Rakso - have a lok at this -- Paul Pantera's original "The Deck" strategy post

Beyond Dominia: The Type One Magic Mill: Archived threads of the Beyond Dominia Type I Mill: Rakso - have a lok at this -- Paul Pantera's original "The Deck" strategy post

By BeBe, the Redeemer (Bebe) on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 02:02 pm:

Going through my old mtg folders I came across this discussion from an old forum. I can't remember our topic or where its from but I thought you might want a peek. It is one of the most complete analysis I've ever seen and I use many of his pribnciples at times to defeat Keeper today. Of course the card has changed but good technique does not. I editerd it as best i could...

Date: Fri, 18 Aug 1995 16:26:09 -0700
From: P. Pantera
Subject: The Deck

My name is Paul Pantera. I was here about six months ago - now I'm back. I've been lurking for a couple of weeks to see if there was anyone here who was worth talking to. Seems like lots of the other forums have been taken over by newbies from AOL and prodigy.

I play Type I. I will play Type II some day, but I haven't been able to buy enough Ice Age cards, and there's nothing that frustrates me more than not having the cards I want to make a deck. If you didn't figure it out from that, I'm a money player. I have every card, and I have 4 of every interesting card. I've been playing for a long time, and I spent a lot of money early on. I also bought a few people's collections.

I have won a Type I tournament and I've placed 2nd twice. That's quite impressive for the bay area because we have some of the best players in
the world here. Too bad origins wasn't closer to here this year (and too bad the world championships were Type II - yuck.)

Well, from the posts of the last couple of days I have decided that there are people worth talking to here, so I thought I'd start a discussion of Type I strategy. Newbies will want to read this as well because I'm going to go over some of the basics and some of the advanced strategies of the game.

I am now going to tell you the secret of success in Type I. Remember where you heard this. The secret to winning in Type I is CARD DOMINATION. The player who gets to draw, keep, and use the most cards wins. I didn't make this up - it came from Brian Weissman, the best player in my area. More about him later.

To illustrate this, here's a statement: whichever player gets the Library of Alexandria or Mind Twist on the draw, wins. When I first
heard Brian say this I said "yeah, right" then I started noting the draws in type I tournaments, and he was right 10 out of 10. It's amazing the power of those two cards. I can't believe they didn't remove Mind Twist, but it's less important without Moxes and Lotus.
Based on this concept, here is the tournament deck which Brian built. Did anyone read Zak Dolan's article in the last Duelist? He describes
a deck that's so defensive that the only source of damage is two Serras. This is it.

A word about Zak Dolan. He lives around here and can be seen at game stores trying to cheat little kids out of their cards. He has 0 DC points for this year because he refuses to play anyone because he loses. To this deck.

It has won pretty much every tournament in this area in the last six months. Around here, it's known as "The Deck." No one has been able
to make a deck which consistently beats it and can still hold its own.

4 Mana Drain
3 Counterspell
1 Braingeyser
1 Time Walk
1 Timetwister
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Recall

2 Red Elemental Blast

1 Regrowth

1 Demonic Tutor
1 Mind Twist

4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Disenchant
2 Serra Angel
2 Moat

3 Disrupting Scepter
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Chaos Orb
1 Sol Ring

5 Moxes
1 Black Lotus
1 Library of Alexandria
2 Strip Mine
3 City of Brass
4 Tundra
2 Plains
4 Islands
1 Volcanic Island
2 Underground Sea
1 Plateau

3 Blood Moon
1 Plains
2 Island
2 Dust to Dust
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Moat
2 CoP: Red
1 Counterspell
1 Control Magic
1 Balance

Some people play different variations. I think Brian is playing 28 land (plus Sol Ring) right now. This deck is 34/26. You do this because you almost never get a bad draw. I can't believe the people on this list saying "I don't understand how I got a bad draw - I had all 20 land in my deck!"

It's much easier to get a good draw with a Permission deck anyway. That's the problem playing direct damage or Land Destruction -
sometimes you don't draw any of the right cards, and you lose. That's why permission is so much better - as long as you get two blue, you're set for a while.

You'll notice first off that this is a permission deck. Nine counterspells in all (some people replace a counterspell with Deflection.) The main cards in the deck are the Disrupting Scepters and the Moats.

I don't know where to start. This is a lock deck - it wins by putting your opponent in a position where they're helpless. At the end of the game, you've got a handful of counterspells and a Serra Angel, your opponent has no creatures and no cards, and he's taking 4 points a
round. Even if he draws something good, you just counter it.

