You CAN Play Type I #92, Part I: Mana Drain To Be Reprinted In Eighth Edition

Each year, I put off the scheduled column for a week and sift through reader mail a second time. Today’s the day. I’ll answer questions on the Type One World Championships, defend my dislike of Back to Basics yet again, and try to calm Anthony Alongi the heck down.

Each year, I put off the scheduled column for a week and sift through reader mail a second time.

Today’s the day.

For those of you who were with us from the start, the very first”You CAN Play Type I” was web-published on June 5, 2001 and entitled “Why you shouldn’t Force of Will a Channeled Fireball”. It was a reaction to a terrible but colorful article about Type I and first-turn kills (followed by the author claiming no one in the world understood what he was talking about, since he was trying to say nice things about the format).

We’ve come a long way since then. Beyond Dominia has long since vanished into Archive.org, Wizards is more vocal about giving Type I support, and international circles are simply more active than they have ever been in the past. And, I’m now halfway into law school.

In that first column, I ended:

“But again – look past the Moxen, people. Sentiment alone would not keep us playing, and one just has to appreciate the infinite variety and much slower pace of card rotation that differentiate Type I.

“More on this beautiful intellectual challenge in future columns, if the Ferrett allows. ;)”

Ah, have I really been writing for two years?

(Please note that I usually request for the full names, locations and rough ages of everyone who corresponds with me. This is part of the reason.)

The man who mised Type I speaks

Nun, ja es überrascht mich doch sehr das gush restricted wurde. Die Gush/Fasbond Engine ist zwar schon stark,  aber nun nicht so stark wie necro oder ähnliche Karten. Aber  im Endeffect ist es mir egal denn es gibt noch 10000 weitere Karten und es macht immer Spaß neue decks zu bauen.


This is a note from German mad genius Roland Bode (who was, incidentally, also Kai’s Round 1 opponent at German Nats) regarding the recent restriction of Gush.

He declined to give a translation and is probably laughing right now. All I have is his word that those aren’t just instructions to free German porn sites. (If they are, please send the translation.)

(From Dictionary.com:

(Now, it surprises me nevertheless much Gush restricted became. The Gush/Fastbond engine is of course strong, but now not as strong as necro or similar maps. But in the Endeffect it is me all the same it gives still 10000 further maps and it makes fun new of deck to always build.

(I bet it sounded better in the original German – The Ferrett)

The Type I Grand Prix


 Apparently there is a worldwide Championship for Type 1.  I say this, as Pat Chapin was alluding to such a tourney in a comment in your articles.  Was he joking?

If not, how does one qualify and where would this tourney be held?  Is it part of Worlds?

Alec Buscemi

I saw your references to this in your latest article.  Was it a joke or is this a real event?  If it is a real event I can’t find anything online about it.  Do you have a URL?

Richard Clyne

Uxbridge, Middlesex, United Kingdom

It all began when Mark Rosewater was globally flamed (“Deconstructing [author name="Mark Rosewater"]Mark Rosewater[/author], June 24, 2002) for saying that Patrick Chapin and Quirion Dryad had single-handedly changed the Type I metagame. When the dust cleared, he took the criticism well and Wizards reviewed their treatment of Type I, a format that many of the game’s earliest customers play.

One proposed reform was to hold a Type I Championship, and 75.6% of voters in a MagictheGathering.com online poll supported the idea. The idea will push through, and the”Type I Championship” will be held in this year’s GenCon (July 23-26, Indianapolis Convention Center) as part of the Tenth Anniversary celebration.

(And StarCityGames will be covering it live, incidentally – The Ferrett)

I refer to it as the”Type I Grand Prix” because it was scaled down from something as pretentious as”Type I World Championship.” It isn’t anything like the real Worlds in the sense that there are no qualifiers or nationals to feed it, and anyone can simply walk in. Looking at it from another angle, a lot of Type I players won’t be able to make the trip, from those who live in distant states to those who live on the other end of the Atlantic Ocean. Indeed, it takes more than one Type I tournament to establish some kind of pedigree for its title – giving a nod to the German Dülmen, for example.

Again, my sentiment is that Type I support should start simply from the bottom, and not put the cart before the horse. I feel that Type I should be made more accessible with smaller store-level tournaments and commemorative proxy decks like the World Championship ones. When players have ready venues within blocks (as opposed to chipping in for gas to Indianapolis), that’s when a”Type I Championship” will have more meaning.

Regardless, Wizards is really lending its support to the event, so I hope it has a credible turnout (no Invincible Counter Troll flukes, please). It will be held on Saturday at 10:00 a.m.

Obviously, I can’t go since I have class on the other end of the world, so make me proud.

