The Kitchen Table: The Midas Touch

Join Abe as he builds his first Commander deck around a new legendary creature from the soon to be released Journey into Nyx: King Macar, the Gold-Cursed!

What cards from Journey into Nyx have caught your eye? With the full spoiler revealed last Friday, what leaps out at you? What forces you into submission?

As the previews for Journey into Nyx were hitting the Internet, the first legendary creature to catch my Commander eye was not one of the Gods from the set. Sure, you could do something with Kruphix, God of Horizons or Keranos, God of Storms. But instead I was hooked by the Magic version of the King Midas myth: King Macar, the Gold-Cursed. He doesn’t seem too broken and has an interesting ability, and I could be one of the first writers to build a deck around him. He’s like a new fallen snowdrift, and I get to make the first footprints. That’s the trifecta of truth that propelled me to write about him!

So where would I begin with King Macar? And how could I build a deck around him in black when he seems really abusable in blue or green? Let’s peer at the decklist first, and then I’ll discuss how it came about.

Whew! Remember that exiling creatures in Commander is a great thing—there are no chances to bring back anything short of Misthollow Griffin.

I want to thank Bennie Smith again. His comment about Malachite Talisman in a StarCityGames.com Select Newsletter not only inspired me to put Lapis Lazuli Talisman into a deck of mine, but it also led to me write an article about similarly unusual cards. It put the Talismans on my radar, and this is a great home for Onyx Talisman. Not only do you get to untap your permanent when you cast a black spell, but you can use it when someone else does as well. Lots of untapping fun will ensue . . .

And that’s not all! We can untap our good King with Puppet Strings, Thousand-Year Elixir, Staff of Domination, Sword of the Paruns, Umbral Mantle, and even Thornbite Staff. That’s a lot of ways to untap and trigger our inspired mechanic on Macar. We also have some ways to tap him in case attacking is not safely available. (Puppet Strings, Staff, and Sword will double here.) We have stuff like Paradise Mantle and Springleaf Drum as well. These are obvious ways to engine up the deck. I added in a few more (like Manriki-Gusari) to flesh things out.

I also thought about other engines that could slide in. There are some deep untapping engines I could do here to combo this thing up.  For example, I could use Mycosynth Lattice to turn everything (and Macar) into an artifact (or use Liquimetal Coating or other effects). Perhaps I could use an engine such as Clock of Omens to tap him and untap him to exile everything in one turn. If I could make the Gold tokens creatures, I could use Dross Scorpion to untap the newly metallic King to untap every time I sacrificed one. I have to admit a certain fondness for making a King Midas wannabe turn into metal via Ashnod’s Transmogrant.

I could even add in Krark-Clan Ironworks to blow up the Gold tokens,  but imagine this—running Kormus Bell to turn all Swamps into 1/1 creatures, and playing that Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth. Then using King Macar in these engines to exile every land that’s not mine to make gold aplenty!

After brainstorming a bunch of these combos, I decided just to steer clear. I didn’t want to push Macar in those directions. I kept it simple.

Once I had this core engine humming along all smoothly, I stepped back to imagine what the battlefield would look like. I could have quite a bit of Gold tokens out. That gives me a reliable method of mana acceleration, or a bunch of artifacts, whichever I needed. 

So I looked at routes to harness the Gold tokens. For example, cards like Kuldotha Forgemaster and Guardian Beast recommended themselves as ideal additions to the deck. In particular, the Forgemaster seems like a downright essential card. In a reverse of alchemy, it’ll turn gold into steel. Considering the increasing number of artifacts in the deck, it’s ideal. And if you have the budget, Guardian Beast is another no-brainer. Hands off my gold!

I figured that other creatures with useful tapping abilities would fit the deck quite nicely. After all, we had this untapping thang already going strong. The first additions were Avatar of Woe and Visara. This is in case someone tucks King Macar or infects him with a Darksteel Mutation. The deck has backups so that we can still do stuff. I also like the simplicity of Cinderhaze Wretch and Scrib Nibblers. Both can get a bit crazy if left in a sexy little untapping engine.

And that’s not all obviously. Check out Hollowsage (which basically had inspired before it became a mechanic) and Servant of Tymaret. The Servant and Scrib Nibblers are also a bit of life gain for when things get painful. They’ll also counter typical Commander cards like Phyrexian Arena or Bloodgift Demon.

