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Magic Memories: Cursed Scroll

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
I'm in the middle of a full sort of my entire Magic collection. On Sunday, while handling my Mirage cards, I spotted my entire playset of Cursed Scroll. As you may already be aware, Cursed Scroll is not a Mirage card. It's from Tempest. They'd been misfiled with the card Cursed Totem (which isn't a scroll) and I'd lost them for the past five years. I remember searching all over for them in 2017 because I wanted to put them in a Pox deck, but I never found them. Ever since then, I've occasionally wondered, "Where are they?" I could remember that I'd definitely owned and used multiple copies of Cursed Scroll in 2015 and I was convinced that I had four copies somewhere. I wouldn't have gotten rid of them. But I checked all the likeliest places I could think of that they might have ended up. They remained missing. Turned out that I should have just looked for Cursed Totem instead.
1599155836712.png 1599155906810.png
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
I think that I first saw Cursed Scroll around the time that it came out, but I didn't begin using it myself until a few years later. By then, the card had really caught on in tournament environments and developed quite the reputation. Being an efficient, repeatable source of targeted damage was notable enough, but the unusual random card selection aspect, something that technically served the purpose of constraining the card, made it more iconic and memorable. A version with no strings attached would have been considerably stronger, but the design of the actual card had a nice balance and was able to occupy its own niche in multiple tournament formats.

Many of the cards I've talked about in Magic Memories have been prominent deck-defining centerpieces (Survival of the Fittest, Bubbling Muck). Others have been broadly useful tools seen in disparate decks (Mogg Fanatic, Elephant Guide). Some cards have been both (Lion's Eye Diamond, Library of Alexandria). Cursed Scroll isn't really like that. It's more like Spike Weaver or Sengir Autocrat: especially useful to the few decks that can work with it, but untenable in most decks, and not really part of the core identity of those decks that can use it. Cursed Scroll is just there. It's an artifact, so color restrictions aren't a factor. But I don't think I've ever seen a monoblue or monowhite deck running Cursed Scroll. Nor a white/blue deck. However, I have seen it in monoblack, monored, and monogreen. And I've seen it in various two-color and three-color combinations involving at least one of those. The real constraint is hand composition. A blue player who wants to hold onto a hand full of various counterspells cannot properly make use of Cursed Scroll. A white player relying on the Land Tax + Scroll Rack engine wouldn't want to bother with Cursed Scroll either. But it's perfect for a green land destruction deck, sitting on those two copies of Creeping Mold.

Most decks in most formats don't intend to sit around for multiple turns with only one card in hand or with multiple copies of the same card in hand. But there are exceptions. If your deck is an exception, it could probably make good use of Cursed Scroll. As far as I know, the first decks to employ Cursed Scroll and the most prominent ones to do so in tournaments have been red decks.
 

Mooseman

Isengar Tussle
When my son Played in the JR Superseries, I built him a mono red Sligh type deck that featured Cursed scroll. I came in second to a memory jar deck.
I think he still has the deck and that was 20+ years ago.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Mooseman mentioned Sligh, an archetype that once had a strong association with this card. Like a lot of efficient damage-dealing cards available in red, Cursed Scroll has seen play in both Burn decks and in Sligh decks. The difference is a matter of usage. In Sligh, Cursed Scroll was more often seen clearing a blocker out of the way of a Jackal Pup, while in Burn it was more likely to be used directly on the opponent. But actual gameplay could be flexible and both archetypes relied on the versatility of Cursed Scroll. My own experience in casual play leaned more toward Burn, and Legacy Burn decks would go on to use Cursed Scroll in the same fashion. But when Cursed Scroll was in Type 2, Sligh was the more competitive option.

I won't go over the generally intuitive nuances of what gets targeted in an aggressive red deck, because it would be tedious. But what might be less obvious is how these decks manage the unique constraint of Cursed Scroll. It is sometimes worth it to make unusual plays just in order to turn on Cursed Scroll. In deckbuilding, I might ditch eschew an otherwise reasonable opportunity to run pairs of certain cards and go for full 4x playsets instead. In early gameplay, I might cast a Lightning Bolt that I'd otherwise be inclined to hold onto, just to get it out of my hand so that Cursed Scroll gets turned on.

