Hello! I hope you are having a great day today! By the time you read this, I should be deep into a vacation in Morocco. I won’t be back for a few more days. I wrote this article in January for you, so you’d have something to read. What I want to do is look at what I consider to be the most overrated cards for Type Four of all time. Last week, I looked at the best cards for the format, and this is that follow-up. Because I am physically unable to respond to anything, and I won’t be on my normal EST schedule, I won’t be available to answer questions, comment on your responses, or anything else until I return on Monday the 25th. Sorry!
What is this Type Four thing? In my article last week, I discussed it and some god starter cards for it too.
- You can make any amount mana, of any type
- You may not cast more than one spell/turn.
- If you cast a spell with its alternate cost, then it doesn’t count as a spell for the turn.
And that’s it! Build a stack, draft (to just shuffle and play), and get your Type Four on!
There are a number of questions that I often get asked about my stack. The most common of them is about if I run certain cards. Either they’ll ask ahead of time, or later if they realize that something wasn’t in the stack after they played. These are not good cards for Type Four. I even see them in online stacks pretty regularly. None of these cards are Type 4 quality.
What do I mean when I say that a card is heavily played, but really doesn’t belong in Type 4?
What I want to do is change this Top Ten list up a little bit. I am going to start with my clear-cut, #1 choice which is the best example of what this list is trying to do. I’ll create my case for why it’s the most overrated card in the format, and then back off and move back from #10 to #2.
Here we go!
1. Swords to Plowshares
STP sucks in Type Four.
Swords to Plowshares is one of the most iconic spells in the entire game. It’s the best answer for any creature, ever! By exiling the target, you remove any chance of recursion, skate around indestructible, and permanently end someone’s fate.
In Type 4, you really need your pinpoint removal to exile where possible, and to always be an instant. No one wants cast a sorcery-speed exiling or destruction targeted removal spell. When you are only casting one spell/turn, then you need to ensure that you aren’t wasting that spell on Sever Soul or something. No sorceries allowed. And where possible, exiling too!
So that means that Swords is perfect, right? It’s a guaranteed answer to something like Avacyn, Angel of Hope or Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre. It’s a big, strong, spell that will end the threat permanently.
I don’t care. It doesn’t belong in your Type Four stack.
What makes Swords so good in other formats is that’s just 1 mana. It’s the most reliable spell because I am always able to take something out as long as I have a single mana open. In normal Magic, the life gain by your foes isn’t much of anything other than a speed bump. I exile your Hypnotic Specter before I randomly discard cards. Great; gain two life! But in this format, you have a large number of dorks, and giving them 10 or 13 life from taking out their big beater is a big jump in life from a starting 20 life.
Plus, this is Type Four. There are many, many spells that aren’t better than Swords elsewhere, because they cost more mana. But here? They are great!
Just for fun and frolicking, let’s look at ten instant exiling spells better than Swords:
10. Unmake - Exile target dork without any disadvantages!
9. Final Reward - Exile target dork without any disadvantages!
8. Path to Exile - Exile target dork, and barring an odd stack with some basics in it, without any disadvantages to it!
7. Hour of Glory - Exile target dork! You may not use its advantage much, but it’s there.
6. Trostani's Judgment - Exile target dork, and if you happen to have a token, then you get another one for your trouble!
5. Blessed Light - Flexible with two targeting options, one of which is a dork.
4. Vraska's Contempt - Exile target dork or planeswalker, and gain a little life too.
3. Anguished Unmaking - Sure, you lose a little life. But I’d always rather have the option to take out anything that’s not a land. Speaking of which…
2. Utter End - Exile anything that’s not a land, including dorks!
1. Scour from Existence - Exile target anything, even a land!
Do you see how all of these are better than Swords? I’d rather run the weakness of Crib Swap leaving a 1/1 token over Swords, or have exiling an attacking dork, (which is pretty much anything), something like Abzan Charm that can exile something with a power greater than 2 (again, pretty much anything) than Swords. Swords should never get played, as there are always better options out there. And many of those are cheap commons that are bulk prices or in print, like Blessed Light. 5 of those cards are common. You can pick these up for the cheap all day long.
I dug into Swords to show you where I wanted to go with my list today. I still get lots of questions about Swords, and see it in T4 stacks regularly, because of its reputation. But this is not the right format for Swords. Go give them a smoke break.
Now let’s head back to #10 and resume our normal order.
10. Fat Vanilla Creatures
When this format was first created, I eagerly added in cards like Whiptail Wurm that had some size to them, and cards like these were heading in as well. By now we’ve passed the big, fat, vanilla dork mostly by. As I mentioned in last week’s article, we have fatties that do things on arrival:
Slinn Voda is the same size as Quilled Slagwurm, and bigger than the Whiptail Wurm . It’s vanilla once it hits the battlefield, but does something powerful. We also have beaters that have a bunch of abilities. Stuff like Gaea's Revenge has a suite of useful abilities that will give it some reach beyond a Whiptail Wurm. I recently won a game with Plated Crusher, because hexproof and trample is not an easy combo to deal with, and that’s not even a major force at T4. No one top picks it in draft, it’s often one of the latter cards picked, and it’s still got a lot more game.
