I know what you mean about about Sai being a (Master)tinkerer's dream. his passive ability lets you build him almost anyway you want and you get a nice token package for free! Also congrats on the baby! My partner and I had our first little goblin last year, I can't wait to teach him how the stack works...
Some of the omissions you noted are purely flavor choices. Windfall
, Kindred Discovery
and Coastal Piracy
are all omitted because they aren't artifacts. I have a tendency to forego some obvious improvements if I can't make them fit into my own head cannon of the deck. it can be a problem sometimes due to me removing necessary answers(I tried running this deck without any counterspells for a while and finally had to give in) due to them not fitting my theme, but usually I can find a nice sweet spot.
One of the reasons I like this deck so much was the how easily I could apply some vorthos texture to it. Sai and his group of entrepreneurial artificers started a manufacturing company! The only non artifact, non artificer permanents are the three unpaid interns(The tutor mages) whose job is to fetch tools for the artificers, and the head of HR, Vedalken Archmage
, who makes sure the bills get paid. It's silly but I needed something to knock me out of the good stuff spiral that me and my playgroup started falling into a few years ago. That said I think I could fit Keep Watch
in there as a form of IP theft or something.
The other reason I didn't go full hog on cheap cantrips was that my meta has answers to just about everything. been playing with the same group of wonderful people for about 10 years so our meta is very insular and well known. Everyone is packing wipes, gravehate, targeted removal and edicts so it is very easy to shut down singular strategies. That's why I added the Nevinyrral's Disk
angle as well as the mythic forge
/sensei's divining top
packages in addition to the swarm factor.. They give me other outs after my board has been wiped for the 3rd time.
I'll try to address some of your other comments more specifically:
Mages - I think that Trinket Mage is fine if you want to run it, I think the other two are not. The selection options for the other two mages is very questionable and the body on them just isn't relevant enough to beat out Fabricate for a slot if you ask me. I think Trinket Mage is fine, but I don't think the other two have reason to be run. Normally speaking the reason to run an ETB value creature is generally going to be because you plan to abuse the creature like recurring it, skullclamp, birthing pod, etc. Given that we have easily disposable blockers with this commander a lot of the value of non artifact creatures really depreciates a lot. I did put in some testing with Trinket Mage and while I think it is the one acceptable mage of the bunch, I just didn't find myself valuing anything I was tutoring with it enough to pay three mana on top to get that one card. The efficiency of my turns just went down a LOT when I would cast it. I think I would take the mages out for good draw like Keep Watch / Coastal Piracy / and Kindred Discovery myself or at the very least watch those cards when you draw them and ask yourself what it would have been like if they had been a cheap cantrip artifact or a big reload effect instead.
This one hits close to home cause I LOVE the interns from a flavor standpoint. But you are right. I frequently do not play the mages in favor of more artifacts/draw. When I do play them, 90% of the time it is to fetch one of the 4 cost reducers or Sensei's divining top
in order to combo out with Mythic Forge
. They are probably the closest thing in the list to being cut at this point. I will try trading one out for Keep Watch
and see how it goes.
Arcum Dagsson - I am actually quite interested to hear how he has been in your list. My concerns offhand are sort of twofold for my own list which tend to be 1) holy cow he feels slow and like a HUGE target. 2) I don't have quite as good fo payoff cards in my list. I see you have Darksteel Forge and while its a sweet payoff card for Dagsson, I have concerns with casting it outside of that with how lean I built my landbase. I guess this is me both intrigued and also pointing out the reasons I have hesitancy with him. I see you have a Nev's Disk to boot which would be really fun if you set it all up but I question both of those cards otherwise in this list.
Your assessment is correct. He is a big target. I like him because he will usually eat a removal spell instead of Sai which is a trade I am usually willing to do. If he sticks around I usually hold him up to fetch specific answers from the toolbox. Fetching a Coat of arms
in response to the declare blockers step is always fun. That said he has been unsleeved and resleeved more than any other card in the deck.
Ensnaring Bridge - I went back and forth a few times on this card. In the end, I felt like it was unlikely that a deck of big powered creatures was likely to be my downfall for this deck. I tend to be very aggressive and have a surplus of chump blockers if it comes to that. My concerns for the deck tend to be more on the front of someone repeatedly answering Sai, the tokens, or answering either in a way that requires me to have an answer. I guess, this effect seems like its unlikely to be an effect that I actually need while being a midrange artifact that doesn't draw me a card. In a nutshell, I passed on it in favor of a card that makes the deck run smoother or get me out of a pinch. Control and or combo decks are a lot more likely to be the source of an issue you might have than the aggro deck
stays mainly to combat a really mean xenagos god of revels
deck that likes to oneshot folks on turn 4. I also frequently empty my hand(Thanks to my subpar draw suite as you pointed out) and the bridge helps buy me time while swining with thopters. This one is a meta choice for sure.
Mirage Mirror - I have never understood what people see in this card to be honest. Its not that cheap to cast and it does nothing without mana up. I guess maybe its like a way to kill off your commander in a pinch but.... I don't really know. I don't like much of any application I can come up with for this card.
it is a nice mana sink for me and has allowed me to storm off a couple times by copying a mana reducer. It also helps against the aforementioned xenagos player. If I have a hand it generally just acts as a 3 mana thopter though. Might get cut for more draw.
Elixir of Immortality - This is another card I am not fond of. It just doesn't do anything meaningful in my opinion. There are sort of two cases in which it would be useful and the primary would be if you play against a lot of mill decks but if you do that, run a shuffle eldrazi instead. The other case being if you just get completely ruined all game by wraths but.... you probably lost anyways before you draw and play your entire deck. I just don't see it doing things I ever need it to do. Your graveyard is a resource and its generally speaking positive to not shuffle back in. The number of times you will draw out is just incredibly low. I would be so much happier with any or less mana artifact that draws a card.
Two of the guys I play with have phenax god of deception
decks that they like to bring out at the same time if(did I say my group was wonderful? I lied, they are monsters). The Elixir makes them rage, especially after a few beers....
Generally I think meekstone would be a better antifat stax than bridge, cheaper and trinketmageable.
How the hell did I forget about Meekstone
! Thanks for the reminder pokken! I have two sitting in my binder just waiting to ruin Phenax's day.
Sorry for the wall of text! You both gave me a lot of great ideas and feedback. I will try some of your suggestions and let you know how it works.
Draw well and play fast!