Welcome, welcome to the corner of all that is janky and fun, where high casting cost doesn’t matter, just as long as the card is boooombtastic! See the deck that is loads of fun to play, and is just scary if it gets rolling! Hear the screams of the damned as they suffer a miserable death to your amazing deck of Junk! Feel the flames of Oblivion licking at your feet, just waiting to snuff out your essence!
I’m talking about an Urzatron build that Jay Delazier has been working on for months. Not only is the deck full of expensive artifacts that will elicit raised eyebrows from your opponent, but it also utilizes the three coolest Equipment cards out there to their full potential. This is a deck with more one-ofs than Timmy’s 5-color, 87 card supreme deck of sliver doom…
Jay had been playing this deck for a while, and I never really thought much of it until I was walking by his table and I noticed he was staring down a cleric horde, I then heard the words…”I’ll go to Thirty-Six billion life.” That’s right, his opponent just gained near infinite life, but Jay was nonplussed. He shrugged, hiked up his pants, spat, and then killed his opponent the next turn.
That wasn’t the part that grabbed my attention the most though, it was the fact that he had all three Urza lands out and three Cloudposts. Along with this abundant mana supply, he had in play Planar Portal, Tower of Fortunes, and a Triskelion. How cool is that? Nothing brings out the scrub in me like seeing someone cast a turn 3 fatty, and Triskelion is practically Mr. Bubbles.
This is pretty much the same deck Jay was playing, except I have updated the deck with some Darksteel. It is designed to do two things:
1) get out lots of mana fast via multi-mana lands, and Sylvan Scrying
2) Control the board by maximizing your mana.
Might as well stop the ranting and present the deck:
Teddy Bear Christmas
4 Oblivion Stone
4 Solemn Simulacrum
4 Sylvan Scrying
2 Bottle Gnomes
2 Decree of Justice
2 Scythe of the Wretched
1 Planar Portal
1 Arcbound Retriever
1 Skeleton Shard
1 Tower of Fortune
1 Loxodon Warhammer
1 Talisman of Progress
1 Talisman of Unity
1 Arcbound Ravager
4 Urza’s Tower
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
3 Sacred Ground – You have to be able to drop this against LD strategies, as you will just roll over to Dwarven Blastminer and well-timed effects without extreme luck
3 Stifle -One of the many cards dedicated to trying to stop combo decks, one mana easy to cast
2 Ivory Mask – Again to stop combo decks
2 Rule of Law – Combos again, this deck is generally good against most strategies, but it can’t win fast enough to stop most combos
2 Bottle Gnomes – added insurance against beat down
1 Triskelion – Sometimes the fourth Triskelion is needed, particularly against Elves and Goblins
2 Duplicant – Boarded in against U/W, Affinity, and random decks with Fatties.
Now for the card selection so you can figure out exactly what the mad scientist who created this deck was thinking.
I mean come on, I shouldn’t have to explain this card. It clears the board, and gets you out of the roughest of the rough situations.
The deck runs only eight basic lands, but needs to get them out quickly and effectively. This little guy is a workhorse. He fetches land, he blocks, and he draws you cards, all in one nice little package. Works amazingly well with recursion.
This thing is a Demonic Tutor. When almost your entire deck is artifacts, this is your go to card. It usually searches out your kill cards, or Oblivion Stone, or Planar Portal. Helping you get the cards that kill your opponent or buys you time, or lets you power out the bombs earns Fabricate a spot in this deck. This and Planar Portal are the only reason you can get away with running that many single copies of artifacts.
I have heard arguments over whether or not adding another color just to help the mana development is counter productive. I couldn’t disagree more. This thing usually ends up being just as much of a tutor as Fabricate. Whether fetching the Plains needed to cycle a Decree or filling out the last piece of The Urza Train, Scrying will prove its place in the deck time and time again. An opening hand of Tower and Power Plant and Scrying lets you know that you will most likely have the whole Train out by turn 4 or 5 tops. With Fabricate, Talismans, Simulacrum, and your little need of colored mana you will see that it is worth the inclusion.
A defensive card, and nothing more. Gives you something to do early on, when you don’t have lots of mana. The block and live through Frogmites and early Sliths, and you need something to help you last until the late game, where your deck shines.
May I just say wow. This guy is just flat out amazing in this deck, there isn’t a time you hate having this guy in your hand. Against Elves, Goblins, RDW, R/B burn, and even some builds of Affinity, this guy is a tank. He kills any three elves of your choice, takes down most goblins, eats up Sliths and Firecats, and blocks Enforcers while shooting down Frogs or Hoverguards. Even if your opponent has removal for him, at the very least they will take three damage, which is never bad. He is the perfect target for Loxodon Warhammer or for…
Scythe of the Wretched
This was my little suggestion to the deck that turned out to be”not half bad.” Despite the fact that it is a scrubby card at best, this has proven to be amazing in many matchups. Obviously, your goal is to drop it on a Triskelion. He’s your Tricycle and this is his Handlebars. Slap it on him and roll.
