Who wants some swords?

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Post by OCPunisher » 8 months ago

I'm having some trouble trying to put together a balanced, combat-focused artifact deck. Specifically, I wanted to include a bunch of Swords of X and Y. At first, I tried Traxos because the colorless aspect was appealing, but the card pool was so narrow that I felt required to play too many cards that just didn't deserve it. Then, I saw an Urza list (here) with a heavy equipment theme that looked like a fun way to play a commander without being too broken, but it's hard to find a game because the commander scares people off, even if I flip the deck over and show it to the table. So, I'm wondering if I should try yet another commander, or do more to neuter Urza's upside. What say you?
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Post by WizardMN » 8 months ago

It might not be the most ideal deck, but I used to have a Thassa, God of the Sea deck that did decently well with the Swords package you are talking about. The list is here.

I ended up taking her apart for a variety of reasons but I always had fun playing her. And you can certainly tweak the deck to get rid of some of the more expensive cards. Though Invoke Prejudice is nice for being the best card in the game that turns on Thassa by itself since it is on curve. Mind Over Matter does it, but it is 6 mana and doesn't necessarily play into the deck as well. And Leviathan is just terrible.

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Post by lyonhaert » 8 months ago

Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas was going to be my artifact-based voltron deck because of built-in double strike and vigilance, among other reasons.

The Urza idea is pretty funny, I think. I like it when somebody goes, "Okay, everybody is doing ____ with this commander... what else can it do?" Too bad everybody is shunning it.
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Post by Sharpened » 8 months ago

Combat, equipment and artifact focused? Sounds like Boros through and through.

Akiri, Line-Slinger // Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder is the partnership I'd look at. Rewarded for more artifacts and the ability to doublestrike with swords? Yes please.

But Tiana, Ship's Caretaker is an option as well, and there's a lot of Boros goodness. Gerrard, Weatherlight Hero would likely be in the 99.

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Post by OCPunisher » 8 months ago

lyonhaert wrote:
8 months ago
The Urza idea is pretty funny, I think. I like it when somebody goes, "Okay, everybody is doing ____ with this commander... what else can it do?" Too bad everybody is shunning it.
Credit where it's due: I got the idea from an MTG Muddstah video. Can't remember the exact details off-hand, but it's not hard to search up on the Youtube page.
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Post by pokken » 8 months ago

You might enjoy a look at equipment sub-themed Affinity deck:
https://deckbox.org/sets/2471549

It could easily have more (having sword of the meek, war and peace, dowsing dagger and cranial plating).

I've been really enjoying the artifacty stuff that you get with the sans-green colors. While I don't play stoneforge, I could, and goblin engineer is awesome with sword of the meek (and pretty solid with other swords, really, winds up being cheap).

You also get dockside extortionist and teshar, ancestor's apostle which are exceptional together.

Partners are really great for equipment as well since you have more bodies available. And of course both Tymna and Ludevic payoff for combat damage, which is awesome.
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Post by WizardMN » 8 months ago

If you do want to go with Boros (I mentioned Thassa above since you mentioned Urza), I think the Tiana suggestion is pretty good. Gerrard isn't bad to include in there either. I do have a deck built around Gisela that is focused on equipment. That list is here. It likely isn't exactly what you are looking for, but could give some insight into certain cards to include.

To your question about powering down Urza: I think that is a fine plan but really only works with an established playgroup (and, likely, only after a couple games). Urza is just another in a line of commanders that have a reputation so you could build the deck you want and tell your group what it isn't and then hope they believe you. But, there is only so much you can do to mitigate the "kill on sight" mentality people have for Urza.

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Post by MeowZeDung » 8 months ago

Boros definitely works great with equipment. I like Akiri, Line-Slinger with a partner of relevant color identity or effect for a voltron build.

If you want to stick with the colorless route Hope of Ghirapur could be interesting since your equipment sticks around when it dies and it's not expensive even with commander tax.

Or, if you want to go mono blue but not as bonkers as Urza, maybe Padeem, Consul of Innovation? He makes your equipment tough to remove and you can get some card draw out of him too with proper deckbuilding choices (honestly, a 4 cmc artifact will be enough in a lot of games).

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Post by ISBPathfinder » 8 months ago

Mono white often lacks card draw and has tutor capabilities for equipment. Some that come to mind quickly for me that carry swords and stuff nicely:

Kemba, Kha Regent - Gives you more bodies and brings her up in size / gives card advantage.
Sram, Senior Edificer - Lots of card advantage here. He probably doesn't specifically want or need a bunch of swords but the swords are probably fine here.
Gisela, the Broken Blade - Decent body with evasion and curves into swords quite naturally.

