Before we get to the show, a slight warning: This has once again turned out to be much longer than I originally expected – close to 6000 words again – so
if you’ve come for the bonus Vintage content in the form of my Prague Eternal musings, you won’t find those today either. However, after starting to work
on them, I feel as if I actually have enough to say to write a full article instead of having to rely on bonus content, so you’ll get a real Vintage
article next week. I hope that makes up for having to wait a little longer. Alright, back to today’s regularly scheduled program!
*Queue Title Theme
Hello and welcome back to You Choose The Brew, the show that takes you on a voyage of brewing with me, your host Carsten Kötter. In the first episode you
chose the trio of Goblin Welder, Dack Fayden, and Transmute Artifact to brew with. Last time I provided you with rough decklists of different possible
implementations of the triplet, and you decided that Control Slaver and Bomberman would be most worthy of further pursuit. Here are the two advancing brews
for your convenience:
- 1 Platinum Angel
- 1 Sundering Titan
- 4 Goblin Welder
- 1 Duplicant
- 1 Inkwell Leviathan
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 4 Baleful Strix
Note: I realized there was another typo in the list I posted in You Choose The Brew II: for some reason the deck had a rather pointless Vault of
Whispers instead of an Ancient Den. I’ve corrected this oversight for this week.
Today’s episode will be about the next step in the brewing process: making sure the interactions these lists use are inherently strong enough to be worth
building around and understanding where their strengths and weaknesses lie to make sure we try to develop them in the correct direction. We will also trim
the fat – as in remove cards that looked good on paper but feel painfully weak in practice – to make room for cards we know we’d want to play but left out
to make sure we could test everything we wanted (say Brainstorm in the Slaver list). In short, we’ll be boiling down these brewer’s sketches toward lists
that we might actually consider playing at some point.
A combo deck we could (and should) goldfish at this point just to make sure it doesn’t just fizzle out too much but with at least somewhat interactive
decks like these, we want to and need to see these decks in action against some form of opposition – and that means playing games. Intuitively then, we’d
just go out and jam games with them against random opponents, right?
That would work, however, I don’t think that’s time efficiently spent. These creations are still far too rough to expect that we learn much of importance
by having a real opponent. Many things we might run into also won’t give us information that is useful at this point – especially playing against combo
decks or decks that attack one particular resource especially well (think RUG Delver’s mana denial). What we’re interested in is how well these decks work
if they aren’t pressured into fighting on a particular field of battle and how resilient they are to being disrupted somewhat from a variety of angles.
So what we really want at this point is to see games against a slow, fair deck that is able to interact on a multitude of axes but contains few
high-variance bombs (so as to see consistent results)- something like Esper Deathblade, in fact.
We also don’t really need an opponent. We aren’t trying to figure out what the deck’s matchups are or anything like that. What we want is to give the deck
a couple of test drives while someone is throwing in a monkey wrench from time to time and forcing us to end the game at some point just to get a feel for
what the deck is doing, what is working, and what isn’t. To do that, hidden information is actually detrimental. We don’t want to throw games away due to
unfamiliarity on either side; we don’t want the game to actually revolve around someone winning or even being a good game. In short, while what we want to
do can be fun for two people brewing together, we’re totally fine just jamming these games two-fisted to use our time as efficiently as possible (trust me,
that’s important if you come up with as many wild ideas as I do). In fact, what I usually do is to fire up cockatrice, open a two deck offline game with my
brew on one side and a fair deck (currently Esper Deatblade) on the other, and run these games.
This has a couple of advantages, all of which basically relate to shortening the amount of time you spend. First and foremost, it’s fast. Building and
playing a deck in cockatrice or MWS is faster as far as mechanics are concerned than doing so in real life. In addition, as you’re alone, you know what is
going on, allowing you to save even more time because you can shave off all kinds of game actions using only the bare minimum necessary for you to keep up.
I rarely tap any lands during this process, for example, and just drag/drop cards into play when resolving cantrips.
