Forgemaster Tezz In New Standard

AJ Kerrigan breaks down the U/B Forgemaster deck he’s been working on for the new Standard format, a deck much to his liking given its combo-riffic nature! Try it this weekend at SCG Open: Seattle.

Hello and welcome back. These past few weeks have had my brain hard at work. With M12 still fresh, and the recent bannings still throwing people for a loop, the new metagame is still undecided. I am still unsure of what the best deck will be, but it seems like it should include Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. I may be wrong, but Tezzeret decks in general seem really well positioned right now. There are a plethora of options for exactly what you can do with Tezzeret, and I have chosen my personal favorite: Kuldotha Forgemaster.

It seems that with the disappearance of Caw-Blade (I wonder why?) and the printing of cards like Grim Lavamancer, aggro will be the best archetype for a little while.  In testing, Forgemaster Tezzeret put up good numbers against most of the top tier aggro decks. Red Deck Wins lacks large enough burn to take down Kuldotha Forgemaster in most cases, and other aggro decks like Tempered Steel and Vampires don’t have a whole lot of removal. Once we get Blightsteel Colossus online, that can mean game over for certain decks. Of course we have back up plans for those decks that can answer a Colossus though. Enough about this though, here is the list:

This is the current list I have been testing in all its glory. The deck is still not 100%, but it is a starting point. I think it is close to where I want it to be, but hopefully more testing will show exactly what it needs. Each card plays a role in the deck, and there are rarely “dead draws.” Of course there are a few, but a lot of the cards at least do something in the late game.

The Cards:

Kuldotha Forgemaster — The backbone of the deck, Kuldotha Forgemaster searches up expensive artifacts for the cost of some cheap artifacts. We can choose between cards like Blightsteel Colossus and Mindslaver or Myr Battlesphere and Wurmcoil Engine. A lot of utility based on what the situation calls for.

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas — Tezzeret serves as a back-up plan when Blightteel beats and taking your opponents turn with Mindslaver isn’t amazing. It also serves as a way to find all the artifacts we need, like Kuldotha Forgemaster. Lastly, if we have a lot of artifacts on board, the game can end in a moment.

Blightsteel Colossus / Myr Battlesphere — The fatties to find off Kuldotha Forgemaster, and if we have a lot of mana, we can cast them sometimes too. Blightteel wins games in the blink of an eye against decks light on removal, and Myr Battlesphere helps us keep a board presence even if they have the well-times removal spell. Battlesphere can also send in big life-point swings on his own. There weren’t really many options for fatties outside of these two and either way, they do their jobs very effectively.

SpellskiteSpellskite acts as both protection for our important creatures like Blightsteel Colossus and Kuldotha Forgemaster, and also acts as a wall against certain aggro decks like Red Deck Wins. It’s a vital part of competing against the Splinter Twin/Deceiver Exarch combo as well. I could have gone with Dismember or other removal to deal with the Combo, but this does serve multiple other purposes as well.

Contagion Clasp — As a miser’s one of, it can take down small must-kill creatures like Lotus Cobra, while also making the poison plans with Inkmoth Nexus even quicker. It is not necessary for success, but it can also become a 5/5 off of Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. The deck is kind of light on removal, so this card tries to fill the slot of early removal, and then hopefully Go for the Throat kills the big things.

Everflowing Chalice — This card acts as our two mana ramp spell. Turn 4 Tezzeret or Solemn Simulacrum can be very good at giving you a hefty advantage in the game. Chalice is also a good artifact to sacrifice to Kuldotha Forgemaster when the time comes.

Preordain — A basic sifter to get what we need in each situation. Sometimes you need removal and sometimes you need that last artifact for Kuldotha Forgemaster, and this card helps you get both and much more.

Inquisition of Kozilek — A discard spell that serves many purposes, but it is mainly there to hit Counterspells and removal so we can safely grab Blightsteel Colossus for the win.

Tumble MagnetTumble Magnet gives us the extra turns we need against control decks that rely on big creatures. It can also help against Valakut by tapping down their Primeval Titan to buy some time. An all-around valuable card that does a lot of effective things. Plus, once it’s empty you can sacrifice it to Kuldotha Forgemaster, and it is also very good synergy with Contagion Clasp.

