You CAN Play Type I #63: Opening Up Onslaught, Part IV – Enchantments

We begin with what was the most talked-about enchantment in Type I circles, obviously because this card has explosive potential…. But what deck does Future Sight belong in? With Future Sight in play, Academy can turn over Moxen and keep fueling cheap card drawers until it puts together the combo. But is it a good idea?

The interesting deck of last week was Oliver Daems’s version of TurboNevyn, the Type I version of the Turboland combo named after Beyond Dominia’s beloved Nevyn. Germany’s Dülmen tournament only has a Swiss portion, so he again did well in the metagame, with just one loss to a control deck he inadvertently got paired against.

Congratulations (again) to Oliver…

TurboNevyn, Oliver Daems, Finalist, Dülmen October 13, 2002

Combo (10)

4 Horn of Greed

1 Fastbond

4 Exploration

1 Trade Routes

Blue (12)

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Timetwister

2 Merchant Scroll

2 Impulse

1 Force of Will

4 Gush

Black (8)

4 Duress

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Sickening Dreams

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

White (2)

1 Enlightened Tutor

1 Abeyance

Green (1)

1 Regrowth

Red (1)

1 Fire/Ice

Artifact (1)

1 Zuran Orb

Land (1)

1 Glacial Chasm

Mana (24)

1 Black Lotus

1 Sol Ring

1 Library of Alexandria

3 Gemstone Mine

4 Tropical Island

4 Underground Sea

4 Undiscovered Paradise

4 Volcanic Island

2 Tundra

Sideboard (15)

4 Disrupt

2 Misdirection

4 Pyroblast

1 Balance

1 Circle of Protection: Black

1 Circle of Protection: Red

2 Seal of Cleansing

Opening Up Onslaught: Enchantments

Anyway, we move on to enchantments this week. The Judgment review didn’t note a lot of possibles. Raphael Caron, a.k.a. K-Run e-mailed me his notes on mono white Deck Parfait, which I’ll just quote in deference to the Pegasus Hero.

Recapping Judgment, K-Run noted,”I didn’t try Spirit Cairn at all, because I think it doesn’t fit well in the deck. Perhaps it could be better used in a different kind of deck, more based on it. I know some people worked on such a deck, but so far it’s mostly a Parfait spin-off, inferior to the current archetype.

“Test of Endurance is a fun card, but unless they decide to make a rule (not a card, as it would be too easy to disrupt) that makes you win if you reach 100 life, this is not an option for competitive play.

“Solitary Confinement looks like a neat card, but modifying Parfait to make it work would lead to a completly different deck. Once again, people put some effort in a Squee/Confinement archetype, but nothing spectacular emerged so far.”

Again, I hope you remember 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?

With enchantments and their more unique and permanent effects, we usually go for Rule #2…

Future Sight

We begin with what was the most talked-about enchantment in Type I circles, obviously because this card has explosive potential.

In what deck?

Aggro will obviously have trouble with the triple blue, and won’t have the large volume of mana needed to truly milk this. Control looks more attractive, and can use Future Sight as a funkier Jayemdae Tome.

Ben Bleiweiss named this his #2 Onslaught pick, and was thinking about control as well:”A bit costly at 2UUU, Future Sight is a potential game breaker nonetheless. Sometimes it will strictly be a personal Howling Mine when you have land after land on top. Other times it will chain a ton of Moxes, let you play a free land every turn, or sit a Mana Drain on top of your library.”

Exactly as he noted, it costs as much as a Morphling and control decks have a lot of reactive cards that cramp it.

Obviously, this is combo material.

Imagine it in something already explosive by tendency, like Academy.

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.)

With Future Sight in play, Academy can turn over Moxen and keep fueling cheap card drawers until it puts together the combo. Other combos with explosive mana engines and cheap draw like the TurboNevyn in the introduction might milk this as well.

Having established that, we move to the obvious question: Is it a good idea?

Future Sight actually reminds me of an older card, Recycle. It, too, looks like a combo setup card… But it wasn’t really used outside casual Elfball decks that set it up with cheap mana Elves, then used it to play Elf after Elf (with the help of maybe Concordant Crossroads and Vitalize) to fuel a gigantic Kaervek’s Torch. (Incidentally, it also sucked because Hymn to Tourach locked you down.)

Recycles costs six mana, and Future Sight costs five. Both have prohibitive colored mana components.

If you look at cards that set up combos from Fastbond/Exploration in TurboNevyn to the venerable Squandered Resources in ProsBloom, the common denominator is that they’re cheaper than the cards they set up. If you really think about it, by the time you have the mana and cards to set up Future Sight, you can probably set up the combo without it, anyway.