While I'm sure that "Mountain" and "Swamp" have been named a lot over the years, it's probable that the card I've named the most times for Cursed Scroll has been Fireblast.
1599762491594.png

Unlike most cards in red aggro decks, Fireblast tends strongly to get saved for a finishing blow, whether that's clearing the last blocker so you can swing in for lethal or just shooting the opponent directly. Much of the time, I was naming Fireblast with two copies of the card in my hand.

If you want to, you can actually see an example of me employing this technique against Spiderman with a R/G Sligh deck in my first-ever CPA forum game, about 16 years ago. Yikes: http://www.casualplayers.org/forums/threads/spidey-vs-oversoul.12287/
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Rereading that old thread and yikes, I know everyone had to kind of learn the procedure for updating the board state as they went with our forum games, but I'd forgotten how bad I was about that in 2004. Glad Spiderman was patient with me. 🥺

I really like that R/G Sligh deck. I don't think that I still have the list for it, although I could probably piece it together pretty well from what showed up in those two games. It wasn't designed for Legacy. I can't remember for sure, but I think I copied and pasted some Type 1.5 tournament decklists from an online resource in 2003 and saved them on Apprentice for playtesting against my own physical decks. But it seems like R/G Sligh could have been a reasonable archetype in Legacy in 2004. And I do know that somewhat similar Sligh decks put up results a few years into Legacy. Eventually, Sligh would become obsolete. But delving into how that happened is, now that I think about it, rather nuanced. A complete answer to that question would be quite the essay, especially because "Sligh" was never just one thing.

Anyway, it looks like I had Cursed Scroll in the first of those two games, but never needed to use it. In the second game, I had Cursed Scroll + Fireblast online and used that directly on Spiderman after he'd used Barter in Blood to dispatch my attackers. He tried to save himself with Consume Spirit, but the damage kept coming. He was piloting Train's B/G creatureless control deck, and in hindsight, Sligh was a very bad matchup for that deck. But that game does a nice job of showcasing the common technique of holding Fireblast in hand and naming it with Cursed Scroll to help finish off an opponent.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Most of my experience with Cursed Scroll has been in red-based aggressive decks, generally either monored or red/green. But perhaps the strongest niche for the card is in monoblack control decks, especially the "Pox" archetype. The card actually takes on a very different role in black control than its usage in red aggro, even though both cases can be summarized generally as "get down to just one card in hand and then use Cursed Scroll to deal damage to stuff." And yet I draw a distinction between them.

In decks like Burn and Sligh, the vital feature of Cursed Scroll is that it only costs 1. If it costed 2, it would probably have been unplayable in most of those decks. Costing 1 allows it to fit into an aggressive mana curve without getting in the way. Often, you're dropping Cursed Scroll and then just leaving it there, with the card doing nothing for a a couple of turns, as you're busy using your mana to cast spells. But once your hand is empty and your opponent is still alive, Cursed Scroll becomes a valuable source of repeatable damage to help finish off the pesky opponent who withstood your initial onslaught.

In Pox decks, the most important feature of Cursed Scroll is that it's a non-creature, non-land damage source. This sort of deck will cut off its opponent's resources even as its own resources are depleted. Cards like Smallpox and Liliana of the Veil slow the game down, artificially leaving both players in topdeck mode for an extended duration. Cursed Scroll is unaffected by Smallpox and such. It can slowly wear down your opponent's life total while blanking most utility creatures. If you've never seen it in action, it might seem insufficient. But Cursed Scroll in a typical Pox deck probably does more damage on average than the card unleashes in an aggro deck.
 
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Oversoul

The Tentacled One
Reading over my previous post, it occurs to me that Smallpox and the advent of Legacy "Pox" decks built around it has been dominating my perception of Pox in black decks for so long that I'd neglected to think about how things used to be. Sure, Smallpox is a great card. But Cursed Scroll was showing up in black decks before Smallpox existed. I couldn't think of a good resource to get some real decklists showcasing that, so I spent a minute searching old CPA posts and found a list. This was a deck I was testing for "the new Type 1.5" back in September of 2004...

4x Diabolic Edict
4x Duress
4x Hymn to Tourach
4x Pox
4x Dark Ritual
4x Sinkhole
3x Hypnotic Specter
4x Chimeric Idol
4x The Rack
3x Cursed Scroll
4x Chrome Mox
18x Swamp

A common feature of my test lists from this period was that I vastly underestimated the prevalence of nonbasic lands in Legacy. My local playgroups tended to skimp on nonbasics. Even though I was technically aware of the Brainstorm + dual lands + fetch lands engine, I was thinking in terms of mostly basic lands, rather than mostly nonbasics. So I didn't run Wasteland, although I had tested it already. This list is also missing Mishra's Factory, although I seem to recall that I was either testing it around this time or perhaps just a little later.

