You CAN Play Type I #30: Tormented by Torment, Part II – Enchantments and Sorceries

An extensive analysis of how you won’t be using any of Torment in Type One. But hey, at least Oscar tells you why! (Okay, there’s one. For Parfait. For the mirror match. Maybe.)

Tongue-in-cheek; one thing I like about Torment is that a lot of the cards that I find cute lend themselves to beatdown… So I can clown around without having to spend an hour per game. I posted the list of the erratic but amusing Drunken Sligh deck, and I also mentioned clowning around with Survival of the Fittest and madness.

I began by proving to myself that Arrogant Wurm is, sadly, too slow. Basking Rootwalla, though, is amusing with Survival because it either reminds you of the old Llanowar Sentinel or sets up hilarious blockers. I was thinking about another color and got two sets of suggestions. Darren di Battista, a.k.a. Azhrei, suggested black, which I did want for Duress, and less beatdown. John Ormerod sent me this:

—– Original Message —–

From: Ormerod, John

To: Oscar Tan

Sent: Tuesday, February 19, 2002 12:07 AM

Subject: RE: Funny deck to goof off with Madness

13 Forest

4 Gaea’s Cradle

4 Wasteland

1 Strip Mine

4 Rancor

4 Llanowar Elves

4 Fyndhorn Elves

4 Basking Rootwalla

1 Elvish Lyrist

4 River Boa

4 Survival of the Fittest

4 Uktabi Orangutang

1 Spike Weaver

4 Creeping Mold

2 Deranged Hermit

2 Arrogant Wurm

Probably would be a little better with blue power and a couple of moxes but not much, slight lack of ‘punch’ whatever.

– John

When I feel the need to goof off, I’ll probably toy with Survival/Rootwalla some more.

Anyway, our two rules:

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

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

Tormented by Torment enchantments

My Odyssey review was pretty much on the money, though I think I was too optimistic about Standstill. I said I knew where it didn’t fit in, but didn’t know where it fit in. To date, I still haven’t found a deck where Standstill is better than another counter.

Enchantments tend to be unique, so we go from Rule #1 to Rule #2, which is a bit tougher.




Torment uncommon

1U, Discard a card from your hand: Draw a card. 1U, Sacrifice Compulsion: Draw a card.

People might see this card as a refinement of older ones like Mesmeric Trance (Ice Age), Unfulfilled Dreams (Mirage), Mental Discipline (Urza’s Destiny). This time, I wonder if it’s finally cheap enough to try.

Treasure Trove



Exodus uncommon

2UU: Draw a card.

Obviously, if you can get do something about the discard, you get a Jayemdae Tome or Treasure Trove that costs half, which is pretty good. Intuition/Squee seems like a logical start, and I had fun weeks ago with Zombie (Infestation) Go with Squee and Bazaar of Baghdad, a passably annoying deck.

Mono blue looks like the most logical start for the color because you need a lot of blue to power Compulsion, and the engine might eat up the room for a splash color. Whether you can come up with a build more streamlined than Forbiddian post-Fact or Fiction, though, remains to be seen. If you’re a blue player who’s been annoyed with how Abyss and blockers hose monoblue control again, this might be the thing to try out.

Dawn of the Dead



Torment rare

At the beginning of your upkeep, you lose 1 life. At the beginning of your upkeep, you may return target creature card from your graveyard to play. That creature gains haste until end of turn. Remove it from the game at end of turn.

Sneak Attack



Urza’s Saga rare

Put a creature card from your hand into play. That creature gains haste until end of turn. Sacrifice the creature at end of turn.

I don’t think Dawn of the Dead beats older casual reanimation engines like Recurring Nightmare. It’s a lot more expensive (in terms of black mana, too), and you just get one a turn. You can try it if it reminds you of Corpse Dance (from Tempest), of course.

Anything combo-ish built around Dawn of the Dead will probably resemble something built around Sneak Attack, and the latter is cheaper, is easier to protect with Red Elemental Blast, and isn’t hard on the colored mana. I mean, which block was more broken, anyway?

Even then, I think Sneak Attack is hopeless in Type I because you have to get a four-mana card into play and then worry about getting the creatures into your hand. The moment you find an engine that lets you do this, you find that the engine is stronger than Sneak Attack itself, so you may as well drop it.

Mortal Combat



Torment rare

At the beginning of your upkeep, if twenty or more creature cards are in your graveyard, you win the game.

Flavor Text:”The crowd roared, the fighters bled, and the dead piled high in the pits. Only the Cabal could win.”

I’m not going to bother with Transcendence, since Randy Buehler already talked that to death. Mortal Combat is the other funky enchantment in the set, in this strange new tradition of Battle of Wits and Coalition Victory.