How Wishes changed Type I control

What are you wishing for? I saw that you didn’t main deck Fire / Ice anymore, so that could be one. All I can get is an extra Swords to Plowshares, since I hardly ever play against control. That is just not worth the extra Cunning Wish. Perhaps you use the third mostly because of the mirror matches?

I also took a look at them figured they where to expensive. Could be wrong though, and there is always Mana Drain. ; )

Peter Bokhorst

Rijsenhout, The Netherlands

Peter here is twenty-nine and married with two kids, and began playing in 1994.

When Wishes first came out, everyone was trying to use them like classic tutors, especially to fetch restricted cards (today, people like Mike Long are still trying to follow up on that angle, with Burning Wish going for Yawgmoth’s Will and Mind’s Desire). “Stop Hyping the Wishes” (May 14, 2002) pretty much discredited that strategy and proved that they didn’t need to be restricted themselves. In a nutshell, without counting cumbersome tutor chains, having four Wishes doesn’t add that much to a deck’s normal tutor complement.

With the focus on breaking restricted cards, though, people at the time focused much less on using the Wishes for simple flexibility. With the restriction issue out of the way, though, we soon discovered why we wanted three or four in”The Deck” and similar builds.

Ironically, StarCityGames writer David Bruce was more correct than we all thought when he compared Cunning Wish to Spite / Malice. In Type I, in fact, that’s pretty much its main function. Long-time players will feel a big difference in Game 1, since it’s like having three extra Swords to Plowshares against aggro and aggro-control before sideboarding, or three extra counters (Red Elemental Blast) against blue-based control and combo. This is significant even in casual play, and a doubled spot removal complement prevents stray but embarrassing losses to random beatdown.

Flexibility is something every control deck needs, since they has the inherent problem of possibly drawing the wrong solution in the wrong situation, and losing with cards in hand. Another nuance is that you can now keep some creature removal in Game 2 against combo, in case it sides in more creatures. Also, you have the Steve O'Connell move, combining Cunning Wish, Basic Island, and Blue Elemental Blast against random Blood Moon plays. Note that with this Spite/Malice, at least, you can pay three out of the four mana in advance, end-of-turn.

After Swords, REB and BEB, you get the more specialized cards if you have openings later. Skeletal Scrying can break control mirrors wide open, and is great against aggro-control since it can’t be Misdirected. Ebony Charm, Shattering Pulse, and Allay (and even vanilla Disenchant) have their individual uses, but collectively stave off German Tools ‘n’ Tubbies. You also recycle cards removed from the game like counters or Ancestral Recall, if they’re there.

There are a few less common tricks, like Gush in response to Wasteland and the recent possibility of Stifle. I posted a more comprehensive list last year in “The Control Player’s Bible Part VI.1: Cunning Wish and the Core Extension (December 19, 2002).”

The fetch lands

Hi Oscar,

Just wanted to know what’s your latest impression of the new mana base with the fetchlands? I still see the problem that they strengthen opponent’s Wastelands, what is your opinion on that?

Roland Pache

They actually help against land destruction since they have to wait for you to sacrifice the fetch land before they can use it. This means you will get at least one mana out of the dual land and they cannot rob you of an early land drop by hitting the fetchland (they will have to hit something else if they want to, and you’ll still get to pick a color later on).

Moreover, if you’re short on land, you can trade uncastables for land using the Brainstorms the fetchlands come with.

Enlightened Tutor

Hello mister Oscar Tan,

Though I am not a Type 1 player, I enjoy reading your columns for the interesting reasoning you provide us with. I find some of your judgements and arguments useful in constructing decks in the more affordable formats.

On your last column, I have a question for you. You argue, that
Enlightened Tutor must remain restricted to prevent a Necropotence deck splashing white. This may well be be true. However, why is it, that no Necro decks splashing white run rampant with the unrestricted Academy Rectors? Instead of spending W for the tutor and BBB for the necro, why not pay four mana right away for a rector? Against decks with Swords it may be advisable to lead with Cabal Therapy – and if the coast is clear, play the Rector and sac

it for flashback. You can also get
Yawgmoth’s Bargain instead of necro. Maybe this is a dumb question, but keep in mind I am no type 1 player.

Another thing that puzzles me, is the fact that replenish and survival needed to be banned in extended and are unrestricted in type 1. Why is there no Pandeburst or Survival (full english breakfast or other) in Type 1?

Best regards,

Peter Verboven


Well, there is a”Necro” deck running rampant right now, and you’re absolutely right that it uses Academy Rectors and Cabal Therapies (plus Illusions of Grandeur and Donate for the kill, which works even if Rector comes out with a low life total).

Pandeburst uses more expensive spells in at least four colors and falls short of the efficiency of alternative combo decks, and it’s now vulnerable to the graveyard hate used against TnT and some other decks. Full English Breakfast in Type I is actually your countryman Carl Devos’s Vengeur Masque (with Illusionary Mask). I posted a decklist in “Looking at Legions, Part III” (April 4, 2003).