The point of the deck is to get your opponent with no cards. DON'T CAST A SERRA UNLESS YOUR OPPONENT HAS NO CARDS AND YOU HAVE A COUNTERSPELL TO BACK IT UP. This is NOT a fast deck.

The secret to winning in Magic, and the thing that separates good Magic players from the not-so-good is:
1) Knowing which spells to counter
2) Knowing what to disenchant and when
3) Knowing which creatures to Swords
4) Knowing where to aim the Orb
5) Knowing what to Tutor for
6) Knowing what to Regrowth/Recall

You'll notice that this deck is chock-full of these cards, which makes it hard to play. If you give a beginner this deck, they'll lose. The
guy who designed it, Brian, can beat just about anyone, any time, even if they're playing the same deck. Here are a few pointers:

1) Don't counter creatures, especially non-flying ones. Let the Swords and Moats take care of them.
2) Counter card drawing and discarding effects like Hymn to Tourach and Mind Twist.
3) Don't counter artifacts inless you absolutely have to. I'd counter a Scepter if I didn't have a disenchant because it is the enemy of
permission decks.
4) Don't disenchant moxes (unless you have Blood Moon out). Save your disenchants for important stuff.
5) Always counter Ancestral Recall, even if it's your last counterspell and you'll be tapped out.
6) Your opponent will try to bait you with spoilers. For example, he may play Time Walk hoping you'll counter it, so he can cast
something really important. Don't be fooled.
7) If you draw good cards like Time Walk or Chaos Orb, don't cast them right away. Save them to bait your opponent later.
8) Save Strip Mines to strip islands to keep your opponent from countering. Strip mines are great because they can't be countered. ALWAYS use it to get rid of Library of Alexandria. You'll want to get rid of Mazes too. Remember to use them before you Timetwister, because then you can get them back.
9) Don't play too much land - hold it in your hand. It will help alleviate the effects of Mind Twist or Disrupting Scepter. Or Balance.
10) DON'T TAP OUT! It sounds corny to leave two islands untapped so your opponent will think you have a counterspell. IT WORKS! If you want to cast a Tome or a Scepter, wait until you counter
something with Mana Drain, and use that extra mana to cast it. You'll still have plenty of untapped lands for countering (and bluffing).
11) If you're using the Library early in the game, you may have to discard. If you have a Serra, discard it. You won't need it until later.
12) Don't counter life-gaining effects. This is a lock deck - even if you're opponent has 100 life it doesn't matter - he's going to take 4 a round and there's nothing he can do.
13) If you have the Library, don't lose the use of it! It's the "I Win" card. Don't play stupid cards to get less than 7. Draw a card during your opponent's upkeep. This way, even if you have to counter 2 spells during your opponent's turn,
your next draw will bring you back up to 7.
14) Don't just leave 2 blue untapped. Your opponent could have a Strip Mine and then you're helpless. Leave as much blue untapped as possible. Discard cards instead of playing them
if you have to.

A lot of these tips can be used with any deck, and others are more specific to The Deck. But remember, you're purpose at the beginning
of the game is to rid your opponent of cards. Don't worry about anything else. Then, when he has no cards, get the Serra out. It works every time.

The other important skill is knowing how to sideboard. You don't sideboard against a certain color, you sideboard against certain kinds of decks.

Land Destruction - You rarely see good land destruction decks in type I any more because it's hard with moxes and stuff. The best way to beat land destruction is to sideboard extra land. He
will run out of cards, and he'll be helpless.
Creatureless - You rarely see true creatureless decks in Type I because they're so easy to sideboard against. Pull out the Moats and Swords, and replace with 6 useful cards!

Direct Damage - Put in the CoP: Red. If you get the Tutor, get the Ivory Tower (also called the Ivory Plower). Another good Sideboard card against Direct Damage is Zuran Orb.

No blue- Take out the REB and at least one Scepter. The Scepters work best against permission decks. They're less effective
against Weenie and Direct Damage decks.

R/G Weenie - Take out at least one disenchant (these decks rarely use any good artifacts or enchantments). Put in the extra moat, and Balance.

White Weenie - Extra Moat. Ouch. and Balance.

Big Creature (Juzam, Juggernaut) - Control Magic
Juzam - I love watching the Juzam player's face when I put down a Moat. It's great watching someone's creature kill them.

Permission - Put in the extra Tome against any slow deck, including permission decks. This will give you card advantage.

Discard - There are lots of card you can take out (usually Moat, Ivory Tower, Scepter, etc.) Put in the Tome and the counterpell. Balance also works well against these decks.