Twenty creatures is no joke, though. My first impulse was to use this to replace the Pebbles (Shield Sphere, Goblin Bombardment, Enduring Renewal, put together with Academy Rector) alternate win in RecSur decks, but it still takes a while to dump all those creatures. For more combo-oriented builds, you can probably try Fluctuator or something built around Wild Hermit.

As fun as this looks, just don’t forget that reserving twenty slots for creatures is a major restriction in any Type I deck. Don’t get your hopes up too high.

Tormented by Torment artifacts

Look, I always try to say something positive about a set, but Torment takes the cake.

I give up. I can’t find a single playable artifact.

You’d think that R&D would have to be hit by a bus before they gave us a set with artifacts this pathetic. You’d think Urza tried to hit on Rosewater’s daughter or something…


Tormented by Torment sorceries

My Odyssey review of sorceries was also right on. Then again, how long can Inquest possibly keep you under their spell and get you to use Traumatize/Haunting Echoes? (Though Justin Sexton wrote to me to get help for two buddies – the last two people in the world holding out: Check out Justin and his Traumatize Marathon. That’s what you get for missing the review…)

Let me give you a hint, though: They named the set”Torment” because of certain rares…




Torment rare

Target player discards two cards at random from his or her hand unless that player has Skullscorch deal 4 damage to him or her.

Flavor text:”‘A good whack on the head usually has the same effect.’-Kamahl, pit fighter”

“The incredible new red Hymn to Tourach,” my ass.

The card really reads:”Deal four damage to that player. He may discard two cards at random from his or her hand to prevent this damage.”

So would you really play this over Flame Rift or some other damage source?

Early in the game, this deals four damage just like Flame Rift because it’s hard to justify losing two cards in hand (the lost cards will probably translate into more damage anyway) that early.

Later in the game, it’ll probably still deal four, but an opponent can throw away excess land or dead cards. And if he’s going down to zero anyway, he may as well discard and hope to topdeck one last card – something a finisher shouldn’t really be letting him do.

Given all the”Skullscorch Sligh” posts I saw on forums outside Beyond Dominia, the name Torment might just be an R&D joke about bad rares and worse trades…

Besides, didn’t Inquest name this the #3 card of Torment? Take the hint…




Torment rare

The next instant or sorcery spell you play this turn can’t be countered by spells or abilities. Draw a card.

Flavor text:”‘Trickery can’t defeat raw power.’-Matoc, lavamancer”

Matoc here has a point, but don’t get tricked into thinking this is raw power.

Cards like Urza’s Rage, Scragnoth, and Obliterate have proven that many beginners get giddy whenever they see”can’t be countered.” No, it doesn’t translate to”Die, Blue mage, die die die!!!”

Sure, wow, your next instant or sorcery goes through! WOW!

Now think about how exciting that really is. So you get to Bolt Suicide’s Negator without him countering? Wow!

The best you can hope for is a Price of Progress against”The Deck” (or maybe Oath) midgame, but that’s one deck and you have better hate available.

Okay, but it cantrips, you say? Never mind if he has no counters because you don’t lose a card? Wow!

Look, even in Limited, they’ll tell you to use good cards over cantrips any day. This is Type I we’re talking about, and red is one of the colors that just can’t afford to lose tempo.

Red Elemental Blast



Beta common

Choose one – Counter target blue spell or destroy target blue permanent.

Bottom line: Would you play a Red Elemental Blast that cantrips but doesn’t protect anti-“The Deck” hosers like Blood Moon and Dwarven Miner and doesn’t hit that pesky first-turn Ancestral Recall and is completely useless against mono blue?

Question: Why call it Torment?

Answer: Trading to build Skullscorch Sligh with maindeck Overmaster!!!




All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn for each swamp you control.

Flavor text:”‘They appreciate my handiwork. I hear their joy in every scream.’-Chainer, dementia master”

Is this a black Wrath of God?

Pretty much.

Is Wrath of God good in Type I?

Not really.

Yes, too many control and combo decks have no creatures anyway, and you could get Moat or Abyss for the same four mana.

But that’s isn’t the entire reason why Mutilate is bad in Type I.

Obviously, Mutilate is good in something with a lot of Swamps. Now, the fast, aggressive mono black decks like Suicide Black obviously don’t want it.

How about slower control decks?

Pox can’t use this because it destroys its own land and has trouble with costs above 3 mana, or it can just play Abyss. NetherVoid would have trouble with this post-Void, and it’s already more comfortable with Powder Kegs that double as artifact mana kill.

