You CAN Play Type I #13: Odyssey to Type I, Part II

Mirari, Standstill, Holistic Wisdom… All overrated and overhyped. Trust me.

CNN is filled with news about anthrax now, and I have to say other countries aren’t immune from the fear. My country is halfway across the world from New York, and we’re getting false reports of anthrax in the mail. Hang in there…

Anyway, in Part I of this review a la strategy overview, I didn’t find much to get excited about, and saw too many bad knockoffs of older cards for every potential winner.

It’s not a good sign when Rotting Giant seems to head the list of possibilities. Finkel is the other gem, but I haven’t done any testing to be able to say for a fact that U/B will pull The Abyss for it, especially with up to four Fact or Fictions available.

Part II deals with artifacts and enchantments, and they’re the opposite of the creatures. If none of those seemed quite good enough, a lot the cards in this article seem better than they actually are.

Again, my original two rules are: 

  1. Is the card more efficient than an established benchmark? (Or, do I get more bang from my buck?)

  2. Does the card do something no past card ever did, and if it does, is this new card playable?

#1 was for the creatures; keep #2 in mind now.

Part III: Artifacts

As I said in Part II of my Apocalypse review, new artifacts and enchantments usually have some new ability that you just can’t compare to anything already printed. But you can compare them to something; instead of comparing them to the original version, you compare them to what you’d yank from your deck to make room.

Considering Legacy Weapon was pretty much the artifact of note in Apocalypse, my forecast for artifacts was 100% correct, and I was happy to find one for my collection. Philippine land destruction players had fun with it in IBC, though, and that idea did show up in some net decks months after I saw it here. Also, congratulations to Beyond Dominia’s Nick Franceschine for successfully using it in his Keeper deck. He claims he wanted to make his deck weaker to let younger players have fun at Friday Night Magic, but he might have made enemies in casual play, I hear.

Like Apocalypse, there’s only one artifact worth talking about in Odyssey (unless you want to count the rip-off Juggernaut, yet another chaff rare):



Legendary Artifact

Odyssey rare

Whenever you play an instant or sorcery spell, you may pay 3. If you do, put a copy of that spell onto the stack. You may choose new targets for the copy.

Flavor Text:”It offers you what you want, not what you need.” -Braids, dementia summoner

Artist: Donato Giancola

And like Legacy Weapon, this is something that I want for the collection binder, too.

First reaction:”It’s a permanent Fork!” Well sure, that’s powerful, but so is Polar Kraken.

The first complaint is the casting cost. Five mana is a lot, even in Type I. The only five-mana spell in common use in Type I is Morphling – and Mirari doesn’t win the game by itself, not directly. And yes, despite the Moxen and Mana Drains, an idea of a mana curve is quite relevant in Type I. Only control decks can afford to wait for this, so put aside those fantasies of quadruple-Fireblasting people.

The second complaint is the activation cost. When you draw something good, you’re going to cast it right away instead of waiting for three extra mana. These two notes combine to tell you that Mirari will usually be the last thing you’ll cast from your hand, because you just can’t afford to skip a beat in Type I. By then, this will be useful once you’ve drawn more cards, and if you can outdraw your opponent after both hands are exhausted, then you should win anyway, right? And if you cast Morphling instead of Mirari, you really should win.

And when you think about it, not everything is Fork-able anyway. Sure, Ancestral and Mirari would be lovely, but double Vampiric Tutor? Double Balance? Double Yawgmoth’s Will? Double-counter isn’t relevant, either, unless the other guy is playing counters himself.

I could be wrong and someone might find a wacky combo based around this, but no deck or strategy I know of just has the mana to make use of this. As a final note, I don’t think Tinker-style decks really use this, too, considering the number of sorceries and instants they use.

Part IV: Enchantments

My Apocalypse enchantment forecast was generally accurate as well. Wild Research, for example, was quite hyped on the Net, but was nowhere to be seen in the Extended Oath decks. (And right before I typed this paragraph, Andrew Johnson made a joke on #mtgwacky that the only reason it was banned in 5-Color is to keep players from shuffling too much.)

