Welcome to Part 2 of my Mirrodin Besieged set review. Part 1 can be found here. Today we're going to jump straight into the first half of the artifacts of the set. As always our focus will be on potential applications rather than some sort of 1-5 star system.
Artifacts: Part 1
Nowhere near a good enough rate for a card that offers no functional unique element. I like the descriptor "Bladed" however.
Blightsteel Colossus. The most controversial card in the set. Instant death.
There seems to be a lot of different reasons that people have such strong feelings about this card none of which are linked to power level as no one is denying that this card is extremely powerful. Those that argue in favor of the card say that it demonstrates the corruption of Mirrodin's greatest weapon helping sell just how scary the Phyrexian corruption is. They argue that Blightsteel Colossus was supposed to be unbelievably scary and the prospect of killing someone in a single hit is going to unnerve some people. They argue that this is a pretty epic fatty and aliens like Emrakul make the bar pretty high for a giant fatty to be impressive yet Blightsteel still is.
Aside on Flavor Design and Poison
I don't know about you but this block's flavor resonates with me particularly strongly. I don't mean Blightsteel Colossus as Glissa and Karn sell me on the corruption (two iconic characters that have personality) more than Inkmoth Nexus or Blightsteel (two robots that just work for the other team). What I mean is that the clash between Mirran and Phyrexian forces has a feeling of permanence that feels a bit different from regular Magical storyline conflicts.
When Vhati il-Dal was thrown from the Predator Flagship to his death by Commander Greven il-Vec it didn't actually hit me particularly hard. He's just some dude and we're very powerful planeswalkers. If we want him alive again we just Raise him from the Dead. In fact Time Spiral rolled around and he was just wandering around due to time travel. Death isn't the most permanent state of being in the Multiverse.
Then consider getting hit by a Vampire Lacerator. Now a Koth of the Hammer-enhanced Mountain. Now a god-like being like Progenitus himself. Now picture activating Martyr of Sands. Not even Emrakul can ever hold a candle to Nomads en-Kor Daru Spiritualist and Worthy Cause.
Taking damage in Magic is not scary. Not only is most life gain bad and cards like Necropotence and Sign in Blood great but the rate at which cards let us gain life is (by necessity) generally much higher than the rate at which cards let us deal direct damage. Life points are just a resource to be used and don't evoke much of a physical reaction. How can we care much about life points? I mean obviously you don't want to lose the last one but none of the others really matter much. It's nice to have that thirtieth life point for Serra Ascendant sure but that isn't the same magnitude. It's hard to care about the thirteenth life point you lose other than for strategic purposes when there's always more life where that came from. Evan Erwin once asked me what's the most life I'd be willing to pay to draw three cards for one mana. My answer? There's no amount of life I wouldn't pay if the context was right (i.e. life gain that was astronomically good).
Poison on the other hand feels very permanent. It isn't just that the tenth counter kills you rather than the twentieth. Not being able to remove them (other than with the Eternal powerhouse Leeches which is easy to not think about regularly) gives each and every counter a feeling of significance. Yes the first nine don't really matter because it's just another resource in terms of hits we can take before we lose but no amount of Baneslayer Angels Martyrs of Sands Umezawa's Jittes or Obstinate Baloths can undo the corruption.
Combining both flavor and gameplay the execution of infect in this block is one that has impressed me most from R&D. It's so interesting to see the creatures only deal half damage to other creatures but have the damage be permanent. In addition they sort of double strike but can't combine with non-poison well. That makes for some pretty deep game decisions for a mechanic that ostensibly sets up turn 4 kills. It isn't just the gameplay however; thinking more about the mood or the "vibe" of poison I take the permanence a step further.
