• Magic: The Gathering
  • Magic: The Gathering Online

Which game do you want to buy from?

How to Buy at a Glance

  • 1. Search for items
  • 2. Purchase via PayPal or CC
  • 3. Receive items in the mail
    (usually in less than a week!)
Want Magic prices from CardShark.com on your Mobile device? - Try the Decked Builder app

CardShark Content - Matthew Smith (6/18/2003)

GenCon is a bit more than a month away, and riding on the coattails is the Vintage Championships. Earlier this year I promised that I’d not only be preparing myself for the voyage, but you as well. I’m here to make good on that promise. I’d like to discuss a few decks, some you’ll see, and a few you’d like to play, but nearly all of them I consider to be T1 worthy.

While I can’t promise to dive into the murky waters of all the decks, I can water-ski over the important parts; I’ll try to make sure I have a match-up analysis of all the major archetypes with deck lists that I would play. The lists may not appeal to your own tastes, and that’s good, so don’t be bothered if you feel the need to swap card slots around.

With the printing of Scour
Scour
ScourSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
18
Artist:
Eric Peterson
Text:
Remove target enchantment from the game. Search its controller's graveyard, hand, and library for all copies of that card and remove them from the game. That player then shuffles his or her library.
ge, one card I believe everyone should be aware of is Mind’s Desire. It is my belief that Combo will be very strong during the month of July in some form or the other with Gro-A-Tog dying out due to Gush
Gush
GushSet: Mercadian Masques
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
82
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
You may return two islands you control to their owner's hand instead of paying Gush's mana cost.Draw two cards.
’s recent restriction. (Of course Wizards already saw this happening as they have restricted Desire already—something to do with Chapin being hired? I don’t know)

The first list I’m giving you is a new twist on an old deck. The Academy was once said to be the only deck worth playing in Type 1: “If the idea of Type I is to play with broken cards, then there is no other deck that plays with as many broken cards as The Academy.” This sentiment is true if you’re from the school of thought that a truly good combo player should win all the time if s/he plays the deck right. With this teaching, The Academy truly houses the most broken cards in the game—more so with the inclusion of Mind’s Desire. From the school of Chapin: The Academy tells every other deck in the field, “If you aren’t playing with 4 Force of Will
Force of Will
Force of WillSet: Alliances
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
You may pay 1 life and remove a blue card in your hand from the game instead of paying Force of Will's casting cost. Effects that prevent or redirect damage cannot be used to counter this loss of life. Counter target spell.
, then you lose.” It was with this train of thought that he deemed Gro to be the best deck in the field, as it beat The Academy reliably. The Academy; therefore, forces one to believe that with an aggro deck they may not see another turn. While it’s true that combo generally houses anything that isn’t control, I’ll let you decide on your own accord how much of Chapin’s teachings you believe to be true. The debate is too long for this article.

Burning Academy

Draw 7’s

1 Mind's Desire
Mind's Desire
Mind's DesireSet: Scourge
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
41
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Shuffle your library. Remove the top card of your library from the game. Until the end of turn, you may play this card without paying its mana cost. Storm (When you play this spell, copy it for each spell played before this turn)

1 Time Spiral
Time Spiral
Time SpiralSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
103
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
Remove Time Spiral from the game. Each player shuffles his or her graveyard and hand into his or her library, then draws seven cards. You untap up to six lands.

1 Timetwister
Timetwister
TimetwisterSet: Alpha
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Set Timetwister aside in a new graveyard pile. Shuffle your hand, library, and graveyard together into a new library and draw a new hand of seven cards, leaving all cards in play where they are; opponent must do the same.

1 Windfall
Windfall
WindfallSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
111
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Each player discards his or her hand and draws cards equal to the greatest number a player discarded this way.

1 Memory Jar
Memory Jar
Memory JarSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
5
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
129
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
tap, Sacrifice Memory Jar: Each player sets aside his or her hand, face down, and draws seven cards. At end of turn, each player discards his or her hand and returns to his or her hand each card he or she set aside this way.