Phyrexian Arena still seems solid enough on its own, but it just hasn’t seen play. It was used in a Beyond Dominia tournament, but the player told me that it didn’t seem as helpful as it did on paper. I haven’t been able to test black decks myself, but my best guess is that it doesn’t help the black decks against their difficult opponents (Sligh and other aggro decks) and it is good against the control decks that black is already good against.

Anyway, one card in particular has been extremely hyped for Type I:

Holistic Wisdom



Odyssey rare

2, Remove a card in your hand from the game: Return target card from your graveyard to your hand if it shares a type with the card removed this way. (The card types are artifact, creature, enchantment, instant, land, and sorcery.)

Artist: Rebecca Guay

I’ll tell you right now: In general, this is unplayable.

At this point, at least 90% of the Type I players in the world must disagree with me. After all, you can turn any card you draw into Ancestral Recall, Balance, Diabolic Edict, or Strip Mine.

I have two important problems with the card, though.

First, it doesn’t draw. Yes, doesn’t draw. It may swap an Impulse or Mana Drain for Ancestral Recall, but it still doesn’t draw cards directly.

So what? It still fetches Ancestral Recall, doesn’t it?

The decks that use all those wonderful restricted cards I listed are the Type I control decks. Every control deck’s problem is the crucial early game. If control gets past the mid-game and into the late-game, it just wins. Now, your graveyard won’t be filled with those wonderful restricted cards early on, and you can’t use Holistic Wisdom until it is. In the meantime, you need all your resources to blunt your opponent’s initial assault, and Wisdom just sits there waiting.

This is the only card I tested because of my hunches about it… And sure enough, when I tried it in the Keeper vs. Keeper control matchup, I lost control of the game when I could have won with just one more counter or card drawer to take the momentum in the early game.

(Thanks, by the way, to my instant playtest punching bag Rick Gideon, Jr. from Miami and Zenvir on Beyond Dominia. He asked me to quote him:”If I had a choice between a Polar Kraken and Holistic Wisdom, I’d probably choose the Kraken. At least I can pitch it to Force of Will.”)

And that comment brings me to my second problem.

The second problem is that it’s green. Unfortunately, in Type I, there are really still only four colors of Magic (Llanowar Elf, for example, is not used). A card with green in its casting cost has to be extremely powerful to be used outside a mono green deck, and so far, only four meet my bill: Regrowth, Sylvan Library, Oath of Druids, and Compost.

Now, a card with double green has to be downright broken, and I already discussed why Wisdom isn’t (at least not until much later, when you should win anyway). Wisdom forces you to run so much green to reliably use it. Now, there are some Keeper control decks that use Green for Oath of Druids, but Wisdom obviously doesn’t even combo with Oath!

In such a five-color control deck, your main color is blue, with black as the secondary color. White is the tertiary color, if only for Balance – so that leaves red and green, and experience has shown that you can’t run both. If you have to go heavy on green (for just Wisdom, Sylvan, Compost, and Regrowth), you will cut at least red.

Does cutting red sound so bad for a control deck? I mean, I heard Mikey Pustilnik finally cut Wheel of Fortune from his Keeper version. I run exactly one red card in my own deck (Gorilla Shaman) and only one in my sideboard (Red Elemental Blast, with Dwarven Miner out of style because of mono blue decks).

It’s lethal. Despite having only one maindeck red card, I use four Volcanic Islands. Red Elemental Blasts define the post-sideboard control vs. control game, and they’re that important.

Many people think Holistic Wisdom just wins against counterspell-based decks. Well, not quite. Remember, it doesn’t draw, and a blue deck that outdraws you is one that kills you. Assuming you can force it into play to begin with without REBs, remember it doesn’t draw. I talked about it with Beyond Dominia’s prominent blue fanatic, Dana Heitner a.k.a. Acolytec, and he agreed that you don’t even have to counter Wisdom if you are about to drop your Morphling in your turn and have two or three counters to stall with while Morphling goes to work.