When I picture infect creatures damaging planeswalkers I don't picture them getting sick or developing flu-like symptoms. I picture a corrupting oil attempting to take over their very will. When random monsters get hit by infect creatures they just get very sick then die. Sure but planeswalkers are very powerful beings. When I picture a planeswalker getting hit he tries to just shrug off the influence his body has over his mind his will. When he receives that tenth poison counter the corruption is complete. That tenth poison counter doesn't just mean he loses a casual dual it means he too has succumbed to the corrupting influence of the Phyrexian Oil.
Of course it probably isn't anything like this in the storyline and I'm reading too much into it. After all planeswalkers are probably above all that and at the end of the day you don't have to quit Magic or be Rosewater's slave when you get poisoned out. I'm just saying that seeing all these characters become corrupted by the Oil and not being able to remove poison counters do add up to a cumulative effect. This Prerelease I was planning on playing with the Phyrexian faction on account of their pool looking a little better. However the morning of I'm having second thoughts. Not because I have a different perspective on the card quality. Rather I just want to fight the good fight even if the odds are against us.
What the heck is wrong with me? It's a Prerelease but since when did Vorthos get any of Spike's votes? I suppose that's a testament to just how strong the flavor in this block is and if the storytellers that brought us this world felt that Blightsteel Colossus was a necessary component to tell the story this powerfully I'm going to have to give them the benefit of the doubt. It's still one of my five least favorite cards of all time – not killing in one hit really mattered to me (Phage's drawback is prohibitive); it throws away so much design space (in my opinion); costing twelve is an insult; I would've stomached it a lot better if it didn't have trample; it doesn't feel like a creature (more like a Door to Nothingness); I don't feel that a corrupted robot means much of anything compared to corrupted Glissa and Karn; it's annoying that being infected is just an advantage (rather than having some drawback in much the same way that many Vampire movies portray being a Vampire as just better than being a person in every way); I don't like the card's impact anywhere people can cheat it (like Tinker obviously) and to me the card doesn't feel like Magic. There is no drama. Yes Emrakul is more over the top but he's a brilliant design that feels like the most powerful creature ever printed. Blightsteel Colossus just feels like the Dark Depths + Vampire Hexmage combo (Dark Depths is another of my bottom five).
If you were to imagine what kind of card a five-year-old would design what would it look like?
"20/20 trample indestructible."
To me Blightsteel Colossus is just a 21/21 trample indestructible. Wizards R&D has done such an incredible job over the past few years design-wise and has certainly captured my imagination with the story of this block so I'll try to give them the benefit of the doubt that this card actually was right to print but it doesn't mean it doesn't hurt me to see it. Just for the record I don't buy into the logic that "This card isn't for everyone and it was good to print because some people love it even if other people hate it." Really? You could've given it haste and when it enters the battlefield make it draw seven cards and a roughly equal number of people would've liked it. That doesn't mean it was good for the game to print. I bet an awful lot of people would love if you printed straight-up Winter Orb or a zero-cost Mox Crystal that taps for a colorless. Seriously who cares if some people hate it right? By the way I say 21/21 not 22/22 because it takes just two toughness to live not three.
Power-wise Blightsteel Colossus (BSC) isn't nearly as interesting to discuss as the principle of him is. He's entirely exactly what he looks like. There's subtly to him no tricks no cleverness no layers. He's used for the exact same purposes as Darksteel Colossus (DSC); he just has double strike meaning he kills in one hit instead of two. He's not to be cast fair (paling in comparison to even Ulamog) but was designed to be cheated into play with Tinker Kuldotha Forgemaster Shape Anew Sneak Attack Show and Tell Hypergenesis Summoning Trap Mass Polymorph Polymorph or anything else. Then when you cheat him into play you kill your opponent in one hit unless they have a blocker with at least a two-toughness in which case you kill them in two. All the same answers that can work on DSC work on BSC; you just usually have one turn to produce one rather than two.
Verdict: Multi-format tournament staple obviously extremely powerful brute force but not as "powerful" as Emrakul though easier to cheat. Will see lots of play until the next time they do this but probably won't break many formats that aren't already broken.