Mana


4 Dark Ritual
Dark Ritual
Dark RitualSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Add BBB to your mana pool.

1 Tolarian Academy
Tolarian Academy
Tolarian AcademySet: Urza's Saga
Color:
Land
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
330
Artist:
Stephen Daniele
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool for each artifact you control.

2 Volcanic Island
Volcanic Island
Volcanic IslandSet: Revised Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Brian Snoddy
Text:
T: Add either U or R to your mana pool.Counts as both islands and mountains and is affected by spells that affect either. If a spell destroys one of these land types, this card is destroyed; if a spell alters one of these land types, the other land type is unaffected.

3 Underground Sea
Underground Sea
Underground SeaSet: Revised Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Rob Alexander
Text:
T: Add either B or U to your mana pool.Counts as both swamp and islands and is affected by spells that affect either. If a spell destroys one of these land types, this card is destroyed; if a spell alters one of these land types, the other land type is unaffected.

3 Gemstone Mine
Gemstone Mine
Gemstone MineSet: Weatherlight
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Brom
Text:
When Gemstone Mine comes into play, put three mining counters on it.tap, Remove a mining counter from Gemstone Mine: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. If there are no mining counters on Gemstone Mine, bury it.

2 City of Brass
City of Brass
City of BrassSet: Fifth Edition
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Tom Wänerstrand
Text:
Whenever City of Brass becomes tapped, it deals 1 damage to you.T: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.

4 Polluted Delta
Polluted Delta
Polluted DeltaSet: Onslaught
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
321
Artist:
Land
Text:
T, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Polluted Delta: Search your library for an island or swamp card and put it into play. Then shuffle your library. Rob Alexander

Search

1 Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Vampiric TutorSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
161
Artist:
Gary Leach
Text:
Search your library for a card, then shuffle your library and put that card on top of it. You lose 2 life.

1 Mystical Tutor
Mystical Tutor
Mystical TutorSet: Classic Sixth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
83
Artist:
David O'Connor
Text:
Search your library for an instant or sorcery card and reveal that card. Shuffle your library, then put the card on top of it.

1 Tinker
Tinker
TinkerSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
45
Artist:
Mike Raabe
Text:
At the time you play Tinker, sacrifice an artifact.Search your library for an artifact card and put that artifact into play. Shuffle your library afterward.

4 Burning Wish
Burning Wish
Burning WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
83
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer

Text:
Choose a sorcery you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Burning Wish from the game.

1 Demonic Tutor
Demonic Tutor
Demonic TutorSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
Search your library for one card and take it into your hand. Reshuffle your library afterwards.

1 Frantic Search
Frantic Search
Frantic SearchSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
32
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Draw two cards, then choose and discard two cards. Untap up to three lands.

1 Crop Rotation
Crop Rotation
Crop RotationSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
98
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
At the time you play Crop Rotation, sacrifice a land.Search your library for a land card and put that land into play. Shuffle your library afterward.

2 Brainstorm
Brainstorm
BrainstormSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Draw three cards. Then, put any two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.
/Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
(these will probably become Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
)

Counter Magic

4 Force of Will
Force of Will
Force of WillSet: Alliances
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
You may pay 1 life and remove a blue card in your hand from the game instead of paying Force of Will's casting cost. Effects that prevent or redirect damage cannot be used to counter this loss of life. Counter target spell.


Broken Stuff

1 Time Walk
Time Walk
Time WalkSet: Alpha
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Amy Weber
Text:
Take an extra turn after this one.

1 Ancestral Recall
Ancestral Recall
Ancestral RecallSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Draw 3 cards or force opponent to draw 3 cards.

1 Yawgmoth's Bargain
Yawgmoth's Bargain
Yawgmoth's BargainSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
75
Artist:
Michael Sutfin
Text:
Skip your draw step.Pay 1 life: Draw a card.

1 Mind over Matter
2 Future Sight
Future Sight
Future SightSet: Onslaught
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
84
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
Play with the top card of your library revealed. You may play the top card of your library as though it were in your hand.

