Eternal Europe: You Choose The Brew, Episode II

The votes are in, and it’s Goblin Welder, Dack Fayden, and Transmute Artifact that are going to be teaming up across a variety of brews in an attempt to make shenanigans happen. See where the brewing experiment goes, and vote for your favorites!

Hello and welcome back to the show. In our last episode, you got to choose which triplet of cards you’d like to see me brew with – and you chose new darling planeswalker Dack Fayden, old-school candidate for best creature in the game Goblin Welder, and “Fair Tinker” Transmute Artifact as the players you’d like to see move on. It is now time to take the next step on the road to brewing up a new Legacy deck.

Step II

When brewing, once you’ve figured out a set of cards you think have potential, it’s time to really think about all the angles you might be going with your combination – in short, let’s grab pen and notepad and start coming up with possible decklists. To do this right, there are two things we need to do. First, we need to come up with ideas of how our new core can be abused, and second, we need to scour Gatherer to find cards that can fill said roles. Once both steps are completed, it’s time to create rough lists of what our ideas might end up looking like.

One thing to keep in mind when drawing up those first-stab decklists is that it’s totally fine if those decks do things you’d never do with the finished product – like, say, not playing Brainstorm in your blue fetchland deck if you feel you need the space or using a deck with over 60 cards – because these first drafts aren’t meant to get you to a tuned deck already. Instead, they serve to allow you to test out if the core synergies you’re building around are actually efficient enough. When playing those first-draft lists, I’ll regularly “cheat” – I’ll add lands to my starting hand or take free extra mulligans, I won’t ever let either deck start on five cards and I might even “Demonic Tutor” cards into my hand to set up hands I want to see play out to get an impression if my best draws actually are good enough.

In the same vein, I’ll also just mull-to-seven hands that are obviously going to work out but also don’t teach me anything I don’t already know – for example if the Reanimator-approach mentioned in Part I had a hand of land, Lotus Petal, Force of Will, blue card, Entomb, Reanimate, I’d just ignore it and move on to the next one. I already know turn-one Griselbrand with Force back up is broken, no need to try that again. We are not trying to see if these decks are good enough here, we’re trying to see if they do something worth doing in the first place. So keep this in mind when seeing some of the more ridiculous offerings below.

Preparations I: Directions

So let’s try to find things we might want to be doing, shall we? I already mentioned most of these ideas two weeks ago, but there are a couple of other directions I can think of they might result in something interesting so let’s make a list:

  • Artifact Reanimator (Entomb, Reanimate, Welder as a repeatable animation effect)
  • Control Slaver (some control elements plus mana acceleration and expensive artifacts)
  • Grixis Control (Control Slaver with Baleful Strix and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas)
  • An affinity-esque deck (less aggressive but with more broken plays and staying power)
  • Some form of a combo-shell

“Some combo shell” is a rather vague description, admittedly, but to keep this structured I’ve decided to include this in the second step: scouring Gatherer and format knowledge.

Preparations II: Tools and Packages

The next thing I like to do is to give myself an overview of possible pieces I might utilize. To do this, I go through my list of ideas to see what I need to know for each of them.

Reanimator/Control Slaver/Affinity Shell: Good Artifact Fat

Well, time to open up Gatherer and look at all the artifacts that cost five or more to find tools we might want to use. Affinity pops up here because this kind of approach will probably want to abuse the interaction between Myr Enforcer and Transmute Artifact. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Sundering Titan

Wurmcoil Engine – At least one of these is going to be in every single one of the decks I’ll be building. It’s board-dominating, insane with Welder and reasonably castable. There need to be something to make “cast Welder, untap, cast Transmute Artifact” into a play that’s almost always excellent, and Wurmcoil does that.

Mindslaver – Any deck with this will likely have a Crucible of Worlds too.

Platinum Angel

Platinum Emperion – One of the Platinum’s makes sense, but I’m not sure which one. I suspect Angel as these are meant more as an anti-combo tool than anything else; Emperion is much better if all you’re looking for is a beater, though.

Inkwell Leviathan

Myr Battlesphere – Probably too cute.

Sphinx of the Steel Wind – The one artifact-fattie that was good enough for Reanimator before Griselbrand happened.