It’s going to be tough to build some other control black deck that doesn’t fall apart, especially without the unrestricted tutors that made it possible in some old Type II formats.

Sure, you can use this in some casual control black deck anyway, but even then, you still have to consider Massacre since a lot of casual playgroups have the ubiquitous white weenie that hoses black.

Mind Sludge



Torment uncommon

Target player discards a card from his or her hand for each swamp you control.

Flavor text:”When you get into the swamp, the swamp gets into you.”

Poor man’s Mind Twist?


Picture this in your favorite mono black very carefully.

It’s a Mind Twist that can only be played mid-game (not with Dark Ritual) because you need to drop Swamps. By the time you drop the fourth or fifth, you’ll either have lost control of the game, or raped his hand with Duress, Hymn to Tourach and Hypnotic Specter anyway.

Nostalgic Dreams



Torment rare

As an additional cost to play Nostalgic Dreams, discard X cards from your hand. Return X target cards from your graveyard to your hand. Remove Nostalgic Dreams from the game.

Flavor text:”Seton dreams of life renewed.”

From”The Control Player’s Bible“:

“Well, here’s a sneak preview of my Torment review.

“At first glance, Nostalgic Dreams looks really strong, something on the level of a second Yawgmoth’s Broken Will.

“But it’s card disadvantage, which should send alarms ringing in your head. The double green also means you can’t run this as an off-color card. The mana requirement plus the discard means you can’t use this until midgame or later, which makes the two-mana cost far less relevant. Finally, if it gets countered, you end up Mind Twisting yourself.

“A couple of weeks ago, Suzan Attaway e-mailed me the first good question: ‘Hello, Mr. Tan. I was wondering if you thought about using Nostalgic Dreams instead of Regrowth?’

“Both cost the same, though only Regrowth can be used in an off-color. But, Regrowth has no card disadvantage, and Nostalgic Dreams earns its keep when you recycle maybe three or more cards. If you can hold back that many, you’re probably winning anyway, so I’d say the more efficient Regrowth is still it.

“Now, the second good question is, would you use Nostalgic Dreams in addition to Regrowth and Yawgmoth’s Win?

“Let’s note that Recall is strictly better in ‘The Deck’ because it only needs one colored mana, it pitches to Force of Will, and you don’t discard the cards if Recall is countered. Remember, the casting cost is less relevant because it’s clearly a midgame card, anyway.

“Now, I didn’t even list Recall with the other Sapphires because I had to put it back in the binder to make room for newer, more streamlined cards a long time ago. That implies Nostalgic Dreams won’t be there, either, since a card disadvantage card with conditions just falls short in ‘The Deck.'”

That pretty much says it, but does this mean Nostalgic Dreams is useless?

It still looks like the best of the Dreams. Card disadvantage aside, it’s still a powerful effect for two (green) mana. It might be used differently in aggro decks with a lot of green and a lot of cheap spells. For example, in Zoo (or an evolution without the draw 7 cards), this might get back Ancestral and a couple of Bolts and swing the game.

Then again, it might be another of those cards you can’t find a deck for. I suppressed a chuckle when I asked John Ormerod about Nostalgic Dreams, and the first thing Mr. Trinity said was,”double green :(“.




Torment uncommon

Draw four cards, then choose X cards in your hand and discard the rest from it.

Flavor text:”The ideas came flooding in so fast that they couldn’t all be contained.”

Hmmm… This is blue, it has”X” in the casting cost, and it looks cute. Can we use it?

Well, you’d have to find a fast, aggressive deck that empties its hand and has blue. This doesn’t sound normal for Type I – but note this is splashable. One idea might be to splash it in Zoo, since its original draw cards like Timetwister and Wheel of Fortune are harder to use without Necropotence to fight, and this can help filter.

You might also try this for something that needs Threshold like this Type I Miracle Gro idea, or something that could use a filter card and graveyard-filler like a reanimator or some kind of combo.

I’m just not quite sure if this is more powerful than it can be awkward yet. Maybe not.

Rancid Earth



Torment common

Destroy target land. Threshold – Instead destroy that land and Rancid Earth deals 1 damage to each creature and each player. (You have threshold if seven or more cards are in your graveyard.)

Black’s greatest unrestricted strengths are its disruption cards. Monoblack can disrupt a mana base well enough with just two cards:



Tempest uncommon

Tap: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. Tap, Sacrifice Wasteland: Destroy target nonbasic land. (Strip Mine was restricted in January 1998 with the printing of this card)




Beta common

Destroy target land.

No land destruction spell has matched the murderous efficiency of Sinkhole, and the next best are:




Ice Age uncommon

Destroy target land. If that land is a snow-covered land, Icequake deals 1 damage to the land’s controller.