Of course, someone might be able to create an all-new deck based around Wisdom’s powerful effect. For example, some people were talking about fitting it into Turboland. But as far as familiar archetypes go, my critique is identical to the one I made for Wild Research: it’s extremely powerful when you have cards in hand… But if you do, shouldn’t you be winning anyway? And at least Wild Research is splashable.

It’s also the same problem with Soothsaying. Stacking your deck is great… But still, you don’t draw, which makes it inferior to Sylvan. Soothsaying can be strong enough in weaker environments, though, where your lower powered opponents can’t take advantage of the one-card loss. If you play in such a store, then you might be able to make Holistic Wisdom look broken as hell, and trade it for something you really need afterwards.




Odyssey uncommon

When a player plays a spell, sacrifice Standstill. If you do, then each of that player’s opponents draws three cards.

Flavor Text:”Take your time.”

Artist: Heather Hudson

I’m surprised this wasn’t a rare because it’s the other extremely hyped Odyssey enchantment.

Basically, a lot of visitors on Beyond Dominia go:”Wow! I’ll play this in my mono blue deck! It’s like having five Ancestrals!”

Thing is, everyone forgets that this cuts both ways. If your opponent is the one with the threat out, Standstill is useful only as Force of Will fodder. In control decks with just a few Morphlings or Masticores for threats, that happens to be your opponent, so forget it. Don’t think you can get away with it by adding Mishra’s Factories, either, since Wasteland doesn’t trigger Standstill.

This card is good, but it really belongs in decks with a lot of cheap threats. Since mono-blue weenie decks have the weakest creature pool, the most logical choices so far are Zoo (which has needed a shot in the arm over the last three years) and White Weenie (which is able to use Meddling Mage to good effect against even the restricted cards of Type I such as Balance).

I haven’t tried it, so can’t predict which is the best build to fit this into, but it’s easy enough to say where it doesn’t belong.

What happens, though, if your opponent plays Standstill? This situation leads to a test of”Who’s the beatdown?” and you had better know your own deck to make the call. If you’re the aggressive deck, you have to go ahead and trigger Standstill because if the game drags on, you will lose anyway. If you’re the defensive control deck, generally, play land-go because the longer the game pauses, the better off you’ll be. (Yes, Disenchant triggers Standstill, by the way.)

Incidentally, be careful with this. If you have a creature out then play Standstill, the opponent can respond by killing the creature, and you may be forced to give him 3 free cards.

Nefarious Lich



Odyssey rare

If you would be dealt damage, remove that many cards in your graveyard from the game instead. If you can’t, you lose the game. If you would gain life, draw that many cards instead. When Nefarious Lich leaves play, you lose the game.

Artist: Jerry Tiritilli

I think it was Butch”Road Warrior” Maniego on the Philippine e-group who asked how this compared to the original Lich. Well:




Beta rare

When Lich comes into play, your life total becomes 0. You don’t lose the game for having 0 or less life. If you would gain life, draw that many cards instead. Whenever you’re dealt damage, sacrifice that many permanents. When Lich leaves play, you lose the game.

Lich, Luke Schooneart, as posted on Beyond Dominia

Black (4)

1 Lich

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

Blue (12)

1 Ancestral Recall

3 Brainstorm

1 Fact or Fiction

2 Impulse

1 Intuition

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Time Spiral

1 Timetwister

1 Time Walk

Red (3)

2 Red Elemental Blast

1 Wheel of Fortune

White (3)

1 Abeyance

1 Enlightened Tutor

1 Replenish

Green (6)

1 City of Solitude

1 Fastbond

3 Forgotten Lore

1 Regrowth

Gold (2)

1 Dark Heart of the Wood

1 Sterling Grove

Artifact/Land (3)

1 Mirror Universe

1 Zuran Orb

1 Scroll Rack

1 Glacial Chasm

Mana (26)

1 Black Lotus

1 Mana Crypt

5 Moxen

1 Sol Ring

4 Bayou

4 City of Brass

1 Library of Alexandria

1 Tolarian Academy

3 Tropical Island

3 Underground Sea

2 Volcanic Island

This list doesn’t show Overgrown Estate, which I think is in the new version, but it shows you what you can do well enough. Finding Glacial Chasm stops damage while life gain fuels the draw engine.

