Dan Durkee, a.k.a. Cuandoman on Beyond Dominia, sent me a copy of a recent Inquest Gamer “Killer Deck” scanned from the store copy of Arena Games (www.arenagamesonline.com).
Now, you know what to expect from an Inquest “Killer Deck,” but this one was unusually hilarious: It was a Type I deck!
The Inquest Idiocy Quiz, or the Control Player’s Bible midterm exam
I’m going to give you the decklist published in Inquest, and ten quotes from the article to help you along.
Your job: Find forty blatant lies.
The forty may come from outright ridiculous card selections (which includes cards that should have been there), or extreme lies or misrepresentations in the article itself. And I don’t mean things that can be justified somehow or put down to personal taste, like him going down to twenty-seven mana sources by cutting a colorless land.
I mean blatant lies – from bad choices to things no twelve-year old would do.
And, yes. Forty. Four-Zero.
After you go through the article, you can gauge your progress with this chart:
Inquest Idiocy Rating
Can spit on Inquest with Darren Di Battista
Can laugh at Inquest
Immune to Inquest
Inquest staff writer
Ready? Okay, let’s go…
How NOT to play Type I, Steve Frohnhoefer, Inquest Gamer #85, p. 50
Red Spell (1)
1 Kaervek’s Torch
Quotes from the article:
“Control decks. You know ’em; you hate ’em… If you wanna win your local tourney, odds are you’re gonna play one yourself. It’s always been that way, no matter (sic) the format: Brian Weissman’s ‘The Deck’…” (par. 1-2)
“It relies on a recursion mechanism to recycle spells and run its opponent out of resources, winning by decking in many instances. After all, there’s nothing like playing Timetwister… After you’ve used Tormod’s Crypt to zot your opponent’s graveyard.” (par. 9)
“Wasteland or Strip Mine should, in most cases, only be used to eliminate an opposing Tolarian Academy, Library of Alexandria, or creature-land like Mishra’s Factory. You’re not going to keep your opponent mana-screwed, so don’t bother.” (par. 12)
“There’s a reason why this was worth $25 back when Ice Age was Standard-legal… Used properly, Jester’s Cap can force an instant scoop… In a mirror match, always take Tormod’s Crypt and your opponent’s Cap as two of your choices. The third slot should nuke a game-winner, like Kaervek’s Torch, Stroke of Genius, or one Gaea’s Blessing.” (sidebar, par.1, main article par. 13)
“No deck running red should be without a handful of Gorilla Shamans, better known as ‘Mox Monkey’ for its mass destruction of zero-cost artifacts. Yes, it dies to The Abyss and will most likely get Plowshared by your opponent, but it’s a must-have.” (par. 15)
“…Type I offers almost unlimited sideboard options. Here’s a well-rounded sideboard for a deck like this one… Depending on the popular decktypes in your area, you can go with Spiritual Focus to nullify discard, Mana Short to screw with blue, Compost versus Necropotence or Circle of Protection: Red against Sligh. You can’t go wrong with additional Wastelands, Disenchants, Swords to Plowshares or even an extra Moat, if space permits.” (par. 14, 16)
“Lastly, be sure to include one or two killer creatures like Morphling (in the sideboard). Most players will side out their creature elimination for games two and three against you. Use this to your advantage.” (par. 17)
“Sligh, Stompy and Suicide Black aren’t just Extended forces… Nothing like the old switcharoo (Mirror Universe) to restore some order…” (sidebar, par. 3)
STOP! Remember, this is an exercise, so stop right here and get your answers ready. You don’t want to get your Inquest Idiocy Score by cheating, would you?
Blatant lie #1: 61 cards
Count them; 61 cards.
No credible deckbuilder would make that mistake.
How did this happen? Was it really a mistake?
Compare Steve’s list to the old, old list from Darren Di Battista, a.k.a. Azhrei. That list only had 59 cards because it was missing one card – a Time Walk. However, back in 1999, Darren didn’t own a Black Lotus and a Mox Emerald. The list didn’t have that last Mox, either.
61 cards. Hmm.
Blatant lie #2:”If you wanna win your local tourney, odds are you’re gonna play one yourself. It’s always been that way, no matter (sic) the format.”
These are words normally heard from a beginning player who thinks a deck with thirty-six counterspells is invincible.