Versus elves, the Scythe is downright cheating, hitting their Wellwisher for one and then snagging him to use for your own twisted pleasure is just great. Against R/B, snagging a Disciple of the Vault completely screws up their game plan and actually means they will die if they let you re-equip a Triskelion with three counters on it, due to the ability to let it hit itself three times, watch it die, then see it come back with all three counters again, as they lose a life from the Disciple.
Scythe plus Triskelion is definitely teh cheatz!
It’s also extremely fun to drop a Triskelion and equip the Scythe to snag face-down angels, your own Solemn Simulacrums, and even your Bottle Gnomes can be abused this way. Just hit them for one point, then sack them for three life, and boom, they are back. Sometimes the extra six life will save your neck against burn and beat down strategies. Most opponents won’t be able to figure out all the combinations the Scythe lets you do. The shift it gives you against beat down decks is sometimes the reason you will win, as trading suddenly becomes one-sided when you end up with their creatures.
I am however, somewhat practical, and I know that these unlikely situations aren’t enough to warrant the inclusion of this somewhat narrow card. The real reason this card is in here is it turns your deck into a highly effective combo deck. Not only does it make attacking into a Triskelion a bad idea (if the Triskelion dies, it can hit itself for one point of damage bringing itself back to life via Scythe), but it allows you to go infinite.
Situation: Triskelion is in play along with Scythe. Equip Scythe to Triskelion. Drop Triskelion numero dos (with your tutoring and card drawing power this shouldn’t be hard). Trisk with Scythe shoots other Trisk for one point of damage. That Trisk then removes all three of its counters to shoot the opponent for three points of damage. It becomes a 1/1 and dies due to it taking a point of damage from other Trisk. It hitting the graveyard triggers Scythe, bringing it back to play with the Scythe now equipped. It hits the other Trisk for one. That Trisk then hits opponent for two and dies. Scythe triggers again and you rinse and repeat until your opponent dies or until your hair is clean, whichever comes first. Note that this can be done at instant speed in response to your opponent’s artifact removal.
This is an effective tactic in case a rogue Exalted Angel gets your opponent’s life total too high up, or various other life gain strategies that may see play with the inclusion of so many Darksteel cards that promote Life Gain as a viable mechanic.
While the Scythe is expensive to equip, the entire point of the deck is to get fast mana down, and with the Scryings you can usually have Urza or Cloudpost trains online by turns 3-5. Only against LD do you have trouble getting your mana engine in play.
Decree of Justice
You generate a lot of mana, so you might as well have something to do with it all, am I right? This is your primary kill card, since all you have to do is make a bunch of tokens and swing. Instant speed 1/1’s tokens is nothing but good times. Oh yeah, you get to draw a card too! (Like you don’t know all of this already…)
You have tons of mana, so you can usually activate this without much trouble. It goes and fetches the combo pieces, cards to keep you alive, or just more lands to power out your artifacts. It just makes sense.
With Skeleton Shard, this provides amazing recursion power. It works especially well with Mindslaver and Triskelion. Makes your deck less vulnerable to Counterspells and Artifact Removal, and is usually game over when combined with Skeleton Shard, not to mention the fact that is has great synergy with…
Darksteel’s bright new addition to the deck. This makes a fabulous accessory for soldier tokens, Myr Retrievers, Bottle Gnomes, and used up Triskelion. It provides great card advantage and synergy for the deck, plain and simple.
Heh complain about it all you want in Limited, this card is seen as poo in Constructed, mainly due to the fact that it is expensive as hell… but then, what in this deck isn’t? It turns all your creatures into an Exalted Angel, and is just sick on Triskelion. It provides the life gain needed to keep you alive during aggro matchups.
The most impressive card to use with your mana. It allows you to set up massive card advantage and completely ruin your opponent’s day. Combine it with Arcbound Reclaimer and Skeleton Shard and you get the Extended Goblin Welder– infinite Mindslaver lock.
Note that with Triskelion, Skullclamp, and Scythe, you can effectively pay one mana to deal a point of damage to your opponent and draw two cards. Not too shabby… it certainly beats the tar out of Masticore, even if you can’t do more than three damage at a time at instant speed.
Well that’s it for this janky pile of artifacts, throw them together and have fun casting your third turn Triskelion – you’d be surprised at how often that just wins games. Another possibility for the deck is Myr Retriever instead of Arcbound Reclaimer from Darksteel. While his modular ability helps with Triskelion in a pinch, he does set you back a turn with his ability, as the artifacts don’t return to your hand, but to the top of your deck. With Skullclamp and Skeleton Shard however, you have an impressive recursion engine. Retriever gives you the card instantly and doesn’t waste your draw step. It does have to be killed off to use, as opposed to just activating the Reclaimer.
Unlike other artifact-based decks, you are not as vulnerable to Akroma’s Vengeance. All of your creatures can be sacrificed to some effect in response to creature kill to gain added benefits. You don’t play artifact lands, so you get to keep your mana, and with Shard/Reclaimer, nothing is ever truly lost. You can match their production of soldier tokens, pay for Mana Leaks, and a turn 3 morphed Angel is risky for them if you have dropped Urza Train/Cloudposts as your first two mana sources, since a Triskelion or Duplicant can come down to ruin its day.