Wurmcoil EngineWurmcoil Engine is very good against both aggro and control. For Aggro, lifelink can completely diminish their hopes of winning the game and its six toughness is hard to beat for certain decks like Red Deck Wins. For control, the bodies you get when it dies force your opponent to have three removal spells to get rid of it completely. It is usually a 3-for-1 by the time it is fully destroyed, and that is a lot of value for one beater to have. This card is played over Grave Titan and Frost Titan because of how it shuts down aggro, and for the fact that you can fetch it up with Kuldotha Forgemaster.

Solemn Simulacrum — Another ramp spell in the four drop slot, and also synergizes with Kuldotha Forgemaster. You not only are one artifact closer to a Blightsteel Colossus, but you also get a land and will draw a card when it dies.

Phyrexian Metamorph — This card serves so many utilities that it is not even funny. A few of the basics are to copy your opponent’s equipment, or get another Blightsteel Colossus. More Tumble Magnets are always fun, and killing random legendary creatures down can be very useful. This card is everything I want, but unfortunately too many can clog down draws. It may become clear that the deck wants more of these, but right now two seems like a good number.

Go for the Throat — Simply put, just a removal spell. Depending on exactly where the metagame turns, Doom Blade might take these slots, but I think Go for the Throat is superior right now.

See Beyond — I would be lying if I said that I never got stuck with a Blightsteel Colossus in my hand and not enough mana to play it. See Beyond can help occasionally fix the problem while still drawing two cards.

Treasure Mage — A basic tutor when we don’t have Kuldotha Forgemaster and we still want to grab a Mindslaver or a Wurmcoil Engine. It keeps the deck a little bit more consistent, and I have liked it so far in testing.

Mindslaver — Wins games. Simply Put. In certain matchups, a resolved Mindslaver along with a Buried Ruin or two to get it back can end the game very quickly.

Buried Ruin — Like I said, the synergies with Mindslaver are very good, and it also serves at getting back our utility artifacts like Phyrexian Metamorph after they go away or were used for Kuldotha Forgemaster

Inkmoth Nexus — Works well with Tezzeret, and gives an alternate win condition on a stalled board. It can block if necessary as well and also can create a short clock with Contagion Clasp.

Tectonic Edge — Answers Valakut as well as troublesome man lands. Tectonic Edge can even win games just by cutting your opponent off a necessary color for a few turns.

Cards to Consider:

Grand ArchitectGrand Architect can get a turn 4 Wurmcoil Engine online, which is an auto-win in some games. It also makes hard casting a Blightsteel Colossus a reasonable endeavor.

Torpor Orb — I was considering this card for the sideboard, but it may even be useful mainboard. It stops Valakut and Twin Combo, which are both heavily played, so it may be necessary somewhere in the 75. Unfortunately, it shuts off our  own Treasure Mage and Myr Battlesphere, and shuts off half of our Solemn Simulacrums.

Dismember — Utility removal spell for most creatures in the format, but it does not kill titans, which seems like a problem.

The Game Plan:

The game plan with this deck changes based on each card your opponent plays, but there is a basic overview to follow. With just a quick search, Oblivion Ring, Into the Roil, and Dispatch are the only real heavily played ways to deal with a Blightsteel Colossus. I may or may not be missing something, but you get the idea. Against control decks that are light on those cards, going for Mindslaver or Blightteel is usually the plan. Even if they have a few of those cards, Inquisition of Kozilek can help clear the way a bit. You also want to go for this plan against Red Deck Wins and usually most aggro decks, since they have trouble answering Blightsteel Colossus. Against Control decks with a lot of ways around Mindslaver and Blightsteel Colossus, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas can end the game very quickly.

Overall, I think this deck has what it takes to compete. Tezzeret seems like the card to be playing right now, and I look forward to seeing a deck like this at the top tables. Until then, feel free to leave suggestions and comments on the deck and the article in general in the forums. I’m always looking to improve, and would like to hear what you guys have to say.

Until next time,
AJ Kerrigan