Interlude: The curious Type I”model”
I skimmed through the recent metagame model proposed by Craig Olson, a.k.a. Milton – which, among other things, said that”The Deck” only beats bad decks these days. I was mildly disappointed when my name was dragged into it, considering every point he raised was already discussed in at least one of The Control Player’s Bible’s component beginner’s articles.
Had he read them, we would’ve saved some time.
I’ll take some time to explain why Craig’s model is a house built on sand: That is, it looks cozy enough, but you’re standing on assumptions so shaky that it won’t take much to sweep you into the ocean.
Bloodmoon Keeper, Craig Olson, 3rd place, a GenCon 2002 Type I Tournament
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Sol Ring
1 Strip Mine
1 Library of Alexandria
3 Underground Sea
3 Volcanic Islands
4 City of Brass
Point #1: It is now August 2002
Yes, it’s the middle of 2002 and I just turned 23 last Monday, on the 19th.
What’s the point?
Craig says the above is the most versatile deck he can make. He sacrifices several dual land slots for basic Islands so he can run Blood Moon. He aims to own the mirror by replacing the already-lethal Dwarven Miners with an even nastier sideboard card.
The Dark uncommon
Nonbasic lands are mountains.
2R, Tap: Destroy target nonbasic land.
You’re probably not familiar with this strategy. It was fun during… 1995?
If it was tech seven years ago, maybe there’s something that’s keeping everyone from using it today. (Craig is also listing the classic Disrupting Scepter from the same period, by the way.)
Maybe it has something to do with altering the mana base you use every game so you can use a couple of sideboard cards in one particular matchup?
Maybe I didn’t emphasize it enough in past articles, so I’ll rephrase it: I would never ever ever screw the mana base of”The Deck.”
Point #2: Sligh owns”The Deck”
Craig reported that his fellow control players died to Sligh at GenCon.
Yes, Oscar did.
Oscar also ran Tundras with his white cards.
(Back to Basics
Urza’s Saga rare
Nonbasic lands don’t untap during their controllers’ untap steps.)
Damage can’t be prevented this turn. Flashback: R (You may play this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then remove it from the game.)
Flavor text: “I don’t rub salt in wounds. I use sulfur.”-Maloc, lavamancer
I discussed Flaring Pain already. I’m not 100% sure how much it worsens the Sligh matchup, but I figured it would be used mainly by players sideboarding almost exclusively against”The Deck.”
Let’s assume the Sligh players were using maindeck Price and the”idiot” sideboard – fifteen cards against”The Deck” and zero against everything else, particularly aggro. Let’s also assume the unprepared pre-Odyssey”The Deck” configuration rolls over to Flaring Pain.
Well… Even with both assumptions, taking Blood Moon over the white mana for cast Circle of Protection: Red early sure doesn’t improve your chances of snatching a win in the face of all that hate, does it?
Point #3: Zoo owns”The Deck”
Craig asked,”Is Zoo really dead, Oscar Tan?” He then cited Brad Lewis’s win in one of the tournaments. (Brad, a.k.a.”A DC-area 5-Color Dude,” from Damascus, Maryland, is a longtime Zoo fanatic whose name cropped up in the Zoo feature. Congratulations, man… E-mail me your decklist when you have the time.)
Craig’s exact question was how well someone could do against a Taiga, Mox, Lotus, Kird Ape, double Blurred Mongoose opening. He added that the best”The Deck” could do was cast Balance, and even then he’d lose his hand.
I could very well lose.
But this is Type I; broken things happen.
In Craig’s example, Zoo plays six cards in the opening turn. In case you didn’t know, Craig, a Type I deck that can play out its hand in the first turn can usually do some nasty things.
Really, I swear. Cross my heart.
It’s hard to believe, but it really happens.
But it can’t happen every game, or we’d be bowing before Channel-Kaervek’s Torch decks.
And even in that lousy situation, at least I have the white mana for the Balance.
Plus, if that happened after Game 1, I’d also have Pyroclasm and Powder Keg as options. Yes, Blurred Mongoose is untargetable and dodges The Abyss. No, a deck with Mongoose isn’t necessarily”adapted.”
For the last time… Aggro players can’t get fixated on The Abyss and control players can’t stop and ask,”Would you mind forgetting to play creatures till I hit four mana? Thanks a bunch.”
Notice a pattern in all of Craig’s points yet?
Point #4: Chapin Gro owns”The Deck”
So have the tables turned? Is Oscar nuts and is Mark Rosewater really a Type I god?
To refresh Craig’s memory, I noted that Chapin’s particular Gro build is one tough customer, and it probably does at least 60% in its favor.
However, I also said that after boarding, things change radically. My notes matched with other credible control players’ and Brian Weissman went so far as to declare Game 2 95% in his favor.