1 Fastbond
Fastbond
FastbondSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
You may put as many lands into play as you want each turn. Fastbond does 1 damage to you for every land beyond the first that you play in a single turn.


Artifacts

1 Lotus Petal
Lotus Petal
Lotus PetalSet: Tempest
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
C
Artist:
April Lee
Text:
tap, Sacrifice Lotus Petal: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool. Play this ability as a mana source.

1 Grim Monolith
Grim Monolith
Grim MonolithSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
126
Artist:
Chippy
Text:
Grim Monolith does not untap during your untap phase.T: Add three colorless mana to your mana pool. Play this ability as a mana source.4: Untap Grim Monolith.

1 Sol Ring
Sol Ring
Sol RingSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
T: Add 2 colorless mana to your mana pool. This ability is played as an interrupt.

1 Mana Crypt
2 Candelabra of Tawnos
Candelabra of Tawnos
Candelabra of TawnosSet: Antiquities
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Text:
X: Untap X separate lands.

1 Mana Vault
Mana Vault
Mana VaultSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
T: Add 3 colorless mana to your mana pool. Mana Vault doesn't untap normally during untap phase; to untap it, you must pay 4 mana during your upkeep. If Mana Vault remains tapped during upkeep it does 1 damage to you. Drawing mana from this artifact is played as an interrupt.

1 Mox Sapphire
Mox Sapphire
Mox SapphireSet: Alpha
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Add 1 blue mana to your mana pool. Tapping this artifact can be played as an interrupt.

1 Mox Emerald
Mox Emerald
Mox EmeraldSet: Alpha
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Add 1 green mana to your mana pool. Tapping this artifact can be played as an interrupt.

1 Mox Jet
Mox Jet
Mox JetSet: Alpha
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Add 1 black mana to your mana pool. Tapping this artifact can be played as an interrupt.

1 Mox Pearl
Mox Pearl
Mox PearlSet: Alpha
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Add 1 white mana to your mana pool. Tapping this artifact can be played as an interrupt.

1 Mox Ruby
Mox Ruby
Mox RubySet: Alpha
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Dan Frazier
Text:
Add 1 red mana to your mana pool. Tapping this artifact can be played as an interrupt.

1 Black Lotus
Black Lotus
Black LotusSet: Oversize Cards
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Mono Artifact
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Adds 3 mana of any single color of your choice to your mana pool, then is discarded. Tapping this artifact can be played as an interrupt.




SB: 4 Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental BlastSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
Counters a blue spell being cast or destroys a blue card in play.

SB: 3 Defense Grid
Defense Grid
Defense GridSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
125
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
During each player's turn, spells played by another player cost an additional 3.


Wishable Targets

SB: 1 Balance
Balance
BalanceSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Whichever player has more lands in play must discard enough lands of his or her choice to equalize the number of lands both players have in play. Next, equalize the cards in hand and then creatures in play the same way. Creatures lost in this manner are considered buried.

SB: 1 Mind Twist
Mind Twist
Mind TwistSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Julie Baroh
Text:
Opponent must discard X cards at random from hand. If opponent doesn't have enough cards in hand, entire hand is discarded.

SB: 1 Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of AgonySet: Scourge
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
75
Text:
Target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
Storm

SB: 1 Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of FortuneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
All players must discard their hands and draw seven new cards.

SB: 1 Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.

SB: 1 Innocent Blood
Innocent Blood
Innocent BloodSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
145
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Each player sacrifices a creature.

SB: 1 Braingeyser
Braingeyser
BraingeyserSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Target player must draw X cards.

SB: 1 Yawgmoth's Will
Yawgmoth's Will
Yawgmoth's WillSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
171
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
Until end of turn, you may play cards in your graveyard as though they were in your hand. Cards put into your graveyard this turn are removed from the game instead.



This is an overhaul of the classic Academy deck. Burning Wish
Burning Wish
Burning WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
83
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer

Text:
Choose a sorcery you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Burning Wish from the game.
is a perfect fit for this deck, as it grabs bombs out of the side board, not to mention more draw cards and your main kill mechanism in Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of AgonySet: Scourge
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
75
Text:
Target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
Storm
. Before I touch some of the finer points let’s get into the main deck first.