Time and tide wait for no man…

Hey Rakso,

Read your article 91 on StarCityGames. Am also a working ex-Magic player (and an ex-Manila dweller, as I have recently moved outside the country to greener pastures). This was of special interest to me because I have always loved combo, and have been experimenting with a Standard build Mind’s Desire deck that can reliably”Upheaval” the opponent by turn 6 on a stormed-up Fissure. Not sure what it means metagamewise, but the storm mechanic is really sick and could get out of hand.

I’ll be submitting a decklist-ish article to the Ferrett (my first… wish me luck!). I’m looking forward to when Scourge becomes legal… Unless they come up with further restrictions or bannings. Good luck with the whole UP Law thing.


London, United Kingdom

This was one of the first responses to “Sifting Through Scourge Part II: The Storm Mechanic” (May 29, 2003). Sadly, all I can say to my countryman at this point is… Too late!

It’s very interesting how fast DCI moved on this problem, and we all hope they show the same quality attention in the future. My only bone is that we also wish they’d be a bit more transparent with respect to Type I since there are far less tournaments, and it’s not as self-evident if a card really needed to be restricted. I tried writing a few people there, but received no replies.

More on Storm

Just read back through your latest article on the now nerfed Mind’s Desire deck, and noticed that you’d missed what I considered to be the best answer that control/the deck has against Mind’s Desire going off. Surely the appropriate wish target when facing down a Desire Deck doing the do is a Brain Freeze of your own. Let them do the hard work of getting enough spells played to go off, and then respond with your own Brain Freeze to effectively counter their critical-mass Desire by milling their entire library.

This is all probably moot given the restriction of Mind’s Desire now, but I feel is worth bearing in mind as it will probably still rear its ugly head in one form or another, and will definitely be about in Extended.

What are your opinions on Brain Freeze as a wish target in general for against combo/control? With Will etc about I am inclined to think that if it doesn’t end the game its probably not a great plan, but my experience with the deck vs combo is limited to say the least.


Tim Willoughby

TimsWheel on EfNet mIRC

This was another of the earliest responses to the above article. I opined to Tim that my initial guess of something like Stifle or Orim’s Chant would’ve been the best answer to an uncounterable Mind’s Desire. You couldn’t let him get the first one set up the combo, since by the time you went for your Wish, he should have turned up all the Forces of Will in his library. You also can’t use Brain Freeze in response to the first Desire.

Now, you might also use your Wish in response to his first Desire and then have Brain Freeze ready. There are still problems because you’d still have to cast Ancestral Recall (Stroke of Genius is probably too tough) on him after the Brain Freeze (remember it will only cause him to lose next turn, when he has to draw), and he can still counter that.

The last possibility is to Brain Freeze without being able to mill away his entire library, but that’s just gambling that you can mill away his victory conditions, assuming he hasn’t turned one over anyway.

All this is now moot, but it’s still a lot of creativity on Tim’s part, since this kind of brainstorming is the source of all good tech.

This does lead me to note that there is a higher priority on countering Wishes in combo decks now, an important new exception to the general rule that you don’t bother with tutors and go for the card itself so he wastes more mana and so it can no longer be topdecked later. Cunning Wish can fetch Brain Freeze and Burning Wish can fetch Mind’s Desire or Tendrils of Agony.

So I don’t know if it’s ironic, Tim, but I think your train of thought may end up being explored by combo players.

So Do We Like Eighth Edition?

Mr. Tan,

I can only assume that you’re being swamped with replies about your article,

“The Death of Art”, so I’ll make the points that are most useful to you,

first.  I …

… thoroughly enjoyed the read.

… agreed with you about half the time.

… play Magic non-competitively, and have been familiar with it for eight


… just turned 26.

… also have only read one article on Star City Games, thanks to a link at

MiseTings.com.  The feature links listed on the right of your article

probably won’t gain my attention.

If you’re still reading, I’m flattered.  I’m not much for statistics,

myself.  I had hoped for a chance to deliver a more personable evaluation.



The two cards that you being the article with – The
Library of Alexandria and Time Walk – actually appealed to me THE MOST of all cards demonstrated in the new format.  Quite amusing, since I’m sure that wasn’t your intention.  I’m not new to the 8th Edition presentation, thanks to the efforts of MaRo and other www.magicthegathering.com regulars, so my reaction wasn’t a gut one.  Neither was it formed for me, by said articles.

Your words stoke my own nostalgia for the good OLD cards.  Seeing your points made me nod and smile a lot.  I could see that the changes really detracted from the effect of some cards; most notably, the
Mox Sapphire.  Their worn look really does make a wizard more wizardly.  Looking back at the Time Walk, one can’t really swallow the argument that”More space has to be devoted to the card art,” and these frames are the Redemption that heralds this type of improvement!

