There’s a saying that comes up around New Year’s: Out with the old, in with the new. No way, man! Here on the Magic website, it’s in with the old as Type 1 Week marches on. (Or is that Classic Week? No, wait, Vintage Week? Original Recipe Week?)
Since it includes every card ever printed (except ante cards and flippy cards), Type 1 is a deep, diverse topic for me to explore. So first up, a new beatdown deck using all Mirrodin cards! What? It’s Type 1 legal... once you remove the Chrome Moxes. OK, OK, I’ll play nice. But Type 1 has a different meaning to me than it does to most deck columns. I don’t consider “Type 1,” “Extended,” “Standard,” and the like to be tournament formats. Rather, I just see them as card pools. As you can tell from my decks, I’ve always been a lot more interested in oddball ideas and surprising twists than in tournament viability. I do expect my decks to win a reasonable percentage of the time against other casual decks. I do not expect my decks to show up at Pro Tour – Cheesequake. It might seem odd that I nevertheless label each deck with its appropriate tournament format, but that’s just to indicate how recent, or how extensive, the card pool it’s derived from is.
I’ve also received some flaming flames of criticism over the past near-year for including too many Standard-legal decks in this column. This is a casual column, so I can use any cards I want, right? There are no restrictions, so shouldn’t it be Type 1 Week every week? Nah. It wouldn’t take too many decks revolving around rare centerpieces from The Dark before I alienate a lot of readers who don’t have access to those cards. It’s a reasonable assumption that everyone reading this column is playing Magic now. You (yes, you) almost certainly own Mirrodin cards, and you probably have a good chunk of Onslaught block cards as well. This column is primarily about creativity, ingenuity, and sarcasm, and only secondarily about actual card combos. Everyone’s card pool is different. If I show you what a goofy combo built into a robust deck design looks like, you’ll be better able to build your own using your unique, personal collection. This is also the reason that even when I list an honest-to-Ihsan Type 1 deck, I nearly never include high-priced rares like Ancestral Recall or Tropical Island. You probably don’t have any, and the deck works fine without them. But if you do have them, you certainly don’t need me to tell you how good they are—I’m confident you can add them in on your own.
You’re not going to see a discussion here on the crazily-named Type 1 tournament archetypes like Parfait or Keeper or Yolanda or Twinkletoes. Not interested. No, this column will be devoted to yanking old cards by their ears out of the mists of time. Imagine, wandering about in the mists of time without a scarf! They’ll catch their death of cold. Lucky for them I’m keeping an eye out. What better way to start a history lesson than with the poor, neglected ability of banding. I haven’t seen anyone talk about banding in ages. Hey, webmaestros? Would a Banding Week kill ya? Sheesh.
I love fusing new mechanics with old mechanics. Cards that weren’t expressly designed to work with each other, but fit together as beautifully as a Lego block and, um, another Lego block. Check out this action: banding... plus provoke. You know it and I know it: Your opponent is too dumb to be playing Magic. With this nifty amalgam of keyword abilities, you take over all that pesky “thinking” during the combat step. You’re just trying to help out, right? You tell your opponent how to block. You assign your opponent’s combat damage—whoops, none of your creatures died. (What’d I say? Dumb.) If you got a taste for making your opponent dance like a puppet with Mindslaver, now you can have even more control. Tighten your grip around their minds even further, and your friends will get so sick of the game, they’ll quit Magic forever! MWA-HA-HA... no, wait, don’t do that. Finding the right level of frustration to inflict is a fine art. Annoy & enjoy!
When you’re in a combat situation, sometimes there’s so much damage to distribute that one of your creatures would be knocked off despite the help from banding. We can’t have that! When Deftblade Elite isn’t around and the Giant Growth effects aren’t enough, Fleetfoot Panther can pounce in to save the day (or, at least, your injured creature).
Since there are thousands of cards to choose from, your options aren’t limited to a deck like this. I considered building a banding deck without banding creatures! Rather, it would use Baton of Morale to bestow banding on your attackers. Then you could team up a provoker with either a regenerator (Charging Troll), a rampager (Gorilla Berserkers), a rampaging regenerator (Pygmy Troll, which has pseudo-rampage), or a Basiliskish creature like our old friend Abu Ja’far.
Mike Kioski, a self-described “Johnny to the max” gave me an early non-denominational winter holiday present. In a recent column, I mocked the bad card Varchild’s War-Riders for being a bad card. (News flash: It’s not a good card!) But that just means I love it all the more (that column used the War-Riders as the centerpiece of a deck), and so does Mike. He sent me a deck that savagely abuses Rule 200.4a, an obscure bit of text that says, in part, “A token's owner is the player who controlled the spell or ability that put it into play.” So all those 1/1 Survivor tokens the War-Riders chased over to your side of the table? You may control them, but Mike owns them. He’s just letting you borrow them for a sec, because when he plays Brand, he gets them all back.
