You CAN Play Type I #41 (Unless You’re Geordie Tait): Stop Hyping The Wishes!

Don’t believe the hype! Everyone and his mom are telling you how Judgment’s Wishes will break Type One in – but if you look closely, you’ll see that what you have to give up might not be worth the wish…

(This has been prepared well in advance. As you read it, I hope you can spare a little prayer for me since I should be taking the last law exam of my freshman year. My professor seems to have something nasty planned, since we have personalized oral exams.

(You can also say a prayer for the soul of my dead Beyond Dominia, if you like.)

“LAST MINUTE INSERTION: Congratulations to my favorite dinosaur and his padawan for dominating GP Milwaukee!

The Writer’s War: Grand Finale

Vote Oscar –> http://www.ccgprime.com/events/writerwar/poola.html.

(If you want to see the results so far, they’re here; I have to thank you, my readers, since I’ve been doing amazing numbers-wise.)

It’s the last round and I’m up against the chief himself, the defending champion. It’d be interesting to analyze how everything went. For example, neither Rizzo nor myself claim any recent Pro Tour Top 8s. And maybe we both have our little causes.

Me, personally, I’d like to try to win this game to bring a little legitimacy back to Type I in general and to smaller, cozier sites in particular, like the Casual Player’s Alliance and the old Beyond Dominia community.

Face it. You feel annoyed every time #apprentice channel op”Kermit” cracks jokes on how there used to be 16 Type I players in the world, but half recently died of old age.

Receiving little notes like this is the best reason to write:

—– Original Message —–

From: Ron Dollete

To:Oscar Tan‘ <[email protected]>

Sent: Friday, May 10, 2002 1:39 AM

Subject: Control Player’s Bible

I absolutely love all of your Type I articles.  I really can’t get enough.  I especially like all the matchups that you’ve been doing lately (I especially liked the one that pit The Deck vs Stacker 2). 

I don’t play Type I, but I’ve been trying to extend those lessons into Type II, namely patience and card advantage.  I just wanted to say keep up the good work, and I was wondering if you could give me any nuggets of wisdom regarding playing Control in Type II.  I’m not looking for any new blue tech, but I was wondering if you thought that Tog-based decks are the be-all end-all of control in the Standard format.  Thanks again.

 Ron Dollete


“For those of you who are religious– I can feel the hand of God on my shoulder. For those of you who are not religious– I can feel the hand of Destiny on my shoulder.” — Jamie Wakefield

At the very least, I’d love to show the Chief a good fight. If Pojo’s John Hornberg could do 49%, we don’t want to embarrass ourselves by showing less, right?

(But sorry, Ron, I can’t do Type II… I’ve been so out of touch with the Manila Magic scene thanks to law school. I forwarded your message to Chris Flaaten, a friend and fellow Type I player who placed #6 in the Norwegian Nationals with Zevatog.)

Everyone and his Mom has an opinion on Wishes in Type I

I really want to use this Writer’s War game to show that people accept Type I as demanding more imagination than others give it credit for. For example:

“[Rhystic Tutor] is no Demonic Tutor. It never really saw play in any format. Its not horrible, but its not Tier 1. Obviously decent in Type 1, though…”

Pojo writer Fletcher Peatross

If you have nothing else to say, fill the air with a Type I comment?

(I’ve lurked in Type I forums for years, and I have never seen Rhystic Tutor posted, not even in beginners’ worst discard-Megrim decks.)



So today, I’m inviting you to join me in meditating on what”broken” really means, even if you don’t play Type I like Ron.

Summary: Reports of the Wishes’ brokenness have been greatly exaggerated.

Let’s do this by borrowing a few paragraphs from recent articles:

“My assumption then is that Adrian Sullivan and myself advance… myself on the fact that, um, well, I’ve never heard of my opponent and therefore assume many people haven’t either…

“The match between the Biggest Ass In Texas and the Most Vocal Player In The Phillippines should be an interesting one, but I think Fletcher will take the vote handily enough, showing that ‘You Can Play Type One, Part Fifteen’ would have been better off as a joke rather than a chapter in a continuing article series that threatens to just keep continuing. ‘My Fires’ wasn’t funny the first time around, and Oscar isn’t winning any friends here with his serial on Type One.”

Brainburst Premium writer Sean McKeown, shortly before his elimination in the first round of the Writer’s War by Pojo’s John Hornberg

So, about the Wishes… oops, clumsy me. How did that old thing get in here? Wrong quote…

Wish #1: Living Wish (for land)

“Don’t even get me starter on what this sucker can do in the most broken of formats, Type One! In short, Living Wish is the absolute nuts!”