Just to show you how ridiculous the introduction is:
1996 World Champion: Tom Chanpheng, White Weenie
1997 World Champion: Jakub Slemr, 4-Color Black
1998 World Champion: Brian Selden, RecSur
1999 World Champion: Kai Budde, Wildfire
2000 World Champion: Jon Finkel, Tinker
2001 World Champion: Tom Van de Logt, R/B aggro
None of these are the counter-based control decks Steve had in mind. He was probably exaggerating in the intro – but it was a misinformed, lousy exaggeration.
It also sets the tone for the entire article.
Part I: Blatant lies about the blue spells
Blatant lie #3: 2 Force of Will
I don’t know what Steve is smoking, but if Force of Will is important in Extended, it’s even more important in faster Type I, especially since combo decks are still alive here unlike in Extended.
Four Force of Will is set in stone since you need them to stay alive in the early game, and card disadvantage is better than losing. If Steve added two more to his pile, he’d have four Forces and sixteen blue spells, which is very manageable.
Blatant lie #4: 2 Counterspell
Our clueless friend Steve implies Brian Weissman is the inspiration for his deck, and it shows. The two Counterspell, two Force of Will, four Mana Drain configuration was indeed used by Brian… In 1996, not in 2002.
No one considered it optimal, especially when the Academy then Trix combo mania hit Type I that year.
Looking at the anemic counter base before and after boarding, Steve is going to get creamed by any decent control player.
Incidentally, the rest of the article gives the impression that”The Deck” is all about the silver bullets, and Steve’s mindset shows in the anti-aggro bent of his build and the construction of the sideboard. Remember, silver bullets are just one part of it…
Blatant lie #5:”FOW doesn’t let you cast and use a third-turn Jester’s Cap or fuel a seven-card Braingeyser in the early game, does it?”
This proves that Steve has neither held a Mana Drain in his life.
Do you honestly think most Type I decks have a lot of juicy Mana Drain targets? A seven-card Geyser costs nine mana, and the only realistic way to get it so early is with artifact mana and after Draining an opponent’s Force of Will in an early counter war.
Blatant lie #6: (missing) Fact or Fiction
Fact or Fiction is an amazing card drawer, but you can’t say it replaces Ancestral (and again, some of us used Ancestral plus four Fact or Fiction a year ago, which makes me wonder which planet this guy came from).
It’s irreplaceable – and if you don’t have it, the entire deck changes.
It doesn’t do any of that at five mana.
Blatant lie #9: (missing) Merchant Scroll
I’m not ready to say that Merchant Scroll is a staple that shouldn’t ever be removed. In his deck, though, he obviously needs it – and not just because of the usual”it fetches Ancestral” reason.
His sideboard has one-of”silver bullet” cards like Compost and Spiritual Focus, and he needs the help of the Scroll-Mystical-Demonic tutor chain. It’s not that obvious since he can go up to four Swords, two Moat, and one Abyss against aggro – though I think he can use it against these as well.
Against control, the Scroll also fetches his lone Mana Short, which is pretty much all he has for the Game 2 counter wars.
Part II: Blatant lies about the black spells
Blatant lie #10: (missing) Yawgmoth’s Broken Will
Borrowing that [author name="Kai Budde"]Kai Budde[/author] quote on some guy Edward Paltzik, a.k.a. Legend:”Lol Rakso. Where do those people live? It must be a lot farther away from the real world than Antarctica :(“
And don’t think Gaea’s Blessing and Yawgmoth’s Will don’t work – because Oath players use both. Cards that don’t work with Will such as counters and more expensive card drawers work great with recursion.
Beyond Dominia soon learned the right strategy.
What am I supposed to do? Pray he doesn’t have Disenchants and flyers and burn and…
Even if I had Jayemdae Tome on the table, this’d still be a moronic deal because I wouldn’t have the mana to defend myself.
Not only is Steve completely unfamiliar with budget Type I, he doesn’t know squat about Extended, either. No, wait… Didn’t he hint he knew what Oath of Druids was in paragraph 14?
At least Island Sanctuary was original…
Part III: Blatant lies about the white spells
Blatant lie #12: Two Disenchant
Exactly what kind of Disenchant targets does a control deck fear in 2002? Black Vise is restricted and rare these days. Jayemdae Tome isn’t popular, either. Disenchant is often dead, and even if you count things like Cursed Scroll, Null Rod and Back to Basics, they can’t justify passing up Dismantling Blow.
And even then, running two has to be justified somehow.
Blatant lie #13: Sideboard: 1 Disenchant
I don’t board in Disenchants against enchantment-heavy opponents like Parfait or artifact-heavy ones like Stacker 2. You generally board in cards with broader effects.
