You CAN Play Type I #131 – The Control Player’s Bible, Part XIX.1: Head to Head: Ravager

When a recent column of mine suffered a typo and got labeled, “You CAN Play Type II”, some wise guys joked it might be a “The Deck” against Ravager head to head. Talking about curious decks, though, Ravager actually heads the list of recent Type I novelties.

“The Deck” against Slaver

I’m afraid I haven’t seen a game I like enough to feature for this matchup, but Benjamin Rott a.k.a. Teletubby documented the finals of the April 18 Dulmen, attended by 128 players.

Maxim Barkman defeated Oliver Daems and”The Deck” here. When I last talked to Oli before he went into this finals, I opined that I was looking for something new to cope with the cheaper engines, while he felt mana denial games augmented by sideboarded Rack and Ruin was more than enough.

New place for Manila unsanctioned Type I

Congratulations to Glenson Lim a.k.a. Glenchuy and his Hulk build for splitting the finals in the unsanctioned Type I also last April 18. Glen is promoting a smaller tourney circuit in Gamer’s Place along Ortigas Avenue, very near my old high school, Xavier.

As I explained, I had to meet up with an old friend. I’m sure Glen doesn’t take it against me, boring, happily married, and fulfilled father that he claims to be.


That reminds me. I still have to dig up more photos for the Star City Forum’s legendary Bedford, demanding connoisseur of Asian beauties that he is.

Check out the General forum’s”Official Cheesecake Thread,” down to the borderline disconcerting discussion of the Olsen twins.

Playing the Type II deck for Type I

When a recent column of mine suffered a typo and got labeled,”You CAN Play Type II”, some wise guys joked it might be a”The Deck” against Ravager head to head. Talking about curious decks, though, Ravager actually heads the list of recent Type I novelties. For example, Jarrod Bright a.k.a. Vesuvan – the real one, not the Star City Forums impostor-wrote in:

Heya Oscar,

I thought you might be amused that this deck actually works. It’s the”type 2 deck with power cards” that I played at a 5-proxy Type 1 over the weekend… and won with it.

Note that I’m well aware that this build is probably horrible compared to what someone who knows considerably more than me about Type 1 can put together, but it works surprisingly well. Also, the sideboard is a self-admitted pile of random cards I had available at the start of the tournament.

Type 1 Ravager

Disciple of the Vault

4 Arcbound Ravager

4 Frogmite

2 Arcbound Worker

4 Myr Moonvessel

4 Skullclamp

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Demonic Consultation

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Windfall

1 Timetwister

1 Wheel of Fortune

2 Shrapnel Blast

4 Chromatic Sphere

3 Barbed Sextant

1 Candelabra of Tawnos

1 Black Lotus

1 Lotus Petal

1 Mana Vault

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Crypt

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Tolarian Academy

4 Mishra’s Workshop

2 Glimmervoid

2 Vault of Whispers

1 Seat of the Synod

2 Great Furnace



4 Rack and Ruin

4 Fire / Ice

3 Stifle

Well, I certainly hope I have such a”pile of random cards” lying around somewhere in my house!

The core of smaller Arcbounds, however, mated with Type I’s artifact deck mainstays has actually produced a deck that enjoyed moderate successes. For example, Ravager placed second in the March 21 Moers tournament (Oli placed first with”The Deck”):

Ravager, Andreas Klaes, Second Place, Moers, March 21, 2004

Creatures (25)

4 Arcbound Worker

4 Arcbound Ravager

4 Arcbound Crusher

3 Myr Retriever

4 Disciple of the Vault

3 Goblin Welder

3 Genesis Chamber

Others (11)

4 Skullclamp

1 Memory Jar

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Tinker

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Fastbond

Mana (24)

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mana Crypt

1 Sol Ring

4 Glimmervoid

1 Tolarian Academy

4 Mishra’s Workshop

4 Mishra’s Factory

3 Volcanic Island

Sideboard (15)

3 Dismantling Blow

2 Goblin Replica

3 Ground Seal

3 Masticore

1 Platinum Angel

3 Shattering Pulse

It’s an interesting new match to play against if you haven’t yet. Helping me out today is a United States-based Filipino who requested that he be named only as”Rebel.”

Head to Head: Ravager

12:14:50 – — Rebel says: ”I am ready.”

12:14:50 – — Rakso says: ”Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”

12:14:53 – Rakso drew 7 cards.

12:14:55 – Rebel drew 7 cards.

I’ve preserved the Apprentice log format so that readers who want to can pick out the minute details down to which lands were tapped for mana. I was informed, though, that Star City’s autoformat loses the line breaks in my columns.

Turn 1

Rebel opens with Mishra’s Workshop, Arcbound Worker, and then Arcbound Ravager.

Reminds you of Dark RitualSarcomancySarcomancyCarnophage, doesn’t it? Two years ago, I referred to JP Meyer Stacker 2 (see”Head to Head: Stacker 2“) as Sligh on steroids. Type I Ravager may well be Goblins on steroids, since it’s vaguely a Stacker-esque deck that cuts a few mana sources for more but smaller permanents.