And that makes sense; otherwise, you’d have the ridiculous conclusion that multicolored control is good against Gro in Extended, but bad against it in Type I where it gets more goodies.
But wait… Craig isn’t sideboarding Swords to Plowshares and the other efficient removal everyone else is.
Swords to Plowshares
Remove target creature from the game. Its controller gains life equal to its power.
Again, see a pattern?
Point #5: But it was the closest thing to a Type I World Championship!
I have to disagree, and maintain my position that you can’t crown the winners of”big” sixty-man tourneys as”World Champions.” Sure, I’ll readily say from personal experience that Pat Chapin is a rock-solid player and one cool guy, but…
Reality check: The decks from a sixty-man Type II or Block PTQ will go through more rigorous scrutiny and get compared to similar decks from all over the world. Again, the Type I”circuit” to feed a Worlds doesn’t exist, remember? And it’s less likely that a good Type I player will take a long drive to play than a Type II player.
I’m not saying that Craig is a far cry from a Worlds-quality player – we go back some from Beyond Dominia, and he certainly livened up the site. I’m simply addressing the concerns he raised in what I felt was a problematic article. I’m also falling back on simple logic and the established Type I control principles, and would generally stick to them even in the face of (seemingly) contradictory tournament results.
Saying that”The Deck” or any other established deck is a bad choice for a particular tournament or given a hate-fest is perfectly valid. Saying that an archtype now beats nothing but Block Constructed rejects is likewise useful – if you can tell everyone why.
The problem comes when you present a long string of seemingly articulate assumptions and conclusions, only to discover that the ideas you began with are extremely questionable. Everything falls apart after that like the house built on sand, and if your wrong assumptions didn’t deal with gray areas that were murky to begin with, well… You just confuse people.
And again, I’m disappointed because I’ve hammered on these basic points before.
So maybe aggro hasn’t radically evolved as Craig argues, even if it’s gained a lot from recent blocks. Maybe Craig’s perception of control just devolved, without his realizing it. Note that his article begins by spelling out his concerns in the mirror and against mono blue, for example.
(For more comments, please see Darren Di Battista’s surprise Monday column.)
The Most Incomprehensible Aggro Deck In The World
Going back to where we left off…
The Funker is a homegrown creation of Shane Stoots, a.k.a. Three Deuce from Virginia, inspired by his aggro-filled home store. There’s a good reason why it’s the last aggro deck featured in this series.
Tells you a lot, doesn’t it?
It reminds you of Stacker 2 because it has Goblin Welders, but it relies on utility artifacts instead of Mishra’s Workshops and fast Su-Chis. It reminds you of Zoo because it has similarly eclectic mana and threat bases, but it doesn’t rush. It reminds you of”The Deck” because it has a lot of the same power cards and tutoring, but it isn’t a control deck and isn’t blue-based.
In the Zoo feature, I said that the restriction of Fact or Fiction gave aggro decks a new shot in the arm, and how to resurrect multicolored aggro is still an open question. What I want you to do is put yourself in my shoes and try to anticipate what Shane will do next in this feature. Without the decklist at the end, I’m sure you won’t get it on the first try.
This is an unsideboarded game, and if you think his deck his hard to read, wait till you have to worry about what he boards in.
(This week’s theme was requested by Eric Chima from Cleveland, a.k.a. Apollo on the Casual Player’s Alliance boards. My apologies, because this article was actually ready for the first week of May, right before the release of Episode II!)
00:03:22 — Three3Deuce says: ”To be the man, you have to beat the man”
00:03:22 – — Rakso says: ”Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war”
00:03:39 – Rakso says:’I figure I have to shuffle at least 50 times’
00:03:42 – Rakso says:’Not to get screwed by Apprentice shuffler’
00:03:46 – Three3Deuce says:’you’re playing I assume?’
00:03:53 – Rakso drew 7 cards.
00:04:02 – Three3Deuce drew 7 cards.
00:04:02 – Rakso says:’keep’
00:04:15 – Rakso plays Library of Alexandria.
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)
Not a bad start.
I walk out of the tunnel into a large cavern, dimly lit by a few still-functioning lights. Abandoned equipment fills the room, and tall machines cast ominous shadows. The silence is broken only by my light-footed steps, but I a chill runs up my spine as I walk.
Suddenly, I hear the flutter of a cape. Loud footsteps clang on metal. A flicker of movement registers in my peripheral vision.
00:04:15 – It is now turn 2.
00:04:30 – Three3Deuce says:’argh’
00:04:36 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:04:38 – Three3Deuce plays Mox Ruby.
00:04:40 – Three3Deuce plays Mox Jet.
00:04:40 – Three3Deuce plays City of Brass.
00:04:42 – Rakso says:’!’