But … damn … That rules text sure looks good …

I’m waffling, friend.  Looks like that’ll have to be my”official” position.   There are just as many positive points for the average card in the new design, as the old … and as such, I would not oppose the change.

I wish to offer you words of consolation, though.  You seem to maintain respect for Wizards, and some of their capacity to listen to fans, despite your severe grievance with this latest change.  Count on that, for the reasons you mentioned.  Count too on the suggestion that even the most influential members of R&D regularly reflect on their mistakes.

Should the new frames be found to be a mistake, it would be a hard one to reverse, thanks to the Marketing engine and the effort put into Design and approval.  This sets nothing in stone, however.  The people in power may decide that the changes remind them what they liked most from the Old.  A compromise could then be found – and though compromise rarely works out for the best, it often exercises the better, putting all ideas involved … in

the running.


James Pede

This was a response to “The Death of Art” (January 31, 2003), and a pretty good letter to reread. Again, the reasons for the cardface change were all sound, but the bottom line is that the Windows boxes and overly metallic look take away too much from the fantasy genre for me, to the point that they almost no longer look like Magic cards.

We’ll see very shortly whether we were overreacting again, but one thing’s for sure: I’ll smack all the blue Type I players who cave in and shell out for foil Merchant Scrolls! (Yes, some players I know are secretly hoping that Mirrodin and all future expansions will have no Type I playable cards, so they don’t have to use the new card layout with their Beta cards.)

(Does this mean that any Type I promo cards like, say, alternate art Black Lotus are going to be in the Eighth Edition layout?)

The Expected Stompy Question

Hey there, Mr. Tan.  I just had a quick question concerning Stompy.

Looking through past editions of”You CAN play Type 1,” I found a few articles relating to Stompy, and how it performs in the current metagame.  However, from those articles, it seemed as though playing Stompy had somewhat become a lost cause as it lacks necessary removal elements many of today’s top decks possess. 

Although the Type 1 metagame where I live is somewhat powered (the majority of the”powered decks” I see are German TnT variants, although there’s a small up-and-coming group of Growing Tog advocates), I’ve had marginal success with my Stompy deck (which is essentially the same as any Stompy deck, with the exception of Cursed Scrolls maindeck over Null Rods, wihch are sided.) 

So I suppose my question is as such: Is it worth it to play Stompy, or has it become a lost cause?

Thank you.

Rick Ahrens

Buffalo, New York

I last posted a Stompy deck in “The Control Player’s Bible XXVIII: The Aggro Gauntlet, Part I” (January 23, 2003).

Stompy, Oscar Tan, January 2003 Gauntlet deck

Creatures (28)

4 Rogue Elephant

4 Skyshroud Elite

4 Ghazban Ogre

4 Quirion Ranger

4 Druid Lyrist

4 River Boa

4 Elvish Spirit Guide

Pump (12)

4 Giant Growth

4 Rancor

4 Bounty of the Hunt

Others (4)

3 Null Rod

Mana (17)

4 Land Grant

1 Black Lotus

1 Mox Emerald

11 Forest

Sideboard (15)

4 Rushwood Legate

4 Hidden Herd

3 Hidden Gibbons

4 Naturalize

Unfortunately, Rick is right, and there just hasn’t been a lot going for Stompy, which you don’t even see in Extended anymore. In fact, especially with Wizards swearing off good green weenies, the only thing it got from recent expansions is Naturalize.

Stompy has an elegant, interesting development, but also a very narrow one. The moment it loses its hopes of overwhelming an opponent on the board, it loses since it has no other strategy. You don’t even have cheap card drawing available, since the closest is Sylvan Library.

Against non-weenie aggro decks, you have a problem because Mishra’s Workshop makes their Turn 1 and 2 creatures bigger than yours, and the same goes for the main aggro-control decks (Psychatog, Quirion Dryad, Phyrexian Dreadnought).

Against control decks, it’s suddenly harder to rush them Game 1 between multiple Cunning Wishes and multiple Brainstorms. Game 2, you at least have Naturalize over Emerald Charm, which helps with Powder Keg and The Abyss, but you still don’t have much. If your opponent still sideboards Pyroclasm (or even Perish), that’s tough.

Finally, against combo, your creatures simply don’t matter, and your only hope of racing is an early Null Rod to stall artifact mana producers.

Nevertheless, many Stompy builds you see on the Net have subtle issues, usually in the creature selection or the overload of creature pump, as more comprehensively discussed in “The Control Player’s Bible XX: Head to Head: Stompy” (April 29, 2002).

I think Brian, however, had an even more subtle issue. It takes four mana to reliably use Cursed Scroll each turn in Type I, three to activate and one to play the card you topdecked. Stompy, with eleven Forests, is geared to work with only two. Don’t worry, since building experience to spot these more subtle problems is part of your growth as a player.

