This deck is brought to you by LandSayGo community brewer, Elliot Dennis.
Well folks, you had to know that decks like these would be coming. You had to be aware that a card like Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge would illicit a response from the brewers of the Magic community. I had a chance to talk with Elliot recently at an event and he said,"Jeremy, I've got some spice for you." He was right. I've been play-testing this deck since I received it, and I fee like it is in a good place, and have some recommendations based upon board interactions, consistency in mana, and additional inclusions for consideration.
Let me be true to you, and fair in my first impressions; this deck makes for some really really long games. I'm fine with that. In being honest, I can also confidently tell you that aggro, especially the new RW, Gruul and Mono-White variants can steamroll us. Initial thoughts aside; this deck has been a total blast to pilot. Out of 10 matches I've won 8 - all in the competitive scene. Once Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge drops, the game should end if you have set up right. More often than not I am actually winning with Karn Construct tokens, but no matter. As you will see, if you assemble this list and play it, there are multiple avenues to victory...we are only missing one piece I really wanted to see in the list, but we will get to that in just a little bit.
Striking a Balance - Finding Synergy
I literally did a back spring round off into a cartwheel when I saw the spoiler for the new UB Tezzeret in #WAR. It's just SO powerful. Due to the static ability of the card (affinity), and in wanting to leverage it appropriately the author of this deck list has lined up a number of artifacts that not only push along synergistic elements of the deck, but also fit nicely into converted mana cost requirements by representing the best value of the artifacts available to us in Standard at the moment.
Fountain of Renewal, which I have covered exhaustively before this deck tech review, is a great one-drop Magic card. We get a point of life for each upkeep it is on the battlefield and can cash it in for a draw when we really need to. The low CMC helps us with a number of other triggers (Sai), adds more artifacts to the board state (Karn Tokens & Tezz's), and just generally never really feels bad when you draw it. Simply put, Fountain of Renewal is our best line of defense against early aggro decks.
Azor's Gateway and I have a love affair that goes back a ways. I am constantly astounded by this card's potential, but I've got a gripe with it in this deck - we only have a single copy. I get it, it's Legendary, it's flavor, it's not a critical piece of core combo architecture, but it's awesome. I tested with it by dropping both of the Guild Globes we run in this list and had great success with the Gateways - I won both of my best-of-three tests. We just draw so many cards, and that's what we want to be doing, flipping it is secondary. Guild Globe is an interesting choice - I like drawing cards - drawing cards is good - so why not? Never once, though, did I sacrifice it for the mana ability. Are there better options?
Sorcerous Spyglass is extremely powerful, but maybe weakened slightly by the passive abilities on new Planeswalkers. Sure, clipping activated loyalty abilities is great, and clipping activated abilities for permanents outside of Planeswalker card types is great too. What I think is most important about Sorcerous Spyglass is the information it provides us. Seeing your opponents hand is sometimes all you need. Treasure Map // Treasure Cove; make treasure tokens, get some Scry triggers, profit. Chromatic Lantern opens up our deck considerably. I have had some mana inconsistencies while playing this list, in fact, I tested several times with an additional land and 61 cards in the main to smooth it out, and I feel it went much better. Hint Hint.
The Removal Package
I don't know if the deck can logistically support more of a turn toward control pre-sideboard. We are actively trying to pursue other lines of play, and one-for-one interactions are not this deck's forte. I feel like Elliot has given us a suitable amount of options in terms of targeted removal. To be fair, we basically fold to enchantments, that is until we sideboard in hand destruction, and even then we need good draws and a proper sequence to survive Wilderness Reclamation. I digress - the removal package is as follows:
Cast Down for instant speed removal of any nonlegendary creature. Tyrant's Scorn for Boomerang and Fatal Push all rolled into on 2 cmc instant - good card - gets the job done. Vraska's Contempt because when you absolutely positively must kill every Planeswalker in the room - accept no substitutes. 6 total removal spells (2 copies of each card) feels really well balanced, a one in 10 chance to draw them from the onset and an increasing probability that we stumble upon one as we exercise some of our enhance draw potential through Planeswalker support. Good work here, Elliot.
Two Meaningful Additions
We love Sai, Master Thopterist here. He can produce some exceptionally explosive starts for us, provide defense, provide additional draw card tempo, and just generally make our deck better. Sai doesn't quite have that all-in feel when compared to the recently rotated Aetherflux Reservoir/Eggs deck, but he still feels right at home here. We may be a little light on the ETB triggers produced by artifacts to really derive substantial value from Sai, but he is not the center piece, even at three copies, he is not our primary win condition. His inclusion in this list does not lack synergy, just the opposite, but the tokens he produces are meant to compound the artifact game plan, and add a buffer for our Planeswalkers. He does that well at least.
Dominaria brought us a new spell classification in Historic. Artifacts, Legendaries and Sagas are historic, and Traxos, Scourge of Kroog is a mean machine being a 7/7 trampler for 4 colorless mana. There is the stipulation that Traxos enters the battlefield tapped, but simply casting a historic spell - so our artifacts and each Planeswalker in the deck - will untap Traxos and make him ready for num-nums. He does look hungry doesn't he? Hungry for souls. I like the idea of Traxos in any artifact deck, and I've come to accept the single copy of the card in the list. I'm always happy to draw him or see him in an opener that can produce him on curve. I also really like the idea of ratcheting up the use of Traxos by boarding an additional copy.