Anyway, although Smallpox wasn't around yet and Liliana of the Veil wouldn't exist for many years, decks like this one could empty their hands pretty quickly, allowing Cursed Scroll to have guaranteed damage.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
I have a record of at least one more Legacy Pox deck that I was testing in late 2004.

3x Chimeric Idol
4x Chrome Mox
3x Cursed Scroll
4x Dark Ritual
4x Diabolic Edict
4x Duress
4x Hymn to Tourach
4x Pox
4x Sinkhole
3x Spinning Darkness
19x Swamp
4x The Rack

Sideboard:
3x Choking Sands
3x Dystopia
3x Funeral Charm
3x Phyrexian Negator
3x Planar Void

This one also had notes on cards that I was swapping in and out during testing. Those were...

Hypnotic Specter
Icequake
Mishra's Factory
Nether Spirit
Steel Golem
Wasteland

So I was aware of the option to use Wasteland and Mishra's Factory and had actively tested them. At the time, I seriously thought that Legacy tournaments might have too many decks full of basic lands for Wasteland to be worth it, which turned out to be a silly notion.

Anyway, other options would arrive in newer sets, but this captures most of what I was looking at in 2004. Because they were cheap, flexible artifacts that always survived Pox, Cursed Scroll and Chrome Mox were pretty much constants. I can't think of a good archive to find other lists from this time period, and by the time Pox was becoming a prominent Legacy deck, Smallpox had already been printed, which fundamentally changed the archetype.

Here's a black/white list from some small tournament in 2005, predating Smallpox:

2 Nether Spirit
3 Withered Wretch
3 Swords to Plowshares
4 Dark Ritual
4 Duress
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Pox
4 Sinkhole
4 Vindicate
3 Chimeric Idol
3 Cursed Scroll
4 Bloodstained Mire
4 Scrubland
4 Wasteland
10 Swamp

Sideboard:
2 Diabolic Edict
2 Disenchant
4 Infest
3 Mishra's Factory
4 Seal of Cleansing

There are important distinctions, but the use of Cursed Scroll carries over pretty well and really, even though the actual card Pox and its corresponding strategic nuances are mostly a thing of the past, this style of using Cursed Scroll remains pretty strong to this day. While we're looking back, though, we don't need to stop at 2005 or 2004. Here's Rakso's Casual Pox from 2001, found on the now-defunct CPA front page articles section.

4 Pox
4 Sinkhole
4 Duress
4 Hymn to Tourach
4 Diabolic Edict
4 Nether Spirit
4 The Rack
3 Cursed Scroll
1 Demonic Tutor
1 Yawgmoth's Will
1 Demonic Consultation
4 Dark Ritual
1 Charcoal Diamond
1 Sol Ring
1 Strip Mine
4 Wasteland
16 Swamp

In that same article, Rakso provides a list for "Schneider Pox" from the Type 2 format in 1997.

4 Cursed Scroll
4 Funeral Charm
2 Phyrexian Furnace
4 Diabolic Edict
4 Stupor
4 Pox
4 Evincar's Justice
4 Drain Life
4 Spinning Darkness
3 Steel Golem
18 Swamp
4 Wasteland
2 Stalking Stones

Sideboard:
4 Choking Sands
4 Dread of Night
3 Touchstone
2 Perish
2 Essence Bottle

That's about as far back we can go and the earliest popular usage of Cursed Scroll in a black control deck.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
I don't Cursed Scroll much these days, but there is a popular two-card combo with similar functionality that has overtaken Cursed Scroll in popularity...
1602174573391.png1602174589323.png

This combo is successful in tournaments because both cards are pretty good on their own and together they unlock a repeatable source of damage. The main advantage over Cursed Scroll is that with Grove of the Burnwillows + Punishing Fire, you're totally removed from concerns about your own hand size. There are a few other perks, like immunity to artifact removal and synergies with cards like Kavu Predator or Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. But mostly the fact that the contents of your hand constrains Cursed Scroll is what makes this two-card combo a better version of the classic.