Another advantage of it being a solitaire game is that there’s nothing to push you towards keeping game integrity. If you have another player sitting on
the other side, there’s always this tendency to actually play a real game of Magic. That’s pointless for the brew at this point, though it might be fun.
Our goal is information so we want to cheat as much as necessary to get an impression of how the brew is working in as few games as possible. Free
mulligan both sides, put cards in their starting hand, rectify mana flood/screw especially if it becomes unreasonable compared to each deck’s land count,
turn draw steps into Demonic Tutors, go back and change plays when you realize things would clearly have made more sense if played differently, go back a
turn or two when the result of one line is clear and change the origin point to see what would have happened–the options are myriad.
In the same vein, we actually don’t want to have hidden information in the game at this point. If there are two lines, we don’t necessarily want to take
the ideal one or even the most realistic one, we want the one that is most likely to help us understand our brew better. That doesn’t mean favor or
handicap either deck – though you might want to do that at times just to see what would happen – you still want to have these games unfold along lines that
might happen in a real game. However, if there is a realistic way for the game to go further, you want that to come to pass.
To make a long story short: At this point you want to do whatever you feel is likely to give you the clearest impression of how the deck works and how good
or bad certain cards and interactions you’re interested in really are. If you’re actually playing with someone, doing so will fracture every game you play
and destroy the enjoyment of the game you were playing. If you’re doing it by yourself, well, there was no game to begin with so there’s nothing to
distract you from your information gathering.
I find that with this process it takes surprisingly few games – five is often enough – until I start to both see if the deck is actually worth pursuing and
what is strong about it and where it is lacking.
Here are the highlights of the first five games I played with each deck, the odd games have the brew on the play, the even ones don’t.
Deathblade versus Control Slaver
Game 1: Control Slaver started very powerfully with Seat of the Synod, Mox Opal and Sensei’s Divining Top to activate the Mox. Deathblade also had a great
hand, though a near perfect curve of Thoughtseize into Stoneforge Mystic number 1 (which was Duplicanted of off Grim Monolith) into Stoneforge Mystic
number two to find Umezawa’s Jitte while dropping Deathrite Shaman to shut off Welder/Duplicant shenanigans that Control Slaver used a Force of Will to
protect from Swords to Plowshares. Jitte connected once to kill the Welder while Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Liliana of the Veil came down on consecutive
turns to nail the game shut.
Game 2: It takes a couple of hands until Slaver has a keepable hand as the first three I looked at had only Sol-lands for mana. The hand with colored mana
still went Sol-land into Grim Monolith, while Deathblade could just play a fetchland and then Wasteland the Ancient Tomb (which prevented turn 2 Wurmcoil).
Slaver had fetchlands while Blade had Tropical Island and another Wasteland for lands two and three. Turn 3 Baleful Strix into turn 4 Opal drew a Swords to
Plowshares. Strix was the third artifact on the table while Blade had Liliana of the Veil in hand but couldn’t cast it yet due to mana issues. Slaver had
another Strix to make the play moot but a timely topdecked land meant that the second Strix was eaten by Liliana. Slaver fired back with Wurmcoil Engine
into Goblin Welder. Welder met Force of Will, and Wurmcoil met Snapcaster Mage (for Swords to Plowshares).
With two Transmute Artifacts and two Dack Fayden in hand, Slaver resolved Dack (and went up) in the face of Snapcaster Mage. Deathblade could only uptick
its Liliana to three which meant that Transmute Artifact on Grim Monolith for Liquimetal Coating allowed Slaver to turn Dack into Liliana and edict away
the Snapcaster. Deathblade played its fifth land and Batterskull, its last card in hand. Dack Fayden number 2 came down and stole the Germ token of all
things while Liliana ticked up. Stoneblade drew a sixth land and passed back.
