Beyond Dominia. R.I.P. June 25, 2002. Had a good one.
Rules knowledge = Goofy kills
I squeezed a rarer and rarer Apprentice practice last night and went 3-0 against another control deck (he disconnected in the middle of the third, so I didn’t get his name).
One game was extraordinarily hilarious, though.
I was down to one life thanks to Sylvan Library, and he was down to two thanks to a now-dead Morphling. He had two blue sources and a Sol Ring; I had City of Brass and six other land.
He had four cards in hand; I had Fire/Ice, Force of Will, Misdirection, two other blue cards, and three land. He could counter twice at best; I couldn’t cast the Force without losing. And I had to win this turn.
You’d think if he had a pitch counter and any other counter, I’d lose, right?
I won by casting Fire using City of Brass.
City of Brass
Arabian Nights rare
Whenever City of Brass becomes tapped, it deals 1 damage to you. Tap: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.
There’s a reason why I included all those single card strategies in the beginner’s portion of the Control Player’s Bible…
(In case you can’t figure it out, I tapped City of Brass and cast Fire in response to the damage trigger. My opponent Misdirected Fire, pitching Force of Will. I let it resolve and used my own Misdirection. He cast Mana Drain, and I hard-cast Force of Will with the five remaining land. He died right before the City of Brass damage would resolve and kill me.)
The Initial Judgment: Enchantments
Sorry, it’s been a while. Blame server problems and Mark Rosewater for completely disrupting our schedule!
Again, 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?
If creatures are scrutinized under #1, the broader permanent types get the #2 treatment. The forecast on Torment was on point, though I have yet to see a Compulsion-based deck. It has been used to limited effect with Goblin Welder in The Funker, for example. Maybe someone’ll refine the Compulsion-Squee blue/something deck I was tinkering with; I don’t really know.
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Solitary Confinement unless you discard a card. Skip your draw step. You can’t be the target of spells or abilities. Prevent all damage that would be dealt to you.
This caught so many people’s eyes as they read the spoiler. Basically, if you can draw a card each turn and protect Solitary Confinement, you can win by decking. Hmmm… Maybe Genesis or Jayemdae Tome plus Sterling Grove?
But isn’t it just another”win more” card? If you can protect a key permanent and draw an extra card each turn, can’t you just protect something that wins the game? Moreover, Tranquil Domain, Anarchy, and Aura Fracture are not uncommon sideboard cards anyway.
One might argue that it shuts down certain decks with no enchantment removal, such as mono red, mono black and even mono blue. Deck Parfait creator Raphael Caron, a.k.a. K-Run, however, counters that mono-white cards like Story Circle do the same thing, even to mono blue’s Morphlings. He adds that you can just sac it after one turn, but Orim’s Chant and Abeyance do that better.
He said:”While this seems to be the Parfait card, it isn’t.”
Whenever a player discards a card from their hand, you may pay W. If you do, put a 1/1 flying white Spirit token into play.
Another white card from the white set. It should remind you of Type I white’s most prominent kill and anti-Morphling card:
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice Sacred Mesa unless you sacrifice a Pegasus. 1W: Put a 1/1 white Wild Pegasus creature token with flying into play.
Looking at Deck Parfait, Raphael commented:”This is probably the most interesting card of the set for Parfait… Can this replace Sacred Mesa? I don’t think so, as you lose the ability to create a creature instantly (unless you start running Peace of Mind). But it’s worth a try, maybe as a third kill card. It can create some interesting effects with Masticore, Land Tax and Balance. Besides, the name sounds like K-Run, right?”
Both need a lot of white, so mono white is the logical starting point. If we replace Sacred Mesa with Spirit Cairn, we need some useful discard. What if we replace Land Tax and Scroll Rack with:
Bazaar of Baghdad
Arabian Nights uncommon
Tap: Draw two cards, then discard three cards from your hand.
Squee, Goblin Nabob
Mercadian Masques rare
At the beginning of your upkeep, if Squee, Goblin Nabob is in your graveyard, you may return Squee, Goblin Nabob to your hand.
You could retool the rest of Parfait accordingly, and even look at abusing Replenish and Planar Birth a bit more. Squee also lets you maindeck Masticore.
I haven’t tested it and it makes Parfait vulnerable to Wasteland, so I don’t know how it works. Might turn out faster, though, and Bazaar and Replenish might be stronger against control decks. I’ll run this”Ghost Parfait” idea by Raphael and see what we might end up with.
Test of Endurance
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you have 50 or more life, you win the game.
At the beginning of your upkeep, if you control 20 or more creatures, you win the game.
