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I played at the StarCityGames.com Invitational in Atlanta this past weekend, and I absolutely had a blast. I was able to hang out with some friends that I hadn't seen in way too long and play a bunch of Magic. I also got to watch two good friends do very well. Congratulations to Brian Braun-Duin and Gerry Thompson for making Top 4 and winning the whole shebang! I'd also like to mention how stacked the entire Top 8 was. It just goes to show that all the hard work does pay off.
As for me, I ended up in 13th place. I feel pretty good about my play in most of the rounds, especially since I hadn't played in a serious Magic tournament in about a year in addition to not playing a single game of Legacy since Deathrite Shaman had been printed.
That's right. Let that sink in for a minute.
Going into the tournament, I had decided that I was going to play G/B/W Reanimator for the Standard potion and Hive Mind in Legacy. Reanimator for Standard was close to a no-brainer since it was the deck I was most familiar with and I'd recently made Top 4 of a PTQ with it. I played the exact same list BBD did in Standard:
- 3 Acidic Slime
- 3 Angel of Serenity
- 4 Arbor Elf
- 4 Avacyn's Pilgrim
- 3 Centaur Healer
- 3 Restoration Angel
- 3 Thragtusk
Hive Mind, however, was a more interesting choice. The thought process behind it was that most decks are prepared to handle an Emrakul or Griselbrand off Show and Tell and those that aren't try very hard to just stop the Show and Tell from happening. I figured that no one would be ready for Hive Mind. Angel's Grace isn't played anymore, and I could imagine the decision tree in the "Show and Tell mirror" where they may just let an opposing Show and Tell resolve on turn 2 or 3 since they get to untap first. I wanted to play a deck with the least interaction with Deathrite Shaman since I literally had zero idea how games with/against it go other than from watching videos.
Thankfully, Patrick Sullivan mentioned to me that he didn't think Hive Mind was playable since Deathrite Shaman gives opponents the red mana they need to pay for your Pact of the Titan. *BRAIN EXPLOSION* I hadn't even thought about that.
"Let's just play some robots," I thought to myself.
Being from the Pacific Northwest, I have a pretty decent background in Vintage. I've played with my "fair" share of Chalice of the Void, Trinisphere, and Goblin Welder. I was very excited to give this deck a spin, and it was mainly due to Chalice of the Void. This card singlehandedly shuts down a large percentage of the format—I'm actually a little surprised that there aren't more decks playing it right now. Without further ado, here's the list!
- 1 Blightsteel Colossus
- 4 Kuldotha Forgemaster
- 3 Lodestone Golem
- 4 Metalworker
- 1 Myr Battlesphere
- 1 Steel Hellkite
- 1 Sundering Titan
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 4 Goblin Welder
You can listen to a quick explanation of the deck in my deck tech with Glenn Jones:
Playing this deck was a lot of fun, as you get to do some pretty awesome things. The most common line of play is playing a "double land" (City of Traitors or Ancient Tomb) and casting Chalice of the Void for one. This shuts off a large number of cards that are actually played in the format. "How many?" you ask. Well, let's take a look!
Swords to Plowshares
Path to Exile
Inquisition of Kozilek
Faithless Looting (both halves!)
Rite of Flame
Delver of Secrets
The majority of Burn (Lava Spike, Lightning Bolt, Goblin Guide, etc.)
The majority of Elves
That is a lot of relevant cards. It is very important to note that most of the answers to a Goblin Welder or a Metalworker are on that list. In fact, Abrupt Decay and Supreme Verdict are really the only commonly played cards that attack them if you already have a Chalice out.
Next, I want to talk about Goblin Welder. This card is very strong—in fact, for a very long time he has been a staple in Vintage, where he's used to Mindslaver people over and over. In this deck, however, he is used for protection. Against Force of Will decks, casting this guy with Cavern of Souls is a great play. Once he is in play, every artifact spell you play is always going to see the battlefield at some point. With eight artifact Lands, Voltaic Key, and Grim Monolith, there is always going to be something we can swap.
An important interaction to know when playing this in Legacy is with Wasteland. If you try to swap a Great Furnace with an artifact in your graveyard and they Wasteland your Great Furnace, then the swap never takes place and you don't get your awesome card back from the dead.
There is a lot of fast mana in the deck, which allows it to really steamroll its opponents and play a different game than them. When we know that we have Chalice and Trinisphere in our deck, we can build it to play with them.
That's a lot of mana really quick! These cards are what allow us to churn out a turn 1 or 2 Metalworker and a turn 2 or 3 Kuldotha Forgemaster (we'll get to him in a second), even though Force of Will since they are both Constructs. It is important to know for all of your creatures that Cavern making them uncounterable negates the trigger from Chalice of the Void. Just watch your opponent's expression change when you play a Goblin Welder off a Cavern of Souls through your Chalice for one. It's not very fair that we get to play our spells and they don't; then again, it's not very fair that there aren't any good places in the United States to get poutine, either.
By now, we are hampering our opponents from actually casting spells, but we still need to actually beat them. Let's talk about exactly how we do that.
Lodestone Golem is particularly awesome with all our fast mana. It's quite ordinary to cast him on turn 2, and casting him on turn 1 is possible. Five damage per hit is a lot, and he sets them back a turn as well.
