If there's one thing I suck at, it's writing introductions. However, there are a few things you should know about me that will probably aid you in understanding where I'm coming from when I write this.
->I firmly believe in the priciples of Communism when applied to Magic. Everyone should, ideally, have equal access to every card from every edition of Magic. While this will never be a reality, I think that a lot of people who started playing after Mirage missed out on the glory days of Magic, and that their idea of what Magic is would be drastically changed if they had been around in the heyday of Ali from Cairo and Dakkon Blackblade.
->I, however, got to see the tailend of those glory days. I started playing about 8 months before Ice Age came out, and though I've stopped and started again numerous times since then, I still miss the days of Revised. And whenever I build a deck, I always think of "old-school" cards before anything that's been printed since Stronghold.
->I'm a greedy SOB.
That being said, the point of this article is to bring some focus to the the most casual format of Magic. And by casual, I do mean casual - nothing banned, nothing restricted. Ante (remember that?) is encouraged, but never necessary.
The only problem with this casual format (dubbed "type zero" by my local group) is that there have been many, many abusive decks over the history of magic - Jar, Academy/UnCademy, and Trix all spring to mind, and those are only the most recent ones. Going back even further, there's TurboLand, Stasis-Lock, and 4-Tower Necro, among others. So, if you want to experience the beauty of this format, realize that Magic isn't about winning, it's about having fun. And if the only way you have fun in Magic is by winning, you really ought to re-evaluate why you're playing this game in the first place. However, you probably won't run into the problem of dying by turn 3, because anyone who plays this format knows that no one likes a type zero combo deck.
Moving on. I saw four people people playing a high-stakes type zero mutiplayer game at a card store the other day (tangental explanation: they all anted a crap oop beta rare [e.g. cyclopean tomb, raging river, word of command, etc.], and if you eliminated someone from the game, you got the card they anted), and I realized something:
"Type Zero is the perfect way for me to enhance my collection at almost no cost to me!"
How do I do this, you ask?
It's simple, really. You see, back in the day, Wizards had no idea what concepts would catch on, and what concepts wouldn't, so they printed a few "ante cards" in each expansion set, starting with Arabian Nights. They obviously didn't know ahead of time that ante would become a forgotten concept, but, sadly, no one liked the idea of losing their cards. But now, overconfident type zero players often try to shark a few cards in ante games, or just play ante for the nostalgia of it. I, being the heartless bastard that I am, chose to take full advantage of these people. And with that came:
The Ante Deck
->Ante Cards (16)
4x Contract From Below
4x Jeweled Bird
4x Timmerian Fiends
2x Bronze Tablet
4x Hypnotic Spectre
4x Hymn to Tourach
2x Chaos Orb
->Life Combo (8)
4x Ivory Tower
->Mana Sources (24)
4x Dark Ritual
Okay, so you're probably wondering, what the hell is the point of this deck?
Valid question. Well, most decks are made to win. This is slightly different in that it's not really supposed to win, per se, but rather steal your opponent's cards. And I don't mean "steal" as in "Control Magic", I mean "steal" as in "permanently exhange ownership".
Think of the possibilities - trade your otherwise-useless Timmerian Fiends for a Mox Sapphire, or your crappy Bronze Tablet for a Library of Alexandria! Jeweled Bird is there for the ultimate trick - offer to ante something like a Cursed Scroll to your opponent's, say, Shard Phoenix or Survival of the Fittest. Then, pull the ol' switcheroo, and swap your Jeweled Bird for the Scroll!
But that's not even the best part - believe it or not, these ante cards are extremely easy to come by! Most collecters consider them useless, and many will give you four Bronze Tablets and think they got the better end of the deal!
So in closing, if you're like me, and don't mind getting brutally beaten if you get some cool cards out of the deal, then this could very well be the deck for you!