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Deck Parfait Primer
By Oscar Tan aka Rakso
DECK PARFAIT PRIMER by Raphaël Caron
K-Run on www.bdominia.com
December 22, 2000

Want to play a Type I control deck but can’t afford the entire P9 and/or dual lands needed? Tired of losing to Sligh and Pox? Tired of being called names because you counter everything? Tired of playing the same decks again and again?

Introducing Deck Parfait, a relatively cheap Type I mono-white control deck based on the powerful Land Tax / Scroll Rack combo. It is the result of about a year and a half of playtest and the most recent evolution of what was at first a deck made of unused white commons.

What you’ll find here is an explanation of the main strategies behind the Parfait concept and the reasons that lead to specific card choices, followed by the small history of the deck. Enjoy !


DECK PARFAIT (DECEMBER 22, 2000)

Drawing Engine

3 Land Tax
2 Scroll Rack
2 Zuran Orb

Survival Spells/Silver Bullets

1 Balance
3 Swords to Plowshares
1 Moat
1 Wrath of God
3 Aura of Silence
1 Story Circle
1 Ivory Mask
1 Ivory Tower

Utility Spells

1 Enlightened Tutor
4 Abeyance
1 Planar Birth
4 Argivian Find
1 Replenish

The Kill

3 Sacred Mesa
1 Jester’s Cap
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Soldevi Digger

Mana Sources & Lands

1 Library of Alexandria
1 Serra's Sanctum
13 Plains
1 Strip Mine
3 Wasteland

1 Lotus Petal
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Pearl
1 Mox Diamond
1 Sol Ring

Sideboard (changes everyday)
1 Powder Keg
2 Replenish
2 Spirit Link
2 Abolish
1 Wrath of God
1 Story Circle
1 Swords to Plowshares
2 Tormod's Crypt
1 Cursed Totem
1 Ivory Mask
1 Sacred Ground


A TYPICAL GAME

Deck Parfait is a mono-white control deck using the Land Tax/Scroll Rack combo and “silver bullets” (cards that nullify whole strategies) to ensure card advantage. It usually kills with the Pegasus tokens produced by the powerful Sacred Mesa enchantment.

The typical Magic game is usually divided in three parts : early, middle and late game. Let’s see how Parfait passes through them.


THE EARLY GAME

This is the most important part of the game when playing versus aggresive strategies (Sligh, Stompy, Teletubbies, White Weenie, Pox, combo decks). Basically, you want to draw cards that will help you survive to play a silver bullet. For example, against Sligh, you want to draw Swords to Plowshares, Zuran Orb/Planar Birth, and Ivory Tower (with Land Tax). These cards will allow you to survive long enough to play Story Circle, Ivory Mask and Moat.

Versus counter-based control decks, you want to overwhelm them with powerful spells that have to be countered such as Aura of Silence, Sacred Mesa, Jayemdae Tome, Land Tax, Scroll Rack and sideboard cards. Abeyance and Argivian Find will help you to increase the number of these ‘must-counter’ cards. Eventually, your opponent will run out of counters (your main objective).

Your starting hand should contain some of these “ survival ” spells or a Land Tax/Scroll Rack/Enlightened Tutor. If not, mulligan.


THE MIDDLE GAME

This is usually the part of the game when immediate danger is held off by a Silver Bullet. You then start to draw cards and play permanents (additional silver bullets, to make sure you’re not in trouble if one is destroyed), building resources for your late game winners, Sacred Mesa and Soldevi Digger.


THE LATE GAME

At this point you should have achieve partial “ immortality” through permanent control, life gain and silver bullets. If the opponent doesn’t concede right away, you now have to kill him/her. You will usually do so by playing Sacred Mesa. You then start to produce Pegasus tokens and attack the opponent until he dies.

You can also win by decking your opponent. Tormod’s Crypt will actually kill the recursive player who drew too much cards. You can survive from deck death with the obvious Soldevi Digger, but also with Scroll Rack, if the number of cards in your hand is greater than the number of cards in your library. When your library is empty, you simply use Scroll Rack to place at least one card from your hand in it.

(Here’s the official ruling for Scroll Rack: If there are not enough cards in the library, you do not lose. This is not a draw effect. You just get as many cards as are there, even if there are zero cards in the library. ” [D'Angelo 98/01/06])


“COMBO WIN”

This can be executed mostly when you play against non-counterspell decks. You do this by using Land Tax to discard Plains into the graveyard. Then, play Planar Birth, then Sacred Mesa, and quickly overrun the opponent with Tokens. Trey Young’s own version of Deck Parfait, TurboGenesis, is centered around the combo win and has a lot of success too (see Appendix 1).


