Proxy Tournament Report -- Second Place

Beyond Dominia: The Type One Magic Mill: Proxy Tournament Report -- Second Place

By CooberP, the Aura Fracturer of B2Bs (Cooberp) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 01:58 am:

I got home after a long night of partying at 4:15 and woke up six hours earlier, still drunk and MISERABLY hung over, off to take trusty Academy into a field I believed to be full of beatdown decks with a Mox Ruby as the prize. Redman and I got the 11am bus up to Concord, NH, and got to the store at about 12:45. For those pesky control players, I pack my sideboard with all sorts of nasty anti-control hate. I don't have Candelabras, which is troublesome. Zherbus, who was running the tourney, let me proxy one of them since he had a friend who had one he could lend me that didn't show up till later, so I stuck a second Abeyance in the other slot.

My decklist:

Draw (17)
4 Meditate
4 Impulse
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Braingeyser
1 Frantic Search
1 Timetwister
1 Wheel of Fortune
1 Windfall
1 Memory Jar
1 Time Spiral

Mana Accelerators (7)
4 Helm of Awakening
1 Fastbond
1 Candelabra of Tawnos (should be 2)
1 Mind Over Matter

Disruption (6)
4 Force of Will
2 Abeyance

Search (4)
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Tinker
1 Crop Rotation

Utility (3)
1 Time Walk
1 Regrowth
1 Capsize

Mana (23)
5 Moxen
4 Gemstone Mine
4 City of Brass
2 Undiscovered Paradise
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
1 Mana Vault
1 Grim Monolith
1 Mox Diamond
1 Lotus Petal

Sideboard (15)
4 Phyrexian Negator
3 Red Elemental Blast
2 Seal of Cleansing
2 Duress
1 Abeyance
1 Misdirection
1 City of Solitude
1 Balance

First Round vs. A Deck With Swamps (1-0, 2-0)

Why don’t I know what breed of black deck this unfortunate eleven-year-old was playing? Maybe it’s because I killed him on the first turn – TWICE. I really felt bad…kinda. But it definitely boosted my confidence.
Game one, he plays a Swamp, and says go.
I go off. I don’t remember exactly how—Land-Mox-Time Walk, Ancestral into Lotus, Regrow Lotus, untap and Twister, and it was all downhill from there. He’d never seen anything like it.
I bring in Balance and Misdirection, cutting Abeyances. He tells me he’s bringing in Lobotomies, so his deck must have had some sort of blue in it.
Game two, he plays a Swamp, and says go.
I go off. I dump artifact mana, draw seven, Crop Rotate, rinse lather repeat. It was absolutely absurd. It’s too bad I wasted such gorgeous draws on a poor kid who probably just wanted to swing with creatures.

Second Round vs. Redman playing Funker (2-0, 4-0)
Redman and I had playtested last night, before we realized it was a colossal waste of time because there was simply no way he could win, and his arms were getting tired from drawing seven so many times.
I don’t remember the games in tremendous detail, but it was definitely a letdown from the first match. Game one he Wasted my first land and I didn’t go off until turn four. He couldn’t really get much going, but it didn’t matter.
I sideboarded out Abeyances and something random for two Seals and a Balance.
Game two was a bit more interesting. This time he had a double Waste, but couldn’t draw colored mana past a Badlands for the life of him. We played draw-go for a bunch of turns, both of us needing to topdeck a mana source. He Red Blasts a Meditate and something else. I got it first and went off in some fashion or another—Mind Over Matter was involved. It turns out that if I had given him another turn I would have been in trouble, because he was going to Tinker for Jester’s Cap (which I had told him to sideboard). I was, however, holding a Force.
We went to McDonald’s and got food.

Third Round vs. A Black Phyrexian Arena Deck Without Negators (2-1, 4-2)
He wins the roll. Game one, I draw a hand that would make Elle McPherson drool – 3 artifact mana, 2 lands, a Fastbond, and a draw seven (I forget which one). He plays Swamp-Sol Ring. I gleefully draw card #8 and prepare to coast into the top four…until I see it’s a Seal of Cleansing. Whoops. I forgot to un-sideboard from my last match! I say, oh fuck, I didn’t unsideboard, now I have to lose this gorgeous hand. My opponent asks me if I’m disqualified for that. I say no, but I might get a game loss if he wanted to play that way. He asks Zherbus if I’m disqualified. Zherbus says no, but if he wants to report it I will have to get a game loss. He says “yeah, let’s do that.” So I’m down 0-1. I take out a Seal for MisD. He says he feels really bad a bunch of times, but the deed is done, so I will just let it sit on his conscience.
Game two my hand is ass, I Paris into a poor but keepable hand. He says Swamp-Sol Ring again, I say Land-Go. I take some time to get going and he plays two Hyppies. He Vamps for Mind Twist, but before he can cast it I Wheel. He says he forgot to draw a card and wants to put the Mind Twist in his graveyard (he must have drawn Will off of the Wheel or something), then stops, remembers game one, and says, “now wait, do I get disqualified for that?” I of course say don’t worry about it, just do whatever you want. I think, well, at least one of us will sleep well tonight…I just hope it doesn’t cost me a Mox. The Twist doesn’t matter as I start to go off, but I stall after two Meditates, although I’m still not panicking—I’m at like 14 life? Wrong. He swings for six, Drain Lifes me for two, and Drain Lifes me out.
He says he feels bad karma. I say basically nothing.

