I have found the paragons' criticism of the blue Mask decks to be sound - it's like playing Forbidian with a combo kill, which might as well be Donate instead of Mask. Overall it looks less efficient than Morphling with relatively few advantages aside from stopping creature beatdown a bit faster (and devoting the extra slots to Powder Kegs solves that anyway).
I think Illusionary Mask is best used in a mono-black deck. This version has all the strengths of Suicide against control, packing all the usual disruption, but in place of relatively inefficient creatures it has a combo kill and additional search. What it lacks is Suicide's usual weakness against beatdown decks. Sligh players get a very different look on their face when you show them Phyrexian Dreadnought vs Phyrexian Negator.
Here's the deck as I currently play it (mono-black but with goofy mana to better support Tainted Pact):
4 Illusionary Mask
4 Phyrexian Dreasdnought
2 Lord of Tresserhorn
4 Tainted Pact
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Demonic Consultation
1 Yawgmoth's Will
4 Hymn to Tourach
1 Strip Mine
4 Dark Ritual
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
2 Underground Sea
3 Snow-covered Swamp
How is this better than CF's version?
My original problem with the monoblack concept is this:
Your original draw falls into three categories:
1. The God Hand: duress, unmask + artifact/dark rit to cast first or second turn mask + naught.
2. The More Realistic hand: Disruption + half a combo piece, some tutorage + mana
3. The Horrid Hand: Pure disruption, tutoring, no combo pieces.
Why is 2 and 3 so bad to get? Well, the main problem is at that point, you essentially rip their hand the first couple of turns, and then hope that your opponent didn't go broken at any time during the first 1-4 turns, which after many tries with CF's monoblack, happens quite frequently. After all, this is type 1, and the name of the game *is* brokenness.
Furthermore, going broken is the least of your worries, for if your opponent goes first and holds a powder keg, he generally will be able to play keg first turn w/ artifact mana; that delays the game much too long and you screw yourself;
So at best, its a 50/50 propoisition, even if you draw the god hand, you may not get to go first. Because, certainly games 2 and 3 will have 4 kegs maindeck.
The fact that 2 out of the 3 equally possible opening hands that you draw are not desirable bodes even worse for the mask concept.
Yes, i genreally agree that the monoBlack version is the best way to go about mask; The combo itself is much more questionable.
Monoblack mask (not this version which MUST get mask to do anything at all - you need 5 creatures other than dreadnoughts, like hyppie or negator) has so many control elements that a prolonged game opposite kegs is no problem at all -if you know what you are doing-. Cursedscr: Your "analysis" of the deck is based on speculations and too little playtesting. Why people talk about things they obviously know nothing about is beyond me, but you do it -constantly-.
"The combo itself is questionable". Here's a clue why it isn't: If you get one piece (Mask) out against control, they're in a world of trouble - and considering your amounts of disruption that usually isn't a huge problem (talk to Smmenen, who even with his 20+ counterspells and maindeck kegs has a bad matchup against black mask - and he's played against it ALOT (his friend has built it). Against others who don't have counterspells, there is little standing in your way from getting the combo out with hand #2. Sure, if he plays first and has a god hand, you'll lose - but what deck won't lose with a mediocre draw against an opposing god hand who goes first? You say it yourself - this is t1. Brokenness happens. Hand number three (no threats, no search) is not very likely and you DO have the option to mulligan. Note that I -very rarely- mulligan with this deck and I -very rarely- lose.
I think having more threats like CF is better than sticking extra "Dreadnoughts."
Also, I wouldn't open the mana base to nonbasic hosing to grease Tainted Pact. I haven't done the math, but I think you don't get a better deal.
I playtested CF version yesterday and I lose like 12/13 games vs stacker (Mig-Hell version with tangle wire). I win like 95% of the game I played against other decks losing to opponent god hands. I think we could givi it a try splashing some blue in it. 1st it will only help the pacts, ancestral, time walk, recoil, lim dul's vault and sideboard interdict can't be that bad in the deck. I'm now working on a B/u version and as soon as I will have playtested enought with it I will post somes comments. This deck is great to my eyes for a main reason. It totally hose mono-blue.
I only plat mask since a few times so I admit that I may not be the best to talk about that deck so please don't flame me to much.
It seems that this deck can be easliy disrupted:
Null rod, you lose.
I play 4 Null Rod in the side of my mono-blue.
