Type 4 is the Conan the Barbarian of Magic: the Gathering. “Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.”
Type 4 is an easy, casual format where the basic rules are that you infinite mana, but you may only cast one spell per turn (unless a card specifically says you may play another card this turn). There is typically only a single copy of each card in the stack, and the only other uniquely defining rule is that “the defensive ability wins.” So, for example, if one player controls Masticore (which can shoot everything indefinitely), and another play controls something that regenerates or has damage redirection (like Glarecaster), the “defensive ability” will win out every time.
Part of the allure of Type 4 is that you don’t have to build individual decks to play against your friends, or keep up with any other format or metagame shifts. Someone can just make a big stack of 200+ powerful cards and sleeve them up, including all of the overcosted stuff that you never get to play in normal constructed formats (think Thraximundar, Nicol Bolas, Spelljack, Promise of Power, etc.). You can either just shuffle them up in a big shared pile, or grab a handful of cards per player and battle, or even take the time to do a number of different draft variants (Rochester, Winston, Pack, etc.). A Type 4 stack can be comprised of draft remnants, or built on whatever budget you’d like. Your stack can be sleeved up in a small box in your backpack or gaming cupboard, where you can just ‘set it and forget it’ until ready to be used. You don’t have to worry about transporting lands and lots other stuff like you might normally with something such as Cube. And unlike Commander/EDH, you can often finish a multiplayer ring game of Type 4 in under 15 minutes.
Each owner’s Type 4 stack will be a unique blend of creatures, tutors, removal, counterspells, and everything else shaped by the owner’s hand. Like any other casual format, this will dictate the power level of spells that are deemed acceptable or fun, and what kind of play experience they want. The stack below is merely what this group of seasoned veterans use, and can serve as a nice curated introduction for those others looking to build something similar. In my personal stack, highlighted below, I’ve got some sentimental favorites, and I don’t consider X spells like Fireball (deal X damage, or unlimited) very entertaining or challenging for game play in a format with infinite mana, so you’ll probably notice a lack of those and anything with firebreathing (ie. infinite pump abilities). The best games of Type 4 I’ve ever played are the more interactive ones where people play out threats, other people blow them up, and something laughable like Myojin of Night’s Reach wipes out everyone’s hand and wins the game.
This has been a long time coming (over 2 years since last published update), but here is our long overdue and newly updated build for public consumption. The link below is a GoogleDoc that is free for everyone to access (and downloadable). It is fully sortable with built-in filters at the top of each column, so you can narrow down the view by different card types (removal, counters, creatures, etc.), set, color, and more. We try to keep ours around 450-500 cards, while others prefer fewer than 400 cards, and still some others we know play with over 700 cards.
With new sets being released quarterly (or more frequently, when taking into account special sets like Commander), there are tons of new potential cards for your Type 4 stack with each passing year. Below we’ll highlight just some of the more interesting cards from the past couple of years’ worth of releases, since our last update.
Aethersnatch – counterspells are always great, but ones that steal your opponent’s spells are among the best.
Deadly Tempest – Wrath of God variant that doesn’t bury creatures, but does cause controller of creature to lose life. A worthy inclusion in Chaos Stack if nothing else.
Kalemne’s Captain – creatures that blow up multiple permanents on command are good, and ones that exile them are even better. This deals with multiple artifacts and enchantments at once, and has a sizable body to boot.
Mystic Confluence – instant speed draw 3, or creature bounce and draw/cantrip combo. Not worth the current $9 price tag, but if you can pick up a copy on the cheap possibly worth inclusion down the road.
Sandstone Oracle – on its face, a 4/4 flying creature that dies to everything sucks, but when paired with serious card drawing this becomes pretty sweet, and an upgrade to other things like Sphinx of Lost Truths or Citanul Woodreaders (especially because it’s an enter the battlefield trigger, and not a kicker trigger).
Battle for Zendikar
Bane of Bala Ged – a 7/5 creature is average in Type 4, but the triggered ability when attacking with this to exile 2 target permanents from a player being attacked is rather intriguing, especially because the trigger alone can exile indestructible cards or other permanents that your removal in hand may be otherwise ill-equipped to deal with.
Desolation Twin – two generic 10/10 creatures for one spell seems decent, and potentially an upgrade over other fatties that may be floating around without an attached compelling activated or triggered ability.
Quarantine Field – certainly an upgrade over any Oblivion Ring effects that you might have laying around, but the fact that this can be Disenchanted to undo the effects significantly weakens the appeal. Stasis Snare and Grasp of Fate have the same weakness.
Scour from Existence – colorless instant speed removal for anything; a swell removal upgrade to your stack.
Ugin’s Insight – scry and then draw 3 at sorcery speed is an upgrade over stuff like Ambition’s Cost, Concentrate, Harmonize, etc. Including a couple of these is probably fine, but they’re slowly getting bumped out by newer more potent draw spells.