Part IV: Blatant lies about the other spells
Blatant lie #14: 2 Gaea’s Blessing
He’s using these without Oath of Druids, and emphasizing recursion. If you want to win later, you have to stay alive now. Recursion is wonderful and all, but it takes some time to kick in, and early games against aggressive decks in Type I are savage.
There are so many other cards you can use that Blessings are farther down in the line to the 60th slot cutoff.
Yawgmoth’s Will works now.
Blatant lie #15: 1 Kaervek’s Torch
Steve implies that Torch, Jester’s Cap and Tormod’s Crypt are his win conditions. Unless the other guy used Sylvan Library, Mana Draining a ten-mana spell for a winning Torch is pure fantasy. Relying on Mirror Universe and Torch is slow and awkward.
Torch is actually a spinoff from the Fireballs originally used to combat Necropotence way back in 1996. Brian Weissman still uses the hardly-used Fireball because he doesn’t like Mikey Pustilnik’s Sylvan Library, but he also uses a Morphling as the primary win condition.
And in any case, at least a Fireball helps clean up 2/1s early when Steve gets his mysterious nine mana by turn 3 – quite unlike Torch.
Part V: Blatant lies about the artifacts
You’re using a four-mana artifact over Morphling… And it only works against combo and control decks. Even then, it’s not a complete solution because a crucial card might already be in the opponent’s hand. Further, very few decks have less than four ways to win. I posted an old log once where”Invincible Counter Troll (ICT)” Capped me twice and I still won handily.
Blatant lie #17:”There’s a reason why this was worth $25 back when Ice Age was Standard-legal…”
Misleading or clueless?
Blatant lie #18:”In a mirror match, always take Tormod’s Crypt and your opponent’s Cap as two of your choices. The third slot should nuke a game-winner, like Kaervek’s Torch, Stroke of Genius, or one Gaea’s Blessing.”
In a realistic mirror match, assuming you can Cap with the anemic control elements in Steve’s pile, the best you can hope for is that he has the minimum number of damage sources, and remove both Morphlings and one Gorilla Shaman. But you invest a lot into forcing Cap, and he can still reasonably win with just Stroke of Genius and Braingeyser.
If he has a second Shaman or Mishra’s Factory, or he has a Morphling in hand already, he can still win by protecting a damage source on the table. Killing with just Gorilla Shaman is easy if you’ve taken control.
Blatant lie #19: 1 Mirror Universe
Mirror was maindecked when, under Fifth Edition rules, you could switch life at zero life, and win with just Mirror and mana burn.
It doesn’t work under Sixth Edition rules, so why force yourself to use it and Torch when Morphling exists? Mirror was killed by the Sixth Edition rules that were tested in the March 1999 Barcelona Invitational and first implemented with Urza’s Destiny.
(Thanks to JP”Polluted” Meyer for double-checking the rough dates. See, Steve, a gentleman credits people who help him…)
Blatant lie #20:”Sligh, Stompy, and Suicide Black aren’t just Extended forces… Nothing like the old switcharoo (Mirror Universe) to restore some order…”
Sligh, Stompy, and Suicide Black are still big in Extended? Doesn’t Inquest carry tournament news…
Anyway, I’d really like to know how a six-mana artifact consistently saves you from quick beatdown. Either Steve has no idea how fast – and disruptive – Type I aggro can be, or he really believes he can regularly get nine mana on turn 3 with Mana Drains.
And flaunting a colorful vocabulary only worked for Flores.
That’s nice, but not better than the many other possible cards, and it’d only be good in the main deck if half my local store played Replenish-based decks.
Blatant lie #22:”It relies on a recursion mechanism to recycle spells and run its opponent out of resources, winning by decking in many instances. After all, there’s nothing like playing Timetwister… after you’ve used Tormod’s Crypt to zot your opponent’s graveyard.”
Again, recursion was big in 1996, but it’s now 2002. And even then, Tormod’s Crypt was in an ancient sideboard from Brian Weissman and a fun card in the old Beyond Dominia”Franchise.”
I’ve played with Crypt in casual builds with no board – and while it’s fun, you don’t kill with Twist/Crypt that often. Timetwister has to be timed right, since you give the other guy a free seven cards; never mind that they’re limited to whatever was left in his library. He can still take control, and a redundant aggro deck gains a second wind.