Bonehoard is one of my favorites and is currently very underrated. This is the best living weapon assuring it a home in Stoneforge Mystic decks at least as a one-of. The ability to Stoneforge for a creature is a pretty amazing element especially when the creature is a Lhurgoyf that gives you a super-awesome equipment when it dies (or at your leisure). You may not be able to hit very hard with it early since it needs some creatures to die first but four mana for a Lhurgoyf is not a bad rate and this is basically a cantrip as you then get the equipment. Rather it's almost like you get the equipment and the Germ token is like a cantrip (close to zero-mana in value but two mana saved from having to equip something).
Stoneforge also lets you summon Bonehoard at instant speed uncounterably and at a savings of another mana. This makes the Stoneforger an even more formidable board presence especially if you don't know if your opponent has a Living Weapon in their hand. Bonehoard is powerful enough though it's just fine to draw on its own. Sure it doesn't have as many tricks as the various Swords; however it's a very big dude and often "has haste" when you just need your Squadron Hawk to attack for a million. Additionally it's a much-needed non-red non-white creature for Boros decks helping to not auto-lose to Phyrexian Crusader.
Outside of Boros Bonehoard might also find a home in some sort of Hedron Crab deck or Fauna Shaman deck. The ability to fill your graveyard relatively quickly has an obvious payoff here and is well worth considering. Additionally this card is buffed enough; it might randomly just show up occasionally in all sorts of random places like some random Vampire deck or some random midrange deck. I'm not sure if we're at that point but eventually maindeck artifact removal becomes a realistic possibility in Standard.
As for Limited I love the living weapon mechanic as it's basically a secret way to sneak some card advantage onto some cards!
A very cool Limited card with a unique enough ability that we can certainly consider it for Constructed. While he has a body onlyhttp://sales.starcitygames.com/cardsearch.php?singlesearch=Brass+Man " target="_new">Andy Probasco could love he does have an ability that can potentially save tons of mana. Additionally the ability to move equipment at instant speed has a variety of possible uses. While Brass Squire's ability to move swords or random smaller equipment is worthwhile in Limited we really need to save more mana than he actually costs to excite me.
The natural card to look to is Argentum Armor. Quest for the Holy Relic and Stoneforge Mystic offer no shortage of ways to find a single Armor. Kor Outfitter is one possible way to save the mana but is somewhat awkward to wield given that what you want to be doing with your two-drop is getting him onto the battlefield. Brass Squire allows someone that is all-in on the Armor plan more and potentially better ways to save the mana. For instance one natural curve is:
Turn 1: Any reasonable one-drop
Turn 2: Stoneforge Mystic getting Armor
Turn 3: Brass Squire
Turn 4: Stoneforge the Armor onto the battlefield then Brass Squire it onto the one-drop
This is hardly going to break open the format but it's pretty good. Additionally one can build a White Weenie deck that loads up on both of these guys plus Kor Outfitters and Quests as well as whatever your favorite weenies and equipment might be. Such a deck is unlikely to be tier 1 but will generally fly under the radar and might be a good way to catch people by surprise with a fun and different beatdown deck. This would be a great home for Bonehoard by the way as well as Sword of Feast and Famine.
We can get a much better rate in Constructed whether by Trusty Machete Darksteel Axe or Adventuring Gear. That high of an equip cost without some unique ability is just prohibitive. If I had to imagine a use it would be as a Trinket Mage target in a deck that absolutely must give a creature +2/+2 for some sort of combo that cared about the size of a creature (a deck that will almost surely never exist). Alternatively maybe Block Constructed metalcraft White Weenie decks might be desperate for another equipment that they can get on the table fast to turn on the craft.