Of course decks with no basic land are victims. Sideboard in the Blood Moons instead of the Regrowth, Mind Twist, and Tutor (or something else
that's less useful against that particular deck). Use the Strip Mines to get rid of any Bsic Land they do have before the Blood Moon comes
out. Use the Dust to Dust and Disenchants to get rid of on-color moxes.

OK now that I've handed you a viable Type I deck, I need your help to try and beat it. The best I have done so far is basically the same deck, but I've taken out the Blood Moon sideboard effect and replaced it with the anti-Deck sideboard:

Sideboard out:
2 Moats
4 Swords
1 Ivory Tower
Sideboard in:
2 Island of Wak-Wak
1 Maze of Ith
3 Tormod's Crypt
1 Jayemdae Tome

I take out the Ivory Tower because all it does is give lives. You don't need lives against this deck - you need cards. If you're playing against the deck, as soon as you take damage, you're dead
meat. You're in a lock.

Tormod's Crypt works well against the deck because it effectively counter's the Time Walk/Regrowth/Recall combo. Plus, if you can
remove both Serras from the game then you've probably won. So what I'm doing here is removing his ability to do damage. But if I'm not careful he'll run me out of cards. I'm thinking about
adding a cane (I already have the Timetwister, but that's not too good because it puts him back up to 7 cards).

Other cards that work well against The Deck:

Jester's Cap - remove 2 Serras and they have no way to do damage. Might also want to remove Braingeyser to keep him from running you out of cards.
Black Knight
Order of the Ebon Hand - Protection from White (can't be Swordsed)
Mountain Yeti
Homarid Warrior - Can't be Swordsed (if you're careful)
Scavenger Folk - It can destroy artifacts and it can do a point of damage
Eternal Flame - This is my new favorite card. Since this is a slow deck, I think you could make a deck where you could get out 10-15 mountains (maybe with Blood Moon) and use Eternal Flame to do a bunch of damage, leaving lots of mountains untapped for REB/Pyroblast.
Abyss/Preacher/Seasinger - All of these need to be dealt with before he can cast a Serra, but it's usually not a problem because the Deck can win a waiting game.
Chains of Mephistophles - Shut down the card drawing ability of the deck.
Black Vise - Terrible against permission decks like this. It's always the first thing to get Disenchanted
Monsoon - Expensive but good. It makes him think twice about sideboarding his disenchants for Dust to Dust. Only problem is, how are you going to play Type I without Blue? You'd have to use all IA multilands I guess (don't count as Islands).

Amnesia - I once got beaten by a deck exactly like this except that it had Sedge Trolls instead of Moats and Amnesia/Mana Short combo instead of Scepters. You cast something and leave 2 blue untapped. During your discard phase, he Mana Shorts you. Now you're tapped out and he casts Amnesia. Game over.
Psychic Purge - You can choose to discard the Psychic Purge when he uses the Scepter on you - ouch for him. You don't see it very often though because it's such a weak card on its own. It's good combined with Library of Leng too, but you'll never see that in Type I.

All of the creatures have the problem that they don't fly, and are therefore shut down by Moat.

Let me know if you think of any other good cards to help me beat The Deck, or if you have a good deck concept which you think can win.
In the future I'll talk about deck building strategy, because most of what I've talked about here is playing strategy.

Also, if I go to a tournament, I like to jot down a few notes about some of the winning decks, and post a "tournament report." These were very popular. It'd be good if other people started doing this
as well.


By Benjamin Rott on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 02:17 pm:

Very interesting.

Nice idea to post this old article. You can see how much has changed since then (most notable Force of Will, I think) and what remained the same (Same principle of gainig card advantage and then finally killing with a creature (nowadays it´s not Serra but Morphling).

I liked this post alot


By meh on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 02:48 pm:

force of will hadn't been printed yet.

By Ufactor (Ufactor) on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 06:50 pm:

you pointed out that this articles is what your stragety for beating keeper is based on-How?

By Matt the Great (Matt) on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 07:48 pm:

Monsoon, duh.

Homarid Warrior is SO yesterday's morphling.

By BeBe, the Redeemer (Bebe) on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 08:57 pm:

Ufactor - The article is describing how control decks are played. Mr. Pantera duid not haver the pool of cards we now enjoy so his cjhoice of defenses is way off. However, we can look at the deck and see its weaknesses.
Keeper has evolved from the deck. It uses more non-basic land and a wider assortment of key spells. Discard,ld and speed are your best attacks. As the article points out this deck is slow at times. It also relies on key cards. By removing the ability to play these cards quickly you can put them on a clock.
Look at your sideboard in Keeper heavy environments. I like to side a few special in my black deck. Nether Spirit and two Contaminationa are an example (Negators are always main).
Blood Moon, B2B, Contamination, are a few examples of useful cards.