And the kill is too slow against too many decks. Decking itself is a last-ditch – not”many instances” – option in Type I. It’s become harder and harder to maintain complete control of a game the way Type II Winter Orb decks could in 1996. Lose control for a moment after maintaining it for twenty straight turns, and you lose.
Finally, you don’t have six hours per match in a tournament.
But at least “zot” was original…
Part VI: Blatant lies about the sideboard
Blatant lie #23:”…Type I offers almost unlimited sideboard options. Here’s a well-rounded ‘board for a deck like this one…”
Count the cards. It has a glut of anti-aggro cards, hardly anything against control and aggro-control, and nothing but Cap against combo, which is too slow.
Few sane”The Deck” players go without Red Elemental Blasts. They’ve been set in stone since 1995, and you’ve seen Pyroblasts in so many Extended decks. Some don’t because they don’t run red in Type I control, like some in Neutral Ground who use Duress instead – but Steve had two Shamans, so that’s not his excuse.
Also note that without REBs, Steve has nothing but Mana Short against mono-blue and similar control decks.
Blatant lie #25: Sideboard: 1 Wasteland
Never in the history of Magic has a control player ever done this.
And any Type I control player who wants to hose nonbasics has to know about:
2R, Tap: Destroy target nonbasic land.
Blatant lie #26: Sideboard: 2 Gorilla Shaman
Dwarven Miner is the more effective mana denial sideboard. Though Brian Weissman is the ardent supporter of boarding in two Shamans, he goes up to four Shamans, two Miners, a Strip Mine and four Wastelands. Steve can’t pull the same land destruction option.
Boarding in just Shaman isn’t unjustifiable, of course – but note that Steve doesn’t have anything else against control, and Shamans won’t do anything on their own.
And Steve only has four Cities of Brass and a Mox Ruby, so he can’t expect to play Shaman early. The idea of mana denial is to hit the opponent’s mana before he can cast anything…
Blatant lie #27:”No deck running red should be without a handful of Gorilla Shamans, better known as”Mox Monkey” for its mass destruction of zero-cost artifacts. Yes, it dies to The Abyss and will most likely get Plowshared by your opponent, but it’s a must-have.”
This shows that Steve has never used a”The Deck” sideboard in his life.
In what universe do you keep The Abyss in the mirror? (Remember, he had Shamans only in his sideboard.)
And if I kept Swords, it’d only be because I really feared and anticipated Dwarven Miner. Even then, I have the more flexible Fire and a Blue Elemental Blast to hedge against that. Anyway, if he played Shaman and had enough mana to respond to my Swords by killing all my Moxen anyway, why would I bother? (Yes, unless I was that low on life, or I topdecked all my remaining Moxen.)
In this deck, though, it achieves little.
This is Steve’s only real anti-control sideboard aside from a ridiculous Wasteland and uncastable Shamans. Mana Short is for starting counter wars during your opponent’s turn so you out-mana him in yours, but Mana Short doesn’t force threats through on its own.
Again – where are the Red Elemental Blasts, which have been there since 1995?
Blatant lie #29: Sideboard: 1 Compost
When Necropotence was still the most dangerous opponent a control deck could face,”The Deck” players with a green element had no less than two and usually three. That’s still true today, against Suicide Black.
Yet discard hits hardest in the first three turns.
IT WAS RESTRICTED A LONG TIME AGO, YOU IDIOT!!!
There are only eight discard spells in a black deck, and Focus will probably get played after they do. Sure, Focus might keep Hypnotic Specter at bay, but Compost affects almost every non-land spell in a discard deck. And as for Hippie, the pile is at least capable of going up to one Balance, four Swords to Plowshares, two Moats and an Abyss.
Blatant lie #33: Sideboard: 1 Sacred Ground
I’d really love to see Steve’s metagame.
The only credible Type I land destruction deck is NetherVoid, and possibly Pox. Both are already hosed by Compost… And hosed better. Against the more common Wastelands and Dwarven Miners, Teferi’s Response is more flexible.
Whenever a spell or ability an opponent controls causes a land to be put into your graveyard from play, return that land to play.
(If a Factory gets Bolted, it takes three damage. Then it dies due to game rules, not the spell.)
Blatant lie #34: Sideboard: 2 Morphlings
This is a wonderful strategy in Extended… For combo decks that needed to side out the combo for a one-card win.
What does it achieve in control? You just end up replacing your win conditions with other win conditions, which is a waste of sideboard space.