Fourth Round Vs. Mason playing Mono Blue Mask-Dreadnaught (2-2, 4-4)
His deck is really weird and, in my humble opinion, doesn’t especially make sense. It runs 4 Mana Drain but no Ophidians, 4 Back to Basics, draw sevens including Time Spiral, and devotes eight maindeck slots to the Mask-Dreadnaught combo on top of Morphlings which can kill just fine all by themselves. It looks like something a newbie would come up with. But for some reason it beat me twice and Redman once.
Game one I don’t remember that well, but he plays his Academy and I don’t have enough mana to Capsize it and Wheel in the same turn. I retardedly Capsize it on my turn, letting him play it next turn, instead of having a brain and Capsizing it at his EOT, then dropping mine and Wheeling, which almost certainly would have won me the game He has counters for most things I try to do, and when I get a Meditate through I get jack. Mana Crypt drops me to nine and Mask-Dreadnaught finishes me. Pretty sad.
I WAY over-sideboard. I don’t bring in the Negators because he’s got the Dreadnaughts, but everything else comes in: 3 REB, 2 Duress, 2 Seal, Abeyance, City, MisD. As a result, I take out a lot of combo grease, including two Impulses, a Meditate, a Helm, Regrowth, Fastbond, Tinker/Jar, Mox Diamond, and Lotus Petal. This assrapes me.
My opening hand is very strong—artifact mana and a Twister—but he has the Force. He opens with an empty Academy. We trade Forces, I play Helm and he uses it drop B2B and Walk, I don’t care cause it locks down his Academy and I just have artifact mana and Undiscovered. I sit there with a TON of anti-control measures in my hand – a Duress, a coupla REBs, and a Seal on the board, and a Wheel. He has one card in hand so I don’t want to Wheel. In the meantime, he drops Helm of Obedience, trying to get the Negators I didn’t side in, but he eats away at my library at breakneck speed—5-6 cards a turn to the graveyard. I need to topdeck a vanilla card drawer—Meditate, even Impulse—but I don’t, because I sided all that stuff out. Helm hits Spiral and my recursion is shot, which is big trouble. I have no idea what to do so I Wheel, giving him a full hand, and I draw nothing. I’m going to get decked and scoop. I’m dejected, embarrassed, and disappointed in my poor sideboarding and even worse play.

Cut to Top Four. The guy who reported my failure to sideboard was 4-0, beating Zherbus’ Keeper game one and Mason as well. Redman and Mason were 3-1, and which of the 2-2’s had the best tiebreakers? I’m in! Not only that, but instead of being paired against Mason again with his counterspells, I get to play a mono-black deck with Braids! I’m certainly not losing to this guy twice…

Semifinals (3-2, 6-4):
Game one I don’t remember incredibly well. I dropped some artifacts and Vamp for Academy, which I don’t play because I fear Wasteland. I have 2 cards in hand and he Mind Twists me for one, getting it. This slows me down a little bit, and he plays a Phyrexian Arena and a Specter. Then I get going and proceed to win. For some reason, things don’t go very smoothly—I have to do a lot of digging and Meditating to put things together—but the job gets done.
Game two, out go Abeyances and something else for Balance, MisD, and a Seal, since I saw a Nev’s Disk game one somewhere. I don’t get an explosive start but although he has a pair of Arenas and a Disk on the board he’s not putting any pressure on my life total. He Vampiric Tutors with a bunch of mana on the board…I just know he’s getting Mind Twist, and I drool because you can all guess what I’m holding. I say, “I’m not off to a great start but you’re not really putting much pressure on me.” He says, “How about a six-point Mind Twist?” Misdirection makes its appearance, and I win shortly after, generating infinite mana with Capsize-Candelabra, Capsizing all his permanents, and Spiralling. Again, not nearly as impressive as my opening-round performance, but I’m in the finals with my 2-2 Swiss record and guaranteed at least a second-place Italian Abyss. I beat him in the T4 so I guess his karma did him in. Ironically, if I had beaten him the first time, I probably wouldn’t have been paired against him as we would have all been 3-1, and I could have been paired against Mason’s counterspells again in the semis.