CARD ANALYSIS

LAND TAX

You want to get this ASAP on the table. Land Tax is the key spell of the deck, so use 4 to draw it often. It has many uses such as:

- Putting cards in your hand: This is the most important of Land Tax’s uses, as it fills your hand at no cost, every turn (usually). Note : this protects you from The Rack and allows you to win insane amounts of life with Ivory Tower.

- Avoiding mana shortage : Land Tax is basically a land destruction protection card. Don’t be afraid to keep a hand with only one land if you have Land Tax too. You might even keep a starting hand with no lands as you will probably draw a land in the following turns and recover from the mana shortage.

- Thinning your deck : Removing the lands from your deck allows you to have better draws later in the game. I always take the maximum number of cards (3/Land Tax), and discard the extra at the end of turn. (Land Taxes are cumulative, so if you have 2 in play, you can fetch up to 6 basic lands.) With Scroll Rack on the table, you might want to leave 2-3 Plains in your to be able to continue Taxing in the following turns (and then use Scroll Rack to replace the land with spells).

- Protection vs random discard: If your hand is full of lands, chances are your opponent’s Hymn to Tourach will discard some. Your can “ protect ” key spells in your hand this way. (Although you can use Scroll Rack as well.)

- Shuffling your library: This is actually very useful, especially with Scroll Rack and Soldevi Digger. (You don’t have to fetch any land at all when you use Land Tax.) However, pay attention as this can waste your Enlightened Tutor if you’re not careful.

Once Land Tax is in play, try to keep your number of lands lower than your opponent. You can do this easily with Zuran Orb, but you can also keep lands in your hand, or use Wasteland/Strip Mine on your own lands. I also recommend to play the extra Land Tax you draw, as they will power a stronger Serra’s Sanctum or feed an opponent’s Dystopia.


SCROLL RACK

By itself, Scroll Rack is a good search card when you need something better than what you have in hand. Its power is propotional to the number of cards you have in your hand. So Scroll Rack isn’t so hot when you have 0-1 card in hand. I think 2 copies is enough as having multiples in play won’t help you much. (Note that Scroll Rack never actually draws you extra cards.)

Scroll Rack becomes much more powerful with Land Tax in play, since it effectively allows Scroll Rack to draw you three new spells each turn. Land Tax also removes lands from your library and reshuffles it. These greatly enhance your chances of finding the card you need when you use Scroll Rack.

When in a hurry to find a specific card, however, you might want to use other drawing effects (Abeyance, Tome, LoA, Enlightened Tutor) before activating Scroll Rack.

As mentioned, Scroll Rack also allows you to survive to “library death.”


BALANCE

The strongest card in the deck. Kills the opposing army (assuming you don’t have Pegasus tokens in play), and destroys lands (you can use Zuran Orb to destroy all your land and recover with Land Tax).

Can be played aggressively to make the opponent discard. The broken first turn Balance can kill the opponent’s hand (possible as the deck uses many 0cc artifacts) with a hand like: Balance, Zuran Orb, Black Lotus, Land Tax, Scroll Rack, Argivian Find, Tormod’s Crypt. Look carefully at your starting hand if it contains Balance, you might be able to hurt the opponent severly during the very first turns.


SWORDS TO PLOWSHARES

Cheap, strong and versatile, the Plow removes annoying creatures from the game, and is even stronger against Rec/Sur and Buried Alive creatures. Play four to ensure you survive the initial onslaught, and worry about the opponent’s life gain when you overrun him with pegasi.


WRATH OF GOD

Cleans the table and kills Morphling and other untargetables. You don’t suffer from this (at worst, you’ll have to rebuild your Pegasus army).


MOAT

Silver bullet vs MANY aggressive decks (Sligh, Stompy, Pox, Zoo, you name it). Doesn’t affect your flying army. Can be replaced with another Wrath of God or Story Circle.


STORY CIRCLE

Silver bullet vs MANY mono-colored decks. Protects you from creatures (even Morphling) AND direct damage.


IVORY MASK

Silver bullet mainly against burn and discard spells. Specifically, this helps against Pox, SRB, Sligh, High Tide, PandeBurst, Trix and good vs cards like Misdirection, Mind Twist and, most of all, Tormod’s Crypt.


AURA OF SILENCE

A Seal of Cleansing with an added bonus. The extra W is usually not a problem. It’s basically a Disenchant that doesn’t stay in your hand, that can neither be countered nor discarded while in play. The added bonus makes it a silver bullet if played fast vs Deck Parfait, Teletubbies, Pox, Stasis and other enchantment-based decks. Protects you from the evil Nevinyrral’s Disk. Note: the effect is cumulative if several are in play.

