Zac Elsik is at it again. Everyone is out here trying to decide between taking a risk on a tribal deck from Ixalan or staying with an old standby from the previous season, and Zac hops in the wayback machine with yet another artifact-centric deck. The man definitely has a type.
I myself am no stranger to the improvise mechanic, having tried hard to make it work for Pro Tour Aether Revolt and briefly revisiting its potential last week. Thraben Inspector was good enough to dominate Spire of Industry for the last year, but without the consistency it enables, the aggressive artifact decks have taken a huge hit, and Spire of Industry is too powerful not to see play.
For the most part, Zac and I identified the same cards to build around. Maverick Thopterist and Herald of Anguish are simply the most powerful improvise cards available and not particularly hard on the mana once you have Spire of Industry, Prophetic Prism, and Renegade Map. Metallic Rebuke is also close enough to Mana Leak here that I can't imagine playing fewer than four copies.
Tezzeret the Schemer is another payoff, although not quite as powerful as I'd like. Still, all of its abilities are relevant here and its high loyalty makes it difficult to answer in combat. The Etherium Cells it creates are also excellent enablers for Fatal Push, so you get to play one of the best removal spells in the format at peak form.
The main difference is that I filled out the deck with more traditional midrange cards: more removal and some value from Treasure Map and Walking Ballista. Zac opts for better improvise enablers in Cogworker's Puzzleknot (which isn't too hard to sacrifice) and Servo Schematic. These cards are underpowered on their own, yet let you accelerate much more quickly and provide ample fodder for Herald of Anguish to dominate the battlefield.
I've been trying to avoid my tendency to play underpowered cards as enablers, but in the case of this deck, I think it's appropriate. This is clearly a deck where the synergies take center stage and you want to maximize the power of improvise, so I'll happily defer to the rogue artifact connoisseur. Keep doing your thing, Zac…you sure make my job easy.