Richard Garfield, Ph.D.

Richard Ph.D.Greetings, fellow brewmeisters. Today I have the rare opportunity of sharing what I consider the most broken, ridiculous, I don’t even know how to really describe this deck. There is no deck I know of that is more demanding on one’s personal knowledge of Magic cards.

This is not a simple deck to play, in fact, it is best played by someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of Magic cards or who has made extensive notes beforehand. There are so many angles that this deck can take, I’m just going to post my list, and tell you about a few that I’ve found. Make no mistake, this is a deck that allows you to literally play whatever you want, the only limit is the specific mana costs on the cards you own.

PLEASE NOTE, THIS IS A DECK THAT CONTAINS UNGLUED AND UNHINGED CARDS. All cards that have been printed with a silver border, and either a horseshoe or cracked egg expansion symbol are banned from all tournament play forever.

Richard Garfield Ph.D..dec

1 Vile Bile
4 Richard Garfield, Ph.D.
2 B.F.M. (Big Furry Monster) (Left Half)
2 B.F.M. (Right Half)
1 Infernal Spawn of Evil
1 Darksteel Colossus

4 Enter the Dungeon
3 Dark Ritual
2 Fowl Play
1 Topsy Turvy
1 Free-For-All
1 Ambiguity
1 Logic Knot
1 Impulse
1 Serum Visions
1 Pthisis
1 Necro-Impotence
1 Aesthetic Consultation
1 Spell Counter
4 Spatula of the Ages
1 Mana Screw
1 Dimir Signet

10 Island
10 Swamp
4 Dismal Backwater

As I said, there’s a lot of ways to play this deck. Without Richard Garfield, your best bet is probably to use your Dark Rituals and Spatula of the Ages to power out a B.F.M., since the errata says “{4}, {T}, Sacrifice Spatula of the Ages: Put a silver-bordered artifact, creature, enchantment, or land from your hand into play.” See for that particular ruling, since MaRo is the only official judge for silver borders.

The other thing to do is play a bunch of subgames with Enter the Dungeon. It takes patience and a certain tolerance for sitting uncomfortably on the floor to play under the table, but Enter the Dungeon is a far more accessible option than Shahrazad. I enjoy regaling opponents when I play this deck with stories about a decklist that went something like this:

30 Shahrazad
30 Mox Pearl

This of course was before the 4 card limit, and before the 60 card minimum was implemented. Also, full disclosure, I never had the pleasure of piloting this deck, nor did I ever have the cards to make it. Today it’s several thousands of dollars just in Moxes. The idea though was that the opponent would be playing a 40 card deck, and you’d manage a turn 1 Shahrazad each game and subgame. The original deck aimed to win by forcing so many subgames that the opponent would be forced to lose because he can’t draw cards at the beginning of the game, causing a chain reaction, eventually making them lose the initial game. The above list is just one example of why we have 4 card limits and restrictions on fast artifact mana.

While my deck doesn’t get that broken, it can easily replicate some of the most powerful plays still made in eternal formats.

A word on Richard Garfield, Ph.D.; this card cares about the exact mana cost of whatever you are trying to play/cast. This includes color, and how many mana of each color is required. So, for example, you could play a card like Boomerang, and tell your opponent it’s a Counterspell, since UU is the same as UU. You would not be allowed to play Anticipate as a Counterspell though, since 1U is not the same as UU. You could however, play Anticipate as Time Walk. Also, you must choose to play it as a card that actually exists in Magic.

Once you do hit Richard Garfield, the world becomes your oyster. Basic lands become more powerful lands like Lotus Vale, Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage. Any land that adds more than one mana at once (City of Traitors and the Ravnica bounce lands come to mind,) plus a Candelabra of Tawnos (Mana Screw, ironically enough,) will make infinite mana.

So, mana becomes a non-issue. What to do with it? Well, for starters, you could play your Dimir Signet as a Time Vault, and your Mana Screw (assuming it’s not already a Candelabra) as Voltaic Key, to take all the turns. Topsy Turvy and Fowl Play can be played as Tinker, fetching up the Darksteel Colossus. Necro-Impotence can be played as Necropotence for value, or if you’re feeling saucy, you could play it as a copy of Doomsday, leaving in some card drawing spells and a Fowl Play or Topsy Turvy to play as a Laboratory Maniac in the deck. Pthisis can be played as Phage the Untouchable, even coming off of suspend, and any land can turn into Rogue’s Passage to push her through to the opponent.

Richard Garfield also turns on some pretty serious card advantage, card selection and tutors. Vile Bile can be cast as Demonic Tutor, Dark Ritual becomes Vampiric Tutor, Serum Visions can be cast as Ancestral Recall. Ambiguity and Spell Counter can both become Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Free-for-All becomes Fact or Fiction, and extra copies of Richard Garfield become Force of Will or Morphlings.

Aesthetic Consultation is neat because if you go out of your way to learn the artists of your cards and build your deck accordingly, you can tutor up anything even without Richard on the battlefield. Once he is around, you can just cast it as Demonic Consultation or Vampiric Tutor for the exact card you want.

Honestly, as long as you build your deck to support casting Richard Garfield Ph.D, you can play any strategy you can come up with.  If you’re going to build a deck with him though, I suggest you create some written notes about what cards in your deck can be cast as which other cards. I’ve got four 3×5 cards just for playing my version.

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