Primer -- Stacker by JPMeyer

Beyond Dominia: The Type One Magic Mill: Primer -- Stacker by JPMeyer

By Rakso, Patriarch & Rules Ayatollah (Rakso) on Thursday, November 08, 2001 - 02:45 am:

The Facets of Designing a Type 1 Deck
By JP Meyer (originally posted on Star City)

Yes, I’m yet another Beyond Dominia denizen who’s decided that they need to write an article on Type 1 for Star City. I built Stacker 2, the mono-red Teletubbies deck featured in Darren Di Battista’s last article through a fairly standard system for building Type 1 decks. However, Type 1 decks are built much differently than decks in other formats. I often post decklists at BD that are untuned and a bit sloppy (at the time,) yet are fairly successful in their earliest incarnations as they follow these points:

For reference: Stacker 2: The World’s Strongest Fat Burner

10 Mountain
4 Mishra's Workshop
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
5 Moxen
3 Cursed Scroll
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus
1 Grim Monolith
1 Memory Jar
4 Goblin Welder
4 Juggernaut
4 Su-Chi
2 Masticore
1 Karn, Silver Golem
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chain Lightning
4 Blood Moon
1 Wheel of Fortune

4 Red Elemental Blast
3 Ghitu Fire
3 Anarchy
3 Keldon Vandals
1 Cursed Scroll
1 Black Vise

The Only Good Artifact Deck Is Academy (TOGADIA)

4 Juggernaut
4 Su-Chi
4 Duress
4 Force of Will
4 Mana Drain
1 Mind Twist
2 Diabolic Edict
1 Memory Jar
1 The Abyss
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Tinker
1 Time Walk
1 Timetwister
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Stroke of Genius
4 Underground River
2 City of Brass
4 Underground Sea
4 Mishra's Workshop
4 Wasteland
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Strip Mine
1 Sol Ring
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Jet
1 Mox Emerald
1 Black Lotus

2 Masticore
1 Karn, Silver Golem
2 Misdirection
1 Tormod's Crypt
2 Annul
1 Icy Manipulator
2 Diabolic Edict
1 Jester's Cap
2 Gainsay
1 The Abyss

Part 3: Threats

While combo decks are weak in Type 1 due to the restriction of tutor cards and the large number of control decks, most decks in Type 1 have a very pronounced fundamental turn that gives most decks a “combo-esque” feeling. By turn 4, Suicide Black has overwhelmed you, Sligh has burned you out, or Keeper has completely shut down your creatures with The Abyss. This facilitates the need for fast, disruptive, or durable threats. Fast threats are those such as Jackal Pup, Phyrexian Negator (with Dark Ritual,) or Juggernaut (with Mishra’s Workshop.) Each of these cards is capable of doing significant damage before an appropriate answer is found. Disruptive threats are those such as Hypnotic Specter, Gorilla Shaman, and Meddling Mage. These disruptive cards make it more difficult for the opposing player to remove them or to win (whether literally or figuratively.) The last set of threats are durable threats. These are the cards like Morphling, Blastoderm, and Cursed Scroll that allow one to win around an opponent’s defenses.

Stacker 2’s threats attempt to fit into each of these categories. Originally, Teletubbies decks (like TOGADIA) only ran Juggernaut and Su-Chi. Juggernaut and Su-Chi are both fast (when Mishra’s Workshop is used) and are unaffected by The Abyss and to some extent, Powder Keg. However, they die to all artifact removal and many creature removal spells. Goblin Welder is also very easy to kill. However, it is EXTREMELY disruptive. It negates the effects of nearly all non-mass artifact removal by swapping the targeted artifact for a dead one (optimally a used Black Lotus or Memory Jar) and even makes Moxen into must-counters, as they can simply be Weldered into dead creatures. The final main threat is Cursed Scroll. Cursed Scroll allows the deck to win in situations that would normally cause Teletubbies to scoop, the most common being a Moat or Oath of Druids. The fact that TOGADIA has roughly half the threats of Stacker 2 (8 as opposed to 18) is probably what caused Adam Duke’s condemnation of the deck.

