So everyone is trying desperately to break Krark-Clan Ironworks, but nothing truly amazing has come about yet. Zvi’s version, although swift and consistent, is easily disrupted by a number of tournament staple maindeck and sideboard cards. Attempts to solidify the archetype by including alternate win conditions like Goblin Charbelcher or Goblin Cannon have improved things, but the deck is still quite vulnerable. It’s my sense that the best applications of Ironworks won’t be found for a while, still. I too, like the rest of the world, am working on a broken KCI backbone deck, but I’m also messing with a funky five-color control piece (which I’ll probably write about next week) and the sickness which I am about to unveil: Egg Beaters.
The deck’s name is derived from a South Beach Diet staple egg substitute product that I have come to know and enjoy. Yet, the Magic application is much snappier – crack the eggs and out come the beaters!
I originally designed Egg Beaters as an exercise in fun, but it has turned out to be more consistent and competitive that I imagined. I guess any deck which can routinely put out Darksteel Colossus between turns 3 and 5 just kind of ends up trumping unprepared strategies. A lot of the deck’s success is obviously going to be mitigated by the amount of bounce in the format, but as we all know there’s virtually none at present. Echoing Truth is probably going to start seeing some love as a sideboard answer to Myr Incubator tokens (which would obviously cause splash damage on any deck that puts out one absurdly large creature), but until that day comes…
4 Pentad Prism
3 Darksteel Ingot
Pentad Prism is one of my favorite new Fifth Dawn cards and is a great staple common. It shines here in its ability to power out a quick Summoner’s Egg on the third turn or to make the Red mana needed for an Ironworks aided Obliterate way earlier than should be legal. Darksteel Ingot is further indestructible acceleration that hangs around like an unpaid bill.
4 Arcbound Ravager
I couldn’t think of a two-drop with a better ability for this deck than noted Standard menace, Arcbound Ravager. I used to have Slobad in the main, but I decided he’d be better off chilling in a bubbling vat of tar on the sidelines. Ravager’s abilities are well known, but instead of moving his counters on to a Blinkmoth Nexus or Ornithopter, you get to move them on to Darksteel Colossus. Instead of comboing with Disciple and swinging for big lumps himself, Arcbound Ravager gets to play the role of valet to an 11/11 monstrosity while parking his eggs in the closest graveyard.
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks
Ironworks is another sacrifice outlet for Summoner’s Egg and enables the deck to do what needs doing in the early game, as well as providing the colorless mana required for game-ending Obliterates and beefy castings of Read the Runes. It’s a good card and isn’t likely to hang around in play, so don’t count on its survival. Use it to do its business all in the same turn whenever you can.
2 Read the Runes
I wanted to have a non-permanent method of sacrificing Summoner’s Egg, hence the inclusion of Read the Runes. It gets you closer to Obliterate, and it filters for combo pieces a bit better than Thirst for Knowledge in the mid game.
4 Summoner’s Egg
Summoner’s Egg is amazing not only because of the beatings that lurk inside, but for the way it simply shuts down the attack step. Creatures with four power dare not attack into it and it can safely block anything with less than four power. It can be a great bluff to play an Egg with just an Arcbound Ravager underneath if you smell a trick or bounce forthcoming, too.
Fabricate is simple and efficient, finding whatever combo piece the grip lacks. The beauty is that all of the enablers are artifacts, all of the big creatures are artifacts, and the egg itself is an artifact. Perfect. Like the straw that stirs the drink, Fabricate is the spatula that flips the omelet. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.
3 Darksteel Colossus
Listen. Understand. That Colossus is out there. It can’t be reasoned with, it can’t be bargained with… it doesn’t feel pity or remorse or fear… and it absolutely will not stop. Ever. Until you are dead. There are only a few cards that really deal with him in any capacity and some of those aren’t even tournament worthy (like Arrest, Altar’s Light, Pacifism, etc.) He’s also good to clean up the mess after an Obliterate, but that’s just what I’m told by those in the know.
1 Sundering Titan
Mr. T (is there really a better nickname?) is a great target to go for with a Fabricate as an early game crippler, and he’ll be an absolute wrecker against any new school decks with the multicolored mana mania, should any arise. Bouncing or destroying Sundering Titan just means more punishment for your opponent, too.