I’m not very experienced with this particular deck type, but it seems that removing cards from the graveyard is the lesser evil compared to losing permanents, especially when you can sacrifice land to Zuran Orb or Estate anyway.

The key difference in the new card is that your life total is not reduced to zero, and if you lose life and drop to zero, you die. The above deck kills with Mirror Universe, so using the new Lich means you’d have to look for another kill. If you can’t find a better one, I suppose the old one isn’t about to be retired.

Incidentally, Donating a Lich doesn’t cause you to lose the game, for those who enjoy sadistic combos.




Odyssey rare

At the beginning of your upkeep, target opponent may remove a card in his or her graveyard from the game. If that player doesn’t, you may draw a card.

Artist: Alex Horley

Another seemingly powerful enchantment, as all things that vaguely resemble Necropotence look. Obviously, the mana cost makes it viable only in black decks, and the question really is whether this is better than Phyrexian Arena. I think I’ll take the Arena if I had to choose, because an opponent would gladly remove cards in his graveyard and disrupt his Yawgmoth’s Will to keep you from drawing more cards. Losing one life a turn sounds easier to handle than the delay or running graveyard removal that dilutes your deck.

Divine Sacrament



Odyssey rare

White creatures get +1/+1. Threshold – White creatures get an additional +1/+1. (You have threshold as long as seven or more cards are in your graveyard.)

Flavor Text: Their whispered prayers rally the nomads better than any war cry could.

Artist: Ray Lago

I haven’t played White Weenie in a while, but I’d try this over the original Crusades. The way the WW mana curve goes, you ideally play a Savannah Lions on turn 1 then a two-mana weenie on turn 3. You rarely play the two-mana Crusade on turn 2, anyway, and the additional cost is essentially foregoing a second Lions on turn 3 or casting Swords. It may be worth it to get a chance at the threshold because specifically in White Weenie, Land Taxing to thin your deck of excess Plains can fill up the graveyard quickly.

Of course, the key caveat is over the original Crusades. Remember that a lot of decks don’t need it, and I might pick the faster Army of Allah for a”straight” traditional build for fun (or without Tax/Rack and Null Rod tricks). When not to use Crusade has been discussed exhaustively in my White Weenie primer.

Price of Glory



Odyssey uncommon

Whenever a player taps a land for mana during another player’s turn, destroy that land.

Flavor Text:”True strength lies in action. Let the weak react to me.” -Kamahl, pit fighter

Artist: Darrell Riche

What is the price of glory? It’s expensive, that’s what it is.

In his Sideboard preview, Brian Kibler called this the newest addition to a long line of blue hosers such as City of Solitude and Citadel of Pain. Certainly, this is one of the most devastating ones to date. The only problem is that it isn’t more effective than other hosers because it’s more expensive (except Anarchy, but it answers Moat as well as Circle of Protection: Red or Story Circle). Acolytec opined over AIM that blue plays against extremely sideboarded Sligh by playing around the red blasts, and getting him to tap out is one way. In other words, he would love to Mana Drain this card. Aside from Red Elemental Blast and Pyroblast, the cheapest available hoser is:




Urza’s Saga uncommon

Whenever a player taps an island for mana, Scald deals 1 damage to that player.

It’s certainly weaker than Price of Glory but it also gets the job done. The extra mana may be the difference between the blue deck being in Mana Drain or Mana Leak range already, or having the extra red mana to red blast as backup.

Price of Glory, though, has a funny infinite mana combo with Sacred Ground:

Sacred Ground



Stronghold rare (also in 7th Edition)

Whenever a spell or ability an opponent controls puts a land into your graveyard from play, return that land to play.

You might have fun trying to break it.

Squirrel Nest


Enchant land

Odyssey uncommon

Enchanted land has”Tap: Put a 1/1 green Squirrel creature token into play.”

Flavor Text: In the Krosan Forest, you’ve got to keep an eye out for the squirrels.

Artist: Anthony S. Waters

It’s a green Kjeldoran Outpost! Offhand, it seems that the decks that can afford 1GG (probably not Stompy) already have Survival-Squee or even Verdant Force for making creatures. It’s definitely, cute, though, right?