Rain of Tears



Tempest uncommon

Destroy target land.

Choking Sands



Mirage common

Destroy target nonswamp land. If that land is a nonbasic land, Choking Sands deals 2 damage to the land’s controller.

Clearly, Rancid Earth beats all three hands down (except maybe in the name). You get the same spell, but get a bonus midgame weenie sweep, and it’s the cheap creatures a mana denial deck worries about.

Is there a dedicated Type I mana denial deck, one that needs the next land destruction slots? Some NetherVoid builds use another two land D spells plus Kegs.

A complaint, by the way, might be the inconvenience with Nantuko Shade and Phyrexian Negator. This isn’t a problem early – and later on, you can deal with it (like, pump Shade) or will win anyway.

Cleansing Meditation



Torment uncommon

Destroy all enchantments. Threshold – Instead destroy all enchantments, then return to play all cards in your graveyard destroyed this way. (You have threshold if seven or more cards are in your graveyard.)

Parfait and its son have made mass enchantment kill something to think about again. Still, a lot of decks won’t want the double-white, and something like White Weenie doesn’t really want this, either.

This looks really sexy for the mirror match, though, and reliable sources tell me Raphael Caron aka K-Run, creator of Deck Parfait, is eyeing a couple of foil copies for his sideboard after his heartbreaking loss to the Son of Parfait. Especially against Sterling Groves.

Vengeful Dreams



Torment rare

As an additional cost to play Vengeful Dreams, discard X cards from your hand. Remove X target attacking creatures from the game.

Flavor text:”Teroh dreams of his enemies’ doom.”

We no longer have Necropotence to fuel Firestorm, but you remember that white still has Land Tax. K-Run e-mailed:”What I like about the Dreams is its casting cost. Discarding lands and enchantments doesn’t really matter in Parfait.”

Whether it’s better than some Swords to Plowshares or a Wrath of God slot in Parfait builds remains to be seen, but it probably helps in places with a lot of Sligh and Stompy decks, where you can actually take out three targets (imagine killing one creature with this). Note that White Weenie isn’t really looking for this since its weenies already have good combat abilities, and multicolored control decks won’t like the card disadvantage.

Devastating Dreams



Torment rare

As an additional cost to play Devastating Dreams, discard X cards at random from your hand. Each player sacrifices X lands. Devastating Dreams deals X damage to each creature.

Flavor text:”Kamahl dreams of storms of fire.”

The other dreams aren’t as exciting as Nostalgic, but they may find some use, especially in casual play. For example, Brian Epstein built a fun deck to turn the disadvantages of Devastating Dreams around for his burn/weenie-heavy playgroup:

Strawberry Shortcake, Brian Epstein test build (I.5)

4 Devastating Dreams

4 Earthquake

4 Land Tax

2 Zuran Orb

2 Scroll Rack

4 Soltari Priest

4 Glittering Lynx

4 Mogg Maniac

4 Warrior En-Kor

4 Clergy of the Holy Nimbus

4 Swords to Plowshares

4 Plateau

4 Forge[/author]“]Battlefield [author name="Forge"]Forge[/author]

3 Rith’s Grove

5 Plains

4 Mountain

Remember, my commentary generally takes into account the best build decks and the general environment, but some parts of my assumed metagame may be missing from yours, so you can make certain things work over there.

Parallel Evolution



Torment rare

For each creature token in play, its controller puts a creature token into play that’s a copy of that creature. Flashback 4GGG (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

Imagine this with Thallid themes or even Deranged Hermits! Yes, I doubt this will ever see competitive play, but feel free to fantasize about a couple of Phyrexian Processor activations and the flashback.




Torment rare

Remove all cards in all graveyards from the game.

Flavor text:”‘The spirits of the righteous shall rise into the sky. Even dirtwalkers will fly like aven.’-Major Teroh”

With a lot of discard effects out there that might just be tested with Squee, you might look for a few copies of yet another tempting rare for your board.

Tormod’s Crypt



The Dark uncommon

Tap, Sacrifice Tormod’s Crypt: Remove target player’s graveyard from the game.

Unless everyone also plays Ivory Mask, don’t bother.

Deep Analysis



Torment common

Target player draws two cards. Flashback-1U, Pay 3 life. (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

Flavor text:”The specimen seems to be broken.”

Is this the next Fact or Fiction replacement?

Probably not.

But don’t be that guy who quit around Weatherlight, didn’t see the art of this one, and missed the joke.

Well, that’s it for this week. We have a long weekend here to commemorate the peaceful revolution that overthrew Marcos, so I’m out of this city.

Oscar Tan

[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)