Batterskull – Cheap enough to hardcast, Weld-able and sweet to put on a Welder to boot.

Steel Hellkite

Spine of Ish Sah – Probably too expensive to be worth it.

Nullstone Gargoyle – I doubt this is good enough, but it might be worth trying.

Possessed Portal – Probably too cute. Has great synergy with Dack targeting the opponent. It’s also a great way to make sure the game is pretty much over if you ever get this down with Welder out in a stable game-state. Nothing changes and thanks to Welder you actually get to draw cards.

Duplicant – Transmute/Weld to kill big guys.

Triskelion – Transmute/Weld to kill small guys. Both of these are probably too narrow.

Everything But Reanimator: Transmute Toolbox Elements

If we’re actually planning to play a longer game, we’ll want our Transmute Artifacts to have the ability to do more than just play Entomb or find something large. We’ll want it to also tutor up cheap answers to give it the necessary utility to work in a longer game. These are what I’ve come up with – not that I’m claiming this is a complete list, there are a lot of cheap artifacts in the game that might be marginally useful in some situations:

Nihil Spellbomb

Ensnaring Bridge – Great way to keep your face from being bashed in. See also: why I play Moat in Miracles, with 100% more power against Sneak and Show.

Pithing Needle

Lion’s Eye Diamond – If we have artifacts that need activating.

Crucible of Worlds – For Mindslaver shenanigans and Dack synergy.

Trinisphere – Storm hate. Probably for the sideboard.

Sensei’s Divining Top

Meekstone – If we really don’t want Ensnaring Bridge in our deck.

Liquimetal Coating – We’re playing four Dack Fayden and four Transmute Artifact. This might seem cute on first sight, however Imperial Painter runs a singleton Jaya Ballard, Task Mage, too, so there’s precedent for this kind of thing being correct. Instructions for use: Tap Coating. Make their best thing an artifact. Read Dack Fayden. Cackle like a maniac.

Umezawa’s Jitte – If we run enough cheap creatures in addition to Welder, I could see wanting to Transmute this in with some regularity, actually.


Well, we actually need to figure out which combos would work well with our Transmute/Dack/Welder shenanigans. In the end, we might end up using one or more in the same list depending on how well we can fit things together. There are three combos that I feel might fit in well enough to be worth exploring:

Thopter Foundry + Sword of the Meek: Cheap enough to easily cast and Transmute into, both halves are artifacts.

Painter’s Servant + Grindstone: Less reliable than Foundry/Sword because of (opposing) Emrakul, the Aeons Torn but instantly game-winning. Painter being a creature is both good (it acts as a lightning rod for Welder) and bad (our combo gets stopped by creature removal, duh). Once again both halves are artifacts and easy to Transmute out. I only mention this one for completeness’ sake, however, as both a UR Painter list with Transmute Artifact and Goblin Welder and a UBR version (the Strixis deck Jared Boettcher played at the Invitational) already are already being explored. I usually wouldn’t limit myself like that, but we’re trying to do something new here and merely adding a couple of Dack Faydens to existing decks isn’t what I had in mind when I decided to brew with you guys.

Bomberman aka Auriok Salvagers, Lion’s Eye Diamond and some kind of 0-1 mana artifact that draws cards. This has the disadvantage of incorporating a combo-pieces we can neither Transmute nor Weld into play, but probably ends up with the lowest number of dedicated combo pieces as it only needs to run a single Lion’s Eye Diamond and a couple of Spellbombs (probably Pyrite, Aether and Nihil) – which are useful utility cards anyway. Salvagers is also a reasonable tool to help control the board if we can’t combo out yet.

Additional Tools We Might Want To Use

This category is the place where I collect all kinds of ideas that wouldn’t really be the focal point of the list we’re working on, but which might interact favorably enough with what we’re doing to be considered.

Counterbalance + Sensei’s Divining Top: Top is already very good with Welder and Transmute Artifact, so Counterbalance might be a natural fit for some of our lists. It’s also quite useful to help keep Goblin Welder alive.

Mox Opal: In most cases we probably want to run some number of artifact lands and cheap artifacts already anyway. If we can reach critical mass, Mox Opal should be an auto-include because mana acceleration and Weld-ability are great traits to have.