So far the mana base has been working fine for me. Ultimately you want to get to about four land and then quit. Drawing land in a combo deck is bothersome, especially when you are playing with tons of artifacts that give you mana (these also fuel the Tolarian Academy
Tolarian Academy
Tolarian AcademySet: Urza's Saga
Color:
Land
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
330
Artist:
Stephen Daniele
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool for each artifact you control.
). Finding the Tolarian Academy
Tolarian Academy
Tolarian AcademySet: Urza's Saga
Color:
Land
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
330
Artist:
Stephen Daniele
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool for each artifact you control.
can be difficult, so the inclusion of Crop Rotation
Crop Rotation
Crop RotationSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
98
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
At the time you play Crop Rotation, sacrifice a land.Search your library for a land card and put that land into play. Shuffle your library afterward.
is probably a must. Let’s not forget that even the small spells count big when you’re setting up a Desire, and Crop Rotation
Crop Rotation
Crop RotationSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
98
Artist:
DiTerlizzi
Text:
At the time you play Crop Rotation, sacrifice a land.Search your library for a land card and put that land into play. Shuffle your library afterward.
is never a dead card.

The searching mechanism of the deck revolves around Burning Wish
Burning Wish
Burning WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
83
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer

Text:
Choose a sorcery you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Burning Wish from the game.
. Sure, if you’ve seen the deck you’d say to yourself, ‘well I’ll just counter the Wish and his deck is done’ and you may be right…if you can counter the Wish. The smart combo player will know how to play the deck, and that means he’ll go off when he’s ready. Remember, it’s not turbo-artifact deck, it’s combo—play it as such. Imagine that you’re setting up an Upheaval
Upheaval
UpheavalSet: Odyssey
Cost:
6
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
113
Artist:
Kev Walker
Text:
Return all permanents to their owners' hands.
if it’s easier to grasp. For this reason the two Brainstorm
Brainstorm
BrainstormSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Draw three cards. Then, put any two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.
s will probably become Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
. Before the surprise factor Brainstorm
Brainstorm
BrainstormSet: Fifth Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Draw three cards. Then, put any two cards from your hand on top of your library in any order.
was a decent placeholder for the combo, now that the strategy is out Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
is probably better.

Wish can grab any answer you need, and rather than wait to address the sideboard I’ll do it here. Obviously Balance
Balance
BalanceSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Whichever player has more lands in play must discard enough lands of his or her choice to equalize the number of lands both players have in play. Next, equalize the cards in hand and then creatures in play the same way. Creatures lost in this manner are considered buried.
is the most useful tool in the board for Wish. A close second is, of course, Yawgmoth’s Will. If you’re playing against control I’d advise you go for the Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
or MindTwist before you combo out. Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of FortuneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
All players must discard their hands and draw seven new cards.
was added for the extra boost. This could be replaced with Windfall
Windfall
WindfallSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
111
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Each player discards his or her hand and draws cards equal to the greatest number a player discarded this way.
, but I wanted all the pitch-able blue cards in the deck. Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of AgonySet: Scourge
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
75
Text:
Target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
Storm
is your kill card, with Braingeyser
Braingeyser
BraingeyserSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Target player must draw X cards.
being a back up plan should it be needed. There are a smattering of other cards for various match-ups, including the Innocent Blood
Innocent Blood
Innocent BloodSet: Odyssey
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
145
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Each player sacrifices a creature.
which is surprisingly useful.