00:04:44 – Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:04:49 – Three3Deuce plays Mana Vault.
00:04:51 – Rakso says:’k’
Yes, I am not the broken deck in this series. Again.
A dark shape lands to my left. I turn, seemingly too slow.
00:04:54 – City of Brass is tapped.
00:04:55 – Three3Deuce’s life is now 19. (-1)
00:04:57 – Mana Vault is tapped.
00:04:58 – Three3Deuce set Mana Vault NOT to Untap as Normal
00:04:59 – Rakso says:’uh oh’
00:05:02 – Three3Deuce plays Tinker.
00:05:04 – Three3Deuce buries Mana Vault.
This could be game right here.
Urza’s Legacy uncommon
As an additional cost to play Tinker, sacrifice an artifact. Search your library for an artifact card and put that card into play. Then shuffle your library. (Restricted in October 1999)
He could pull out anything from a nasty utility artifact like Memory Jar to something big that can end the game in a couple of turns:
Urza’s Saga rare
Phyrexian Colossus doesn’t untap during your untap step. Pay 8 life: Untap Phyrexian Colossus. Phyrexian Colossus can’t be blocked except by three or more creatures.
As I stand there, wasting a few precious seconds to shake off surprise, the dark figure raises its arms. A stream of lightning surges through the cold air.
00:05:05 – Rakso says:’!’
00:05:06 – Rakso plays Force of Will.
00:05:08 – Rakso removes Morphling from the game.
00:05:10 – Rakso’s life is now 19. (-1)
00:05:16 – Three3Deuce says:’one floating’
00:05:24 – Mox Jet is tapped.
00:05:30 – Three3Deuce plays Grim Monolith.
00:05:35 – Rakso says:’k’
00:05:39 – Rakso says:’Could’ve been game right there.’
Turn 1 is not the best time to find out what surprises he can fish out. Fortunately, my luck holds.
Just in time, I carry the momentum of my turn into a roll. The hairs on my skin stand up as the electricity crackles past.
00:05:40 – It is now turn 3.
00:05:41 – Rakso says:’nailed LoA too’
00:05:42 – Rakso draws a card.
00:05:47 – Three3Deuce says:’yeah’
00:05:51 – Rakso plays Underground Sea.
00:05:52 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.
00:05:53 – Underground Sea is tapped.
00:05:54 – Rakso plays Merchant Scroll.
00:06:01 – Rakso moves Ancestral Recall from tabletop to Rakso’s hand.
Using Force of Will knocks out my Library indirectly, though. I try to recover.
I dive and then leap for cover. I land on one of the dormant machines. My feet barely touch its surface before I leap again. A second later, another bolt slams into it.
00:06:02 – It is now turn 4.
00:06:08 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:06:18 – Grim Monolith is tapped.
00:06:20 – Three3Deuce set Grim Monolith NOT to Untap as Normal
00:06:22 – Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:06:23 – Mox Jet is tapped.
00:06:27 – Three3Deuce plays Memory Jar.
00:06:31 – Rakso says:’!!!!!’
00:06:33 – Rakso says:’k’
Urza’s Legacy rare
Tap, Sacrifice Memory Jar: Each player removes his or her hand from the game face down, and draws seven cards. At end of turn, each player discards his or her hand and returns to his or her hand each card he or she removed from the game this way.
Very bad. I don’t have another Force of Will, and the best I can do is Dismantling Blow the Jar on my turn, so I get to play more cards if he activates it. I don’t have the Blow, though, and just have to shrug the Jar off.
Take note: He has only two cards left in hand. He missed his land drop, though, and there’s probably at least one more threat in there.
I leap to another pile. And to another, just a second ahead of the lightning. A fourth stream slams into my next target. The metal gives way under my feet, and I fall forward back to the floor.
00:06:37 – It is now turn 5.
00:06:49 – Rakso draws a card.
00:07:11 – Rakso plays Black Lotus.
00:07:21 – Rakso plays Wasteland.
00:07:22 – Wasteland is tapped.
00:07:27 – Three3Deuce says:’in response’
00:07:30 – City of Brass is tapped.
00:07:33 – Three3Deuce’s life is now 18. (-1)
00:07:36 – Three3Deuce plays Vampiric Tutor.
00:07:38 – Rakso says:’k’
00:07:40 – Rakso buries Wasteland.
00:07:43 – Three3Deuce’s life is now 16. (-2)
00:07:47 – Three3Deuce moves a card from Three3Deuce’s library to tabletop.
00:07:48 – Three3Deuce buries City of Brass.
An incredible opening hand indeed. Seeing the Memory Jar drop unmolested, he goes for the jugular.
The dark figure runs across the cavern floor. A metallic object appears in its hands, and he swings his arms up as he races towards me.
00:07:51 – It is now turn 6.