Star City contributor [author name="Geordie Tait"]Geordie Tait[/author]

Deep in the bowels of the earth, in a subterranean chamber whose darkness is broken only by dim torchlight, an imposing figure stares down at a shackled figure from his throne, ready to pass judgment.

“Is this the punk who said Living Wish is the absolute nuts?” he asks.

“Yeah, boss,” replies the Juzam Djinn behind him.”He also said he could bend you over his knee, and wrote some crazy track and field story where he shot someone in the nuts and had a sniper finish him off.”

“Is this another of those posers who thinks Type I is all about the first-turn kills again?”

“Looks like it, boss. Can I have his nuts for lunch?”

From behind the shadows cast by the flickering torchlight, grotesque horrors cry out with blood lust:

“Nuts! Nuts! Nuts!”

Living Wish



Judgment rare

Choose a creature or land card you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Living Wish from the game.

Flavor text: He wished for growth, but not for a way to control it.

Okay, Geordie, hold it right there.

You didn’t tell us just why Living Wish is broken.

(Geordie holds it, all right. Just take a look at Juzam Djinn’s art.)

Interlude: Little clarificatory insert

Please keep in mind that I’m working with two possible assumptions here:

  • Some (or all) Wishes will get restricted in Type I.

  • Wishes will not get restricted in Type I.

Eric“Danger” Taylor told me they’ll be restricted out of habit, and I’m hoping they won’t be, especially for the sake of Type I.5. But, I can’t be 100% sure, so bear with me and hope I caught EDT on a bad day.

Now, when I talk about fetching restricted cards, I’m automatically assuming nothing will be restricted. But when I talk about fetching hosers or utility cards, it doesn’t make a big difference if you’re limited to just one per deck.

Got it?

Now back to Geordie.

Library of Alexandria: Broken?

The only concrete theory advanced so far came from MagictheGathering.com’s Ben Bleiweiss. He thought he could play Library of Alexandria and Tolarian Academy in his sideboard, and have four virtual copies maindeck.

Let’s take Library first.

Library of Alexandria


Arabian Nights uncommon

Tap: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool. Tap: Draw a card. Play this ability only if you have exactly seven cards in your hand. (Restricted in May 1994)

Since aggro doesn’t get much mileage off Library, let’s talk about control. And since we’re talking about a green card in blue-based decks, let’s talk about”The Deck” and”redux” variants.

When you play”The Deck,” you normally have four tutors (Mystical, Demonic, Vampiric and Merchant Scroll). What do you normally go for?

First choice by a landslide: Ancestral Recall.

Second choices: The Abyss, Mind Twist, Balance, and Yawgmoth’s Will, plus Morphling in the end game.

Library isn’t on the list?

First of all, it’s amazing in your opening hand… But you don’t always have seven cards later on. You usually wait a bit before it gets active, and Vampiric Tutor for Library is especially annoying. Second, if Library is uncounterable card advantage, then Wasteland is uncounterable land destruction.

I just don’t go out of my way to fetch Library, simply put. Note that no control deck has ever run Crop Rotation to get Library.

Crop Rotation



Urza’s Legacy common

As an additional cost to play Crop Rotation, sacrifice a land. Search your library for a land card and put that land into play. Then shuffle your library. (Restricted October 1999)

Also, if I do Wasteland the Library he Wishes for, what do the other three do? Dead cards are a built-in weakness of control decks; no need to make it worse.

Tolarian Academy: Broken?

“But I’m a TYPE I PLAYERRRRRR!!!” Geordie begs for his life.

Juzam frowns.

“This guy took ‘The Deck’ to a tournament – and lost to mono blue!

Muffled gasps echo in the chamber, and even the most dim-witted Kobolds are taken aback.

“AAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhh…” Geordie cries as he is unceremoniously thrown into The Abyss. Juzam gags and spits his nuts in after him.

The other restricted land in Type I is Tolarian Academy. Even after its restriction, it was the star player of the most broken combo deck ever created.

Tolarian Academy

Legendary Land

Urza’s Saga

Tap: Add U to your mana pool for each artifact you control. (Restricted January 1999)

Academy isn’t quite an aggro card. In control, it’s just an Island on steroids, and you’d rather have tutors for the Mind Twists and Yawgmoth’s Wills Academy can fuel.

