Extended FAQ and Archetype Thread

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Format Information

What is Extended?
Extended is a constructed format that is part of the Pro Tour circuit. It contains less cards than the eternal formats (Legacy and Vintage), but more than Standard. Extended is also known as Type 1.x. Extended contains the last seven years of Magic blocks and core sets.

What cards are legal in Extended?
This link shows the sets that are currently legal in Extended, as well as the cards that are banned.

When is Extended Season?
Annual Extended Pro Tour Qualifiers, Grand Prix, and Grand Prix Trials usually start sometime in the winter. Extended Pro Tours are usually in the fall. Pro Tour Berlin will take place from October 31 to November 2, 2008. Extended is also commonly played at Worlds, held in December.

When does Extended Rotate?
Seventh Edition and the Invasion and Odyssey blocks rotated out of Extended on October 3, 2008. After this rotation, one year’s worth of blocks will leave Extended every year. In the previous rotation schedule, three blocks rotated every three years. Devin Low explains the changes in this article.

Rotation dates for each block currently in print:
Onslaught: 2009
Mirrodin: 2010
Kamigawa: 2011
Ravnica: 2012
Time Spiral: 2013
Lorwyn/Shadowmoor: 2014
Alara: 2015

What should I test against?
The Decks to Beat are the most common decks in the format. These are the ones you should be learning how to play against and be able to beat with your deck. You can find short descriptions and links to threads for the Decks to Beat in the Archetypes and Primers section later in this post.

General Information

[b]What is the purpose of this forum?[/b]
This forum is a place to discuss decks and archetypes, get critique for your deck, and to discuss the Extended format. All decks here should be Extended legal and at least moderately competitive. If your deck can't beat any of the commonly played archetypes because its core concept is weak, it is better off in Casual

[b]What should I do before posting a thread?[/b]
• Learn to Autocard. This helps other people see what a card does without them having to go to a card database. To Autocard, simply put the card’s name in between these brackets: [noparse][/c][/noparse]. So, [noparse][c]Tarmogoyf[/noparse] gives you Tarmogoyf. This thread explains everything you need to know about Autocarding.
• Type your deck in a format that is easy to read. Sorting your deck by Lands, Creatures, and Other Spells is usually a good way. Use this as a guideline:

Lands (X)
4x ---
4x ---
4x ---

Creatures (X)
4x ---
3x ---
4x ---

Spells (X)
4x ---
4x ---
4x ---

Sideboard (X)
3x ---
2x ---

You may also want to include things like:
Removal (X):

Counters (X):

Combo Pieces (X):

Mana Fixers/ Accelerators (X):

Also Include:
• Your general strategy so we know what the deck does.
• Your current metagame (explained below).
• Your budget. We understand that not everyone can afford expensive cards like Tarmogoyf and Umezawa’s Jitte, but please mention it if you can’t. I can’t even begin to explain how frustrating it is to type out a long post of suggestions, only to have the person say that they can’t afford anything that I suggested.
• When you make your thread, pick a name that suits it. Creative names are fine, but don’t title your thread something so strange that nobody can tell what it is about.
• Post a sideboard (also explained below). Having one of these shows people viewing your thread that you are serious about your deck and using it in tournaments. If you don’t have a sideboard made yet, mention that you need help making one in your post.
• Use correct spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Posting a deck and then saying “is it can has win” will make most people not want to help you.

Other Questions

Is there a limit to the number of a card I can use in a deck?
You may only use 4 of any non basic land, block legal card in a deck. You must have at least a 60 card deck. Proxies (fake cards) are not legal in sanctioned play, but you may use them in casual games if your opponent allows.

What is Aggro, Combo, and Control?
They are the three main deck types in Magic. Most decks will fall into one or two of these categories.


Aggro decks try to bring the opponent’s life total to 0 as soon as possible. They usually do this through the use of cheap but efficient creatures. They hope to win in the early game, as they usually become weaker as the game progresses.
Examples: RGW Zoo, Affinity.


Control decks win by preventing the opponent from carrying out their gameplan. They do this by countering their spells, removing their creatures, discard, or other ways.
Examples: Next Level Blue, UW Tron


Combo decks are often the most complex deck type. They win by assembling a group of cards (a combo) that wins them the game. These decks usually try to control the board until they can get their combo in place. When this happens, they usually win.
Examples: TEPS, Elves!

What is an Archetype?
An archetype is a deck or deck type that is played often enough that people know what it is, and is good enough to win often. These decks are the best in the format, and consistently Top 8 at major tournaments and are a presence in local metagames.