I couldn’t find much more to look at in Judgment. For example, Mists of Stagnation is simply more cumbersome than Winter Orb or Stasis, and I’m resisting the temptation to gush about Planar Chaos.
I have to comment on these two, though.
Unlike Battle of Wits, I think these are strictly for goofing off (I can’t believe I said that). It’s not worth it to take a slow route to the victory conditions, so we look at combos.
Epic Struggle isn’t so hard since you have the Squirrel Nest–Earthcraft infinite token combo. For more style, you can use the Thallid–Fungal Bloom combo. Of course, it’s hard not to deal damage with twenty creatures, and you can use Concordant Crossroads with SquirrelCraft instead and win one turn earlier.
Enchanted land has”Tap: Put a 1/1 green Squirrel creature token into play.”
Tap an untapped creature you control: Untap target basic land.
Test of Endurance gives us a mono white combo deck based on the en-Kor combo with Angelic Protector or Task Force, plus something that sacs a creature for life like Diamond Valley. A more stylish method is Angelic Chorus with Serra Avatar and something like Oath of Druids.
0: The next 1 damage that would be dealt to Nomads en-Kor this turn is dealt to target creature you control instead.
Mercadian Masques common
Whenever Task Force becomes the target of a spell or ability, it gets +0/+3 until end of turn.
Buyback 2. Sacrifice a creature. You gain life equal to the sacrificed creature’s toughness.
If you can get your friends’ Tests of Endurance, you can make a cheap combo deck disguised as a bad weenie swarm.
Threshold-Whenever an opponent plays a spell, you may put a creature card from your hand into play.
Flavor text: In the heavy hush of Krosa, drawing on mana is like ringing a dinner bell.
The threshold means this doesn’t kick in early, and the effect isn’t as powerful when you’ve developed your mana anyway. And uncounterability isn’t that hot; side in City of Solitude if you really want it. Finally, we have the gold casting cost.
What I want to do with this card, though, is stick it with Mystic Snake and Oath of Ghouls in a Survival of the Fittest deck:
You may play Mystic Snake any time you could play an instant. When Mystic Snake comes into play, counter target spell.
Oath of Ghouls
At the beginning of each player’s upkeep, if there are more creature cards in that player’s graveyard than in any of his or her opponents’ graveyards, the player may return target creature card of his or her choice from his or her graveyard to his or her hand.
The aftermath of the Rosewater scandal
Thanks so much for all the wonderful feedback agreeing with my take on last week’s Rosewater scandal (as well as Sadin’s side of the Nationals disqualification). Eric“Danger” Taylor dropped a line:”Very nice article. I think you have quite accurately captured both Pat’s and my viewpoints, except that I quit being Pat’s ‘mentor’ sometime around 1997, when his mastery of the game surpassed mine and the Master became
EDT clarifies, though, that Pat Chapin plays Type I in weekend GPQ and PTQs in the area, and he plays with more people than just EDT.
Alex Shvartsman also e-mailed to say he was unaware of MaRo’s article when he quoted Pat in”Week in Review,” and we got a laugh when he pointed me to his follow-up for”more outrageous claims.” It read:”Chapin went on to say many quotable things that afternoon. How about: ‘Gush is as good as Ancestral Recall right now.’ Why? Because no one can Misdirect Gush.”
Of course, we’ve heard zilch from Rosewater himself.
A disgruntled member of R&D who wishes to remain anonymous e-mailed me the complete explanation:
1) With Jon Finkel falling off the gravy train and Kai Budde overexposed in Misetings, Wizards wants to pimp Pat Chapin as the next”Johnny Magic.”
2) Randy Buehler w ants to show that green weenies are too good, and Pat likes Quirion Dryad.
3) Randy’s market research firm shows Heroes’ Reunion is one of the most well-loved Invasion cards, so the new”Johnny Magic” has to pass for a casual rogue, too. The quickest way is to quote Pat on Type I.
4) We haven’t heard from Pat himself yet – but expect him to suddenly post an article on every Magic site two weeks before the Invitational voting.
5) R&D really builds our decks for us, even Type I. Rosewater had the 2002 metagame figured out since he playtested Urza’s Saga.
6) Alex Shvartsman isn’t involved, but doesn’t mind trading Gushes for every Ancestral Recall in Japan.
The Initial Judgment: Sorceries
I think I forgot something in the Torment review:
Target player sacrifices a creature.
Flashback 5BB. Target player sacrifices a creature.
I’m not sure why this was left out, but every time I play Diabolic Edict, I try to visualize possibilities with Chainer’s. (Oh, Brian Weissman is going to get me with Edict jokes again.)