Finals vs. Mason (3-3, 7-6):
Mason goes to get food before the match, so I have a long time to prepare. I think about the mistakes I made the first match: the obvious over-sideboarding as well as some probably poor decisions along the way. I will be much more cautious in boarding and force myself to play very, very slowly, and really think through every decision, as one of the two Moxes I am short in real life is sitting next to me.
I roll a 20.
Land, Mox, Time Walk—Force of Will. He’s Forcing a first turn Time Walk? That’s the easiest counter I’ve ever burned. A real mistake on his part. He plays Library and says go. I Meditate, it resolves, I drop some artifacts including a Helm. He takes his two turns and doesn’t really do much. I play another land and cast Memory Jar presuming he’ll counter it, but I don’t think I had much else to do. He has the Force…but doesn’t use it. What was he thinking?
With Jar on the board and him with no way I’m aware of to eliminate it, I can be patient. We trade turns setting up. The next turn I Vamp for Lotus at his EOT to power whatever I draw off of Jar. He Strokes for five in response, tapping out. That’s fine by me—it’s not like those cards are ever going to be usable. He really did not play well this game. I untap, drop Lotus, Jar, draw Abeyance, it resolves, drop artifacts, draw lots of cards, and Capsize-Candelabra and Geyser.
One win from a Mox Ruby!
Now to the sideboarding. I bring in the three REB’s, an Abeyance, and a Seal, taking out one Helm, one Impulse, one Meditate, the Fastbond, and Lotus Petal. Much better.
Game two I don’t have a great start, but get myself in pretty good position. He tries to Ancestral, I force pitching MoMa, he Misdirects, I Force pitching Stroke, leaving me with just a Wheel in hand, which I cast. I start to go off, Meditating twice and getting a bunch of artifacts out on the table. I cast Jar, use it, and get…absolutely nothing. Some dead land and I don’t know what else. He’s got a face down guy on the table who can swing three times, and I scoop. I really think I played perfectly but lost to an unlucky draw seven. That will feel like déjà vu all over again…
Game three I have a pretty good start, I don’t remember what exactly, he plays a first turn Mask. I take another turn to draw some cards and get going, and he plays two face down guys. 24 damage…I have to win this turn or I lose. Academy’s on the board. I Abeyance him, and the outcome is all up to my deck performing This Turn. I Twister away a Fastbond I don’t have the green mana to cast and draw a hand with a Candelabra and a Memory Jar and a bunch of dead land. Not great, but I’m still going, as I use the two blue floating off the Twister (which I cast with Academy) to cast Candelabra and untap Academy. I tap out to cast the Jar. There are so many things I could draw to keep me going…I get none of them. A Vamp Tutor, a Regrowth, and a bunch more dead land. God Dammit!!!
I finish in second place, picking up an Italian Abyss which I promptly trade for a bunch of cards I had borrowed: the Candelabra, a Mana Crypt, a Mana Vault, as well as two Meddling Mages. So instead of winning a Mox, I effectively won all the cards to actually play the deck. All I’m missing now IRL is the second Candelabra and…um…Twister, Ruby, Sapphire, and Lotus. Gulp.

All in all, I was very happy with the deck. It’s absolutely astonishingly fast, has a bye against beatdown decks, can definitely overwhelm 8-10 counterspells (though not 14-16), and was much more consistent off the draw than I thought it would be—I had to Paris twice, but never had the God-awful draws it can sometimes get. I had terrible luck on draw sevens in the finals that cost me a Mox, but it performed very well, and if you have the full power there is no better choice for a metagame with no draw-go or BBS decks and a lot of beatdown. It’s definitely going to be my second deck after Enchantress if I can ever get the full set of P9.

We missed the last bus back to Boston, but Mason and the guy with the Braids deck drove us back to Harvard, which was very much appreciated. It was a lot of fun and maybe I’ll do it again if there’s another piece of the power up for the taking.

By Magimaster (Magimaster) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 02:24 am:

hey that's a nice report! :)

damn I wish there were more T1 competent people in my area....

By Steve O'Connell, King of Metaphors (Zherbus) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 03:22 am:


I say, “I’m not off to a great start but you’re not really putting much pressure on me.” He says, “How about a six-point Mind Twist?” Misdirection makes its appearance

Dan: "I'm in no real hurry since I'm under no pressure."

Ted, AKA the guy with the type 2 modified braids deck: " How about a 6 point mind twist for pressure?"

Dan: *Windmill slam of a misdirection on the table with a big slapping sound.*


I just want to point out that while Dan may be the mana crypt NINJA, he is the worlds worst memory jar guy.

A sidenote, playing keeper after not so much as picking up a magic card in about a month wasnt the best idea.

Stupid mistakes included: Letting Morphling die to abyss, and putting a card on top of my library from a DEMONIC TUTOR like it was a vamp tutor. One more major fuck up like that and I'm selling my junk and giving up magic. :)

I really wish Judgement was in already, I really want to use wishes. Shaman was both my dearest friend and my worst enemy. Having it as a pseudo tutor would have made me a happy panda.

By Matt D'Avanzo, the Sylvan Librarian (Matt) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 03:29 am:

4 Helms are 1 too many, Mox Diamond is a juge piece of crap, and you are packing 2 few lands. If competant players showed up with Wastelands in their decks you might lose to mana screwage.

Also: "Game one I don’t remember that well, but he plays his Academy and I don’t have enough mana to Capsize it and Wheel in the same turn"

Now do you understand the insane power that is Lingering Mirage?