3 Thirst for Knowledge
Card drawing is needed in some capacity; no Blue deck should really be without it. Thirst digs three cards deep and lets you giggle like a schoolgirl upon”discarding” Darksteel Colossus back into your library for later Fabrication. Tee hee!
Blowing up the world with a Darksteel Colossus or a Summoner’s Egg which hides a Darksteel Colossus under it seems infinitely better than a silly Rukh Egg. Thanks to Krark-Clan Ironworks, you can even Obliterate super early and get out of a bad situation. I’m really torn on how many belong in the main; I figure that two is enough to find one with the card drawing, and it’s not a card you always want to see. Frequently, you can just win with colossal beats and don’t even need the security afforded by Obliterate. I would definitely board a third for matchups against White control decks because you can’t ever really attack without Wing Shards insurance. And only wimps like Ted run Sacred Ground. [He’s just bitter because Gilded Light wrecked his Tendrils this past weekend. – Knut, obviously chicken]
1 Engineered Explosives
This card is only here to Fabricate for as an answer in a perceived matchup with Incubator / Ironworks, which probably isn’t that great, since they’re at least a full turn faster than you are. This will stop the Myr tokens at the very least, which may buy Darksteel Colossus the time he needs to get nasty.
I haven’t really crafted a sideboard yet, but some possibilities include: Echoing Truth, Pyroclasm, Stifle, Engineered Explosives, Defense Grid, Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer, and maybe if I get really crazy, a White color swap with four Leonin Abunas to protect the on-board assets from bounce / removal / chicanery. Hell, that might even make it into the maindeck – this is still a pretty early version. I think that Defense Grid is an absolute necessity because control is back in the fold for the first time in months. Beyond that, I’m still experimenting.
So that’s Egg Beaters, in all its yolk-free glory. I think it’s probably better to base the deck off of the artifact / Fabricate framework rather than one that uses Fierce Empath to tutor for the big dogs, but I haven’t really given much thought to that angle yet. Since the metagame is undeveloped, talking about matchups will be generally pointless, but anyone can surmise that this deck is likely to be strong against decks that will have difficulty neutralizing a quick Darksteel Colossus and likely to be weak against decks that have countermagic. Like I said before, the environment is relatively bounce-free and big creature friendly, and this deck gets an 11/11 down many turns faster than any Tooth and Nail variant. You also don’t have to do anything embarrassing like countering your own Chrome Mox with Fold Into Aether. Have fun playing the deck, and I welcome all comments in the forums per usual.
I haven’t spit any game about non-Magic topics recently, so I’m going to introduce a new section of my articles called”The Core Dump” where I talk about whatever random things that happen to be on my mind recently. Feel free to skip ahead, but you’ll miss all of the fun!
The Core Dump for 6/8/04
Okay. How Orbit’s Bubblemint flavor gum does not have crack cocaine listed as one of the ingredients is beyond me. Ever since I’ve been on this low-carb diet madness (which is going pretty well; I’ve lost ten pounds in two weeks thus far), I’ve been hitting the sugarless gums pretty hard. Bubblemint has something in it that makes you keep chewing it and keep reaching for a fresh piece.
This phenomenon is reproduced by the original crack cocaine of gum, Fruit Stripe. I’ve been known to crush entire packs of Fruit Stripe in about half an hour, swallowing each stick. Yes, I said swallow – it’s something I’ve done ever since I was a kid, and I couldn’t stop now if I tried. Hey wait, this sounds like a perfect segue into a discussion that I’ve been wanting to have for some time – and that is: What are the top ten gums of all time?
10. Fruit Stripe – Original Rainbow
This is the genuine article, one of the most addictive gums ever made. Its flavor lasts about fifteen glorious seconds before you need another piece. That and it tastes just like wax after a while. Bonus points for including multiple flavors in a gum pack, a trend that I’m not sure any other gum maker currently employs.
9. Bubble Tape – Original
It’s the enticing mix of sugar and aspartame that makes this gum a winner. Also, it’s impossible to tell how much is enough to fill your mouth so sometimes you just end up with a big ol’ mouthful of this wonderfully powdery goop.
