on the Type One discussion forums. I would much rather read about Type One strategy, and about what you have to think about when designing decks for, and playing in, the format.

First of all, Type One is not all about the Power Nine,* or even the Power Nine.** Remember – not one of the Power Ten can actually kill anyone. (Okay, you could cast Vivify on Library of Alexandria and attack with it or target an opponent with Ancestral Recall when he has only two cards in his library, but that’s not going to happen). The primary function of the Power Ten is really to speed up your ability to draw and/or cast the other cards in your deck. It’s those other cards that actually win games – and it’s those other cards that make Type One the format it is.

In OBC, you need to think about the graveyard, with Threshold, Flashback, and so forth. That’s a big part of what makes OBC OBC. That’s OBC block’s theme.

Invasion block was multicolored.

Masques block was about Rebels, mana denial and G/B trickiness.

In Saga block, explosive mana drove the format.

Tempest was about small fast weenies.

…And so forth. Each block and format had its defining elements – the things that you had to consider when building decks or playing opponents.

Any given T2 format could draw from the strengths of both blocks and find synergies. Moreover, in T2, certain cards and combinations could define the format. Examples include Living Death and 187 creatures in Tempest/Saga T2, or Nether Spirit and Undermine in Masques/Invasion T2.

Type One combines all the blocks, and finds synergy with all the cards ever printed.*** With all those cards and blocks to draw from, Type One is less about the blocks, and more about the swing cards. Not the Power Ten – the swing cards. Type One has a lot of cards that, if not countered, can really swing the game around.

To me, that’s a defining part of the Type One format is that games are rarely over until one player is dead; there are too many cards that can completely reverse the game.

Here’s a partial list of those swing cards – and note that all of these are also legal in 5color.

Mind Twist



Target player discards X cards at random from his or her hand.

Mind Twist is the ultimate discard spell. If you cannot counter it or Misdirect it, you are going to lose your hand – or at least the better part of it. Moreover, since the discard is random, you may lose all your good cards even if you don’t lose your whole hand. Mind Twist hurts! The only saving grace is that it is restricted – but I always cringe whenever an opponent tutors in cases where a Twist could be useful, because that may be what’s coming.




Except the player who controls the fewest lands, each player sacrifices lands until all players control the same number of lands as the player who controls the fewest. Players do the same for creatures and discard cards from their hands the same way.

This is the ultimate control card. Just when you think your creatures are winning, Balance resets everything. Balance is the control player’s ultimate answer to creatures – it is Wrath of God for two mana. It can also be Armageddon if you sacrifice all your land to Zuran Orb first, and it is discard if you have fewer cards in hand.

The most amazing Balance I have seen happened in a 5 Color game – one player had Zuran Orb, two Mox Diamonds and some lands in play, plus six cards in hand. His opponent had two Squirrel Nests, a ton of Squirrels, and a bunch of land, a full hand – and an Overrun on the top of his library (there thanks to Memory Lapse). The first player cast Mindless Automaton, then Balance. In response to Balance, he discarded his entire hand to put counters on Mindless Automaton and sacrificed all his lands to Zuran Orb. His opponent was left with one squirrel, no lands, and no cards in hand after the Balance. That’s a game swing.

Draw 7s:

Wheel of Fortune



Each player discards his or her hand and draws seven cards.





Each player shuffles his or her hand and graveyard into his or her library and then draws seven cards.

(And the ultimate, Contract from Below, but only for 5 Color fans.)

These cards are the perfect answer to a Mind Twist. At a small cost (three mana for Wheel and Timetwister, B for Contract) each player discards his hand and draws seven new cards. In effect, each player is reloading. The draw sevens can let you replenish your counters, can get new threats, or can get rid of problem cards in your opponent’s hand. In extreme cases, I have even seen people Recoil a problem card, like the Abyss, back to their opponent’s hand, then Timetwister to hide that card in the opponent’s deck… Which works, except that lucky opponents will draw the Abyss or a Tutor off the draw seven.

Windfall is a comparable card, although you will not always draw seven, and Time Spiral is a very expensive Timetwister, generally not playable unless you have Tolarian Academy or so forth. Memory Jar is the artifact form of this effect.

In many cases, knowing when, or whether, to play a Draw Seven defines just how good you are at Type One. You do indeed get seven new, potentially broken and game-winning cards – but so does your opponent.




Creatures without flying can’t attack.