That leaves the combo decks:

Neo-Academy, Matt D’Avanzo, April 2002

Mana (28)

1 Tolarian Academy

4 Gemstone Mine

4 City of Brass

2 Undiscovered Paradise

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Emerald

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Diamond

1 Lotus Petal

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Crypt

1 Grim Monolith

1 Mana Vault

4 Helm of Awakening

1 Fastbond

Combo (4)

1 Mind over Matter

1 Capsize

2 Candelabra of Tawnos

Card drawing and manipulation (11)

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Timetwister

1 Time Spiral

1 Wheel of Fortune

1 Windfall

1 Braingeyser

1 Stroke of Genius

4 Meditate

Manipulation and utility (11)

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Crop Rotation

1 Regrowth

4 Impulse

1 Frantic Search

1 Time Walk

Defense (6)

2 Abeyance

4 Force of Will

(For the unfamiliar: This deck uses Tolarian Academy and Mind Over Matter or CapsizeCandelabra of Tawnos to create infinite mana, then cast a one-million point Stroke of Genius or Braingeyser at the opponent.)

Neo-Academy uses Crop Rotation as a fourth tutor, so will it love Living Wish?

Academy itself isn’t that high up on the tutoring list. It has to be carefully timed, lest it fall to a Wasteland before it’s used. Once played, Academy usually gives the explosive mana boost that starts the infinite mana combo, but the combo player has to get other things in hand first. All that mana is going nowhere without draw cards. With enough draw cards, if they really have to, Academy players can go off with Mind Over Matter and Mana Vault or Grim Monolith – instead of Academy.

From the opponent’s point of view, I can stop an Academy deck from going off (without touching Academy itself) by letting him get mana but countering the first draw cards, then searching for Gorilla Shaman when he stalls. That makes Academy useless even if it stays on the board.

Also note that if you add four Living Wish, your original tutors now fetch Wish instead of Academy. Vampiric Tutor for Living Wish for Academy doesn’t sound appealing, does it? On top of that, what’ll you remove to fit in tutors that only fetch Academy?

If you count, you already have four direct ways to get Tolarian Academy: Demonic, Vampiric, Crop Rotation and Academy itself. With four Living Wish, you get… Four ways.

And again, you won’t be playing four Academies. You’re still playing one and you’re not going to topdeck another when the first bites the dust. Since Living Wish is narrower than the existing tutors, it has to fetch more than Academy to earn its slots.

If Living Wish in Crop Rotation mode doesn’t bring these two over the top, it’s certainly less exciting when used with other dangerous lands like Bazaar of Baghdad and Mishra’s Workshop. And no, it doesn’t work with Strip Mine.

Sorry, Geordie. Write when you hit bottom…

Wish #1: Living Wish (for creatures)

“Of all the Wishes, I’m firmly convinced that this one, the green wish, is easily the most powerful… Will Living Wish eventually be restricted or banned?” – MagictheGathering.com writer Ben Bleiweiss

“Bring in the next culprit!” The thunderous command reverberates in the halls.

A stream of mist materializes into a hideous Sengir Vampire. Straightening out his new hairpiece, he throws the figure wrapped in his cape to the floor.

“Boss,” it whispers.”We can’t touch this guy. He’s a real Type I player.”

“What makes you say that?”

“He’s an even older dinosaur than EDT.”

Muffled gasps again fill the chamber.

The figure rises and dusts himself off, his eyes adjusting to the eerie darkness.

“Fear me.”

Maniacal laughter fills the room, but it abruptly ceases when he speaks again…

Mark Rosewater is in the next cubicle, and if I’m not out of here in ten seconds, I’ll call him and tell him to unrestrict Necro and Fact or Fiction-“

As soon as the words are uttered, a ray of light shines from the heavens and penetrates into the cave. A Serra Angel in a dress two sizes too small flies down and puts an arm around Ben.

(Sorry, Ben… I just love your contemporary Eric“Danger” Taylor’s new AIM icon. It’s an animation of a dinosaur that ends with the words,”Hats are yummy.“)

Of all the Living Wish theories I’ve read so far, Ben’s made the most sense.

But, for completely different reasons.

(Ben described Living Wish as a mix of Ring of Ma’ruf, Crop Rotation and Eladamri’s Call, but focused on Crop Rotation.)

What are the most powerful hosers in Type I? They’re permanents, like enchantments and artifacts. Unfortunately, the white Wish costs five mana, so forget it.