8. Bubbilicious – Watermelon
The great thing about Watermelon Bubbilicious is that its flavor is so powerful, it’s almost impossible for people nearby to not smell it. Now that’s a strong gum, son. It’s just a time honored classic, kind of like the Monopoly of gums.
7. Gum at the center of a Charms Blow Pop
It takes some work to get through the lollipop, but in the center lies pure gum nirvana. Sickly sweet and with a gooey consistency, the center of a Blow Pop has been delighting taste buds for years. It delights mine for about thirty seconds too, before I swallow the delicious payload. Boy, did that sound wrong.
6. Big League Chew – Original
You’re in the big leagues! Yeah, you’re in the big leagues! When you’re into Big League Chew! Gum shaped like chewing tobacco? What an excellent youth marketing ploy! Seriously folks, this gum is among the best pure bubble gums ever made. The other flavors are nothing to write home about (although Sour Cherry is passable), but the original is where it’s at.
5. Bubble Yum – Grape
When a gum cracks the top five, it must be truly special. Bubble Yum’s Grape flavor is the flagship of the Bubble Yum armada, both having the best and longest lasting flavor as well as excellent bubble formative qualities. It is the only gum in the top five which is still commercially available.
4. Hubba Bubba – Original Flavor [discontinued, but lives on in spirit in Bubble Tape]
Here’s where I start getting sentimental. Hubba Bubba was the undisputed champion of bubble blowing gums. Nothing else in human history even remotely matches the inherent bubble capabilities present in Hubba Bubba’s original flavor. The taste was similar to what Bubble Tape is today, but Bubble Tape lacks the pure elasticity of the Bubba. I get misty eyed just thinking about the monsters I used to crank out with the aid of just two pieces of this ridiculous product.
3. Fortune Bubble [unknown if still exists]
Not many have heard of Fortune Bubble, but I am here to out it as one of the sickest gums ever created. First of all, it only cost a penny. That’s right – one red cent. It came in a bright orange wrapper with Chinese lettering on it and inside each wrapper, you would get a scrap of wax paper with some wise maxim inside – usually something to the effect of”Confucius say: Man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day.” As entertaining as the”fortunes” were, the chewing ecstasy is what kept me coming back for more.
Folks, this was the most addictive gum ever made – period. I once bought out an entire store’s supply of this stuff (a big jar, somewhere in the neighborhood of seven hundred pieces) and was back in two weeks for more. The flavor was indescribable – a short but extremely powerful burst of fruity yet normal bubble gum that gave way to a chalky, waxy goodness that needed to be immediately”capped” by another piece. There really are no words to convey the hold that Fortune Bubble had over me until supply dried up sometime in late ’89. I have not been able to locate any since. It’s probably for the best.
2. Bazooka – Cherry [discontinued]
Cherry Bazooka… sigh. It is baffling that they opted to discontinue”flavoring” Bazooka. I mean, what’s it take to flavor a gum? CB was amazing for its purity of flavor coupled with genuine good Bazooka consistency. Definitely the most powerfully flavored stuff I’ve tasted. I think it had a brief resurgence as the bits inside of Baskin Robbins’ bubble gum flavored ice cream, but that has since disappeared as well. Ahh, in the days of wayback when I used to”prospect” – that is, dig through a huge vat of varied flavors – for the elusive Cherry Bazooka… those were good times, men.
1. Bubbilicious – Orange [discontinued]
This is far and away the number one gum of all time, and I don’t care what anybody says. The potency and flavor length coupled with the always rock solid Bubbilicious consistency have never been equaled. As it grew more and more scarce in the mid-nineties, I set up a network of people from Maine to Connecticut to acquire it for me. My last ever pack of this was given to me by mother-in-law in 1995. For this kind and noble act, she is pretty much guaranteed entrance to the kingdom – her past in the convent might help too, though.
Do not argue with me about the order of this list, for I am a true connoisseur of chew. I have tried every single damn piece of cheap-ass off-brand supermarket and drugstore gum in America. I have even had spruce gum – yes, that’s gum that tastes like a tree – from L.L. Bean. Respect my authority. Maybe some day I will recount the top ten worst gums of all time. Yes, the spruce gum is on it.
I think I just wrote one full article’s length about gum. I’d better save the rest of my core dump for next time, hmm?