Rakso goes Polluted Delta-go, and is glad Rebel didn’t open with an annoying Genesis Chamber.

Turn 2

Rebel attacks for two and brings me to eighteen, then plays Mishra’s Factory and a second Worker.

Compared to contemporary Stacker builds, Ravager feels like a slower opponent, and you get the impression it’s less explosive. However, that’s five power on the board already, and it’s harder to remove.

The Arcbound subtheme even adds resilience against specialized mass removal like the Pyroclasms I always kept on hand against Manila Goblin players. Not only can Ravager redistribute counters to mitigate it, a Mishra’s Factory can also activate itself and catch them.

At the end of Rebel’s turn, Rakso goes down to seventeen and fetches a Tundra, then Brainstorms.

During his upkeep, he Mystical Tutors up Ancestral Recall, then plays a Mox Sapphire, casts Ancestral, lays Library of Alexandria, draws a card off it, then lays Mox Jet.

That should help keep up with Rebel’s underused Workshop.

Turn 3

Rebel plays Volcanic Island and activates the Factory with it. Four men are tapped and Rakso goes down to twelve.

Rakso plays a Tundra, draws a card off Library, then plays Mox Ruby. He plays Time Walk then Demonic Tutor, thinking hard. There’s no Moat in the deck, after all, and Humility wouldn’t really help.

He untaps, draws another card off Library, then plays a Flooded Strand. It turns into Underground Sea and he goes down to eleven. He ends the turn by tapping out for…

Exalted Angel!

Well, this is a feature about Type II cards mysteriously turning up in Type I, after all.

I noted in my last”The Deck” (see”The Control Player’s Bible, Part IV.3“) history recap that it first turned up in a number of German sideboards. By the time I finished with my final exams a couple of weeks ago, players from Oli Daems to Steve O'Connell a.k.a. Zherbus told me they had it maindecked already. Oli heartily recommended it, noting how it single-handedly defeated Madness with its flying, life gain, and five-toughness. (I think Carl Winter talked a bit about this creature while I was busy studying.)

I tried a couple of Angels in former Isochron slots based on their feedback, and it’s actually more flexible than it first appears. The Abyss, for example, was annoying in that it was dead against creatureless decks, so some people tried Masticore as an Abyss that attacked. Angel lends a similar feel, upping the threat count so you can win games faster. However, it can be played with spare colorless mana, and Mana Draining it doesn’t give mana to the opponent.

So here’s the game where I appreciated my new White stopgap, the one I had to up the White mana count for.

Turn 4

Rebel plays Volcanic Island and activates the Factory with it. Four men are tapped and Rakso goes down to twelve.

Rebel plays Mox Emerald, then sacrifices both Workers to turn Ravager into a 5/5. I go down to six, and he plays Myr Retriever.

I draw an extra card off Library, then attack to bring me back up to ten, and bring him down to sixteen.

I play a Wasteland and Waste his Factory before he plays tricks with the counters, then Mind Twist away the two Disciples of the Vault in his hand.

At the end of my turn, Rebel sacrifices the Retriever to bring a Worker back to his hand.

Turn 5

Rebel taps the Workshop and plays the Worker, which gets Mana Drained. He then plays his topdecked second Ravager, which gets Force of Willed (pitching Mana Drain).

The 6/6 Ravager brings me down to three, but the game is over thanks to the new Moat. A Skeletal Scrying and Cunning Wish later, a Swords to Plowshares hits the Ravager left without friends to play counter games with. For good measure, a Wasteland kills the Workshop.

A couple of turns later, Rebel plays a topdecked Arcbound Worker. I reveal hand of two Mana Drains and Yawgmoth’s Will.

Another example

Ravager is pretty much a weenie aggro deck built to run Skullclamps, and the key remains to not let his early tempo overtake you. With less real bombs, you can overwhelm him with brokenness, at the very least, if you just survive long enough.

Here’s a game where this just didn’t happen.

Turn 1

Rakso opens with Underground Sea, Mox Jet, and Mox Ruby.

Rebel plays Glimmervoid and then Goblin Welder, trying to bait a Force of Will. None comes, and note that Welder is far less integral to this deck than it is to more powerful Workshop-based ones.

Rebel then follows up with Mox Jet, Mox Emerald, and Genesis Chamber, and Rakso winces.

It’ll be a few turns before I can Wish for a Disenchant or Rack and Ruin, by which time the Chamber’s handful of 1/1s will have made themselves felt.

Turn 2

Rakso plays Polluted Delta, Mox Jet, and Mox Ruby.

Rebel plays Disciple and Worker, and doubles their power with two free Myr from the Chamber. He then taps Glimmervoid and plays Skullclamp.

The Welder attacks for one as an afterthought.

Rakso turns the Delta into a Tundra. At the end of the turn, he casts Cunning Wish, then taps Sea to cast the Vampiric Tutor, going down to sixteen.

Honestly, this was one of my first games against Ravager and I wasn’t sure what to fetch, since you can’t handle the creatures and the Genesis Chamber / Skullclamp combo at the same time.