00:08:43 –Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:08:46 – Three3Deuce plays Goblin Welder.
00:08:54 – Rakso says:’okay’
00:08:59 – Three3Deuce plays Badlands.
00:09:02 – Rakso says:’eot’
00:09:03 – Underground Sea is tapped.
00:09:05 – Rakso plays Ancestral Recall.
00:09:07 – Three3Deuce says:’k’
00:09:08 – Rakso drew 3 cards.
I roll to my knees. I look up and see a red beam of light ignite in the hands of the running figure.
00:09:15 – It is now turn 7.
00:09:25 – Rakso draws a card.
00:09:30 – Rakso plays Mox Jet.
00:09:44 – Rakso says:’I don’t believe this…’
00:09:56 – Rakso plays Swords to Plowshares.
00:09:57 – Rakso buries Black Lotus.
00:10:03 – Three3Deuce removes Goblin Welder from the game.
00:10:11 – Three3Deuce’s life is now 17. (+1)
00:10:14 – Rakso’s life is now 17. (-2)
I struggle back onto my feet. The figure’s arms swing downwards in a cruel slash. A blue beam ignites and meets the red in a desperate parry.
00:10:15 – It is now turn 8.
00:10:24 – Three3Deuce says:’ouch’
00:10:30 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:10:32 – Rakso says:’bad mana’
00:10:35 – Rakso says:’I don’t even have UU!’
00:10:45 – Memory Jar is tapped.
00:10:54 – Rakso plays a card facedown.
00:10:54 – Three3Deuce buries Memory Jar.
00:10:56 – Rakso plays a card facedown.
00:10:57 – Rakso plays a card facedown.
00:10:58 – Three3Deuce plays a card facedown.
00:10:59 – Rakso plays a card facedown.
00:11:02 – Rakso drew 7 cards.
00:11:04 – Three3Deuce drew 7 cards.
Urza’s Legacy rare
Tap: Choose target artifact a player controls and target artifact card in that player’s graveyard. If both targets are still legal as this ability resolves, that player simultaneously sacrifices the artifact in play and puts the other artifact from his or her graveyard into play.
Here it comes. Had that Welder stayed on the board, though, it could’ve recurred and recurred the Jar, overwhelming me.
The force of his swing knocks the saber out of my grip. I dive out of the way of the next slash as my weapon clatters onto the floor. Sparks fly from the stack of equipment I stood in front of a second ago.
00:11:29 – Three3Deuce plays Mox Emerald.
00:11:37 – Three3Deuce plays City of Brass.
00:11:51 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:11:55 – Mox Jet is tapped.
00:11:57 – Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:12:04 – Three3Deuce plays Viashino Heretic.
00:12:29 – Three3Deuce says:’k?’
Urza’s Legacy uncommon
1R, Tap: Destroy target artifact. Viashino Heretic deals to that artifact’s controller damage equal to the artifact’s converted mana cost.
00:12:33 – Rakso says:’thinking’
00:12:42 – Three3Deuce says:’k’
00:13:44 – Rakso plays Force of Will.
00:13:46 – Rakso removes Braingeyser from the game.
00:13:47 – Rakso’s life is now 16. (-1)
00:13:52 – Three3Deuce buries Viashino Heretic.
00:14:43 – Three3Deuce moves Badlands from Three3Deuce’s hand to Three3Deuce’s graveyard.
00:14:45 – Three3Deuce moves Wheel of Fortune from Three3Deuce’s hand to Three3Deuce’s graveyard.
00:14:47 – Three3Deuce moves Balance from Three3Deuce’s hand to Three3Deuce’s graveyard.
00:14:50 – Rakso moves Yawgmoth’s Will from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.
00:14:50 – Rakso moves City of Brass from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.
00:14:50 – Rakso moves Mox Sapphire from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.
00:14:50 – Rakso moves City of Brass from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.
00:14:50 – Rakso moves Undiscovered Paradise from Rakso’s hand to Rakso’s graveyard.
00:14:51 – Rakso moves a face-down card to his/her hand
00:14:52 – Rakso moves a face-down card to his/her hand
00:14:53 – Rakso moves a face-down card to his/her hand
00:14:54 – Rakso moves a face-down card to his/her hand
00:14:55 – Three3Deuce moves Volcanic Island from Three3Deuce’s hand to Three3Deuce’s graveyard.
00:14:58 – Three3Deuce moves a face-down card to his/her hand
I manage to draw a Force of Will, but this was a tricky play. He still had two Cities of Brass untapped, and he might have another Welder up his sleeve for all I knew. On the other hand, I’d look really stupid discarding a Force of Will at the end of the turn in the face of the known quantity.
Against other artifact-based decks like Illusionary Mask combos and Stacker 2, that Heretic is big. Right now, knocking out that Mox to aggravate my bad mana situation is good enough.