A fun infect creature particularly in Limited where it lets you do some really clever things. Unfortunately the competition is just way too tough at the four-spot to be very interested in Core Prowling in Constructed unless proliferating is just worth that much to you in your infect deck. Such a deck might involve Everflowing Chalice Throne of Geth Tezzeret Agent of Bolas Plague Myr Tumble Magnet or Inkmoth Nexus. It's kind of interesting how well Core Prowler works with Culling Dais but it would take some pretty amazing additional synergy to be worth going to this trouble when we could be Jace-ing or Titan-ing. If such a deck exists its most likely home is Block Constructed.
A flashy card that captivates the attention but is unlikely to do much besides creating comical Limited stories. The default thing to do with a card like this is put it onto a creature that if your opponent can't remove it prevents them from winning. Platinum Angel Platinum Emperion Peacekeeper Ali from Cairo and the like are the most obvious choices. This type of business rarely works out but probably should at least be considered if you have some sort of a Reanimator or Tinker-esque deck capable of producing an early Platinum anything. This is of course of no use against Journey to Nowhere Black Sun's Zenith Into the Roil Gatekeeper of Malakir Consuming Vapors Oust Jace the Mind Sculptor and more.
Verdict: Technically I guess I have to go with outside chance of fringe but I wouldn't bet on it.
Definition of "Decimate" - transitive verb - 1: to select by lot and kill every tenth person of 2: to exact a tax of 10 percent from
Definition of "Web" - Another term for aSwiss army knife .
So what we have here is a Swiss army knife that kills or taxes by ten percent which makes this among the most aptly named cards in the set. Obviously the joke to this "versatile" tool is that each shot hits for ten percent of a player's life total ten percent of their starting ability to absorb poison and ten percent of their starting library. The milling portion of this card varies a bit more than the other two as it mills disproportionately fast in Limited not to mention the fact that your starting hand and draw per turn take a toll making setting up the trifecta (triple-kill) a little trickier but still doable.
A fun card that will no doubt see tons of casual play this is a pretty expensive way to do any of these things and you're obviously cursed by having to pay for a lot of stuff you don't want. Basically the way to make this card worth it for real not just for fun is to be willing to pay 4 + 4 for any one of the abilities. The most likely candidate ability is the milling one as I could imagine someone actually wanting such a tool but even then you have to compete with Keening Stone.
Verdict: Let's keep it casual.
Ahh! Another Hound! Is the world ready for "Hound Lackey" or "Survival of the Hounds?" Without this potentially "fantastic" creature type we're left with a body that's nowhere near a good enough rate.
This is a very unassuming equipment but I actually quite like it. You could do a lot worse than a 1/1 for a single colorless when considering that even when it dies you get something to show for it. This seems a fine addition to a metalcraft White Weenie deck especially if it somehow incorporates some equipment-based theme such as monguises (Californian for "durdles") that get buffed the more gear you throw on them.
Additionally this is another cheap very playable artifact for some sort of Kuldotha Rebirth deck. Kuldotha Rebirth has to be one of the biggest gainers in this set as you once had to stretch to find enough playables to pull it off but now have no shortage of great options. Additionally living weapon has interesting synergy with cards like Glint Hawk and Kor Skyfisher. You can deploy your Flayer Husk throw some other gear on the Germ then when it dies run the savage rebuys with either of these "gating" (bounces your own stuff) white fliers. This synergy is so nice that I fully expect many Glint Hawk decks to run this as a four-of.
Admittedly not the worst rate but sadly not enough power to warrant a serious consideration and nothing really special going for it in the unique department. Insect? I guess that's an interesting creature type. An activated ability that gains flying? I guess one could imagine a possible combo existing with this ability with Necrotic Ooze or some strange enchantment that cares when a creature gains flying. Save it for the draft.
It would take a Black Lotus discount to make this guy playable in any format and that's only because then you could combine it with Mishra's Workshop to get another Black Lotus discount. Other than that he's a Golem and a vanilla creature so if you find some way to severely abuse those go to town!