You’ll notice that the deck guns for any control after board with the Grids and Blasts. One point I have to address soon is death knoll this deck emits when a Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Blood MoonSet: Chronicles
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Tom Wänerstrand
Text:
All non-basic lands become mountains.
or constant mana destruction hits the table. Ultimately the battle against aggro will generally be won in the trenches of mana denial—as this is their main weapon against combo—combined with aggressive creatures of course. That is problematic. The benefit of playing Academy is that you need little land to cast your Draw seven cards and then go off. The disadvantage is that Draw sevens are for everybody and you may not get an optimal hand off your Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of Fortune
Wheel of FortuneSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Daniel Gelon
Text:
All players must discard their hands and draw seven new cards.
. This ultimately comes down to the inclusion of Burning Wish
Burning Wish
Burning WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
83
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer

Text:
Choose a sorcery you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Burning Wish from the game.
. The Wish is a very cost effective 1R which may be all you’ll have at one time. The key is the Balance
Balance
BalanceSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Whichever player has more lands in play must discard enough lands of his or her choice to equalize the number of lands both players have in play. Next, equalize the cards in hand and then creatures in play the same way. Creatures lost in this manner are considered buried.
in the board, as when it was main deck it was a bit clunky. Now with four different ways to get the Balance
Balance
BalanceSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Whichever player has more lands in play must discard enough lands of his or her choice to equalize the number of lands both players have in play. Next, equalize the cards in hand and then creatures in play the same way. Creatures lost in this manner are considered buried.
, you’ll notice the aggro games tend to get easier. This in no way implies that a game against aggro is easy, as Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Blood MoonSet: Chronicles
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Tom Wänerstrand
Text:
All non-basic lands become mountains.
is enemy #1 and should probably be addressed further in the sideboard.

The other cards are a skeleton of former Academy builds, although there are a few choices not seen before. The deck is really the epitome of “Top-decking TI”; at any time the card you draw is going to be a bomb. One card creates a new definition to top-decking: Future Sight
Future Sight
Future SightSet: Onslaught
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
84
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
Play with the top card of your library revealed. You may play the top card of your library as though it were in your hand.
. Future Sight
Future Sight
Future SightSet: Onslaught
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
84
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
Play with the top card of your library revealed. You may play the top card of your library as though it were in your hand.
in Academy is a thing of beauty. I would suggest no less than two. Most of the time this card is better than Ancestral Recall
Ancestral Recall
Ancestral RecallSet: Alpha
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
Draw 3 cards or force opponent to draw 3 cards.
. Future Sight
Future Sight
Future SightSet: Onslaught
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
84
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Text:
Play with the top card of your library revealed. You may play the top card of your library as though it were in your hand.
is the first card I tutor for on a 75 percent basis. With the so many shufflers in the deck, including the land, it’s no wonder this deck can take 45 minute turns.

A few cards are put in out of necessity. One controversial card is probably Dark Ritual
Dark Ritual
Dark RitualSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Add BBB to your mana pool.
. I think that it has a very nice effect with Mind’s Desire and can fuel an early Yawgmoth’s Bargain
Bargain
BargainSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Phil Foglio
Text:
Your opponent draws a card. You gain 7 life.
, but if you’re inclined to go a different route with Helm of Awakening
Helm of Awakening
Helm of AwakeningSet: Visions
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Adam Rex
Text:
All spells cost one generic mana less to play.
you’re welcome to. It is my belief that the Helm isn’t always as straightforward as you want to be with this deck. I think Helm makes Tolarian Academy
Tolarian Academy
Tolarian AcademySet: Urza's Saga
Color:
Land
Type:
Legendary Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
330
Artist:
Stephen Daniele
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool for each artifact you control.
better, but hurts Mind’s Desire; therefore I play with the synergistic Dark Ritual
Dark Ritual
Dark RitualSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Add BBB to your mana pool.
.

The idea of the deck? Well, with Desire being darn near unstoppable (due to the storm effect) it’s not unreasonable to rack off about 7-10 extra spells from one Desire. Also don’t dismiss the fact that you have tons of shufflers and will probably Desire twice in one turn if you opponent hasn’t already conceded. The main kill is in the Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of AgonySet: Scourge
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
75
Text:
Target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
Storm
after you’ve Desired, or created a hand that has complete disrupted your opponent. It is inconceivably easy to reach ten spells in one turn, (eight if you count the Burning Wish
Burning Wish
Burning WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
83
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer

Text:
Choose a sorcery you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Burning Wish from the game.
and Tendrils). Because of this there are many alternate paths to victory. You’ll actually be disappointed when your Desire turns up a Force of Will
Force of Will
Force of WillSet: Alliances
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Text:
You may pay 1 life and remove a blue card in your hand from the game instead of paying Force of Will's casting cost. Effects that prevent or redirect damage cannot be used to counter this loss of life. Counter target spell.
!

