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BMoor's Magic The Gathering Deck Garage
"Puresteel Pounders"
October 21, 2011
 

Welcome back to the Deck Garage, folks! As the gloom of Innistrad's night falls over the Magic community, not everybody is embracing the horrific Halloween spirit just yet. Scars of Mirrodin block got us all nostalgic for the days of Darksteel Forge and artifact tricks, and some of use aren't ready to put away our toys yet. Mirrodin was a deeply nostalgic set for me, so as much as I've been loving the ghoulish gothic horror of Innistrad, I'm always ready to tinker with a clockwork contraption gleaming in the light of Mirrodin's five suns.

--------------

Heya, I sent a pair of decks in last week, but I'm gradually figuring those out as I read more of your articles. This one here, though, has got me completely stumped, and I know how much you love a good challenge!

Creatures:

x4 Master Transmuter
x4 Puresteel Paladin
x4 Ornithopter
x3 Pathrazer of Ulamog

x1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre

Spells:

x4 Fabricate

Artifact Equip:
x4 Argentum Armor

x4 Paradise Mantle

x4 Lightning Greaves
x4 Deathrender

Other Artifacts:
x1 Darksteel Forge

Lands:
x4 Ancient Den
x4 Seat of the Synod
x4 Darksteel Citadel
x4 Glimmervoid
x4 Tundra
x2 Plains
x2 Island

I started with the bright idea of a Pathrazer of Ulamog + Argentum Armor combo. I reckoned that Master Transmuter + Puresteel Paladin was a nifty combo, sending Ornithopters and Paradise Mantles back into my hand, in return for free Argentum Armor, Lightning Greaves, and Deathrender. Then I would simply replay the 0 mana cost Paradise Mantles and Ornithopters, drawing extra cards (in the case of the Paradise Mantles).

Fabricate would help to bring in whichever Artifacts I was in need of, as well as the Darksteel Forge, which would protect all of my various equipments and creatures easily, thanks to the Master Transmuter. The one problem I am having trying to make it all work is: how to bring in the Ulamogs?

I've looked at numerous options. Deathrender on a Master Transmuter, Puresteel Paladin, or Ornithopter, would be a fun trick, but not likely to work more than once. I figured that I'd have to take matters into my own hands, and started looking for a way to sacrifice a creature with the Deathrender equipped, in order to bring the Ulamogs into play. Substituting the Ornithopters for Heap Dolls was the cheapest option, mana-wise, but left me with no flying creatures. There don't seem to be any cheap, flying artifact creatures that can sacrifice themselves. (if Ornithopter could sacrifice itself, it would fill the requirement perfectly, and my problem would be completely solved).

Swapping out the Paradise Mantles for something that grants flying or reach, means I have less mana generation, and less 0 cost artifacts to swing around with my Transmuters. Swapping out the Lightning Greaves would leave my Ulamogs vulnerable to spells and abilities. And swapping out the Deathrenders means I have no cheap way to play them.

Culling Dias and Grafted Wargear didn't quite seem to fit the bill either. It's starting to look like my best option is simply to toss in a copy of Akroma's Memorial, and burn a second Fabricate on it. Otherwise, I could simply use Broodstar instead of Ulamogs, but that's missing the whole point of this deck.

I'd really like to make this work, without having to pay for the Ulamogs up-front. Is there anything you can think of to bring them into play?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A puzzler involving metallic components and how they interlock? Do I have to get the horseshoe out from between the rings? No, that's a different metal puzzle.

So, we're already halfway there. We've alread
y got Puresteel Paladin making Argentum Armor cost zero to equip, and Master Transmuter to cheat the casting cost as well. Ornithipter and Paradise Mantle supply the metalcraft and the artifact to Transmute, and then we drop whatever artifacts we want. Our ultimate goal is to drop a massive Eldrazi, equip it with the Armor, and then we have a creature that 16/16 at the smallest and forces our opponent to sacrifice several permanents plus one we choose ourselves. The chink in the plan is that the Eldrazi, despite being colorless, are not artifacts and therefore can't be dropped into play with the Transmuter like Darksteel Forge can. How to cheat one out then?