Now this is what the doctor ordered! A very cool little card that was made to be sacrificed; I can't even imagine how many tier two decks are celebrating the printing of Ichor Wellspring. Whereas Spellbombs merely work "well" with sacrifice effects this card becomes downright awesome with anything along the lines of Kuldotha Rebirth Throne of Geth and Arcbound Ravager. It's not just that you're getting a two-mana draw two; you're also getting a free sacrifice which is often worth between a half and a full card. The fact that you always at least get the first card upfront even if you aren't ready to do any tricks is what seals the deal for me. It will take some clever deckbuilding to find the best ways to take advantage of this card but I expect that several will be found.
Verdict: A quality role-player that has chances of taking tier two strategies and elevating them a notch if the right mix of cards can be found.
Wow talk about a wacky card! While a symmetrical effect with no impact on the board a high cost and little obvious upside isn't likely to be good it's unique cards like this we must be especially diligent in judging. After all Hive Mind was a six-cost enchantment with a symmetrical effect that had no impact on the board! Let's set aside the obvious casual applications of this card which is certainly going to appeal to the Confusion in the Ranks and Eye of the Storm crowd.
The first element of Knowledge Pool is the disruptive nature of the card. Now whenever a player plays a spell they don't get that spell; they must choose another. This is especially important when it comes to protecting Knowledge Pool. Imagine a board where some sort of Ethersworn Canonist-type effect is on the table. Now your opponent can only cast a single spell a turn and that spell isn't even the spell they tried to cast. Now if you can cast a spell on your turn and use the spell they wanted to (like a Naturalize for instance) they never get to use it. Remember Knowledge Pool uses the stack so if you try to cast a spell on your turn they can respond by casting an instant that will get exiled and lets them cast the card you were trying to get off the Knowledge Pool! If you can keep all the exiled cards "bad" then your opponent will have a lot of trouble actually casting anything of value whereas the last spell they play each turn will end up exiled available for you to use against them.
The other side of the coin is to use Knowledge Pool as a super ritual. If you can arrange for the top card of your (or your opponent's!) library to be a bomb like Emrakul the Aeons Torn you can play it without paying its cost often in the same turn you played Knowledge Pool. Now we're starting to formulate a picture of how to turn Knowledge Pool into a very unfair locking mechanism. What if you can consistently keep all of the removed spells "weak cards" or cards that don't affect the board? For instance if you play a Knowledge Pool on turn 4 or 5 (hopefully a little acceleration was involved) you can then immediately drop a Chalice for zero and cast a spell that was exiled. For sure the first step is doing a StarCityGames.com spoiler generator search for cards that reference "top of your library."
Putting amazing cards on top of your library then casting zero-cost spells is obviously pretty insane but even if you get stuck without knowing the top of your library you can use those zero-drops (or other cheap spells) to get a bunch of free spells and shut off your opponent's options. Imagine you end up missing anything good but you still have a couple zero-drops. If your opponent flipped two spells and a land you can cast his two spells leaving the entire exiled pool filled with "bad cards." You just got a Primeval Titan and a Cultivate or a Jace and a Doom Blade but when he tries to play a spell next turn he has to waste the first spell getting something worthless. To make matters worse if he can only play one spell per turn he'll be hopelessly trapped just summoning your Chalices Mox Opals Spheres of the Suns Keys or whatever.
This is going to be pretty freaking hard card to use at all let alone break but there's massive potential there. You're crazy if you think Conley Woods won't be thinking about this mental puzzle! This is definitely a Johnny card if I ever saw one but so were Aluren Earthcraft and Donate!
Verdict: Probably not good but might be amazing if someone cracks the code.
Mirrorworks is definitely a unique enough effect that it's worth taking a closer look to more fully understand. To begin with this is a card drawer that basically lets you copy every artifact you play. That is to say in many ways it's an artifact that taps to draw a card but that card is always Copy Artifact or at least a two-mana version of Sculpting Steel. Is that good? Well it's certainly a very reasonable rate mana-efficiency-wise. The real question is what artifacts are entering the battlefield that you're will to pay two generic mana to copy?