Max, the Mana Drainer
There is a guy in my area who plays this deck and it is mono black. Having dual lands to make tainted pact work is silly. If you are going to do that you might as well put in ancestral recall, and timewalk. An aggressive deck like this one does not need to make its mana base vulnerable. He also plays Phyrexian Negator because you can actually cast it if you don't have a Mask.
Powder Keg's are pretty good against this deck and so is Seal of Cleansing and Swords to Plowshares. It can be kinda annoying to play against. I've lost games to it but not a match yet at my local card store.
Null Rod is why splashing blue and having Recoil is nice. Still, you -can- win with Null Rod on the table (Mishras and Hyppies). I went 3-1 against a 4 StP, 4 Null Rod, 4 Seal of Cleansing deck, so it's not game over because the opponent has these cards.
Stacker with Welders is a real pain in the ass and it's imperative to have SB against them (3 Edicts, 2 Contagion for instance - got to kill the Welders asap). Welder is usually their only defence against Dreadnoughts.
I'd like to see the list that has yet to beat your beauty and beast keeper Mako... ;o)
The only matchup that I truly fear with the "Black Mask" deck is some WW variants that are loaded with hate.
I have been playing this deck for about a year now, and have done extensive playtesting against most of the major archetypes. No, I'm not going to give a win percentage or other silly stats like that, but I'm quite confident in my knowledge of the archetype.
First, a few comments on Gzeiger's deck. You need additional threats aside from the combo. If your only threat is the Mask itself, you are going to get run over most of the time, there is too much that can go wrong. The combo is strong but almost all archetypes have answers for it. You also need to just stick to swamps and snow covered swamps. The weak mana base is a liability. If you splash something it better be worth it (I currently don't think it's worth it to splash another color, and believe me, I have tried all of them).
Cursedscr - CF's version of Mask, which is similar to what I play, is a very well rounded deck. There are options, you don't just fizzle out and lose if you don't get the mask+nought out.
CF - as always, you are the voice of reason on this subject.
Tatanka - You played CF's version and you lost 12/13 games against Stacker? I would not say that Stacker is an easy matchup, but it is certainly better than 12/13. Pointers for the matchup, speed is of the essence, I would probably mulligan a hand that does not produce the combo in turns 1-3. You also have to understand that, if you play a full complement of moxes, you are more vulnerable to the Welder's ability. And if they pack Viashino Heretics maindeck you are screwed if you are not in business before it is cast. Your sideboard should address killing the offending critters.
Max - If you are referring to the deck posted above, you are right. But that's hardly the case against a deck that has a more well rounded threat base. Another thing, if you play mono-blue and you play Null Rods, you lose the ability to use Moxes and Powder Kegs. The loss of moxes slows your deck down significantly. And the loss of Powder Kegs means that you will lose if I get the Dreadnought in play. Without moxes, you'll be dead before your Control Magic is any good. If you don't play in an environment with moxes, then disregard this.
Powder Keg is annoying. But remember this, if you play a Dreadnought with the Mask, when it comes into play, it's face down. This means it's casting cost is 0. Your opponent has to wait for you to turn it over to blow the Keg at 1 to destroy it (if they blow it at 0 you just turn it over in response). So at this point you can cast another Dreadnought, turn one over and attack, the opponent either takes 12 or blows it up, but this does not affect the face down one. Then next turn the other one does it's thing. Multiple Kegs = PROBLEM.
Like I said earlier, I'll take my chances against any deck with a Mask deck. Of course I'm going to have a hard time winning against some stupid WW deck playing 4 Seal of Cleansing, 4 Swords to Plowshares, and 4 Null Rods. Notice I said "Seal of Cleansing", you can't Disenchant a face down Dreadnought from your hand, so the odds are that I will Duress/Hymn you before I attack or you use that Plow, I gain 12, giving my Hippie the time he needs Besides, we all know that WW is a major tournament contender in type 1, also making numerous appearances in the top 8 ;-)
I'm Kinda new to the Mask decks. I understand all the card choices except the snow covered land.
What's goin on there? I assume it is just a quirky selection to see how many people NetDeck.
Cuandoman, the Snow-Covered Swamps are there to make Tainted Pact more effective. I don't have the exact wording for Tainted Pact but here is a basic explanation: you reveal a card, you then chose whether it is removed from the game or if it goes to your hand. You repeat this process until you get a card you want or you reveal another card with the same name as a card already removed from the game in this way. The "snow" lands basically reduce the chances that you will keep getting stuck with a "Swamp" when you use Tainted Pact.
@ Cuando - The snow covered lands are good for the tained pact, less chance of turning over two cards w/ the same name that way.
Tainted Mask, current monoblack version.