I initially dismissed Chainer’s, reasoning that there would be more times when the instant ability would help than when the expensive flashback would kick in. Now, I see more creatures in the post-Fact or Fiction environment and might revise my opinion. My contacts credit Steven Holyfield, a.k.a. Nameles, for sticking up for the flashback.
Outside control, there isn’t much difference between a sorcery and an instant – so you’ll want Chainer’s if your deck expects to hit seven mana. The main advantages of the instant in control are killing Mishra’s Factory and Chimeric Idol and being able to start a counter war in the opponent’s turn. If your deck has a lot of mana, though, you can Edict again the following turn, after a counter war.
The basic argument is less flexibility for an extra lategame removal spell.
I haven’t made up my mind yet, but the flashback is useful against Ophidian, then Morphling in mono blue, the second midgame Dreadnought from Illusionary Mask, and a number of other decks. The flashback doesn’t come as late as you think. Tapping out late in the game isn’t as scary as it sounds, too.
Search target player’s library for up to three cards with flashback and put them into that players graveyard. Then that player shuffles his or her library.
When I was writing my Wish article, I pumped Eric“Danger” Taylor for tech. He wasn’t thinking about Wishes, but told me to watch for Quiet Speculation in Type II. He compared dumping three Deep Analysis to recursing Ancestral Recall three times. For one card, eight mana and nine life, you get six cards.
In Type I, you might think about that and the accompanying Roar of the Wurm tricks. It’s not a weak combo – but consider that Intuition didn’t get a popularity boost when Odyssey came out.
Unless a player has Browbeat deal 5 damage to him or her, target player draws three cards.
Flavor text: “Even the threat of power has power.”-Jeska, warrior adept
I saw a good number of Type I Sligh, Zoo and even Stacker 2 players drool over this when the spoiler first came out, and played quite a few of them online. Browbeat is definitely not a red Ancestral Recall, though.
If you let the opponent draw, he’ll probably get a land and two cards that will deal five anyway. This is just a new Ball Lightning that you don’t have to run a lot of Mountains for and dodges removal.
Note that Ball Lightning isn’t played in many decks because it’s hard not to walk into Mana Drain with it, not to mention removal. Browbeat can probably work as a finisher in some environments and some decks.
Emphasis on some.
The other”punisher” spells look less interesting. Wrath of God is rarely played in Type I, for example, so don’t start trading for Breaking Point. Besides, red is good in Type I because of the weenie pool that comes with Jackal Pup.
Put X 1/1 red Cat creature tokens with haste into play. Remove them from the game at the end of the turn. Flashback-RR, Sacrifice X Mountains
You may sacrifice two mountains rather than paying Fireblast’s mana cost. Fireblast deals 4 damage to target creature or player.
This was hyped because of its combo with Rites of Initiation in Type II. As a finisher in Type I, its only advantage is that it’s difficult to counter using sideboarded Circle of Protections: Red. That isn’t going to dethrone the staple finisher.
Exchange your graveyard and library, then shuffle your library.
There isn’t a lot to talk about. Cabal Therapy looks like a weaker Duress, and Stitch Together looks like a slower Animate Dead.
Mark Rosewater pet rare, though, resembles the original Shift:
Remove all cards in your library from the game. Then shuffle your graveyard into your library.
You might think of combos a Shift might fit into. Paradigm Shift fit into the Dream Halls-based TurboZvi several Type II rotations ago, to recycle the graveyard. It’s definitely more manageable than Mortality Shift for that.
If you need to get your library into your graveyard, on the other hand, there are also cheaper effects such as Oath of Druids and Hermit Druid.
G, Tap: Reveal cards from the top of your library until you reveal a basic land card. Put that card into your hand and all other cards revealed this way into your graveyard.
Well, I gave the Wishes their own article, so this doesn’t cover too many cards. Maybe we’ll get more next week, when we finish up with Judgment.
rakso on #BDChat on EFNet
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)
P.S. – My apologies for replying very late to recent e-mails. I’ve been helping law freshmen ease into law school while dealing with fresh stacks of law readings for the first month. On the latter, for example, the secretary of one former dean screwed up by handing us a list of things we had to read for his next class. It turned out the list was good for the next two or three months…
And as I finished this article, a girl dropped by and left a month-old Dalmatian puppy for my kid brother. He immediately discovered that she’s not yet toilet trained…
Anyway, if you need my opinion on something, I can give snappy answers to quick questions. I read all the stories everyone sends, of course, but it might take me a month to get back to a decklist.