You CAN Play Type I #112: The Control Player’s Bible, Part XXXVI: Head to Head: Classic Suicide Black

Since the printing of Hymn to Tourach (and its eerie wolf-head art), Discard has been Black’s most prominent mechanic. The reactive Blue counterspells can be used in both control and aggro-control deck structures, and the same goes for proactive Black Discard. You have to distinguish Black aggro-control, for example, from more control-oriented strategies such as Pox and Nether Void. In the same way, you distinguish the feel of Tempest-Urza’s Saga-era Type II Suicide Black decks from what you called Type II Mono Black Control.

I’d like to begin my demonstration of Black-based aggro-control, however, with the original”old school” Suicide builds, the kind that was played against”The Deck” and mono Blue back when Fact or Fiction was still unrestricted. These decks featured the simple skeleton of beatdown, discard, and mana denial, and today’s more complicated blends are best understood with the classic foundations.

Watching The Secondary Market

Some of you may not realize it, but December 1 is just around the corner. What is the significance of that date? The next Restriction List change is going to be announced soon – most likely explained with some vague, almost useless paragraph – and good money says something’s going to happen after all the furor over Type I and Extended.

I’m not a trader. I usually hang on to my old cards because I just can’t spare the effort to trade and turn a quick buck. A lot of you probably share my outlook, and even more view big Type I purchases as close to investments, something you can use for as long as Wizards is in business and something you sell for a good price if ever you quit.

J.S. from Germany wrote me a month ago in”Maximizing Mirrodin, Part V: Mail Call, Part 2” that a lot of Mishra’s Workshop players got their sets for about $500 – no small amount for young people like ourselves. I answered that, unfortunately, the secondary market and the game mechanics themselves don’t have a direct connection that justifies card value as a factor in policy decisions.

I had no simple answer to J.S., but at least one other Paragon did: Haven’t you sold your Workshops yet?

Now, I’m not telling you to sell your Workshops since fellow Paragon Steve Menendian would feel compelled to write another rebuttal, but I am telling you to watch out if you feel you can’t risk a loss the way Mirror Universe’s value was gutted when the rules changed.”The State of the Metagame Address” tabulated select player opinions on the upcoming restriction and summarized various notes I’ve made over the past weeks; I hope it helps those of you holding cards under present community scrutiny.

There are other nuances to the expected announcement. For example, you might hold off on purchases as well. This might be sound advice for, say, Chrome Mox, since you’d hate to compete unnecessarily with Type II and Extended players, anyway, and since the Chinese character for danger is made up of the characters for crisis and opportunity, you might try to outthink the market. For example, you might go bargain hunting and pick up speculatively unloaded cards. You might even hoard key cards of your projected post-December Tier 1 decks, setting yourself up for some quick trades next month.

I warned you, so I hope none of your games are soured by worries over your collection’s value, and know when to cut your losses if you feel you have to. And if you should feel like speculating? Best of luck.

Let me just note that I’ve kept cards like Mirror Universe and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale all these years, and couldn’t care less how much they used to be worth.

This is a collectible card game, not the stock market.

Head to Head: Suicide Black

Past installments in the aggro-control chapter of the Bible have focused on Blue-based aggro-control, most recently,”Head to Head: Growing ‘Tog.” The introductory article, however,”What is aggro-control?” noted that the Blue-based decks represent only one of two major sub-archetypes.

That article stated: “A mistake beginners usually make is to categorize Black creature-based decks as aggro decks. If you compare their structures to aggro-control decks’ and count their discard and land destruction as proactive counterspells, you’ll find that the Black decks’ strategies are closer to theirs.”

Since the printing of Hymn to Tourach (and its eerie wolf-head art), Discard has been Black’s most prominent mechanic. The reactive Blue counterspells can be used in both control and aggro-control deck structures, and the same goes for proactive Black discard. You have to distinguish Black aggro-control, for example, from more control-oriented strategies such as Pox and Nether Void. In the same way, you distinguish the feel of Tempest-Urza’s Saga-era Type II Suicide Black decks from what you called Type II Mono Black Control.

Hymn to Tourach and”Hymn, Hymn, I Win” have been in opposing control players’ collective consciousness since Type I’s early days. The aggro-control strategy, however, was overshadowed for many years by a Black control spell that is also the game’s single most powerful card: Necropotence.

