The 1996 World Championship deck is famous for two reasons: first because the deck was used to win a World Championship, second because its champion was playing with a handicap. Because Tom Chanpheng forgot to register the 4 Adarkar Wastes in his deck list, he was forced by judges to play with regular Plains instead, thus rendering his Sleight of Mind useless.

Tom Chanpheng - 1996 World Championship

"Blank card handicap"

Chanpheng's victory caused some players to start using the "blank card handicap".

The use of blank cards in deck construction is not widespread because of the skills it takes to design a deck with dead cards, but some people prefer to design decks with about 6-12 dead cards and test them against various top decks. When satisfactory results have been achieved, the player using the handicap knows that they can beat specific decks despite the handicap. The dead cards may then be replaced by useful cards that can deal with less popular decks.


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