You CAN Abuse Your Power #1: Restrict My Enemy, DCI!

Writing an entire article whose underlying message is clearly ‘This card should be restricted or banned’ and then asking for the reader’s input is stuffing the ballot box.

“‘The Deck’ is the archetypical Type I deck, but ironically, it’s only the most prominent of a small minority of multicolored decks in the last format where dual lands are legal…”

Oscar Tan, You CAN Play Type 1 #52: Boot the Back to Basics?

“If multicolored decks are the minority, Back to Basics isn’t a problem. If Back to Basics is a problem, then welcome to the metagame.”

Pale Mage

“Adjust, dude.”


“Looks like somebody needs to get taken out behind the woodshed.”

“Who, dude?”

Oscar Tan.”

“Who’s Oscar Tan?”

“Good question. He’s a Magic player in the Philippines.”

“Okay. What’s your beef with him?”

“Jack, I don’t really have a beef with him. I’m just a little annoyed with him.”

“Dude, you’re the most laid-back guy I know. What gives?”

“It’s complicated.”

“Then break it down, dude. I ain’t so stupid I can’t listen and learn.”

“Fine. There has been a lot of talk about Type I Magic lately and its place in the universe.”


“Well, Type I hasn’t seen much – well, any – support from Wizards in a while. There isn’t a Grand Prix or Pro Tour event that is dedicated to Type I play, which isn’t surprising considering the economics of the game. What is more surprising is that there have not been ancillary tournaments at Pro Tours and other big time events like the World Championships.”

“Why not, dude?”

“Wizards lost track of the Type I players because it has been focusing on the other formats, like Block, Extended, and Standard.”

“Not to mention Limited.”

“Right. Anyway, while there hasn’t been a lot of sanctioned support, there still has been plenty of Type I play going on. Through the efforts of some key people, Type I players have been able to continue discussing, reading, writing, and playing amongst themselves.”

“Bunch of folks like Type I and have kept it alive. Got it.”

“All right. Recently, Mark Rosewater asked the Magic community at large whether or not Type I should start getting some attention. The Type I players showed up and now they are going to be getting some tourneys.”

“Okay, what’s the problem with that?”

“Nothing. That’s the good news. In fact, this is where Oscar Tan and people like him deserve kudos – without Oscar’s undying commitment to keeping Type I in the picture through his articles and willingness to pitch in to moderate the now-defunct Beyond Dominia forums, neither of those articles by Mark is ever written. He is one of the heroes. Without a doubt (and through a little self-promotion) key people within Wizards now see Oscar Tan as a major representative of the Type I community.”

“This is where you start to get annoyed, isn’t it?”

“We’re getting close to it, yes. In Oscar’s recent article, he mentions an email he received from Aaron Forsythe. And I quote.”

“He told me that a lot of people had e-mailed complaints about one Type I card in particular, and asked if I thought it should be banned or restricted:

Back to Basics



Urza’s Saga rare

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

Oscar Tan, You CAN Play Type 1 #52: Boot the Back to Basics?

“Dude, I don’t see why this would annoy you.”

“Patience, Jack. Towards the end of his article, Oscar appeals to the Magic community as a whole. Again, I quote.”

“Question: What should we do with Back to Basics (and Blood Moon) in Type I?



Let the mono blue players have their brainless fun?

Hell with it, let’s all just play Magic Online?

Oscar Tan, You CAN Play Type 1 #52: Boot the Back to Basics?

“What’s wrong with that, dude? Isn’t gettin’ everybody’s input a good thing?”

“Not when you are leading them to the answer you want them to give. Take a few minutes and read his entire article. I’ll wait.”

“Finished, dude. He really likes this ‘The Deck’ thing, doesn’t he?”

“Yes. Yes, he does. What did you think of the article?”

“I don’t play the game, man-“

“Spit it out, Jack.”

“Sounds to me like he doesn’t like that card very much. Or this ‘Blood Moon’ card, either. Hey, that Forsythe guy didn’t even ask about ‘Blood Moon’.”

“No, he didn’t. Good eye, Jack.”

“Thanks, dude.”

“This is what started me on the path to annoyed. Writing an entire article whose underlying message is clearly ‘This card should be restricted or banned’ and then asking for the reader’s input is stuffing the ballot box.”

“I’ll bet that’s the only box he’s stuffing.”

“Jack, there’s no reason to be crude.”

“I’ll allege it. Hey, didn’t this guy win that Writer’s War thing this year?”

“Why yes, he did. I’m surprised you remember.”

“Yeah, wasn’t he up against some guy who doesn’t even write anymore in the finals, man?”

“Actually, he was.”

“Dude, if memory serves me, weren’t there allegations at that time about vote mongering?”

“To be fair, Jack, some people would call that ‘campaigning’.”

“Whatever, dude. Weren’t there also some allegations about multiple votes coming from one individual – i.e. the writer himself?”

“Jack, that is completely unfounded.”