Now, one of the major questions I ask is to myself (and you!) is about the vanilla 10/10. It can kill in just two hits, so does Ghoultree or Giganotosaurus make the cut? I do have them in mine right now, but they are on a outside looking in, and could be pulled at any time for more reliable beaters.
9. Wheel of Fortune and Other Discard and Draw 7s
There are a number of these out there that include Timetwister variants and more. The problem with these is twofold. First, they take up your main phase. I don’t want to be casting this on my main phase very often, instead I want to cast something like a fancy artifact, a fat ‘walker or a beater with big ol’ booty. The next issue is that they will often help your foes. They get cards too. And they didn’t invest an entire main phase to do it.
I often have these sitting around in my hand and doing nothing. I don’t want to discard one or two cards that I am waiting to unleash, or waste my main phase, or help my foes. But there are alternatives out there that are better than these.
We just got one in Ravnica Allegiance that’s an instant - Emergency Powers. You don’t have to waste it, and if you need it on your main phase, you can get the Addendum trigger as well, so you don’t waste it. Another mechanic I love a lot is to instead lean into mass-card drawing for just yourself. Overflowing Insight will give you 7 cards, but then you can choose the best hand, and then keep the good stuff in your hand against the stuff you just drew, all while no one else is netting any benefit. For a spell that’s both more and less flexible, see Interpret the Signs. These are much better effects. Now some folks may prefer the pure chaotic feeling of a Wheel of Fortune effect, but we have better options out there now.
8. Skizziks and Medium Sized Hasters
The strongest keywords for T4 are, in order, Flash, Haste, Indestructible, and Hexproof. In my opinion. There are many medium-sized bodies that have haste that give you the valuable ability. But we don’t want weaker ones like Skizzik or temporary ones such as Blistering Firecat. You are really looking for bigger and beefier haste-ers like these:
Rorix Bladewing and Brimstone Dragon are the smallest French vanilla “haste” bodies that have something else, in their case flying, most of the other haste-rs this size or bigger are bringer more abilities to the table, like Spirit of the Night and Thraximundar. Haste is great, but we have enough bigger bodies to work out.
7. BIG Auras
Lots of times people will ask about the expensive positive Auras out there that really turn a creature into a game-winning threat. From Pollenbright Wings to Mythic Proportions, they often ask and wonder about these big, expensive positive Auras. I don’t usually run them. Again, there is this tension with pumping up a dork on my turn vs. casting something like a whole other dork. With this much removal, these are worse than normal. And they aren’t that big! In normal MTG, your average early dork is small, just 2/2 or 1/3 or something. Here, you can cast a 10/10 trampler on the first turn. Why bother to put Mythic Proportions on it the next? It won’t win any sooner - still takes 2 hits!
The only exception to this is one that’s annihilator pushes it over the edge:
Eldrazi Conscription has removal, and annihilator won’t eat random basic lands or tiny dorks in Type 4, it usually eats money cards. This is the exception.
I do run expensive negative auras, like Lay Claim that steal anything or Spirit Away that will steal and pump it a little and send it in the sky. Stealing dorks or anything is good enough to run on your main phase and take up your turn, so you usually are fine with them. I love Take Possession and it’s a key Type 4 card to my mind, by the by.
I run a few instants like these. Both can pump up something to a big effect and can kill someone out of nowhere, just like the big aura could, only as a surprise. The Invocation is better in many circumstances because it can save a dork and can’t be answered, although Bounty of Might is more flexible as you can give up to +9/+9 to one dork. I also run Decree of Savagery, which almost never gets used at Sorcery speed, and can keep your spell open for the turn in case someone tries to stop your cool dork. Finally, Vitalizing Wind can turn any army into a game winner. I love it after I cast a spell or had an effect that made some token dorks. All of these cards are under a buck and can be easily picked up on the cheap for a stack too.
Type 4 can play the best, most expensive cards of all time, right? Right! So cards like the powerful pieces of equipment, such as Batterskull, Sword of Fire and Ice, and Umezawa's Jitte should be really strong here, right? Nope! Batterskull is probably the best piece of equipment for Type 4. It doesn’t take up an entire main phase for something that’s not a dork, and you can self-bounce it after mass removal if you want to recast it. And it’s not bad. You can get some value from it. But no one really wants it. No one drafts it. No one plays around it. No one wins a battle due to Batterskull. But a 4/4 isn’t doing anything here.