Well, Deathrender is half of the equation, but the other half is the creature wielding Deathrender dying. We can't rely on an opponent to aim their kill spell at the one creature we've made it apparent that we want to die, and we currently have no way of self-terminating our Deathrending patsy. We need a card that lets you sacrifice a creature... or an artifact, since our deck is full of artifact creatures like Ornithopter. Luckily, there are several classes of cards that let us do just that.

Fourth Class: The Quick and Dirty Approach
Disenchant, Dispeller's Capsule, etc.

This is the simplest answer. You want your creature dead? Kill it! White has plenty of creature removal, but almost none of it actually kills a creature-- most of it exiles its target, puts it back in your library, or leaves it in play with an Aura on it. Blue is equally bad at killing creatures and artifacts. So I stuck with artifact kill for this section
, as it's something you should probably have anyway. If you have a decent reason to maindeck a Disenchant effect, then by all means you should. The only problem with this section is the card disadvantage. You're pointing a kill spell at your own creature, and that's something that should always make you step back and question your strategy.

Third Class: The Confusing Approach
Reweave, Polymorph

I'm amused with myself that I found a decent use for these! Usually these cards only find their way into decks built around them-- the only cards in your library they can hit are the one or two you're hoping to cheat out, and the rest are non[X] ways to put an [X] token into play. So, when your opponent sees you play one of these, he'll erroneously assume that you're using it to cheat out something massive. And in a roundabout way, you are, except instead of hoping to hit something off the top, you're hitting the creature that was wielding the Deathrender and dropping your fatty into play from your hand-- whatever you rip off the top is all gravy.
Like the Disenchant above, this has the secondary effect of giving you a card that can be pointed at problem spots on your opponent's side of the board. But doing that with these runs the risk of giving your opponent an even more fearsome card for free, so as removal, I'd label them Emergency Use Only.

Second Class: The Alternative Fuel Approach
Thopter Foundry, Time Sieve, Vivisection


These are a slightly better choice than the s
pells in Third Class simply because the sacrifice occurs when the spell or ability is put on the stack instead of when it resolves. So, after a few games, once your opponent has seen your combo go off, he won't be able to just counter the Polymorph to stop you from going off. The do have a bit in common, though, to the extent that I consider lumping Polymorph et al. in with these. After all, Vivisection is also a 3U sorcery, and Thopter Foundry and Time Sieve are both normally seen in other combo decks. But since the Foundry and Sieve hit play several turns before you're actually ready to sacrifice the creature with the Deathrender, they're even better at bluffing the other folks at the table about what sort of combo you're actually attempting to pull off.
These cards are all a cut above Third Class, though, in that they allow you to trade your creature for a known quantity instead of a randomly-determined one. But Time Sieve requiring FIVE artifacts is awfully steep a price for a deck that doesn't run Open the Vaults, and it even requires you to splash black. I'd go with the Foundry out of any of these cards, or Vivisection depending on how many extra cards you typically manage to draw off of Puresteel Paladin.
And speaking of Puresteel Paladin...

First Class: The Synergistic Approach
Piston Sledge, Demonmail Hauberk, Grafted Wargear

This is the most obvious solution. You're
already running a deck based off Equipment. And since the Paladin grants all Equipment "Equip 0" instead of replacing their Equip costs with 0, you can still choose to pay the cost even with the Paladin out. You can even sacrifice your last creature to the Hauberk or Sledge-- since you can pay to Equip something onto its current wielder, the target for the ability will be legal when you declare it, then you pay the cost of sacking the target. Grafted Wargear is less forgiving. Since you need to actually move it to another creature, you can't just Equip it to the creature wearing it... but you can use Master Transmuter to return it to your hand, "unequipping" it that way.

And thus we see the enduring charm of artifact-based decks. Like the great clockwork machines they depict in their art, a little scrapyard delving quickly reveals a flood of new interactions and interlocking pieces. I can hardly wait to go back to Mirrodin again!

Oh wait, it's Phyrexia now. Poop. Oh well...

Good luck!

~BMoor

First Class: The Synergistic Approach

 

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