“Hackerpotence”, Brian Hacker, #1 in Swiss, Pro Tour Dallas ’96 (Type II)

Creatures (19)

4 Black Knight

4 Knight of Stromgald

4 Order of the Ebon Hand

3 Erg Raiders

4 Hypnotic Specter

Spells (17)

2 Necropotence

4 Bad Moon

1 Hymn to Tourach

4 Choking Sands

2 Terror

2 Contagion

1 Drain Life

1 Nevinyrral’s Disk

Mana (24)

3 Dark Ritual

1 Strip Mine

4 Mishra’s Factory

16 Swamp

The prolonged stretch of Necro fame was highlighted by many interesting decks and players, such as Mark Justice, Paul McCabe and Randy Buehler, and Mike Long in Type I shortly before”The Skull” was finally restricted. Many of those builds were Black weenie decks backed by disruption, with Necro in only a secondary role. Brian Hacker’s PT Dallas deck is an example of such an early build, down to the old school Erg Raiders.

The Tempest and Urza’s Saga blocks added familiar cards that formed the cornerstone of more modern builds, from Sarcomancy and Carnophage to Duress and Phyrexian Negator. The weenie aggro structure was seen in this Type II era’s Suicide Black and Hatred builds, and cheap disruption became a staple with the printing of Duress.

“The Art of Suicide”, David Price, 1998 World Championships (Tempest Block Constructed)

Creatures (26)

4 Sarcomancy

4 Carnophage

4 Blood Pet

4 Dauthi Slayer

4 Dauthi Horror

4 Dauthi Marauder

2 Crovax the Cursed

Spells (9)

4 Hatred

4 Diabolic Edict

1 Slaughter

Mana (25)

4 Dark Ritual

4 City of Traitors

17 Swamp

Sideboard (15)

3 Coercion

1 Dauthi Cutthroat

4 Dread of Night

2 Perish

2 Portcullis

3 Bottle Gnomes

Hatred, David Price, 1999 Duelist Invitational (Type II)

Creatures (25)

4 Sarcomancy

4 Blood Pet

4 Dauthi Slayer

4 Dauthi Horror

1 Skittering Skirge

4 Priest of Gix

Spells (11)

4 Duress

3 Persecute

4 Hatred

Mana (24)

4 Dark Ritual

4 City of Traitors

16 Swamp

Sideboard (15)

4 Cursed Scroll

4 Bottle Gnomes

2 Derelor

1 Persecute

1 Planar Void

3 Nevinyrral’s Disk

Going back to Type I, when Necropotence was restricted, aggro-control Suicide Black soon became the most popular mono Black archetype. Indeed, it remains one of the most important archetypes in Type I because it rivals Sligh’s popularity as the budget Type I deck of choice. Given control’s domination of the Saga era, Phyrexian Negator and Flesh Reaver were more than viable, and these joined the newer staples and old favorites such as Hypnotic Specter and Hymn.

Today, the Zombies (Sarcomancy and Carnophage) are obsolete in Type I the same way Jackal Pup and Savannah Lions are. Modern Suicide Black decks still have the problem of crowding in the 2-mana slot and the resulting mana curve problems discussed in”The Nantuko Conspiracy“, but they have evolved to include a lot more toys since Urza block. Of course, the most sophisticated is still Beta’s Illusionary Mask, with the Phyrexian Dreadnought combo.

I’d like to begin my demonstration of Black-based aggro-control, however, with the original”old school” Suicide builds, the kind that was played against”The Deck” and mono Blue back when Fact or Fiction was still unrestricted. These decks featured the simple skeleton of beatdown, discard, and mana denial, and today’s more complicated blends are best understood with the classic foundations.

Since I promised him a spotlight a long time ago, today’s column features old games with Beyond Dominia’s original teen sensation, Tom LaPille a.k.a. Deranged Parrot. Ironically for this Suicide demonstration, Parrot was most distinguished as one of the BD community’s top Britney Spears’ Boobs mono-Blue players (as discussed in”Brainless Players v. Mono Blue“), acquitting himself admirably against Paragon JP”Polluted” Meyer in one of the Beyond Dominia Type I Tournament of Champions online tourneys.

He played something like this, with no Null Rods replacing creatures:

Classic Suicide Black, Oscar Tan, 2002 test deck

Creatures (19)

4 Sarcomancy

4 Carnophage

3 Flesh Reaver

4 Phyrexian Negator

4 Hypnotic Specter

Disruption (12)

4 Duress

4 Hymn to Tourach

4 Sinkhole

Others (3)

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Demonic Consultation

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

Mana (26)

4 Dark Ritual

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Jet

1 Strip Mine

4 Wasteland

4 Polluted Delta

4 Bloodstained Mire

7 Swamp

Surviving the Disruption

In the simplest Blue-based aggro-control demonstration,”Head to Head: Fish“, you saw how the matchup is essentially about dealing with his creatures, despite his attempts to counter your removal or countermoves, all the while buying enough time for one or two more crucial attack phases.