Turn 3

Rakso taps the Sea and Tundra and casts the tutored Balance. After Rebel loses his creatures and Rakso discards a Force of Will, a Wasteland takes care of Glimmervoid. Rakso is at thirteen, a parting shot from the Disciple.

Incidentally, you’d think that you can punish him for using Glimmervoid by clearing away his creatures then playing Gorilla Shaman. It’s very effective when it happens, but it’s a lot harder to do than you think. By the time you get to Glimmervoid, he lost the game already anyway.

Rebel recovers with a Myr Retriever, and another free Myr token.

Turn 4

Rakso plays Time Walk, but plays only a Mox Pearl in the extra turn.

Rebel attacks with the two Myr, then Clamps both to draw four cards and break out of the stall. A Worker returns to his hand.

Turn 5

Rakso draw a card, casts Brainstorm in his first main phase, and still can’t find anything. Note, though, that spending some time and mana to use Skullclamp gives the opponent a little breathing room.

Rebel plays Mox Pearl, Arcbound Ravager, and the Worker, and gets two more free Myr.

Turn 6

Rakso does nothing on his turn.

Rebel plays Mishra’s Workshop, attacks with the four 1/1s, and has enough mana to Clamp the Myr then play more threats with the Workshop.

Rakso flips over his next card, another land.

A last demonstration

My opinion after several games is that Ravager is less powerful than more familiar Workshop-based or Welder-based archetypes. For example, Workshop is the mana source that blends the first three rungs on the mana curve into the one-drop bracket, and using cheaper spells underutilizes it until you get Skullclamp going. The Welder tricks are similarly less scary. Moreover, Skullclamp is a less powerful draw engine than Survival of the Fittest or Bazaar of Baghdad.

Especially if you have stronger anti-aggro measures like Isochron Scepter or the Angel, you can get the time you need to develop, or buy a little more by using spot removal on the dangerous creatures while ignoring the 1/1s. Unlike the trend I noted in”The Death of Aggro“, Ravager has no disruption, and at present, I don’t think adding tricks like Tangle Wire will push it past the alternatives. Moreover, even the old Goblin creature base around Goblin Piledriver, Siege-Gang Commander, and Goblin Lackey has more early punch.

For now, though, it’s the novel aggro deck of the moment, and the new set of creature abilities can be fun to play with or against, as Jarrod noted.

Turn 1

Rakso mulligans and plays Volcanic Island.

Rebel plays Glimmervoid, Mox Sapphire, Disciple of the Vault, and then Arcbound Worker.

Rakso casts Mystical Tutor at the end of the turn.

Turn 2

Rakso plays the tutored Ancestral and then plays Polluted Delta.

Rebel attacks with the two 1/1s, then plays Myr Retriever.

Turn 3

Rakso turns the Delta into Underground Sea, plays Volcanic Island and Mox Ruby, then Mind Twists for three. He snags Fastbond, Myr Retriever, and Arcbound Crusher.

Rebel attacks with the three 1/1s, bringing Rakso down to 14.

Turn 4

Rakso plays Brainstorm in his main phase, then Mox Pearl and Gorilla Shaman. Rebel’s Mox Sapphire gets munched, though Rakso takes one from the Disciple.

Rebel attacks with the three 1/1s again, bringing Rakso down to ten. He adds Factory to his weenie army.

Turn 5

Rakso plays a face-down creature, obviously the Angel.

Note that with the Food Chain Goblins displacing Sligh and with very few decks playing burn, Angel just gets easier to play.

Rebel says go.

Turn 6

Rakso plays Island.

Rebel plays Genesis Chamber, but Rakso hard casts Force of Will.

Turn 7

Rakso takes his draw and says go.

Rebel activates the Factory and attacks, but it gets fried by Fire. Rakso takes another hit from the Disciple.

Turn 8

Rakso says go.

Rebel attacks with only the Retriever, which is blocked. Rakso takes another hit from the Disciple and Rebel gets Mox Sapphire back, though the Monkey eagerly waits for it.

He casts a second Disciple, which gets Mana Drained.

Turn 9

Rakso takes the mana and makes four Wilkinson Warrior 1/1s with Decree of Justice. He plays the Tundra drawn off it.

Rebel plays the Mox Sapphire and a Retriever. The Sapphire gets munched end of turn.

Amusingly enough, that Disciple got a lot of mileage.

Turn 10

Rakso plays Flooded Strand and attacks with the Morph and four Soldiers. Rebel blocks the Morph with the Retriever, and he turns the Angel face up.

This is game, as Rebel has nothing that can save him. A desperation Skullclamp later gets munched, and his last-ditch Goblin Welder is Forced. The Angel cleans up in short order.

Well, I hope you and Jarrod enjoyed this week’s installment. Pardon me if this is abrupt, but I just looked at the clock, and I have to rush. There’s this curious invite-only event called the”FHM 100 Sexiest Women Party” I need to check out, at the insistence of a childhood playmate. She left law school to work for FHM Philippines’ publisher, and absolutely insists I’d enjoy the experience.

Hey, I have no idea what makes this one different, but I’ll take her word for it.

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

rakso on #BDChat on EFNet

Paragon 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