(mind you that I use Capsize too, but as you can see it DOES make a HUGE difference when you actully need to kill an Academy)

By Matt D'Avanzo, the Sylvan Librarian (Matt) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 03:29 am:

Also, tinker and jar damnit.

By Matt the Great (Matt) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 03:36 am:

Very good report. Very in-depth, especially about how your reconsidered your sideboarding strategy.

By Kirika (Kirika) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 03:43 am:

Nice Report Dan. I'm building Academy too, its a really fun deck to play.

By Gzeiger (Gzeiger) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 04:27 am:


Game one he Wasted my first land and I didn’t go off until turn four. He couldn’t really get much going, but it didn’t matter.
I sideboarded out Abeyances and something random for two Seals and a Balance.

I don't understand siding out Abeyance against a deck with Wastes. They can be a huge pain if they sit on the table and wait for your Academy, as I'm sure you understand.

By Freddie Williams II (Freddie) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 09:02 am:

hey buddy, good job.

What cards did you have that were proxy?

Was this event sanctioned some how?

were there any players there that had ALL of the real power complaining about their power being real, and blah blah blah?


By Steve O'Connell, King of Metaphors (Zherbus) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 09:28 am:

Freddie, it was a proxy of the power 10 only. So 75% of the power there was fake, Dan and Eric had a good chunk of the power as real, my power 10 is real, masons were real, and teds were real.

Noone complained about what people did and did not own, it was heavily advertised as a proxy tournament.

By Matt D'Avanzo, the Sylvan Librarian (Matt) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 09:40 am:

I think that it's a great idea (proxy tourney).

By Matt D'Avanzo, the Sylvan Librarian (Matt) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 09:41 am:

Oh and sorry, Dan, you do have Tinker/Jar. My fault.

By Mako Satou, Rose among the thorns (Mako) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 09:51 am:

Congratulations. You wrote a fairly detailed report as well. How does Academy do against Keeper? I think Academy is a fun neat deck but it is hard to play?

By Steve O'Connell, King of Metaphors (Zherbus) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 09:58 am:

Thanks Matt. The turnout this time wasnt as big as I expected, due to people being out of state or showing up 2 hours late. There was also a group of 6 players that show up together, that I dont think heard of the tournament.

Otherwise, the tournout have been very responsive. I hope it leans more towards that in the future.

Mako, neither Dan or myself wanted to play each other. Him, simply because of the 10 counterspells, and well timed wastes. I didnt want to play him, because its not to difficlut to get caught with your pants down.

By Freddie Williams II (Freddie) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 10:04 am:

I am all for Proxy tournaments, even sanctioned ones!

I love the idea of players, new and old, being able to explore different deck ideas in a way that will make them unpredictible by the other players in the metagame.

I have seen that way too often, this way its just about playskill and creativity rather then money playing such a key role!

Proxy tourneys would do just that, and take some of those "holier than thow" power players and turn them on their ear.

i would love to see a proxy tourney here in Kansas, even though I own the p9- or p10, whatever... would just like to see what the new blood would come
up with.

I encourage my friends and people that i just see at tournamnets to use proxies, for playtesting, so that they can get used to the feel of the power, and get an appreation of the cards. I even make proxies for the kids, or let them borrow parts of my power if I am not using them at that tournamnet.

I even play those same people in ante matches, letting them use proxies... all that matters to me is the skill and sportsmanship.

Since There is a "finite" amount of the power, why not do proxy tourneys...


By Tangled (Tangled) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 11:25 am:

Don't feel bad Dan, that's Mason's 6th straight Tourney win with the Deck he calls "Grond".

By CooberP, the Aura Fracturer of B2Bs (Cooberp) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 12:18 pm:

Matt--I bet four Helms are too many, but I can't cut the number of cheap artifacts in the deck. I DID have the mana to Capsize and Wheel, I just needed a brain to remember that I could cast Capsize at EOT, drop Academy, untap and Wheel. Not that that match mattered though.
Gzeiger -- I'd rather use those slots to handle their threats...Academy is VERY resilient to destruction of the Academy itself. It always comes back.
Freddie--I proxied Ruby, Sapphire, Twister, and Lotus. It was unsanctioned. A ton of people had real power, a bunch of full sets.
Mako--It is an UNBELIEVEABLY difficult deck to play. I didn't have the dirty combo feeling because against anything with permission, you need to play 100 percent perfectly or you're screwed. In addition to VERY tough decisions about what to Force with (tougher than in Keeper), what to tutor for, how to bait, you also have to keep track of large numbers of mana floating at all points and remember to count Helms. You can hurt yourself in a hurry with Crypt, Vault, Vamp, Fastbond etc, and you really can die to your own stupidity. Only because I goldfish the deck on Apprentice all the time out of boredom did I know it well enough to play.
Keeper is both very difficult and very winnable. You can get a god draw and they'll have the Force on the one hand, on the other they make ONE mistake and they are so toast. I can think of few matchups that cause more head-scratching on both sides and better reflect how good the opposing players are. On the whole, I'd say Keeper has a slight edge, but whether it's 55/45 or 60/40 I have no idea.
Tangled--And two of those were at M-Class, which barely counts as Type One...His friend was kind enough to drive us home, which we really appreciated, and he said he wants to convince everyone that Counter-Dreadnaught with 4 B2B is Tier One. I told him if he really wanted to see how good his deck was he should go to Neutral Ground and try his hand against D'Avanzo, Pustilnik, Wilkinson, Williams, Sadin, and Pau, just like I did with Enchantress. I'd bet a hefty amount he'd get dismantled, but who knows...
I'm going to try to contribute to the Academy primer, which should be coming out soon.