Black-based aggro-control doesn’t play that differently, except the disruption is now proactive instead of reactive. Thus, your job is now to weather the initial disruption storm and keep enough resources to deal with or outpace the beatdown that follows.

14:53:42 – — DerangedParrot says: ”Eschew Obfuscation.”

14:53:42 – — Rakso says: ”Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”

14:53:49 – Rakso drew 7 cards.

14:53:57 – DerangedParrot drew 7 cards.

14:54:24 – DerangedParrot says:’oh, I guess I”ll run this one’

14:54:24 – Rakso says:’keep’

My ragtag group rediscovers its quarry’s trail, and redoubles its pace. Its goal: An unassuming box of earth carried by an unsuspecting caravan of gypsies, bound for a long forgotten castle in Eastern Europe.

14:54:28 – It is now turn 1.

14:54:30 – DerangedParrot plays Polluted Delta.

14:54:31 – DerangedParrot buries Polluted Delta.

14:54:32 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 19. (-1)

14:54:37 – DerangedParrot moves Swamp from DerangedParrot’s library to tabletop.

14:54:40 – Swamp is tapped.

14:54:41 – DerangedParrot plays Duress.

14:54:49 – DerangedParrot says:’goodness’

14:54:56 – Rakso moves Force of Will from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.

The beauty of the countryside gives way to an eerie chill, both from the fading rays of sunlight and the descending snow. A howl sounds in the distance, and another, and then another. Wolves encircle our tiny band, attempting to cut us out of the chase.

14:54:59 – It is now turn 2.

14:55:01 – Rakso draws a card.

14:55:03 – Rakso plays Volcanic Island.

Duress is now the premier Black disruption spell, since it does so much damage for just one mana. Force of Will can be more disruptive in that it wastes the opponent’s mana, effectively trading the second Blue card for all or part of an opponent’s untap phase or available mana for a turn. Duress is proactive, and trades one Black mana (you both lose a card) for the choice of the opponent’s card and a free peek.

The idea is to proactively dismantle the opponent’s game plan as early as Turn 1. Thus, you have to mentally project multiple contingency plans for an opening Duress. You have to take this into account even before Turn 1, since you have the option to mulligan. (Consider, as an extreme example, a hand with Mystical Tutor for Ancestral Recall and okay spells, but only one land, with you going second.)

Incidentally, this opening also illustrates that there are very few cards worth protecting against Duress with Force of Will, and sometimes not on Turn 1. Parrot here had the choice of Force, Misdirection, and Mana Drain, and selected Force.

I was curious why he didn’t take Misdirection, since my using Force of Will would eat away at my hand, anyway. Passing up Misdirection, he’d have to play around it for Hymn and Sinkhole now. He explained that his hand justified the choice.

Note that with more permanents and far less Deflectable spells (noting the increasing use of non-targeted draw such as Accumulated Knowledge, Skeletal Scrying, and to some extent, Future Sight), Misdirection isn’t viable except maybe in mono or near-mono Blue.

Disrupt is also good for defeating Suicide Black’s tempo plays and it’s one of few good responses to an opening Duress, but it’s hard to find sideboard slots for them.

14:55:03 – It is now turn 3.

14:55:16 – Rakso says:’why not MisD?’

14:55:21 – DerangedParrot says:’um’

14:55:22 – DerangedParrot says:’hand.’

14:55:24 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

14:55:26 – DerangedParrot plays Polluted Delta.

14:55:27 – DerangedParrot buries Polluted Delta.

14:55:28 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 18. (-1)

14:55:32 – DerangedParrot moves Swamp from DerangedParrot’s library to tabletop.

14:55:35 – Swamp is tapped.

14:55:37 – DerangedParrot plays Carnophage.

14:55:40 – Rakso says:’k’

14:56:10 – Swamp is tapped.

14:56:10 – DerangedParrot plays Dark Ritual.

14:56:12 – Rakso says:’k’

14:56:13 – DerangedParrot plays Hypnotic Specter.

14:56:15 – Rakso plays Force of Will.

14:56:17 – Rakso moves Mana Drain from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s removed from game pile.

14:56:18 – Rakso’s life is now 19. (-1)

14:56:19 – DerangedParrot says:’obv.’