What’s next? The only other permanents are the creatures, and between Gorilla Shaman, Morphling, Masticore, Dwarven Miner and maybe Rootwater Thief and Viashino Heretic, you can find something to hose any given Type I deck.

This was the topic of the first Wish-related conversation I had with Neutral Ground’s Matt D’Avanzo. You can replace the second Morphling with Living Wish, and pull out Masticore or Dwarven Miner against a lot of decks. Because the second Morph is there mainly in case the first becomes Force fodder, and because Dwarven Miner is a staple sideboard anyway, you don’t radically alter your spell mix.

Unfortunately, there are three major problems with this tutoring plan.

Use my deck as an example and try to fit Living Wish in.

(Ricardo Recchia from Brazil e-mailed to remind me it disappeared from all the recent columns… Sorry.)

“The Deck,” April 2002

Blue (18)

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Merchant Scroll

4 Mana Drain

4 Force of Will

1 Misdirection

1 Stroke of Genius

1 Braingeyser

1 Fact or Fiction

2 Morphling

Black (6)

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Mind Twist

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Diabolic Edict

1 The Abyss

White (3)

1 Balance

1 Swords to Plowshares

1 Dismantling Blow

Red (2)

1 Gorilla Shaman

1 Fire/Ice

Green (2)

1 Sylvan Library

1 Regrowth

Artifact (1)

1 Zuran Orb

Mana (28)

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Jet

1 Mox Pearl

1 Mox Ruby

1 Mox Emerald

1 Sol Ring

1 Strip Mine

4 Wasteland

1 Library of Alexandria

4 City of Brass

1 Undiscovered Paradise

4 Underground Sea

3 Volcanic Island

3 Tundra

Sideboard (15)

4 Red Elemental Blast

1 Scrying Glass

1 Blue Elemental Blast

1 Swords to Plowshares

2 Circle of Protection: Red

1 Pyroclasm

2 Powder Keg

1 Ensnaring Bridge

1 Aura Fracture

1 Moat

Problem #1

The first stopped me from even testing the idea: Mana. I discussed that”The Deck” has a primary color (blue), a secondary color (black) and two tertiary colors (white and red). Living Wish is something you’d want to cast early… But it’s in the off-color.

There’s simply no way to fix the mana problem. You could run green over red, but that removes Miner from the equation and makes the Wish useless. You could remove white, but you wreck your sideboard, and Masticore won’t compensate for the loss of Circle of Protection: Red and Swords to Plowshares.

Finally, if you force green, you get the Type I equivalent of a 6/6/6 land distribution and look really, really dumb.

Even if your Wish strategy doesn’t eat up too many sideboard slots, you board the hoser for the Wish in Games 2 and 3. You no longer need to Wish, but you’re still stuck with a screwed-up mana base.

Problem #2

Tutoring eats up time, and you want to play your hosers early. Dwarven Miner, for example, can wreck multicolored Type I decks, but your opponent has some breathing room after the first few turns. Even Masticore isn’t that perfect a solution; against Stompy, you can end up tapping out for it, blocking, and getting a Giant Growth in your face.

One proposal was to sideboard Gorilla Shaman and just fetch it with Wish, because it’s dead weight in matchups like Suicide Black, Stompy, and mono blue. My reply was,”So you want me to go Mystical for Living Wish for Shaman when it counts?”

Again, Living Wish is a nice tutor twist, but control decks already have four solid ones, and aren’t going out of their way for another.

Problem #3: The third problem is subtle.

The Wishes are tutors that bring in the hate in Game 1, right? Darren Di Battista, a.k.a. Azhrei, playtested Living Wish, and he reported an incredibly simple but crucial detail:

Your opponent still has all his maindeck creaturekill in Game 1.

15:40:38 – It is now turn 3.

15:40:39 – Geordie draws a card.

15:40:40 – Geordie plays Living Wish.

15:40:46 – Geordie plays Dwarven Miner.

15:40:51 – It is now turn 4.

15:40:53 – UncommonKnowledge draws a card.

15:40:54 – UncommonKnowledge plays The Abyss.

15:40:57 – Geordie says,’Huh?’

15:41:00 – UncommonKnowledge says,’It’s still Game 1.’

15:41:01 – Geordie says,’This is the absolute nuts!’

How funny would you look?

Note that Darren’s discovery is even more obvious if you try Living Wish with combo transformational sideboards: The entire point of siding Phyrexian Negator or Call of the Herd is to take advantage of the opponent siding out creaturekill!

So artifacts and enchantments are off-limits, and creatures are the easiest permanents to kill. The”permanent hoser” category isn’t looking hot.


