"The Deck", Chapter II: Jan '96 - Aug '96


The deck continued to be played with success after the banning of Mind Twist, evolving to this form that features Amnesia in place of the Twist, Mirror Universe in place of the Ivory Tower, a slightly reworked land mix (including one extra Strip Mine), and a fireball in the sideboard. This is the deck that Weissman played at Origins '96 on the way to a team competition win (although see the note below on the sideboard).
Weisman's "The Deck", Jun '96
2 Serra Angel

4 Mana Drain
2 Counterspell
1 Time Walk
1 Timetwister
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Braingeyser
1 Recall 
1 Amnesia
4 Disenchant
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Moat

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Regrowth

2 Red Elemental Blast
2 Disrupting Scepter
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Mirror Universe
5 Moxen
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
3 Strip Mine
1 Library of Alexandria
4 City of Brass
2 Volcanic Island
4 Tundra
3 Plains
4 Island
Sideboard:
1 Fireball
1 Disrupting Scepter
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Feldon's Cane
2 Red Elemental Blast
Sideboard (cont):
1 Ivory Tower
2 Blood Moon
2 COP:Red
2 Divine Offering
1 Moat

One interesting note: Brian Weisman does not play the deck as described above in his area (he plays with two Mana Shorts in the sideboard, and used the Mana Short Variant in the Team Competition at Origins ‘96). To explain Brain says: "Blood Moons can be much more effective than Mana Shorts in environments where the opponents are unprepared for, or otherwise particularly vulnerable to the Blood Moon. In my area, control decks dominate and most are Blood Moon conscious. If you feel Blood Moons can be used to effect, swap the 2 Mana Shorts from the sideboard, and replace them with 2 Blood Moons. From the main deck, remove one Volcanic Island, and replace it with a Plains."

Weissman offered these insights in May '96:

What I believe really sets "The Deck" apart from its competitors is its overall objective: survival. "The Deck" virtually forgets about its opponent, and concentrates only on establishing itself and building card advantage. Since it is only trying to survive; a goal that every deck has to achieve, it only has to do half the work and is not vulnerable to the billions of cards that hose offensive strategies. I am not going to lose to Moat or Abyss or Blood Moon like Handelman's deck. I am not going to lose to Blood Moon, Moat, and COP Red like Kim's Deck. I am not going to lose to Ivory tower and COP Red like Chang's deck. All these decks suffer the same problem that if a threat arrives that is beyond their measure to deal with, they are finished. To me, it seems that Magic is very inclined in the direction of defensive/card advantage, and that is why I chose that path when building a competitive deck. You simply concentrate on survival and drawing cards, and winning, through two angels or a braingeyser, takes care of itself.

-weissman


Racks or Angels?

Warren Chang suggested that there is no reason to allow the opponent the opportunity to use anti-creature cards at all. He has advocated using 2 Racks instead, as the Serras wouldn't come out before the Sceptre/Counterspell lock anyway. Along with this change, the Moat could be replaced by the Abyss, which removes creatures instead of just neutralizing them, and works against flyers as well.

Brian Weissman objects to these changes. In his own words:

I totally disagree with Warren Changs suggestion of removing the Angels from "The Deck", to completely render my opponent's creature defense innefective. He has totally missed the point. I NEED creatures in my deck to prevent this from happening, as I give my opponent far to great of an advantage if he gets to sideboard out all of his creature defense.

Contrary to popular belief, the "only play the serra in the lock" rule is far from an absolute. Around here we have a name for an early Angel, called the "The Deck Gambit". I don't know how many hapless opponents I have killed with this. They figure that once an Angel hits the table they are dead anyway, so they sideboard out all their plowshares and die miserably when I summon an Angel on the second turn.

The Rack does less damage then an angel, cannot ever block or be plowshared for life, and the last thing on earth I want to do is let my opponent's extra sideboard artifact defense act as damage prevention. The Serra is vital not only as a creature-based threat, but as a 4/4 flying blocker in times of emergency. Knowing when to play an Angel is just as vital a skill as knowing when to counter something; there are never absolute rules for either. I have found time and time again that two angels are often excessive, and I will very often let one or both be plowshared to maintain a positional advantage. In the control-lock game that "The Deck" plays, the Braingeyser and the Tormod's Crypt are just as potent weapons as the Angels.

-weissman


All that being said, here is a viable “Rack” version of the deck that is competitive:
Rack version of "The Deck", Apr '96
4 Mana Drain
3 Counterspell
1 Time Walk
1 Timetwister
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Braingeyser
1 Recall 
1 Amnesia

4 Disenchant
3 Swords to Plowshares

2 Abyss
1 Demonic Tutor

1 Regrowth

1 Red Elemental Blast
1 Fireball
2 Disrupting Scepter
2 The Rack
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Mirror Universe
5 Moxen
1 Black Lotus
1 Sol Ring
3 Strip Mine
1 Library of Alexandria
4 City of Brass
2 Volcanic Island
4 Tundra
3 Plains
4 Island
Sideboard:
1 Fireball
1 Disrupting Scepter
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Feldon's Cane
2 Red Elemental Blast
Sideboard (cont):
1 Ivory Tower
2 Blood Moon
2 COP:Red
2 Divine Offering
1 Moat

In spite of Brian’s well founded objections ‘The Rack’ version of the deck is strong, built on the backbone of his original deck, and competitive.


 The Magic Dojo© 1997-1998 Frank Kusumoto. Please report bugs or problems to fkusumot@ix.netcom.com.