Mono-Blue is popular, and Tezzeret is hopping on the bandwagon.
I have really been digging deep to find new decks for those of you who visit us on LandSayGo, on Twitter, and Facebook. We recently rolled out our video deck tech series, and that will continue, but I am a man with classical tastes, and as such today I will bring you another long-winded article covering another brew I have been working on lately.
King Tezz is a deck that so fun to play that I may very well take it to an RPTQ in the coming weeks, and lose. I am extremely pleased with the numbers it is putting up, and have no doubt that it can contend with Tier 2 decks regularly and even Tier 1 decks when we get set up in a timely fashion. We have included several sleeper cards in Standard that execute an artifact game plan and we bolster our lines effectively with powerful Planeswalker support.
As our streaming becomes a reality in the next couple of months and our video deck techs slowly overtake this style of communication with our audience I will miss being able to walk you through the intricacies of decks like these (with written word) - decks that I sit down and dig deep into the available card pool and brew for fun. Let's get started, shall we?
The man, the myth, the Planeswalker. Having given himself over to the machine we now harness his raw power to craft a list of 60 cards capable of some outstanding and unpredictable interactions with our opponent's board. Tezzeret will rotate out of Standard one day and I think he will retain his value; he can defend himself, draw cards, and his ultimate is disgusting. We are running 4 copies of Tezz; arguments can be made against this choice, but I prefer to have a backup copy and not need it, than be left wanting. We play and create enough artifacts with this list to generate substantial value from the zero (0) ability, and we progress nicely through token generation to the ultimate under normal circumstances. Drawing is actually secondary to token generation for us - we have other draw in the deck.
Since it was instituted in HOU, the Planeswalker rule now allows us to run multiple copies of the same Walker if they have different names. So, obviously, we include additional version of Tezzeret here, and it's not whimsical. Tezzeret, Cruel Machinist is an excellent inclusion for our deck. Drawing cards on the plus one is great, the defensive capabilities of converting our artifacts to 5/5's is necessary, and our ultimate can be a total finisher if well timed. I have struggled a little bit with the -7 ability after removing River's Rebuke from the mainboard and sideboard. It was an excellent finisher that case by bouncing our opponent's entire board and walking in with lethal damage. If you tune this deck to your liking I recommend not excluding this Tezz.
There is no better card in Standard to include in an "artifact deck" than Karn, Scion of Urza. By this point you are well aware of his abilities, so I will spare you the diatribe. I have become so used to throwing Karn into my brews, and testing with him, especially in decks where he doesn't really fit, that it feels really good to see his inclusion in a list that makes him feel like an absolute. His tempo generation is undeniable, he immediately becomes a target for removal and aggro, saving our life total. Having multiple copies sees to it that we are able to reliably access the exile cards with silver counters. The Construct tokens he produces are superb in this deck; between the treasures, thopters, and various other artifacts Karn is a solid win condition.
Additional Threats and Defenses
Skilled Animator is a bomb in this deck, we are generating a 5/5 body from one of our otherwise inanimate artifacts, getting a 2/2 creature, all for the low low cost of three mana. Say what!? Yeah...pretty great. I will cover some additional synergies that should be more present in the competitive meta. Some secret tech (or I like to think so) that could potentially be very powerful indeed. Either way, 4 copies of Skilled Animator to ensure we are defending ourselves and getting in damage when possible. The Animator can be fragile, but I have found it plays well and adds more layers - we don't rely on this creature some much that we are damned if we lose it or the 5/5 artifact it animates.
Any mono-blue deck in Standard right now should include Tempest Djinn, or at the very least consider it. It's just too good to be excluded when our deck is running so many Islands. Who doesn't love a 6/4 flyer for 3 mana? By this point you have likely built some version of mono-blue running Curious Obsession, which comes with a full set of Tempest Djinn, and no further elaboration on the card is needed. Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp is a great creature; the deck has to support the value, and our list does that nicely. We have a lot of artifacts that come into play and just sit there, why not tap one of them for a 5/6 flyer for 4 mana that avoids a cast down and requires two bolts to kill? I have beat many an opponent into submission with Zahid, and he eats Arclight Phoenixes for breakfast. NOM NOM NOM.