Thus, Ben’s high rating was justified… But we just don’t know what to do with Future Sight. Of course, someone might, eventually, if you remember how long it took people to fit engines from Necropotence to Mind Over Matter.

Future Sight is certainly something to explore and have fun with. Samuel K (surname withheld), a Swedish high school sophomore, confounded me one practice match when he started dropping Ornithopter, Roterothopter, Phyrexian Walker and Kobolds (Kobolds of Kher Keep, Crimson Kobolds, Crookshank Kobolds). I thought it was a Kobold-combo that killed with Coat of Arms or Overrun, but his engine was fragile and I never saw it.

In our last game, he finally topdecked his key card… Future Sight. He said,”Okay, you win, but can we pretend you don’t have that Force of Will and Mana Drain?” Being a sport, I agreed, and he drew twenty or thirty cards off it, stopping only after we computed that he had enough mana to kill me.

The kill card deserves praise: Vitalizing Wind.

Mana Echoes

Following the same logic as above, this seems a bit pricey to use as a setup card. Maybe Samuel found it went with his Kobolds, though..

Oversold Cemetery

This is a spin-off of an older card, Oath of Ghouls. Used in the original reanimator context, it looks slower than that one, since reanimation-based decks are more than capable of filling their graveyards. In any case, Judgment forced everyone to start running graveyard removal, so that’s not an attractive choice at the moment.

It might be an interesting sideboard choice in a limited capacity, though. As Jarrod Bright e-mailed,”Oversold Cemetry is just nuts in Type 2, providing a way of activating Zombie Infestation en masse, as well as an one-sided Oath of Ghouls against Control decks. In Type 1, I expect a few Sui-Black players will mess around with it before they realize that four creatures is a lot.”

It’s not as though mono black is overflowing with sideboard options, though, so you may as well try it, especially against narrower, less-cerebral control decks like mono blue.

Enchantress’s Presence

This is actually the Onslaught enchantment with the most potential, since it fits snugly into Type I Enchantress (based around the terribly annoying Argothian Enchantress that only got better under Sixth Edition rules). I’ll let developer Dan Rosenheck, a.k.a. CooberP, do the honors:

“Onslaught provides the biggest boost for Enchantress since Invasion’s Sterling Grove made the deck’s creation possible.  The deck has always wanted one or two more Enchantresses, and these are searchable and protectable with Sterling Grove, cantrip off of Argothian Enchantresses and each other (if running multiples), recur with Replenish, and increase the deck’s enchantment count. The addition of Presence means that the Enchantress effect is now a focal point of the deck, which it should have been all along, and gives Enchantress more raw draw power than any deck in the format (and therefore any format) besides Academy. Two Presences is the right number – but the deck is so tight I can’t find room for more than one now.”

Words of Waste, Words of Wilding, Words of War, Words of Wonder, Words of Wisdom

Obviously, these are incredible when used with draw effects. Since you’ll win the game if you get a million-point Stroke of Genius to resolve, these are best with cheap draw effects – most obviously Sylvan Library.

The question is, how do you use them? Adding Words of Wilding to a deck with Sylvan might overwhelm someone midgame, but it could well be chaff when it doesn’t come together. Trying to pair Words of Wisdom with Yawgmoth’s Bargain isn’t as good as it looks, either, since Bargain usually owns when it drops. Heck, K-Run quipped,”A nice card in a Zur’s Weirding deck, a bad one in Parfait. Heck, we don’t even have proper card drawing, so we’re not going to reduce the already low number of cards we draw…”

When you think about it, drawing already wins by itself, so you’re hard-pressed to justify sacrificing card slots to try to change what you draw. These cards have been intentionally made to be cumbersome with combo decks, too.

So far, CooberP is the only person I know who’s found a nasty use for one of the Words:”The raw power of Mind Twist made it tough to leave out of Enchantress… But it wasn’t really in flavor, as it couldn’t be Mana Drained into, searched, or recurred, and it was a one-time rather than continual effect. What the deck really wanted was Disrupting Scepter – but besides being an artifact, the three mana required to Scepter mainphase was mana that couldn’t be used to cast spells and draw cards. 