What is a Metagame?
Your metagame is the decks that are played often in your area. If there are a lot of people playing Zoo and Death Cloud decks but no one playing NLU, then that is your metagame, or meta.

What happens if I have a card that is not in an Extended legal set, but was printed in one?
You may play with any Type 1 legal edition of an Extended legal card (Special cards such as World Championship cards are not allowed). For example, if you have a Stone Rain from Alpha (which is not legal in Extended), you may use it in an Extended tournament because it was reprinted in an Extended-legal set (for example, Ninth Edition).

Can I use cards with a gold border and a black back in Extended tournaments?
No, you cannot. Cards like this are from the World Championship decks, and because of the abnormal card backs are not allowed in tournaments.

What is a Rogue deck?
This is a deck that is not publicly known (basically a deck that is not a major archetype). These are usually designed to do well against a specific metagame. They can be very successful because other players will not be prepared for them.

What are Tiers?
A tier is essentially a popularity ranking system of archetypes. Tiers start at one (the best decks) and usually go down to three. The higher the tier, the more the deck is played. The most popular (and thus highest tier) decks are usually the best decks, but not always.

Should I always play a Tier 1 deck?
Definitely not. The tiers are meant to be used as a system to help you determine what decks you will be facing at a tournament, not just as decks that everyone should always play. You should play decks that you have tested and are comfortable with. If you see that UW Tron is a tier 1 deck right before a tournament, but you are used to playing The Rock, switching to Tron is not a good idea. Even if you are playing a tier 3 deck against a tier 1 deck, it doesn’t mean you will automatically lose. Many players won’t have cards in their sideboard for tier 3 decks, but you will be prepared for their tier 1 deck. This gives you a huge advantage over them.

Archetypes and Primers

Affinity uses cheap, efficient creatures with Mirrodin block's Affinity ability to quickly power out beats and keep the pressure on. It uses Arcbound Ravager, Frogmite, and the like for quick beatdown, in addition to using Thoughtcast to gain card advantage. Some versions also use Red for Atog and Fatal Frenzy to end the game in a flash.
forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1112..." title=" forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1112...">Affinity Primer by blackcat77

Aggro Loam
Aggro-Loam is an aggressive GR/b deck that focuses on the synergy between many cards with Life from the Loam. These other cards include Raven's Crime, Seismic Assault, and the lands in general. The deck also runs a suite of powerful creatures that all have great synergy with the high-land count in the deck, as well as some great creatures in general. Countryside Crusher, Dark Confidant, Ravenous Baloth, and Tarmogoyf are all great aggressive creatures that the deck runs. Finally, the deck runs hate and disruption that can even some bad match ups up some. Thoughtseize, Raven's Crime, and Blood Moon all throw wrenches into other decks' strategies.
Aggro Loam Primer by Enigmata

All-in Red
All-in Red is an aggro deck that uses lots of mana acceleration to play powerful threats or disruption very early in the game. Rite of Flame, Seething Song, Simian Spirit Guide, and others allow you to play cards like Demigod of Revenge and Deus of Calamity very early in the game. This isn’t the only route to victory, though, as an early Blood Moon or Magus of the Moon can lock your opponent out of the game.
All-in Red Primer by Lynx_The_one

Angelfire is a UWR control deck that was originally played in Standard a few seasons ago. The deck uses counters, removal, and board sweepers to control the game before playing (or cycling) a powerful finisher like Eternal Dragon, Exalted Angel, or Decree of Justice. It also uses Gifts Ungiven package to find what it needs right away. It was developed on these forums and hasn't had any tournament placements yet, but it has a lot of potential.
Angelfire Primer by RathiAssassin

Bant Aggro-Control
Bant Aggro-Control, like the name implies, is a UGW Aggro-Control deck. It uses powerful creatures like Tarmogoyf and Rhox War-Monk to pressure its opponent while Mana Leak, Spell Snare, and others provide disruption. Creatures like Gaddock Teeg, Vendilion Clique, and Glen Elendra Archmage even do both. The Troll Ascetic-Worship lock is also commonly used, as many decks simply can't answer it, especially before sideboarding.
Bant Aggro-Control Primer by evilone194

Burn is an aggro deck that tries to bring down it's opponent's life total to 0 as fast as possible. To achieve this, efficient burn spells make up most of the main deck. Keldon Marauders, Mogg Fanatic, and Spark Elemental are usually the only creatures that the deck runs. It also uses Great Furnace, Darksteel Citadel, and Blinkmoth Nexus. These allow it to run the incredibly efficient Shrapnel Blast
Primer by mishima_kazuya