The Germ attacked for four before both planeswalkers ticked up and Deathblade bounced the Batterskull during the end step to recast it with a fresh Germ on
its own turn. Liliana edicted the Germ away after Batterskull was Pithing Needled and deployed yet another Baleful Strix. Deathblade drew a Vendilion
Clique, which was played after both planeswalkers moved up with only a land from Slaver. Deathblade drew Counterspell and attacked Clique into the Strix to
avoid having it stolen by the greatest thief in the Multiverse.
A Goblin Welder met said Counterspell while Dack actually used its plus on Deathblade as both players were empty handed. Another land for both decks
followed, allowing the planeswalkers to further increase loyalty before a Deathrite Shaman was eaten by Liliana. Deathblade topdecked True-Name Nemesis,
teaching me that I should have stolen the Deathrite Shaman instead of edicting it, though I allowed the game to continue as is because correct play likely
means Deathblade is simply on no outs.
Liliana used her last two loyalty to get rid of TNN while a Dack plus and a cycled Nihil Spellbomb found a Goblin Welder. Welder survived and as Dack had
deposited Mindslaver in the graveyard previously, we’re looking at roughly eight turns of Mindslaver activations. With the option to steal Batterskull with
Dack before Welding Pithing Needle into Mindslaver and equipping the Welder, it was
clear that Slaver would win before Deathblade ever got a free turn again.
Game 3: After an opening Thoughseize, Slaver played three Baleful Strix in a row into Crucible of Worlds, while Deathblade got a Jitte-equipped Stoneforge
Mystic going to trade for all of them while deploying the naturally drawn Batterskull and Thoughtseizing a Pithing Needle thanks to Snapcaster Mage. Slaver
could hardcast its namesake Mindslaver–Grim Monolith is a powerful Magic card–along with a Liquimetal Coating. Deathblade deployed Liliana of the Veil and
Force of Willed a Sensei’s Divining Top that Slaver played before activating Mindslaver because it was its last card in hand, and it planned to bounce the
Batterskull and discard it with Liliana. It does exactly that during the Mindslaver turn and also uses Deathblade’s own Jitte to kill the Snapcaster Mage.
Slaver then drew Ancient Tomb to Deathblade’s Flooded Strand and cast Wurmcoil engine the turn after. However Deathblade found Brainstorm into Swords to
Plowshares and True-Name Nemesis. The Nemesis held back the Wurmcoil for a turn before that was StPed. TNN picked up Batterskull while Liliana went
ultimate and the game ended in short order.
Game 4: Slaver’s turn 1 Goblin Welder was met with Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull, to which Slaver responded meekly with Vault of Whispers and
Liquimetal Coating. Deathblade had the Swords to Plowshares for the Welder on its turn while keeping two lands including a fetchland up, planning to deploy
Batterskull during the endstep.
Plans changed when Slaver announced Ensnaring Bridge. Brainstorm in response doesn’t find a counter so Batterskull was pretty much out of the equation.
Deathblade could jam a Jace, the Mind Sculptor, however Slaver had the perfect answer: Dack Fayden into stealing the Jace, which bounced the Stoneforge to
protect Dack. Against a three card hand, Brainstorm into True-Name Nemesis looked promising, but by using Dack to discard expensive cards like Mindslaver
and refusing to draw cards with Jace, Slaver ended up with only two cards in hand as well as a Baleful Strix and Goblin Welder in play. Welder ate Swords
to Plowshares and Stoneforge Mystic was redeployed to find Umezawa’s Jitte. Dack plus Coating stole the Stoneforge Mystic and another Welder came down,
threatening the Mindslaver lock until Jace could reach its ultimate. Deathblade didn’t draw removal in its one turn window.
Game 5: Slaver once again had Mox Opal active on turn 1, this time through Seat of the Synod into Nihil Spellbomb. The Mox even cast a Goblin Welder, leaving only
Baleful Strix and two lands in hand for Deathblade’s turn 1 Thoughtseize to hit. That allowed Welder to start the card advantage chain by turning Spellbomb
into Strix and paying B from Mox Opal. Deathblade Brainstormed into a fetchland but no removal, settling for playing True-Name Nemesis on turn 3. To
answer, Slaver drew another two with Welder and played Grim Monolith.