“On its own, WoW (as I have affectionately nicknamed Words of Waste) is decent – it’s card parity once it hits the board, and can be useful when you’re drawing cards off of Enchantresses and want to make your opponent discard their hand to force through a Replenish. But where it becomes an absolute beast is in combination with the deck’s staple card, Sylvan Library. Enchantress always has a Sylvan on board (with three copies and four tutors), and with three mana you can make your opponent discard three cards a turn, every turn, while still drawing cards off of your Enchantresses. With two Sylvans, of course, it’s five cards a turn. This is the consistent enchantment-based discard threat Enchantress has always wanted.”

Dragon Roost

Darren Di Battista, a.k.a. Azhrei, Magic’s other dragon lord, has put together a mean mono red combo that thoroughly owns aggro and is hard to beat with control given its maindeck Pyroblasts. He’s promised to unveil it about half a year from now, but so far, it’s winning 85-95% against all the major archtypes in testing.

I promised not to reveal the kill card; sorry. You’ll just have to guess on your own for half a year.

Lightning Rift

Cycling doesn’t look a lot more useful with Onslaught. Trying to be creative, Spencer Bogan (a.k.a. Pheddlegrif on the Star City boards) e-mailed:”When I saw this card, the first thing that came to my mind was 1 mana cantrip Shocks. So I started brainstorming ideas with a Fluctuator/Lightning Rift base. I started thinking about just using the best Urza Block cyclers combined with the one good Onslaught cycler (Complicate), so here is my rough T1 Cycling deck.”

Unfortunately, we agreed that his combo was simply worse than the more familiar Haunting Misery kill (play Fluctuator, cycle your land and twenty creatures into the grave, assemble Miscalculations, kill).


A lot of Type II articles are talking about this right now, but any Type I control kill has to hurdle the Morphling standard: This one doesn’t. And even then, its grandfather Kjeldoran Outpost is uncounterable and now has Teferi’s Response to back it up.

In other decks such as combo and non-blue control, it doesn’t beat its more explosive predecessor Sacred Mesa in decks geared to use the token producer.

For Deck Parfait, K-Run noted,”A new Sacred Mesa? Not really. While the absence of an upkeep cost is attractive, the Soldier tokens simply fail to do what Sacred Mesa is feared for: Laugh at Morphling. Granted, a Mobilization with Humility in play is better than the Pegasus Crafter – but we don’t want a conditional ‘better,’ right ?”


My old Beyond Dominia sidekick has a final word for Parfait fans:”This is a Moat-wannabe similar to No Mercy, as you still have to take the damage at least once. Strictly inferior to Humility and Moat.”

Astral Slide

Some people opined that this looked good if you could build a deck around it, like something with old 187 creatures like Uktabi Orangutan. Assuming it’s a fast and efficient enough concept, you still have to note that the present Survival of the Fittest-based decks have shifted from utility to aggro thanks to Mishra’s Workshop (this is the German Tools ‘n’ Tubbies, or TnT, deck).

Sigil of the New Dawn

An uncommon attempt at white card advantage, it’s still a slow card that fails to speed up White Weenie. Sorry..

Overwhelming Instinct

This is just to note the seeming de facto shift of the Ophidian ability to green. Of course, if you’re thinking about this for multi-colored weenie, consider that if get three creatures to stay on the board, you won’t have a lot of time to enjoy the cards you draw – since you’re probably winning.

Shared Triumph

I don’t know about the more current formats, but this is the pump card a lot of theme players will enjoy. Hey, maybe they’ll recycle Slivers in Legions, considering we just saw a stray Rebel in Onslaught…

Grand Melee

I’d like to ask the heirs of Anthony Alongi if this might as well be a suicide note in multiplayer. I don’t know… It looked cute.

Gratuitous Violence

Anyone notice that they tend to stick the corniest names in red? Anyone remember Need for Speed? (The card, not the video game.)

Well, that’s it for this week, which happens to be the home stretch of my final exams. Incidentally, I overlooked something with Voidmage Prodigy. As Randy Buehler pointed out, Meddling Mage is a two-power-for-two-mana Wizard, and Shadowmage Infiltrator is another Wizard dangerous on the attack.

K-Run also noted that he didn’t bother to discuss Weathered Wayfarer in the creatures section:”Unless you have Sol Ring, Mox Pearl, no lands, and a dumb opponent, you won’t be able to recurse that Strip Mine too often with Soldevi Digger.”

Hope you enjoyed the cameo appearance of enchantment fans Raphael and Dan.

Oscar Tan

rakso on #BDChat on EFNet

University of the Philippines, College of Law

Forum Administrator, Star City Games

Featured Writer, Star City Games

Author of the Control Player’s Bible

Maintainer, Beyond Dominia (R.I.P.)

Proud member of the Casual Player’s Alliance