(Another reason for using this over Disenchant is because you need to free slots in your hand for all the spells you draw from Tax/Rack. – Rakso)


IVORY TOWER

Helps vs Trix, SRB, Sligh, Stasis (to counter Black Vise) and creature-based decks. Good with Library of Alexandria, great with Land Tax, sick with Land Taxes. Survives the terrible Anarchy.


ZURAN ORB

Good by itself to survive for a few more crucial turns. A cheap lifegainer that helps vs Burn and especially Trix. A must when you play Balance, a must when you play Land Tax. Two are included to help you Tax, actually.

Combos very well with Planar Birth (remember to sac your lands in response to the spell). The only bad thing is that it’s not cumulative. That’s why you don’t want to play more than 2-3.


ABEYANCE

A great card that is always useful. Play these vs Pox and other black decks during their upkeep to gain a turn (they can’t play Hymn to Tourach, Duress, Sinkhole). Play Abeyance during your own turn to prevent other spells from being countered. Play it during Sligh’s end phase to draw a card and increase your chances of drawing a silver bullet. Play it in response to High Tide or other combo component. Play it to draw the card you just put on top of your library with Enlightened Tutor. Play it to force effects that would have been better if played later. Play it to make sure that Rec/Sur creature won’t be sacrified when you Swords to Plowsharesit. The list goes on…

(The new Orim’s Chant from Planeshift gains you a full turn when played during the opponent’s upkeep and makes Parfait stronger against fast creature decks, but it is generally weaker because it does not replace itself with a card draw. Of course, one can now play up to 8 Abeyances. – Rakso)


ENLIGHTENED TUTOR

Allows you to get that silver bullet faster. Almost a Demonic Tutor in this deck. Just make sure you don’t use Land Tax if you cast this during opponent’s end of turn. Also shuffles your deck, in case you have Scroll Rack but no active Land Tax.


PLANAR BIRTH

Actually a crap rare thrown in the deck because it meshed well, it is now a card I wouldn’t even sideboard out. Allows you to perform the combo win. Allows you to survive longer with Zuran Orb. Play this after a Balance and a Tormod’s Crypt and you get a big mana advantage. Allows to “thin” your graveyard too, making Soldevi Digger better at recursing your stuff.

Can also be used for its original purpose : as a silver bullet against land destruction.


ARGIVIAN FIND

In this deck, it is basically an undercosted Regrowth that can be played at instant speed. Wow! Your opponent can kill your Moat, but next turn it’s gonna be back. Like Abeyance, it allows you to force a spell through counterspells or becomes another tempting card to counter.

Allows you to do crazy first turn things with Black Lotus. Almost 4 additionnal Aura of Silence, Tormod’s Crypt, Jester’s Cap, etc.

Allows you to return Soldevi Digger in your hand if it’s destroyed, making it possible to then return used Argivian Finds to your deck afterwards, making you “ undeckable.”

Remember that game is not over if your opponent plays Tormod’s Crypt vs you, as you can play Argivian Find in response to get that invaluable card.

It is also very funny to see the opponent who played Duress see Land Tax AND Argivian Find in your hand.

(Argivian Find, however, is useful only if the opponent destroys your permanents or forces you to discard them from your hand. Against aggressive decks that ignore your permanents, these are less useful. To get more synergy out of Argivian Find, I suggest trying to reuse expendable enchantments and artifacts with it. Aeolipile is a good example. This strengthens Parfait against weenie decks (and protection from black weenies), but weakens it against control decks, however.

K-Run later added a single Pariah to his Parfait brainchild and achieved the same effect. Note that Pariah in this deck is played on an opponent’s creature to force it to take all the damage from an attack, killing it. It can then be reused after the creature is killed.

One card I enjoy in Parfait is Skull of Orm, which allows is like having a permanent Argivian Find. It is too slow to be useful in competitive play, but is cute nonetheless, and would probably be nasty in multiplayer. – Rakso)


REPLENISH

An Argivian Find on steroids. A very good card especially against discard and counter decks. Smile when you play this after an opponent uses Nevinyrral’s Disk or Anarchy.


JAYEMDAE TOME

The Tome is great when you can’t use the Land Tax/Scroll Rack combo correctly (ex. you have more lands in play than your opponent). Assuming you have some artifact mana, it helps to recover after a Balance that destroyed your lands/hand.

This is a “must counter” for opposing control decks. It can be replaced with Emmessi Tome and similar cards, or Scrying Glass in an environment filled with mono color decks.