Match-up Analysis

A. AGGRO

SLIGH or R/G

The best friend of these decks are the aforementioned Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Blood MoonSet: Chronicles
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Tom Wänerstrand
Text:
All non-basic lands become mountains.
and Gorilla Shaman
Gorilla Shaman
Gorilla ShamanSet: Alliances
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Gorilla
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anthony S. Waters
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
XX1: Destroy target non-creature artifact with casting cost equal to X.
. Wasteland
Wasteland
WastelandSet: Tempest
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Una Fricker
Text:
T: Add one colorless mana to your mana pool.tap, Sacrifice Wasteland: Destroy target nonbasic land.
can throw a wrench into your plans as well. They are playing the disruption game in this case, so you’ll have to race them. Try to counter anything that hurts your mana, and getting too cocky with Fastbond
Fastbond
FastbondSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Mark Poole
Text:
You may put as many lands into play as you want each turn. Fastbond does 1 damage to you for every land beyond the first that you play in a single turn.
or Yawgmoth’s Bargain
Bargain
BargainSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Phil Foglio
Text:
Your opponent draws a card. You gain 7 life.
can land you in some Price of Progress
Price of Progress
Price of ProgressSet: Exodus
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
95
Artist:
Richard Kane Ferguson
Text:
Price of Progress deals 2 damage to each player for each nonbasic land he or she controls.
hurting. Ultimately I think Sligh is probably a bit easier, as R/G has Naturalize
Naturalize
NaturalizeSet: Onslaught
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
275
Artist:
Ron Spears
Text:
Destroy target artifact or enchantment.
to bring to the table. Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of Agony
Tendrils of AgonySet: Scourge
Cost:
4
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
75
Text:
Target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.
Storm
is your best friend here, don’t be afraid to use it early and bring it back with Will and then Burning Wish
Burning Wish
Burning WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
R
Number:
83
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer

Text:
Choose a sorcery you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Burning Wish from the game.
for it later.


IN : Nothing
OUT: Nothing

SUICIDE BLACK

How can this deck hurt you? Many, many ways I’m afraid. Null Rod
Null Rod
Null RodSet: Weatherlight
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Text:
Players cannot play any artifact abilities requiring an activation cost.
is your first concern. This is followed up by the mana and hand denial that they pack. I wouldn’t worry too much about a first turn Hypnotic Specter
Hypnotic Specter
Hypnotic SpecterSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
3
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Specter
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Douglas Shuler
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying An opponent damaged by Specter must discard a card at random from his or her hand. Ignore this effect if opponent has no cards left in hand.
, as racing these are pretty easy. Save your counters for Kegs game one, Rod games two and three.

IN : Nothing
OUT: Nothing

MASKNAUGHT

Playing against this deck is good news for you. This is basically another combo deck, but the trick is that your combo is faster. Most of the ‘good’ Mask decks will be Blue/Black, so don’t get to comfortable, be mindful of the counter and be prepared for a smidgeon of hand disruption. You could possible side in REB, but unless they’re running more counter magic than normal, I wouldn’t be worried—although you may want to watch out for the errant Recoil
Recoil
RecoilSet: Invasion
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
264
Artist:
Alan Pollack
Text:
Return target permanent to its owner's hand. Then that player discards a card from his or her hand.
or some-such nonsense.