By Helm of Obey Mah Ah-thor-ih-tie (Mason) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 03:40 pm:

Heh. I'll admit now that I shouldn't have countered your Time Walk, and should probably have countered your Jar, but it all seemed reasonable at the time. :-P Hindsight is 20/20. But, as for "definitely overwhelming 8-10 counters", please remember that I only ran eight! I wasn't playing the full BBS complement of countering by any means.

Did you really think my deck looked like something a newbie would put together? It runs an almost identical countering base and draw engine to Keeper, cutting colour slots for the insane Dreadnought combination cards and Back to Basics. I'd also like to think that I didn't quite play like a newbie. I mean, I did get four of our five games. Also, I've lost precisely two matches in the six tournaments I've played with the deck, and one of those matches was yesterday, against Ted's Braids deck. I'd like to think of my deck as being a pretty decent build of a relatively new concept.

Anyway, I enjoyed playing against you. That last match was extremely fun, and pretty exciting, especially since I started off the match with a loss first game. I knew that your deck could pop at any time and take the match and the Ruby, so it was pretty tense, in an enjoyable sort of way.

For anyone interested, here's the precise build I was playing yesterday:

Grond, a Mask deck

14 Island
4 Wasteland
R Library of Alexandria
R Strip Mine
R Tolarian Academy

Mana-producing artifacts(7):
R Black Lotus
R Mox Emerald
R Mox Jet
R Mox Pearl
R Mox Sapphire
R Mox Ruby
R Sol Ring

4 Morphling
4 Illusionary Mask
4 Phyrexian Dreadnought

4 Back to Basics
4 Force of Will
4 Mana Drain

Deck Manipulation(8):
R Ancestral Recall
R Braingeyser
R Fact or Fiction
R Mystical Tutor
R Stroke of Genius
R Time Spiral
R Time Walk
R Timetwister

4 Hydroblast
2 Interdict (what powder keg?)
2 Misdirection
2 Rainbow Efreet (not good, but I haven't decided what to do with these slots)
1 Jester's Cap
1 Helm of Obedience (broken kill card)
1 Capsize
1 Tinker
1 Zuran Orb

The games against Dan's combo deck were pretty fun. I have to say that the most interesting game of the day was against Redman's Funker, though.

The first game of the match was "Dreadnought, attack, attack" with me holding some Mana Drains. Fast, but not otherwise interesting.

The second game, though, was VERY interesting. I hadn't ever played against Funker before, and I didn't know what to expect from the first game, which went too fast for me to develop any realistic opinion about how I should sideboard. It looked like it might have been running countering, but I don't remember seeing any... But, I put in Helm anyway, just because it's a broken kill card and it's fun.

Well! Helm turned out to be a good choice.

Redman got out a couple Goblin Welders, but I had nothing in my graveyard. I, on the other hand, got a first-turn Back to Basics, later bolstered by a second B2B for insurance. Redman Capped me, taking three Masks, but I had one in my hand. He didn't take Helm of Obedience, and that ended up being the win card. (I had a Mask in my hand, but never cast it.) I got out Helm, and I didn't have artifacts in my graveyard, so I got to use it effectively. I had a bunch of jewelry on the table, so every turn I was Helming, catching a creature, and using Redman's Welder to swap a Mox and get the Helm again. Over something like four turns I got two Welders, a Mox Monkey, and a Masticore. (I'm not sure why the Masticore stayed in after sideboarding, but I was grateful to see it.)

I made good use of the Welders and was able to time things so that I got the Masticore to kill both Redman's Welders before he could effectively use them. Or, rather, both of us misread the board, but then I figured out that he could kill Masticore and get it back, if he put things on the stack in the right order. But, he didn't see it, and I didn't point it out. Also, he didn't remember that when a card changes zones, it's a new card. He thought the Masticore would die even if it passed through his graveyard.

Anyway, I went the whole game without casting Morphling or Dreadnought, and I won by beating Redman down with his own Masticore and Welders. It was a very interesting match. At one point things became so dicey that I slowed down to "I add this to the stack. I pass priority." for a couple phases. I love it when it gets intricate enough that you have to do that.

Anyway, the tournament was great fun, and I played against a bunch of good opponents. I've already found someone to buy the Mox, so my next several tournaments are now (or will be tomorrow morning, anyway) funded.


By White Knight (White_Knight) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 04:39 pm:

Try in Masticore instead of Rainbow Efreet on the SB. If you want an additional kill card and you want to put something good to replace the efreets function, them core does the job.

