Butter Knives (old M:tG computer game deck)

Discussion in 'Casual Decks/Variants/Etc' started by Oversoul, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    TomB's post in the Dark Ritual thread reminded me that I have some old decklists from in the Magic the Gathering computer game that Microprose made in 1996, and I thought it might be interesting to revisit my decklists.

    I defeated Arzakon, the final boss in Shandalar, way back in 2005, then played through the whole game again on two other occasions. For those who never tried it or don't remember, the game has a world map with visible, wandering enemies who will duel you in a game of Magic if you bump into them. Every game is for ante, and as you win more, you build up a collection that can make your deck stronger, enabling you to fight stronger enemies, including the ability to take over settlements that were under the control of the boss mages, which gives you access to further resources. You can get special items along the way that help you in various ways, but I forget most of them. I think one of them let you switch out your ante card. You could also increase your starting life total, which wasn't originally 20, but something lower. There were also ways to make it harder for the boss mages to gain control of stuff, which was helpful because you didn't want to fight them right away. But most importantly, there was something that increased the number of copies of an individual card that you could have in your deck, which started out more restricted than normal. This made it possible to make utterly broken decks, because once your deck size was at least 60 cards and you had the item that boosted your allowance of copies of an individual card, the maximum number of copies of a card you could put into your deck was something like "as many as you want." The game made Power 9 cards rare enough that hunting down lots of copies was, well, probably not much easier than it was in real life back in 1994. But it was easy to get many copies of some other cards. I think on all three of my playthroughs, I started with a black deck, picked fights against weak opponents to build a stronger black aggro deck, built up a collection and worked toward the vital "have as many copies as you want" artifact, then increased my deck size to 60 and loaded it up with copies of Dark Ritual and Contract from Below, finishing opponents off with a gigantic Drain Life. I only lost a few duels and only ever very early on. I'd accumulate Power 9 cards, as well as stuff like Demonic Tutor, Wheel of Fortune, Sol Ring, and Mana Vault, transitioning from an extreme reliance on Contract from Below to a more consistent use of Timetwister. The final boss had 300 life, but I could easily kill him on the first turn with such a powerful deck. And that was Shandalar. I broke it.

    But the game also had a different mode that was just regular Magic. No fancy world map and random encounters. No special items and different life totals. You just picked a deck and played against an opponent. It was set up to be able to play against an opponent on a LAN or using TCP/IP to set up with another player, but it also had the option to play solo against an AI opponent playing a deck of your choice or a random deck. So I built some decks! Most of them were even "legal" decks. The files on my computer indicate that I originally created almost all of these decks in 2006, although the first couple were 2005 and one of them came later, in 2008. All of this was long after just about everyone else had stopped playing what was already an ancient game, but I'm weird.

    Anyway, I spent a lot of time playing these decks. The Shandalar world mode of the game wouldn't work on my laptop, but the regular game-playing was fine and it was something that I did far too much when I was in college, playing games during lecture classes and such. I had about ten different decks that I'd built myself, but a couple of them were just stupid combo decks that weren't legal in Type 1. So I'll post the ones I find worth mentioning. Well, I'll probably just post all of them. And let's start with the one I was thinking of in the Dark Ritual thread: Butter Knives.

    That name might be a bit obscure, so I'll note that it's not mine. Some pro player came up with it. Nearly all of the decks I built in the computer game were derivative of something I saw somewhere else, albeit modified. Butter Knives was a real deck in Type 1 once upon a time. It was basically a black aggro deck that wasn't a true Suicide Black, but it was reasonably fast and packed a punch. Wait a minute, Google is a thing...

    OK, there we go. Chris Pikula is the originator of Butter Knives. It was distinguished from Suicide Black by going a bit more for power and a bit less for speed, particularly by using Juzam Djinn, which was a big, strong creature back then, tame as it is by today's standards. Anyway, here was my take on Butter Knives.

    1 Black Lotus
    4 Dark Ritual
    1 Demonic Tutor
    4 Hypnotic Specter
    4 Juzam Djinn
    1 Mind Twist
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Sapphire
    2 Nevinyrral's Disk
    4 Sinkhole
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Strip Mine
    4 Unholy Strength
    4 Black Knight
    17 Swamp
    4 Juggernaut
    4 Underground Sea
    1 Time Walk
    1 Ancestral Recall

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