IN : Nothing
OUT: Nothing

TNT

This match could be good or bad depending on the version your opponent is playing. Tangle
Tangle
TangleSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
213
Artist:
John Avon
Text:
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt this turn.Attacking creatures don't untap during their controllers' next untap steps.
IFdpcmU= is a boon for anyone playing with a low mana count, on the other hand if you save your Moxen in hand you can wait until you’re ready to go off. You have to be aware of their Goblin Welder
Goblin Welder
Goblin WelderSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Goblin
Rarity:
R
Number:
80
Artist:
Scott M. Fischer
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
T: Exchange target artifact a player controls for target artifact card in that player's graveyard.
’s, as they can pull some nasty tricks on your artifacts as well as their own. I’m not sure if these decks are running Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Blood MoonSet: Chronicles
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Artist:
Tom Wänerstrand
Text:
All non-basic lands become mountains.
anymore, but with the emergence of a wealth of Artifact decks in general, be prepared for some artifact hate in the form of Rack and Ruin
Rack and Ruin
Rack and RuinSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
89
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Destroy two target artifacts.
or Artifact Mutation
Artifact Mutation
Artifact MutationSet: Invasion
Cost:
2
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
231
Artist:
Greg Staples
Text:
Destroy target artifact. It can't be regenerated. Put X 1/1 green Saproling creature tokens into play, where X is its converted mana cost.


IN : Sadly, Nothing.
OUT : Same



B. CONTROL

NETHER VOID

This is one of the more aggro of the control decks on the block. I think as before, the only cards you really must worry about are the hand/land disruption. An active void, if play when you have nothing on the board, means that all your cheap artifacts now cost three…which is annoying. I would board the same as against any aggro deck…zilch.

IN : Nothing
OUT: Nothing

PARFAIT

Parfait may have a minor bit of hate against your deck in the form of artifact disruption, but generally this should be an easier match than any of the others. Really not to much to worry about as long as you play your cards right. Expect either a win or a draw at worst.

IN : Nothing
OUT: Nothing

KEEPER

This is the first of the decks that your sideboard will really help against. If the Keeper player can manage to grab the tempo of the late game with Cunning Wish
Cunning Wish
Cunning WishSet: Judgment
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
R
Number:
37
Artist:
Jim Nelson

Text:
Choose an instant you own from outside the game, reveal that card, and put it into your hand. Remove Cunning Wish from the game.
/Shattering Pulse
Shattering Pulse
Shattering PulseSet: Exodus
Cost:
2
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
102
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
Buyback 3 (You may pay an additional 3 when you play this spell. If you do, put it into your hand instead of your graveyard as part of the spell's effect.) Destroy target artifact.
, then you’re in for a long game. Otherwise, bring in the pain after sideboard and play the deck the right way. Set it up with Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
and Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental BlastSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
Counters a blue spell being cast or destroys a blue card in play.
before you combo. You are at the advantage here, the Keeper player is reacting to your moves, make sure you wait and strike at a time that is beneficial to you.

IN : 4 Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental BlastSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
Counters a blue spell being cast or destroys a blue card in play.
, 3 Defense Grid
Defense Grid
Defense GridSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
2
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
125
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
During each player's turn, spells played by another player cost an additional 3.

OUT: Frantic Search
Frantic Search
Frantic SearchSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
32
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
Draw two cards, then choose and discard two cards. Untap up to three lands.
, Mind over Matter, Tinker
Tinker
TinkerSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
45
Artist:
Mike Raabe
Text:
At the time you play Tinker, sacrifice an artifact.Search your library for an artifact card and put that artifact into play. Shuffle your library afterward.
, 4 x Dark Ritual
Dark Ritual
Dark RitualSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Sandra Everingham
Text:
Add BBB to your mana pool.


HULK

Game one against this deck would have you believe that it gets only easier, when in fact their sideboard may be better than your own. Pernicious Deed
Pernicious Deed
Pernicious DeedSet: Apocalypse
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
114
Artist:
Christopher Moeller
Text:
X, Sacrifice Pernicious Deed: Destroy each artifact, creature, and enchantment with converted mana cost X or less.
is deadly for you, as is Back to Basics
Back to Basics
Back to BasicsSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
R
Number:
62
Artist:
Carl Critchlow
Text:
Nonbasic lands do not untap during their controllers' untap phases.
and Duress
Duress
DuressSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
1
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
132
Artist:
Lawrence Snelly
Text:
Look at target opponent's hand and choose a noncreature, nonland card there. That player discards that card.
. Tread carefully when dealing with this deck; it is one of the better decks in the format right now. My advice, win game one and hope that you can force a game three or draw.