By Green Knight (Greenknight) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 05:26 pm:

Good report CooperB, thanks for posting and congrats on 2nd not bad:) But for the record I hate those combo decks!:-P

By CooberP, the Aura Fracturer of B2Bs (Cooberp) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 07:40 pm:

Mason -- Yes, I think it looks like something a newbie would put together, and I remain very skeptical that it could even post a winning record in an environment like Neutral Ground. I know you've won a bunch of tournaments with it, but the best T1 players out there don't tend to frequent places like M-Class. I mean no disrespect to you, and I very much enjoyed playing you and chatting with you. I probably wouldn't have won even the one game against you if you had used your counters better. Please don't take this post as any sign of disrespect--you're asking my opinion on your decklist, and I am giving it to you. I am aware that you beat me in two matches, but Academy is lucky to split against ANY deck with counterspells. I played it because I was expecting a beatdown field (and indeed, three of the four opponents I played were counterless victims). If you can get an Apprentice clone up on your computer, I'd love to play my Keeper against you so you can test that matchup.
You can beat combo decks simply by virtue of having counterspells. Even so, in both games two and three in the finals, you were Abeyanced and basically irrelevant--either I could go off that turn or I couldn't. And I got two awful Memory Jars. However, I might have been able to win if I had consulted with Matt D'Avanzo before playing, who pointed out a few things to me: running Mystical is good, especially before Wheel/Windfall/Jar, you can Jar in response to your draw step and draw 8, and you can Meditate in response to Jar and draw 11. Who knows what might have been in those next cards...
That disclaimer aside, I don't see how Counter-Dreadnaught can beat either good control players playing good decks or well-tuned beatdown decks.
The reason why I don't think your deck can win in a high-caliber Type One metagame is that it is both a poor combo deck and a poor control deck instead of being a good version of either.
As a Dreadnaught combo deck, it has two problems. First, it needs dumb luck to get both halves of the combo. It only has one tutor and its card drawing is very limited--four restricted cards (only one of which can be used early-game) and draw sevens which will help your opponent more than you because you don't dump your hand quickly--that is, if you can even cast Time Spiral. You can get lucky and draw Land-Mox-Mox-Mask-Dreadnaught with FoW backup,but if you don't, then you have to play control, which you are not well-equipped to do (I'll elaborate why later).
Second, it packs very little in the way of disruption. Back to Basics is a random hoser, and they will sit dead in your hand against beatdown or Mono-U. You have to win the counter war over it, which is unlikely given that Keeper has more counters than you do as well as two or three times the card drawing, and even if you do your hand will be depleted and they can D-Blow or Red Blast or Fracture it (preferably Fracture!). Again, you can get a lucky first turn B2B with FoW backup, but the odds of that are the same as having a first-turn combo with Force backup. And when you don't, you're screwed. If you're going for speed (like Academy), Forces are good, but Mana Drains are terrible because you need to play Draw-Go to set them up instead of killing your opponent with a combo you can find and force through. You basically have four counters to force your combo through with quickly to your control playing opponent's eight to 16. Without being able to effectively fight through your opponent's counters, the Mask will not see play. And even if you force it through, it's not an auto-win. It takes two turns after you play the Dreadnaught to kill an opponent, during which it can be Monkeyed, Disenchanted, Balanced, Kegged, Moated,and god knows what else.
But if you're not focusing on comboing your opponent out quickly, then you have to worry about what they do, and it doesn't matter whether you win in two turns with a Dreadnaught or four with a much more durable Morphling. As a mono-U control deck, your build is abysmal. It has no way to deal with stuff on the board, only eight counters, and very little card drawing. You say you beat beatdown with Dreadnaughts--well, first you have to be lucky and draw the combo, and then pray that Sligh won't Monkey it, black won't Keg it, or Stompy won't race it (trust me, it can).
I think you need to pick a strategy and go with it, because you are a slow, easily disrupted combo deck and an ineffective control deck--the worst, not the best, of both worlds.
That said, it won you a Mox yesterday, and you say you're on a winning streak with it. If you want to keep racking up tourney wins in scrubby metagames, go ahead. If you want to convince people like me that it's Tier One, take a trip to the trial by fire that is Neutral Ground and I would think the Keeper players will show you better than I can why my arguments or valid. Or maybe we're all wrong and you can turn the Magic world upside down with a new Counter-Combo archetype.
Again, I really enjoyed playing against you and talking with you, and I fully respect your deckbuilding and playing skills. I just don't think your deck can stack up to the best Type One has to offer.

By TimW (Timw) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 07:55 pm:

Why does everyone bring up monkey when they talk about Dreadnought? Monkey doesn't kill dreadnought.