Incidentally, to illustrate how annoying that Jar can be, it also knocked out my Yawgmoth’s Will.
He whirls in another powerful slash. I roll back to my feet. My weapon flies to my waiting palm. I ignite it, catching the red blade once again.
The two blades lock. Sparks fly from the stalemate.
00:15:04 – It is now turn 9.
00:15:09 – Rakso draws a card.
00:15:22 – Mox Jet is tapped.
00:15:23 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.
00:15:27 – Rakso plays Mind Twist.
00:15:35 – Three3Deuce moves Phyrexian Colossus from Three3Deuce’s hand to Three3Deuce’s graveyard.
In the glow of my own blade, I stare into the cowl of my opponent. Soulless reptilian eyes stare back. A frustrated hiss breaks his concentration, and I push out of the lock.
We circle each other warily, blades raised in careful stances. My opponent taunts me with a laugh and throws back his hood.
00:17:45 – It is now turn 17.
00:17:47 – Rakso draws a card.
00:17:55 – Three3Deuce says:’eot’
00:18:00 – City of Brass is tapped.
00:18:01 – Three3Deuce’s life is now 16. (-1)
00:18:05 – Three3Deuce plays Mystical Tutor.
00:18:07 – Rakso says:’k’
00:18:39 – Three3Deuce moves Fact or Fiction from Three3Deuce’s library to tabletop.
00:18:41 – Rakso says:’k’
On an imperceptible cue, Shane steps forward, breaking from the imaginary circle. His second assault is more cautious, mirrored by my measured parries.
00:17:46 – It is now turn 18.
00:18:51 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:18:58 – Three3Deuce plays Volcanic Island.
Suddenly, he feints, and executes a strong downward swing. I leap up, spinning, my blade aimed at his scaly head. He ducks slightly, setting up his riposte.
00:19:00 – It is now turn 19.
00:19:03 – Rakso draws a card.
00:19:31 – Three3Deuce says:’eot’
00:19:33 – Volcanic Island is tapped.
00:19:36 – Grim Monolith is tapped.
00:19:38 – Three3Deuce plays Fact or Fiction.
Now this is tricky: Fact or Fiction is obviously a must-counter, but I decided to do something funny this game.
I take the unconventional move of letting it go, then think about splitting the piles so I can counter the bomb he gets. Like”The Deck,” he has twenty-eight mana sources, but he won’t have the choice of picking up a land and two counters over a broken card.
It was a bit late and it really wasn’t the game for experimentation, but I think I ended up miffed by his early series of bombs, and was unconsciously counting what was left in the library. It was really far too early to be counting remaining threats, and if he got an average Fact or Fiction, he’d still be up by two or three cards in his hand, plus his normal topdecks.
Like I said, obviously a must-counter.
But I included a log with a funny, sleepy mistake to show you how it worked by mistake.
00:19:40 – Rakso says:’resolves’
00:19:56 – Rakso is looking through top 5 cards of Three3Deuce’s library…
00:20:59 – Rakso says:’thinking’
00:21:03 – Three3Deuce says:’k’
00:21:23 – Rakso says:’no choice I think’
00:21:28 – Rakso says:’go’
00:21:46 – Three3Deuce moves Mox Pearl from tabletop to Three3Deuce’s hand.
00:21:47 – Three3Deuce moves Gorilla Shaman from tabletop to Three3Deuce’s hand.
00:21:50 – Three3Deuce buries Fact or Fiction.
00:21:53 – Three3Deuce buries Wasteland.
00:21:55 – Three3Deuce buries Stroke of Genius.
00:21:58 – Three3Deuce buries Timetwister.
00:22:04 – Three3Deuce says:’still eot’
00:22:05 – Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:22:06 – Mox Jet is tapped.
00:22:07 – Badlands is tapped.
00:22:09 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:22:10 – Grim Monolith is untapped.
00:22:12 – Rakso says:’k’
I step back slightly. The red blade swings harmlessly past an inch away from my chest.
00:22:16 – It is now turn 20.
00:22:18 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:22:33 – Rakso buries Volcanic Island.
00:22:36 – Three3Deuce buries Wasteland.
00:22:40 – Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:22:51 – Three3Deuce plays Gorilla Shaman.
00:22:53 – Rakso plays Force of Will.
00:22:54 – Rakso removes Stroke of Genius from the game.
00:23:00 – Rakso’s life is now 15. (-1)
00:23:12 – Three3Deuce plays Mox Pearl.
The Shaman, though, slams into the counter I’m not supposed to have, and three of his crucial card drawers land harmlessly in the graveyard.
Oh, well… Learning from others’ mistakes is easier than learning from your own, right? Hope you learned something. We sure did.