Strategy, Schmategy

Hi Oscar, just writing to let you know that while I am a huge fan of your series and a big proponent of Type I play in general (despite being to ghetto poor to afford any of the power nine or even Mana Drains 🙁 ) you did make a critical error in your latest article when you claimed that Necropotence was the most broken card in the history of magic.  That is just patently untrue, as that distinction belongs unequivically to Contract from Below.  Get it right 🙂


This was a response to “The Control Player’s Bible XXXII: What IS Aggro-Control?” (May 9, 2003).

Many less experienced players still dispute that Necropotence is the strongest card ever printed, with the likes of Ancestral Recall, Library of Alexandria and Yawgmoth’s Will distant runners-up. Since you only need to stay at one life or higher to win, Necro draws you nineteen cards.

That said, okay – I stand corrected!

Type I on mIRC

Hey Oscar,

I love your Type 1 articles and posts, both from BD and on StarCityGames. I haven’t become too involved in either, but I would like to start playing Apprentice Online. I downloaded both Apprentice and mIRC, but am having trouble finding people to play with. If you have the time, would you mind playing a few games with me and giving me some pointers on both Magic and Apprentice? Thanks a lot,

Kevin Cawley

I’ve received similar letters, and I hope you all don’t mind, but having a full-time law load, student organizations, and part-time jobs don’t make for a very regular Magic play schedule.

I told Kevin that Type I online play revolves around the EFNet mIRC channels, mainly #apprentice, #themanadrain, and the now closed-off #bdchat, the original channel for Beyond Dominia old timers. For the unfamiliar, the most common Type I program is Apprentice, available from www.e-league.com. No, it’s not Magic Online, but it’s free.

I’ve actually met (and successfully identified) some people who wrote in. You might remember Lars-Mikael Wiksten from Finland, the new college freshman and Type I neophyte who tested a”The Deck” build against a draft Mind’s Desire list in the Storm feature (“Sifting Through Scourge Part II: The Storm Mechanic”, May 29, 2003).

Ego Pricking Time

Hi Oscar, this is Jeff from Southern California. Mediocre rating, excellent 1.x combo player, not much else. No matter, I just wanted to tell you I appreciate your articles with a relish no other writer satisfies. I would not call you humble and sometimes it seems you rush to conclusions regarding new card impacts; however, that does not take away from your excellent style and demonstrated knowledge.

What is important in a writer in this venue is the ability to communicate with the scrub masses without coming across with a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Most of the so called ‘pro’ writers are so concerned with building an image and reputation that they lose track of the fact that this game is a social mechanism no matter what level. They invariably lose the trust of the ‘scrub masses’ due to arrogance, disdain, whatever.

If this encouragement plays any part in your continuing to write for us this note has done it’s job.

Keep up the good work. I’ll drop another line when I have the equipment I need to Take You On!

Jeff Burstein

Haha, touché, Jeff!

Yeah, reader feedback is something to live for (thought the modest material payback I get every so often helps too). My apologies if I sound condescending sometimes. It’s a combination of having moderated Type I forums for years and answered every new visitor question there is (yes, the words”Arcane Denial” inspire murderous rages), and writing articles after coming home from Law classes.

That said, I guess I’m glad I can keep the interest of the”scrub masses.” Since I have no time to play in tournaments, I’m absolutely sure I have no image or reputation to protect! So thanks, man.

Misetings We’re Not…

Sorry if I sound confused – with the internet writing on the game at such an abysmal low these days, its hard to tell what’s real, fake, and a complete joke!

Christopher Bagemihl

This was part of the laughs from the fake article, “[author name="Mark Rosewater"]Mark Rosewater’s[/author] Monday Column Leaked!” (July 12, 2002)


Hi Oscar,

Here’s hailing from your neighboring country, Singapore. 🙂

I have been tinkering around in the Type 1 and 1.5 environment for a while, and after reading, thinking and analysing your book,”The Control Player’s Bible,” it set me into thinking, and trying out”The Deck.”

Problem is, I started in mid Revised, and do not own many of the power cards. Anyway, a deck list first, and let me explain my problems, hopefully, with answers from you.

(decklist omitted)

If you noticed, first off, there’s no Ancestral Recall. I can’t afford one. To compensate, I attempted using Shadowmage Infiltrator instead. Sometimes it works very well, sometimes it works fine, but so far, never dismal. A problem is that Shadowmage Infiltrator runs contrary to the Drop of Honey. Against white weenie, Shadowmage Infiltrator usually dies first. In general, card drawing is a problem for me. The current card drawers I have, Fact or Fiction, Braingeyser, Stroke of Genius and Sylvan Library usually aren’t enough. I don’t consider Yawgmoth’s Will and Regrowth as card drawers, since I don’t gain any card advantage.

