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An Intimate Week with Ironworks

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

Yes, yes, I am back on the Ironworks grind. I know the last article I wrote I said that I would talk about the UR Breach deck a little bit more, but the deck just did not click with me. It was not nearly as much fun as the Ironworks deck so I decided to not write that article. Instead I started to grind out qualifier points for the MOCS (which will eventually happen again on MTGO, I’m just sure of it!) with my trusty stand by of Ironworks. I have sixteen points as of this writing, which is not bad, it gives me about two more weeks to trade everything to another account to try to grind another fifteen that I need for a promo Force of Will. Of those sixteen I got ten with Ironworks. I also got one point with Jason Clark’s reanimator list, four with Mono Blue Tron (I will write about that soon enough, the deck has become my default Modern deck.) and another point with a quirky all in style deck in Modern (I may write about it next time. Who knows? I mean it’s a thirty ticket Modern deck. Does anyone want to see anything about that?)

For this article I spent 7 days tracking my results with Ironworks. I had high hopes for the deck. Those seven days were a beating. While I may have won a handful of points, I lost much much more than I won. A smarter, stronger player would have turned away from the deck long before now, but I just loved playing it. After taking a look at my data I should have fallen in love with anything else. Splinter Twin, Affinity, UR Storm. Pretty much anything outside of BW tokens may have been a better choice.

Let’s take a look at the last decklist that I presented for Ironworks here on Legit.

My time with Ironworks is over now. I actually sold the Mox Opals and ended up finishing up Dredge and Belcher in Legacy and the aforementioned Mono Blue Tron deck in Modern. I enjoyed Ironworks, but I do not think I can recommend playing it. There are too many viable combo decks in the format. Splinter Twin is much more reliable. Blue Red Storm is faster, with its turn three kills. The decks critical turn is turn four, and even then you have to hope that Burn has not toasted you, Zoo has not let the animals out, and Affinity has not vomited out its entire hand on turn one. Still I pushed on with the deck, because it was a lot of fun for me to play. While grinding takes a lot of time, I feel it’s important to make the most out of my entertainment dollars with the decks that I am playing. Maybe that is why I tend to play quirky things like Reanimator, Ironworks and Belcher. I want decks that can win, and I want that deck to be able to make me think. I guess the decks that I do play are kinda competitive, but they are more like puzzles than anything else. They interact with the opponent (well, Belcher does not.) but force me to find the most optimal play each turn. They keep my attention, and with each game I play I strive to do better than I did the game before with each “puzzle” that is presented to me.

Ok, I’ve talked enough, let’s take a look at the stats I played over the intimate week I spent with Ironworks.

Event Stats

Over the course of seven days I played in 29 events. They were either 8 man queues or daily events. In those 29 events I complied a record of 20-31 over the 51 matches that I played. Combine that with 25 matches that I played in the previous article (with a record of 15-10) and we see that I played 76 matches with Ironworks.

What have I been doing with my life?

Overall, I had a record of 35 wins and 41 losses. That’s a 46 percent winning percentage. That’s not very good at all. It’s a lot better than I expected though, because there were some days when playing was just a slog. Just about every time I played against Twin they had the combo on turn four. Just about every time I was matched against Storm I watched them take a ten minute third turn and then died to Grapeshot. I swear playing against Ad Nauseam was the worst. I’d cast my Emrakul and they would kill with his annihilator trigger on the stack. (Note: Ad Nauseam does not make the list, as those matches were in the Tournament Practice room.) It was like I was being toyed with! It seems as combo decks go, this one did not match-up well with the other combo decks in the format. While Birthing Pod and Zoo may have gotten all the press, the combo decks in the Modern format are a real thing and you need to be prepared for them!

Deck Stats

This section will include stats from the previous article as well.

While I was playing Ironworks for those seven days I played against a wide range of decks. I played against the budget friendly in Soul Sisters. I battled the expensive URW control decks. I faced all of the top level decks in the format, and some of the weirder decks, like Black Green Zombies, Genesis Wave and Infect. I am comfortable in saying that I played against strong players with strong decks.

It just turns out I am not one of those strong players!