Darth Shane overextends and my return slash nicks him in the leg as tries to dodge. He steps back and glares at me furiously as the tempo of the duel shifts.
00:23:46 – It is now turn 24.
00:23:52 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:24:20 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:24:21 – Mox Pearl is tapped.
00:24:23 – Three3Deuce plays Regrowth.
00:24:27 – Rakso says:’target?’
00:24:48 – Three3Deuce says:’tinker’
00:24:53 – Rakso says:’resolves’
00:24:57 – Three3Deuce buries Regrowth.
00:25:04 – Three3Deuce moves Tinker from tabletop to Three3Deuce’s hand.
00:25:09 – Grim Monolith is tapped.
00:25:11 – Volcanic Island is tapped.
00:25:14 – Three3Deuce plays Tinker.
00:25:20 – Rakso says:’thinking’
00:25:22 – Three3Deuce says:’k’
00:25:25 – Three3Deuce buries Grim Monolith.
00:25:27 – Rakso says:’okay’
00:25:28 – Rakso says:’resolves’
00:25:46 – Three3Deuce moves Karn, Silver Golem from Three3Deuce’s library to tabletop.
00:25:49 – Rakso says:’k’
00:26:02 – Three3Deuce says:’one floating from the monolith’
00:26:03 – Rakso says:’k’
00:26:15 – Mox Pearl is tapped.
00:26:16 – Rakso says:’float’
00:26:18 – Rakso buries Mox Pearl.
00:26:21 – Three3Deuce says:’k’
00:26:28 – Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:26:31 – Mox Jet is tapped.
00:26:32 – Rakso buries Mox Jet.
00:26:36 – Rakso says:’float’
00:26:52 – Three3Deuce says:’declare attack phase’
00:26:55 – Sol Ring is tapped.
00:26:56 –Volcanic Island is tapped.
00:26:57 – Wasteland is tapped.
00:27:00 – Rakso plays Dismantling Blow.
00:27:07 – Three3Deuce says:’k’
00:27:13 – Three3Deuce buries Karn, Silver Golem.
00:27:14 – Rakso drew 2 cards.
The flurry of slashes and spins carries us across the cavern. A series of leaping strikes takes us to the tops of the piles of junk. I chase Shane to a ledge on top of one wall. With no room to maneuver, I feint a charge and he steels himself to meet it.
I stop, my blade winks out, and an invisible fist slams into his chest, sending him falling back to the floor.
00:27:22 – It is now turn 25.
00:27:25 – Rakso draws a card.
00:27:29 – Rakso plays Mox Emerald.
00:27:30 – Rakso plays Strip Mine.
00:27:35 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:27:35 – Strip Mine is tapped.
00:27:37 – Rakso plays Sylvan Library.
00:27:53 – Three3Deuce says:’k’
00:28:09 – It is now turn 26.
00:28:14 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:28:22 – Three3Deuce plays Library of Alexandria.
00:28:27 – It is now turn 27.
00:28:35 – Rakso is looking through top 3 cards of library…
00:28:47 – Rakso moves a card from Rakso’s library to Rakso’s hand.
00:28:49 – Rakso moves a card from Rakso’s library to Rakso’s hand.
00:29:08 – Rakso moves a card from Rakso’s library to Rakso’s hand.
00:29:13 – Rakso’s life is now 7. (-8)
Now, you might be wondering why in the world I’m sacrificing life to draw cards against a deck listed under aggro. Well, from what you’ve seen so far, the beatdown comes in the form of big creatures like Covetous Dragon or Phyrexian Colossus, but it comes later on. Once it drops, you only have a handful of turns, so you may as well spend the life to keep the blows from ever landing.
Put it this way: Take six from a Covetous Dragon to draw another card, or take four from Sylvan to do the same?
As you get more familiar with Sylvan Library, you’ll sense which decks are slow enough to comfortably Necro for a few.
(Hail the old Beyond Dominia’s Sylvan Librarian, Matt D’Avanzo, for hammering that crucial lesson into my skull. It takes balls to make the play against Phyrexian Dreadnoughts, as we’ll later discuss.)
Anyway, with my Sylvan active and his Library looking on helplessly, it’s clear where the tempo has settled.
I somersault off the ledge, spinning, leading with the saber. He groggily raises his own blade, the effort showing on his wounded leg. By some miracle, his weapon appears between his head and mine, but I am already twisting into the next attack even as I land.
00:29:55 – It is now turn 28.
00:29:59 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:30:06 – Three3Deuce plays Mox Sapphire.
00:30:09 – It is now turn 29.
00:30:16 – Rakso is looking through top 3 cards of library…
00:30:20 – Rakso moves a card from Rakso’s library to Rakso’s hand.
00:30:25 – It is now turn 30.