ARMAGEDDON

Another card better vs control/combo. Lasher’s TurboGenesis uses some with efficiency but note the additional Planar Births and Tormod’s Crypts.


SACRED MESA

The kill card. Great as it dodges many of Type One’s favorite anti-creature cards. The card itself is an enchantment, making it good with the rest of the deck (Argivian Find, Enlightened Tutor, Serra’s Sanctum, Replenish) and more difficult to destroy than anything else. Note that destroying the enchantment won’t destroy the tokens.

The tokens are immune to Moat and create great card advantage once you get going. The tokens make good chump blockers too, and you can even kill attackers if you have enough mana.

You should always create a new token to pay the upkeep. Basically the upkeep cost of Sacred Mesa becomes 1W. That way all tokens created last turn will attack this turn (the new one had summoning sickness).

While it’s better when lots of mana are available, you can play Sacred Mesa as soon as you have 4 “ steady ” mana available (first turn Black Lotus/Sacred Mesa is not so hot). Creating 1 token each turn is all what you might need. Of course, against most decks, you’ll usually prefer to play it later, once control is established.

Sacred Mesa is a silver bullet vs most counter decks, as it produces uncounterable creatures which are even able to block Morphling.

One note is that you cannot sacrifice a token targeted by an opponent’s Abyss to Sacred Mesa to pay for the upkeep. Because you control the Mesa and he controls The Abyss, you must put Mesa on the stack first, and resolve The Abyss first. The upkeep effectively becomes 2WW instead of 1W, which is still not enough to stop you.


JESTER’S CAP

This can be a silver bullet against decks with very few ways to defeat you, esepcially control decks with 1 or 2 Morphlings and a few recursion cards. With Argivian Find, you can reuse this once you are in control and remove all your opponent’s threats. You might want to let this one in the sideboard if your metagame is filled with aggressive decks, however, as the opponent may overrun you before he even notices the effect of the missing cards.


TORMOD’S CRYPT

Good against Replenish, Gaea’s Blessing, Buried Alive, Yawgmoth’s Will, Timetwister, Hammer of Bogardan, Squee…

Good before a Planar Birth to make sure opponent doesn’t get his/her lands back.


SOLDEVI DIGGER

A very strong card that allows you to recycle your graveyard. The drawback (putting the card at the bottom of the library) is negligible as you’ll often shuffle your library with Land Tax.

Allows you to prevent deck death. Make sure you have an Argivian Find in your deck or your hand before playing this, just to make sure you can replay it if it is destroyed. Usually used with spare mana at the end of opponent’s turn.


LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA

A broken card that works very well with Land Tax. Not necessary but an added bonus if you can afford one.


SERRA’S SANCTUM

Very good in this deck as you’ll eventually have many enchantments on the table. Will help you produce MANY token with Sacred Mesa or recurse all your graveyard in a few turns with Soldevi Digger. Nice synergy with Land Tax since you don’t have to play a lot of lands if you have some enchantments on the table. Unfortunately a Legendary Land so don’t play more than one.

(I was the first one to post Serra’s Sanctum on Beyond Dominia. I used it in a Tax/Rack white weenie with 4 Crusade, 4 Land Tax and 3 Seal of Cleansing. Despite all these cheap enchantments, it did not work as expected, and I found myself wishing for a Plains that could produce a sure white mana. This was partly because I needed to play creatures before the enchantments.

Serra’s Sanctum is strongest in the midgame, where it can allow you to Tax more effectively and play more cards without playing more land. However, Parfait generally has the advantage when it reaches this stage of the game. Moreoever, while Parfait relies on a number of enchantments, they are more expensive.

Of course, it is a legendary land, and playing with legendary lands is cool… --Rakso)


PLAINS (!)

Basic Plains are immune to Wastelands and are needed for Land Tax and Planar Birth. 13 might seem a low number but you’ll draw a lot with Land Tax. Some people may want to try to splash colors into Parfait, but they will still need at least 3 Plains to fuel the Tax/Rack engine.


STRIP MINE/WASTELAND

Disrupts the other player. Protection against manlands, Library of Alexandria, Tolarian Academy, Thawing Glaciers and other annoying non-basic lands. Strip Mine is fun to recurse with Soldevi Digger, too!


LOTUS PETAL

Allows you to play a first turn Land Tax without putting any land in play. Speeds up the deck. Good when you need to dump your hand for an early Balance 


BLACK LOTUS

A no-brainer if you can afford it (replace it with a Plains otherwise). It has very good synergy with the rest of the deck as you can use Argivian Find and Enlightened Tutor on it. Allows you to play first turn Moat, Ivory Mask, and Balance!