If they get to recurring dragon mode, try and get a Duplicant to remove him from the game for good. You really just need to worry about not leaving yourself exposed to a lethal Decree. The life gain, Decrees, and Oblivion Stones in your deck generally mean you can have the solution for them. Just don’t commit more artifacts to the board than necessary, and make sure not to have Skeleton Shard and Reclaimer in play at the same time, as the Recursion is necessary for the long game.
When they get the Control-ish, Non-Aggressive draws, what you want to do is get out a Triskelion and Scythe. It provides a strong clock and makes it very hard for them to win, since tapping down for Wrath or Vengeance means they still take damage. In response to Wrath or Vengeance, remove a counter from the Triskelion and hit himself for one point of damage, then use the rest of the counters on your opponent. When Triskelion dies to the removal spell, Scythe triggers and he is returned to play with all three counters, ready to start the beats again on your turn. This does indeed work against Akroma’s Vengeance, even though the Scythe will be destroyed. Since it goes to the Graveyard at the same time as Triskelion, it still triggers and returns Triskelion to play, though without the Scythe equipped.
This Match comes down to speed and Broodstar. You must be able to beat the Broodstar to win. Getting out the Urzatrain fast is crucial in being able to deal with their threats. A well-timed Oblivion Stone can usually win the game, as it slows things down for a turn and allows you to stabilize. Bottle Gnomes early can help shut down the ground beats, since he blocks and lives through Frogmite, and with Scythe equipped, he blocks and lives through Enforcer. Loxodon Warhammer and Duplicant can help swing things in your favor, and Oblivion Stone or Decree will seal the game.
This is, without a doubt, your worst match up of all. Mono-Red tends to be a tad bit easier, as they don’t have the Creeping Molds, Naturalizes, Birds of Paradise, or Molder Slugs to muck things up. On the flip side, mono-Red is faster. What you need to do is try and get down an early Sacred Ground (in Game 2) and use the turn or two it gives you to set up your mana and drop a threat. Then they will be forced to deal with the threat or the lands, and this should be enough disruption to take the game.
Unfortunately Game one will generally be bad times, as when you lose it seems like you are always a single turn away from getting the mana needed to drop your solutions. Strangely enough, against R/G you need to come out with some Bottle Gnome beats, and any equipment on him is extremely good against them, since he either races, or will gain you a bit of card advantage. The only trouble, of course, is getting the mana for him.
If you luck out and survive to the late game, you want to set up the Triskelion/Scythe Combo (heh, when do you not, is what you are probably asking now?). This forces them to use removal against the Scythe and not your creatures and provides Molder Slug insurance. Put the Slug’s upkeep ability on the stack, hit the Triskelion for one damage with himself, and when you sacrifice him he comes back, ready to block the slug and use the Scythe trick to bring himself back. Taking two points of damage during your upkeep and not being able to attack with groundpounders is usually a big enough deterrent.
Generally a good match for you despite the amount of removal for artifacts they might run. An early Bottle Gnome or Triskelion helps halt them a bit and buys you time for control. Scythe on the Triskelion really shines here, as it lets you snag all their elves for your own personal use. Dropping hoards of elves isn’t always good when you have their Hivemaster or Wellwisher along with your team of artifacts. Sometimes though you just won’t get the speedy draws you need and they will rush out of the gates extremely fast. However this match is definitely in your favor as you can power out enough Angel or Soldier tokens to match their Bears
This is another tricky match-up. If you have the early Bottle Gnomes and cards to capitalize on your mana for defense, you should win. Against fast decks like these, you need your mana out fast, and in this deck you will almost always have the six or so mana needed by turns 4-5. It may seem like it is dependant on having to draw Urza Train, but with Sylvan Scryings, Simulacrums fetching colored lands, and Talismans, you will get the mana. Triskelion spells their doom, as it blocks and kills Piledriver, and shoots downs Warchief and all his little buddies.
If you are tired of playing the same old boring decks that play out the same way each time, pick up Teddy Bear Christmas and give it a whirl. Playing a deck this many with tutor effects and so many one-ofs makes each match like opening a present. With the tutoring power of the deck, you can almost always have the answers needed against any strategy. It is extremely hard to lose a game with the Urza Train or Cloudposts active. You will find that your only obstacle is your mana development. The whole deck though is geared towards getting that fast mana, so while you may have to mulligan a less than perfect land hand occasionally, you will definitely be surprised at how often you find yourself tapping for seven or eight mana on turn 4.
I hope this deck has intrigued you enough to possibly pull away from the norm and go rogue. At the very least, I hope I have given you new ways to look at tier Two and Three cards, or provided you a fun deck to play with when Affinity and U/W get too dull and repetitive. Until next time, may you enjoy generating an absurd amount of mana and killing your opponent with the scrubbiest cards you can find.