00:30:46 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:30:49 – Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:30:52 – Three3Deuce plays Goblin Welder.
00:31:02 – Rakso says:’okay’
00:31:10 – Rakso says:’eot’
00:31:11 –Volcanic Island is tapped.
00:31:11 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:31:12 – Three3Deuce says:’k’
00:31:14 – Rakso plays Fire/Ice.
00:31:18 – Three3Deuce buries Goblin Welder.
00:31:19 – Three3Deuce’s life is now 16. (-1)
00:31:25 –Underground Sea is tapped.
00:31:26 – Rakso plays Mystical Tutor.
00:31:31 – Rakso moves Regrowth from Rakso’s library to tabletop.
Fifteen turns have passed, the graveyards are stocked with neutralized cards, and mana is idle on the table. Guess what comes next?
Another clumsy block counters a low spinning slash, but his dazed senses overcommit him to a feint in the opposite direction. I reverse my spin, and he senses it far too late. He steps back with more control than desperation, and I alter the angle of my own attack.
My saber connects, the force of a solid two-handed swing behind it. His weapon is knocked out of his half-formed stance, and bangs against a pile of metal crates.
00:32:21 – It is now turn 31.
00:32:23 – Rakso is looking through top 2 cards of library…
00:32:24 – Rakso moves Regrowth from tabletop to Rakso’s hand.
00:32:42 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:32:50 – Strip Mine is tapped.
00:32:51 – Rakso plays Regrowth.
00:33:30 – Rakso moves Yawgmoth’s Will from Rakso’s graveyard to tabletop.
00:33:34 – It is now turn 32.
00:33:40 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:33:50 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.
00:33:51 – Mox Pearl is tapped.
00:33:53 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:33:54 – Mox Jet is tapped.
00:33:56 – Three3Deuce plays Masticore.
00:34:03 – Rakso says:’k’
00:34:06 – It is now turn 33.
00:34:08 – Rakso is looking through top 3 cards of library…
00:34:11 – Rakso moves a card from Rakso’s library to Rakso’s hand.
00:34:13 – Rakso plays Tundra.
00:34:18 –Underground Sea is tapped.
00:34:19 –Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:34:21 – Rakso plays Chainer’s Edict.
00:34:24 – Three3Deuce buries Masticore.
This is just a waiting game now.
He regains control as I shift my weight and follow through with a forward slash. As though held by a desperate, invisible hand, his saber reignites and flies back towards me.
00:34:49 – It is now turn 34.
00:34:54 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:35:03 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.
00:35:05 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:35:08 – Three3Deuce plays Compulsion.
00:35:15 –Volcanic Island is tapped.
00:35:16 – Tundra is tapped.
00:35:18 – Rakso plays Mana Drain.
In total control, I flick my wrist and release my own weapon, concentrating and sending it spinning low towards his knees. I carry my momentum into a roll and dodge, his saber sailing past and clattering uselessly on the floor as he jumps and spins his feet away from my own weapon.
We will our blades back into our hands, but mine catches him in the side from behind before it lands in my hand once again. He falls to his knees, exhausted, his free hand staunching the blood flowing from the wound.
00:35:25 – It is now turn 35.
00:35:33 – Rakso is looking through top 3 cards of library…
00:35:35 – Rakso moves a card from Rakso’s library to Rakso’s hand.
00:35:41 – Underground Sea is tapped.
00:35:44 – Rakso removes Yawgmoth’s Will from the game.
00:35:49 – Rakso moves Mox Jet from Rakso’s graveyard to tabletop.
00:35:50 – Three3Deuce says:’ugh, bring the pain’
00:35:51 – Rakso moves Mox Pearl from Rakso’s graveyard to tabletop.
00:35:55 – Rakso moves Mox Sapphire from Rakso’s graveyard to tabletop.
00:35:59 – Rakso moves Black Lotus from Rakso’s graveyard to tabletop.
00:36:27 – Rakso moves Library of Alexandria from Rakso’s graveyard to tabletop.
00:36:58 – Mox Jet is tapped.
00:36:59 – Sol Ring is tapped.
00:37:04 – Rakso says:’2′
00:37:06 – Three3Deuce moves City of Brass from Three3Deuce’s hand to Three3Deuce’s graveyard.
00:37:08 – Three3Deuce moves Badlands from Three3Deuce’s hand to Three3Deuce’s graveyard.
00:37:10 – Rakso removes Mind Twist from the game.
00:37:12 – Rakso says:’lol’
00:37:13 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.
00:37:33 – Rakso moves Demonic Tutor from Rakso’s library to tabletop.
00:37:35 – Rakso removes Mystical Tutor from the game.
00:37:46 – Rakso says:’UUU’
00:37:48 – Rakso removes Black Lotus from the game.