We spur our horses on as the dark, red-eyed wolves close. The sound of a Winchester rifle splits the air, followed by the crack of a revolver. The pack leader lies unmoving on the cold earth with a broken skull, and its companions pause.

The sun dips and the castle looms larger in the distance.

14:56:22 – It is now turn 5.

14:56:24 – Rakso draws a card.

14:56:25 – Rakso plays Tundra.

You might see that I drew into a hand of nothing but counters, even topdecking a second Mana Drain. I pitched it instead of Misdirection to hedge against his tempo.

Note that Parrot paused after playing the Dark Ritual and I had to acknowledge it. If you consider all the one-mana plays of classic Suicide, countering a Turn 1 Ritual was imperative. While you’d be better off using Force on a first-turn Hypnotic Specter or Phyrexian Negator, you’d be in a world of pain if you let that Ritual resolve into Duress, Sarcomancy, Carnophage, followed by his usual Turn 2 and 3 plays.

Again, Dark Ritual doesn’t have Black Lotus’s price tag, but Ritual remains one of the most powerful unrestricted tempo cards in the game, surpassed only by Mishra’s Workshop and Lion’s Eye Diamond.

In this case, however, I figured Parrot would be advancing a Turn 3 play, so I waited to counter that instead. I forgot to ask, but Parrot possibly topdecked that Ritual just that turn, or he’d have opened with it and I’d have Forced, then he’d play Duress and Carnophage on Turn 2.

14:56:26 – It is now turn 6.

14:56:38 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 17. (-1)

14:56:39 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

14:56:41 – DerangedParrot plays Bloodstained Mire.

14:56:42 – DerangedParrot buries Bloodstained Mire.

14:56:43 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 16. (-1)

14:56:47 – DerangedParrot moves Swamp from DerangedParrot’s library to tabletop.

14:56:50 – Carnophage is attacking.

14:56:54 – Rakso’s life is now 17. (-2)

14:56:59 – DerangedParrot says:’I think a better name for this would be Masochism Black’

14:57:00 – DerangedParrot says:’not suicide’

14:57:02 – Rakso says:’hehe’

14:57:03 – Swamp is tapped.

14:57:04 – Swamp is tapped.

14:57:04 – Swamp is tapped.

14:57:06 – DerangedParrot plays Hypnotic Specter.

14:57:06 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

14:57:07 – Tundra is tapped.

14:57:08 – Rakso plays Mana Drain.

14:57:09 – DerangedParrot says:’ok’

14:57:11 – DerangedParrot says:’morphling go’

We race on, heedless of the wolves. The gypsies circle the wagon with their precious cargo and draw knives and pistols. The volleys degenerate into a chaotic melee. Dirty fur and cloaks flash past in my peripheral vision, and a swarm of bats encircles the battlefield.

14:57:14 – It is now turn 7.

14:57:15 – Rakso draws a card.

14:57:16 – DerangedParrot says:’here it comes’

14:57:25 – Rakso plays Mox Pearl.

14:57:26 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

14:57:26 – Tundra is tapped.

14:57:29 – Rakso plays Morphling.

Getting two Blue mana isn’t easy against Suicide’s disruption, but when you do, your Mana Drains finally get some value and help you set up your counterattack. Otherwise, you saw that I really didn’t care about pitching Mana Drain to avoid four power of creatures on the wrong side of the board, one of them an active Hypnotic Specter.

In a reckless stroke, I leap onto the gypsies’ wagon and fling the great box to the ground. I parry the slash of a gypsy who crept up behind me and cut his throat with my kukri, then turn back and desperately pry the box’s lid with my knife.

14:57:31 – It is now turn 8.

14:57:32 – Rakso says:’yeah’

14:57:33 – Rakso says:’one card in hand’

14:57:38 – DerangedParrot says:’sh**, I wasn’t supposed to be right’

14:57:47 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

14:57:52 – Swamp is tapped.

14:57:53 – Swamp is tapped.

14:57:55 – DerangedParrot plays Hymn to Tourach.

14:57:58 – DerangedParrot says:’the other card’

14:57:59 – DerangedParrot says:’is not Blue’

14:58:00 – Rakso says:’HUH??????’

14:58:03 – Rakso plays Misdirection.

14:58:04 – DerangedParrot says:’it isn’t’

14:58:04 – Rakso moves Fact or Fiction from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s removed from game pile.

14:58:10 – DerangedParrot is requesting a new game.

