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Return of the Doc

Hey, guys!

"We're back, and we're bigger than a bread box! Three bread boxes, even." *

Sorry it's been a while, but I've been seeing my family again for Easter. Now it's back to Uni, and you'll be seeing my usual frenzied output! Today I'd like to take a little break from the recent deluge of Breaking Stupid Rares to do another deck fix. It's a Black & Blue discard deck, sent to me by a chap called Ryan Spring. Here's the original list:

4 Abyssal Specter
4 Shadowmage Infiltrator
2 Mahamoti Djinn

4 Counterspell
4 Syncopate
4 Spite/Malice
4 Recoil
4 Duress
2 Exclude
2 Tsabo's Decree
1 Yawgmoth's Agenda
1 Haunting Echoes

10 Island
10 Swamp
4 Underground River

As you can see, this is pretty solid already but can use a few upgrades. For once, I'd like to look at instants, enchantments etc. first. This is because there are a couple of important omissions here, and it'll be easier to rebuild the creature section afterwards.

The main omission is Undermine. Are you playing UB? Well, then you're playing Undermine. The only reason not to stick the King of Counters in a UB deck is lack of funds, as Undermine is one of the more expensive rares out there. The next important card that's been missed is Megrim. With Abyssal Specter, Recoil and Duress present, Megrim makes your win that bit more efficient. With a couple of Megrim on the board, your opponent's Threshold, Flashback, Madness and Wild Mongrel/Psychatog strategies look really bad value.

That said, preferably you don't want your opponent to choose what to discard. If you play a Recoil when they have an Arrogant Wurm in hand, they would gleefully take the 2 damage from your Megrim in order to put a 4/4 trampler into play. Duress is the best in its field, and is already included. Addle is another good one, and even more useful with fewer 3-coloured decks around. Mass discard is also useful, as when your opponent has discarded all their Flashback and Madness they have to start dropping the good stuff. Urza's Guilt or Mind Sludge fit this model. You should know the best time to play a mass discard spell, as you'll be seeing a lot of their hand thanks to your other spells.

Stuff to drop includes Spite/Malice, Syncopate, Exclude and Tsabo's Decree. The reason is the same in all these cases, that of mana cost. You should always have 2 or 3 mana spare in this deck to play a surprise Undermine or Aether Burst during your opponent's turn, and with UB you can find some very cheap effects indeed. I just mentioned Aether Burst, compare it to Tsabo's Decree to see which removes more efficiently. And of course, at the moment you'd sometimes rather a card was in your opponent's hand than their graveyard. Gives them more to discard, at any rate!

As for the creature layout, I recommend removing Mahamoti Djinn. In this type of deck, you should always keep a couple of mana spare for emergency counters, meaning that Fat Moti will come into play around turn 8 or 9. This is way too slow, and one quick kill spell wrecks 6 mana worth of investment. Just use Megrim as your primary source of damage.

I toyed with the idea of playing Doomsday Specter ahead of Abyssal Specter, (with Ravenous Rats to overcome Doomsday's creature removal side effect) but the astronomical number of bounce-based decks you're likely to come across swung it in Abyssal's favour. Shadowmage Infiltrator stays as a reliable and economical card drawer.

As a last touch, change the Underground Rivers to Tainted Isles. When you're calculating how Tainted lands affect the overall quantities at home, just use this method: Decide the land quantities as normal based on individual mana costs, and then turn 4 Islands into 4 Tainted Isles, 4 Forests into 4 Tainted Woods etc. This always gives me the optimal amount of each. With the lower mana curve, you can afford to cut out a couple of lands as well. Obtusely, this will make room for the high-cost Mind Sludge. Use these sparingly, and only with at least one Megrim in play.

4 Abyssal Specter
4 Shadowmage Infiltrator

4 Megrim
4 Undermine
4 Counterspell
4 Duress
4 Aether Burst
4 Addle
3 Recoil
2 Mind Sludge
1 Haunting Echoes

11 Swamp
7 Island
4 Tainted Isle

OK, there's the finished work! Your keys to victory are the Megrims. If your opponent is playing a creature damage deck, then play them as quickly as possible, and use Aether Burst and Recoil as best you can. If they're playing a deck that includes counters, try to hold out until you can play Megrim with enough mana to back it up with a counter.

When Megrim and Abyssal Specter have hit the board, let loose with a blistering salvo of discard, and watch the damage rack up. Lovely! If you can get into this position, Undermine and powered-up Aether Bursts should be enough to secure the finish.

I hope you do well with the deck, Ryan!

Don't forget, if you've got a Type II deck for me to fix or a Type II Stupid Rare that's just asking for a Breaking, I'd love to hear from you. I also want to know if there's anything a bit different you'd like to see a MTG article about. As from now, a reply is guaranteed. (unless I get really, really busy!)

* If you know where this quote is from, tell me and earn a guaranteed Type II deck fix on these pages!





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