And if Batterskull isn’t making the cut, nothing else is.
5. Nevinyrral’s Disk and Other Slow Destroyers ofStuff
When this format first was discussed on the Wizards of the Coast homepage and people all over were building their first stacks for Type 4, no one questioned the need for the Disk. You needed mass removal, and we needed a sweeping removal option that could smash more than mere creatures. Something that would take out most permanents. It didn’t matter that you had to wait a full turn before using it, and it could be answered by Disk Destruction. There weren’t many options, and we needed the removal. Today? There really isn’t any reason to lean on a Disk. We have more sorceries that sweep things en-masse like Akroma's Vengeance and Planar Cleansing. I have Cyclonic Rift that will bounce everyone else’s stuff, which is arguably much, much better. We have Disk options that work immediately and still play into the “Wait and see” approach of a Disk, like these:
These three cards are pretty strong in Type 4, and if you can get them, add a lot of option for removing and answering issues. Plague Boiler is a bulk rare, and the Vault just a few dollars, and the Stone has dropped in price recently too. All of these are great useful adjuncts and are better than Disk by far because they give you the benefit of having removal that you can use anytime, but which can also be used immediately rather than waited a turn. So why are you running Disk?
4. Vindicate and Desert Twister (Shout out to Maelstrom Pulse and other Sorcery effects of a similar Nature)
These cards used to be commonly played in T4, but I feel that time has slipped past them. These effects are sorcery speed, so they are hard to run here, when you have other options available. You do need to run flexible removal like these, but the sorcery is a hard ask. If you want a sorcery speed answer, then we have creatures like Angel of Despair, or Necrotic Sliver, or something like Spine of Ish Sah. Shoot, I’d rather run Unstable Obelisk or Universal Solvent. If you need to destroy it at sorcery speed you can, but you can also set up to sacrifice for free later to destroy anything, so there is added value there. Plus, there are instants that can be used as well, such as the above Scour from Existence or others you’ll see mentioned below…cough cough…
3. Murder and Terminate
I hear you. You want instant removal for dorks, but you want to lean into one of three things - exiling removal, removal that can target multiple things, or flexible removal. Much like the categories below or above, this is boring removal that offers nothing else. No exiling. No additional targets. Nothing special. Now here, for example, are four Murder / Terminate effects that I do run (or want to in the case of the Standard one that’s pricey right now) that are clearly better in T4.
As you can see, the Agonizing Demise has the awesome kicker that will let you so some serious damage to someone’s face while you cast it. It’s awesome. The Bedevil and Trophy have many more options and the Trophy can take out anything without any disadvantage. All of these are better than a mere Murder or Terminate. Why run those when you can run these? The Trophy is also a cool Vindicate option above as it can destroy anything at instant speed. The Betrayal is great as an instant Zombify or Murder, so it’s flexible. If you want more destruction options for lands you could add in Fissure or Wrecking Ball. Are you running Petrify and Mortify? Status // Statue? Hero's Downfall? The exile options we looked at above? You get the idea!
2. Counterspell, Spell Blast, and other Hard Counters
I just checked Gatherer for you. Did you know that we have about 95 instants that counter target spell without any restrictions? (This number does not include creatures or something else, like Remove Soul, Exclude, or Scatter Arc.) Type Four wants to run every creature that can counter a spell, like Draining Whelk and Mystic Snake, as well as Decree of Silence and spells that do something other than counter, like redirect the target, or steal it altogether, or just exile it from the stack without countering it. We even have every dork that can morph up and counter (or steal) a spell. That means we easily have 125 effects that you can run.
When Type Four began, the importance of countermagic was such that you pretty much had to toss in every single hard counter made, including lesser ones like Arcane Denial. Now that’s no longer the case. Not only should counters like the Denial or Vex no longer make the cut, but even generic counters that don’t have any other options (Disallow, Summary Judgment) or that do something else (Last Word, Punish Ignorance, Dismiss) should be in your T4 stack. There are enough counters that no one plays (so they are cheap to acquire) that are perfect for T4, like Fall of the Gavel or Fervent Denial. Counterspell and similar “Don’t adding anything else” really are out on numbers, and have been for a while.
There are so many counters that are better than Counterspell! You don’t need them anymore.
And there we are! Thanks for reading! So what did you think of my list? Anything I left off, or anything here that you disagree with? Just let me know!!!
P.S. - I published a book!!!!!!!! Yup! A book! It’s called, “Love for One Another.” Now, to be fair, its genres are Christian and Auto-Biography. If that’s not your thing, that’s fine!
I use as the basis of my book the scripture passage in John where Jesus charges his disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
If you are interested in reading it, then here it is! https://www.amazon.com/Love-One-Another-Abe-Sargent/dp/1644162008 . Check it out and let me know what you thought! You can add me on Facebook (I’m Abe Sargent)!