Messing Around with Casual Decks for Early Type 2 (95/96 Magic)

I've talked before about how I'm not a blue player. I used to think there was something wrong with me and would occasionally try to work a blue-based deck into my suite, but finally I realized there was just something wrong with everyone else. Regardless, the result is that I'm typically only brewing within four colors, sometimes all four of them. For the experiment pictured below, I skipped over Magic 95 entirely and opted for "early Type 2," or 95/96 Magic, as described here.

My optimally suboptimal early Type 2 deck, "Soul Vise."

The core game plan is Black Vise + Howling Mine, supplemented by burn spells and restricted-esque one-ofs like Balance, Channel, Demonic Consultation and Zuran Orb. Thawing Glaciers makes the land base possible, and Initiates of the Ebon Hand filters off-colored mana into fuel for Soul Burn, Drain Life, and Necropotence. The goal is really just to live long enough to deal lethal, which I suppose is the goal of most decks. In my second goldfish game, the deck "went off" on turn 4 and was set up to cast Channel into a game-ending drain spell, but I had to Consult down to two cards left in my library for the Channel, so I'd have died on my draw step due to a pair of Howling Mines. That's when I knew the deck was perfect.

Nobody in our local 93/94 group really minds me pitting a concoction like this against their piles, and I figure that foregoing ABUR and the earliest expansions (Arabian Nights, Antiquities, Legends, and The Dark are all out) is a fair trade for running a few cards from Ice Age through Alliances, provided I'm not trying to reenact Black Summer.

Here's another casual deck in a similar vein, an evolution of a list I posted last year. I really enjoy black/green brews that combine a discard shell with Thallids and other Fallen Empires cards, and worked in a few '95 pieces to up the level of interesting.

This deck practically begs for a playset of Barbed Sextant; as is, consistently casting Lhurgoyf or Night Soil may be a bit of a pipe dream. The loss of Pendenhaven hurts as well, but it's hard to argue with flinging saprolings at somebody with a Skull Catapult.

I feel like, as long as you're not trying to be oppressive, it's reasonably balanced for a playgroup to jam decks of multiple old school variants against each other. It allows for a wider range of experimentation and embracing the nostalgia of an age (95/96 in particular) that doesn't really have a place elsewhere. Certainly if your gauntlet is fully-powered The Deck and mono-black Lake Drain you might end up pushing the lesser stuff out, but that's going to be the case wherever you cut off your list of allowed sets.

Not much more to say here; I hadn't posted in awhile and the sealed project still hasn't cracked its second session. My hope with this is simply to inspire others to play around with the sets that fall just after the traditional 93/94 pool to see what you can come up with. Out!


  1. UPDATE: I got to play "Soul Vise" last night against a pair of 93/94 decks in our playgroup. I predicted beforehand that the deck would have success in about 1 of every 4 games, and fizzle out or lose horribly in the other 3 - and that's exactly what happened!

    * The deck managed to hit critical mass once and win, not only with Mines/Vises, but even finishing things off with a Lake of the Dead-powered Soul Burn;

    * One game I lost to aggro without enough draw power (i.e. no Howling Mines, Sylvan Library, or Necropotence);

    * Another game I lost a few points shy of winning after exhausting my life total with Necropotence and getting socked with a brutally-timed Mind Twist;

    * In the final game I might have seen victory by multiple Vises but instead decided to go for glory and Demonic Consultation for my single Drain Life (both Soul burns had already been Hymned away earlier) with Channel and Initiates of the Ebon Hand lined up for the kill. Started flipping over cards and Drain Life was the sixth card down. Talk about losing in style!

    Pretty happy so far with my brew; lots of tough and interesting play decisions, and my opponents enjoyed seeing the deck run, which is a great place to be in old school!


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