Deathblade untapped and could either play Liliana of the Veil which wouldn’t do much against the Baleful Strix in play or cast Stoneforge Mystic for Jitte,
so it chose the latter. Slaver’s answer was devastating, however. Transmute Artifact the Grim Monolith away for Mindslaver and activate it, all with Welder
still untapped and four more artifacts in play. Slaver deployed Deathblade’s Liliana and plussed it before passing back to itself. Another Mindslaver
activation happened and a Sensei’s Divining Top dug into a second Goblin Welder. Slaver proceeded to lock Deathblade completely out of the game with its
own Liliana – conveniently both the edict and the ultimate can target its controller – and eventually won by Welding back a Platinum Angel with the second
The worst cards in the deck by far were the non-Mindslaver artifact fatties as I rarely had the mana to cast them and even if I could have, they wouldn’t
have been too relevant. I’d probably cut down to just Mindslaver, Wurmcoil Engine, and possibly Sundering Titan or Platinum Angel depending on how other
matchups went with a more tuned list. If that results in too low a fat count to make Welder good, I’d consider straight up raising the number of
Dack Fayden on its own was also relatively weak as its +1 doesn’t provide any actual card advantage, and I often ended up not even wanting to use it on
myself because I either had no cards in hand or my hand was fine so I’d only be milling myself. It still worked as an adequate way to turn dead artifacts
and lands into more cards but I wouldn’t want him in the deck just for that purpose. That being said, he rapidly became absolutely unreal with Liquimetal
Coating or Goblin Welder, taking over the game almost by himself so I think I’d still keep three copies around during further development.
Goblin Welder proved quite fragile but also extremely potent if it ever went active. It seemed quite easy to set things up so that it would at least tap
for a card at will, and whenever it combined with Mindslaver, the game essentially ended on the spot. The power level was clearly there and given its
vulnerability to removal, four seem correct moving forward.
Transmute Artifact did what was expected of it, though drawing more than one or two of them generally made them extremely clunky so they turned into Dack
food. Having the ability to access silver bullets, especially Ensnaring Bridge without Welder / Mindslaver with either mana or Welder seemed good enough to
keep them as a three of with the potential of going back to four should they perform well in further testing.
The Baleful Strixes where excellent utility, their roles reaching from eating up Swords to Plowshares and holding back attacks through enabling Metalcraft
and drawing cards with Welder to pitching to Force of Will. Not incredible but a great role player for the deck.
As for the low cost silver bullets, Ensnaring Bridge was excellent and I would have liked to see it more often. Nihil Spellbomb was adequate and cycled
when unneeded even in a matchup without much graveyard interaction. Sensei’s Divining Top was a little expensive due to the activation cost but very good
whenever I had the time to use it. Crucible of Worlds on the other hand seemed terrible. It was weak whenever I drew it and so utterly unnecessary to
enable the Mindslaver lock I never even considered Transmuting for it. The deck had enough artifacts and access to Liquimetal Coating targeting lands to
make Crucible redundant.
Mox Opal and Grim Monolith worked as excellent acceleration for the deck. Between the artifact lands and cheap artifacts, it was easy to get the Moxen
going and Monolith enabled Transmute Artifact. I don’t think I ever had a situation in which I wanted to draw more than one Monolith, however, and the deck
rarely relied on playing something large very early. Getting rid of one Monolith would likely be fine.
Concerning the mana base, the artifact lands in addition to the fetch-dual set up worked without problems. I never activated Academy Ruins even when I drew
it, and the three Sol lands were useful once in a while but rarely did anything exceedingly potent either. I could definitely see cutting one or two of the
colorless lands but wouldn’t consider any major changes to the mana base before further testing.