“Again, I’ll allege it. My point is that this Oscar guy has a history of playing hardball when it comes to internet voting, particularly when it comes to getting the results he wants to see.”

“That’s an interesting point, Jack.”

“Well, I don’t think somebody should have to work so hard to beat a dead opponent for a title that doesn’t mean anything… But maybe that’s just me.”

“Let’s get back to the main point. Now, Back to Basics is only going to hose decks that are running a lot of non-basic lands. Not surprisingly, that is going to be multi-colored decks, for the most part.”


“Oscar claims that multi-colored decks are the minority in Type I.”


“That statement doesn’t jive with some of his other comments. And I quote.”

“When a single card can get topdecked to win against practically all but half a dozen archetypes – never mind if it’s in a good or bad mono blue build – something has to be wrong.”

Oscar Tan,
You CAN Play Type 1 #52: Boot the Back to Basics?

“Half a dozen archetypes? Half a dozen? As in six? Oscar, do you want me to believe that a card that will destroy all but a measly six deck archetypes is in need of restriction?”

“Yeah, dude. And while were doing math what are all these archetypes that are getting’ killed by this card? I thought you said multi-colored decks were in the minority?”

“Which is it Oscar? Are multi-colored decks the minority or not? Huh?”

“Yeah, punk? Which is it? Go get him, dude.”

“Let’s not resort to name-calling, Jack.”

“Sorry, dude.”

“Well… Not yet, anyway. I’m not buying the argument that multi-colored decks are suddenly going to flourish if Back to Basics is restricted or banned. That kind of logic is left over from last week’s Type I, when chances to compete didn’t exist outside of Apprentice and local tournaments. In a way, I feel sorry for Oscar.”

“How’s that, dude?”

“Remember, Type I players haven’t had the benefit of a lot of tournaments. There are some exceptions in some geographic areas, but for the most part, there hasn’t been ample opportunity for an competitive international metagame to develop.”

“What does that have to do with anything?”

“Oscar makes the point himself in his article. I’ll paraphrase: If Back to Basics is such a problem, why not just play Stompy, Sligh, or any other deck that won’t get torn a new one by the troublesome enchantment? Turn the killer card into a dead card and smash face.”

“Makes sense to me, and I don’t even play, dude.”

“In Type II and Extended and every other format where there is plenty of opportunity to play; we call that a metagame shift. It makes for a very organic development process. I think Oscar’s problem is that there hasn’t been enough opportunity for that kind of development to take place. However, now that Wizards has promised more Type I tourneys, it can happen. In my opinion, an evolutionary change is healthier than a legislated one.”

“Again, that makes sense.”

“So why would Oscar want to start a campaign to restrict or ban Back to Basics?”

“Don’t forget Blood Moon, dude. He threw that one in there as well.”

“Yeah, yeah. He’s a peach, this guy. Now there is an answer to this bizarre behavior. And I quote.”

“How the mighty have fallen… From a metagame-defining deck – one that stood with no less than ‘The Deck’ and the Necrodeck – to an unplayable archetype.”

Oscar Tan on Zoo, You CAN Play Type 1 #52: Boot the Back to Basics?

“The sad thing is that a balanced Type I environment should make many multicolored aggro and aggro-control decks feasible – for crying out loud, where else are dual lands legal?”

Oscar Tan, You CAN Play Type 1 #52: Boot the Back to Basics?

“As a guy who loves ‘The Deck’, I don’t care that much – since my favorite deck is equipped to deal with the hoser. But as a Type I player, I’d prefer as broad a field as possible. We thought it’d happen with the restriction of Fact or Fiction, but it didn’t, and I’m seeing less and less of those three-color Zoo and aggro-control builds.”

Oscar Tan, You CAN Play Type 1 #52: Boot the Back to Basics?

“His explanation is that Zoo and other multi-colored aggro decks can’t exist because of Back to Basics.”

“Yeah, and you didn’t even quote how he believes that the card encourages poor deckbuilding, or to put it another way, monoblue decks that pack Back to Basics. Gosh, does that mean I’ll have to play with something besides ‘The Deck’… I mean Zoo, dude?”

“So what. Start pounding the monoblue guys into oblivion, and the problem is solved. Back to Basics goes away naturally. The Zoo returns.”

“Magical Darwinism, dude. Ya gotta love it.”

“Here, remember this bit, Jack? I love this quote. Here’s the mouthpiece for Type I players everywhere, just after Wizards acknowledges their presence.”

“One thing people love about Type I is that you don’t have to playtest for hours and hours and memorize the monthly metagame shifts. The bulk of players will have that ‘casual-level commitment’ and wouldn’t care to invest in a Pro Tour.”

Oscar Tan, You CAN Play Type 1 #52: Boot the Back to Basics?

“Someone want to explain to me why Wizards should bother to ban cards for casual play?”

“I can’t, dude. It sounds like he wants things both ways. Or he just wants a safer environment for ‘The Deck’.”