So far, we’ve seen Living Wish as:

  • A tutor for a restricted card

  • A tutor for a hoser

Neither is broken.

Living Wish will probably end up contributing to existing decks in the way it was meant to. Certainly, I’d love to play someone goofing off with a 5-color RecSur deck, or even Oath (was that Aboshan they used in Nice?).

Again, I hope Type I.5 players get to tinker with this one.

Wish #2: Burning Wish

“The Wishes are all kind of extraneous cards for Type II, because Wizards ruled that you can only get the cards from your sideboard.  Some of them, such as Living Wish, might see play as a way to get such things as Spellbane Centaur, but other than that, there is really no need.”

Pojo writer John Hornberg

A Serendib Efreet floats in, carrying another hapless victim.

“I didn’t mean to challenge Star City dominance in the Writer’s War! Honeeeessssttttt!” he screams.

Slap! Slap! Slap!

“We’re here to talk about Wishes in Type I!”

“I only wrote one article in the last three months and it was on 5-Color!!!”


Two Elvish Rangers go up to John and the one with the good art dusts him off.

“Um… Do me a favor. If that guy is going to carry me back out, can you use the Revised version? He looks like he’s going to bite my head off.”

The tacky white-bordered card is finally found and John is flown back home with the Elvish Ranger in tow. After he leaves, the Goblin Spy who screwed up is thrown into The Abyss after Geordie.

Of course, creatureless decks (and boarding out some creaturekill) are a much bigger issue in Type I, so Living Wish for hosers may face different issues in Type II.

But does the argument about”extraneous cards” apply to the rest? Next, we have to look at sorceries, the second weakest set of hosers.

Burning Wish



Judgment rare

Choose a sorcery you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Burning Wish from the game.

This was the second part of my first Wish conversation, and Matt was salivating while fantasizing about Perish in Game 1 against evil, evil Stompy.

Problem is, that was all we could fantasize about.

Sure, there are a lot of aggro hosers from Perish to Pyroclasm, but we came up empty when we looked for control and combo hosers. My best shot was Drain Power and Matt’s was Persecute:

Drain Power



Beta rare

Target player plays a mana ability of each land he or she controls, then empties his or her mana pool. Add mana to your mana pool equal to the type and amount emptied from that player’s mana pool this way.




Urza’s Saga rare

Choose a color. Target player reveals his or her hand and discards all cards of the chosen color from it.

Uh… Tech?

May as well just maindeck Moat or another Swords if you can only fetch designer aggro hate.

But what about Wishing for restricted cards, the other function?

Obviously, yanking Mind Twist, Yawgmoth’s Will, Braingeyser and Balance, for four Burning Wishes is moronic.

Now you might think about combo. However, we go back to their problems with the original tutors.

That aside, Burning Wish does not unrestrict combo sorceries.

Say you Wish for a Timetwister or Braingeyser, and you get it through. Then what? You don’t have three more in your library to continue the explosive turn, unlike, say, unrestricted Time Spiral in the first Academy builds. (Burning Wish does let you recycle Time Spiral, because Wishes fetch removed-from-game cards – but if you can get those Spirals through, you probably won with the first one anyway. Otherwise, you yanked existing cards for narrower Wishes and weakened the other tutors.)

Compare a potential 2002 Academy deck with four Burning Wishes, for example, to a pre-restriction version:

Academy, Tommi Hovi, Champion, Pro Tour Rome November 1998 (Extended)

Spells (26)

3 Abeyance

3 Power Sink

3 Intuition

3 Mind over Matter

4 Windfall

4 Stroke of Genius

4 Time Spiral

2 Scroll Rack


Mana (34)

3 City of Brass

4 Ancient Tomb

4 Volcanic Island

4 Tolarian Academy

4 Tundra

4 Mox Diamond

4 Mana Vault

4 Lotus Petal

3 Voltaic Key

Sideboard (15)

2 Red Elemental Blast

4 Chill

4 Wasteland

1 Arcane Denial

4 Gorilla Shaman

That was only the Extended version (which was Type II, except for Volcanic Island), but you can see it was very different.

Looking at the rest of the restricted list, the only really abusive sorcery is Doomsday:




Weatherlight rare

Search your library and graveyard for five cards and remove the rest from the game. Put the chosen cards on top of your library in any order. You lose half your life, rounded up.

This was restricted because it set up an old infinite mana combo with Black Lotus, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Timetwister, Regrowth and an X-spell like Braingeyser.

