Zac Elsik's latest creation was one of the talks of the tournament during the Modern portion of Grand Prix Las Vegas, and while he put up a respectable 11-4 finish in a pool that big, the hype dissipated quickly.
But the deck recently popped up in the Magic Online League results, and I had to pounce on it. Two-time Pro Tour champion Judge's Familiar has never gotten the respect it deserves, and even Zac throws it a little shade by trimming down to two copies. This list undoes half of that damage by including the third, which is perfectly acceptable when you already have four Mausoleum Wanderers, which synergize nicely with Grand Architect.
Grand Architect is really the linchpin that holds everything together here. It bridges the gap between blue creatures and artifacts in a more powerful package than Chief Engineer and turns Walking Ballista into a great threat in the late-game, even in a deck with only 21 lands. It turns all your small creatures into sizable threats, especially the early fliers which likely form the bulk of your damage output.
But should your small creatures be outclassed, you have proven Constructed mainstays in Lodestone Golem and Master of Etherium to take over on the ground. The former combines well with your one-drop fliers to tax your opponent's mana, all but shutting down the possibility for double-spelling with a removal spell. The latter may not be the all-star it is in Affinity, but as a blue artifact creature, it fits perfectly in a space that this deck needs, increasing your density of threats in both categories.
Throne of the God-Pharaoh is the most interesting card in the list, and it serves an important function of letting your creatures get damage in outside of combat against bigger creatures or things like Ensnaring Bridge. Grand Architect lets you tap your creatures without attacking, as do your Vehicles, leading to an easy few points a turn once the battlefield stalls or just letting you increase your clock when racing.
Zac has made a name for himself innovating in Modern, and because I'm a fan of winning with ostensibly underpowered creatures, this one easily gets my stamp of approval.
- 4 Etherium Sculptor
- 4 Lodestone Golem
- 4 Master of Etherium
- 4 Walking Ballista
- 1 Wurmcoil Engine
- 4 Chief Engineer
- 4 Grand Architect
- 3 Judge's Familiar
- 4 Mausoleum Wanderer