Deck Tech: Heartless Architect with Kevin Lambert and Alexander Lapping
Arizona native Kevin Lambert’s endgame board caught my eye during as a pair of Spellskites held the ground against a Huntmaster of the Fells and Strangleroot Geist, allowing Steel Hellkite to fly over the top of the otherwise very threatening board. The robotic dragon naturally ended the game in a hurry, but Kevin was reluctant to talk about what was going on, deferring instead to the deck’s designer Alexander Lapping.
Alexander Lapping is so, so heartless.
Alex explained that this “monster” is actually a Heartless Summoning/Grand Architect deck that focuses on consistency over splashy combo power, though there is a Perilous Myr in the deck in case of emergencies. Ponder, Gitaxian Probe and Solemn Simulacrum help smooth things out on the way to throwing down haymakers every turn. Heartless Summoning and especially Grand Architect make it easy for that to happen very quickly, giving the deck the ability to explode into Wurmcoil Engine—one of the best fatties in Standard—on turn three.
Turn two Heartless Summoning followed by Grand Architect and Treasure Mage on turn three gives the deck the six mana it needs to play the Wurmcoil Engine it fetched up, forcing the opponent to have a quick and efficient answer or die a horrible death to the killer lifelinking creature. And even if they solve the first problem, Havengul Lich starts things right back up.
"It’s really good against aggro decks," Alex said. "Spellskite is a great block that protects your other guys and aggro just can’t beat Wurmcoil Engine. And a lot of decks are good at killing themselves, so Mindslaver is a good one of that you can get back with Buried Ruin."
The 0/4 Spellskite are indeed awesome at holding off all sorts of early creatures. Gravecrawler, Geralf’s Messenger, Strangleroot Geist, and a slew of other dudes just can’t get through, which gives the deck enough time to get a six-drop online and steal the initiative.
Ratchet Bomb and a diverse sideboard help shore up the deck’s weaknesses, letting its natural strengths shine through. Alexander’s creation has multiple people in the hunt for Top 8 or 16 finishes, so it’s clear the deck is capable of winning against the powerful and diverse Standard metagame. We’ll have to wait and see if it has staying power, but it’s very hard to argue with quick Wurmcoil Engines no matter what deck is on the other side of the table, and Havengul Lich is capable of absolutely dominating a game. It’s a deck that is going to dictate the flow of the game, forcing the opponent to have many answers or a better draw, but that doesn’t seem easy for the current decks to produce. Keep an eye on this one.