John Ormerod thought it was more, and made up this list from his head:




Tempest rare

Tap an untapped creature you control: Untap target basic land.

John Ormerod, SquirrelCraft Test Build, as posted on Beyond Dominia

Green (13)

4 Argothian Enchantress

4 Squirrel Nest

4 Multani’s Presence

4 Earthcraft

2 City of Solitude

2 Concordant Crossroads

1 Regrowth

Blue (5)

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Stroke of Genius

1 Timetwister

1 Time Spiral

1 Time Walk

Black (5)

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Demonic Consultation

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Mind Twist

Mana (29)

4 Birds of Paradise

4 Wild Growth

1 Bayou

4 Land Grant

2 Underground Sea

2 Tropical Island

7 Forest

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Sol Ring

Mesacraft (with Sacred Mesa and Wild Growth) was one of the earlier combo decks, though I found it easy to disrupt with counters or even with the Tradewind Riders I had fun with back during Tempest times. Squirrel Nest has the same cost, but is in the same color, and allows you to pick something other than white for your secondary color. The obvious problem is still that there are unfortunately four colors of Magic in Type I, and green isn’t well known as a combo color. You need basic land to make Earthcraft work, so defending the combo by adding other colors is tough.

Good luck trying to refine the deck. John O added a note:”Could be much better, I think. Crossroads and Presence both seem a bit weak. I tried Exploration but that was horrible because there are so few lands. It is quite hard to add too many colours because you need basic land for Earthcraft. Stroke is an alternate win condition against Moat or Weaver.”

Chance Encounter



Odyssey rare

Whenever you win a coin flip, put a luck counter on Chance Encounter. At the beginning of your upkeep, if Chance Encounter has ten or more luck counters on it, you win the game.

Flavor Text: The more unlikely the victory, the more memorable the success.

Artist: Mark Brill

This is yet another junk rare designed to encourage you to draft instead of buying packs. Of course, my little brother once won a fun game with Goblin Bomb, so it’s so tempting to win with this. The flavor text says it all.

No, it’s not broken with Frenetic Efreet, as recently reworded:

Frenetic Efreet


Creature – Efreet


Mirage rare

Flying. 0: If Frenetic Efreet is in play, flip a coin. If you win the flip, Frenetic Efreet phases out. If you lose the flip, sacrifice Frenetic Efreet.

Aegis of Honor



Odyssey rare

1: The next time an instant or sorcery spell would deal damage to you this turn, that spell deals that damage to its controller instead.

Artist: Ron Spears

Yes, Circle of Protection: Red is still better because it stops the Pups relatively early. Yes, Drain Life is too slow in Type I, and yes, Psionic Blast is hardly used.

Delaying Shield



If you would be dealt damage, put that many delay counters on Delaying Shield instead. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove all delay counters from Delaying Shield. For each delay counter removed this way, you lose 1 life unless you pay 1W.

Artist: Luca Zontini

This is another strange rare I have no idea what to do with. It appears that this is powerful damage prevention if you can bounce it every turn or something like that, but it seems too much trouble even for a theme deck and even then the opponent can cast burn in the short window when it’s out of play. Phasing, I believe, won’t remove the counters, so you need something like Liberate or Flicker.

Zombie Infestation



Odyssey uncommon

Discard two cards from your hand: Put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token into play.

Flavor Text: The nomads’ funeral pyres are more practical than ceremonial.

Artist: Thomas M. Baxa

This doesn’t look practical enough to be in a competitive deck, but it certainly looks wonderful in a Zombie theme deck (you can tell I enjoyed Feast or Famine and Bone Dancer). Fueling it may not be so hard with Squee, Land Tax or Oath of Ghouls. It also has possibilities in other fun decks such as reanimators.




Odyssey rare

1G, Remove two cards in your graveyard from the game: Put a 2/2 green Bear creature token into play.