00:37:50 – Three3Deuce says:’k’
00:37:53 – Rakso removes Ancestral Recall from the game.
00:37:55 – Rakso drew 3 cards.
00:38:02 – Rakso plays Mox Ruby.
00:38:20 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:38:29 – Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:38:45 – Rakso removes Regrowth from the game.
00:38:58 – Rakso moves Mana Drain from tabletop to Rakso’s hand.
00:39:08 – Mox Pearl is tapped.
00:39:10 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.
00:39:11 – Strip Mine is tapped.
00:39:17 – Rakso moves Morphling from Rakso’s graveyard to tabletop.
This is your cue to concede – but Shane was being entertained. With friends like Darren, you discover there’s some masochistic fun in watching the explosive turn of”The Deck” from the wrong end of the table.
Darth Shane summons the last of his inner reserves and I feel a strange tingling in the air. He closes his eyes and a pile of junk is launched into the air from my left, then from my right. I focus my own will without a conscious thought, and deflect the missiles to crash against the stone walls.
Invisible waves of force topple the piles of machinery around us, but I unconsciously raise my fists to chest level and stop the metal parts in midair. Then parts of one pile and then another sail towards my foe. He slashes at one and deflects another, but three more hit his battered body from different directions.
00:39:21 – It is now turn 36.
00:39:27 – Three3Deuce draws a card.
00:39:30 – Volcanic Island is tapped.
00:39:31 – Mox Pearl is tapped.
00:39:34 – Three3Deuce plays Time Walk.
00:39:35 – Rakso says:’k’
Still unwilling to give up, he wills himself to his feet and his weapons back to his hand. Igniting the crimson blade, he takes halting steps into what he knows will be his last charge. With the tingling renewing itself, I launch myself into the air. He shifts his blade to meet mine, but I reverse my spin and twist my arms towards his unguarded side…
00:39:50 – It is now turn 37.
00:39:58 – Rakso is looking through top 3 cards of library…
00:40:02 – Rakso moves a card from Rakso’s library to Rakso’s hand.
00:40:11 – Library of Alexandria is tapped.
00:40:14 – Rakso draws a card.
00:40:16 – Rakso plays Wasteland.
00:40:19 – Mox Jet is tapped.
00:40:19 – Sol Ring is tapped.
00:40:20 – Rakso plays Demonic Tutor.
00:40:28 – Rakso moves a card from Rakso’s library to Rakso’s hand.
00:40:31 – Mox Ruby is tapped.
00:40:32 – Rakso plays Gorilla Shaman.
00:40:38 – Three3Deuce buries Mox Ruby.
00:40:40 – Mox Emerald is tapped.
00:40:45 – Three3Deuce buries Mox Sapphire.
00:40:46 – Mox Pearl is tapped.
00:40:53 – Three3Deuce buries Mox Jet.
00:40:54 – Mox Sapphire is tapped.
00:40:59 – Three3Deuce buries Mox Pearl.
00:41:00 –Volcanic Island is tapped.
00:41:04 – Three3Deuce buries Mox Emerald.
00:41:11 – Three3Deuce buries Volcanic Island.
00:41:13 – Rakso buries Wasteland.
00:41:14 – Three3Deuce buries City of Brass.
00:41:15 – Rakso buries Strip Mine.
00:41:16 – Three3Deuce buries Badlands.
00:41:16 – Rakso buries Wasteland.
00:41:19 – Morphling is attacking.
The result is predictably brutal.
How much of the decklist were you able to piece together as the log unfolded? It’s not easy, and you’ll be glad to note that some of the best of Beyond Dominia took an eternity to figure it out… But it’s something you have to do on the fly when dealing with more eclectic, roguish decks like this and variants of Zoo.
Thus cleaning up beatdown demands a bit more attention than just dropping The Abyss.
This is the Funker decklist, by the way, whether you’re intrigued or dumbfounded:
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Vault
1 Grim Monolith
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Strip Mine
4 City of Brass
4 Volcanic Island
Have fun trying it out, if only to see how the key cards of”The Deck” suddenly play differently when paired with creatures instead of counters. You’ll have even more fun noting that Shane is figuring out how to incorporate Odyssey Block elements such as Burning Wish and Genesis. Funker may move closer to the German post-Judgment Tools ‘n’ Tubbies, and Shane should post something here when he has something ready for testing.
(Again, it’s mid-term season in Manila, so I haven’t had the time to test things such as Wishes and graveyard removal enough to make confident comments. I also haven’t been able to catch Benjamin Rott, a.k.a. Teletubby, for a follow-up on German TnT.)
Incidentally, one recurring problem is still how Back to Basics affects aggro decks along these lines. Shane e-mailed that the effects on The Funker and”The Deck” are the same, except one deck doesn’t have counters and has it worse.
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)