Artisan Brewery: Fbl-TWHIP

Nick Lambert1710169200

It's been longer than we'd care to admit, but finally, the Artisan Brewery returns! And for the triumphant reappearance, we bring you a challenge made for MTG Nexus' very own catbug, Kaburi. When brainstorming for new silly brew ideas, the Kabster came up with a deck based on Fblthp, the Lost, and Proteus Staff. When asked for clarification, he stated the only two rules were that the budget remained under $250, and Fblthp can be the only creature spell we cast. Well, this series has done harder things with odder restrictions (looking at you, scrabble decks), so let's get the party started.

When we look at such a specific interaction, it's not enough that we use it just to give a bit of extra card draw. After all, drawing cards isn't exactly a win by itself, and while we could go the Jace, Wielder of Mysteries route, that seems a bit too easy. Instead, what if we used the fact that a creature is entering the battlefield just happens to be our commander to win? You guessed it, this is a secret Voltron deck!

A Voltron deck, for those amongst our readers who are unfamiliar, is modeled after the legendary anime Voltron. It involves equipping and/or enchanting the voltron target with enough things to make the creature a lethal threat. In the case of this specific deck, it's going to be almost exclusively equipment cards that help pump Fblthp. Reader, you may not know this, but there are a startling amount of equipment spells that have rules text reading "whenever a creature comes into play under your control, you may attach this card to it," or some variant of that text. Some of those cards have specific creature type restrictions, so aside from Obsidian Axe (which we're using for its haste ability), we'll be steering away from that subset.

Material Components

First up for these particular weapons and trinkets, we have the oft-reprinted Hero's Blade. Not only will its triggered ability save us 4 mana every time we send Fblthp through the staff journey, but it also gives us a significant power boost. Next up, we bring in Ronin Warclub, which by itself is a worse version of Hero's Blade, but is still helpful due to this triggered ability. Sai of the Shinobi and Stormrider Rig are two cards that are basically the same card, but in a strategy this narrow, we need all the redundancy we can get.

Next on this list is Hammer of Nazahn, which has sort of an inverse of the normal ability we've talked about, as it lets the equipment be attached when another equipment drops in. Then we have Crown of Gondor, which may seem odd; after all, it only gives a +1/+1 bonus in this deck, right? Spoiler alert, that may not stay the case–but we'll get to that in a bit. The main reason we're throwing it in is to make ourselves the monarch and equip it for cheaper than normal. Sword of the Meek makes an appearance as well, as we may be able to sacrifice it to fuel other abilities in the deck; but again, that's for later. Our last two equipment cards serve mostly as protection, but also as additional haste enablers: Swiftfoot Boots and Strider Harness. While neither of these have an auto-equip feature, their costs are low enough that it won't cause us any real problems.

Don't think this is the end of our artifact run just because we don't have any other equipment; we still have plenty to go. We of course have some of the typical ramp you'd expect, like Sol Ring, Thought Vessel, Sapphire Medallion, and Gilded Lotus to help us get that mana up for some of our more expensive spells. But we have a few more utility or specific artifacts to go, so let's start with the cards that help as tutors or strategy acceleration.

Helping Hands

A stranger or more obscure example of this is Mangara's Tome, which gives us a very specific way to search for cards we need. It's fairly reminiscent of Diabolic Revelation, which we, of course, can't play here. In a similar vein, we have Planar Bridge, Planar Portal, Vexing Puzzlebox, and Ring of Three Wishes. Panharmonicon of course gives us extra trigger resolutions, and Unwinding Clock will let us get multiple uses out of the Proteus staff, not to mention mana rocks. Fraying line gives us a very specific board wipe option, and since we only have to cast one creature, it becomes much easier to let it happen. As for additional protection, we have Ingenuity Engine, which has the added bonus of being a sacrifice outlet for Sword of the Meek.