The one ability I was sorely missing was some additional form of disruption. In the games the Slaver deck lost, it was usually just run over by the
opponent’s more powerful draw as it didn’t have enough tools to interfere. Given that the deck is black already and could profit from discarding its own
cards at times, Thoughtseize seems like the ideal tool to rectify this problem.
Slaver also had unusually long strings of low-gas draws for a blue deck, which was to be expected given the lack of Brainstorm. I’d make sure to change
that now that I have some cards I’d feel fine cutting and am convinced that the synergies we’re trying to exploit are actually powerful enough to be worth
This is what I’d continue testing with:
Bomberman versus Deathblade:
Game 1: Both decks opened with fetchland-go before Deathblade cast Stoneforge Mystic for Umezawa’s Jitte on turn 2 (Batterskull in hand). Bomberman fired
back with Dack Fayden but met Force of Will. After respective turns of land, go, Deathblade deployed Batterskull during Bomberman’s end step but could only
play another land and attack during its own turn, threatening an end step Jitte. Knowing the Jitte in hand, Bomberman started fighting back with a Goblin
Welder and Engineered Explosives on two, which it cracked during the end step after Deathblade had simply deployed a Deathrite Shaman and attacked.
Liquimetal Coating resolved on Bomberman’s turn, but Transmute Artifact met Force of Will, which allowed Pithing Needle on Umezawa’s Jitte to resolve.
Deathblade attacked for five and cast Swords to Plowshares on Goblin Welder (which turned Coating into Engineered Explosives in response) as well as
another Deathrite Shaman. Pyrite Spellbomb took out one of the Deathrites while the Explosives dealt with the Germ token during Deathblade’s next attack
step. Bomberman then drew consecutive Force of Wills and was attacked to death by a Batterskull-carrying Deathrite Shaman.
Game 2: Deathblade came out swinging with consecutive Thoughtseizes on turns 1 and 2, one of which took a duplicate Goblin Welder while the second was
Force of Willed. In the meantime, Bomberman had been deploying its second and (topdecked) third Goblin Welder, both of which met Swords to Plowshares. Out
of gas, Bomberman used Transmute Artifact to turn Seat of the Synod into Sensei’s Divining Top, while Deathblade resolved Liliana of the Veil and started
moving up. Top allowed for additional land drops, while Deathblade ramped up the Liliana, only to have it answered with Engineered Explosives on three once
it hit six counters.
That left Bomberman defenseless against Deathblade’s Jace the Mind Sculptor, however. Jace was merciful and “only” left Deathblade with Force of Will plus
Brainstorm in hand a turn later. Bomberman cycled Aether Spellbomb into Cavern of Souls which cast an uncounterable Trinket Mage for a Pithing Needle which
in turn ate that Force of Will.
Jace Brainstormed again, leading to a True-Name Nemesis hitting the battlefield. At this point though, Bomberman had enough mana to cast and use Auriok
Salvagers for Pithing Needle which resolved this time around, obviously naming Jace. Stoneforge Mystic now came down, finding Batterskull but Sensei’s
Divining Top had turned up Meekstone to shut off the Nemesis in return. At this point, Deathblade had active countermagic in hand, but Salvagers made
trying to use it in these spots pointless.
Throughout the next turns, Deathblade couldn’t turn up removal that would hit the Salvagers with Trinket Mage in play and recurring Spellbombs and
Engineered Explosives inexorably took over the game until Bomberman won by attacking with its dorks.
Game 3: Bomberman had a very strong draw involving a fetch, Aether Spellbomb, Lion’s Eye Diamond and Mox Opal on turn 1 with an Auriok Salvagers in hand.
Deathblade’s turn 1 Thoughseize messed that up and left it with only land and Force of Will. After drawing another land, Bomberman then had to cycle its
Spellbomb to try and stop turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic–it hit the blue card but ran out of gas when its Goblin Welder met Swords to Plowshares before Jace,
the Mind Sculptor and Liliana of the Veil came down over the next two turns.