IN : see Keeper
OUT: see Keeper

MONO-U and URPHIDIAN

This deck is dead, why bother with it? Well some joker will probably show up with it. If you face this deck play around their counter magic in game one. Game two you might have to be prepared for Hurkyl’s recall. As I said already, I don’t expect many people to be playing with this deck. (cry)

IN : standard control SB (see Keeper)
OUT: standard control SB (see Keeper)

C. COMBO

ACADEMY

The mirror match—the one that you had better expect to see. Mirror matches of these decks often come down to who has the Academy in play first, or who is the better player in the waiting game. One thing to remember is that you’re both running draw sevens, so an opening hand of only the Academy my not be that bad. With so many different versions of Academy, it’s hard to tell you how to prepare.


IN : 4 Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental BlastSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
Counters a blue spell being cast or destroys a blue card in play.
s
OUT: Mind over Matter, Tinker
Tinker
TinkerSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
45
Artist:
Mike Raabe
Text:
At the time you play Tinker, sacrifice an artifact.Search your library for an artifact card and put that artifact into play. Shuffle your library afterward.
, Memory Jar
Memory Jar
Memory JarSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
5
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Artifact
Rarity:
R
Number:
129
Artist:
Donato Giancola
Text:
tap, Sacrifice Memory Jar: Each player sets aside his or her hand, face down, and draws seven cards. At end of turn, each player discards his or her hand and returns to his or her hand each card he or she set aside this way.


RECTOR TRIX

This deck is fairly new in the T1 circles, and you may not have heard of it yet. Basically Academy Rector
Academy Rector
Academy RectorSet: Urza's Destiny
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Cleric
Rarity:
R
Number:
1
Artist:
Heather Hudson
Power:
1
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Academy Rector is put into a graveyard from play, you may remove Academy Rector from the game. If you do, search your library for an enchantment card and put that card into play. Then shuffle your library.
is your worst enemy here as it can grab a Yawgmoth’s Bargain
Bargain
BargainSet: Portal Second Age
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Phil Foglio
Text:
Your opponent draws a card. You gain 7 life.
or an Illusions. Try to counter it if you can. The trick is to combo before they can, which should be easy to do if you can avoid their hand disruption. In this case I would be weary of Rector, or surprise them by putting their life gain on the stack and using your REB to kill them outright.

IN : 4 Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental Blast
Red Elemental BlastSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Richard Thomas
Text:
Counters a blue spell being cast or destroys a blue card in play.
s
OUT: Windfall
Windfall
WindfallSet: Urza's Saga
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
111
Artist:
Pete Venters
Text:
Each player discards his or her hand and draws cards equal to the greatest number a player discarded this way.
, Mind over Matter, Tinker
Tinker
TinkerSet: Urza's Legacy
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
45
Artist:
Mike Raabe
Text:
At the time you play Tinker, sacrifice an artifact.Search your library for an artifact card and put that artifact into play. Shuffle your library afterward.



The way I see it this deck is an upgrade over the Academy decks of old. I’d like to see this deck do well, but I believe it can only do as well as the person piloting it.

Obviously the deck is not unbeatable; it has some cards that can chicken wing it if they resolve. The trick to test the deck, and address those holes via the sideboard. Then you might have a shot with this deck come the end of July.

Here’s the first in the series, and it won’t be the last. Send me a line if you have any ideas on the deck, as I’m going to be working on another installment of Defeating the Metagame: The Road to Vintage Championships.



Viva,


Rate Article



Discuss Article

Click here to discuss this article in forum or leave comments for the author.

RSS feed RSS Feed


This article is provided to you by CardShark.com - A Better Way to Buy and Sell Collectable Games Online. Please check out the rest of our site - you won't be disappointed.

View More ArticlesView More Articles