Some options I have considered to replace Ancestral Recall are, Inspiration and Prosperity. Prosperity was quickly dropped, since I give the opponent the same number of cards and that usually gives me little advantage. While I give myself more tools, I’m giving him more weapons too. Inspiration works well, at times. Most of the time, I feel the pain at needing 4 mana to power this card. The few times I proxy Ancestral Recall, I do notice a very huge difference with Ancestral Recall and Inspiration. First, three vesus two cards, and second, one versus four mana. And, because of that, I dropped both. What do you think? Should I continue to tinker with Inspiration and try to develop a feel for it? Are there any substitutes which you think might fit in?

Other problems. Beatdowns really beat me down. Often, I am forced to tutor for the Drop of Honey, and put it out, but the opposing Beatdown player would then go on a pause, beat me up with what’s left, let the Drop of Honey die and then bring on new beats. Tutoring for Teferi’s Moat has been more successful. I’ve played much better games when I tutor for Teferi’s Moat against a beatdown. Question is, why hasn’t anyone played Teferi’s Moat in”The Deck”? It’s 3UW, which makes it similar to the Moat’s casting cost of 2WW, since Moat requires WW, and in my opinion, is a bigger strain on the mana base than UW. Is a converted mana cost of five much harder than four? So far, in my playing experience, five is harder – but when compared against 2WW and 3UW, I found 3UW to be easier, given my mana sources. I can try to tinker about, adjust for more W mana, and proxy Moat, but with the current build, when I proxy Moat in, it hasn’t been as successful as Teferi’s Moat. One gripe about Teferi’s Moat is that it’s a one-color Moat, and that’s burnt me a couple of times, but not that often enough to cause me worry (One additional concern is that, I haven’t played against anyone playing Masticore, so Masticore might burn me more than I wish for.) What’s your opinion, Drop of Honey, how would you have played this? Teferi’s Moat, is it far inferior, or acceptably inferior?

Meanwhile, bring on more Type 1 articles, and don’t just focus on The Deck! I love reading them and would always enjoy more ideas on playing Type 1, be it casually or competitively.

Christopher Chew


I hope Chris doesn’t mind my publishing the letter, but I think this is a very vivid glimpse of the dilemmas faced by budget players, and an illustration of the issues I addressed in “When Second-Best Stinks” (December 10, 2002). Remember, unless you began playing in Alpha days (and I didn’t), we were all there once, and we all grappled with the same issues.

Basically, you cannot replace the power cards one-for-one with other cards since most of them are so unique they are in a class of their own. Replacing them this way sends a domino effect throughout the deck and disrupts a lot of synergy. Again, this was what Steve Frohnhoefer over at Inquest Gamer recommended (you know, Time Warp for Time Walk), and they still haven’t gotten back to me about the allegations of plagiarism from back when Beyond Dominia’s Primer section was still up (“The Inquest Idiocy Quiz”, April 8, 2002).

I think it’s the synergy problems that hurt Chris against beatdown, for example, though these are not easy to spot. His deck actually had three Moxen and three Mana Drains, but no Ancestral Recall and Teferi’s Moat and Drop of Honey over the traditional choices. The lack of Ancestral means you have no early boost against aggro, and every card from Merchant Scroll to Yawgmoth’s Will gets weaker. I actually recommended just adding extra spot removal slots or alternatives like Oath of Druids to compensate for the loss of early power, going for consistency over explosiveness.

Ancestral, again, is simply irreplaceable.

I think the rise of Cunning Wish and Brainstorms is good news for budget players, though, since these add a lot of consistency and are easily used without power. Cunning Wish and fetch lands are still more accessible than Moxen, at least.

Also, Planar Portal was something Chris toyed with as an experiment. It’s a bad card, but even worse in a slower budget deck. You spend one turn’s worth of mana to play it, another turn’s worth to activate it, and still another turn’s worth to play your card. With those hidden costs, you’ll realize that you need quantity over quality by the time you can use it, and a card that’s not dead in hand before that point.

Dictionary nitpicking


Regarding the quote:

“People would do well to take a page from Bennie and talk about casual play without the picayune, random comments.”

Picayune?  PICAYUNE?  Listen, bub, take your Spanish half-pennies and cram ’em where the galleons don’t shine.  Phhhlbt.

My picayune, random comments are carefully crafted digressions that NEVER (except on rare occasions) detract from the central message of the article (or email, or novella, or other artfully crafted prose-based masterpiece).  I am, if nothing else, all about (though perhaps not entirely…more like a 99.44 sort of thing, like Ivory Soap back when they ran commercials on Ivory Soap…do remember those ones, where the bar of soap would float…goodness gracious, I’m dating myself) focus.

Much love,

Anthony Alongi

This was a reaction to “The Initial Judgment, Part III” (July 1, 2002).