“Too bad, Oscar. There is going to be a Type I Championship. There are going to be more sanctioned Type I tournaments this year than there have been in a long time. Because of that, there is going to be a more viable metagame, and that is going to mean metagame shifts. If you don’t want to be part of that, then it is time to change your column to ‘You CAN Play Casual Magic on Apprentice or Around the Kitchen Table!’ Look at it this way, you get to start back at number one.”

“Yeah, dude. And we’re on to this little campaign of yours to try and protect your ‘archetypical’ deck before the Sideboard coverage starts. We think you’re scared.”

“So here’s the deal, Oscar. You wanted opinions to be sent to StarCity on this topic. Well, here is mine: There is not enough evidence at this time that Back to Basics should be banned or restricted in my opinion. Let’s see what the field looks like in Sydney first.”

“I concur, dude. And while we’re on the subject of Sydney, that’s in your hemisphere, isn’t it, Oscar? After eighteen months of your apprentice logs and metaphors, maybe you and your little ‘Deck’ thing should show the hell up and prove you can play Type I.”

“Jack, come on. We didn’t start this to slam Oscar.”

“Now way, dude. This guy is way too smug.”

“Jack, be fair. The Type I event was just added this week. Oscar probably has other commitments.”

“I’m sure that’s what he’ll claim, dude.”

“Even if he has the time, the Philippines isn’t exactly walking distance from Australia. There is going to be a financial burden to attend.”

Seriously, I would be interested in seeing Oscar compete in some high-level sanctioned tournaments now that more of them will exist. In fact, now that the Type I community has shown up virtually and made its voice heard by Wizards, the burden is on them to show up physically and compete in the tournaments Wizards has promised to sponsor. Assuming they do, it will become more difficult to be an influential voice without having some results under your belt. Apprentice logs aren’t going to cut it anymore.”

“Let’s get back to the main point, dude.”

“Okay. I do believe that ‘The Deck’ is good enough to deal with Back to Basics, but can it deal with it two games out of three? If it can, that is reason enough not to ban or restrict the card. I think the real issue is that ‘The Deck’ can lose to Back to Basics. I find it a little too convenient that restricting or banning Back to Basics would make the world safer for ‘The Deck’, and now the most vocal champion of ‘The Deck’ is supporting its restriction. Frankly, I’m a little annoyed that Oscar claims not to care one way or the other about the suggested restriction, but writes an entire article making the case for restricting the card. Does he really believe the Magic community is that stupid?”

“Yeah, dude. What you said, but replace ‘Back to Basics’ with ‘Blood Moon’, even though that Forsythe guy didn’t even ask about it. Oscar just added it on his bonus plan or something.”

“Exactly. If the card needs to be restricted in some way, the whole world will know it soon enough. Let’s see some more high-level tournament play first. Personally, I think that may take care of some of the poor deck building that Oscar is complaining about, as well. There will be better decks showing up to these things.”

“Hey, dude, you know what would be helpful?”

“What’s that, Jack?”

“If we could narrow down some calendar time to watch the metagame shift, and really see if these enchantments are a problem.”

“Okay. We already know that there will be a Type I event at Worlds. We also know that there will be a Type I Championship at Origins next year. My bet is if Sydney seems to go well, there will be at least one more Type I ancillary event connected with a Pro Tour event before Origins. Let’s see what happens between now and next summer, unless Type I starts getting a shot each and every Grand Prix, in which case the metagame should start correcting itself pretty quickly.”

“Okay, dude. Three major tournaments or until Origins, whichever comes first?”

“Sounds good to me, Jack. Wow, I feel better now. Let’s get some coffee.”

“Just one more thing, dude. I’m a little annoyed at something, and I want to get it off my chest.”

“Jack, is this going to be one of those things where everything intelligent has been said, and anyone not interested in some innocuous semi-personal attack should stop reading?”


“Fine, go ahead.”

“This Oscar Tan guy has boiled down whether a card should get added to his deck down to two simple rules right?”

“Yes. Yes, he has. Two simple, clear, and logical rules.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah… Whatever. Why can’t he take that same kind of discrimination and apply it to his signature? I mean, c’mon, do I need his resume at the bottom of every article and post this guy makes? Check this thing out!”

Oscar Tan Signature.deq

Oscar Tan

[email protected]

rakso on #BDChat on EFNet

Manila, Philippines

Forum Administrator, Star City Games (http://www.starcitygames.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi)

Featured writer, Star City Games (http://www.starcitygames.com/php/news/archive.php?Article=Oscar Tan)

Author of the Control Player’s Bible (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bdominia/files/ControlBible.zip)

Type I, Extended and Casual Maintainer, Beyond Dominia (http://www.starcitygames.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=list&forum=DCForumID89&conf=DCConfID19)

Proud member of the Casual Player’s Alliance (http://www.casualplayers.org)

“Isn’t that just a bit pretentious, even for a law student, dude?”

“Jack. Let it go.”

Pale Mage.