By Tatanka (Tatanka) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 08:30 pm:

Nice report, glad to see academy making somes appearances into real T1 tournament(mean non-apprentice)

There are some other cards you should try like:mystical tutor and yawgmoth's will are must kearverk's torch is fine against conters and defence grid is just plain good(but you would have to cut 1 or 2 helms)

Congratulation for your second place


By CooberP, the Aura Fracturer of B2Bs (Cooberp) on Monday, April 15, 2002 - 08:50 pm:

TimW--I'm retarded. But that doesn't invalidate anything I said. :)
Tatanka--I did add Mystical for a Helm, and will cut a Meditate when I get my second Candelabra. Perhaps Impulse no. 4 will go out for an Undiscovered or Underground Sea vs. Wastelands. Yawg Will has no place in Academy as you are constantly reshuffling in your graveyard and don't want to remove cards from the game, K-Torch is a complete waste of a spot as it does nothing but kill your opponent which Stroke/Geyser do fine, and the Grid/Sapphire Medallion build is slower than the Helm/Abeyance version while not being more difficult for control. Thanks for reading.

By Helm of Obey Mah Ah-thor-ih-tie (Mason) on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 - 06:28 pm:

Hey, FWIW, I took your advice, Dan, and sold the Mox for $70. (I also got four Orim's Chant as part of the deal. That evened it up for me.)

I'd actually agreed to sell the Mox on Saturday, the day before the tournament. Pretty dicey, assuming in advance that I'd win it when I was going in with a bad deck. :-P But, all's well that ends well. The guy who bought it was very happy with it, although I regret to report that it's now living in a Bolts deck. Oh well.

Anyway, I'll look forward to facing you in other events. I'm at M Class Worlds periodically - one of my six tournament wins with Grond was at M Class (the first one, as it turns out) - but I can be found at other events throughout the area as well.


By CooberP, the Aura Fracturer of B2Bs (Cooberp) on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 - 06:37 pm:

I would have bought it for $70! D'oh!
I really hate that place M-Class, the metagame sucks ass. I was talking to Zherbus about organizing a big T1 tourney for a Lotus or something at Your Move Games, which would almost certainly draw a better field. I'd play Keeper.

By Helm of Obey Mah Ah-thor-ih-tie (Mason) on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 09:03 am:

Awesome! If you do that, I'll definitely attend.

In other news, I'm trying not to be totally close-minded about your comments regarding Grond. :-) I think I'm going to sideboard Ophidians. I don't think they push out anything in the main deck right now, but they'd be quite good against mono-coloured decks... They can block, they can maybe draw cards, they have good synergy with Jackal Pup.

I can't see dropping the Mana Drains, though. Against your Combo deck, they were definitely too slow, but against anything else they're very strong, and in a control-like match-up, they're essential if I don't get an almost-immediate kill with Dreadnoughts. (Against you, actually, Divert might have been a reasonable sideboard addition, but I hate the card otherwise, so I'll probably just take my chances against Combo.)

For what it's worth, this Saturday a store called "Gamers Haven" in the Lincoln Mall, in Rhode Island, is having a Type I tournament for a pack of Unlimited. Entrance is ten bucks... If you can make it down there, I expect you'd do well. There are powered decks there, but very few Tier I decks. The store's number is 401-334-6788. It's probably no further than Concord from where you are. (It's a bit closer than Concord for me.)

By CooberP, the Aura Fracturer of B2Bs (Cooberp) on Wednesday, April 17, 2002 - 11:51 am:

Mason --
Ophidians are good in mono-U control decks designed to draw lots of cards and counter things. They win with Morphling. :) If you're going to be playing control, it just doesn't matter if you win in one turn or four. But winning in four with a Morphling requires half the deck slots of Mask/Dreadnaught (leaving room for more counters, draw cards, or removal/bounce) and is almost invulnerable once it's on the board. That's why they call him Superman. My issue with your deck isn't tweaking, it's the principle behind it. Pick control or combo and go with it, they are diametrically opposed strategies.
Divert does nothing against Academy because a) you will be Abeyance and b) when can I not pay colorless mana?
I don't think I'll be able to make that, it's Brown's spring weekend. Although I would be in Providence...

By Helm of Obey Mah Ah-thor-ih-tie (Mason) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 11:01 am:

Okay, here's the basic theme I was thinking of when I put together the deck:

Present a number of very difficult, game-breaking threats for my opponent. Present enough of them so that s/he can't stop them all.

In the present incarnation, this is twelve spells... Four each of Phyrexian Dreadnought, Morphling, and Back to Basics. The first eight are creatures, so in addition to those, the Illusionary Masks present the threat of my being able to get those into play without a countering war. So, that's in some senses sixteen major threats that must be handled.

The deck then has a second tier of threats, which includes the eight counters and the five Strip/Wasteland cards. These aren't so much standalone threats as they are ways I can force out my initial threats, by denying my opponent critical resources.

If you look at the deck list, you'll see that everything else in the deck is either required mana production or card drawing to pull me into threats I can cast.

So, I'm really not trying to play control at all. It can be deceptive, given the Morphlings and the counters, but it's really a weird sort of aggro deck. Even the Back to Basics is an attack of sorts. It's a one-card shutdown for many decks. The idea is, against Keeper, for instance, that I have Back to Basics and a creature as cheap threats. The Keeper player is very likely going to have to expend four or five mana to deal with either of these threats, since they'll have to cast a spell and have counter backup, and this ought to just deal with one of my threats.

