Construct Tribal Is Real

Humans. Slivers. Constructs? It was bound to happen. The machines have assembled into a Standard deck, and GerryT has constructed the road to wins in Constructed Magic!

I’m pleased to present you some incredible spice that will published in
tomorrow’s batch of Standard Magic Online decklists.

Not to steal Patrick Chapin’s schtick, but I’m from the future!

(In case it wasn’t obvious, I was the one playing the deck, which is how I
know this pile of 75 cards went 5-0. Unfortunately, I’m from the lowly

Similarly to my Mox Amber article from
last week
, this week I took a deep dive on Construct tribal. Why, you may ask?

Standard at the moment is a bunch of control decks and a bunch of decks
that struggle mightily against large Walking Ballistas. Cards like
Verdurous Gearhulk and Winding Constrictor make Walking Ballista even more
egregious, but staying in theme gives you some additional help in Metallic
Mimic and Foundry Inspector. Going long, Scrap Trawler threatens to bring
them all back again.

Now, this deck might be a worse version of G/B Constrictor in some aspects,
but going harder on Construct tribal gives you some extra benefits.

G/B Constrictor is a deck with some synergy, but it mostly gets by on its
raw power level. Relying on synergy is a potential weakness if a format has
enough removal to break up the synergies because each individual card isn’t
very powerful on their own, but that isn’t where we are at the moment.

Right now, there are U/W Control decks with lots of removal, but it’s all
stuff you can play around. Don’t want to expose your Metallic Mimic or
Winding Constrictor to Settle the Wreckage or Seal Away? Don’t attack.
Similarly, when you’re in a late game situation, you can sit there pumping
your Walking Ballista and force them to do something about it.

Fumigate and Cast Out are typically their only removal spells that don’t
have restrictions. Teferi, Hero of Dominaria counts, but even the Hero of
Dominaria can die to a lowly Walking Ballista ping. For the most part,
their removal is taxed and Settle the Wreckage will eventually put them in
a position where each Walking Ballista threatens to end the game shortly.

Some cool things about the deck include:

Chief of the Foundry didn’t make the cut because it only really belongs in
a version that’s trying to go as wide as possible, contains many one-drops,
and doesn’t have a larger plan other than a couple of cards that win the
game if they on the battlefield for a couple turns. I could see playing the
fourth copy of Winding Constrictor, but it’s a light splash that I don’t
want to push too hard, plus it’s not necessarily a card I want to see
multiples of.

How did I start working on Constructs anyway? It all started with two
innocuous looking decklists.

The first is a relatively harmless looking Affinity-wannabe that can
occasionally spew its hand onto the battlefield with Foundry Inspector. I
found the deck to be too clunky, and while it could have insane draws, it
wasn’t getting enough from colored mana that it could be.

Meanwhile, the second deck is basically the opposite. Instead of a
hard-hitting, beatdown machine, it’s a slower, more ponderous version that
wins by accumulating value with Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle (and possible
assembling its insane combo).

Neither of these spoke to me in a way that got me excited to try them. The
original inspiration for my G/B deck was from (I believe?) Villainy101 on
Magic Online. I ran into them when they were playing Mono-Green Constructs,
splashing just Scrapheap Scrounger. Llanowar Elves, Adventurous Impulse,
and Verdurous Gearhulk all made sense in the Construct shell, so I set out
to build my own version.

Once I started exploring the green version, I started asking myself what
else was possible? I double and triple checked, and I’m still certain I
missed things that could be good. Much like with Mox Amber, I could break
down the various Construct-centric decks I’ve built into packages. Each
deck was basically built by mixing and matching them.

There’s even a lot of variability in Construct tribal. You can swarm the
battlefield with Chief of the Foundry and smaller Constructs, but you also
make giant Constructs with Verdurous Gearhulk or grind with Scrap Trawler.
Crazy combos with Teshar exist.

Naturally, in addition to a winning decklist, I have more than a few brews
to go along with it.

UNIQ’s deck is excellent, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it got better with
the addition of Llanowar Elves, especially considering how dense the
four-drop slot is. Adventurous Impulse, as always, is incredible at fixing
your mana, helping you function with a low land count, and finding your
combo pieces.

Granted, this deck morphed away from the Teshar stuff, mostly because it
somewhat struck me as nonsense. Teshar into Scrap Trawler and Glint-Nest
Crane means it’s nearly impossible to grind you out, but what if we removed
that element entirely?