The lid comes off, and I pause for a second, momentarily paralyzed by the Count’s pale visage, the glaring red eyes, and the look of vindictive hate frozen onto his face. But in the next moment, my kukri plunges into the corpse’s heart.

The scowl lingers for a seeming eternity, then the body crumbles into dust.

You didn’t always finish with Morphling, but one on blocking duty was intimidating enough for Suicide players to embrace Nantuko Shade. More commonly,”The Deck” players back then could come back with either The Abyss or a big draw spell. If your mana survived and the clock wasn’t ticking that quickly, you would most likely recover.

Note here that Parrot’s disruption didn’t come into play in the crucial early game, except for a single Duress. Thus, I was able to bring my counters to bear and react perfectly, bleeding away his tempo and leaving him frustrated with a lone Carnophage I could ignore. Aggro-control isn’t identical to aggro, and the above isn’t what you want to happen.

A Second Example

Contrast the above game with this one:

14:58:32 – — DerangedParrot says: ”Eschew Obfuscation.”

14:58:32 – — Rakso says: ”Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”

14:58:38 – Rakso drew 7 cards.

14:58:43 – DerangedParrot drew 7 cards.

14:58:45 – DerangedParrot says:’kp!’

14:58:48 – Rakso says:’go’

14:58:50 – It is now turn 1.

14:58:52 – DerangedParrot plays Swamp.

14:58:53 – Swamp is tapped.

14:58:53 – DerangedParrot plays Duress.

14:58:57 – Rakso plays Mystical Tutor.

14:59:00 – DerangedParrot says:’um’

14:59:01 – DerangedParrot says:’yeah :)’

Parrot again goes first, and keeps Ancestral Recall away from the top of my library.

14:59:07 – It is now turn 2.

14:59:08 – Rakso draws a card.

14:59:14 – Rakso plays Flooded Strand.

14:59:15 – Rakso plays Mox Pearl.

14:59:16 – It is now turn 3.

14:59:27 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

14:59:29 – DerangedParrot plays Polluted Delta.

14:59:30 – DerangedParrot buries Polluted Delta.

14:59:31 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 19. (-1)

14:59:34 – DerangedParrot moves Swamp from DerangedParrot’s library to tabletop.

14:59:37 – Swamp is tapped.

14:59:37 – Swamp is tapped.

14:59:55 – DerangedParrot plays Duress.

15:00:00 – Rakso moves Mana Drain from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.

15:00:06 – Swamp is tapped.

15:00:07 – DerangedParrot plays Sarcomancy.

15:00:09 – Rakso says:’Bad Player’

15:00:22 – DerangedParrot creates new card: Bad Player Parrot.

15:00:24 – DerangedParrot plays Bad Player Parrot.

Fetchlands made life harder for classic Suicide strategies. First, even if you went first, you couldn’t just Sinkhole the first Blue mana source, so he could Mana Drain if you went after the second. Second, fetchlands come with Brainstorm, a classic hedge against discard.

Here, though, he snags the Mana Drain and begins the beatdown.

15:00:25 – It is now turn 4.

15:00:27 – Rakso draws a card.

15:00:32 – Rakso plays Underground Sea.

15:00:33 – It is now turn 5.

15:00:38 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

15:00:40 – Bad Player Parrot is attacking.

15:00:41 – Rakso’s life is now 18. (-2)

15:00:47 – Rakso says:’now the sink’

15:00:49 – Swamp is tapped.

15:00:49 – Swamp is tapped.

15:00:50 – DerangedParrot plays Sinkhole.

Sure enough, here’s the Sinkhole, and the ground swallows my Underground Sea.

15:00:53 – It is now turn 6.

15:00:54 – Rakso draws a card.

15:00:55 – DerangedParrot says:’how lucky!’

15:00:55 – Rakso plays Tundra.

15:00:56 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

15:00:57 – Rakso plays Sol Ring.

This isn’t good for him, since I have three mana from artifacts and he’s playing without Null Rod (which was most effective against combo decks with more artifact mana and mono Blue decks that relied on Powder Keg, not”The Deck”). The mana allows me to move into my midgame, and he has to keep me firmly in the early game.

15:00:58 – It is now turn 7.

15:01:05 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

15:01:09 – Swamp is tapped.

15:01:10 – Swamp is tapped.

15:01:11 – DerangedParrot plays Sinkhole.

15:01:19 – Rakso buries Tundra.

15:01:23 – Bad Player Parrot is attacking.

15:01:24 – Rakso’s life is now 16. (-2)

There’s another Sinkhole, and my second Blue mana source bites the dust.

