Gateway Deck Analysis

Posted in Event Coverage on January 17, 2003

By Brian David-Marshall

Brian David-Marshall is a New York–based game designer who has been involved with Magic since 1994, when he started organizing tournaments and ran a Manhattan game store. Since then, he has been a judge, a player, and one of the longest-tenured columnists on, as he enters his second decade writing for the site. He is also the Pro Tour Historian and one of the commentators for the Pro Tour.

It was perhaps the worst kept secret in Chicago.

Doomed Necromancer
A couple of months ago, Ben Seck designed a Type 2 reanimator deck that he called Angry Pete. It took the name from a friend of Ben's who apparently resembles the Doomed Necromancer that the deck revolved around. His deck had four copies of Krosan Colossus and two Sutured Ghouls and was an attempt to "Standard"ize the Angry Hermit part 2 deck from Pro Tour Houston.

Ben fooled around with the deck in the casual play areas of Magic Online and was pleased with the results. He knew the deck wasn't quite tournament quality but he felt the kernel of a powerful deck lying within.

Enter Bob Maher and Dave Williams.

Bob took out the Colossi and the Ghouls and tightened the deck's engine. Dave took out the Millikins that had crept into the later builds and replaced them with Smothers. Everyone was pleased with the results.

They wanted to test the deck but were hesitant about playing it on Magic Online as they were considering it for this event. They decided to create new accounts and play the deck anonymously. "I was playing the deck non-stop," explained Ben. "I was 70-15 on Magic Online with it. My rating went from 1600 to 1780 playing nothing but that deck. The deck significantly changed the Magic Online metagame. I was something like 24-0 and then I started losing to maindeck Morning Tides and Krosan Reclamations"

While they were making an attempt at secrecy the deck was screaming to be free. It was the fourth most played deck in the Gateway. When he overheard Dave talking about testing the deck under assumed names Zvi commented, " Oh that was you I played?" It turns out it was Bob.

Zvi went on, " If we thought the deck was really good we would have held it back until Masters..." I asked Zvi if he was foreshadowing the deck choices of YMG but he assured me he was not. " The deck is significantly weaker than it was going into the tournament."

Dave seemed stunned that there were so many people running similar decks but Bob was not surprised at all. "We weren't overly concerned about keeping the deck a secret--just the fact that we might be playing it. We actually gave the deck to a number of people and I know of at least one group in Canada that developed a similar deck independently."

"We were just concerned about Pros having an opportunity to test against us. But even then we were prepared. We have Patriarch's Bidding in the board to get around Ground Seal..." I asked Bob how much he was comfortable discussing on the record but he was not concerned about giving anything away.

"I don't care. I'm not going to play this in the Masters. Not now."

PT Chicago Masters Gateway 2003: B/R Reanimator

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