My best explanation is that Steve doesn’t know that Morphling can survive in The Abyss by making itself untargetable each turn… But if that was the reason, that’s one of the most basic Type I rules notes. If he doesn’t know that, then…
Blatant lie #35:”Lastly, be sure to include one or two killer creatures like Morphling. Most players will side out their creature elimination for games two and three against you.”
First, good control players will keep some creature control like Fire/Ice (which cycles) because Dwarven Miner and Gorilla Shaman are threats.
Part VII: Blatant lies about the mana base
Blatant lie #37: (missing) Undiscovered Paradise
He really needs this mana fixer, first to help his Composts and his Shamans, and second, to add another white source for the two Moats that cost 2WW. The extra multicolored source would help his nonblue sideboard cards that need to come out early, too.
Blatant lie #38: 2 Wasteland
This is justified by players in less intense stores-like Darren Di Battista in 1999 -where less players have a lot of the power and dual lands. But he’s talking about fully-powered Type I… And there’s no way you can justify less than three against Type I lands that kill you by themselves, starting with Library of Alexandria.
Blatant lie #39:”Wasteland or Strip Mine should, in most cases, only be used to eliminate an opposing Tolarian Academy, Library of Alexandria, or creature-land like Mishra’s Factory. You’re not going to keep your opponent mana-screwed, so don’t bother.”
You can draw enough Wastelands to keep an opponent screwed, especially if Shaman helps.
By Steve’s reasoning, you can play Flare in place of Lightning Bolt, too.
Okay, so what was your Inquest idiocy score?
There’s no excuse for a writer not to know the basics of Type I. Strategy sites like Star City and Neutral Ground (www.neutralground.net), credible forums like Beyond Dominia, European language forums, and mailing lists such as Meridian Magic ([email protected]) all carry sensible Type I content.
There’s no one more pathetic than a writer who doesn’t do his homework.
This Steve Frohnhoefer was paid by a commercial magazine to come up with that garbage? I have every right to call him an idiot, a lazy bum, and a lying scoundrel.
Good grief, did he even know that Necropotence got restricted???
(And did his brainless editor? Ferrett wouldn’t allow anything that sloppy.)
Recently, the Net was filled with violent reactions to Brainburst’s Premium Policy and not wanting to pay good money for Sean McKeown articles. I can’t afford it with Philippine pesos, so I have no opinion… But if people complained about Brainburst, you’d think they’d have launched a boycott of Inquest’s drivel a long time ago.
Brainburst charges $3 a month. Star City asks you to patronize its online store.
So how much do you spend to support Inquest? (At least Brainburst and Star City come up with original material…)
I challenge the editor of Inquest to answer – publicly – for Steve Frohnhoefer’s idiocy. You can email them at [email protected].
Interlude: Writer?s War, Part II
As I write this, I?m on the last leg of my final exams. Heck, our professor pulled a fast one on the class, and one question was taken from a 100-page paper I recently submitted to him. I haven?t been online recently, but I just wanted to thank the various friends for posting messages of support for this Writer?s War. I got messages from fellow writers like Brainburst?s Jarrod Bright, list lurkers like "Bryan" of [email protected], and regulars of European Type I forums like Carl Devos from Belgium and Benjamin Rott from Germany (and thanks, Ben, for sending a translation!).
I even got a few very funny forwards, such as what Freddie Williams II got when Brian Epstein beat him to the punch on the Meridian Magic list:
—– Original Message —–
From: "Rune Horvik"
To:”Freddie Williams II”
Sent: Thursday, April 04, 2002 10:35 PM
Subject: Message not approved: Writers war – PLEASE VOTE!
> Oscar was endorsed on the list yesterday, by Brian Epstein. I voted
> for him, but one is enough. Nothing personal.
> Rune Horvik, Meridian Moderator.
The best part of this job is knowing you?re reaching people and helping them, especially beginners, enjoy the game a bit more. Thanks, guys.
Anyway, I confess I have no idea who the opponent is, but I won?t post the link on every Star City page. Let?s stick with the customary, simple plug here: http://www.ccgprime.com/events/writerwar/poolc.html.
Well, wish me luck in my (still ongoing) final exams, since I drew the last slot for the Commercial Law orals. Also, April 1 isn?t so big in Manila, so I only remembered when I saw various April Fool?s day articles. But drop me a line if you can think of a spoof on Brainburst and two jokers named Jarrod Bright and Zvi Mowshowitz who told me about their hilarious little April Fool?s title. Hey, there?s always next year?
rakso on #BDChat on Newnet
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)