15:01:26 – It is now turn 8.

15:01:28 – Rakso draws a card.

15:01:30 – Rakso plays Polluted Delta.

15:01:32 – Rakso buries Flooded Strand.

15:01:33 – Rakso buries Polluted Delta.

15:01:34 – Rakso’s life is now 14. (-2)

15:01:38 – Rakso moves Underground Sea from Rakso’s library to tabletop.

15:01:43 – Rakso moves Underground Sea from Rakso’s library to tabletop.

15:01:46 – Underground Sea is tapped.

15:01:46 – Underground Sea is tapped.

15:01:47 – Mox Pearl is tapped.

15:01:47 – Sol Ring is tapped.

15:01:49 – Rakso plays Morphling.

Unfortunately for him, I survive purely by drawing mana, and tap out for Morphling. At this point, I’m desperate and have to tap out, but note that if he had any creature removal, it would have been Diabolic Edict anyway, so saving one Blue for untargetability is irrelevant.

Also note the choice of land. I knew he had no Null Rod so the Mox Pearl would power Swords to Plowshares and Balance. As for Red mana, I wanted to hedge against Wasteland more than I wanted my Gorilla Shaman.

15:01:49 – It is now turn 9.

15:01:52 – DerangedParrot says:’this guy.’

15:01:56 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

15:02:00 – Swamp is tapped.

15:02:03 – DerangedParrot plays Dark Ritual.

15:02:07 – DerangedParrot plays Hymn to Tourach.

15:02:09 – Rakso moves Force of Will from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.

15:02:10 – Rakso moves Wasteland from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.

15:02:17 – DerangedParrot plays Carnophage.

Note how one turn would have made a lot of difference here; the tempo boost from my Sol Ring was crucial. This was a brutal disruption barrage, though, and there are times you just can’t avoid sitting on a lone dual land and a hand of useless Mana Drains.

15:02:19 – It is now turn 10.

15:02:23 – Rakso draws a card.

15:02:25 – DerangedParrot says:’There are no edicts in this deck’

15:02:28 – Underground Sea is tapped.

15:02:29 – Rakso moves Brainstorm from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.

15:02:38 – Rakso drew 3 cards.

15:02:50 – Rakso moves a facedown card to Rakso’s library.

15:02:51 – Rakso moves a facedown card to Rakso’s library.

15:02:53 – Rakso plays City of Brass.

15:02:55 – Morphling is attacking.

15:03:06 – DerangedParrot says:’No Blocks’

15:03:08 – Sol Ring is tapped.

15:03:13 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 14. (-5)

15:03:14 – It is now turn 11.

15:03:24 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 13. (-1)

15:03:27 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

15:03:35 – DerangedParrot says:’can I concede?’

15:03:38 – Rakso says:’sure’

Like I said, Morphling wasn’t the most dangerous comeback, but against the classic Suicide creature base, it locked things up unless it was forced to chump, and Suicide couldn’t afford to dilute itself by throwing in random Edict slots.

One Last Feature

15:05:07 – — DerangedParrot says: ”Eschew Obfuscation.”

15:05:07 – — Rakso says: ”Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”

15:05:11 – Rakso drew 7 cards.

15:05:22 – DerangedParrot drew 7 cards.

15:05:23 – Rakso says:’go’

15:05:24 – It is now turn 1.

15:05:27 – DerangedParrot plays Swamp.

15:05:28 – Swamp is tapped.

15:05:29 – DerangedParrot plays Carnophage.

15:05:29 – It is now turn 2.

15:05:30 – Rakso draws a card.

15:05:33 – Rakso plays Library of Alexandria.

15:05:34 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.

15:05:34 – Rakso draws a card.

15:05:36 – Rakso plays Black Lotus.

Library of Alexandria, for obvious reasons, is hardly stellar against Suicide. In this particular case, though, I had no Mana Drain in hand and didn’t mind cycling.

15:05:36 – It is now turn 3.

15:05:44 – DerangedParrot says:’KirdApe3 says he’d call you out right now but his appr is broken’

15:05:45 – DerangedParrot says:’just so you know’

15:05:50 – Rakso says:’hehe’

15:05:53 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 19. (-1)

15:05:54 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

15:05:56 – DerangedParrot plays Bloodstained Mire.

15:05:57 – DerangedParrot buries Bloodstained Mire.

15:05:57 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 18. (-1)

15:06:02 – DerangedParrot moves Swamp from DerangedParrot’s library to tabletop.