The Non-Token Artifacts
Fountain of Renewal has proven to be a surprisingly capable one drop; I had included in my list regarding the best one drops in Standard recently, and I still stand behind the idea of including 4 copies in any deck makes you more hardy and in some cases practically bulletproof. Historically any card printed with the word "fountain" in the title is generally good. It's an optimal turn one play for us, keeps us alive, and draws a card in a pinch. Treasure Map // Treasure Cove getting tired - it's been in everything ever built ever at this point, survived rotation because of the scry triggers, and converts into a land that allows us to sacrifice off Treasure tokens to draw extra cards. It's also an artifact which plays into the abundance of synergies we are recklessly jamming into this deck - I guess, why not? Right?
Remember that cool hidden tech I mentioned with Skilled Animator? Well, Vehicles are awesome when they are animated. This technique is nothing new, but it is fairly unique to be able to do so outside of Kaladesh. Weatherlight is a dollar bin rare right now, but it might very well turn into something special come War of the Spark. All Planeswalkers are now legendary permanents, and therefor historic, and therefor searchable with Weatherlight. Think about it...got it? Good. Go buy your play set for $4.00. I love animating the Weatherlight with a Skilled Animator, swinging in for 5 in the air and digging out another Planeswalker or Zahid. It's swell - real swell. Speaking of digging, I dug out some artifacts that add some layers of utility to our deck. Chaos Wand (which really gets some love on Friday here at LandSayGo) is a super crazy bonkers card that can be a total trash fire at times when facing down aggro strategies, but otherwise makes for some hilarious interactions. Cast your opponent's spells for free (4 mana)!
Transmogrifying Wand is neat. It does stuff. It costs $0.20. Strategically it is used to pull creatures out of the sky and remove any old pesky creature (without hexproof) from play - blue doesn't do too well with removal and this artifact helps us. Say...Niv-Mizzet does kind of look like a cow, doesn't he? Icy Manipulator is specifically included in our deck to muddle the mixture on the battlefield. We want to be tapping things for our two copies of Verity Circle mainboard, and defending ourselves from threats. We go all in on this process in the sideboard to handle pure aggro. For now, just know this: stay frosty.
To push our budget theme even further (unintentionally) I have tried to craft some interesting interactions for our deck using Verity Circle. We might be better off going with my original thought of including two copies of River's Rebuke instead of Verity Circle. Then again, we might not - I have mixed reviews for this card - I always try to overcome adversity and surprise my opponent. Icy Manipulator is an excellent pairing here; tapping down a creature for one mana and drawing a card is not bad. When we are set up with Planeswalkers and pressing for a token strategy it doesn't hurt to have a mana sink for defensive purposes. The sideboard is designed to make this card shine; we really go all-in on obliterating aggro decks, and can easily win games.
The Plan B
Our most problematic match up is aggro. As such, I have designed the sideboard to be a comprehensive swap into a control themed deck that clutters the board with tap triggers and tempo. 3 of our 6 individual sideboard cards are good includes for some defensive measures. You want to be able to say "No" in Magic from time to time to noncreature spells. I find that it's often the noncreature spells that get the better of you - creatures are not always unmanageable (and also can be). So, to say "No" we have included 3 copies of Negate in the sideboard. Deep Freeze is another great card - one blue's best answers to creatures that add complications to our game plan. Drakes, Phoenixes, Niv-Mizzet, etc.
Time of Ice is acceptable in terms of modifying our deck to avoid getting run over by aggro heavy decks. It plays perfectly into the Verity Circle sideboard flip we are performing here by giving us additional tap triggers during our draw step and draw card advantage. It's also a mini-River's Rebuke - I'm comfortable with that. Evacuation style effects are necessary sometimes for us to get ahead here. We also sideboard two additional copies of Verity Circle to really commit to the tap/draw mechanic.
Merfolk Trickster and Tempest Caller play an interesting role in our sideboard plan; they both are capable of tapping down creatures, and with an active Verity Circle in play we get to do some serious drawing depending on the match up. For me it is about committing to the line of play and trying to overcome adversity. Try this out - it feels better than you might think.
I hope you have a great day.
Take this deck for a spin. I think you'll really enjoy it in testing, and I'd love some feedback on it if you feel like taking time to drop me a line on the site, Twitter or Facebook.
Until next time, remember to play a Zhalfirin Void, scry one, drop a Fountain of Renewal and Say Go.