There are, however, certain drawbacks, which is why Cursed Scroll does still see a lot of play.
  • Punishing Fire requires red mana.
  • Grove of the Burnwillows is counterproductive in a fast aggro deck.
  • For grinding through creatures and planeswalkers, this combo does a nice imitation of Cursed Scroll. As a source of damage to players, it's effectively half the speed of Cursed Scroll because you're always healing your opponent.
  • Wasteland shuts this down.
  • Although both pieces are strong in multiples, Cursed Scroll actually still scales better with multiple copies.
For competitive play, those considerations really need to be weighed. Cursed Scroll is probably ruled out if you're planning to keep several cards in your hand over many turns. That's why the usage of Cursed Scroll in Legacy shifted to pretty much the categories of "Pox" and "Burn." Pox decks are black and deliberately empty their hands anyway. Burn decks don't want to give opponents life and also empty their hands quickly.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
I mentioned Burn, but Burn decks have changed considerably since the first time I put Cursed Scroll in mine. While Burn isn't especially popular in the current Legacy format and Cursed Scroll is unusual in those Burn decks that do come up in search results, the card does exist and can be played. Here's the most recent example I could find of a Legacy Burn deck running Cursed Scroll.

4 Goblin Guide
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Fireblast
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Price of Progress
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lava Spike
4 Rift Bolt
4 Skewer the Critics
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
1 Cursed Scroll
9 Mountain
10 Snow-Covered Mountain

Sideboard:
2 Faerie Macabre
1 Karakas
4 Pyroblast
2 Searing Blaze
2 Searing Blood
4 Smash to Smithereens

This list has 12 slots taken up by creatures, which is too much for my own taste, but there is a rationale we can deduce here. Eidolon of the Great Revel doesn't need to attack to hurt the opponent, while the other creatures are the red one-drops that both have haste and hit the hardest for a single mana. And that's the point here: to outrace the opponent. Fully 20 of the noncreature spells in this deck are one-drops that do direct damage to the opponent. Cursed Scroll is also a one-drop. Basically, the only cards that can get stuck in hand without being available for a single mana are basic lands, Fireblast, and Price of Progress. Everything else is either a creature, a one-drop, or both. The direct damage spells tend to hit for at least 3 damage. The creatures are optimized to sneak in as much early damage as consistently as possible. Opponents in Legacy don't (with extremely rare exceptions) survive that onslaught, but they might disrupt it enough to make it nonlethal. Cursed Scroll is a one-drop insurance policy that can hit a weakened opponent multiple times and help ensure that the rest of the damage in the deck finishes the job. My favored trick of using it alongside Fireblast as the only card in my hand is a real option here. Another strong interaction (late-game for this deck, but not necessarily slow in absolute terms) would be to activate Cursed Scroll to hit the opponent with Skewer the Critics in hand, then follow up by casting Skewer the Critics for its discounted mana cost. Casting Cursed Scroll does trigger Eidolon of the Great Revel, but activating it doesn't, so that could help break the symmetry of the Eidolon in some games, although that's a cornercase.

This list is from September of 2020, showing up in a tournament after most of the posts in this thread so far. It does not explain the transition of Cursed Scroll in red decks from appearing more in Sligh to appearing more in Burn, as that had already taken place. But it does show what Burn is like these days, and that's a lot closer to what Burn was like 10 years ago than what Burn was like in 1997. We now have a critical mass of one-mana, three damage spells that can hit opponents. This was not always the case. Lava Spike, Rift Bolt, and Skewer the Critics didn't exist when Cursed Scroll was new. They didn't even exist when I wrote my Burn article at the CPA in 2004. Chain Lightning did exist, but back then. Hasty creatures have been around for a long time and using them to try to get some early hits in for a Burn deck is nothing new; the ones that show up here are merely better versions of older options for this role. Eidolon of the Great Revel was a major development here, although really all it did was staple Pyrostatic Pillar onto a 2/2 body. The package of Fireblast, Price of Progress, Lightning Bolt, and Chain Lightning is classic. The trend, the evolution of this archetype, has simply been to find increasingly more Lightning Bolt analogs, even if they're conditional.

Sligh isn't really a viable archetype in Legacy in 2020, so I can't show an example of a Sligh list to contrast against this Burn list. But really, I think it's more meaningful to look toward historical lists anyway. Outside certain special environments, "Sligh" is kind of an obsolete term, a name associate with the days when red's aggressive creatures were so underpowered, you had to run Ironclaw Orcs and you had to like it.
1602370855496.png

So here's the original Sligh list from 1996...

