By Ken Lucas
Hey again and welcome back to Wednesday Warfare! I hope that your week is going well so far and that it only gets better from this point forward.
So there I was, sitting back thinking of the good old days of Heavy Metal with bands like Judas Priest, Ozzy Ozborne, Kiss, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, etc. Man I just love throwing one of those albums onto my record player and zoning out while I listen to some classic Heavy Metal from my younger days. I know, you guys all have CD’s and digital downloads, but vinyl holds me with a certain passion and I love it. It reminds me of my youth, of those carefree days when I first left home to go into the world and explore for myself, and it gets my blood flowing to help me think about weird and fun stuff like Magic the Gathering.
Over the past few articles I wrote about two color decks and really focused on a few of the guilds. I also tried to show how mana ratios that are needed to help make a lot of decks stable. This week I will continue talking about ratios but take it in a slightly different direction into the realm of artifacts. I will also bring things such as metalcraft into the scene as I love the kinds of decks that really need those synergistic ratios in them or they fall apart fast.
The Metal - More Importantly, Metalcraft
In order for us to consistently have three artifacts on the battlefield to trigger metalcraft we must realize that we will want a minimum of seventeen artifacts in our deck. That will give us about a 28% ratio of artifacts in the deck and if you do the math (which others have conveniently done before me) that means that within your first ten cards you should have three or more artifacts in hand consistently. This is critical, so throughout the article understand that we will be striving to get to at least seventeen artifacts into the deck if you care about achieving metalcraft.
Let’s take a look at Vedalken Certarch. Now this is the metalcraft creature that drew me into this entire train of thought as a good buddy of mine made a deck when Scars of Mirrodin first came out that really made this creature shine and controlled a lot of the play. Certarch also happens to work well with my thought of blending artifacts with another color to make a two color style deck. As a drop this creature is super easy to cast, and as blue happens to have plenty of other great control cards, I think this is a great place for me to start my deck. Of course I will have to see what else is out there in regards to Metalcraft; but the Certarch will be a shoe-in for me. Other metalcraft creatures I found are Argent Sphinx, Lumengrid Drake, Screeching Silcaw, and Spire Serpent in blue. There are many more great cards if I went into the other colours, and I do suggest that you research some of these out as they really might interest you; but right now I am focused on that Vedalken Certarch.
Tumble Magnet came to mind immediately as it has the same type of “tap”effect as my buddy above. It is an artifact, it casts for a reasonable cost, and if I had a way to recharge it or to flicker it into/out of existence I could use it indefinitely. I am thinking that the potential of this card is enough to warrant it as a three or four-of for my deck.
Contagion Clasp came to mind next as it can shrink down an opponent’s creature when I cast it, it is cheap to play, and it can actually help me to recharge Tumble Magnets with its secondary ability of proliferate. Proliferation takes some time to really get working well though, so this may or may not be an avenue I take. I expect this card to be a one or two-of in the deck but I don’t see it as a main focal point just yet. Now its big brother Contagion Engine is also something for me to consider, but it is also very mana intensive. If I take that route I will have to find some mana ramp or mana acceleration to make it efficient and effective enough to actually work consistently within the deck.
Elixir of Immortality can help me to regain some life and reuse my graveyard and as an artifact it helps me with metalcraft as well, so it too will have to be a consideration for the deck. I do know that in multiplayer games this card can be massively important to getting you past things such as Mill decks.
Mox Opal also came to mind here, but without some other super low cost artifacts I see it as being a little too conditional for what I have in mind. For some reason I think that Mox Opal is better suited to almost pure artifact decks. Etched Champion is another great card that also pops to mind, but again, I feel that this creature is more suited to more pure artifact decks and I am not going for that as I want the control that my buddy Vedalken Certarch grants me. I think that although these and other great cards came to mind I will forgo them for now and stick to some more basic items.
I really like equipment, it feels like an enchantment gift that just keeps on giving as you use your mana to equip it to one creature after another. Let’s assume that I will include at least one of each of those insanely good swords like Sword of Body and Mind, Sword of Feast and Famine, and Sword of War and Peace. Hell, Umezawa’s Jitte looks like a shoe-in for a slot here as well. This is where you guys also get to do some of your own card research and use what you have. If I were on a budget I think that I would swap those high-priced swords out for things such as Accorder's Shield, Argentum Armor, Flayer Husk, Grafted Exoskeleton, Livewire Lash, Mask of Avacyn, Nim Deathmantle, Sylvok Lifestaff, Silverskin Armor, and Swiftfoot Boots. Actually now that I mention those, I am really considering the Silverskin Armor for its ability to get me another artifact, and things such as Swiftfoot Boots as the hexproof part could be critical to my overall plan.
As for artifact creatures, I am instantly drawn to Wurmcoil Engine and Steel Hellkite, but they cost so much to cast. I love them and either one can be a win condition on its own so maybe I need to get that mana ramp or mana acceleration that I spoke of earlier. Other decent artifact creatures that I am certainly considering are Chrome Steed, Etched Champion (again), Porcelain Legionnaire, Spellskite, and Vault Skirge, as any and all of those creatures most certainly do have a lot to offer most decks that have some artifact focus to them.