Flavor Text:”Nature is the endless dance between life and death.” -Seton, centaur druid

Artist: Heather Hudson

Again, there are stronger green engines for competitive decks that can afford 1GG anyway, but this is one of few green card advantage engines and it’s 2/2s are uncounterable. I’d keep this in mind for fun decks in the future, especially if a Bear lord is printed. It’s certainly better than the original Night Soil from Fallen Empires and the black Drudge Spell from Homelands.

Need for Speed



Sacrifice a land: Target creature gains haste until end of turn.

Flavor Text: His feet buckled the ground, his hands cut the wind to ribbons, and he was gone.

Artist: Christopher Moeller

Nothing to see here… But not only is WotC filling up the new sets with bad rares, it’s also getting too lazy to at least give them respectable names!

Battle of Wits



Odyssey rare

At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 200 or more cards in your library, you win the game.

Flavor Text: The wizard who reads a thousand books is powerful. The wizard who memorizes a thousand books is insane.

Artist: Mark Brill

The guy who wrote up the flavor text must’ve been a law student like me.

Seriously, though… Who let this in? The guy who yanked Type I from the Invitational and replaced it with the”Jeweled Bird is broken as hell!!!” 5-color variant? Or the guy who picked the final list for the Auction of the People (Who Are The Organizer’s Buddies)?

Bad enough that they filled up the set with bad rares with bad names, they don’t even bother to make them look playable (or make them legal in 5-Color)! They could at least have picked a lower number for crying out loud… (or use Phil Foglio art… What was that? A reinterpretation of Stasis?)

Well, hope you liked this. (Especially to ElGato, the forum moderator of MTGNews who always seems to ask for an Apprentice game when I’m writing articles!)

I’ll wrap up in Part III. Don’t worry… I actually think some of the remaining cards have potential…


[email protected]

rakso on #BDChat on Newnet

Manila, Philippines

Type I, Extended and Casual Maintainer, Beyond Dominia (http://www.bdominia.com/discus/messages/9/9.shtml)

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

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

P.S. – Just a note to say thanks to Meridian Magic and Cathy Nicoloff, Rune Horvik, Alex Shvartsman, Michael Kastberg and the rest of the volunteers for all the good times. I consider myself blessed to have learned a few things via e-mail from the sensei of the original Dojo Frank Kusumoto himself, and know when another good thing’s time has come to pass.

As a toast of sorts, I’d like to archive my most prominent contribution to Meridian somewhere else, and may as well cheat, since Ferrett probably won’t post this separately. 😉

This was the runner-up in Meridian’s Deathmatch contest. Too bad it looks like there won’t be a second. I recently voiced”Cathy N v. The Ferrett” to Cathy on mIRC, and she felt she couldn’t lose in my opening rounds,”Rune Horvik v. Sheldon Menery” and”Alex Shvartsman trade binder v. Star City Games.”

Deathmatch: TurboZvi vs FinkelTron!


(Author’s note: To understand the dialogue, one has to understand this Zero Wing video game that has been the talk of Beyond Dominia’s Type I Mill. For reference: http://www.movezig.com/media/base.swf)

It’s the 2001 World Championships, folks, and what a spectacle! The finalists are duking it out with their Type I decks, and one wrong move is all it takes to crown the new world champion!

TurboZvi managed to get a Dream Halls into play three hours ago and is still frantically cycling through his library, completely oblivious to the world around him! Meanwhile, FinkelTron, waiting on the other end of the table with his patented ObliterateYawgmoth’s Will combo, makes the key play of the day: He stands up and gets lunch!

Will it be TurboZvi? Will it be FinkelTron? The suspense is killing me, folks (not to mention the wait)!

To keep the crowd awake, Richard Garfield steps up to the mike.

“Hi, guys!”

“Hi, Richard!” they wave back.

“Did I tell you this could be the last Worlds ever?”

Only shocked gasps are heard from the speechless audience. The deafening silence is broken only by footsteps. Heads turn towards the strange fellow who just walked in, a small man with thick glasses and an awkward grin.

“It’s you!” is all Garfield can say.

“How are you gentlemen?” the stranger begins.”All your base are belong to us. You are on the way to destruction. You have no chance to survive make your time.”


(And here, folks, the REAL showdown begins…)

Deathmatch: Microsoft vs Wizards of the Coast!