15:06:06 – Carnophage is attacking.

15:06:07 – Rakso’s life is now 18. (-2)

15:06:12 – Swamp is tapped.

15:06:13 – Swamp is tapped.

15:06:13 – DerangedParrot plays Hymn to Tourach.

15:06:15 – Rakso plays Misdirection.

15:06:16 – Rakso moves Time Walk from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s removed from game pile.

15:06:16 – DerangedParrot says:’No Library For You’

15:06:18 – Rakso says:’jackpot’

15:06:25 – DerangedParrot says:’Did I not have to try that at least?’

15:06:31 – Rakso says:’shrugs’

15:06:33 – DerangedParrot says:’how many misds do you run, like one?’

15:06:35 – DerangedParrot randomly buried Phyrexian Negator.

15:06:35 – Rakso says:’1′

15:06:37 – DerangedParrot randomly buried Hypnotic Specter.

You no longer see it now, but consider how painful that play was. I traded two cards for three of his, plus his entire Turn 2’s worth of mana. That’s a loss in both card advantage and tempo terms.

15:06:40 – It is now turn 4.

15:06:42 – Rakso draws a card.

15:06:43 – DerangedParrot says:’how lucky :(‘

15:06:50 – Rakso plays Polluted Delta.

15:06:51 – It is now turn 5.

15:06:52 – DerangedParrot says:’oh, I didn’t even notice the lotus’

15:06:53 – DerangedParrot says:’lol’

15:06:56 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 17. (-1)

15:06:58 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

15:07:00 – DerangedParrot plays Swamp.

15:07:02 – Carnophage is attacking.

15:07:03 – Rakso’s life is now 16. (-2)

15:07:18 – Swamp is tapped.

15:07:19 – DerangedParrot plays Sarcomancy.

15:07:22 – Black Lotus is tapped.

15:07:23 – Rakso buries Black Lotus.

15:07:24 – Rakso plays Mana Drain.

15:07:33 – DerangedParrot says:’k’

15:07:34 – Swamp is tapped.

15:07:34 – Swamp is tapped.

15:07:35 – DerangedParrot plays Hymn to Tourach.

15:07:40 – DerangedParrot says:’what about this though’

15:07:43 – Rakso says:’little mistake there’

So my topdecks were funny. Here, Parrot made the minor mistake of attacking first. This is standard procedure, but it meant he couldn’t declare an attack to clear that third Blue mana from my pool. It’s a very particular case, but it counted here.

15:07:46 – Rakso buries Polluted Delta.

15:07:49 – Rakso moves Underground Sea from Rakso’s library to tabletop.

15:07:50 – Underground Sea is tapped.

15:07:51 – Rakso plays Mana Drain.

15:07:52 – Rakso is shuffling library…

15:07:52 – Rakso stops looking through library.

15:07:54 – DerangedParrot says:’mmmmmmm’

15:07:59 – Rakso says:’very minor’

15:08:01 – It is now turn 6.

15:08:05 – Rakso draws a card.

15:08:10 – Rakso plays Volcanic Island.

15:08:12 – Rakso plays Mox Ruby.

15:08:27 – Rakso’s life is now 12. (-3)

Unfortunately, though, I had nothing to do with all that mana, and couldn’t make my comeback just yet. Still, my mana was intact and my life total wasn’t critical yet.

15:08:28 – It is now turn 7.

15:08:39 – DerangedParrot says:’mmmmm’

15:08:44 – DerangedParrot’s life is now 16. (-1)

15:08:47 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

15:08:49 – Carnophage is attacking.

15:08:50 – Rakso’s life is now 10. (-2)

15:08:53 – DerangedParrot says:’I’m clearly very good at this game’

15:08:55 – Swamp is tapped.

15:08:57 – Swamp is tapped.

15:08:57 – Swamp is tapped.

15:08:57 – DerangedParrot plays Hypnotic Specter.

15:08:59 – Rakso says:’k’

15:09:02 – It is now turn 9.

15:09:03 – Rakso draws a card.

15:09:06 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

15:09:07 – Rakso plays Brainstorm.

15:09:09 – Rakso drew 3 cards.

15:09:47 – Rakso moves a facedown card to Rakso’s library.

15:09:48 – Rakso moves a facedown card to Rakso’s library.

15:09:52 – Rakso plays Tundra.

15:09:54 – Rakso says:’so am I’

15:09:55 – Underground Sea is tapped.

15:09:57 – Rakso plays Vampiric Tutor.