This version is pretty exciting, namely because of Glint-Nest Crane over
Scrapheap Scrounger and some cool sideboard cards like Baral’s Expertise.
Having Metallic Rebuke as your answer to Mono-Red isn’t where you want to
be though, so it’s not like it’s perfect.

Oddly enough, once you add a third color and have access to Spire of
Industry, the fourth color comes rather easily. While early Fatal Pushes
and Duresses are somewhat of a pipe dream, I don’t mind either as a Turn 3
play alongside another spell.

Realistically, the Teshar splash is probably unnecessary, but again, I’m
not exactly going for functionality here. It’s far more helpful to first
see what’s possible. While there’s more room to explore, G/B seems like a
strong combination, so unsurprisingly, I’ve been working on that version
the most.

Updated List and Sideboarding Guide

Other cards I would consider for inclusion:

VS Mono-Red Aggro



The Mono-Red matchup can be problematic. I’m 3-2 against it so far, with
most of those wins being blowouts (and also most of them coming after I
added Scrap Trawler).

One of the main issues in the matchup is that it’s difficult to gain
traction and you have very little in the way of removal to stop the early
bleeding. They’re very good at presenting a couple threats, burning your
first couple of blockers, and finishing you off with a powerful four-drop.
There are also the games where Goblin Chainwhirler gets to eat a free
Llanowar Elves or Metallic Mimic, which is nearly impossible to come back

There are a few different ways you can approach it. You could try to keep
traction with Blossoming Defense, but I haven’t found that effective
enough. Sticking one threat doesn’t necessarily create the snowball effect
you need. Instead, stopping their traction is probably easier than trying
to create your own, so Yahenni’s Expertise could be nice. They will
basically never play around it, nor can they really afford to.

If you find that you’re losing to their four-drops often, you can play Hour
of Glory. Vraska’s Contempt would suffice, which you could also bring in
against U/W Control. That would give you access to some answers for Lyra
Dawnbringer and Torrential Gearhulk, which means you could turn the
Crushing Canopys into Naturalizes. That would help in a few other matchups.

I tend to like Naturalize better than Broken Bond or Thrashing Brontodon
because it’s instant speed and cheaper. The big body on Brontodon might
seem nice, but it doesn’t matter much in the face of Soul-Scar Mage anyway.
This deck also has plenty of three-drops, making the curve awkward after

Using something like Divest or Harsh Scrutiny could also take out a key
threat, which is basically the same plan as Yahenni’s Expertise. You slow
down their development, try to not get rocked by Goblin Chainwhirler, and
eventually you’ll stick a threat that will beat them.

Cartouche of Ambition isn’t particularly good because you don’t have
Blossoming Defense or Bristling Hydra to put it on. The games aren’t
necessarily about racing either. Gaining life will buy you a turn or two,
but you ultimately won’t be able to win the game with just a Cartouche.
Fungal Infection is cute, but it’s only good against some of their hands
and doesn’t help the Hazoret or Chainwhirler problem.

One thing that I want to try is Herald of Anguish. It seems like almost the
perfect card because it’s the right size for most of their removal
(although Lyra is making them play Fight with Fire, which is a problem) and
it gives you a sacrifice outlet for Scrap Trawler. The ability can also
deal with Rekindling Phoenix and Hazoret the Fervent quite well.

VS U/W Control



The general game plan is to take out some of the synergy cards for
individually powerful cards since they’ll be able to kick apart your
synergy with relative ease.

Unfortunately, the sideboard contains a plethora of non-creatures, so some
amount of Adventurous Impulses have to come out. Because of that, I’d
really like to have an additional black source in the sideboard to help
with that transition.

VS W/B Aggro



I would expect this matchup to be relatively easy, since again, they are
one of those decks that don’t contain much removal. Don’t get beat up by
Heart of Kiran or let them stick a Karn and you should be fine.

VS G/B Constrictor



Depending on how controlling they are, you may also want to consider
bringing in some number of Lifecrafter’s Bestiaries. If they are
particularly aggressive with many two-drops, consider Yahenni’s Expertise.


At the end of all of this, it wouldn’t surprise me if a version with
Rishkar, Peema Renegade and Shalai, Voice of Plenty is the best approach,
but I haven’t quite figured it out yet. It may or may not involve a splash
for Glint-Nest Crane because G/W is lacking in great two-drop options,
assuming Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy isn’t going to be cutting it. G/W could
also use Negates to great effect against control decks.

I’ll be in Birmingham this weekend, likely casting Foundry Inspectors, and
I couldn’t be more excited.