You CAN Play Type I #31: Tormented by Torment, Part II – Instants

Sweet relief at last, a card from Torment may actually make its way into The Deck!

I just came home from watching The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. Thing is, I watched the Filipino version. The introduction featured actresses repeating the word”vagina” again and again in the various dialects of the Philippines. Remember, the country is an archipelago of over 7,100 islands, so you can imagine that took a while.

Now that’s a different Friday night, especially since I was with a bunch of female law students with strong feminist tendencies!

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?

Oops… Forgot One Card…

Chainer’s Edict



Torment uncommon

Target player sacrifices a creature. Flashback 5BB (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

Flavor text: The pits have their own form of mercy.

I was in a bit of a rush last column and inadvertently left this out. The first thought that enters your mind is:

Diabolic Edict



Tempest common

Target player sacrifices a creature.

This is pretty much a Rule #1, and it’s an important call because Diabolic Edict is a key black anti-creature spell in Type I. So should we trade instant speed for a shot at a whopping seven-mana flashback payment?

(And is Chainer a better villain than Volrath?)

For many black decks, playing Edict on your turn isn’t an issue most of the time. On the other hand, most won’t have the mana to bother with a seven-mana flashback. Suicide Black or Pox definitely won’t. Probably the only archetype you could test it in is NetherVoid, and even then you’d have to think of what to take out.

On the other side of it, though, I listed Diabolic Edict as a staple in”The Deck.” There, I think the flexibility is very important. Against aggro, waiting till the last minute has advantages, such as responding to a Rancor or Ball Lightning. Against control, Edict can start counter wars at the end of his turn.

Sometimes, though, you just play Edict in the main phase, so the instant isn’t always that important. The flashback, on the other hand, may actually be useful in the late game, either as that last solution you play after the counter war depletes both hands or to bring back an Edict used on an earlier problem creature like Gorilla Shaman or Ophidian.

It won’t always matter, but I think I can do better with the flexibility in the early game, and get back Diabolic Edict or Balance using Regrowth or Yawgmoth’s Will later on.

Of course, there are those who think you shouldn’t bother with either – such as…

—– Original Message —–

From:”Brian Weissman”

To:”Oscar Tan

Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 3:11 PM

Subject: Re: Hate Mail

> I’ve now replaced all my main deck and sideboard red cards with every possible version of Diabolic Edict.

> Weissman: (Spreading a hand of two land, 2 Diabolic edict and 3 Chainer’s Edict)”Grins”

I’m not going to hear the end of the reply to the teasing criticism from the Control Player’s Bible, but I guess he can get away with it for now since I just got”Brian” in the mail.

“Brian” is the new Morphling sitting in my real life deck, and it’s a laugh riot because it has Brian’s signature on the bottom and a balloon in the middle that reads,”Good game dude.” Can’t wait to report the first kill, and I hope it isn’t killed by a Chainer’s Edict!

Tormented by Torment: Instants




Torment rare

Until end of turn, if target player would draw a card, instead that player skips that draw and you draw a card.

Flavor text:”Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

Now here’s something that looks cute. Think we can abuse it?

What makes Plagiarize cute is the”double” swing in card advantage if it hits a big card drawer like Ancestral Recall or Stroke of Genius. The biggest problem, though, is that a lot of decks don’t play big card drawers. Against non-control decks, you just draw two cards for four mana, which is weak. And even against control, you still have to catch the right moment and have four mana open.

Since Plagiarize doesn’t hit Fact or Fiction, too, there’s no reason to play this over Misdirection, which also creates double swings in card advantage and more.

Plagiarize looks better in combo decks, since it’s devastating with something like Timetwister or Wheel of Fortune. That’s seven mana, but it works with something like the obscure Winds of Change for only five. These and related cards, incidentally, are parts of combo decks based around Underworld Dreams or Chains of Mephistopheles.

Does this sound competitive? I don’t think so.

Does this sound fun? Hell, yes!

Insidious Dreams



Torment rare

As an additional cost to play Insidious Dreams, discard X cards from your hand. Search your library for X cards. Then shuffle your library and put those cards on top of it in any order.