The ultimate protection against most beatdown decks. Green rush decks, at this point, need to draw Elvish Lyrist or Emerald Charm or just fold. Red decks have to give up on the Jackal Pups and rely on burn and Cursed Scrolls. Only blue has no real problem with Moat – because Morphling flies, of course.

Back to Basics



Nonbasic lands don’t untap during their controllers’ untap steps.

This card is very common in Type One right now. I saw it played even more often than Ancestral Recall in the Type One tourneys at Origins. It is also the reason that the Extended players looking to use their dual lands in more tournaments will be disappointed – unless the decks run Force of Will and enchantment removal, B2B will shut them down. This card is the Stasis of Type One, and a big reason mono-blue control decks are doing so well. I think it’s a problem – so many otherwise interesting decks are not viable, because Back to Basics destroys them. On the other hand, Back to Basics does keep Keeper in line, so maybe that’s okay.

If I ran the DCI, I would strongly consider banning or restricting this card – although I would have to take steps to make sure that Keeper and it’s ilk were not simply going to run wild as a result, and I’m not sure what those steps would be. It’s probably a good thing I don’t run the DCI.

Blood Moon



Nonbasic lands are mountains.

This is the red Back to Basics. It is a problem, but not as bad. Some red heavy decks run this maindeck, and I have seen it sideboarded in U/R decks. Unlike Back to Basics, with Blood Moon, your lands still tap for mana – just not necessarily the color you actually want. However, if you are playing a G/U/W deck and suddenly all your lands produce R, that’s a problem.

The Abyss


Enchant World

At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, destroy target nonartifact creature that player controls of his or her choice. It can’t be regenerated.

This is the ultimate in creature control. Once it appears, creatures are going to start dying. In control decks like Keeper, an early rush of creatures is killed off with Balance or Powder Keg, then later creatures kept under control with counterspells and this monstrosity. This is one big reason why Stompy packs Elvish Lyrist and Suicide black packs Duress. One interesting old-school option for dealing with The Abyss is to cast another Enchant World, like Revelation or Nether Void. The Enchant World mechanic only allows one Enchant World to be in play at a time – and the last cast stays in play.

Morphling is perfectly happy with The Abyss in play. The Abyss targets, so one blue per upkeep keeps Morphling safe.

Powder Keg



At the beginning of your upkeep, you may put a fuse counter on ~this~. ; {Tap},Sacrifice ~this~: Destroy each artifact and creature with converted mana cost equal to the number of fuse counters on ~this~.

The other half of the control player’s arsenal against creature decks, this punishes a player that plays lots of small, fast creatures. True, blowing a Powder Keg with zero counters does kill Moxen and Black Lotus, but the real use of the Powder Keg is to kill Gorilla Shaman, Nimble Mongooses and the other small, fast creatures. However, aggro players have little alternative to playing small, fast creatures, because of the following card.

Mana Drain



Counter target spell. At the beginning of your next main phase, add X colorless mana to your mana pool, where X is that spell’s converted mana cost.

Mana Drain may be the biggest two-part game swing around, because it normally sets up a brutal next main phase. The main reason that the aggro players cannot play Blastoderms or even 3cc creatures is that, way too often, the result is a Morphling for UU (with Mana Drain paying the rest) the next turn – leaving the rest of the control player’s mana free to counter or protect the Morphling. Even when Morphling does not appear, plays like "Mana Drain that Fireblast" followed by "Pay U, Stroke of Genius for 4" tend to break the game wide open.





{U}: Untap ~this~. ; {U}: ~this~ gains flying until end of turn. ; {U}: ~this~ can’t be the target of spells or abilities this turn. ; {1}: ~this~ gets +1/-1 until end of turn. ; {1}: ~this~ gets -1/+1 until end of turn.

The most insanely great creature ever printed. He ends the game in four turns, blocks practically anything and lives if you have the mana available, flies over Moat, lives happily in The Abyss, dodges Swords to Plowshares and Terror, is immune to Treachery, and untaps at will. The only things that kill Morphling are player errors, Diabolic Edict, and Wrath of God. This is the kill card of choice in nearly every blue or U/x deck in the format.

Yawgmoth’s Will



Until end of turn, you may play cards in your graveyard as though they were in your hand. If a card would be put into your graveyard this turn, remove that card from the game instead.