I suppose you could play a bunch of Voltaic Keys Thrones of Geth Lux Cannons Spheres of the Suns and all the other usual "Machine" suspects. This is a pretty ambitious way to spend mana seeing as we're talking about adding a slow card drawer to a deck full of "do-nothings" but it's a deck that wants to "draw cards" so it's at least worth considering.
Another possibility is to combine this card with just good artifact creatures like Lodestone Golem Molten-Tail Masticore or Steel Overseer just to have more of a good thing. Alternatively we could look to abuse the card with anything that lets us bounce artifacts back to our hand especially if it's repeatable. Yet another use is to combine this card with artifacts that get better in multiples. Yeah most likely this card is a little too big but the rate is decent if you're in the market for a strange tome in your artifact-centric deck. Longshot at fringe outside of maybe Block where such a strategy might not be overwhelmingly slow. Copying Horizon Spellbomb is a good time!
I gotta keep it all the way real. A Dingus Egg for artifacts was really not at the top of my wish list. What would it take to make this card good? Well I suppose one possibility is if we have some efficient way to make a bunch of artifact contraptions for our opponents and then destroy them all at once. More realistically I suppose this might be a special sideboard card against someone playing a deck that has to sacrifice a lot of artifacts to do anything. It's pretty slow for such a purpose but I suppose there are some strategies that could be built that would not be able to beat this.
This might be the first card I have ever seen that feels sort of like an enchantment sort of like an equipment sort of like a sorcery sort of like an instant and sort of like a creature. There are definitely a variety of unique effects going on with this card so it's going to require further consideration. To begin with you get a 0/1 for two mana that can sacrifice to deal one damage to a target. That's actually not the worst deal by any means. Yes it doesn't beatdown quite as hard as Mogg Fanatic and it costs more but often killing a Lotus Cobra or a Geopede or a Pulse Tracker for two mana sounds great. Additionally you don't have to sacrifice the guy immediately which is especially important if you play a bunch of other equipment (which you probably do if this is in your deck). Germs make for fantastic chump-blockers to be sure.
Later you have another piece of gear that can be moved to help buff your guys as well as provide some counter play against removal. Additionally this makes for a fine way to "Fireball" someone out if it comes to that. This is particularly potent on a creature like Bloodghast giving you a machine-gun combo that can take over a game on its own. I have to imagine that every Vampires player worth their salt will at least try Mortarpod especially if they use cards like Mark of Mutiny.
That Stoneforge Mystic can retrieve Mortarpod should go without saying but it's important to note as it gives Boros not only a tutorable guy (besides Bonehoard) but also is tutorable direct damage. Alternatively infect decks may even consider this card as it causes the creature to deal the damage making for a doubly effective final Fireball plan.
While these are just some of the surface-level uses for Mortarpod such an open-ended engine card is sure to find plenty of other applications as time goes on. Keeping in true Mirrodin fashion Mortarpod is hardly "busted" but offers very appealing potential synergies and ought to be kept in mind when building combo decks.
While hardly passable on numbers (Tukatongue Thallid didn't exactly make waves and cost a mana less) Myr Sire does have the benefit of being in a set that would love to have good artifacts to sacrifice to toys like Throne of Geth. Additionally Myr Sire might have utility in some sort of dedicated Myr deck. My hunch is that a true Machine deck with Throne of Geth and all is going to have too many two-drops to have us interested in dropping this guy and just hanging out especially taking into consideration Ichor Wellspring also being in the set. Dedicated Myr decks will likely not be shy of two-drops either making me fairly cool on Myr Sire's chances at much Constructed love (though he's fine in Limited). The only thing he has going for him besides his creature type is the ability to produce two bodies or two artifacts to sacrifice if you're in the market for such a thing.