Our final artifacts fill a little bit of the creature void we need; after all, relying on just one, even with protection around, can bite us square in the buttocks. Genesis Chamber gives us regular access to small blockers, especially considering we plan to send Fblthp through our deck at least once per turn. Eye of Malcator is phenomenal for us, as we have 28 total artifacts we can cast, plus our token options. Along a similar line is Angel's Tomb, which helps fill our flying blocker needs. Last, but not least, Trading Post gets to fill a lovely multi-purpose space, giving us Goat tokens, or another sacrifice outlet for Sword of the Meek.

Now that we've gotten through our lengthy artifact list, we can move on to the rest of our powerhouse (maybe?) deck. As stated before, this is something of a narrow strategy, so we'll get started with the non-artifact tutors. Quick heads up, readers: this is where a significant part of our fiscal budget gets used, because artifact tutors seem to be darned expensive. Thanks, capitalism! Anyway, first up on the docket is a classic: Tezzeret the Seeker, letting us get instant access to Proteus Staff, plus a possible combat win with all of our artifacts. Another variant of this same character, Tezzeret, Artifice Master, technically builds to a tutor with it's ultimate ability. Fabricate, Reshape, Long-Term Plans, Whir of Invention, Archmage Ascension, Parallel Thoughts, Library of Lat-Nam, and Inventors' Fair all fill the rest of these slots.

Obviously, the tutors will help us get some consistency with our main strategy, but there's always the chance we could take extra time to draw into them. Therefore, we can and should spend most of the rest of our space on cards to help get us into either the tutors, or the cards we would normally tutor. Both the Invasion of Arcavios and Invasion of Vryn help us get there, though in different ways. Jace, Mirror Mage gives us ample opportunity to pre-plan our draws, which is instrumental for getting where we want to be. Then, we have some of the hand replacement spells, like Day's Undoing, Game Plan, Windfall, and Commit//Memory. Despite these big draw spells, we'd be remiss not to have some more typical draw spells, like Ponder, Preordain, Mystic Remora, and Dictate of Kruphix.

Our last highlight section goes out to protecting ourselves, as we will need as much safety net as we can get. Since this is absolutely an "eggs in one basket" kind of deck, counter spells or pseudo-counter spells are going to be among the best things we can use. We've already seen Commit//Memory, but we also have Cryptic Command, Counterspell, Disallow, and Bane's Contingency. The most impressive of the counter spells we're including, however, may just be Access Denied. We may not get a full board's worth of creatures out of it, but if we're lucky we could get at least five or six off of a big spell.

Next in the protection bracket is removal. Now, Blue magic is not quite known for killing creatures, but that doesn't mean we have no removal options available here. We have some targeted bounce spells, like Snap, to remove particular irritants. Then, if we have to go mostly shields down, we can bounce all attacking creatures with Aetherize or Aetherspouts. You may be asking, reader, what if our opponents aren't attacking, but still have a powerful board presence or are using creatures to do absurd combos? Well, in that case we bring in the Evacuation. Our real hope, truthfully, is that we'll be left alone for a bit, but there's still always the chance we'll need to blindside our opponents with mass removal. And once we play just one, there's always the option to bluff the rest.

If Money was no Object

In the beginning, we discussed how the budget was one of the major conditions for building this deck. If that's not as much of a concern for you, we do have some options to upgrade a few things. The most expensive example would be Transmute Artifact, with a neat little price tag of over $300 on average. Next, we could always go with Intuition, at around $140 For more removal or counter magic, we could go with Force of Will, Pact of Negation, or Cyclonic Rift, all with pretty solid price tags. But, if you don't have or want to spend the money on big bling like these, we've got some pretty comparable options already in the list.


That's it for this time, Brewers! As always, the full list can be found below. While we can't promise an exact consistency due to life, we do promise to do our best to be a bit more consistent with this article series. We already have two more in the queue to be polished and published, so they should be out rather soon. Thanks for reading, and if you have any deck suggestions either for this list or for future lists, slap them down into the comments!