Part 2: Bombs

One exciting/frustrating (take your pick) aspect of Type 1 is the ability to completely swing games with one or two cards. “Hymn, Hymn, I win!” can be completely counteracted by using a Mystical Tutor to search for Balance. One of the most common examples that I see on Beyond Dominia of not utilizing bombs is the usage of Price of Progress instead of Blood Moon in Type 1 Sligh decks. PoP is a very powerful card in Extended. Therefore, most believe that this should hold true in Type 1. However, while PoP is dangerous for many decks, Blood Moon is game-winning almost every time if it hits. A turn one PoP does at most two damage. A turn one Blood Moon many times elicits a confession. Blood Moon also lets a Sligh deck win even when cards such as CoP: Red are on the table.

When building Stacker 2, I attempted to include as many bombs as possible. Blood Moon has already been mentioned, but Goblin Welder and Memory Jar, two very powerful cards on their own, become almost game winning when combined. TOGADIA posses a single bomb, The Abyss (I neglect to call Memory Jar a bomb in this deck as it is the ability to recur it that makes it insane in Stacker 2.)

Part 3: Restricted Cards

First off, you cannot simply throw the entire restricted list into a Type 1 deck. Most of the cards simply do not fit into most decks. Good examples of this are cards such as Hurkyl’s Recall, Berserk, and Balance. Hurkyl’s Recall is only useful in Academy. Balance only really works in control decks. Berserk is dead outside of beatdown. All of the cards on the restricted list are there because they are broken in certain situations, but very few of these situations occur regularly. Only a select few, such as Demonic Tutor, Regrowth, and Ancestral Recall are always good. A good rule of thumb involving restricted cards is the amount of play they receive (or received) in Extended. Crop Rotation, Mox Diamond, and Voltaic Key were rarely played in Extended and are also rarely played in Type 1. Demonic Consultation and Necropotence were heavily played in Extended and are also very powerful in Type 1.

The only restricted cards in Stacker 2 are the Moxen, Black Lotus, Strip Mine, Tolarian Academy, Wheel of Fortune, Sol Ring, Grim Monolith, Memory Jar, and Black Vise (sideboarded) for a total of 13 restricted cards, a mere 27% of the restricted list. These cards weren’t included simply because they were restricted, but because they provide extremely powerful effects within the deck. The mana artifacts are need to allow the deck to cast a 4cc artifact creature on the first turn. Adam’s Teletubbies deck also utilized only the best restricted cards in his colors without adding extraneous or sub-optimal ones. We also left out other powerful mana-producing artifacts, such as Thran Dynamo and the restricted Mox Diamond, Mana Vault, Voltaic Key, and Lotus Petal. This follows into part 2.

Part 4: Mana

Nearly every Magic player understands the concept of the mana curve. The mana curves in Type 1 decks aren’t so concrete. The prevalence of Moxen and other strong mana artifacts allow for strange mana curves. Take the mana curve for Stacker 2:


A mana curve like that in any other format would be insane. The effects of Mishra’s Workshop and mana artifacts allow for the large holes at every point but 1cc and 4cc. The subtly different mana for Teletubbies actually makes it significantly worse. The 10 additional Wasteland-able lands (over Stacker 2) make it a reality that the deck may have its first non-Workshop land Wasted and delay the deployment of an artifact creature to turn 3. It also makes Back to Basics go from a backbreaker IN the deck to a backbreaker AGAINST the deck.

This article came about almost primarily from the last bit of Darren Di Battista’s article. Any idea you have for a Type 1 deck will work if you work at it enough and use the proper parameters. Hey, it turned a deck that I have seen scorn for matched only by Dan Paskin’s dislike for Ponza into one of the more feared decks on BD. I truly believe that the reason that so many people are turned off by Type 1 is not by the expensive cards, but by the fact that they simply are applying the rules that hold true in the other constructed formats because they don’t know any better.

--JP Meyer
jpmeyer on IRC

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