A glimpse into Mark Rosewater mailbox

Dear Oscar,

The recent changes to the banned and restricted list have caught me quite off guard and have prompted me to write to you. As I am an avid reader of your thoughts on Type I and recognize your talents in that arena to be excellent – I would ask that you critique the following letter that I have drafted to MaRo himself Mark Rosewater and to toss any thoughts you may have back my way.

The text of my letter to MaRo follows:

Dear Mr. Rosewater,

This message is in reference to R&D’s recent decision to restrict Gush and Mind’s Desire. While I would say that I support and applaud your decision about Mind’s Desire – I must call into question your decision about Gush. While I certainly agree that Gush’s disadvantages can be turned into advantages, are any of those advantages so great that this card must be restricted? This card is not an automatic four-of in every deck that can run it. It is not breaking open the Type I metagame.

So players can gain mana from intelligent use of the card. This gain exists in isolated circumstances and in decks designed to use them. To quote Oskar Tan”This is type I, broken things happen.” If Hurkyl’s Recall can exist in a an environment with every artifact that makes more mana than it costs to play without serious damage then how can Gush be so bad?

My number one reason as to why Gush does not need to be restricted is that it does not reduce player interaction, or lead to degenerate games. I feel that the other motivation to restrict Gush is the variety of Psychatog decks running around the type 1 and 1.5 metagame.

While I agree that”Growing Tog” is a significant deck in the metagame – it is not degenerate. It is my belief that a card which has existed for three-and-a-half years without a problem is not an issue. Gush is not a broken card, it is a strong card – but it is not over-powerful. If Gush was fine until a certain Atog was printed, then why is it Gush’s fault that it may now be too good? I feel that this is similar to the case of restricting a variety of cards during Necropotence’s heyday, but not stopping the problem until Necro itself was restricted.

Necropotence won games. Its card drawing for life is a huge card advantage engine – and if a Type 1 deck cannot win after drawing up to a third of itself then it can’t win. Gush provides two cards for the cost of one, and while in a ‘Tog deck it also provides a +3 to said Atog, this is ONE DECK. If there is no answer in the metagame to ONE deck then take out that deck by restricting its cornerstone – not a peripheral card. This has precedent (Tolarian Academy, Replenish); and is certainly an acceptable decision if a metagame cannot cope.

The Metagame is coping. Tog in all its variations is never unbeatable. Gush is not the culprit. Please unrestrict it.


Adam Stimatz

This is a very well-written letter, and I hope that it received due attention. Sadly, though, there simply isn’t any consistent stream of communication with the people at Wizards, and it’s just hard to tell what exactly they consider when they make restriction decisions.

We have to admit that as much as they have a newfound concern for Type I, they do not have the resources to playtest the interactions of new cards with every other card ever printed, and we doubt that they even have staffers who are familiar enough with all the archtypes. The most I can do is ask people like Adam to forward replies, if any.

I discussed the Gush restriction extensively in “It’s Official – Roland Bode Broke the Metagame!” (June 4, 2003). Again, while hitting Gush is justifiable, no one knows for sure if it was the best choice, or if it was a”Dark Ritual over Necropotence” mistake. Thus, Adam’s premises (and anyone else’s) may be completely wrong, yet a letter this well-written may actually become the basis for a restriction without our knowing it.

Again, kindly forward your letters or publish them at StarCityGames, so we can make up for some of the lack of transparency from our end.

A glimpse into Mark Rosewater mailbox, Part II

Thanks a bunch Oscar. I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t taking what I have gathered about type I and Magic in general and spouting off like a ninny. Grand Work with the columns – I love to read them. Also – you may want to smack the author of a recent StarCityGames Article who claims that Mind’s Desire doesn’t need to be restricted. I’d love to play some apprentice with you some time (though I’m not quite sure how to get the stupid thing to connect to an IP addy instead of dialing a number).

Best Wishes

Adam Stimatz

P.S. What aspect of law are you specializing in? I always see you mention law school in your writing but I don’t remember you saying what part of law you’ve picked (or maybe you just haven’t yet).

Heh… I think Adam was referring to Mikey Torrisi’s “Get out of my metagame!: The Mind’s Desire and Gush bannings” (June 3, 2003). Mikey Torrisi, a.k.a. Spikeymikey from MTGNews, made the following points:

  • Gush didn’t need to be restricted; hell, Ichnuemon Druid hoses it.

  • Mind’s Desire definitely didn’t need to be restricted because it cost six mana, which is a bit too slow in Type I.

  • The metagame will always correct itself; hell, Necropotence was even reprinted for Type II.

Mikey has contributed colorful articles before, and he’s personally unforgettable because he once flamed me for saying that Psychatog was a good Type II deck.