This card can enable utterly amazing swings in the game – not by itself, but because of all the other cards that are suddenly available. It is not at all unlikely that a midgame Yawgmoth’s Will will produce, all of a sudden, a Balance, followed by that Library of Alexandria you Wasted turn 3, the Black Lotus, those two Moxen and the Sol Ring your Shamen destroyed, a Demonic Tutor, Mind Twist and Ancestral Recall – plus Morphling or the Abyss, if you had managed to get rid of those earlier as well. Even in mono-black beatdown, Will can easily mean land, Ritual, Ritual, Ritual, Hymn you, Hymn you, Negator, Nantuko Shade, Nantuko Shade, go. It is never pretty, unless you are the one casting it.

Tormod’s Crypt



{Tap},Sacrifice ~this~: Remove target player’s graveyard from the game.

This is not really that strong a card in the Type One metagame, but I want to include it because it shows just how different Type One and T2 is. Tormod’s Crypt can completely destroy reanimation decks, Survival decks, and anything that depends on threshold. It is completely splashable and costs no mana to cast. I hate seeing this card in multiplayer, since it so often cripples a deck I’m playing, but in Type One it is a little less common. However, since Reanimator exists on the fringes and Oath is fairly common in Type One, it does have a place in many sideboards. Besides, you can win games with Timetwister / Tormod’s Crypt recursion – just keep countering everything, eating the opponent’s graveyard and casting Timetwister and eventually you can deck the opponent, although not usually in a fifty-minute round.




You may play as many lands as you choose on your turn ; Whenever you put a land into play other than the first land of the turn, ~this~ deals 1 damage to you.

Fastbond is not that common in Type One, but it does show how cheap and common cards that allow you to break the fundamental rules of magic can be. In this case, you can normally only play one land a turn. Fastbond lets you play a lot. Fastbond generally only appears in specialty decks, like the Type One version of Turboland (commonly called TurboNevin) and in combination with Recycle and Zuran Orb in 5 Color.

Now half the card I listed above are restricted, and no deck I can think of runs four of any of the unrestricted cards.**** That might make you think that decks are unlikely to find these cards consistently. That would be wrong. Type One not only has access to all the best swing cards ever printed, but access to the best tutors as well. Demonic Tutor is the single best tutor ever printed – it is Diabolic Tutor, but at half the mana cost. Beyond that, Type One decks typically play Mystical Tutor and Vampiric Tutor, and may play Intuition, Merchant Scrolls and have the option of playing a dozen others. Finding a given card is not really all that hard.

Moreso than the Power Nine, these are the cards you need to think about when building a Type I deck.

The cards generally called SoLoMo – Sol Ring, the Black Lotus and the five Moxen – are just mana producers. They are really only broken if drawn by turn two. True, openings like turn 1 Juzam Djinn, Juggernaut, or Mind Twist for seven are amazing, but they are not that common. Ancestral Recall is three cards during your end phase, but that is not going to swing the game by itself. Time Walk is an extra turn… But unless you have a threat on the table, Time Walk is really only a cantrip that untaps your permanents. In building a Type One deck, the cards you need to think about are those listed above, more than the Power 10.

If you are building a creature-based deck, think about how you are going to deal with The Abyss. Phantom Centaur is a solution to that problem… But can you afford to have it Mana Drained? Might Nimble Mongoose be a better option, or Elvish Lyrist – or are you playing into Powder Keg?

When playing, think about Balance and don’t overextend, but don’t be too conservative if the opponent has black mana for Mind Twist. The trick is balancing your attack, so that you don’t get too overextended, but don’t wait to long to kill the opponent, because if you give them time, they might draw an answer.

Type I allows you a lot of options for multicolored land, but remember Back to Basics and Blood Moon. If you are going many colors, and playing a lot of duals, side in enchantment kills – and consider playing an Undiscovered Paradise, which bounces even under Back To Basics.

The other thing to remember is that an opponent can only play those cards if they find them and have the mana to cast them. In building a deck, remember to include some disruption, either discard, Wastelands or at least Strip Mine and whatever enchantments/artifact or creature control fits without breaking the deck. The art of building a Type One deck is balancing these elements.


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* – The Power Nine are the five Moxen, Black Lotus, Ancestral Recall, Time Walk and Timetwister.

** – The Power Ten are the Power Nine plus Library of Alexandria.

*** – Okay, Unglued and Portal aside.

**** Except Mana Drain – people generally play 4 Drains, if they play blue.