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Metal Machine Music

Written by Scott Campbell on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

Metal Machine Music

Scott Campbell

Scott Campbell, also known as MTGPackFoils, has played Magic: the Gathering since Revised. He mostly plays Azorius based Control, or Golgari based Midrange decks. He also enjoys MLB, D&D, and is a former DJ.

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Legit MTG. I hope your pulls from Core Set 2021 have been great, and lead to a lot of deck ideas for you. When you’re building a deck have you ever wanted to build around a theme, or make the theme of the deck match the character your deck idea is based on? I’ve had a few ideas like that in recent years. You may remember my article from a few months ago titled “The Harbinger of Doom” based around Nahiri, the Harbinger, and her bringing Emrakul with her to destroy her foes. Well today I have another article based on one of my favorite planeswalkers ever made. Today’s focus will be on Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas.

Tezzeret is from the plane of Alara, and has origins on the shard of Esper. A mage who grafted the metal known as etherium onto his right arm he continues to seek perfection of both body and mind. He was in the service of Nicol Bolas, and (along with Dovin Baan) the leader of The Consul on Kaladesh. Stealing the creation of the Planar Bridge, and storing it in himself, he assisted Nicol Bolas in invading the plane of Ravnica, and has fled to plot another scheme in the future. I’ve always liked him as a villain as he did not appear to be some god-like monster (Nicol Bolas), and had more character depth behind him. He wants power, wants to rule, and seeks to be the perfect version of himself. Tezzerert could, if no one stopped him, become the most powerful planeswalker in the multiverse. I wonder if he’ll get there one day. I’m sure we’ll return to planes with a lot of artifacts sooner than later. Maybe we’ll see him when we return to New Phyrexia, or Alara? Only time will tell.

On April 4th, 2016 Sword of the Meek was removed from the Modern banned & restricted list. We were finally able to build a deck containing that card, and Thopter Foundry, which provided a combo to constantly have flying creatures as well as gaining a lot of life depending on the amount of mana you had available. Initially there were builds revolving around Gifts Ungiven however the power level of Modern at the time made the deck too dependent on the combo, and it did not hold a lot of ground for too long. In the fall of that same year the Commander line reprinted Thopter Foundry in the Invent Superiority deck lead by Breya, Etherium Shaper, and brought new interest to the combo.

However it wasn’t until the release of Aether Revolt, and the printing of Fatal Push that the deck idea could really start taking shape. Modern was a fast format then (and still is now although for other reasons), and having ways to deal with early threats is something a fair deck has to have. Tezzerator decks have always tried to play a fair game trading resources, and setting up a one-shot kill, or lock the opponent out of the game, since before Modern became a format. Over time there have been some cards banned from the format that would work in this deck (namely Mox Opal), and while the metagame has shifted to a degree there still may be room for a Whir of Invention deck without having to resort to Urza, Lord High Artificer

Let’s take a look.



How the deck works

Your goal is to assemble your mana base while disrupting your opponent, and setting up your own defenses. Once you have that established attempt to assemble your combo, and either begin taking all of the turns, or use Tezzeret’s ultimate ability to one-shot your opponent. Using cards like Ensnaring Bridge, Damnation, and Fatal Push can help you fend off opposing aggro decks you will need to find a way to address Karn, the Great Creator pre-sideboard. This card in particular can shut down your game as you don’t have any creatures before sideboard that can attack into Karn in order to unlock your artifacts so use Assassin’s Trophy with care.

Why this may be for you

  • Prison style decks pique your interest as it’s a different way to play Magic.
  • A non-aggro, non-mill artifact based deck feels unique and worth trying.
  • Taking infinite turns is appealing.
  • You also like Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

Why this may not be for you

  • You don’t prefer this strategy. That’s okay.
  • Aggro can be difficult to deal with.
  • Your deck’s reliance on permanents in play makes it too susceptible to removal spells found in Midrange decks.
  • Lack of space for Field of Ruin makes the Big Mana decks a challenge.

While the deck does have flaws there are ways to help address those in some other colors. As you notice we have a slight splash of green in the deck, but let’s look at what some of the other colors can provide.

Adding White

Adding white provides several options for the deck that may seem to push it beyond its initial theme. White has some of the best removal available in the game.

Dispatch: For you it should be easy to achieve Metalcraft. Even without Mox Opal you still have 16 artifacts in the main deck. Being able to exile another creature without any drawback (such as the one from Path To Exile) is only going to benefit you.

Timely Reinforcements: One of my favorite cards, and a solid “catch up” card against aggro. Keep in mind that the 1/1 creatures made with this will trigger Sword of the Meek if it’s in your graveyard.

Dovin’s Veto: With the focus being on artifacts, and discard spells, there’s not a lot of room for counterspells. This coming from the sideboard can help in specific matchups.

Despark: While like the card above this requires two colors to use it can exile problem permanents. Imagine removing an opposing planeswalker, or an Eldrazi before it can attack? Pack a few of these in the board to make it happen.

Adding Red

Red, a color devoted more to passion, anger, and outbursts than perhaps any other can fit here. Tezzeret did land on the shard of Grixis early on in his life as a planeswalker so this color is not unfamiliar to him at all.

Ghirapur Aether Grid: This card can deal with problems such as Karn, the Great Creator as it’s the enchantment that causes the artifacts to tap.

Goblin Engineer: This can get your Sword of the Meek in the graveyard allowing for it to be returned when sacrificing an artifact to your Thopter Foundry. Conversely it can return a Thopter Foundry, or a Time Sieve allowing you to use them again.

Dreadbore: Removing planeswalkers or creatures in a cheap, and efficient way will help you achieve victory. Don’t sleep on this card.

Pillage: Yes it costs more than one red, however this card gets around Veil of Summer against Big-Mana decks. It can also deal with problematic artifacts.

Kuldotha Rebirth: Now this one might seem weird, however when there are no more counters on a card like Pentad Prism you can put it to use making three 1/1 Goblins. It might not happen often, but having those on the board can pressure your opponent’s planeswalkers, or at the very least block for you. Oh, and when they enter it triggers Sword of the Meek too.

In Conclusion

While Modern may not appear to have a lot of room to brew this is truly an opportunity to re-examine the format for options currently not at the top of the standings. Even if the deck only reaches the levels of your local FNM it at the very least gives something for your opponents to consider going forward, and you may still be able to obtain several wins with the deck. During a pandemic it may be challenging to brew a new deck in paper, but just like all villains when making new schemes time is your ally. Use it wisely. 

What are your thoughts on this week’s deck? What cards did I miss? Have you tried playing this, and if so what are some tips you have for others? Leave your comments below, and follow me on both Twitter as well as Facebook.

Next Week

Make sure to tune in next week as I’ll discuss a new card from Core Set 2021 that will be impacting Modern, and one the game’s most beloved cards.

Until then…

TAP MORE MANA!!!

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