Flavor text:”Chainer dreams of ultimate knowledge.”

I remember this because it was the first Torment card I got into a discussion on. Darren di Battista, a.k.a. Azhrei, IMed me, berated me for misreading the card text twice, then we discussed how good a tutor it was.

First off, I felt it wasn’t a”super tutor” because it put the cards all on top of the library instead of your hand, which extreme card disadvantage. You can minimize that, though, by putting a card drawer on top, like Ancestral Recall.

Second, though, it’ll be a while before you can afford both the four mana and the discard – and remember, you discard even if Insidious Dreams gets countered. In a control deck, I can’t see how useful this will be once you get around to it, and don’t think you can just chuck extra land because it does take some time to build mana.

Obviously, I first looked at it from a control deck perspective, and aggro decks are usually too redundant to care about card disadvantage tutors.

The last possibility is, of course, combo.

There, I imagine you could use this as a one-stop card that sets up the entire combo, especially in decks that can use the discard (like Pande-Burst) or has something like Squee (like Pande-Burst running on Bazaar/Squee).

Didn’t test it, though, to prove it’s just an awkward card there. I emailed a few guys, and Christian Flaaten, a.k.a. CF, replied,”No. Had the cc been B or 1B it would have been playable, but I still don’t know if I would have actually used it in PandeBurst.” On the other hand, Ray Mitchell, a.k.a. Razor, replied he traded for Dreams, thinks it’s balanced and is testing it and Careful Study.

(The funny thing is that Matt D’Avanzo emailed me right before I sent this draft to Ferrett.

(His first e-mail read:”Whoa…

(“I didn’t see this one when I glanced over the spoiler. I don’t know if it’s good (4cc is a little much), but it looks interesting as hell and a multiple D.T. is obviously a powerful effect.  Maybe in PandeBurst.  Do any of those decks still run Squees?

(“…All I can say about the card is that I think it’s pretty nifty and is worth testing in some decks.  It might be very good in type II with Phyrexian Arena fueling it.”

(Then he sent his second email seconds after:

(It read:”OH F***….I read it wrong. It puts the card on top of your library.  F*** THIS. This card is a piece of s***… Diabolic Tutor would almost be strictly better.  ASS.”

(Why is that funny?

(Because that was exactly my first reaction, right down to misreading the card!)

Obsessive Search



Torment common

Draw a card. Madness U (You may play this card for its madness cost at the time you discard it from your hand.)

Flavor text:”The question strained his sanity. The answer snapped it in half.”

I thought some people might get ideas about using this as some kind of wonderful deck-thinning device that provides built-in defense against discard.

I don’t think so. If you’re talking about deck thinning and discard, Disrupt is way better. I emailed John Ormerod and he added so is Brainstorm. Probably in Extended, too. Heck, the venerable Whispers of the Muse is still better as a cantrip.

Some people think this is the best grease for a discard/madness engine, and they usually say Compulsion. I don’t think the effect is strong enough to warrant the trouble of finding room, though, and these engines eat up a number of slots already.

Cabal Ritual



Torment common

Add BBB to your mana pool. Threshold – Instead add BBBBB to your mana pool. (You have threshold if seven or more cards are in your graveyard.)

Flavor text:”Each syllable chills your veins. Each word rattles your mind.”-Cabal Patriarch”

Just to be sure, I’ll take the time to say this isn’t worth it. Obviously, without Threshold, this is nothing compared to Dark Ritual or even Culling the Weak.

Now, I actually saw some guy write that this should be banned because it makes certain combos too powerful, without saying which. I can’t see how you build a combo engine that hits threshold before it actually sets up, though. I mean, you usually need your big mana boosts to set up. And, adding other cards to hit threshold before going into your engine is absurd.

False Memories



Torment rare

Put the top seven cards of your library into your graveyard. At end of turn, remove seven cards in your graveyard from the game.

Flavor text:”My enemies will forget everything but their anguish.”-Ambassador Laquatus

No, I don’t see this forming the engine of some hot new deck – but it is cute. I figured, for casual, you might get a kick out of some recursion, though. Remember the rules trick of casting this after the opponent’s”at end of turn” and getting the cards for one whole turn, and that you don’t have to remove the same seven cards”milled” by False Memories.