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger – there is no doubt about it, this version of Ulamog is an absolute bomb, exiling two target permanents upon being cast, leaving a 10/10 body, and potentially milling opponents out.
Void Winnower – an 11/9 creature isn’t all that great by itself, but what about one that shuts off all of opponent’s even casting cost cards from even being cast? Intriguing inclusion for some.
Day’s Undoing – draw 7’s are sometimes hit or miss in Type 4, so they often work better in a Chaos Stack* if you play with one of those sometimes. Day’s Undoing in unique because it ends the turn as well, providing a Time Stop-like effect, exiling other spells that are on the stack.
Nissa’s Revelation – a powerful draw spell, incorporating the scry mechanic, life gain, and creature dependency.
The Great Aurora – a mass removal spell coupled with a Timetwister effect, this is worthy of either the main deck and/or Chaos Stack.*
Unholy Hunger – unconditional creature kill at instant speed, which might be an option to replace other (older) conditional single creature removal in your stack, if you have room.
Dragons of Tarkir
Clone Legion – powerful sorcery that can potentially Clone all of yours or another player’s creatures in play. This seems like an upgrade to standard Clone variants, if you have any left in your stack.
Contradict – another Dismiss at one more mana, which can replace any less powerful counter in your stack (such as Fuel for the Cause, for example). When adding new counters it always helps to keep in mind how many counterspells you want in your stack in general (as a percentage of overall card count).
Dragonlord Kolaghan – 6/5 hasty flying creature that grants other creatures you control haste as well. This can replace a Rorix Bladewing or Spirit of the Night, but these are all relatively limited in power.
Profound Journey – very good reanimation spell (for any permanent in your graveyard!), and it has rebound, meaning you get to repeat the process again the following turn (provided you remember to rebound).
Silumgar’s Command – potential counter, bounce, or removal spell with mixed modality. Not broken by any means, but flexible and worth testing.
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon – most planeswalkers have not proven to be good enough for Type 4, as they are small, incremental card advantage (as compared to other hugely powerful and swingy spells). Ugin has the ability to exile the battlefield essentially, as well as provide those incremental gains, and has a slow but powerful ‘ultimate’ ability that should entirely lock the game up in your favor. If you have room this is probably worth including for both flavor and fun.
Angel of the Dire Hour – a flying creature with flash that can exile all attacking creatures. Decent, but I don’t love the conditionality of the attacking clause, as things like annihilator triggers matter, as do creatures that may not be attacking.
Necromantic Selection – yet another Wrath effect, but this one combines it with a reanimation effect, and is definitely worthwhile.
Overseer of the Damned – 5/5 flying demon that kills a creature when entering the battlefield, and can also slowly generate 2/2 zombies. Not bad at all.
Unstable Obelisk – I prefer Necrotic Sliver over this because it can attack, but if you’re in the market for more Vindicate effects, this one is a nice budget alternative, and can stay on the board until ready for use (but can be Trickbinded).
Wave of Vitriol – a mass artifact, enchantment, and land sweeper, at sorcery speed. These are often the kind of cards you want the effect for, but don’t really want to draft yourself, and thus often end up in a Chaos Stack* for the effect.
Khans of Tarkir
Abzhan Charm – exiles a target creature (with power 3 or greater, which is most creatures in Type 4, or draws 2 at a cost of 2 life. Worth consideration, especially in newly built (i.e. non-mature) stacks.
Ashcloud Phoenix – another morph, this one takes a moment to read and realize how it can be potentially broken in Type 4. Just think of how it combos with a Type 4 staple like Masticore to get your mind rolling on the possibilities.
Clever Impersonator – awesome Clone variant that can copy any nonland permanent in play.
Crackling Doom – standout removal spell targeting multiple players, which causes them to sacrifice largest creature, and deals damage, all at instant speed.
Dig Through Time – this multi-format format all-star is good enough to get banned in multiple constructed formats, and is a nice end step effect in Type 4, effectively serving as a double Impulse, and a nice bait spell at the very least.
Duneblast – a potentially one sided Wrath of God that is modal can definitely replace another basic Wrath effect.
Muderous Cut – conditionless creature removal at instant speed, if you’re looking for any more of those, and this one allows you to potentially thin your graveyard a bit because of the delve mechanic. Definitely worth including in a “peasant” stack with all cheap cards, or all commons/uncommons.
Siege Rhino – unimposing on its face, this constructed all-star may actually be very good in Type 4, especially in medium to large ring games, where no one will want to use a counterspell on this, but it will have a potential life gain/drain swing of anywhere from 6-24 life (or more in large games). Similar to Kokusho, but not legendary, and the drain trigger happens upon entering the battlefield, not upon hitting the graveyard.