MOX PEARL/MOX DIAMOND/SOL RING

No-brainers that can be easily replaced by Marble Diamond or Mind Stone. Artifact mana is important to speed the deck, and with Land Tax, Balance and Armageddon.


SIDEBOARD

The sideboard is very variable. Here are some suggestions.

Circle/Rune of Protection: Red: Vs SRB, Sligh, Wildfire, etc.

Circle/Rune of Protection: Blue: Vs Fish, Acc. Blue, Draw-Go to prevent Morphling damage.

Circle/Rune of Protection: Black: Vs Negators, Hypnotic Specters, Drain Life… Mostly a “ survival ” card instead of a silver bullet.

Ivory Mask: Vs Combo, Discard, SRB.

Black Vise: Might be good vs control decks packed with draw drawing.

Abolish: Preferred over Disenchant mostly because of Stasis, Nether Void and GLOOM. Yes, you’ll still have to pay 3 when playing this, but it’s better than 5 ! The cost of discarding a Plains isn’t really a problem when playing with Land Tax. You also want a non-enchantment enchantment/artifact removal against those opposing Auras and, who knows, Presence of the Master !

Defense Grid: Could be good vs counter decks. Note that it affects you too, but probably less than the opponent.

Cursed Totem: This can be actually very good vs Gorilla Shaman, Devout Witness, rebels, Morphling and other annoying creatures.

Cornered Market: I was looking for a white equivalent of Blood Moon and Back to Basics and found this. It could be interesting to test this card.


STRENGHTS AND WEAKNESSES

One of the greatest strenghts of the deck is its versatility. White has some of the best removal in the game. If you manage to get Land Tax/Scroll Rack going, chances are you’ll win the game, whatever the opponent is playing. The deck is also mana-screw resistant.

The deck is very good against creature-based decks, except maybe Stompy and Hatred. Stompy doesn’t play a lot of lands, preventing you from Taxing. It also has enchantment removal and Rancor proves to be a recurring nightmare unless you can use Swords to Plowshares in response to counter it. (Side in Spirit Links. Powder Keg could help too. Hatred is fast and some of its creatures are protected from white. Powder Keg and StoP are your best friends until you get Moat on the table.)

You should be able to win most of the time vs red and black decks. Oath and Rec/Sur should not be a problem, too, and neither should many slow decks be.

Mono-U is probably the deck’s worst matchup. Bluff like you would do with any other deck (keeping the important spell for the end) except that you have Abeyance that HAS To be countered. Your best bet is to wait to have more good cards in hand than cards in your opponent's hand. You can win if you manage to play Sacred Mesa. (Side in Replenish.)

Gaea’s Blessing Keeper can give you problems, too. Play carefully and play Ivory Mask as soon as possible to avoid being Mind Twisted and Tormod’s Cryted. Once again, Sacred Mesa on the table is probably game.


GUIDE TO SURVIVAL SPELLS AND SILVER BULLETS
(Deck : Survival Spells -- Silver Bullets)

Keeper: Abeyance, Tormod’s Crypt, Wasteland -- Sacred Mesa, Ivory Mask

SRB/Sligh: StoP, Wrath of God, Ivory Tower, Zuran Orb/Planar Birth -- Ivory Mask, Moat, Story Circle

White Weenie: StoP, Wrath of God, Ivory Tower, Zuran Orb, Planar Birth, Balance -- Sacred Mesa, Moat

Trix: Abeyance -- Ivory Mask, Aura of Silence

Stompy: StoP, Wrath of God, Ivory Tower, Zuran Orb/Planar Birth -- Moat, Story Circle, Sacred Mesa

Oath: Abeyance, Tormod’s Crypt, Aura of Silence, Wasteland -- Sacred Mesa, Ivory Mask

Counter/Post: Wasteland, Aura of Silence – Moat

Pox: Wasteland, Abeyance, Land Tax -- Moat, Ivory Mask, Aura of Silence

Nether Void: Wasteland, StoP, Abeyance, Land Tax -- Moat, Ivory Mask, Aura of Silence, Story Circle

Survival: Aura of Silence, Tormod’s Crypt, StoP -- Ivory Mask, Moat, StoP

Deck Parfait: Aura of Silence, Tormod’s Crypt – Ivory Mask, Balance, Sacred Mesa, Aura of Silence

Mono-U: Abeyance, Tormod’s Crypt, Aura of Silence -- Sacred Mesa

Pandeburst: Abeyance, Tormod’s Crypt -- Ivory Mask, Aura of Silence, Moat

Zoo: StoP, Wrath of God, Ivory Tower, Zuran Orb/Planar Birth -- Ivory Mask, Moat, Story Circle