The obvious idea is to set up reanimation or cards that return to play. This is something that can fire imagination, though. I got suggestions for Living Death, Twilight’s Call and Replenish on Beyond Dominia. Heck, Onur Tugcu (from Turkey) a.k.a. TSPRT on Beyond Dominia, posted a decklist that tried to abuse Planar Birth.

You might find some fun here, don’t you think?

Fiery Temper



Torment common

Fiery Temper deals 3 damage to target creature or player. Madness R (You may play this card for its madness cost at the time you discard it from your hand.)

Sonic Seizure



Torment common

As an additional cost to play Sonic Seizure, discard a card at random from your hand. Sonic Seizure deals 3 damage to target creature or player.

Lightning Bolt



Beta common

Lightning Bolt deals 3 damage to target creature or player.

Yes, this is my usual snipe at the latest in Lightning Bolt knockoffs (for the benefit of people who post decklists for”Type I burn decks” that have just Invasion cards or later). Nothing to see here, move along now…

Alter Reality



Torment rare

Change the text of target permanent or spell by replacing all instances of one color word with another. (This effect doesn’t end at end of turn.) Flashback 1U (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)

This (and not Radiate) is actually my”cute instant” of choice for Torment. I enjoyed goofing off with Ward of Lights in White Weenie back during Mirage, and I found Tom Chanpheng’s winning deck cute. You might remember the deck”Sleight Knight,” which used knights with protection and this card:

Sleight of Mind



Beta rare

Change the text of target spell or permanent by replacing all instances of one color word with another. (For example, you may change”target black spell” to”target blue spell.”) (This effect doesn’t end at end of turn.)

Sleight kept getting rehashed and rehashed, growing stronger each time. Alter Reality and Mirage’s Mind Bend are two of the cutest so far (and Mind Bend had funny plays from Choke to fetch lands). Aside from the knights, Alter Reality affects a lot of other things, like Douse:




Urza’s Saga uncommon

1U: Counter target red spell

Again, nothing fancy here, but it’s something you might want to have fun with.

Tormented by Torment: Land

Tainted Isle


Torment uncommon

Tap: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. Tap: Add U or B to your mana pool. Play this ability only if you control a swamp.

Tainted Isle has something similar to what I call the”Reflecting Pool problem.”

Reflecting Pool


Tempest rare

Tap: Add to your mana pool one mana of any type that a land you control could produce.

Reflecting Pool is bad because five-color decks usually need off-colored mana just one at a time, and Reflecting Pool can only give you the second. That’s not much of a problem if you’re playing a lot of black and have a lot of swamps, though.

The second part of my Reflecting Pool problem is that getting two in the opening hand is extremely annoying. Obviously, that’s an annoyance with Tainted lands.

So, I don’t think these can replace the venerable painlands as Underground Sea’s partner in black decks with splashes.

Cabal Coffers


Torment rare

2, Tap: Add B to your mana pool for each swamp you control.

Flavor text:”Deep within the Cabal’s vault, the Mirari pulsed like a dead sun-and its darkness radiated across Otaria.”

Let’s assume you’re playing mono black with plain vanilla Swamps. You only break even with Coffers on the fourth land drop, meaning it’s useful beginning with the fifth.

By that time, don’t you think you’d have played out your hand already? I seriously doubt there’s a black deck out there that has a use for a lot of mana that can’t be used early.

So, don’t compare this to the early boost from one of my favorite land cards ever:

Lake of the Dead


Alliances rare

If Lake of the Dead would come into play, sacrifice a swamp instead. If you do, put Lake of the Dead into play. If you don’t put it into its owner’s graveyard. Tap: Add B to your mana pool. Tap, Sacrifice a swamp: Add BBBB to your mana pool.

Well, that wraps Torment up. They do say the first and third expansions are usually the interesting ones (the first due to size and the third due to power). Check in with me next week, though I’m not sure what I’ll be doing. I may go back to the Control Player’s Bible, but I might suffer interruptions because summer vacation is around the corner here in Manila, meaning we have these pesky things called final exams…

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)