Sultai Charm – versatile instant speed removal for artifact, enchantment, or monocolored creature, or at a very minimum cycles through a couple of cards on opponent’s end step to dig for better cards in hand.
Treasure Cruise – another multi-format powerhouse, this is merely average in Type 4, on par with Concentrate, but notably it does allow you to thin your graveyard potentially (like Murderous Cut above).
Utter End – instant speed targeted removal of a nonland (aka auto include).
Garruk, Apex Predator – can kill creatures, planeswalkers, and slowly pump out deathtouch tokens. What’s not to love?
In Garruk’s Wake – this one sided Wrath also hits planeswalkers, and is just fantastic.
Council’s Judgment – removal at sorcery speed, that doesn’t target, but isn’t a sure fire thing. Not good enough for a lot of stacks, but does utilize the social “Will of the Council” mechanic, which is nice for Type 4.
Dack’s Duplicate – between this, Evil Twin, and Clever Impersonator (and others), we are really in the golden age of Clone effects on creatures. I like this because it gains haste, and is incentivized by the dethrone mechanic to attack the player with the highest life total.
Plea for Power – a split card essentially, draw 3 or Time Walk, that invokes the “Will of the Council,” requiring a vote. Decent flavor for multiplayer games with average effects.
Journey into Nyx
Bearer of the Heavens – a large threat that can wipe the board, but interesting because of the multiplayer dynamics in that some people may be reticent to destroy it for fear of losing a key permanent, and because of the delayed trigger.
Consign to Dust – can wipe out multiple enchantments and/or artifacts at instant speed. Auto-include, and can replace any weaker Disenchant/Naturalize variant.
Harness by Force – basically reads “untap all creatures, gain control of them, kill your opponents.” Conan would be proud.
Interpret the Signs – very powerful draw spell, at sorcery speed. May be too good for some.
Silence the Believers – incredible instant speed creature removal, as modal as you want.
Born of the Gods
Fated Return – instant speed reanimation is fantastic, and this gives the creature indestrucability to top it all off.
Order of Succession – this is exactly the type of effect that you don’t want to draft, but is entertaining, and suitable for a Chaos Stack.*
Unexpectedly Absent – instant speed removal for any nonland permanent.
Colossus of Akros – basically a 20/20 indestructible creature, and probably too good for a lot of stacks (like Emrakul in that regard, where it removes the fun for some people because of power level).
Hero’s Downfall – conditionless instant speed removal for creature or planeswalker. Straight dope.
Stormbreath Dragon – a potential hasty 7/7 flyer that can deal a number of extra damage to your opponents, but otherwise a vanilla creature.
Ring of Three Wishes – a slightly toned down version of Planar Portal in that it has limited number of uses, but still incredibly powerful nonetheless. Most of the time the controller of Planar Portal either wins in a couple of turns, or is eliminated within a couple of turns, so this will be functionally the same in most cases.
Rise of the Dark Realms – going to be testing this for next couple of months, but it’s probably too powerful for most stacks, in that it reanimates all creatures in all graveyards and puts them into play under your control, and would often end the game immediately in most cases. We cut Nezumi Graverobber long ago, but still play with Chainer, Dementia Master, because of the life loss associated (more balanced), so we’ll see how this plays out in practice.
Blast of Genius – weak on its own as a draw spell, but this is quite interesting because it allows for potentially significant direct damage, which can often finish off an opponent as games grind down, or act as removal spell for a creature at the very least.
Catch // Release – not only does release make players sacrifice a ton of permanents, but Catch can momentarily snatch a problematic permanent that can deliver you the win at a crucial time. Both halves of this are incredibly useful, and this should make it into most stacks.
Obzedat’s Aid – a solid reanimation spell for any permanent in your graveyard. Snap buy.
Building and Utilizing a Chaos Stack
* You may also note that there are now three tabs at the bottom left corner of the spreadsheet, including one called ‘Type 4 Chaos Stack.’ The Type 4 Chaos Stack is something that can be used in mid-sized or larger games, where upon a certain number of spells played in a turn (say 3+) it may trigger an automatic random flip from the Chaos Stack. If X or more spells have been cast in a single turn (where X is an amount agreed to by the players beforehand), all spells on the stack are paused and the top card from the Chaos Stack is immediately flipped up and resolved, and then the stack and rest of the game is unpaused and continues as normal. Spells in the Chaos Stack will usually affect everybody (such as Eureka, Timetwister, Sway of the Stars, Time Stop, Howling Mine, etc.). Cards from the Chaos Stack do not use the stack, and the effect is played immediately before all other spells or abilities on the stack resolve. Usually an effect like an enchantment or artifact from the Chaos Stack will only be removed once the next card is revealed from the Chaos Stack, but other people may play that a permanent-based effect may be destroyed like any other. That is up to you and your playgroup. Like the main Type 4 stack, tweak this deck to suit what you enjoy playing and think is fun!