15:09:59 – Rakso’s life is now 8. (-2)

15:10:06 – Rakso moves a facedown card to Rakso’s library.

Note how the Mirage tutors’ card disadvantage is also a built-in safety against discard.

15:10:08 – Tundra is tapped.

15:10:10 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.

15:10:11 – Rakso plays Balance.

15:10:12 – Rakso buries Library of Alexandria.

15:10:18 – DerangedParrot buries Carnophage.

15:10:19 – DerangedParrot buries Hypnotic Specter.

15:10:20 – Rakso buries Balance.

Suicide plays out its own hand very quickly, but Balance can turn its own discard or land destruction against it. Pyroclasm was one of my classic sideboard cards back then, but this is obviously much weaker today and far less necessary with Chalice of the Void already built-in.

15:10:20 – It is now turn 10.

15:10:23 – DerangedParrot says:’you little non-american bastard’

15:10:26 – DerangedParrot says:’only americans are allowed to do that’

15:10:33 – *** DerangedParrot cries

15:10:38 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

15:10:39 – Swamp is tapped.

15:10:40 – Swamp is tapped.

15:10:41 – DerangedParrot plays Flesh Reaver.

In case anyone is offended, Parrot was joking and apologized after the game.

15:10:41 – It is now turn 11.

15:10:43 – Rakso says:’k’

15:10:44 – Rakso draws a card.

15:10:45 – Tundra is tapped.

15:10:46 – Underground Sea is tapped.

15:10:46 – Volcanic Island is tapped.

15:10:47 – Mox Ruby is tapped.

15:10:48 – Rakso plays The Abyss.

There’s my comeback, and he can’t recover from it with his momentum massacred by that Balance.

15:10:49 – It is now turn 12.

15:10:53 – DerangedParrot says:’wow’

15:10:59 – Rakso says:’no kidding’

15:11:03 – DerangedParrot says:’You are far better at magic than I am’

15:11:09 – DerangedParrot buries Flesh Reaver.

15:11:10 – DerangedParrot draws a card.

15:11:17 – DerangedParrot says:’Well’

15:11:26 – DerangedParrot says:’do you have any pro points?’

15:11:30 – Rakso says:’of course not’

15:11:37 – DerangedParrot says:’ah’

15:11:39 – DerangedParrot says:’I can’t handle those’

15:11:39 – Rakso says:’too busy at school to attend ten-hour tourneys :)’

15:11:43 – DerangedParrot says:’awwwwww’

15:12:29 – DerangedParrot says:’you having pro points would explain why you’re mashing me’

15:12:35 – DerangedParrot says:’it’s kind of a random ending though’

15:12:38 – Rakso says:’Brainstorm into Balance and Vampiric into Abyss’

15:12:47 – Rakso says:’:)’

15:12:50 – DerangedParrot says:’like’

15:12:51 – Rakso says:’you have no hand’

15:12:54 – Rakso says:’and I have abyss and 4 mana’

15:13:03 – DerangedParrot says:’OMG POLICE’

15:13:04 – DerangedParrot says:’HERE COME THE COPS’

15:13:05 – DerangedParrot says:’RUN, FLESH REAVER, RUN’

15:13:08 – DerangedParrot says:’right :)’

15:13:09 – Rakso says:’you can wait’

15:13:16 – DerangedParrot says:’how do I not lose here?’

15:13:17 – Rakso says:’until you topdeck two Zombies and a Negator’

15:13:25 – DerangedParrot says:’mmmmm’

I let Parrot take back the Reaver so he could hope to topdeck another creature before playing it, but I got Mind Twist and he lost two creatures he held back. The game was pretty much over, but we played until I Cunning Wished into Skeletal Scrying and drew into Ancestral Recall, then cast Mystical Tutor for Yawgmoth’s Will.

Parrot and I played several Suicide games, and he was doing a running commentary on AIM for the benefit of Paragons Lian Ritchard a.k.a. Kirdape3 and JP”Polluted” Meyer. My apologies, but I just couldn’t find the logs where Parrot won, and maybe I’ll slip them into something else if I find them.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this introductory blast from the past, and next time, we’ll illustrate the more complicated Suicide decks of 2003.

Oscar Tan (e-mail: Rakso at StarCityGames.com)

rakso on #BDChat on EFNet

Team Paragons of Vintage

University of the Philippines, College of Law

Forum Administrator, Star City Games

Featured Writer, Star City Games

Author of the Control Player’s Bible

Maintainer, Beyond Dominia (R.I.P.)

Proud member of the Casual Player’s Alliance