Teletubbies: Wasteland, Aura of Silence, StoP – Moat

TurboLand: Abeyance, Tormod’s Crypt, Aura of Silence, Balance – Ivory Mask, Story Circle

SGD: StoP, Wrath of God -- Moat, Story Circle, Sacred Mesa

Suicide Black: StoP, Wrath of God, Ivory Tower, Zuran Orb/Planar Birth -- Moat, Story Circle

Specific cards that can give you a headache (and a possible remedy) :
Anarchy (Replenish)

Nevinyrral's Disk (Aura of Silence, Replenish)

Aura of Silence (Aura of Silence, Abolish)

Devout Witness (Swords to Plowshares, Cursed Totem)

Serenity (Aura of Silence, Replenish)

Presence of the Master (Aura of Silence, Abolish, Replenish)

Gorilla Shaman (Swords to Plowshares, Cursed Totem).


APPENDIX 1 – TREY YOUNG’S TURBOGENESIS

2 Tormod's Crypt
2 Marble Diamond
2 Scroll Rack
2 Zuran Orb
1 Soldevi Digger
1 Mox Diamond
1 Ivory Tower

4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Argivian Find
4 Planar Birth
4 Land Tax
4 Abeyance
3 Seal of Cleansing
2 Wrath of God
2 Sacred Mesa
2 Armageddon
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Story Circle
1 Ivory Mask
1 Balance

18 Plains


APPENDIX II : THE DECK PARFAIT STORY

In 1998/early 1999, i decided to trade my whole White binder since i really had nothing good and really didn’t want to play White Weenie. Except for WW, I thought that nothing could be done with white except to include it in other decks mainly as a support color.

I managed to get all the duals that didn’t produce White mana and tried to build decks with them. Later, I discovered that I had no skill in building multi-colored decks (except maybe for that Land Destruction deck that was quite effective). I sold all my duals.

During April 1999, i went at a tournament with friends (the Rioux brothers) and they decided to give me a box of crap commons from Urza’s Saga. Later, while sorting the cards, I noticed that I had many white cards. So, for fun, I built a deck with those Opal creatures. I bought a few Legacy boosters and added Brillant Halo.

Destiny came out and with it the superb Cho-Manno’s Blessing / Wall of Glare combo. From that moment, the deck became more control-ish than aggresive. With General’s Regalia, I was able to get “immortality,” which is a leading idea behind the current Parfait concept. I killed with Personnal Incarnation (once had 4 in the deck).

From the start, i wanted the deck to win vs Sligh. Sanctum Custodian was part of the deck since the beginning and he stayed in until late. At some point, the deck was known as my Sanctum Custodian deck.

Another card that stayed in the deck for a long time was Pegasus Charger, or the poor man’s Thunder Spirit.

GRANDFATHER OF DECK PARFAIT, FEBRUARY 2000

4 Sanctum Custodian
4 Pegasus Charger
3 Wall of Glare
2 Witch Hunter
2 Personnal Incarnation
4 Land Tax
4 Cho-Manno's Blessing
4 Pacifism
3 Swords to Plowshares
3 Disenchant
2 Planar Birth
1 Dust to Dust
2 General's Regalia
1 Soldevi Digger
1 Zuran Orb
16 Plains
4 Ruins of Trokair

As you can see it was more geared vs creature decks. Notice the absence of Scroll Rack.


FATHER OF DECK PARFAIT, APRIL 2000

1 Serra Avatar
2 Serra Angel
3 Pegasus Charger
4 Land Tax
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Abeyance
2 Disenchant
2 Seal of Cleansing
1 Planar Birth
1 Pacifism
1 Ivory Mask
1 Argivian Find
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Wrath of God
1 Balance
1 Rune of Protection : Red
2 Mind Stone
2 Scroll Rack
2 Zuran Orb
1 Soldevi Digger
1 Mox Diamond
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Black Lotus
20 Plain

Here’s a deck that looks like current version. Abeyance was added after i played vs Pierre-Olivier Rioux’s High Tide deck to which i lost all my games. Serra Avatar replaced the Akron Legionnaire i was playing to speed up the kill. I took the deck more seriously and traded for important white rares and powerful artifacts.

That’s around that time that Deck Parfait got its name. I was always saying that my deck needed 1-2 more changes to become optimal (perfect). So my friends began to say, “Pas encore ton maudit deck parfait!” (“ Not your dang perfect deck again!”).