By Rakso, Patriarch & Rules Ayatollah (Rakso) on Tuesday, December 18, 2001 - 11:49 pm:

Bebe: This is the original post by Paul Pantera, which was later archived on The Dojo by Frank Kusumoto and then on MTGWord by Nate Heiss.

I'll be including the full copy of Frank Kusumoto's compilation when I compile my "The Deck" articles.

Of course, the Zak Dolan note was left out of the repost. ;)

By Mako Satou, Rose among the thorns (Mako) on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 11:00 am:

I really miss the days of Serra Angel. I have two nice Beta ones that have been retired to my binder. They printed Foil Serra's after Morphling was printed I have a pair of those as well. Reminds me of my college days when we would sit for hours in the anime club watching anime and playing magic cards with no sleeves on the carpet in front of the huge TV.

Flipping the Chaos Orb was so much fun but I was pittifully bad at it it would like fly off to the right or something and it would be so funny.

I didn't play red blasts thinking they were too situational and I liked my 1 fireball, burning people for the win was quite common back then.

Mako <--- dances in the sweet memories XD

By BeBe, the Redeemer (Bebe) on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 01:48 pm:

Ahh... I knew Paul wrote it but I could not remember where I got it. I know I've had it since 95/96. It was in the same folder as Vercursion :)
It does bring back memories doesn't it?

By Bob Bastards on Wednesday, December 19, 2001 - 04:29 pm:

Question. Is Paul Pantera the same guy who own CollectMart.com? It's such a great site with some cheap T1 card...
Just to know...

By Dozer (Dozer) on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 04:22 am:

I wonder how that build would fare against a contemporary Keeper? I think I'll build this and pit it against my own Keeper. Just to see how it was like in the old days I do not know...
For that matchup, I'll replace two swords with Tormod's Crypt and Jayemdae Tome, though.


By LoA on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 01:30 pm:

I loved that deck. The "classic" configuration, if people are interested (post-Ice Age, Chaos Orb banning) was this:

2x Counterspell
4x Mana Drain
1x Ancestral Recall
1x Timetwister
1x Recall
1x Time Walk
1x Braingeyser

2x Red Elemental Blast

1x Regrowth

1x Demonic Tutor
1x Mind Twist

2x Serra Angel
4x Disenchant
4x Swords to Plowshares
2x Moat

2x Disrupting Scepter
1x Jayemdae Tome
1x Zuran Orb

4x Tundra
2x Volcanic Isalnd
4x City of Brass
7x Mox.Lotus.Sol
1x Library of Alexandria
4x Strip Mine
4x Island
3x Plains

SB (slightly varied, I only remember mine from memory)

2x Red Elemental Blast
1x Moat
2x CoP: Red
1x Jester's Cap
3x Blood Moon
1x Tormod's Crypt
1x Ivory Tower
2x Divine Offering
2x Mana Short

By Nick Franceschine, the Loremaster (Nick) on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 07:23 pm:

Yeah, it's the same Paul Pantera at collectmart.com - he figured out how to make a living at this game.

By BeBe, the Redeemer (Bebe) on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 07:33 pm:

He was making living playing money games before that :)

By AsiD_ReiGN on Thursday, December 20, 2001 - 08:48 pm:

Somebody brought up a Chaos orb comment here, and for whatever odd reason, it reminded me of a very funny situation. Have you ever considered this:

TEAR UP YOUR CHAOS ORB, toss it up, and it will land all over your opponents cards. Nothing illegal about it, check your rule book. A friend of mine had this happen to him WAY back in the day, and I thought it was funny as all hell.

Anyway, just a completely unrelated comment basically.

Great post by the way, I enjoyed it.

Aspiring Mono-U player,

-Fact or Fiction? We will live yet! Have no fear! Mono-U will triumph over all!-

By Gzeiger (Gzeiger) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 12:40 am:

We've all heard the urban legend :p but if it had ever happened to me I would
a) blow on the pieces so they landed all over HIS cards (check your rulebook on THAT one),
b) point out that many of the pieces did not in fact flip the full 360 degrees, or
c) point out that his deck is now illegal (below 60 cards and not the deck he registered).

By Rakso, Patriarch & Rules Ayatollah (Rakso) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 01:15 am:

You do know the ruling that you can't interfere physically with the guy flipping the Orb, but they ruled you could try to make him laugh and miss...

By Rakso, Patriarch & Rules Ayatollah (Rakso) on Friday, December 21, 2001 - 01:18 am:

You do know the ruling that you can't interfere physically with the guy flipping the Orb, but they ruled you could try to make him laugh and miss...

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