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Ironworking it in Modern

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

Years ago, when I chased the dream of getting on the train I went to every PTQ within an 8 hour radius of my little town in Kentucky. I saw a lot of middle America! Columbus, Ohio, my birthplace, and frequent PTQ spot for my grind was hosting a Kamigawa block qualifier, and it was the last one of the season. I played a lot of Red Green, Big Red and Tooth and Nail because I refused to play Affinity during the season, and my results were not stellar.

When there is a clear cut best deck, and you want to get on the tour, you should probably play that clear cut deck. Cedric Phillips had a lot of success with his Freshmaker deck, and I’m no where near Cedric in regards to skill level (then or now!) but not playing Affinity and going against the grain in regards to that likely cost me a lot of money.

Of course had I discovered the Krark-Clan Ironworks earlier in the season instead of right before the last qualifier of the season I may have gotten there. Who knows? Hindsight being 20/20 and all that. Anyways, I’m x-0-1 going into the last round of the Swiss, and my opponent was x-1. As it were his tiebreakers were not quite good enough to make sure he could top eight with a draw so we had to play it out. Understandable, I’ll just make my Ironworks, power out a quick Myr Incubator and crush his dreams. Easy Peasy right? That went to plan in game one, and game two I stumbled, his creatures were able to overwhelm me and we went to a deciding game three. I cast my Ironworks early, got my Incubator into play, and had enough to activate the card at the end of my opponent’s turn to attack for lethal.

His Blue Green deck though decided that I would not be advancing to the top eight this day. After removing the majority of my deck (I had to go all-in, there was no chance of going off, then going off again, as my deck did not have a Goblin Charbelcher in it as a back up plan.) to the Incubator, my opponent tapped two mana, showed me the Echoing Truth in his hand, and ended my day of gaming.

I really wish I could see this list again, but the best I can find is an old Standard deck from Worlds. My block deck looked a lot like this, but again, I missed out on Charbelcher tech.

Why am I talking about a format that has not been relevant for almost ten years? Well, the most recent Pro Tour was the Modern format, and while the talk of the event was all about UWR Control, Birthing Pod, Affinity and Blue Moon, there was a little golden nugget of a deck that caught my eye in the decklists that were published.

Yeah, Krark-Clan Ironworks put in work at the Pro Tour! I downloaded the decklist, saw what I was missing, and then started to price it out for online play. I was disheartened when I saw that price of Modern cards on MTGOtraders.com, and to justify my purchase of Mox Opal I had to have another deck to play with those cards in it. Thankfully Affinity is a thing still, and I had my second deck with them. I knew though that Ironworks was the deck that was going to get the most burn (or playtime or whatever) and I very excitedly started to play the deck in the Tournament Practice room to get to know it.

Previous versions of the Ironworks combo deck played out like this. Get a critical mass of Artifacts in play, play the Ironworks, sacrifice them all, cast Open the Vaults to get them all back, draw a lot of cards with enter the battlefield triggers, repeat the sacrifice to generate a ton of mana, and burn the opponent out with Banefire. That’s all well and good, but often times you’re spending a crap ton of time looking for the one card that can win the game for you, and sometimes you failed to get there while looking for your one outer.

The newer version had two win conditions. The main one of course is to hard cast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. You can do this early thanks to the power of Ironworks and Tron lands. The back up win is Tezzeret the Seeker. This powerful Planeswalker can give you extra mana with the untap ability, find you a clutch artifact with it’s second ability (against Living End it allowed me to find a Nihil Spellbomb, which made their Living End a do nothing.) or turns all your dorky mana rocks in to 5/5 monsters to battle through the attack step.

Let’s take a look at the list, and then see how the deck plays in a few two man queue matches!

My version of the deck has removed the Blood Moon and a Defense Grid from the sideboard. To me it makes little sense to cast Blood Moon while we are trying to assemble the Urzatron, and I wanted a little bit of a buffer against the graveyard decks of the format, hence the Nihil Spellbombs in the sideboard.

It’s time to see the deck in action!

Pretty good start to the video, I mean I paid two tickets and won a pack for doing nothing! Next week we’ll take a deeper look at KCI in Modern! Thanks for reading, and have a great Tuesday!

Joshua Claytor

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