The deck was slow and people complained how much it was boring to play against it. :-)

Later, I added most of of the actual stuff and removed all the creatures. The deck then became much more enchantment-based, which turned an opponent’s anti-creature cards into dead cards. Playing 4 Argivian Finds was a big milestone in the deck design, as it strengthened the deck against discard and counterspells.

Sacred Mesa became the kill card, and was both faster than its predecessors and unaffected by Swords to Plowshares.


DECK PARFAIT 2000
BEYOND DOMINIA’S TYPE I TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS
Second place, losing to Michael Bower aka Mikephoen’s Forbidian

1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Ivory Tower
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Soldevi Digger
1 Ivory Mask
2 Zuran Orb
1 Enlightened Tutor
4 Abeyance
4 Argivian Find
2 Sacred Mesa
1 Wrath of God
1 Balance
1 Moat
3 Seal of Cleansing
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Planar Birth
1 Story Circle
2 Scroll Rack
4 Land Tax
1 Sol Ring
1 Mox Diamond
1 Mox Pearl
1 Black Lotus
1 Strip Mine
19 Plains

Most of the cards have been tested and only a few could be replaced. The most important difference between that decklist and the actual is Aura of Silence. Also, Wastelands have been added without disrupting too much the mana base.

As you can see, Deck Parfait has come a long way since the beginning. Right now, my main concern is the sideboard. I have many cards to test. The evolution continues…


APPENDIX III : COMMENTARY ON DECK PARFAIT STRUCTURE by Oscar Tan aka Rakso, February 21, 2001

Deck Parfait thoroughly confused me the first time I saw it. My first question was whether it would simply lose to any deck with Counterspells, which could simply wait and counter the Sacred Mesas regardless of how many cards Parfait drew. K-Run had to explain several times how one could overwhelm counters with the key cards, the Abeyances, the Argivian Finds, and the Tax/Rack card drawing engine.

I eventually broke down and built my own casual version, and the deck defeated every Draw-Go deck that happened to be in the university cafeteria that day, even when I swapped decks with my opponent!

Rakso’s First Parfait
Engine (9)
4 Land Tax
3 Scroll Rack
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Zuran Orb

Win options (5)
2 Sacred Mesa
1 Jester’s Cap
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Soldevi Digger

Defense (18)
4 Abeyance
1 Balance
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Moat
1 Wrath of God
1 Story Circle
3 Seal of Cleansing
1 Ivory Mask
1 Ivory Tower

Others (6)
3 Argivian Find
1 Skull of Orm (cuteness counts when you can’t find your fourth Argivian Find)
1 Emmessi Tome
1 Planar Birth

Mana (22)
1 Sol Ring
1 Mox Diamond
2 Marble Diamond
1 Library of Alexandria
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
12 Plains

Playing the deck eventually allowed me to appreciate it, and recognize its underlying philosophy. Setting aside the Tax/Rack engine, the deck reminded me of Ice Age-era Prison, the deck that ran you out of cards one by one using the Winter Orb / Icy Manipulator combo. This was the grandfather of all mono white Type II decks, and a rough version is:

Combo (9)
4 Icy Manipulator
3 Winter Orb
1 Black Vise
1 Feldon’s Cane

Removal (20)
1 Balance
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Serrated Arrows
4 Wrath of God
4 Disenchant
4 Armageddon

Utility (3)
1 Land Tax
1 Zuran Orb
1 Ivory Tower

Mana (28)
4 Fellwar Stone
4 Thawing Glaciers
1 Strip Mine
3 Kjeldoran Outpost
16 Plains

This unmetagamed deck seeks to establish control with white’s formidable array of removal spells. Moat was never Type II legal, but the rest of the cast does nicely, with even Icy Manipulator tying up early creatures and setting up the opponent for a big Wrath. A Winter Orb and two Icies eventually prevent the opponent from doing anything but cast 1 mana instants, effectively neutralizing him until he was killed by Black Vise, Kjeldoran Outpost tokens or library death.

Familiar?

Many Parfait cards such as Sacred Mesa, Scroll Rack, Ivory Mask, Story Circle, Abeyance and even Marble Diamond were not in print then, but one sees how Parfait mirrors the early mono white control decks. One may say that Parfait is built on the Tax/Rack card advantage engine, but Prison had its own form of card advantage. By tying up an opponent’s mana, it turned every card an opponent had into a dead card, essentially.

Later mono white control decks such as Monastery (Orim’s Prayer/Humility lock) and even Tempest-era creations based on Staunch Defenders used the same recipe: strong removal, strong defense, and a buildup towards an impregnable position using various permanents. The recipe remained good all the way to Deck Parfait.