Chia Pets
Aggro Control
Chia Pets is a new Loam Rock deck that uses powerful beaters such as Tarmogoyf, Knight of the Reliquary, and Nyxathid along with good hand disruption such as Thoughtseize, Raven's Crime, and Tidehollow Sculler. This deck has gained a ridiculously large following overnight, so expect it to become a top deck.
Chia Pets Primer by RathiAssassin

Deathcloud is a deck similar to The Rock, in that it combines disruption, mana acceleration, and big threats to create a powerful deck. The printing of Lorwyn’s Planeswalkers, particularly Garruk Wildspeaker, allowed Rock decks with Death Cloud to become very popular and powerful decks. Death Cloud has no effect on the Planeswalkers, so you have a very powerful card on your side of the board while your opponent has nothing. After that, winning is rather easy. Tarmogoyf and Ravenous Baloth also give the deck powerful anti-aggro tools and an alternate win-condition.
forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1007..." title=" forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1007...">Deathcloud Primer by blackcat77

Domain Zoo
Domain Zoo is an aggro deck that uses the combination of fetchlands and shocklands to make a manabase that supports all five colors. Not only does this allow it to play the best aggressive cards from each color, but it makes Tribal Flames a very deadly card. Domain Zoo is an incredibly fast aggro deck that will end the game on turn 4 a good percentage of the time. It uses efficient creatures like Wild Nacatl and Tarmogoyf as well as powerful burn like Lightning Helix and Tribal Flames. Disruptive and utility creatures such as Gaddock Teeg and Tidehollow Sculler are also commonly played.
forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1110..." title=" forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1110...">Domain Zoo Primer by mntwinsfan

Doran Rock
When Doran, the Siege Tower got printed, many minds alike new that it was going to be a force in Extended, and it was during the following qualifier season. Though it lost a fair amount from the rotation, the core of the deck remains intact. There are many roads to victory with Junk, but most of them involve big, efficient dudes - fast. You can come out with Birds of Paradise into Doran, Thoughtseize followed by a ridiculous Tarmogoyf, or just curve right up to Big Dumb Elephants. Along the way, you can point removal at pesky blockers, and maybe give someone a pointy stick.
forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1113..." title=" forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1113...">Doran Rock Primer by gamegeek2

Dredge is, fittingly, a combo deck based around Ravnica's Dredge mechanic. It uses cards like Ideas Unbound, Goblin Lore, and Magus of the Bazaar to dump cards with dredge into the graveyard and then dredge them out again, resulting in most of its library going into the graveyard. In the process, multiple Narcomoebas will come into play and provide fuel to flashback Dread Return. When your sacrificed creatures hit the graveyard, many tokens are created by several Bridge from Belows that will be in the grave by that point. Dread Return gets Flame-Kin Zealot, and your Zombie tokens swing for the win.
Dredge Primer by RathiAssassin

Elves! is a combo deck that uses Glimpse of Nature to draw through its deck while producing large amounts of mana through Heritage Druid or Birchlore Rangers. Nettle Sentinel is particularly powerful with Heritage Druid and Birchlore Rangers, due to its untapping ability. Summoner’s Pact and Chord of Calling get the pieces you need to start the combo and let you continue it if you draw them while going off. Once you have built up an army of elves, you can win with a variety of cards, the most popular being Predator Dragon.
Elves! Primer by Lynx_The_one

Faeries began as a humble tribal deck in post-Lorwyn Standard before becoming a dominant force in Block and Standard with the inclusion of Bitterblossom from Morningtide. The Extended version of the deck is a very different animal, but the deck still relies on a number of powerful Faerie synergies, while playing a popular suite of the most powerful blue spells in the format. Spell Snare, Mana Leak, Spellstutter Sprite, and others control your opponent while you drop threats like Vendillion Clique and possibly Bitterblossom and Mistbind Clique.
Faeries Primer by Narcissist

As the name implies, Goblins uses various powerful Goblins and synergistic effects to create a very explosive aggro deck. Goblin Warchief and possibly Skirk Prospector and Chrome Mox let you pump out lots of Goblins very quickly. This allows you to use Goblin Piledriver to swing for massive amounts of damage each turn and force your opponent to find an answer quickly. Mogg Fanatic, Mogg War Marshal, and Gempalm Incinerator slow down aggro decks or just give you more beaters. Some decks even run Patriarch's Bidding, leading to a powerful "combo" kill.