Anyway, sadly, I think Adam and I are both firewalled (we have a home LAN) and may never get an Apprentice game together. As for Law, I won’t pick a specialty until I pick out electives next year and I really don’t have anything in mind. I double-majored in Management Engineering and Economics Honors and my undergraduate thesis was on APEC Free Trade. I might go into corporate and commercial law to build on my first degree’s foundation. I once listened to the Philippine SEC chair confess that more commercial law specialists were needed in the country and they had to bring in a Filipino-American lawyer to help with stock manipulation prosecution, and I find the details of these things interesting (well, anything with”scam” is usually interesting, right?).

I also work as the research assistant of our dean, Dr. Raul Pangalangan, and he specializes in International and Constitutional Law, both very rich fields.

More on Growing ‘Tog


 I’ve read several of your Type I articles on StarCityGames lately and found them fascinating.  The question I had for you was regarding the restriction of Gush.  What do you think Gro decks should use/do to replace the card?  It seems so integral as it’s an easy way to try and nab a well-timed Force of Will, pump up the Dryad for free, or help out once you’ve plopped down a Winter Orb.  What do you think?  Thanks in advance.

Eric Harris

I don’t have an answer – and I doubt anyone else has a solid one, either. The closest thing the deck has to cheap blue card drawing is Accumulated Knowledge (and Intuition). You can look at more seemingly-distant choices like Survival of the Fittest, since AK pushes you towards the control build anyway.

What’s sure is that your creature base and aggro-control strategy are intact, and you can still capitalize on that.

Dromar’s Charm

It needs more testing, but I have faith in the card. It’s good in so many circumstances, I just needed to pitch it to Force of Will twice, and had it in my hand two other times when I was winning.

Gijsbert Hoogendijk

Sing it, brother!

Back to Basics

Hey Oscar,

I just finally got caught up on my internet reading for the past two weeks, and managed to read some of the rebuttals to your article (
Back to Basics).  I don’t know if I was off-base or not, but the more opinions I read, the more I couldn’t help but start to wonder if I actually read the same article they were talking about.  I could be totally wrong, but I thought they missed the tongue-in-cheekiness of some of what you were saying.

Man,”Everything you say can and will be used against you” doesn’t only hold in the police world. I’ve been having the some of the same problems myself.  Nevermind comprehending the context — you said”such-and-such”!

On the plus side, at least you get lots of attention :).


Laura Mills

P.S.  But you have to admit, you were vote-mongering in the last Writer’s War 🙂

This was a comment on “Boot the Back to Basics?” (July 22, 2002).

I still maintain that hosers with the nature of Back to Basics and Blood Moon are as inane in Type I as Rishadan Port was in its Block Constructed, especially now that fetch lands and duals coexist only in Type I and I.5.

The most ridiculous example, for me, is that something like mono white Deck Parfait now sideboards a single nonwhite card – and it isn’t even Ancestral Recall. Regardless of the opponent’s deck’s structure, it could lean on Blood Moon when matched up against Growing ‘Tog, Worldgorger Dragon decks,”The Deck” and many others.

Having a single card to help against aggro-control, combo and control? While it may improve some archtypes’ matchups, it certainly does not inspire improvements in deckbuilding skills.

Again, you already have so many nonbasic hosers down to Price of Progress. You don’t need something that can turn games into real coin flips.

Back to Basics, Part II

Hi Oscar,

By the way, your last article about Back to Basics was so wrong I was shocked. Was it attempting to start a discussion by provoking people? I can’t believe someone who has written such consistently great strategy articles can believe such nonsense.

Surely a land that, on its own, is clearly better than a basic land needs to be balanced by some disadvantages. Wasteland is not enough. Not all decks can run Price of Progress.You can argue that Back to Basics should be Green, but it is a solid hoser like
Circle of Protection: Red, Compost, Chill, Gloom, Scald, and Null Rod. I can’t see Back to Basics being that good against two-color decks anyway. It only really shafts 3+ colour decks. Name a tier 1 deck, multicolor decks are not weak. If BtB were restricted it might well force most decks to run 4 Wasteland which is not a good sign.

The change that is needed is to increase the competitiveness of aggro which will hurt the tier one decks which will in turn allow various combo decks to be competitive. What is aggro’s biggest problem? Keg. Only Keg can halt Stompy, Sligh and I guess WW if anyone wanted to try that (Okay, so
Balance can stop them, but you get Mind Twisted and most of your lands disappear). Restricting Keg would instantly shake up Type I, clearly making aggro better but without crippling any deck except monoblue which would also get hit by your suggestion anyway.

Please explain what effect on Type I you would foresee if Back to Basics were restricted and what would be the effect of restricting Keg.

Bye for now

Daniel Saunders

Well, to put it briefly, I think you can work around Powder Keg by simply not overextending. Also note that aside from weenies, Powder Keg does affect Phyrexian Dreadnought.