However, is Deck Parfait essentially a modernized version of the old Prison deck, with Tax/Rack replacing Icy/Orb, and with the card advantage allowing one to run one or two of certain cards instead of four copies of powerful cards such as Wrath of God and Armageddon?

Prison had to deal with two broad categories of decks : control and aggro.

It generally held its own against the control decks of its day, especially with Winter Orb, and blue did not yet have enough counterspells to spawn Draw-Go. Aggro decks died to the creature-hostile environment created by four copies of Swords, Wrath, and Icy. Combo decks, of course, did not yet exist.

Unlike Extended, combo is weak in Type I due to its restricted list (and especially due to the restriction of Necropotence, which removed the consistency from Type I Trix). As mentioned, Parfait also holds its own against control decks, with Abeyance-led assaults capable of tearing down counter walls. Topdecking a Moat shuts down many weenie strategies single-handedly.

So yes? Yes.

And no.

While Deck Parfait follows the general structure of the venerable mono white control deck, the decklist has radically changed due to the printing of newer cards. The opposition has radically changed as well. Looking at aggro decks after the Ice Age block, for example, one sees that the aggro-decks Prison faced were Draw-Go decks compared to their Type II equivalents. After Ice Age, red gained Jackal Pup and Fireblast. Green gained Rancor and the devastating Urza Block-era Stompy weenies. Black gained Duress, Phyrexian Negator and everything in between.

Yes, you can topdeck a Moat. But if you don’t, you’re toast. Even filtering into the Moat or Wrath may not be fast enough in the face of today’s Type I weenie-based decks. Even a Type II Fires deck could conceivably give Parfait a run for its money.

Now, the question is, why?

Mono white control has always had one large flaw, and that is a complete lack of flexibility and library manipulation. To date, white has no shortage of devastating removal and global effects. However, to date, its only search card is Enlightened Tutor, which is restricted in Type I. This “tutor problem” weakness is now obvious due to the speed of today’s decks. Several years ago, it was not as big a problem, but today, once cannot use multiple Swords, Wraths and Icies because strengthening Parfait against weenies dilutes its power against control.

Some stopgap solutions are available, such as the use of Aeolipile or Pariah to create extra synergy with Argivian Find, but the basic inflexibility remains. Topdecking Abeyance is good against a blue deck, but useless against red. The logical solution is to break the deck structure by adding colors, just as Adarkar Wastes allowed the use of Arcane Denial in Prison, or as George Baxter added Brushlands for Sylvan Library, Titania’s Song and Deadly Insect. However, today, this dilutes the power of Land Tax, the key card of Parfait.

Compare the structure of Parfait to, say, the structure of the most famous control deck ever :

“THE DECK” BRIAN WEISSMAN, DECEMBER 2000

4 Mana Drain
4 Force of Will
1 Counterspell
4 Fact of Fiction
2 Swords to Plowshares
2 Gorilla Shaman
1 Disenchant
1 The Abyss
1 Morphling
1 Jayemdae Tome
1 Mind Twist
1 Regrowth
1 Balance
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Zuran Orb
1 Mystical Tutor
1 Vampiric Tutor
1 Ancestral Recall
1 Time Walk
1 Stroke of Genius
1 Yawgmoth's Will

4 Tundra
4 Volcanic Island
3 Underground Sea
4 City of Brass
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
1 Library of Alexandria
5 Moxes
1 Sol Ring
1 Black Lotus

In this Invasion-era version from my e-mail, the strategy is practically the same with Morphling replacing Sacred Mesa, but Parfait will never play like Weissman’s deck. The various tutors solve the flexibility problem, and one can blunt the first creature rush simply by tutoring for Balance. Regrowth and Yawgmoth’s Will give you a chance against the second as well.

“The Deck” actually suffered from the flexibility problem as well and had to metagame against powerful Type I combos such as Academy and Trix only to lose to Type II Urza block-era Stompy and Sligh decks. However, Invasion’s Fact or Fiction reduced this by quite a lot.

Deck Parfait is a fun yet relatively affordable Type I deck (playable even without Moat), but while the cards are new, the strategy is certainly not. Unless a new white tutor is printed for some reason, the strategy and its strengths and weaknesses will remain the same, and looking back at the past still teaches us about these.

(One final lesson demonstrates this. Mono white control is slow and almost completely helpless against modern combo decks. Deck Parfait would not have emerged had Trix still been viable in Type I. Certainly, a variation of this deck would not be viable in today’s Extended, since one would have to decide how many silver bullets to pack against combo, then against control, then against weenie, then cross one’s fingers.

Yes, Extended is faster than Type I, and Extended combo is far stronger than Type I combo.)

Read More Articles by Oscar Tan aka Rakso!

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