Game 4: Bomberman answered Deathblades turn 1 Deathrite Shaman with an even more brutal Mox Opal draw than it had had in the game before: Vault of
Whispers, Sensei’s Divining Top, Mox Opal, Pithing Needle on Deathrite Shaman. That left Deathblade in the unhappy situation of having only a single
colored land and a Wasteland for mana, especially as its Ponder also missed, so it Wastelanded the Vault of Whispers. That still meant Bomberman could only
play a Fetchland on its turn while Deathblade hit its land and deployed an Umezawa’s Jitte. Bomberman then used Trinket Mage to find a Pyrite Spellbomb and
passed back, trading for the equipped Deathrite plus a Jitte counter on Deathblade’s turn. Deathblade had another land and a replacement Deathrite Shaman
which died to Pyrite Spellbomb, Bomberman’s only play.
Liliana of the Veil was the next threat for Deathblade and Bomberman answered back with its own Planeswalker, Dack Fayden, who liberated the Jitte
(protecting Dack was the reason killing the Shaman first was important). Deathblade cast Snapcaster Mage for its Ponder and used Liliana’s +1 before
casting that and shuffling. Ensnaring Bridge on zero cards and milling Deathblade with Dack was Bomberman’s answer. Deathblade drew Karakas, so Snapcaster
beat in and Liliana ticked up to six while Bomberman deployed Welder and milled again. Liliana went ultimate and split mana plus Needle against everything
else (the Top was flipped in response). Bomberman kept the mana and Deathblade played the replacement Liliana it had drawn, eating the card Bomberman had
flipped into its hand.
Bomberman had set things up well however. Its next turn was Liquimetal Coating and when Deathblade didn’t draw anything of relevance, Dack Fayden off the
Topped top stole Liliana, which then edicted the annoying Snapcaster Mage. Now Deathblade hit the Jace and had to play it to not lose to its own Liliana,
finding True-Name Nemesis. Another Liliana edict took care of that while Dack ticked up by milling Deathblade again. Jace zeroed into Stoneforge Mystic for
Batterskull which was hardcast. That meant Coating plus Dack could steal the Jace, however, it bounced the Germ token before Auriok Salvagers came down.
The Stoneforge Mystic picked up the Batterskull and successfully attacked Jace, the Mind Sculptor to death as Bomberman knew that it would be able to
Transmute Artifact into the Liliana-protected combo-kill next turn.
Game 5: Bomberman opened with Great Furnace, Welder, while Deathblade just played a Scrubland. Liquimetal Coating was the two-drop of choice for Bomberman,
but Deathblade’s Stoneforge Mystic for Batterskull was a lot more threatening. Bomberman’s answering Dack Fayden met Force of Will and Deathblade continued
the hits with Brainstorm into Karakas, threatening the end of turn Batterskull. Content to be hit once, Bomberman deployed Trinket Mage for Lion’s Eye
Diamond with Auriok Salvagers already in hand as well as an Aether Spellbomb. After the Batterskull came down, Deathblade ripped Thoughtseize off the top
(casting Salvagers first would likely have won this game) to remove the combo-kill threat and deployed another Stoneforge Mystic to grab its Jitte.
Not to be outdone, Bomberman peeled Dack Fayden, used Aether Spellbomb on one of the Stoneforge Mystics, pinched the Batterskull with Dack and Welded the
Spellbomb back in instead of the Batterskull, ready to use Lion’s Eye Diamond to pay for the Spellbomb should the Jitte happen (empty handed anyway).
As Trinket Mage brickwalled the remaining Stoneforge, Deathblade passed back, ready to deploy both Umezawa’s Jitte and Vendilion Clique during the endstep.