6 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Urborg (ok, it's goofy but I finally get to use some of my old pointless favorites - a swamp is better)
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Sapphire
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mox Jet
1 Sol Ring
4 Dark Ritual
4 Mishra's Factory
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Consultation
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Demonic Tutor
4 Tainted Pact
1 Nevinyrral's Disk
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Mind Twist
2 Hymn to Tourach
1 Masticore (or Skittering Horror, or Negator, or Lord, or whatever. Masticore rapes welders though)
4 Hypnotic Specter
4 Phyrexian Dreadnought
4 Illusionary Mask
Yeah and cursed totem in the side solved most of my problems against stacker and other decks like saphire oath, which use annoying critters (morphling and gorilla shaman are also shut down).
Giovanni your opponent can sword the face down creature as it count as a 0/1 token so your hymn and duress are useless against it.
If someone find a good card that can be use in mono B mask deck to get rid of null rod or/and seal of cleansing please let us know.
Yeah - board control is not nearly as effective if the Mask player knows what the hell they are doing i.e. disgusing the cc by paying all sorts of wierd cc for their creatures. Additoinally, lets say I have a keg in play and you have a mask. Almost every friggin time that situations happens I'm never able to blow the keg on the mask becuase negotor, hippie, or dreadnaught are all more pressing targets. Even control magic can be less effective if the mask player knows how to play around it. The most effective board control card I have found against mask is Capsize. -- although Control magic is brutal -- to many times my opponent will have a hippie and a dreadnaught face down and I target the wrong one.
Chris, I have a couple of issues with your current build.
First off, 14 black mana sources (plus Lotus)? I understand that you don't need as much black mana as say Suicide, but you still have a BBB and a couple of BB spells to feed. If I could, I'd run more black sources somehow (even to the point of running some Spawning Pools over Factories or something else janky). I know that you don't want that many Swamps, but after the Urborg I'm kinda stuck as to what else to pack in there .
A lone Disk and Edict as board control? It looks like you're hoping that some little kid didn't presideboard Null Rods against you to smack you in the face with Suicide. I'd actually take these out for more threats if nothing else; it looks like you could use more creatures that you can hardcast anyways.
Mind Twist and Hymn to Tourach don't quite feel right in this deck. Yes, they are both ridiculously good. However, will you really have enough mana to Twist their hand away while it will matter? Hymn also is an issue because for this deck, Unmask is better (both to see their hand and to choose the most threatening card).
With the three remaining slots now, I'd go with Negators for more threats that can be cast without benefit of the Mask.
Basically, I'd turn the deck into something like this:
6x Snow-Covered Swamp
1x Spawning Pool
1x Black Lotus
1x Mox Jet
1x Mox Ruby
1x Mox Sapphire
1x Mox Pearl
1x Sol Ring
4x Dark Ritual
1x Strip Mine
2x Mishra's Factory
1x Demonic Consulation
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Vampiric Tutor
4x Tainted Pact
4x Illusionary Mask
4x Phyrexian Dreadnought
4x Hypnotic Specter
3x Phyrexian Negator
Tatanka, read what I said: "I will Duress/Hymn you before I attack or you use that Plow, I gain 12, giving my Hippie the time he needs"
I'm not saying I can get around a Plow, the point of the comment I made was that YOU CANNOT DISENCHANT MY FACE DOWN DREADNOUGHT FROM YOUR HAND UNLESS I TURN IT OVER.
On to something else. I don't like Unmask at all. Unmask + Necro ruled, but without it, it just sucks. I'm not denouncing you guys for using it, I'm just stating that I don't care for it. The card disadvantage is too much, and Misdirection is always a bitch.
As far as Stacker is concerned, the Welder is only a problem IF you have an artifact in the grave. It cannot kill the ones in play by itself. Like I said before, less artifacts = less vulnerability to Welders. The basic strategy game one is overwhelming speed and try not to play any artifacts that aren't the combo itself, and cross your fingers and hope your opponent does not Memory Jar your ass. If they use Viashino Heretic, pray you can kill them before it becomes active. I usually board in creature kill that will deal with these two creatures for sure and catch the bigger ones if necessary.
The only thing I have found that can get rid of Null Rod and have the deck still remain Mono-Black is to use Xenic Poltergeist (A 1/1 creature that costs 1BB, you can tap it to turn target artifact into a creature with power and toughness equal to it's casting cost, like Karn) to animate the Null Rod, then kill it with a black creature removal spell. As you can see, it's not really a good alternative.