What do you think of this new Karn? I think very highly of this new Karn even though is static ability doesn't really mean diddly-squat in Standard. He's more of an answer to Engineered Explosives, Sensei's Diving Top, Grindstone, the list goes on. I do like his plus one ability, but none of our artifacts in this list are over 3 cmc. I guess I can see the value in being able to lock down artifacts, even the minus two loyalty ability has some uses. Could we legitimately bring an entire binder of Standard legal artifacts with us? In a casual game, a card you choose from outside the game comes from your personal collection. In a tournament event, a card you choose from outside the game must come from your sideboard. So, yes and no. Bummer, Elliot, no binders for us.
We catch Karn, Scion of Urza at a different point in the timeline, and bring him in for some serious firepower for our list. This version of Karn is a serious contender for the top 5 best Planeswalkers ever printed. He fits into nearly any deck as is, but in an artifact deck he becomes a lethal and hyper-capable force of tempo and aggro. The optimal Walker draws cards, can defend themselves, and in some cases produces game-winning emblems. Karn does no produce emblems, but his tokens can and do often end the game in this deck. The best part about both versions of Karn is the mana cost and the mana specificity required to cast them, they are four colorless and therefor as you will optimal draws in combination with some of the affinity/colorless cost reduction.
Ugin, the Ineffable is in a class all his own. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this rare version of Ugin will become highly collectible. Interesting isn't it that we are essentially generating the same value off of the top of the deck that we are with Karn, Scion of Urza, but in a different way? We exile a card from the top of our deck and get a 2/2 Spirit token with the condition that when that token dies we get to place the exiled card in our hand. Talk about a really clever way to discourage board wipes? Again folks, what wins games of Magic? Drawing more cards than your opponent and having uses for those cards! We can find uses for 2/2 tokens, and we can find uses for the tempo they create when they die. Ugin...I love you, man.
Think about not drawing this version of Tezzeret, Artifice Master, or any of our other Planeswalkers for that matter until after we have resolved Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge. Affinity for Artifacts for each of our Planeswalkers can make for a dominant board state. Look at that plus one loyalty ability - he can defend himself. Look at that zero loyalty ability - he draws cards. Look at the minus nine loyalty ability - he puts a game ending emblem on the battlefield. This Tezzeret is way under-hyped and way under-utilized. I feel like our author really has balanced the Planeswalkers in this deck well. The synergies are astounding when all taken into account collectively. In testing I have seen great success with this deck and expect that would continue.
Lands, Lands, Lands
Artifact decks have always been able to create additional value by running utility lands, and #WAR brings us a couple of new lands that were looking for a home, and I think our author has found a low-rent place for them to dwell for a while. Mobilized District has proven to be an all-star in this list. I have been visibly shocked - like jaw on the table shocked - by the number of times this land has helped me with a crucial block or has helped me crush a Planeswalker. I am a huge fan and see this card gaining serious traction in the coming months.
Blast Zone, if used well, is a critical fallback plan for us. One recommendation would be to tick this land up to two counters when you can equitably do so. You don't want to be so far away from 3 or 4 CMC that you can't get there in a timely fashion. Field of Ruin is tried and true - no Azcanta for you. Also, Field of Ruin can destroy your opponents Blast Zone or Mobilized District very easily - Field of Ruin could have been a rare.
Sideboarding for Success
Let's speed through the sideboard options out of respect for your time. Shall we?
One additional Sorcerous Spyglass to clamp down an permanent with activated abilities or any card with a colon positioned ahead of the ability. Another copy of Traxos to give us a better chance of curving to him on turn four and beginning aggro pressure in a meaningful way. A single copy of a new artifact from #WAR in God-Pharaoh's Statue; this artifact acts a giant clog in the tubes of your opponent's board state. Crucible of Worlds is superb in giving us the opportunity to recur our man lands, bring back our Blast Zone, and even continuously destroy nonbasic lands with our Field of Ruin - a cool include in the sideboard for some additional value and shenanigans.
Two copies of Moment of Craving for some early aggro control and life gain for your troubles. Use Moment of Craving on Judith, the Scourge Diva and Hero of Precinct One liberally. Cry of the Carnarium gets mean fast against token and aggro strategies. Ritual of Soot for a big sweep when we need it. I love that we can essentially flip this deck to heavy UB Walker Control when we need to, and believe me, to remain competitive in this meta you will need to.
3 Thought Erasure seems right; this is one of the best control cards in Standard at the moment - we are disrupting the hand and providing ourselves critical information about our opponents deck and game plan. 2 copies of Negate; remember, Just Say No. One copy of Disdainful Stroke for a "Gotcha!"
This deck is unique, spicy and dynamic. I am very impressed by this deck based upon the testing I've done despite the long games.
I highly recommend you build this list or leverage its philosophies into your own ideas and preferences.
Just one question before I go? Where is this card?
Find it and jam it in the list. Trust me. Even if it's in the sideboard.
Thanks for your contribution to the site, Elliot. We can't wait to see your next one.