I have also used equipment in a variety of other decks. I have a Heliod deck where mana ramping and land untapping swords are great. I have a Bruna deck where I try to draw cards and pick up some extra lands. I have done some interesting things with Odric with some of the less common equipment where you can potentially force combat as you want or force them through.

When it comes to mono white I find that I often value ramping lands via Sword of the Animist / Dowsing Dagger and draw from Mask of Memory / Sword of Fire and Ice.
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Post by Hermes_ » 8 months ago

I have a voltron AKIRI, LINE-SLINGER that runs the swords, at least the ones I own. It has a low mana curve with the highest being eldrazi conscription. She also tends to really scary really fast,so it may paint a target on your head. One equipment that really knocks it out of the field is trailblazer's boots. 9 times out of ten,that's what I tutor for if i don't already have it out.
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Post by Mookie » 8 months ago

I'll throw out Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith and Balan, Wandering Knight as options - they're pretty much built to carry piles of equipment. Nazhahn provides card advantage and toolboxing, while Balan provides mana advantage by cheating on equip costs and double strike for the Swords of X & Y.

I also feel obligated to throw out Thada Adel, Acquisitor and Samut, Voice of Dissent as options - for Thada, Islandwalk is pretty good evasion, and, like the Swords, she really wants to be dealing combat damage to your opponents. Smaller power makes her a worse voltron base.... but also means you'll get more triggers. Meanwhile, Samut is fantastic at carrying swords and other equipment, and can also provide haste to Steel Hellkite and any other artifact beaters you may be running.

Padeem, Consul of Innovation also sounds amusing - throw Swiftfoot Boots on her and your equipment become really hard to get off the table. I've also seen Kefnet the Mindful voltron decks, although the natural evasion, large size, and card advantage make swords a bit less necessary.

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Post by darrenhabib » 8 months ago

I have some staples I like to play in equipment decks, and indeed the color-pie of them determine my commander choices.
Either straight Boros or an additional complimenting color like Jeskai, Naya, Mardu.

Of course because once in Boros then Sunforger becomes very appealing and the deck tends to further fill out with focused interaction around instants that can be searched up by it.

Akiri, Line-Slinger has already been mentioned and can partner up with other colors if you want to have other colors. The point of a cheap commander like Akiri, Line-Slinger is that you can have access to a creature to equip your equipment to. There is nothing worse than having equipment on the battlefield and not being able to get value from them, say after a creature board wipe.

One of my favorite things to do is to search for Blade of Selves with Stoneforge Mystic or Godo, Bandit Warlord and then attach and attack to trigger multiple times to get most/all of your Swords.

Being able to equip at instant speed and without needing too much mana is also an under appreciated element of Magic. That's why I like Brass Squire, Auriok Windwalker, Balan, Wandering Knight. Especially with the Swords as they offer color protection, so people really can't cast removal if you can protect them at instant speed.
Leonin Shikari does allow you to do this as well, but I don't like that it doesn't reduce the cost of equipping so ended up cutting it from my equipment decks.

Breya, Etherium Shaper could be an option as she does create two additional 1/1's and these can be used to equip if she herself is removed.
Kykar, Wind's Fury is similar with being able to create additional creature to equip.
The thing is that it feels so bad for your opponent to use removal on token creatures that often you are going to get value from your equipment.
Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale is just a bit on the expensive side, but the abilities are really great.

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Post by Gashnaw » 8 months ago

Tracks is nice. Other options for voltron are
Rafiq of the the many
ruhan of the fomori
Syr Gwyn, hero of Ashvale

There are more options, I did see an atarka, world render and Aurelia, the warleader voltron decks too.

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Post by Serenade » 8 months ago

Gerrard

Wrath, equip to manlands, swing
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Post by Myllior » 8 months ago

It partially depends on the degree to which you want the Swords to be the focus of the deck. If you want them to the stars, then Double Strike would be my highest priority for choice of commander, since it would allow for more sword triggers. Note that Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder wouldn't be a good choice in this instance, since his ability targets and so is blocked by Protection from White or Red, which five of the seven swords grant (Fire, Light, War/Peace, Justice, Sinew).
For this kind of deck I'd probably choose Rafiq of the Many, especially since adding blue's artifact tutors to white's equipment-specific tutors will make it much easier to find your Swords. (I am heavily biased towards everything Bant though, so take that with a grain of salt :P ).

If you wanted a lesser, but still significant, focus on the Swords, you could go for Akiri, Line Slinger // Silas Renn, Seeker Adept to add recursion to the artifacts-matter angle.
Mookie wrote:
8 months ago
I've also seen Kefnet the Mindful voltron decks, although the natural evasion, large size, and card advantage make swords a bit less necessary.
While I only run Sword of Fire and Ice|DST in my Kefnet voltron deck, as it's the only one I own, I can attest to this. While he can make good use of the card draw and mana from SoFaI and SoFaF respectively, they're not cards I would miss, as he can abuse a large number of other equipment to much more devastating effect.