Mono White Control
Mono White Control, or MWC, is a board control deck that uses lots of removal and lifegain effects to crush opposing aggro decks. Condemn, Runed Halo, Wrath of God, and Oblivion Ring all combine to form a powerful anti-aggro suite. In addition, the ProclaMartyr provides a massive life condition against aggro and control alike. Powerful, hard to deal with finishers like Eternal Dragon and Decree of Justice win the game.
MWC Primer by Bastow

Next Level Blue
Next Level Blue is a Blue control deck that splashes Green for Tarmogoyf. It uses cards like Spell Snare, Stifle, and Remand to gain lots of tempo early, then drops a Goyf and beats for the win. Vedalken Shackles and sometimes Threads of Disloyalty are used to steal the opponents’ best creatures. Ancestral Visions provides excellent card advantage.
Next Level Blue Primer by thehouse

RGW Zoo, as the name implies, is an aggro deck using Red, Green, and White. It uses efficient creatures and burn to win the game very quickly. This speed makes it arguably the best aggro deck in Extended and gives it a great matchup against control and other aggro decks. Recently, it has become more popular than Domain Zoo due to its improved matchups against Faeries, Burn, and Deathcloud.
RGW Zoo Primer by mntwinsfan

As the name implies, Slide is a control deck based around Astral Slide and sometimes Lightning Rift. The key engine of the deck is Life From the Loam + cycling lands. This creates lots of card advantage and provides essentially endless fuel for Astral Slide. In addition to this, it runs a variety of other cycling cards like Eternal Dragon and Renewed Faith along with powerful removal like Lightning Helix and Engineered Explosives.
Slide Primer by Lylac

Swans is a combo deck that uses the Swans of Brynn Argol and Chain of Plasma combo to draw its whole deck, then win with a massive Conflagrate or Spiraling Embers. Most lists try to use a control shell with stuff like Spell Snare, Firespout, and Mana Leak, slowing down the opponent and then winning with the combo.

TEPS, or The Extended Perfect Storm, refers to a small group of decks that seek to win the game through a big Mind’s Desire. It uses card drawing and mana acceleration to fuel Desire. Casting a Mind’s Desire with a storm count of 5 or more is almost always enough to win the game. Win conditions vary, but Tendrils of Agony and Grapeshot] + [c]Pyromancer’s Swath are the most common.
forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1110..." title=" forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1110...">TEPS Primer by mishima_kazuya

Tezzerator is a very versatile control deck that works especially well as a Prison-style deck, locking its opponent out of the game by preventing spells, attacks, and speed. Its namesake, Tezzeret The Seeker, is able to tutor for any card this deck needs, quickly locking the opponent out of his most powerful components.
forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1110..." title=" forums.gleemax.com/showthread.php?t=1110...">Tezzerator Primer by Enigmata

Ux Tron
Ux Tron is a control deck that uses the Urzatron to get massive amounts of mana and play a powerful, game-ending spell. Because of all of the colorless mana sources, it runs Chrome Mox and Signets to access colored mana. Condescend, Chalice of the Void, Smother, Wrath of God and others keep the game under control while you set up the Tron. Gifts Ungiven allows a powerful toolbox of win conditions and other strong cards. Sundering Titan, Triskelion, and Mindslaver are the most common win conditions, along with a few color-specific finishers.
Tron Primer by Narcissist

Thanks to mtg_jumper@666 for his work on the previous FAQ, which I based most of my work on. This is basically an update of that thread.
Thanks to all of the archetype thread creators whose deck description I stole.

Let me know about any mistakes or things I should add.
I hereby request that somebody sticky this beautiful summary thread.
I hereby request that somebody sticky this beautiful summary thread.

I asked that same thing in the Deck Critique Forums Request Thread in TCG Boards Business, but nothing has been done yet, unfortunately. It will happen eventually, though.
Don't know if this is the right place to ask this, but where are the extended PTQ dates and locations posted? The new website has me flummoxed!

Don't know if this is the right place to ask this, but where are the extended PTQ dates and locations posted? The new website has me flummoxed!

I'm not sure where the specific event schedule is located, but Extended season is from January 3 to April 19, 2009.
Updated with a few new archetypes and primers. If anyone would be willing to write a primer for a deck that doesn't have one, we would greatly appreciate it.
I vote to replace Doran Junk with our new rock deck (WDW) and also add angelfire to the list.
I vote to replace Doran Junk with our new rock deck (WDW) and also add angelfire to the list.

Just a quick question: is there any reason the DtB Index thread couldn't be merged into this one? That way there's only one sticky to maintain, rather than two separate ones with similar information and purposes.

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed

Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

Just a quick question: is there any reason the DtB Index thread couldn't be merged into this one? That way there's only one sticky to maintain, rather than two separate ones with similar information and purposes.

As far as I know, they don't have to be separate. I could put the Decks to Beat in the second post if you wanted me to.
I'll try to update this thread next weekend.
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