What I’m going to do in this article is canvass the rules for running a Type One tournament: what you should do, what you must do, and what you should avoid. In the process, I’m going to argue for what may seem to be a pretty radical position in terms of how to run one. I haven’t spent time on these subjects before because they are bristling with controversy…
My purpose here is to present what I believe to be the gold standard for Tendrils-based combo at the moment. If you enjoy absolutely wrecking people as much as I do – instilling fear and intimidating based upon the strength of your deck, I present…
The basic elements of the metagame at the moment, are first, blazingly fast Aggro in the form of Madness and Workshop-based decks such as TnT and Oshawa Stompy, as well as regular Madness; second, Workshop Prison decks; third, Aggro-Control decks that are usually Fish or Dryad based; fourth, Control decks like Tog, Keeper, URphid, and Landstill; and fifth, Combo decks like TPS, Twister.dec, Dragon, and Rector. This metagame, in other words, has five major points – and multiple axes.
As for why Tog is the best deck in the current metagame, you’ll just have to read it.
Many Type One players scan new spoilers lists in eager anticipation as a young child might await Christmas morn. Some Type One players are patient; they prefer to wait for an accurate spoiler list in order to carefully read every card, analyzing how to break each new Type One playable. Other people, like myself, wait in apprehension. We want bombs and generally useful cards, but we don’t want cards like Mind’s Desire. But what exactly is Trinisphere you ask?
In the course of the games I have pulled from testing, I’ll explain how the”Who’s the Beatdown” articles written by Flores and Mowshowitz pieces tie into this matchup, and I’ll explain how this matchup plays out, and the ways in which the both decks struggle to win. I’ll conclude with an examination of potential changes both decks may decide on, in order to improve the matchup.
In September I drove to Akron, Ohio and played in a Beta Mox tournament, which I won handily with Long. Then, November 2nd I flew to Kansas City, Missouri to play in a Power Blue tournament. First place was Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, and Timetwister, while Second place was a Mox Sapphire. I was going to wait to present this report after December 1st, if the DCI decided not to Restrict Lion’s Eye Diamond because I was going to do another article series updating the deck and going into more detail on how to play it.
That’s kind of moot now though, so you get two tournament reports instead and more thoughts on 2003 and Long.dec.
While we need to turn the corner to see what’s up ahead, a look back will keep things in perspective and help crystallize the lessons we’ve learned along the way, and tie up some loose ends. Type One has gone, in one year, from being a dead format to being a playtested and supported format. Starting with Aaron Forsythe’s article at the beginning of the year in which he asked the Type One community what should be unrestricted, the DCI has been listening.
Now we look forward at the 2004 metagame. The restriction of Long has certainly opened up the field for many decks. However, two cards are going to become central to the 2004 Type One Metagame: Mana Drain and Mishra’s Workshop. Multiple decks will be running both cards and using them for nice tempo boosts, which lead to unrecoverable game states. These two cards will define the metagame and the decks built around them. In actuality, Mana Drain is probably going to see three to four times as much play as Mishra’s Workshop in top 8s, simply because of availability. Nevertheless, both cards should be watched carefully.
Metagame/hate decks are something I never recommend for the reason that they aren’t very powerful – and even if they are, they usually don’t even approach the power level of the targeted decks. Despite effective hosers, the lack of inherent power is most visible in match-ups outside the scope of its hate. Another risk is that you may not even play the deck you are supposed to be hosing. The second reason is that in degenerate formats, more powerful decks have the best chance of just being more broken and faster than another incredibly powerful deck.
I was looking forward to Extended Season, perhaps breaking out some old favorite from last year, or a build that did well at Worlds. New Orleans changed all that. I’m going to enjoy this Holiday treat that ends January 1st and I hope you will too. People have complained loudly about the format, and now they have their wish. Take advantage of the opportunity to play with some disgusting decks in a competitive environment before the bannings take effect.
After a dozen test games, I came to some preliminary conclusions which held true. Spoils of the Vault was amazing in a MaskNaught deck. Furthermore, in many ways, a budget build of this deck gets some huge benefits against certain matchups. One of the more frustrating aspects of Type 1 tournament play is that the people who own power have the best chance at winning more power and thus expanding their collection. Well, this deck gives all you budget players an excellent shot at those prizes, too.
I think the common perception going into this month is that Welder Mud, Keeper, and Dragon are the only viable decks. The picture as I now see it is far more complex. It may be presumptuous to say it this early, but I don’t think any more testing is going to get me much further, or lead me to a radically different answer: We have one of the most balanced, complex, and interesting metagames I have ever seen in Type One. With that said, let me show you two updated builds of Keeper and a new, Chalice-proofed Sligh!
Type One is becoming more and more in its dynamics like Type Two, and some Type One players don’t like it. What it really boils down to is that a good many players have invested in a format they thought was casual – and although they built good, competitive decks, tested them and tuned them, even went to GenCon to play it out, what they now have come to realize, is that Type One has finally arrived, and it wasn’t what they bargained for.
Nick Eisel says:”Even if you don’t play Vintage, reading Stephen’s articles will arouse your brain and get you involved instead of the usual zombie-like state that is achieved after reading another mundane Magic article. The format he uses to get this information into that mode of thinking is superb and I’d personally like to compliment him.” And given that Nick’s such a fan, shouldn’t you take a look at the third installment of how to play a deck that’s so fast that games only go to turn 4 once in every twenty games?
Chalice represents a fundamental change in Type One that few cards have ever made. No single card that I have seen since I started playing again, not even Fact or Fiction, have had this sort of impact. This card is going to enter the format in way that will shape deck building for years to come, much like the cycle of Onslaught fetchlands. But unlike the fetchlands, Chalice forces decks that don’t use it to adapt. Moreover, this card affects Type One at every level and in every archetype. Combo, Aggro, Prison, all forms of Control and everything in between will undergo a huge transformation as a result of Chalice. But what will that transformation look like?