That’s not even the most brutal interaction. Brand steals the tokens created by Haunted Angel, Afterlife, Liege of the Hollows, March of Souls... and Mogg Infestation. When Mike follows up Mogg Infestation with Brand, his opponent has zero creatures while he has 2 1/1 tokens for each creature his opponent used to have. Plus all the creatures he already had, of course.
Mike also wants to give a big thanks to the designers, developers, and templaters of the new Despotic Scepter, Tel-Jilad Stylus. Since it affects permanents you own—not cards you own, not permanents you control—it’s a handy way to dispose of self-created enemy tokens when Branding them isn’t viable. The deck also packs Fire Ants and Simoons as even more 1/1 token answers. It seems like a fine plan—those War-Riders keep making more and more tokens each turn!
As with most decks I receive, I recommend including more lands, especially when some of the lands already in there are Lairs. But I haven’t played with the deck and Mike has, so I haven’t changed it from his version. I also recommend having the relevant section of the Magic Comprehensive Rules available, because your opponents won’t believe you when you tell them their Spirit tokens really belong to you!
Y’know what would be awfully cool? A deck revolving around a rare centerpiece from The Dark
. I think everyone would really appreciate that. The card in question is the mondo bizarro Psychic Allergy
. It’s your typical blue damage-dealing enchantment that requires hefty land sacrifices to keep it on the board. All that talk of the Color Pie that Rosewater does in his column? It’s to prevent eye-popping head-scratchers like this from showing up again.
How can you induce the biggest Allergic reaction from your opponent? The easy combo is Shifting Sky. Choose the same color for both enchantments and you’re set—if your opponent has enough nonland permanents. If not? Then you’re in trouble. If only there were a way to change all those bland, colorless lands your opponent’s got into vibrant Technicolor vistas. It’s tough to do; Magic doesn’t tolerate colored lands very well. Prismatic Lace will do it… once. Luckily there’s now a way to turn instants into recurring effects. I think by now you’re all familiar with Isochron Scepter.
I know from the mail I’ve received that you folks love your Scepters nearly as much as British royalty does. But most of the suggestions have been pretty tame. Isochron Scepter plus Boomerang? Way too obvious for my tastes. Isochron Scepter plus Time and Tide? Now that’s more my speed. You’ve got to buy to time while changing all your opponent’s lands red (or white, green, or anything else), and phasing out all creatures turn after turn is a deliciously annoying way to do it. You could use Fog or Holy Day or any of a raft of other options to negate the combat step, but this method is monoblue, eradicates tokens, and makes people look up the phasing rules. (You still have the Comp Rules from the token deck, right?) Now that Mirage block is banished from Extended, it just couldn’t be Type 1 week without phasing.
Want more? As long as you’re stalling, searching for combo pieces, and wielding Isochron Scepters, you could do worse than to include Impulse and Counterspell in your deck. Myself, I like Memory Lapse in the Scepter. I forget why. (That was a joke about *gasp* a memory lapse! Get it?) Lapse in the Scepter gets surprisingly close to Time Walk if your opponent does something foolish like cast spells. I also like Blue Elemental Blast. With the Blast in one Scepter and the Lace in another, you can get the guns blazing away to destroy any permanent you don’t like. You won’t win with Psychic Allergy that way. Instead, you’d have to take the excruciating tactic of slowly decking your opponent without the help of any milling cards whatsoever. You’d probably have to Memory Lapse your own spells to prevent yourself from running out of cards first. But what’s your landless, creatureless opponent going to do about it?
Hold on a sec, though. How many Isochron Scepters do I have in this deck? Seven? Well, yeah. Four of the real thing and three Copy Artifacts (or Sculpting Steels, but that’s so much less Type 1-ish). Since your intent is to only play copies of instants, and hopefully not any instants themselves, Energy Field is a fine way to keep yourself alive until you can slap down some Allergies to deal, say, 7 damage a turn. Psychic Allergy will break the Field one way or another, but hopefully by then things will be well in hand.
Those of you with encyclopedic card knowledge might cry foul. Couldn’t I accomplish much the same thing by using the readily accessible Eighth Edition cards Karma and Mind Bend? Mind Bend in the Scepter will eventually change all of my opponent’s lands (or enough of them for Karma, at least) into Swamps. No muss, no fuss, no Island sacrificing, and perfectly Standard-legal. To you nitpickers and naysayers, I only have one comment: Don’t you know this is Type 1 Week? Why would I make a Standard deck?
Until next year, have fun with your old cards.
Mark may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send rules-related Magic questions to email@example.com.