Wurmcoil Engine is a straight-up bomb that can win you games outright. A 6/6 body with deathtouch and lifelink is one thing, but Wurmcoil Engine’s ability to virtually replace itself upon its death can be just as tough or tougher to deal with. This is the sort of creature that lets you survive a board sweeper play by an opponent and come out on top. I would love to have this creature included in the deck so mana ramp may become a priority.
Steel Hellkite is a crazy good flyer that not only comes with a 5/5 body but it can be pumped up as it strikes, and if it hits an opponent it can destroy parts of your opponents board. Another great reason to find a way to get that mana ramp. This settles it, I will look for ways to ramp into these guys and open up that potential of the Contagion Engine I mentioned earlier as well.
The Blues (hopefully it will be our opponent who is singing them, not us!)
As mentioned earlier, Argent Sphinx, Lumengrid Drake, Screeching Silcaw, Spire Serpent, and Vedalken Certarch are the metalcraft dudes that I have to work with and I have decided that four copies of Vedalken Certarch will appear in the deck, but I am really on the fence with the other guys as I am thinking that the deck needs more synergy than just metalcraft to actually make it function with the control that I so love to employ. I am once again drawn towards the route of mana ramp and how to achieve it well and within as the Certarch will be used.
Grand Architect can get me that mana ramp that I want, and as a he is not out of the realm of achievable to cast. If I had four copies of the Architect and some drops in the deck, then he could actually have me casting or using up to mana for artifacts and artifact abilities very quickly. Add a few more blue guys and things should get rolling fast.
Thrummingbird is a drop creature that struck me as useful in the deck as it can help me ramp up with the Certarch and Architect, but it’s proliferate ability can also be very useful with things like Tumble Magnet and/or Contagion Clasp. As a flyer, his evasion in the air also has a good chance to actually get through to the opponent so I think he will be another four-of in the deck.
I need more blue dudes to ensure that I can land them consistently enough to get that mana ramp working (remember the rule of at least seventeen in a deck) so with that I thought of more blue guys that had some way to synergize with the rest of my deck. Vedalken Anatomist is a very underrated creature but it has a unique ability to assign -1/-1 counters to creatures, this coupled with Proliferation might be a great way to get Spot Removal as needed. [
Treasure Mage (note that the Trinket Mage can work here too – only differently) can be a great search engine and a few of these could allow me to run fewer heavy cards in the deck as I can simply dig out the one I need when I need it using the Treasure Mage. This is a great way to save money and up my consistency while adding to my creature count. Now I can run minimal high cast artifacts and simply go dig out the one I need most, when I need it.
The Support (Hey, you knew we were far from done)
For control I always look to stuff like Mana Leak as it is a great early counterspell, and with the amount of artifacts that the deck is planning on running I also feel that Stoic Rebutal also deserves consideration; although a few test runs will have to be run to see if Stoic Rebutal makes the final cut.
Ponder is a great card for deck manipulation, and I always consider it for use in almost any deck that is not pure blue. It is a great fixer card and I will probably be running a few copies at least.
Vapor Snag is another great control card that should be considered when running blue as it is flexible to say the least. Of course, everyone knows that you can use it to remove a pesky blocker/attacker from your opponent for a turn or two while also giving them a little pain; but it can also be used as a form of protection on your own guys, and if you’re running specific key cards in a deck this can become even more important to setting up and protecting your win condition.
I can’t remember the last time I built a deck with the mana base as the last part considered, but in this case I knew that I was basically sticking to Islands wherever I could. I did want to leave some room open in my thought process in case I needed more ways to get artifacts into the mix though. Since I am a little short on artifacts in the deck to achieve metalcraft consistently, I will shove in some artifact mana. I could easily throw some Mox Opals, but there are also other options that are just as good, and not everyone has four Mox Opals lying around. Thus I looked at the Inkmoth Nexus as it can become an artifact creature to help me with the metalcraft side of things; but it can also help me score some poison (infect for you younglings) which might also be proliferated into death of my opponent; if nothing else, it can get me a flying blocker to throw under the bus while I am stabilizing.
With that done, I went to the drawing board and built my deck. I then checked it out with the “Draw Hand” feature on here, and on Magic Work Station a few times to see how it was rolling. These tests let me see firsthand that cards like Buried Ruins were not as good for me as an Elixer of Immortality, and that creatures like Memnite might one day also make their way into the deck even though I think they are more suited to decks that are trying to beat an opponent down and not decks that are going for control. It also showed me that cards such as Inexorable Tide, Steady Progress, and Everflowing Chalice are great when you are interested in proliferating, but not so great when you are also trying to do other things and thus just didn’t suit my deck quite right. Creatures such as Phyrexian Metamorph might also one day find their way into the deck as sideboard cards or even main deck if the situations of your metagame call for it.
I thus present you with the current version of my Heavy Metal deck. I call it “Grand Lockdown.” It might have started as a cool metalcraft deck, but it actually has evolved as I was going through things to turn into a deck with metalcraft, proliferate, mana ramp and control. Hopefully all this also equals WINNING with my Heavy Metal dudes pounding face.
Moc065 -- Grand Lockdown
- Forum Tag:
- Control (Permission)
- Type 2
- 3.0 (3 votes)