Now, Doomsday was a card some friends once hyped as a prank on the Beyond Dominia community. We sent various people scrambling to test the”new broken combo” – an innocent-seeming comment I made even made some people think Obstinate Familiar had to be maindecked in Sligh – but ended up with egg on our faces after we were angrily confronted by our victims.

Can Burning Wish break this? I can say from humiliating experience we haven’t done it with the existing tutors.

And other than Doomsday, well, you could always go retro with ChannelKaervek’s Torch abuse…




Beta uncommon

Until end of turn, any tmie you could play a mana ability you may pay 1 life. If you do, add one colorless mana to your mana pool. (Restricted in March 1994, banned in November 1995, unbanned and restricted in October 2000.)

Finally, Burning Wish gives you the bonus ability to recycle Yawgmoth’s Will or a Braingeyser or Timetwister pitched to Force of Will. This seems marginal. For example, while you might use a Yawgmoth’s Will early just to recycle a land and a Swords to Plowshares, but you might blow the cheap power cards in your graveyard off the first Will anyway.

The only person in the Beyond Dominia community who’s slipping in Burning Wish so far is Shane Stoots, developer of the Funker multicolored aggro deck. He needs the utility against faster aggro decks (Pyroclasm for Sligh, Perish for Stompy) and some others (Anarchy for mono white Deck Parfait).

What’s Funker, you ask? Next week, I promise.

(It was supposed to be today, but we had technical problems. My apologies.)

Wish #3: Cunning Wish

“Make no mistake, this card is the real deal. It used to be that we had to include ‘silver bullet’ hate cards in our main decks if we wanted to tutor for them… The cost? A few more mana, and some flexibility, but there are plenty of instants to get.”

Sideboard Online writer Ben Rubin

“Uh, yeah, that’s nice. However, what instants could we fetch? Extra counter-magic comes to mind, removal, things like that. You could essentially turn 2U into whatever you needed at the time. Could really become disgusting at the 6cc+ as you could fetch just about any sort of answer you need in the current format. It’s like what I always wanted Spite/Malice to be… But Spite/Malice was too expensive.”

Star City contributor David Bruce

Yet another cowering figure is brought into the room, this time by a pair of scowling Kird Apes.

“I didn’t do it! I never said Type I was about boring first-turn kills!”

Slap! Slap! Slap!

“I love Kird Apes, I use Land Grant in my Sligh deck to play theeeemmmmm!!!”

When Bruce finally stops ranting, the figure rises from the throne.

“Bruce, you’re a freaking genius, you know that?”

Meanwhile, an Erhnam Djinn carries Ben to the edge of The Abyss. It flexes its muscles and raises its arms.

Ben cries something about the glue factory and green a retread while blue gets a card that turns into a triple Deep Analysis.

Sure enough, Ernie is gang-tackled by a couple of Elephant tokens and some Saprolings, and Ben makes his escape.

Sigh. Erhnam isn’t leaving the retirement home in Hammerheim anytime soon, despite his Beatdown makeover.

Moving on to Cunning Wish, I can’t say it better than the Bruce.

We can’t use Cunning Wish to fetch restricted cards, since we’d be idiots to sideboard Ancestral Recall and Fact or Fiction. We also can’t fetch hosers since we have a very limited selection, mostly one-for-one cards like Elemental Blasts except for Mana Short. (You could fetch Boil…)

Instants just aren’t the most powerful spell class; they’re designed to be the most flexible.

Now, what if we try to use Cunning Wish for flexibility in control, and use it as a placeholder for that second Swords to Plowshares or Disenchant, or even Teferi’s Response? You can even get fancy and have Volcanic Geyser to finish and Mana Short to force plays. JP”Polluted” Meyer would also test Whispers of the Muse against control, as a Jayemdae Tome that doesn’t give Mana Drain mana.

But take it from Bruce: Spite/Malice?

The flexibility does have possibilities, since my existing sideboard already has Red and Blue Elemental Blast and Swords to Plowshares. These are godsends while stabilizing, and I can fetch the right one with spare end-of-turn mana. I can even fetch Cunning Wish with Merchant Scroll if I really need to. Also, later on, Cunning Wish gets an Ancestral Recall burned off Yawgmoth’s Will or a Fact or Fiction or Stroke of Genius pitched to Force.

And at worst, it’s still another blue card (to throw to Force of Will).