Let’s add in some more stuff to use Gold counters, all right? The first one that comes to mind is Trading Post. Sacrifice an artifact to draw a card. It also converts life into dorks or dorks into risen artifacts. It’s a great adjunct to the deck. I wish Etherium Astrolabe wasn’t blue (insert obligatory sad face). I also can’t use Infernal Tribute (because it also sacrifices nontokens for cards). If I didn’t think it would kill me and my guys, I’d run Last Laugh. Summoning Station can simply tap to make a 2/2 dork, and you can untap it each time an artifact bites it, which I suspect will happen with regularity.  

However, one tricky card from ye olde days is Reprocess. Take a look at its majesty here. You can Reprocess Gold, Goats, Pincers, and other stuff to get a bunch of cards. Imagine it with a Summoning Station out. You can draw a card for every sacrificed Pincer and Gold token you have, and you’ll get death triggers for the Gold tokens to make more Pincers so you don’t neuter your board.  

Then I moved to artifact creatures.  Sure, stuff like Solemn Simulacrum, Burnished Hart, and Pilgrim’s Eye was obvious. Darksteel Sentinel, its buddy Colossus, and Colossus of Akros were useful additions. I even included Scarecrone (mainly to recur Kuldotha Forgemaster). I also looked at Mirror Golem for a while. You exile a creature when it arrives it to give it protection from creatures. That’ll give you a powerful blocker, an unblockable body, and a protection from targeted problems from creatures. Since this deck really didn’t need stuff like Duplicant, in it went. My final artifact creature for now was Arcbound Ravager. It’s another sacrifice outlet for my Gold tokens, and when it dies, it can jump counters to anything from a flying Eye to a vigilance Sentinel.

The deck was beginning to take shape. Some early additions to the deck like Geth, Lord of the Vault and Crypt Incursion were pulled for better cards (Mindslaver and Reprocess). Whip of Erebos is great, as is Erebos, God of the Dead himself. No Mercy and Dread were added to help shore up weaknesses in case King Macar is not able to answer some problematic creatures, such as Akroma, Angel of Vengeance, Iridescent Angel, Commander Eesha, or even Simic Sky Swallower.

I began to flesh out the deck. Let’s not stop at the Ravager—we’ll toss in one more artifact creature with Hex Parasite to eat planeswalkers. I wanted Aether Snap for the same reason. It’ll crush a lot of decks. But it takes out this deck too! So I stayed away. I thought about Spike Cannibal, but nah. I also only included two cards to fight graveyard abuse since we have so many exiling options: Bojuka Bog and Nihil Spellbomb. They give a bit of fight, but I didn’t want to waste too much space with other stuff.

I quickly added in obvious cards, from Volrath’s Stronghold to Mox Opal to Armillary Sphere. With a handful of spots remaining, I squeezed in a few more synergetic cards, such as Painsmith, Nim Devourer and Phylactery Lich. I even found room for a few mass removal options (Reiver Demon will keep my artifact creatures around). Some of my last additions were a few pro Swamp cards with Korlash, Liliana of the Dark Realms, and Cabal Coffers. People might assume this is a Coffers deck, with junk like Crypt Ghast, Nirkana Revenant, and X spells. Nope! The only two X spells I have are Exsanguinate and Profane Command. But it can still squeeze in that Coffers and convince people it’s a different sort of deck. This deck is not Caging Suns but spewing gold.

What else would you want to run? Liliana Vess? Karn Liberated? Sorin Markov? Illusionist’s Bracers? Magewright’s Stone? Maze of Ith? Jandor’s Saddlebags? Witches’ Eye? Gold-Forged Sentinel? Steel Hellkite? Nevinyrral’s Disk? Vault of Whispers? Darksteel Citadel? Rogue’s Passage? Reliquary Tower?

If you didn’t initially see a lot of potential under the hood of King Midas . . . er . . . Macar, I hope your eyes have been suitably opened. This is a fun card that enables a different take from black decks. And there is still a lot of ways to grow. I mentioned several major combos above, and I’m sure there is a passel more. So get out there and start turning your subjects to gold!