Round 1:

“Surrender, cardfloppers!” Bill Gates cries.

Even as he speaks, a trojan file embedded in Internet Explorer activates on cue. It goes largely unnoticed, except in a back room in the New York Stock Exchange.

“What happen!” someone cries.

“Someone set up us the bomb!” someone cries back.

In the blink of a modem connection, all records of Hasbro’s shares are mysteriously deleted, forcing the company into bankruptcy. The fledgling Wizards of the Coast is left to fend off the juggernaut on its own.

Bill Gates laughs malevolently:”All your base are belong to us. HA HA HA HA…”

Round 2:

“FOR JUSTICE!” the assembled cardfloppers roar.

On cue, twin spotlights are turned on, and Magic’s staunch defenders jump into action.

“This’ll stop you!” shouts TurboZvi, and he waves aloft an oversized copy of Volrath’s Shapeshifter. Behind him, FinkelTron strikes his Sydney war face, pectorals bulging…

…from the strain of carrying a full printout of the Comprehensive Rules.

On the other end of the room, Michael Kastberg and Paul Barclay exchange high fives. Thunderous applause erupts from the crowd.

Suddenly, a crowd of men in cassocks and old ladies push appear behind Bill Gates.

“Spawn of the devil, I tell you!” one of the ladies screams in a nasal voice.

“That man!” adds one of the men.”He has been staring at pieces of cardboard in his hands for the last three hours! He must be possessed!”

“And that other one!” another lady chimes in.”Obliterate! Yawgmoth’s Will! Blasphemy!!!”

A wide grin appears on Bill Gates’ face as TurboZvi and FinkelTron cower behind an oversized Counterspell card in the face of the relentless assault.

“Crucify them!” shouts Pope John Paul II, also the new CEO of CatholicCorporation.com, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Microsoft. FinkelTron’s mother appears and grabs the champion’s ear, and drags him away kicking and screaming from”the house of sin.”

Bill Gates laughs malevolently:”All your base are belong to us. HA HA HA HA…”

Round 3:

“Call a judge! Call a judge!” the panicked TurboZvi begs.

The judging staff stands in complete shock, paralyzed.

“Uh… let’s give him a warning!” shouts one member.

“No, let’s DQ him for littering!” shouts another.

Michael Kastberg breaks the spell.

“Wait a minute!” he shouts.”I’m not just a rules lawyer. I’m a lawyer in real life!”

Thunderous applause erupts from the crowd, though some people faint after realizing they just clapped for a lawyer.

Like a man possessed, Mighty Mike Kastberg barrels past the frozen staff, grabs the head judge’s laptop, and types up an antitrust pleading even longer than Magic’s list of errata.

His opponent calmly opens his briefcase and presents Mighty Mike with a thick document of his own: A pardon signed on the last day of Bill Clinton’s presidency.

Bill Gates laughs malevolently:”All your base are belong to us. HA HA HA HA…”

Round 4:

“Give it up, Garfield!” Bill Gates says with a menacing tone.

“No!” a new voice shouts.

The Ferrett strides confidently into the room, and points a finger at Bill Gates.

“For too long, you’ve ignored us,” he shouts to the crowd, doing a halfway decent impression of WWF’s Raw is War.”You think we’re nothing. You think we have no tech. Well, now, we’re going to show you guys.


Thunderous applause erupts from the crowd, and The Ferrett waves back while handing the fallen TurboZvi a Team AWWAJALOOM card.

Suddenly, however, a brand new Ferrari pulls up in front of the convention center. A new figure walks in, dressed in an Armani suit and a tie made of foil Rishadan Ports.

“Meet my new associate,” Bill Gates stage whispers.

“A- A- Anthony?” The Ferret stutters.

“That’s BOSS to you, boy,” Anthony Alongi replies.”Come with me.”

As The Ferrett settles into his new job answering irate calls in Windows NT Customer Support, the URL of Star City changes to MultiPlayerNetDecks.com. As the site’s main page is replaced by a menacing Microsoft logo, every other commercial Magic site in the world follows The Dojo into oblivion. The Sideboard’s server crashes after downloading another trojan named”My Fires, Parts 5 to 2,164″.

