History of Spoils Constructed format
by Terence Dorman
Check here for part 1.
After writing the history of Part Two it became apparent to me that Part Two was so important that I think it deserves its own article. I could have tacked the Seed One metagame onto the end of this piece but I felt that wouldn't do it justice, so I've decided to add a third part to my two part series, that way I cover everything in the detail it deserves. Enjoy!
First Edition: Part Two
The arrival of Part Two was eagerly awaited as it promised to shake up the constructed metagame and promote interesting new deck types. I can say for certain that Part Two delivered on this promise and can probably be viewed as the most diverse time in the history of constructed Spoils.
First Edition: Part Two saw the invention of so many deck types that many of them still exist today. Some are certainly not as viable as others, but this does not mean that some of these decks won't see a revival with the addition of later sets.
To talk about Part Two without taking about Purple Haze first would probably be a crime. Purple Haze was arguably the most popular deck during Part Two and easily saw the most competitive play. Designed and tweaked by some of the top Spoils players of the time, Derek Halpern, Will Morgan, and Conrad Jackson, Purple Haze was an Arcanist/Gearsmith control deck that epitomized intelligent play.
While each of these players (and many others) made slight variations to the deck, the basic idea remained consistent throughout all of the builds. Haze would manipulate Luteoderm Prototypes and Quotidian Ejectors for card search while building up resource advantage via the Voidal Poisoning/Runic Circuitry combo. When the time was right, Purple Haze would strike with a devastating Degenerate Molestation to eliminate the opponent's hand and secure control of the board.
This deck was so popular that the $13k event at Gen-Con 2007 saw dozens of this deck in the field. The only downside of the deck was its popularity, so by this time many players had started incorporating some Haze-Hate into their decks. This didn't stop the top players from reigning supreme with it, however, and it is likely to be remembered forever as Part Two's most consistent deck.
The other prominent deck from the Part Two era, and another top competitor at the Gen-Con 2007 $13k event, was the Banker/Warlord Writ-Bile deck. As many of you know, the Writ-Bile deck is focused on eliminating its own deck via Selective Gluttony so that it can have an extremely minimal deck size. This allows the Writ-Bile player to use Writ of Reclamation over and over again to retrieve Bask Biles and fire them one at a time until the opponent's influence is gone.
If this seems too slow for you then consider that this deck also ran a few copies of Gold Summit to rack up influence while it was milling itself. This bought the Writ-Bile player plenty of turns to establish resources and acquire the combo for a smooth victory.
Other popular decks to rise from Part Two were Strength in Numbers builds, Hole Punch (a Banker/Warlord combination of Deck Murder and Banker Beatdown), Schproingmajig OTK builds, Voidal Poisoning Banker decks, Gearsmith rush, Horsemajigs, and Martial Artist/Tri-Pole Magnet decks. Since I don't want to leave these decks out to dry, I'll give each a quick rundown as they were generally much easier to play than Purple Haze.
The Martial Artist/Tri-Pole Magnet deck was especially popular due to its ease of play and lack of required “big” rares. All you really needed for the deck was Martial Artist, Thief Doyen, Tri-Pole Magnet, and Luteoderm Goliath. The rest of the deck was really up to the player as the combo built itself and did not require a lot of work to get going.
Strength in Numbers was another deck that didn't require a lot of effort to pilot and also worked without big rares. The premise was simple: amass an army of small characters with varying speeds, attack as a huge party, play Strength in Numbers. The varying speeds usually meant that your 4-speed characters are wiping out the blocking party, leaving your 3 and 2-speed characters to punch through to the faction for victory. SiN builds were quick, easy, and merciless, and did not provide a lot of opportunities for your opponent to defend if executed properly.
Schproingmajig OTK was another build that attempted the quick and efficient kill. Working off the two card combo of Schproingmajig and Micromajig Shipping Container, OTK players would attack with the Schproingmajig for a whopping sixteen unblockable damage if only a Shipping Container is used. Each additional character adds two damage to the total, meaning the OTK player could easily take the game with one turn if the opponent is not ready to handle the Schproingmajig.
As you've probably already noticed, Gearsmith was extremely popular during Part Two. While the above decks used Gearsmith as part of multi-trade decks, Gearsmith rush and Horsemajig decks usually ran as entirely Gearsmith builds. Both decks focused on the same idea that Gearsmith had some of the best rush in the game. While the decks choose different characters, the idea was to use Gearsmith's resource acceleration (via Contriving Engineer and/or Senior Research Assistant) to flood the board with characters and, hopefully, overwhelm the opponent. Popular characters included all the Horsemajigs, the nodes, 633fy 31f, 7001b0x 31f, and the Guardforce characters.
Carrying over from ideas from Part One, Hole Punch was a deck designed to mesh the ideas of Banker Beatdown with Deck Murder. The premise of the deck lies in the name, mainly to punch a hole in the opponent's defenses to break through for damage each turn. This deck didn't go for the one-turn-kill or the swarm, but instead focused on getting consistent damage through. This was accomplished through the numerous kill cards afforded to the Banker/Warlord builds, using them to kill off one or two-man blocking parties when they were formed. It wasn't the fastest or classiest deck out there, but it got the job done.
Rounding out the Part Two constructed scene was an innovative Voidal Poisoning deck that manipulated all of those Banker characters that enter play with tokens on them. These characters would be incredibly weak due to the tokens then morph into powerhouse characters once the Poisoning player finally played the VP. With all of those tokens the VP player would likely be able to wipe the opponent's board via damage, then have a considerable army to attack and defend with. It was a very deceptive deck if you were facing it for the first time and really demonstrated the flexibility of Voidal Poisoning.
Lastly, before I move on to Seed, I should mention the Emergency Obfuscation deck. The card was banned due to this particular deck and will go down in history as the first Spoils card to ever be banned from Constructed.
I have to be perfectly honest and say that I cannot recall the exact combo as I never played against it or saw it in person. What I recall from discussions and player stories, though, was a complex combo sequence involving Misappropriation Machine, Emergency Obfuscation, and Quotidian Ejector to create a game state in which one player was effectively playing both decks. This allowed the E.O. player to completely set up his board while controlling his opponent's, leaving his opponent with nothing to do to stop the assault once the E.O. combo was finished.
The card was later banned due to this combo. Similar to the Meat of the Mountain banning, Emergency Obfuscation was given the axe not because of how powerful or how broken it was but instead because it created an un-fun and non-interactive experience for one of the players involved. The player base at the time agreed that a situation like this was not good for the game and Josh Lytle soon made it official that E.O. was banned from Constructed play.
Be sure to check back next week as I'll continue the history of constructed Spoils!
Check here for part 1.