My problem is simply that it might end up too clunky a tutor. Also, what would you remove? You could remove a situational one-of like Dismantling Blow, but it would be very awkward if you had to Merchant Scroll for Cunning Wish for Dismantling Blow when you need it.

JP”Polluted” Meyer thinks the flexibility is worth it, and you expect Cunning Wish to work like Merchant Scroll and not Demonic Tutor. I might try it, but, so far, I’m afraid I might be replacing a strong card with Spite/Malice.

(If we backtrack and try the”placeholder” angle with the other Wishes, JP is proposing Burning Wish. He’d stick Overmaster, Chainer’s Edict, Timetwister, and maybe even Kaervek’s Torch, plus maybe Matt’s Perish. That looks far more awkward than Cunning Wish, since I’d have to start changing the sideboard more radically, so I’d personally try the blue Wish first.

(But, in any case, Burning Wish for Obliterate still doesn’t sound strong.)

Wishes #4 and #5

Golden Wish



Judgment rare

Choose an artifact or enchantment you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Golden Wish from the game.

Flavor text: She wished for nobility, but not for a nation to honor it.

Death Wish



Judgment rare

Choose a card you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. You lose half your life, rounded up. Remove Death Wish from the game.

Flavor text: He wished for power, but not for the longvity to abuse it.

Our Wish possibilities are shaping up as:

  • Tutor for a restricted card

  • Tutor for a hoser

  • Tutor for utility

Looking at the last two Wishes, we can dismiss the hoser and utility possibilities outright. Golden Wish comes too late. Death Wish will leave a control deck too vulnerable to aggro, since no cheap hoser is powerful enough to compensate. Against control and combo, hosers are less important, and a three-mana sorcery with double black is too steep for utility (Vindicate is very awkward in control, for example).

Going to restricted cards, none of the existing combo decks need clunky tutor cards that fight with the old tutors.

If you really wanted to try it, you’d start with an old deck based on a single broken card – obviously, Necropotence and Yawgmoth’s Bargain are out of the question. But you still have a few that act as engines with just one copy like Memory Jar (maybe with Goblin Welder), Dream Halls, and Grim Monolith (with Power Artifact). Then, you’d milk the Wish by putting other things in the board, aside from the combo engine.

Remember this museum piece?

TurboZvi, Zvi Mowshowitz, April 1998 (Type II), from original Usenet post

9 Island

4 Crystal Vein

4 Svyelunite Temple

4 Ancient Tomb

4 Lotus Petal

4 Dream Halls

4 Intuition

4 Meditate

4 Sift

4 Ancestral Memories

4 Mana Severance

4 Memory Lapse

1 Counterspell

1 Impulse

1 Lobotomy

1 Inspiration

3 Gaea’s Blessing


4 Adarkar Wastes

4 Abeyance

4 Hydroblast

1 Dismiss

1 Inspiration

1 Lobotomy

But again, no one has been successful with a restricted engine greased by Demonic, Vampiric and Enlightened Tutor.

A last way of looking at it is the roundabout combo of Burning Wish for Demonic Tutor.

Demonic Tutor



Beta uncommon

Search your library for a card and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library. (Restricted in March 1994)

Goofing off and testing my theory, I tried to recreate the classic Necrodeck, one of the most powerful decks of Magic history:




Ice Age rare

Skip your draw step. If you would discard a card from your hand, remove that card from the game instead. Pay 1 life: Remove the top card of your library from the game face down. At the end of your turn, put that card into your hand. (Restricted in October 2000)

I tried a test build with Chris Flaaten from Norway, and we weren’t happy with it. You usually needed three turns to get Necro out, so you’d go for Necro only after you had nothing left in hand. It was a lot slower than the original Necrodecks with Demonic Consultation -a one-mana instant that put Necro straight into your hand – and it wasn’t a dramatic improvement over faster conventional black decks that can have three ways to get Necro (Demonic and Vampiric Tutor, plus Necro itself). With Burning Wish, you have four.

(But you added a color for Burning Wish, so you have to be fair and assume you added Enlightened Tutor to the”conventional” build. That’s four, not three.)

The obvious suggestion is to stick in all the fast mana and recreate the even more broken Necro-esque decks like Trix (Illusions of Grandeur-Donate) and Bargain (Yawgmoth’s Bargain). We can, but we’re still spending one card and four mana to fetch a card.


Diabolic Tutor



Odyssey uncommon

Search your library for a card and put that card into your hand. Then shuffle your library.

Not using this in combo decks, are we? And Diabolic Tutor doesn’t compete with the existing tutors, unlike Burning Wish.