Elspeth is back! Okay not really since you and I both know it was actually Elspeth's +3/+3 ability that made her so fearsome and at four mana to boot but Myr Turbine does have some nice bells and whistles. Obviously it can't be attacked like Elspeth can and tapping to produce another token every turn is a pretty respectable rate. The fact that they're artifact creatures makes them exceptionally easy to gain added value from them; plus if there's a Myr deck this plays a major role.
The second ability may appear to be a bone to the casual crowd at first glance but is actually a pretty powerful dimension that gives Myr Turbine a very ultimate-like feel. If you can amass a supply of five Myr whether all from the Turbine or perhaps a few by surprise with Master's Call or just from random Origin Spellbomb Myr lying around you can Tinker up a Myr Battlesphere and threaten a one-hit kill. Myr Battlesphere is a fine card as can be seen from its generally being regarded as the best pre-Besieged Tinker target despite only costing seven. It's a two-turn clock produces tons of board presence fights Jace well and doesn't even have a throat! Turn 2 Sphere of the Suns or Everflowing Chalice turn 3 Everflowing Chalice for two turn 4 hard cast!
While it's certainly ambitious I don't actually think it's out of the question for a dedicated Myr deck to be able to have five Myr already available when the Turbine hits letting you summon the Battlesphere immediately. It's not like you lose them either. Even if your opponent can deal with the Sphere you can summon another one next turn! Myr Galvanizer is a small payoff sure but Myr Turbine and Myr Battlesphere – now there's an incentive to build a true Myr deck.
Most likely Myr Turbine will prove too slow to just put in random decks for value though it's not out of the question. More likely he'll be prized by players looking to exploit the card. Voltaic Key for instance not only lets you get paid double; you get Myr Battlesphere after waiting only two turns instead of five. If you have a deck that seems to get a lot of Voltaic Keys on the battlefield I'd consider Myr Turbine early in the brewing.
An interesting "backup" to whatever tricky thing you're trying to pull off; I'm not super impressed but at least he has a not-embarrassing body. What are the best activated abilities? Well obviously imprinting Time Vault is just game so there's that. Obviously everything is fair game in Vintage anyway but this combined with Entomb is a win and there are obviously plenty of other ways to pull this off (though that does seem a bit glacial in the format). In addition there are plenty of more recent cards like Molten-Tail Masticore Mindslaver Kuldotha Forgemaster Myr Galvanizer Lux Cannon and Master Transmuter. Additionally there are about a million combinations of two cards you can imprint to win the game (or at least generate some sort of infinite regression ) such as Khalni Gem + Soliton.
Will Myr Welder actually do any of this crazy stuff in tournament play? Probably not but this is a unique enough card that you never discount it or the potential to break it if the right card gets printed or the right combo gets discovered. The other obvious use is just to serve as backup for something else. You really want to Transmuter or Forgemaster? Maybe you'd be willing to use this as an additional copy of each of those. It should also be noted that you can hit your opponent's yard which is hard to take advantage of but might allow for some wild surprise maneuver.
Obviously we can do a lot better if we're white or green probably even black but Bottle Gnomes saw plenty of play and Peace Strider is more efficient. It's nowhere near the power level of many of our favorite four-drops these days but I could totally see a blue deck or a red deck just really wanting some life gain on a body. For instance I could imagine a world where Faeries might consider this as a way to get more anti-Stag power while also gaining percentage against Red. I imagine Nighthawk and Wurmcoil are better but it should be considered. As a result Peace Strider has to be put in the playable category just not likely to see much action.
Both black and green have plenty of superior infect creatures at this spot on the curve so it's highly unlikely that we'll want his services. The main thing he has going for him is that he's an artifact rather than back or green meaning if we somehow built a non-black non-green infect deck he might be a consideration (though the question of why we'd want to do that without just relying on Inkmoth Nexus or Blightsteel Colossus seems tough to answer).
Alright thanks for joining me today. Same place same time tomorrow as I continue my Mirrodin Besieged Set Review!