Eternal Warrior #52: Slave to the Grind

Last time, in Eternal Warrior #51, I discussed some of the decks that MTGO players were exploring to capitalize upon the unrestriction of Thirst for Knowledge. One of those was the following list, which finished 3-1 in a DE:

After playing around with it in the Tournament Practice Room, I concluded that it had a pretty decent matchup against Shops. I decided to swap out the Blightsteel Colossus for a Myr Battlesphere to help against the blue decks where BSC is either too risky or too ineffectual thanks to Dack Fayden, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Swords to Plowshares. I also believed that with the amount of fast artifact mana, there was a reasonable shot of hardcasting Battlesphere as a backup plan.

So with that small alteration to the list, I took it into the queues. First up is a video deck tech, followed by matchplay videos.

I have a few issues with the deck as constructed. First, it has no outs to Stony Silence, other than to win with a Tinker-bot like BSC or the Battlesphere I used in its place. It is similarly weak to Null Rod, but that’s less of a problem. Many Shops lists, in the era of Hangarback Walker are not running maindeck Null Rod, and you’ll have artifact removal aplenty in the post-board games. I have been hedging my bets and bringing in an Ancient Grudge against URx Delver just in case they have Null Rods to bring in, as the card is pretty strong in the Hangarback metagame. But even with Stony Silence being somewhat scarce at the moment, it might yet be worth having a Nature’s Claim in the board just in case. Opposing life totals generally don’t matter, and Chalice of the Void set to 1 is less common of a problem now that it’s been restricted.

Secondly, while the manabase is fairly stable as constructed, I wonder if the black splash solely for the sideboard pair of Notion Thief is really necessary. The deck runs only 5 fetchlands, and having a couple more blue fetches in place of the Underground Seas might help fuel the delve spells and help you play around Wasteland. There is the minor case, alluded to in my deck tech segment above, of wanting to hardcast a Leyline of the Void, but that’s not really a strong selling point to me. But if we are going to be sticking with black, I wonder if Demonic Tutor or Vampiric Tutor should find a spot in the list?

At this point, I can’t really assess the impact of Thirst for Knowledge in the list. For reasons I discuss in the videos, a 3-mana draw spell has a lot of weaknesses against both Shops and against the blue aggro-control decks that get under you with a cheap threat and have a copious amount of soft counters. I found myself, right or wrong, boarding out a couple copies in most of the matches I’ve played.

I had a lot of fun playing this deck, and I think with a couple of tweaks I would fully recommend playing it. If you have any thoughts about the deck, or about the impact of the Thirst un-restriction in these artifact combo decks, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

  1. No outs to stony silence or null rod??? If only there was smthg to turn them blue so that pyro or reb could do the job…

  2. Thanks for the reply. I thought about that answer but it felt weak to have the out contingent on having Painter in play. But if I viewed Stony Silence solely as a problem preventing the combo going off, then that doesn’t matter, because I don’t need the combo to go off until Painter is in play (I basically implied that in the video deck tech segment, to use REBs to get rid of whatever was stopping your combo on the combo turn, an opposing Leyline of Sanctity and maybe other enchantments would be similar in that case.) I guess I was also concerned about the high volume of artifact mana being choked off by it, even before reaching the question of “can I go off yet?”

    Did you have any thoughts about the manabase, the fetchland count and the black splash?

    Thanks for the feedback!

  3. In match 3, fearing and blowing up the opponent’s grindstone is unnecessary, since it doesn’t do anything for him: you lose when you can’t draw, not when your last card is milled, so as long as you activate grindstone during your turn, even if he activates his in response, he will still lose the game.