Our gut feel? Far, far from absolute nuts.

Interlude: The wonders of the Internet

The speed of the Internet grapevine never ceases to amaze me. I entered #bdchat last May 6 and found myself in the middle of a rules discussion, on the Worldgorger DragonAnimate Dead tech from Brainburst regular Andrew Levine. A couple of hours later, Level IV judge Rune Horvik – from Norway – caught me and told me not to make assumptions about the text of Judgment cards I hadn’t seen yet.

So just a few hours later, I was telling the #bdchat regulars to expect errata, and a budding killer deck was killed in less than a day. (Rune also pointed out that Wormfang Crab can cause an infinite loop by its lonesome. Anyway, I had fun with e-group moderator Greg Smith, who asked,”Is a two-card infinite mana combo for two mana good in Type I?”)

Now this was going on while I was doing research for the Philippine Congress. Basically, they imported some elements of the German electoral system into Philippine law, and I was convinced they botched it – except I couldn’t find info on the Net about the German laws. I was thinking,”If I only knew someone from Germany…”

Funny thing was, I did. Kai Budde was kind enough to give me a crash course on voting in Germany, and the link to the English pages of the German Parliament’s site. He may yet save my country from laws that defy common sense.

As if that’s not striking enough, I also got to correspond with a couple more Germans. Oliver Daems and Benjamin Rott, who invited me to check out the Type I forum they moderate, Die Zusammenkunft (“The Gathering). I had fun posting there and you might too.

But there’s a catch:

It’s all in German.

(I got by after Oliver taught my Oriental tongue – er, fingers – how to say”Me no speak German!” But imagine how I registered an account…)

The”extras” of international Magic conversations are really a wonder, from all of the above to Brian Weissman describing his fiancée to former Beyond Dominia moderator Matti Nuortio describing cell phone preferences in Finland. Seriously, I wonder how our children are going to experience this wired world they’ll be born in…

Wishes: Bottom line

I think the Wishes could work as handy tutors in some decks, but it’ll take creativity and refining. I mentioned Cunning Wish as a placeholder in”The Deck” and Burning Wish to fill holes in flexible aggro decks like The Funker.

In many other decks, though, having to redo your spells and possibly your mana – plus your sideboard – will offset the flexibility you gain. Angela Mau, a.k.a. Mako Satou, the old Beyond Dominia’s female control player, is the most vocal about this, and thinks the entire idea of weakening Games 2 and 3 for a slight improvement in Game 1 is stupid.

Still, the less intuitive”Wishes as utility” angle seems the most promising. Things might also work differently in different metagames or with new cards, so keep an eye out.

As for restricted cards, I think R&D smoked better crack this time. Again, Wishes don’t get along well with the old tutors, and it’s far less awkward to Wish for cards that you wouldn’t maindeck – the original spirit of the cycle.

Bottom line: I think they’re cute, but not broken. If they end up restricted, it’s because cheap tutor ability in general is restricted in Type I. In any case, they add a new layer of imagination to deckbuilding.

Again, I hope the Type I.5 people get to play with this mechanic.

If you’re trading for Wishes at the Prerelease, you better know exactly what you want to do, since there’s nothing more wasteful than a Type I player going for hot Type II rares at hot Type II prices. For example, I’d love to make a cute red/green that could Burning Wish for Channel plus several other laughs like Obliterate, but I wouldn’t lose my shirt on it. It’d be fun to play in casual groups where no one really sideboards – and where I can say,”My house, my rules.”

Anyway, I hope you’ve all practiced for the Prerelease.

Meanwhile, pray that I am pulling Jedi mind tricks on my Civil Law professor, and don’t forget to vote Oscar: http://www.ccgprime.com/events/writerwar/poola.html

Next week: More aggro, the mysterious Funker, and the Casual Player’s Alliance duel request.

Oscar Tan

[email protected]

rakso on #BDChat on EFNet

Manila, Philippines

Forum Administrator, Star City Games (http://www.starcitygames.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi)

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

Author of the Control Player’s Bible (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bdominia/files/ControlBible.zip)

Type I, Extended and Casual Maintainer, Beyond Dominia (http://www.starcitygames.com/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=list&forum=DCForumID89&conf=DCConfID19)

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

PS – Also, thanks to all the writers I threw into the pit for being great sports, especially Geordie. That pesky Canadian… I actually e-mailed him humorous death threats after that ripoff of my articles, but it’s all fun.

But he is still not forgiven for losing to wussy mono blue…

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