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EDH Deck Layer 1/Layer 2

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[easybox]This deck was originally published on Nov. 3rd, 2009. We are reprinting it as part of our 2009 Holiday Hiatus.[/easybox]

It's been a busy few weeks, which means I've been playing less multi-layer EDH than usual. I have been able to get some duel action in, but no one wants to read a few pages of Progenitus crushing Rith's face (thanks again Todd!) That being said, I think I want to go back to the vault a little and run a new deck out there for everyone.

The fact that I'm writing about this deck after Progenitus and Phage is fairly ironic since I had been using this deck long before the other two. The name of this deck is Layer 1/Layer 2, and the general is Sakashima, the Imposter. I know that a good portion of the readers here are probably rolling their eyes and glaring at a mono-blue general, but hear me out! There are very few counterspells in this deck, and the ones that are there are just made for amusement.

Before I jump into the deck and it's subtleties I should probably present the list:

[deck title="layer 1/layer 2" author="Ben McDole" align="center"]1 Sakashima, the Imposter

1 Temple of the False God

1 Ancient Tomb

1 Mikokoro, Center of the Sea

1 Vesuva

1 Miren, the Moaning Well

1 Minamo

1 Tolaria West

1 Reliquary Tower

1 Tolarian Academy

1 Wasteland

29 Island

1 Grim Monolith

1 Vedalken Shackles

1 Helm of Possession

1 Crucible of Worlds

1 Memnarch

1 Helm of Obedience

1 Mindslaver

1 Sculpting Steel

1 Scroll Rack

1 Sensei's Divining Top

1 Solemn Simulacrum

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Vault

1 Mana Crypt

1 Mirari

1 Rings of Brightearth

1 Acquire

1 Desertion

1 Spelljack

1 Mystical Tutor

1 Treachery

1 Annex

1 Copy Enchantment

1 Capsize

1 Dominate

1 Time Stop

1 Abduction

1 Jace Beleren

1 Mind Control

1 Tezzeret the Seeker

1 Eternal Dominion

1 Dream Leash

1 Twincast

1 Keiga, the Tide Star

1 Vesuvan Shapeshifter

1 Cryptic Command

1 Dominating Licid

1 Empress Galina

1 Persuasion

1 Take Possession

1 Commandeer

1 Clone

1 Intuition

1 Timetwister

1 Gilded Drake

1 Covenant of Minds

1 Trinket Mage

1 Copy Artifact

1 Fact or Fiction

1 Vesuvan Doppleganger

1 Telemin Performance

1 Body Double

1 Steal Artifact

1 Sower of Temptation

1 Future Sight

1 Control Magic

1 Confiscate

1 Personal Tutor

1 Bribery

1 Rite of Replication[/deck]

The name of the deck is layer 1/layer 2, which comes from the "layers" for the interaction of continuous effects, something that most judges dislike greatly. Ever wonder what happens when you copy a land that's been animated then stolen by another player, then had a counter placed on it, then been lignified? Well the interaction of continuous effects solves that riddle for us. Luckily interactions don't get quite that wacky for this deck, but they can be rough.

As you've probably surmised by looking at the list above, layer 1 is the copy layer and layer 2 is the control layer, both of which guided this deck's construction. Nearly everything in here aims to copy or control someone else's items and then promptly use it against them. The unwritten rule of our EDH group is that if you steal someone's permanent you need to use it against them, and if you live by that principle you'll find this deck to be great fun. We will go over a few of the trickier rules interactions that can come up, but first a few of the card choices.

Being the person at a table playing the blue deck usually means you've got a target on your head. Blue is literally a four letter word! Face it, no one likes having their spells countered (or at least not every single spell). Notice the counterspells in this deck, Desertion, Spelljack, Commandeer all steal your opponent's permanents when they counter the spell. Cryptic Command is the only "pure" counterspell in the deck, and really it's just there because it's the swiss army knife of counterspells. Once players see the purpose of your deck they are usually a lot more willing to ease up and let the fun happen.

A big advantage for this deck is also the ability to use everyone else's creatures at a pretty sweet discount. Why tap out like a sucker to play some giant monster when you can just clone it for four mana? Also, with the recent rules changes and the general no longer being immune to the legend rule this deck is also packed full of strip mines for generals. Just remember to pay it forward! If you take/copy something from someone you need to attack them with it. Killing someone with their own general (yes it is general damage) gets you some serious style points!

I'd like to make a few quick notes on some of the more expensive cards. Timetwister originally was not in the deck. The EDH rules committee banned Gift's Ungiven and so I dropped Timetwister into the slot. I'm sure there are a few good replacements out there, Roil Elemental definitely being one of them. Additionally, I'm running Mana Crypt because it is absolutely absurd in the early game. There have been several occasions of casting a turn two Bribery using Mana Crypt, which to me makes it worth having. That being said, Coldsteel Heart and Mind Stone are both fine replacements at a more reasonable price.

And now on to a few tricky rules interactions that can come up. If you copy a permanent with an enter the battlefield trigger (example, Solemn Simulacrum), then you will get that triggered ability as well. So Clone, Shapeshifter, etc will all get you that additional land, and better yet, draw you cards when they leave the battlefield. Turning up a Vesuvan Shapeshifter, on the other hand, will not get you the enter the battlefield trigger since the Shapeshifter is already on the battlefield.

I should also note the way permanents are copied. Clone type effects like to use "copiable values," which means a great many things. Rather than have to memorize all the copiable values, just think of the copy as literally being a Xerox of the card being cloned. So any extra enchantments, counters, bonuses aren't copied. The only exception (and this one does come up), is that if you make a copy of something that's already copying something else you get two copies of the samething. So if I clone your Grizzly Bears and then Shapeshifter the Clone I essentially get two copies of Grizzly Bears.

Another unique interaction that can come up is what happens when a player controls another players permanent and then one of the players leaves the game. Well, it really all depends on how the permanent got there in the first place! If I have used Sower of Temptation to control someone's creature and then I leave the game the control effect ends and they get their creature back. That's a little different from something like Bribery. If I have someone's creature through a Bribery type effect and then I leave the game the creature becomes exiled. Notice the difference, one creature was under my control from a control change effect, the other was not.

I've selected all the cards for this deck because they're usually wacky, and they definitely amuse me. That being said, if there are cards in here that genuinely frustrate or annoy your playgroup feel free to remove them. It's alright to have "house rules" and "house banned lists", do what makes your group have the most fun.

There was a recent article by Sheldon Menery (the godfather of EDH), on the cards that annoy him, or that he thinks are unfun. As it happens some of those cards have made an appearance in this deck. Sensei's Divining Top is a big un-fun instigator. You're playing a casual game with friends, do things out of order. We top during our turn or search during our turn and just reserve the right to change our choices. Taking simple measures like that make tutor effects less annoying and top significantly less time consuming. I think the bottom line is that if people aren't having fun, then something should change and someone doesn't know to change unless someone tells them.

With that bit of seriousness out of the way I'd also like to take some time to remind everyone about the contest currently going on! I've received a good number of entries but the slogan competition is still wide open! Just remember, send me an e-mail with your name and the slogan you've come up with to ben.mcdole@gmail.com and I'll take care of the rest. In a week someone will be a free judge Demonic Tutor richer and I'll have an awesome new catch phrase, everyone wins! Until next time, this is Ben reminding you [your catch phrase here]!

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