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Overall Balanced Environment

Ice Age: Black Summer. Tempest: Red Sligh manipulated the tournament scene. Urza Saga: The era of combo deck and artifacts ruled. Mercadian Masques: Here comes the rebel. Invasion: Fires burn. Odyssey: Psycatog eats everything. But now, as Torment came around, the tournament scene is changed once again, but with a clear difference. No specific deck will dominate!

It is a good thing Wizards has bring to us, trying to neutralize the game with specifically designed cards, but well many said Torment is a heavy black expansion but to me, Red and green benefit the most. And with such expansion, we finally see a scene where anyone can play any colour they want and stay competitive in the same time. And I am going to discuss it here.

I am a frequent visitor to deck forums to check out deck lists and participate in debates, helping out people with their decks even though I am a not pro-tour goer. I am little more than surprise as I expected rogue decks to emerge every now and then. If you play red, you got Sligh, and splash in green you can have Frog In A Blender and the normal beatdown with FTK and Skizzik. If you like with black, you can have R/B AggroBlack. If you like Green, try Stompy, or you can splash in blue, you have G/U madness, or G/U tempo. And the list goes on and on and on........

Let's start with my current favourite colours: Red and Green. My top two cards in Torment are being Red: #2 Skullscorch, #1 Grim Lavamancer and two green non-rare make it into my top 10 list as well: #10 Basking Rootwalla, #7 Arrogant Wurm. And it turns out that Red/Green is now the most stable deck after Fires was extinguished with the departure of Saproling Burst. There are two different R/G decks that you can choose to play depending on your place metagame, being: Frog In A Blender and R/G beatdown. Frog is the first R/G deck to emerge, playing small critters with a lot of burn, BOP, mongrel, rootwalla, and manipulate the new red madness burn like Fiery Temper and Violent Eruption. The another version is R/G beatdown is packed with few burns but the creature base is more stable with the like of: FTK, Skizzik, Grim Lavamancer and rootwalla as well as mongrel. The beatdown version is more competitive and flexible compares to Frog. It can compete with creature storm like mono-green stompy and can deal with board control decks like mono-black Mutilate, burn from red sligh and bounce from G/U madness.

How about black? I don't like black eventhough the best deck I ever built is my Buried Alive deck. Black is back with a revenge, getting the best creature in Torment, Nantuko Shade and best board control, Mutilate, and a lot of nice creatures from the nightmare family. From the recent pro-tours, black is gaining a lot of ground, closely challenged by red and green. Faceless Butcher, arguably one of the best common in Torment helps black gaining creature control and Mesmeric Fiend, temporary-Duress effect, is an early round casualties. And black combines well now with Red to gain a better board control, resulting in R/B Aggro deck. It is packed with the cool burn spells from Red and creatures like Grim Lavamancer and FTK while it borrows black control spells like Mutilate and Chainer's Edict.

Blue? It is rather degraded in Torment, but its strength as the backup colour has not deterioted. U/G madness and tempo are gaining a lot of attention especially in the recent Pro-Tour Osaka and Barcelona. And another rogue deck has emerged, using the Upheaval ability to wipe the board clean and start anew with small fast creature storm from Green, namely, Basking Rootwalla, WIld Mongrel, Arrogant Wurm combo. It is a very well-tuned, well-themed deck and stay competitive as well. And yes, blue is still good in Psycatog deck too, but I doubt its staying power now.

The colour that got slapped in the face with no power cards at all is White, my favourite colour besides green. But that does not mean it is worst. White weenie has gain power from Vengeful Dreams and Mystic Enforcer, and with today Red Black environment, white is simply the best backup colour in the creature department. Mystic Crusader is the nightmare to all R/B aggro deck while packed with green, W/G is even faster with Mystic Enforcer, Kavu Titan, Noble Panther and etc and gain control with combo like Vengeful Dreams and Nostalgic Dreams.

So which colour will dominate? Well to me, none! NONE! All colours are very well-balanced and has a specific theme to itself. Maybe one or two colour will prove to be better than the others but none will actually dominate everything, not like rebel and the tinker deck. Not anymore. Rogue decks are coming out everyday, and recently Braids are proven strong too and Chainer is leading his nightmares force. But still I will give Red and Green the extra points.

© Rymond Wong 2001