Each one of these has a different purpose. Myr Battlesphere is awesome against Jace, the Mind Sculptor if you don't already have a Lightning Greaves. Battlesphere is also great in games where you're going to have to Forgemaster multiple times since the Myr tokens you get are artifacts. Steel Hellkite is strong against decks like Elves and Dredge and really anything else that has a significant amount of permanents. Wurmcoil Engine is what you want to go with if you can't kill them right away and could potentially die from an attack on the following turn.
Blightsteel Colossus is the way to go if you have Lightning Greaves and a Chalice of the Void on one or they are tapped out. Again, here we are using Vintage methods of killing people. Against most of the popular decks, Sundering Titan is your robot of choice. Even if they have Swords to Plowshares, you still get lots of value out of him. In fact, we don't have any legal targets for his ability, so it's always going to hit their mana. This is especially punishing against decks like Esper Stoneblade and RUG Delver.
Now, we get to the fun part. Not only is this a mana denial, pseudo-prison style deck, but it also has an infinite combo and an insta-kill combo.
Staff of Domination + Metalworker + three or more artifacts in hand = infinite mana, draw your deck, tap their stuff, and kill them! In order to untap a creature and untap the Staff itself, you need five mana. With Metalworker and at least three artifacts in hand, you get six mana. Repeat a billion times, and then you can use the other modes of the Staff to draw into a Lightning Greaves and either a Blightsteel Colossus or a Steel Hellkite and Robo-Dragon Firebreathe all over your opponent.
The insta-kill draws are surprisingly not that uncommon since they only require four specific cards, three of which we play at least four copies of. Any double land on turn 1 along with a Lightning Greaves followed by a Metalworker on 2 putting on some boots allows you to get a bunch of mana so that you can cast your Kuldotha Forgemaster. He may have more than two legs, but Lightning Greaves still works on him too.
However, at this point you need another artifact to sacrifice to him so you can keep your Lightning Greaves around for your Blightsteel Colossus. Most of the candidates at this point are Darksteel Citadel, Great Furnace, Mox Diamond, Chalice of the Void, Grim Monolith, or Voltaic Key, but depending on exactly how much mana you got from your Metalworker, you can play anything that will allow you to also play your Forgemaster.
The sideboard was very sweet too. In fact, the only cards I never used were Relic of Progenitus, Spine of Ish Sah, and Duplicant since I never played a post-board game against anything I knew was Dredge or Reanimator and I never played against any Show and Tell decks.
Even though the sideboard is eleven singletons and two pairs of two-ofs, every card has a use in a specific matchup.
Bottled Cloister – This is great at protecting your hand from Hymn to Tourach and other discard spells, particularly against Jund. It's also good against the control decks with or without discard since all of your spells are extremely powerful.
Ensnaring Bridge – This is good at preventing Emrakul from attacking. It also stops Griselbrand from attacking too, even if they get to draw some cards. It's very good at stopping Craterhoof Behemoth from stomping holes all over us and is even useful against Merfolk and Goblins.
Ratchet Bomb – This card is great against decks like Elves, Merfolk, Goblins, and Dredge—anything that uses multiple permanents with the same mana cost.
Platinum Emperion - Emperion is good to side in against decks like Merfolk and Goblins and can even be used against Storm.
Wurmcoil Engine - An extra Wurmcoil is mainly for RUG Delver, Burn, and Merfolk.
Karn Liberated - Karn is great against the Jace decks, so it's primarily for Stoneblade and BUG. Unfortunately, Show and Tell was printed before there were planeswalkers so you can't just slam this guy when they cast it.
Overall, I was extremely happy with the deck, especially for this tournament. I went 2-2 on the first day in Legacy and could literally feel the rust coming off my robot body; in fact, my two losses were both in game 3s where I got very unlucky. I even went turn 1 Mox Diamond, Trinisphere into turn 2 Lodestone Golem into turn 3 Chalice for one against a Stoneblade player and lost. Jace came down on turn 5 with him at five life and bounced the Golem, and since every single draw step was either a Voltaic Key or a Goblin Welder that was uncastable, I just died to Jace. I went 3-0-1 during the Legacy portion of day 2 and felt much better.
My draw against Merfolk was 100% due to me not having a sideboard plan for the deck and not thinking about it fully when I was sideboarding. We ended up drawing because I took out my Staff of Domination. When he had to answer to a Platinum Emperion, he just Phantasmal Imaged it, and I never drew a Goblin Welder to try to get rid of it.
There are only a few changes I would make if I were to play this deck again in an upcoming tournament. I would cut a Voltaic Key and add a Lightning Greaves to the maindeck. I would also cut the Mox Diamond and play a Bottled Cloister in the main. Battlesphere seemed kind of weak, but it may be something that is necessary. I also want to find room for another Cloister somewhere in the 75 so we can go to up three total.
The deck isn't extremely difficult to play, but there are a lot of hands that are traps. Chalice on one is super important; even if you have a hand that can play one or two threats very fast, without Chalice Tiago will ensure that both of them are working their robot butts off in the fields. I would definitely recommend this deck to anyone who is looking for something different to play in Legacy or someone who is fairly new to the format.
Thanks for stopping by and reading. I'm going to be writing much more regularly now, and I welcome any suggestions for content and would love to answer questions "mailbag" style.
@Chris_VanMeter on Twitter