For Seal of Cleansing, use Dystopia.
@CF: The version you posted on this thread does differ from the one you used in the ToC5. Would you please comment on the differences?
Black mana is an issue, that's why I only play 4 Moxen -> to make room for another Swamp. It's as low as it can go now, but it works. I'm also down to 2 Hymns, you're likely to get a ritual before the lone Necro and Hyppies can be paid with colorless if you have mask. The deck works fine with 1 black mana, as all the search can get you more. Unmask is great, but if you swap the two Hymns with 2 Unmask, you'll find yourself with double unmasks alot of the time and only being able to cast one (using the other). You don't want to Unmask away a threat or a search spell or a Duress, do you? Mind Twist is VERY good in this deck. Not only does it have fast mana early, you can save it for when they're stocked with hate in hand and then remove everything. I've tutored for edicts plenty of times - especially against monoblue. Once you have mask, they need to go aggro-morphling, and post SB it's nice to have something against THEIR 12/12 trample. The Disk is also completely nuts, and I've won countless games on "Mask for 1 - disk in response". You NEED flexibility, or else you'll lose to randomness. Two slots is what I could spare, and I'd rather use these two slots to NOT lose against random.decs than putting even MORE hate against control. Please have in mind that this is the result of 8 months of playtesting - it's not as if I put together a deck back then and have kept it since. You get a feel for what works, and make alterations. I'm not saying it is "final", but I'm fairly convinced on most of the slots.
Tatanka & Giovanni: Using Gate to Phyrexia and sacking a Mishra to destroy a Null Rod is a better alternative.
Andreas: The ToC deck is several months old and I have basically swapped the Skeletal Scryings and 2 other cards for 4 Tainted Pacts - and then swapped some lands to make the pacts better.
CF - Yeah, I kind of forgot about Gate to Phyrexia. I wish that stupid card read: Sacrifice a creature, destroy target artifact. I have sideboarded it in the past, but since I don't run Mishra's, it's very difficult to sack something to it, unless I'm playing against Stompy.
Is the deck any good without the power 9? Can you just replace the power with swamps or is there a different build?
Thanks in advance,
Substitute the artifacts with mana crypt, lotus petal, mox diamond etc. It works well unpowered (4 illusionary masks can be tough to get though). I have an unpowered version RL that I often play against my powered keeper and mask has a favorable matchup (!).
I like the deck, but once just for fun I tested it against psychatog. The deck lost, it had a good hand and led with some quick disruption, then it dropped a mask and a dreadnought. The tog deck took one hit while it built up mana and dropped a nightscape familiar. Then in response to the second dreadnought attack the tog deck repulsed the dreadnought untapped and probed with kicker. The mask deck only had 2 cards in hand at that point, 1 of them was the dreadnaught. The tog deck then (over a few turns) played a fof it got off the probe, burned a coliseum, found another fof and played it. This got it enough counters to stop the mask deck from resolving the search to find another creature. The tog deck then built up its mana. When mask finally topdecked another dreadnaught and masked it out, the tog deck upheavaled and cast tog, wrath geddon hatred game.
So, as much as I like the mask deck, I just can't respect it. Type one decks shouldn't lose to tog.
There are actually a few T1 decks that will lose to Tog, but you cant really use that as a measuring stick. My Suicide deck has a tough time against WW, does that mean i shouldnt play Suicide anymore? No, because hardly anyone plays WW anymore so its not really something i concern myself with.
I bet stompy would have a tough time against tog
or maybe not...
Just take three FoF out of 'Tog and see how it goes...
@CF: I would think Mana Crypt (and maybe Mana Vault) are a great addition to the powered version of the mask deck as well. Have you tested them?
Will: One test match and you dismiss something? You're worse than cursedscr.
Andreas: I don't even play 5 Moxen in te powered version - you need a large amount of black mana. Think: The only thing you want to cast quickly with colorless mana is the mask itself and the Mint Twist. Mask costs 2. Sure, a draw with swamp, duress, crypt and mask is broken indeed, but crypt in the deck will in the long run do more harm than good. I started out with all the moxen, but something had to go out for another Swamp - this is due to me playing Hyppies and Hymns. If you play Negators as the secondary threat and use only Unmask/Addle, you can get away with five moxen. Vault? Crypt? I'd rather use Lotus Petal quite frankly. This deck does not play like Academy or PandeBurst, it plays like Suicide/Butter Knives. Would you use vault or crypt in any of them?