Bill Gates laughs malevolently:”All your base are belong to us. HA HA HA HA…”

Round 5:

“You can’t get us all, Gates!” Richard Garfield shouts defiantly, tears streaming down his cheeks.

“Magic is more than a game. It’s more than an intellectual sport. It’s- It’s-

“It’s a community. A global community. A global… OH, CRAP!!!”

“A global internet community?” Bill Gates replies.

Faster than a Channeled Fireball, the hidden programming in computers around the world reveals itself.

In Boston, a mysterious error in the FBI’s computer results in Alex Shvartsman and Michelle Bush’s arrest for attempting to smuggle”deadly weapons” through airport security.

In New York, Sean McKeown is mobbed after a fake MPEG of him cheating during a Neutral Ground draft is spread online.

In Virginia, Mike Long’s store is burned to the ground shortly after the opening of a counterfeit eBay auction for,”The special pair of jeans with the Cadaverous Bloom in the front pocket.”

In Germany, a SWAT team storms into Kai Budde home after his copy of Outlook Express unzips planted child pornography JPEGs.

One by one, from Singapore to South Africa, Magic’s stalwarts are taken out of action. For good measure, Cathy Nicoloff’s phone bill is altered to reflect a million dollars, and Beyond Dominia is deleted by a Phyrexian HTML-bomb. With all the key players and the last bastions of free online Magic neutralized, Microsoft domination looks inevitable.

Bill Gates laughs malevolently:”All your base are belong to us. HA HA HA HA…”

Round 6:

Richard Garfield begs on his knees and Bill Gates tries to grab the laminated Proposal card in his wallet.

“Do something!” shouts the DCI.

“Um… Well, we could reprint Necropotence,” answers R&D.

Suddenly, a new group walks into the room.

Unknown to Bill Gates, one country’s primitive telephone infrastructure and complete lack of broadband allowed one team to escape Microsoft’s deadly web-based traps.

There they stood. Magic’s one last, desperate hope.

The Philippine National Magic: the Gathering Team.

(They made the mistake of flying Philippine Air Lines, a.k.a. Plane Always Late, and were fashionably delayed.)

But what could they accomplish that FinkelTron and TurboZvi could not?

Richie Chua, #1 ranked player of the humble archipelago, demands,”Why don’t you pick on someone your own size?”

Bill Gates breaks out in uncontrollable laughter, and asks what their speck of the map ever produced that could possibly threaten his corporate juggernaut.

“The LOVE BUG,” Richie Chua calmly replies.

Round 7:

As the color drains from Bill Gates’ face, Richie Chua pulls out a cellular phone and prepares to make a call.

“If you don’t leave WotC alone,” he threatens,”I’m going to call my cousin.”

“And who’s your cousin?” Bill Gates asks, shaking in fear.

“Don’t forget that I’m not just Filipino. I’m CHINESE-FILIPINO.”

Upon hearing those words, Bill Gates collapses in shock. Even as he falls unceremoniously to the ground, Richie Chua barks orders in rapid Mandarin into his phone.

Within minutes, bootleg copies of Windows flood global markets. As the United States’ trade deficit sinks to an all-time low, George Bush declares a state of emergency and calls in Marines to break up Microsoft as soon as possible.

As thunderous applause erupts from the audience, Richie Chua sits down in front of Richard Garfield.”Want to play?” he asks, and fishes out a deck of fake Pokemon foils from Beijing.


FinkelTron wins the final match of the World Championships 1-0 after the match is called on time.

Microsoft’s servers all go offline after they were sent the unsolveable”What Would Richie Do?” puzzles posted on www.bdominia.com and archived in www.meridianmagic.com.

In Richie Chua’s honor, R&D creates a card featuring his likeness. The card of Richie’s dreams is immediately included in Apocalypse: the broken new artifact card, Defective Condom.

Alex Shvartsman is still being questioned by the FBI in Boston due to the mysterious contents of his luggage.

Wizards of the Coast actually attempts some decent marketing efforts in the Philippines, after years of neglect.