Here is a handy table with what I played against and what my win loss record was against each archetype. This table will include all 76 matches played. Please note that I did not differentiate between decks. If it had Pestermite and Splinter Twin in it, it’s all twin to me! Does not matter if it had Tarmogoyf or not.

Deck Win Loss
Splinter Twin 7 5
Blue Red Storm 1 2
Hatebears 2 0
Scapeshift 3 2
Affinity 1 5
Burn 1 2
Red Green Tron 2 0
Zoo 0 5
Merfolk 1 1
UWR Control 3 1
Duke Rock 1 3
Through the Breach 0 4
Elves 1 1
Living End 1 1
Black White Tokens 1 2
Soul Sisters 0 2
Jund 1 0
Red White Twin 1 0
Value Pod 1 0
Green Black Zombies 1 0
Melira Pod 1 0
Hexproof 1 0
Esper Mill 1 0
Life from the Loam Control 0 1
Blue Black Fae 0 1
Red Green Shamans 0 1
Infect 0 1
Mono Blue Tron 0 1
Standard Mono Blue Devotion* 1 0

*I played against this in the finals of an 8 man.

While this table shows a lot of things it most importantly shows our record against some of the most popular decks on MTGO. Mtgo-stats.com lists the following ten as the most popular Modern decks on MTGO right now. What was our record against the heavy hitters of the online metagame?

Deck Win Loss
Twin 7 5
Pod 1 0
Affinity 1 5
Storm 1 2
RG Tron 2 0
Scapeshift 3 2
Jund 1 0
Merfolk 1 1
Hexproof 1 0
URW Control 3 1
Totals 21 16

Taking the top ten decks into account I have a 56 percent win rate. If we take out the bad match-ups (Affinity), it jumps to a 66 percent win rate.  In my mind that is actually good news!   Granted I played against twenty nine unique decks, but the majority of the unique decks actually happened in the eight player queues.  It may be possible to try to metagame the tournament queues on MTGO.  If I know that I may not face Through the Breach (a horrible match-up) I can ignore it in my preparations for Daily Events, and focus on the popular deck that we do poorly against, Affinity.

Where do we go from here?

Personally I have given up on Ironworks. I enjoyed the deck a ton, but as you can see from the tables that I have listed, it has a harder time against Affinity. The matchup with Twin, while in my favor, is not as good as the 7-5 record would have one believe. That’s a hair above a coin flip match-up. The Storm match-up is also not great. While I may have moved past the deck, I did work on it a bit more before I sold off all the expensive cards for it in order to bankroll my degenerate Legacy addiction on MTGO. This list is the one that I have settled on for the foreseeable future (That will happen when I get my Moxen back!) and I believe in theory it will help attack the decks that made things miserable for us! Let’s take a look!

Change Log

Main Deck
-3 Mind Stone
-2 Thirst for Knowledge
+3 Talisman of Progress
+2 Remand

-2 Repeal
+1 Wear // Tear
+1 Hurkyl’s Recall

In the main deck it turned out that Mind Stone underperformed. Sure it was nice to draw an extra card every so often, but with Talisman of Progress you get a way to accelerate in to Ironworks, and the added benefit is this artifact helps you cast Open the Vaults. You trade a possible card drawer for more consistent mana. Seems okay on my end. The extra Remands were needed because the deck needs to be able to slow down the combo decks, and Thirst for Knowledge were just ok. They sometimes found what we needed, but often times it was not good enough. Two of them seemed weird anyways, and I would gladly trade them out for extra protection for our key spells.

In the sideboard we took out the useless Repeals for more artifact hate. Wear // Tear is still hanging out because of it’s versatility and the extra Recall can not only clean up the Affinity board, but it gives you extra value out of Wellsprings and Prisms in case we are having an issue with going off!

With all of this said, I realize that it may be weird to talk about a deck that I have moved on from. Do I think the deck can be strong in eight man queues? No I do not. The win percentage with all 29 decks added in shows that. The unknown metagame makes it harder for this deck to succeed. When we get a clearer picture of the metagame like we have in Daily Events, the deck performs better! With the additional hate cards maybe the deck can perform better against our true bad match-up in Affinity.

Next time I’ll be talking about the Modern deck that I am playing currently, Mono Blue Tron! If you liked this little series on Ironworks and would like to see more like it, please let me know in the comments!

Joshua Claytor

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