Consider... If Back to Basics is on the table, the Keeper player must kill it. But, I'm going to be pulling as many cards as I can while they dig for ways to kill an enchantment, and before long I'd ought to have a Mask out, or a Morphling, or something bad. After sideboarding, this includes Jester's Cap and Helm of Obedience, and Tinker to bring them into play quicker. Also, note that none of my primary threats is directly subject to Misdirection. They're all permanents.

Hopefully the deck will seem a little more cohesive to you in this light. Morphling is often control-oriented, but I'm playing it as a potentially expendable offensive threat simply because it's so versatile.

FWIW, I used to have a theory of "offensive overload" using control elements rather than damage-producing cards, and this deck is based on those ideas. If my opponent has a Disenchant in his hand, is he going to target my Jayemdae Tome, my Disrupting Scepter, or my Blood Moon? Too many targets exist.

The correct counter for this, of course, is using one-to-many defensive cards. This is how Ted got a match on me with his Braids deck... He brought in No Mercy, which in our particular match-up was a one-to-eight card. VERY useful. Keeper could do this with Moat, a one-to-four card. I do this in my own control deck using both Humility and Moat.

Anyway, Grond will be making another appearance tonight, and I'll tell you how it goes. I'm going to run either Extract or Ophidian in the sideboard, or both if I can make room. I have four slots right now, so we'll see how it goes.


By CooberP, the Aura Fracturer of B2Bs (Cooberp) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 11:08 am:

The short answer is that if you're trying to be a quick kill deck you need to run disruption and you'll never get out your expensive stuff (Stroke, Morphling), and if you are counting on those guys you will get out-controlled. But we can talk about this forever...I'd rather just play you a few games with Keeper and you can see for yourself.
Again, or maybe everything I've ever learned about Magic is mistaken and you'll show me why.

By The Usual BD Stompist (Fbi) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 11:09 am:

Mason: Dreadnought isn't really a threat by itself since you can never hardcast it, right? The actual threat is the mask which allows you to play uncounterable 12/12 tramplers for 1 :)

By Helm of Obey Mah Ah-thor-ih-tie (Mason) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 11:24 am:


I'm not trying to be a quick kill deck, although the possibility exists and I'll take it if it comes up. I'm instead trying to be a consistent kill deck, and so far the deck is proving to do just that.

I do fear mono blue with lots of countering, and obviously any mono-coloured deck is going to give me problems on game one. But, so far I've managed to squeak through.

I would be more than happy to drive up to Harvard sometime to play against your Keeper, and perhaps to play my own control deck against both it and your Combo deck, incidentally. Email me offline and maybe we can figure something out...

Also, I have an interesting idea for Redman's Funker deck. Maybe it's bad, but it might be really good:

Urza's Miter
Whenever an artifact you control is put into a graveyard from play, if it wasn't sacrificed, you may pay {3}. If you do, draw a card.

I've wondered how this card might be broken in the past, but I'd never seen Goblin Welder until recently, and I think Welder might have amazing synergy with this card.


Yeah, you're right. While I can cast Dreadnought with three Morphlings on the table to sacrifice, in practise it's never going to happen. :-P

By CooberP, the Aura Fracturer of B2Bs (Cooberp) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 11:33 am:

Mason -- Weekday nights are usually good, we should meet at Your Move Games. The night of Tuesday the 23 would be good for me.
I have plenty of decks, not all of them completed in real life...Enchantress (which is no. 1), Keeper, Academy, and a Zoo deck. You can test against all sorts of stuff.
A card like that would slow down an explosive deck like Funker too much, which is already winning if its actively Welding and goes the draw-seven route for massive card advantage rather than a bit by bit appraoch.
And if you have three Morphlings on the table, a) you already won and b) they're a lot better than a Dreadnaught.

By Helm of Obey Mah Ah-thor-ih-tie (Mason) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 11:40 am:


Cool, I've emailed you off-BD with scheduling stuff.

By The Usual BD Stompist (Fbi) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 01:45 pm:

I think I missed Masons point atually. I thought he was saying dreadnought is a must-counter when practically it can't be countered. But in terms of a threat once it hits paly, of course it is. Sorry :(

By Matt the Great (Matt) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 06:46 pm:


I'm playing [Morphling] as a potentially expendable offensive threat


It can be deceptive, given the Morphlings and the counters, but it's really a weird sort of aggro deck. Even the Back to Basics is an attack of sorts.


Also, note that none of my primary threats is directly subject to Misdirection.

Wow, someone's been busy reinventing the BBS wheel.

By CooberP, the Aura Fracturer of B2Bs (Cooberp) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 07:24 pm:

Yes, but with a janky non-searchable combo instead of card drawing. :)

By Matt the Great (Matt) on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 08:57 pm:

Hey, he has Spiral.

By Helm of Obey Mah Ah-thor-ih-tie (Mason) on Friday, April 19, 2002 - 11:04 am:

Hey, you guys ever watch "Erik the Viking"?

Somehow, many of the arguments here remind me of the end of the Hy-Brasil scene. I can't figure out why... =grin=

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