Will - I CANNOT believe you lost against tog with a Mask deck. You should be able to rape them before they even get to 3 mana. Unbelievable. I can understand getting unlucky one game, what do you consider a "good" hand.
I'm not going to say I have never lost to a Type 2 deck with a Type 1 deck. The fact of the matter is that all Type 1 aggressive style decks are geared to combat Type 1 control, so cards that can be horrible in Type 2 make their way into these decks. Besides, how much creature control does a typical Black deck pack maindeck? An edict here or there?
I am not sure exactly what his deck has in it but I know it it has Dreadnaughts, Negators, and Lord of Tressorhorn for creatures. He just plays basic swamps, wastelands and strip no creature lands. For disruption there is no Unmask, just your basic Duress, Hymm and Sinkhole. It has your Tutors, Necro and YawgWin as well. I know he boards Dystopia dunno what else.
Stompy does not have a tough time against Tog. Winter Orb resolves = Tog player lose and the large amount of early damage you can dish out is so amazing that they better have a Tog out and if they do they are pitching lots of cards to keep Tog alive.
The Mask deck just is not consistant enough. I belive that it can lose to a Tog deck. If it does not get an early mask & creature or a mask & creature shortly after the initial onslaught of disruption it tends to lose.
Mako - The thing is, the deck really is quite consistent. It has plenty of search and disruption. I think it is key to have a large threat base, that's probably how my build differs from CFs.
The deck is consistent to the point where I can actually race Sligh and Stompy and beat them. It's another thing if the Mask player can't recognize a crappy draw and fails to Mulligan, or is playing a poor build.
The key to a Mask deck (and any deck for that matter) is to have the fewest possible number of dead cards. If the Mask player is trying to be competitive and is running more than 4 Dreadnoughts to combo with the Mask (ie. using Lord of Tresserhorn) they will most certainly be consistent at something, LOSING.
I must admit, that I use the Mask deck sparingly, because it can get "hated" plenty, especially by the red mages who have plenty of artifact hate and the Null Rod people. Truth be told, the deck can deal with a Null Rod that is being used by a non-red player. WW is ass competitively, but is the other truly hard matchup.
CF I'm not dismissing the deck. It may very well be good. But it’s clearly not a deck I'm lucky with.
Gio: The hand I had let me go turn 1 duress turn 2 mask turn 3 dreadnaught. It also had a necro, but only 2 black sources and I didn’t draw a third till later. As to them getting 3 mana, they go first, then I cast duress. On second turn they drop a nightscape and I cast mask while they are tapped out. Then they make land drop # 3 and I make a naught on my 3.
I do think that my experience points out a big weakness in the deck. When you combo "goes off" what it does is put a 12/12 in play. Which is then summoning sick for one turn and takes 2 turns of attacking to win. So you win on a 3-turn time delay.
The deck is vulnerable to creature removal, as well as artifact removal (both spot like d-blow and global like null rod), it is also vulnerable to counters.
By contrast: Academy can ignores spot artifact removal and is only vulnerable to counters and null rods.
Turbo land ignores null rod and is only slowed down by spot artifact removal.
Both ignore creature removal.
I think when you look at the vulnerabilities of the decks, mask is less stable than the other top combo decks of the environment without having a significantly faster goldfish.
Other than fun, it seems like most times you’d be better off with academy.
Null rod is good against academy only in the first or second turn then it doesn't affect it that much
@CF: For the maindeck you gave on May, 28th (or do you have a newer version now?) what would your sideboard look like in a rather unknown Metagame, containing Keeper, OSE, Stacker and Oath.
Tips on how to sideboard against these archetypes would also be greatly apprechiated.
Tatanka tipped me about Cursed Totem against Stacker - it should cripple them fairly well. I also bring in edicts against stacker.
The maindeck is pretty anti-Keeper/Oath/OSE as it is, but I would consider both Negator and a Chains. Dystopia (and Recoil if you splash blue) against Oath.
I usually have sideboard against everything else than control (apart from 1 chains and 4 negators - negators shine against mono-u). The rest is Edicts, contagions, dystopia etc. If you expect Null Rods, splash blue and have Recoils handy.
@CF: What about Gate to Phyrexia as anti Null Rod tech? I think you were the one who mentioned it somewhere sometime ago. :-)
Once you get to anti-anti- tech, you might as well just run it more like suicide black. At this point, in my opinion, its just easier and more sensible rather than siding in anti tech anti tech...confused?
Recoil and blue splash is strictly better than monoblack w/gate if you expect Null Rods.
Cursed Totem would scare the hell out of a lot of decks. How many could you warrant sbing in?