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Casual Freakshow: Mono-Artifact Redux
By Dustin Alexander
A few weeks ago I posted an article describing how you, too, can make a mono-artifact deck that works and works well.

Now I'm going to give you a decklist for it that is Extended-legal, a little less casual, and far more lethal.

This deck design has been growing, changing, and flowering for quite some time but I believe it's hit a maturity that I feel is now worth sharing. Have I tried this in any extended tournaments? No. I'm not a tournament player. But if anyone would like to try something similar, I'd love to see the results.

The move from Type I to extended chops only three cards from the design: Zuran Orb, Tolarian Academy, and Strip Mine. The gains, however, are far greater as I'll explain below.

First, the land-base is moderately different (and is always being tweaked)...

2x Crystal Vein
1x Scorched Ruins
4x Urza's Mine
4x Urza's Power Plant
4x Urza's Tower
3x Wasteland

The non-Urza lands are always questionable choices, and obviously if you're going against someone playing a high quantity of bounce - or even any bounce - you're NOT going to want to run Scorched Ruins. I'd actually reccommend Rishadan Ports, but these six land slots are really open to modification.

Here's where the changes are significant and I'll go into detail with each card...

2x Amulet of Unmaking
...the deck could use some spot removal, but these haven't really proven their necessity just yet. I might change one of these back to a Predator, Flagship (which works moderately well), but these two slots really are open to alterations. You may want to add Cursed Scrolls.

2x Claws of Gix
...they don't do much more than sit there while in play, but sometimes they're authentically necessary. They're multi-function and are worth keeping for their versatility. In a pinch you can get a couple of extra life points while you set up your lock, or fizzle a Capsize (my personal favorite use).

1x Cursed Scroll
...had I more, I'd probably include another two of these. Invaluable. Good for frying little creatures that you're having trouble with, and serves as an alternate kill method.

3x Ensnaring Bridge
...key to the lock. Shuts down creatures almost entirely and allows you to gradually whittle your opponent away at your leisure. Really, just gives you time to sit there and have fun with your Temporal Apertures.

2x Grafted Skullcap
...run more if you can (I actually can't find two more). This is part of the pseudo-engine this deck has come to adopt. Their value is determined just by how effective it is at acquiring even more resources. You will eventually completely overpower your opponent - these are key in doing it.

4x Grim Monolith
...artifact mana. Period. Solid acceleration that parties well with the Thran Turbines and Voltaic Keys and gets you around some heinous situations I'll detail later.

4x Grindstone
...primary kill method. I could cut down but it's really important to consistently draw into these. Three just barely covers your bases - four is optimal. In the current heavily multicolor environment, you may want to run Millstones instead, but I find the 1cc on these is very good at slipping under countermagic. Millstone's no good to you if you can't put it into play.

1x Helm of Obedience
...fun card, and I'm tempted to put in more. This is a massive beating against more controllish blue decks, and will easily barrel through the deck. Oftentimes it will net you a Morphling, and nothing's more enjoyable than slipping your opponent's Morphling under the Ensnaring Bridge and beating them mercilessly with it.

2x Metalworker
...a nice burst of acceleration that flat-out empties your hand. They're really only any good to you if you draw one early, otherwise it's nearly a dead draw. Tempted to pull these out, but they don't hurt to have. At worst they're a chump blocker.

4x Null Brooch
...the final lock and key on this deck. Four IS optimal and it never hurts to have a couple in play in case they want to try to bait your countermagic. Play with these as you would if you had a handful of countermagic. They'll bait you to use these so they can force through a crippling card so be careful. These are absolutely essential.

1x Soldevi Digger
...the oft-ignored Achilles' Heel of the deck. Coupled with the Apertures, this will often let you draw back cards which were somehow wasted, either by Skullcap and Brooch or by your opponent. If you can get more and run more, by all means, do so, but I wouldn't suggest more than two or three. Once this is dispatched, though, an opponent can easily begin to destroy your other resources and you'll be powerless to stop them.

4x Temporal Aperture
...THE fun card in the deck, mostly just thins it out and lets you get more into play. It actually does help in that it will almost never draw you a useless card. It's fun to watch these pull each other out of your deck.

4x Thran Turbine
...multipurpose artifact mana for use with Grindstones, Scroll, Monoliths, Keys, etc. Just useful. Very good with the Monoliths.

4x Urza's Armor
...just essential. This absorbs most direct damage, weenies, and so forth. An extremely useful card whose cc is negligible in this deck.

4x Voltaic Key
...self-explanatory, and the biggest gain of moving this deck into Extended.

The deck, overall, is very solid with the Null Brooches completing the lock.

There are a couple of weaknesses that are worth addressing here (including a semi-mocking comment left on the las article).

Back to Basics; Armageddon; etc.: Generally won't be coming out fast enough to stop the deck. Even if your lands are locked down, the deck can still function pretty well on Grim Monoliths, Voltaic Keys, and Thran Turbines. Crippling land is nearly worthless against this deck.

Shatterstorm; Pulverize; etc.: Null Brooch. =) Seriously, this is all you need, and even if it won't cut it, your Soldevi Digger will make sure to alleviate whatever problems arise resulting from these.

I've actually played this against Turbo-Stasis and utterly wrecked it. The deck is effective in that there's no one piece you can knock out to really shut it all down, and even if you do cripple it, there's a fair chance it'll draw into another solution.

I haven't tried this deck against discard or some other designs, but I'm relatively certain it's just as resilient.

Like I said in the last one, I'd love any suggestions you may have. Please feel free to try it, modify it, e-mail me your altered decklists and designs.

Here's the summarized design:

2x Crystal Vein
1x Scorched Ruins
4x Urza's Mine
4x Urza's Power Plant
4x Urza's Tower
3x Wasteland
2x Amulet of Unmaking
2x Claws of Gix
1x Cursed Scroll
3x Ensnaring Bridge
2x Grafted Skullcap
4x Grim Monolith
4x Grindstone
1x Helm of Obedience
2x Metalworker
4x Null Brooch
1x Soldevi Digger
4x Temporal Aperture
4x Thran Turbine
4x Urza's Armor
4x Voltaic Key

-D. Alexander

Read More Articles by Dustin Alexander!

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