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Post by bobthefunny » 8 months ago

So, I've made a lot of Voltron decks, and really - almost any Commander can effectively Voltron. So far I've done Cromat, Tibor and Lumia, Roon of the hidden Realm, Purraj of Urborg, Daxos of Meletis, Lazav, Dimir Mastermind, Karlov, of the Ghost Coucil, Vaevictis Asmadi, Jenara, Asura of War. Probably several others who I've forgotten. T&L and Daxos have probably been the most fun builds so far. I also have some experience with my brother's decks, and helping some friends build some, and some other powerhouses can include Godo, Bandit Warlord, Glissa, the Traitor, Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer, Sliver Queen (nat 7 power), Gisela, Blade of Goldnight, Bruna, Light alabaster, Aurelia, the warleader, and Thrun, the last Troll.

Everyone knows that Commanders with a natural 7 power (or able to get there) are strong for the 3 hit kill, but Commanders with a natural 5 power are also strong - a lot of equipment (Loxodon Warhammer, O-Naginata) give +3 power, which works well if you've hit unbuffed previously - 5+8+8 = 21. This is on top of swords bringing them to the 7 power mark as well.

Your best colors will be White and Blue, by far - Both colors give you tutoring, and recursion to an excellent degree. Blue gives you some additional copy/clone effects if you want to play with doubling up certain swords, and if you want to run time magic, some extra combats and 'haste'. Red can also be beneficial with some tutoring, recursion, and extra combat steps - plus some excellent haste sources.

White obviously gets you Stoneforge mystic, and its budget cousin Relic Seeker. Steelshaper Apprentice can be great as well, because you first go get boots, then he's a 5 mana buyback tutor that can block. Sun Titan is some obvious recursion, but I've found Salvage Scout to be fantastic as well, since with Sword of Light and Shadow they'll protect each other. Leonin Shikari and Puresteel Paladin are of course worth their weight in gold. Marshal's Anthem is always great to bring back all of your tutor and artifact recursion guys, to get the board rebuilt again very quickly. Reconnaissance is great to keep a defensive presence up, but doesn't work well with the pro-white swords, or sources of shroud.

If you add blue, don't forget to add Trophy Mage, as it can get all the swords, plus things like Loxodon Warhammer or Sword of Vengeance, as well as your regular rocks, and Sculpting Steel, etc. Teferi's Veil can be hit or miss depending on your playstyle. It can be great to protect your guys and your equipment from wrath effects, but sometimes it's better to have something granting vigilance so that you can keep your guys for defense as well. I've had a lot of fun with Phyrexian Metamorph by flashing it in via Winding Canyons as an equippment and attaching at instant speed with Shikari.

On the red side of things, obviously there's Godo, Scrap Mastery, Daretti, Goblin Welder, etc - but two prime cards that pack a punch are Seize the Day and Psychotic Fury. From new cards, Embercleave has looked like a potential interesting addition to the package. On the more fun side, I've never not had fun after dropping a Bludgeon Brawl.

If you choose to go green, a powerful add can be Bow of Nylea - since a lot of equipment can give trample, the combo with Deathtouch makes it very difficult to block.


---

If you want to run a more combat-focused deck, but not necessarily go full Voltron, I had a lot of fun with Power Matrix in Kurkesh. Duelists Heritage also looks to be a lot of fun, since you can mess with other combats.

Naya has a lot of good choices, like Gahiji and Marisi, which can help speed up some aggression, while dropping to RW gives you Jor Kadeen, who's a good artifact aggro commander, that hides a vicious Voltron side.

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Post by OCPunisher » 8 months ago

Finally got around to reading through all of these comments, and I appreciate the feedback.
- I don't want to go Boros, for two reasons. One: I would feel obligated to play Sunforger, and my Kykar deck already does that about as well as can be expected. Two: I like a lot of the mono-blue legends (Emry, Padeem, Urza, and Sai).
- On that note, [mention]MeowZeDong[/mention] made a good point about Padeem taking over the lead for Urza. That way, Urza could still be in the 99, but seeing Padeem at the helm might take away some of the initial fear. Plus, he's certainly capable of doing a lot of work in his own right.

As of right now, I'm gonna explore the change from Urza to Padeem and see where it goes. I'm thinking that I'll probably put both commanders back-to-back in the top-loader outside of the deck, with a placeholder for the one that isn't leading the way (for testing purposes until things get ironed out). Thanks everyone for the help!
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Post by bobthefunny » 8 months ago

Don't forget the Trophy Mage!

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