The Return of Type 4

Grim Poppet
I miss Type 4. It was the perfect way to waste time between rounds and it didn’t require everyone to have a deck with them and it was always a different game. If you’re not familiar, Type 4 was a format where the “decks” were actually just one communal pile of 200+ cards. There were no lands. Everyone had a hand of 3 cards and you could play one spell per turn. You got infinite mana of any color to use — Fireball was a bad card to include in Type 4 decks and Wydwen, the Biting Gale was a very good one. The communal deck meant Temporal Spring could be used to make a different player draw and play a troublesome creature. Best of all, the infinite mana made very bad and mana-intensive cards suddenly both very good and very well balanced. We made our first Type 4 deck by throwing in a bunch of bad cards we had lying around with a bunch of cards that needed to be in there like Damnation and Wrath of God. The result was that we occasionally figured out things early (We realized Sovereigns of Lost Alara to fetch Celestial Mantle was ridiculous a year before anyone thought of using it to get Eldrazi Conscription) and since our playing the format pre-dated the popularity explosion of EDH, it was our first foray into thinking like EDH players.

It wasn’t just EDH-like plays that ended up being very good in Type 4, though. We also made some plays that would never be good anywhere else, like making good use of the card “Torture.” Torture looks like a very expensive removal aura, but we liked using it to kill anything that didn’t have protection from Black or to shrink a creature down to 1/1 or 0/1 but not kill it so that reanimation spells couldn’t be played on it. However, we soon discovered that Torture was very good with the Grim Poppet in the deck. The odds of getting both cards in your hand were low, but I began using tutors for one piece of the combo. Was it the best combo in the deck? Nope. But it was my favorite. I gradually added cards to the pile that played nice with the combo — Kulrath Knight, Blowfly Infestation, Crumbling Ashes, Vhati Il-Dal. Without knowing it, I was creating my first EDH deck, only it was 2 or 3 times as big as an EDH deck and I let my opponents draw from the same stack.

It’s been years, but I never forgot how much fun it was to nuke the board with my little Poppet. Lots of combos have come along that are very similar — Mephidross Vampire and Triskelion, Deathbringer Thoctar and Quietus Spike, Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and Curiosity, but I never forgot my first time wiping the board and laughing. My love of Poppet shenanigans lay dormant but recently, -1/-1 counters are in vogue again and it’s time to liberate him from a pile of cards that represented a failed Reaper King deck. The reason we get to look at Grim Poppet again? Simple.

Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons

Not only does this reward use for playing a cheap commander that can come down and start attacking before they even have blockers, it rewards us for Poppeting people. Hell, it rewards us for playing Torture in our deck, something I’ve been itching to do since I was doing it with no mana. Type 4 shenanigans are back! I couldn’t be more excited.

What would the deck look like if I got to build a deck that would make me feel like I was playing Type 4 again, using Demonic Tutor to get Torture while my friends looked on, puzzled? Probably a little something like this.


Doubling Season
That’s what I’m talking about! We’re not just a -1/-1 counters deck, we’re a token deck, too! We’re sure to generate a ton of tokens with the way we distribute counters with our commander and Flourishing Defenses out. I even managed to fit a copy of Torture into the deck because it’s my deck and I can do what I want to do.

Token and counter doubling is important which is why I jammed Doubling Season, Parallel Lives, and Primal Vigor in the deck. I want to make sure I get the most out of the cards I am using because sometimes putting a -1/-1 counter on Kozilek isn’t strong enough to get there. Distributing a handful of counters and getting a handful of chump blockers that can potentially be mulched into mana, Attrition activations or other nefarious purposes. Our creatures are expendable, so make sure to have a ton of them. If you tap a creature to Cryptolith Rite then sac it to Phyrexian Altar, you can use Torture to put a counter on Grim Poppet and then get another creature with your commander, thus assembling our Type 4 combo. What’s that? It’s a five-card combo and that’s not very good? I agree — you see why I miss Type 4 so much?

We have nearly every card that makes using -1/-1 counters worth it and we have a few ways to get real advantage, including using Mikaeus the Unhallowed to make our creatures useful for a long time. We’ll put the counters on our own creatures fairly regularly, and that’s fine because Hapatra doesn’t care where we put those counters as long as we do it.

I’m really happy with how this turned out. I can play a lot of my favorite pet cards and I can feel like I’m playing Type 4 again, if only for a brief, shining moment. Crumbling Ashes in particular is heating up on the secondary market, so if you think you want to build in that direction, don’t wait — snag everything you need from Coolstuff and buy a spare copy for another deck or to trade off when the price fully matures. If you want to build this deck and I want to build this deck, chances are other people do, too and you can save a lot of money by being ahead of the curve.

That’s all for me this week. I hope you like this build and I hope it works out if you try it. Is there a new commander you’d like me to take a look at? Let me know in the comments. Until next week!


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