2 Dwarven Ruins
4 Mishra's Factory
13 Mountain
4 Strip Mine
1 Black Vise
4 Brass Man
2 Brothers of Fire
2 Dragon Whelp
3 Dwarven Lieutenant
2 Dwarven Trader
2 Goblins of the Flarg
4 Ironclaw Orcs
2 Orcish Artillery
2 Orcish Cannoneers
2 Orcish Librarian
4 Incinerate
4 Lightning Bolt
1 Shatter
1 Detonate
1 Fireball

Sideboard:
3 Active Volcano
1 An-Zerrin Ruins
1 Detonate
1 Fireball
4 Manabarbs
1 Meekstone
2 Serrated Arrows
1 Shatter
1 Zuran Orb

Obviously it's from a completely different format from that recent Legacy Burn list, and can't fairly be compared. They're on completely different levels. But it's no accident that this deck only dedicates 10 maindeck slots to direct damage spells and has 25 slots with creatures. It was expected that most of the damage to the opponent would be done with attacking. The direct damage spells, other than Detonate and perhaps Fireball, were generally pointed at blockers.

Now, for an example of Sligh decks with Cursed Scroll, I'll cite the two that made it into the World Championship Decks product line. Both finished in second place. From 1998, there was Ben Rubin's Sligh deck.

4 Ball Lightning
2 Goblin Vandal
4 Ironclaw Orcs
4 Jackal Pup
4 Mogg Fanatic
2 Mogg Flunkies
1 Viashino Sandstalker
4 Fireblast
2 Hammer of Bogardan
4 Incinerate
4 Shock
4 Cursed Scroll
17 Mountain
4 Wasteland

Sideboard:
3 Bottle Gnomes
2 Dwarven Miner
2 Dwarven Thaumaturgist
1 Final Fortune
1 Firestorm
4 Pyroblast
2 Shattering Pulse

And from 1999, there was Mark Le Pine's "Sped Red." Notably, the first place deck also ran Cursed Scroll, although it was a Wildfire deck, rather than a Sligh deck.

4 Avalanche Riders
3 Fireslinger
4 Jackal Pup
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Cursed Scroll
4 Shock
2 Arc Lightning
3 Hammer of Bogardan
4 Pillage
4 Stone Rain
2 Ancient Tomb
2 Ghitu Encampment
16 Mountain
4 Wasteland

Sideboard:

1 Arc Lightning
1 Fireslinger
1 Flowstone Flood
2 Masticore
4 Scald
2 Shattering Pulse
4 Thran Foundry

Format differences aside, what sets these decks apart from the Burn archetype is that they aren't running enough direct damage spells to kill opponents directly by throwing spells at them. Those spells might finish an opponent off once the opponent is badly damaged, but unless they're doing that, they're more likely to be used to get rid of blockers so that cheap red creatures can keep attacking. This keeps the opponent on the defensive and forces them into a spot where their mana isn't sufficient to fend off threats. Cursed Scroll as a reusable damage source would have been important here, as would Hammer of Bogardan (for the same reason).

There's a catch, and it's kind of simple. Once your environment has enough cheap red spells that hit opponents for decent damage, you might as well skip the middleman of attacking with creatures and just smack your opponent in the face with direct damage spells. This wasn't new knowledge. Experienced players from the beginning of the game would have known about dedicated Lightning Bolt decks from before the four-card rule was implemented.
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
There are two main categories of decks in which I've seen Cursed Scroll...
  1. Aggro decks taking advantage of the cheap initial mana cost and versatility of a repeatable damage source for helping close out games.
  2. Resource denial decks that play with low hand size for many turns in a row, using Cursed Scroll to help grind away at the opponent.
It's debatable whether even that distinction is meaningful. Both of those categories use Cursed Scroll as part of an endgame plan when one's hand size has been depleted. Not all of the aggro decks are fast and not all of the resource denial decks take that long to grind someone down. There is a kind of spectrum of possibility here, although the most widely-known tournament applications have fallen squarely in one category or the other. Casual play offers far more options, but I guess I still draw the distinction because there's a big philosophical difference (with deckbuilding considerations) between trying to rush the opponent down and stopping along the way to keep the opponent from being able to do anything.

Owing to its random-card-from-hand mechanic, Cursed Scroll occupies a strange niche. As a reusable source of damage, it effectively replaces a direct damage spell, so you get the effect of a Shock for more mana, but you don't have to spend a card to do it. In a sense, it's card advantage. So far, so good. But then in aggro decks it's card advantage in an archetype that cares about tempo advantage over card advantage. In resource denial decks, it's card advantage in an archetype that actively cultivates card disadvantage. This isn't necessarily paradoxical: there's a lot of value in having a really cheap permanent that sits on the battlefield ready to deal direct damage to any target, as the Punishing Fire + Grove of the Burnwillows combo shows us.

For the first category, I've emphasized red aggro decks, Burn and Sligh, because that's where I've personally used Cursed Scroll. There are other options, but they're certainly not as popular. For the second category, resource denial, I've emphasized monoblack control because that's where I've personally used Cursed Scroll. But I have seen Cursed Scroll in other resource denial archetypes, as I'm reminded on looking back at World Championship decks. Pox was the archetype that really sparked my appreciation for the card, but Cursed Scroll was all over the tournament scene while it was in Type 2, and that included Kai Budde's winning Wildfire deck from 1999...

4 Covetous Dragon
1 Karn, Silver Golem
3 Masticore
4 Cursed Scroll
4 Fire Diamond
4 Grim Monolith
2 Mishra's Helix
4 Temporal Aperture
4 Thran Dynamo
4 Voltaic Key
2 Worn Powerstone
4 Wildfire
3 Ancient Tomb
4 City of Traitors
13 Mountain

Sideboard:

2 Boil
3 Earthquake
1 Mishra's Helix
1 Phyrexian Processor
2 Rack and Ruin
2 Shattering Pulse
4 Spellshock
 

Oversoul

The Tentacled One
The Wildfire deck doesn't grind out long games the way a Pox deck would. It functions differently, but some of the same general principles are on display. The use of mana rocks means that this deck can empty its hand quickly, with Masticore partially helping in that role. Ancient Tomb and City of Traitors provide further acceleration, with Temporal Aperture to keep up the tempo without needing to actually draw extra cards. Mishra's Helix can temporarily hold an opponent's resources down. Covetous Dragon survives Wildefire, so the whole deck is pretty much designed around breaking the symmetry of Wildfire in the same way that a traditional Pox deck breaks the symmetry of Pox.

Land destruction as a form of resource denial has paired well with Cursed Scroll over the years, and while my own memories of this in the late 90's and early 00's only covered black and red primarily, it's possible to do this in a green deck, and I've found some lists online with things like Plow Under, Argothian Wurm, and Thermokarst. Green decks easy access to mana acceleration, which means easily dumping their hands, disrupting the opponent, and setting up a board state in which Cursed Scroll is active against a vulnerable opponent.

Cursed Scroll in a mono-green deck has been viable, but I don't know how widespread it ever became historically, and it doesn't seem to have achieved the notoriety of Cursed Scroll in red decks and black decks. Red/green is another matter, and I've already talked about that some. But I feel compelled to mention the "Three-Deuce" deck from the Extended format around 2000. Here's a decklist.

4 Elvish Lyrist
4 River Boa
4 Skyshroud Elite
2 Dwarven Miner
4 Mogg Fanatic
4 Land Grant
3 Incinerate
4 Disenchant
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Cursed Scroll
4 Rancor
2 Mountain Valley
3 Plateau
4 Savannah
4 Taiga
3 Treetop Village
4 Wasteland

Sideboard:
2 Dwarven Miner
4 Pyroblast
1 Greater Realm of Preservation
4 Aura of Silence
4 Sanctimony

What I think it fascinating about Three-Deuce is that, looking at it today, it looks disjointed in a way that belies how successful it really was. In a format defined by bannings and broken cards, this is just a pile of red/green aggro-control with a white splash. It's been compared to "Zoo" decks that would come later, but those decks were really fast. This pile of cards isn't. What it does have is a lot of answers that are especially well-suited to sabotaging the best decks in the format at the time, combined with enough attackers to really put pressure on opponents. It's almost like a more controlling version of a Sligh deck, but with control elements that happen to be good in the metagame Three-Deuce was built to combat.

There aren't many cards here that synergize directly with Cursed Scroll. Looking at Dwarven Miner, Wasteland, and Skyshroud Elite, we'd expect that the plan is to outpace decks using lots of nonbasic lands. But it's not a true resource denial deck, nor is it an all-out aggro deck. And yet it used a full playset of Cursed Scroll, because the card was just that good.
 
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