Dack’s +1 still left Bomberman with Seat of the Synod as its best play while Deathblade had Liliana of the Veil to edict the Trinket Mage, equipped Jitte
to Stoneforge Mystic and attacked with everything to get rid of Dack. Double Aether Spellbomb thanks to Welder kept the attack from happening. Another
Welder came down on Bomberman’s next turn while the active one killed Liliana after a Dack +1.
Deathblade redeployed Stoneforge Mystic and threatened the Vendilion Clique again, this time with Karakas up. Bomberman could only find a Needle to take
Jitte out of the equation while Deathblade replayed the Clique on end step, cycling its Jace, the Mind Sculptor which was locked out by the Dack/Coating
interaction. It hit Swords to Plowshares for the first Welder and Snapcaster Mage took care of the second, making this the last turn on which Aether
Spellbomb could keep Dack save. Finally, Wasteland reduced Bomberman to three mana (plus LED), leaving it one short from winning even though Dack managed
to dig up an Auriok Salvagers. Clique plus Karakas cycled the Salvagers away and Deathblade took it home from there.
Dack Fayden plus Liquimetal Coating was just as good as it had been in Control Slaver, however, Dack alone was worse as there were fewer things I actually
wanted to discard. I would probably run only two or three of them in the future – starting with three to see it in action more often – replacing the
removed copies with Jace, the Mind Sculptor.
I didn’t draw Transmute Artifact particularly often, but I wished for it often enough to be pretty sure it would have earned its keep as a tutor for either
combo-pieces or utility artifacts had I done so. I would once again consider going down to three due to the lack game-breaking cards to fetch when drawn
without any synergistic other pieces, especially without Grim Monolith.
Similarly, the Bomberman combo itself seemed solid, especially as I was rarely unhappy to draw either the Spellbombs, the Trinket Mages, or the Salvagers
alone, just as I had hoped. In fact, the duo of Swords to Plowshares would likely have been better as just more Spellbombs. In addition, between all the
different utility artifacts and ways to access them, I felt much less of a need for additional disruption. Maybe a Vendilion Clique or two to have an even
better back up plan of beating down with dorks might be worth it.
I was happy with most of the silver bullets, though Umezawa’s Jitte seemed ambitious. I only ever stole it with Dack so it wouldn’t get active against me
so it’s unlikely I’d actually have wanted to draw my own.
The mana base worked perfectly, I never even had to cheat to get it to work in this deck, and Mox Opal was impressive acceleration that seemed to have
essentially no drawback in this list other than having to run the artifact lands, which I wanted to do anyway. Cavern of Souls in particular was extremely
impressive, winning the first game essentially on its own when Stoneblade had countermagic in hand with Jace in play. I’d definitely want to try out more
The real problem with this list, however, was how unthreatening Goblin Welder turned out to be. Yes, recurring Spellbombs was a cute way to defend myself
but nowhere close to broken as I still had to invest an artifact each time. Without the Strixes, it also seemed like it would be much harder to use Welder
to grind out advantages in the long run. I’d probably cut three of them from the deck if I were to develop this list further, keeping one mainly to see if
I’d be happy to draw it as a utility card once in a while.
All in all, I believe this list would need more significant changes than Control Slaver to be worth further development, moving relatively far away from
the original idea of building around Dack Fayden, Transmute Artifact, and Goblin Welder–especially since a finished product would need to make room for
Here’s where I’d likely continue testing with at this point:
What Is Next?
Well, that leaves us with three options: I can run Control Slaver through a more complete gauntlet now that I have a list that feels as if it has real
potential, staying true to the original idea of building around our triplet. I can also keep working on the Bomberman list, pitting the reworked version
against the same real gauntlet and seeing how far we have to stray from the original inspiration to get it to a point where I’d be happy to bring it to a
local event. Finally, there’s always the option to say “This has gone on long enough.” In that case I would leave these decks in the hands of you, my dear
readers, to work on and do with as you like and focus my articles on different endeavors. As always in this series, the choice is yours:
You have until August 2, so vote away!