Stoneforge Mystic: Mainly interesting for the Thopter/Sword and Affinity lists. It serves as yet more copies of Sword of the Meek, draws attention away from Welder and represents a backup plan all by itself. In an Affinity-style shell, Cranial Plating also seems like something we might want to have more access to.

Sol-lands (Ancient Tomb/City of Traitors): Mana acceleration is always appreciated, though I’m skeptical about these in this particular shell as they don’t help to accelerate Dack and also make it harder to cast Transmute Artifact. We also won’t want to be playing Chalice of the Void in our Goblin Welder deck. Overall, I’d be surprised if any of my lists end up running more than one or two of these.

Alright, now that we’re all set up it’s time to get to the part of the article you’ve all been waiting for: the decklists!

Now that I’ve actually built a preliminary list, I’m rather doubtful about the viability of this approach. Artifact creatures are just so much worse than the usual Reanimator fare, and Goblin Welder as the only creature just gives them more ways to meaningfully interact with you. Going long with just Dack doesn’t seem that good, either, but there isn’t enough room to add more late-game cards if we want to keep the Entomb/Reanimate package.

I’ve started this approach off in Grixis colors because Welder plus Baleful Strix is such a sweet way to defend against people trying to beat you down. We might well end up being straight UR, though, and both incarnations of Tezzeret are something I’d consider for this one. If this works out, it’ll probably want to find room for both more disruption including at least a bit of actual removal… and, obviously, Brainstorms. The extra disruption we want could also turn out to be a full set of Counterbalance and Sensei’s Divining Top. As I said, these are rough drafts, not finalized decks.

I’m not even sure Affinity is functional without the zero-drop creatures, but at the very least it is radically different. The deck is basically all mana acceleration, cheap artifacts, and enablers for Transmute Artifact. Between Cranial Plating and the Affinity creatures, it should also be able to present a reasonable beatdown game when you can’t do one of the really powerful things. Expect this one to change a lot should I really work on it.

The basic list pretty much builds itself with this one, though any finished list should hopefully find room for some more interaction. I could also see trying out more copies of Sword of the Meek because they’re so good with Transmute Artifact, Mox Opal, more Tops and Counterbalance. I also suspect this would want to run a mix of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Dack Fayden instead of just the latter. One thing I really don’t like about the list is that Welder is probably going to be relatively weak in here. As mentioned before:

The black version trades the Stoneforge Mystic backup plan for the ability to grind out an advantage with Baleful Strix and Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. Thanks to Tezzeret we can also switch back to Ensnaring Bridge instead of Meekstone, as we now have a reasonable way to win while Bridge is down.

One of those test decks that has significantly more than sixty cards, and we’re also once again missing Brainstorms that seem like they would obviously be present. I really like the fact that Transmute plus Trinket Mage should mean we have very consistent access to our utility cards and that both Spellbombs are actually perfectly reasonable cards in the format right now.

Well, you sacrifice some of the beatdown backup plan and bullet creatures but gain access to a combo that should dominate fair decks and is really easy to tutor up. What I said above about being unsure if this setup is going to work in the first place still applies.

Another one that’s over sixty cards, this is the one Painter-based version I’d actually be OK working on because it is different enough from what those decks usually try to do. Like the Thopter-Depths Extended deck of old, this is essentially a deck that tries to set up a fast-to-execute combo (Painter/Grindstone) and solves the problem with the combo being weak to all kinds of interaction by having access to a more resilient second combo (Thopter/Sword) thanks to its tutors.

Who advances?

Well, you’ve seen what all our candidates have to offer. At this stage, I’d usually just take the list that excites me most and give it a first spin against a small gauntlet to see how it’s working out. If the core synergies seem to perform well, I’d keep working on it, trimming the fat, fixing holes and making an actual reliable manabase. If they don’t, I’d abandon that approach and move on to the next one until I find something that does perform or until I’ve eliminated all of them. However, this is you choose the brew, so we’re going to do things a little differently. Instead of me picking my favorites, you’re getting to vote below (choose as many as you want) and I’ll work with the two decks that get the most votes. I’ll then get back to you two weeks from now and tell you how your favorites have fared during the next step of the brewing process!

Cast your vote now: