Thursday 1 November 2018

Magistrate's Scepter .dec

Magistrate's ScepterThis list was a blast! I mostly built it as a joke but it performed rather better than expected. While not exactly close to top tier it is more than capable of winning and needs respecting. To date it is probably my best deck making heavy use of proliferate, one of my all time favourite mechanics. I thought the deck was going to be sufficiently poor that I threw in a Karn, Scion of Urza and a Sai, Master Thopterist so as to have some actual games. Both cards are incredibly potent in decks comprised of mostly cheap artifacts and will dominate games by themselves. That certainly happened and half of the games I won were due to these two cards and the X/X constructs and thopters just being very good. I also won games with infinite turns and the fun things the deck was built to do. This was done with sufficient frequency that I would probably try for a purer combo build next time around to give it a better test. I think this build is likely better but the other build will be more revealing as to the actual power of charge counters on artifacts as a plan! I would also quite like to try and build a version of this list using Paradox Engine as an additional way of going off however such a list would need to be a little more like a storm deck and with more mana rocks.

25 Spells

Astral Cornucopia
Mox Opal
Everflowing Chalice
Astral Cornucopia

Surge Node
Implement of Ferocity

Energy Chamber
Core Tapper
Power Conduit
Throne of Geth

Contagion Clasp
Walking Ballista
Hangarback Walker

Surge NodeSteel Overseer

Magistrate's Scepter
Trophy Mage
Steady Progress
Scrap Trawler
Sai, Master Thopterist

Karn, Scoin of Urza
Lux Cannon
Padeem, Consul of Innovation
Tezzeret's Scheming

Tezzeret the Seeker

15 Lands
Energy Chamber
Inventor's Fair
Seat of the Synod
Tree of Tales
Inventor's Fair
Academny Ruins
Spire of Industry
Tropical Island
8x Islands

So the plan is pretty simple. Make things that deal in counters and pair them with things that benefit from counters. Ideally the most powerful cards or those that you get the most return from plying with counters. Magistrate's Scepter is the ideal card both functionally and scaling wise. Each counter you get on it counts for four mana and I guess an untap which is a lot of value. Getting free turns is one of the best ways to assure a victory too! The Lux Cannon is your other main charge counter payoff card but it is more of a safety net than a win condition. It slows down the game a lot and will eventually win or allow basically anything else to do so. It provides a good out to almost anything but it is not something you are expecting to get online quickly and have it active all the time. It doesn't go infinite like the Scepter. Trophy Mage and Tezzeret are mostly just there to get your Scepter although Tez is another strong alternate win condition. He even allows for some serious mana production if you have charged up some mana rock sufficiently.

Throne of Geth
There are several cards focused on getting charge counters on things many of which also work with +1/+1 counters. This helps kick start the proliferate cards into action. While the proliferate cards are not ongoing or are fairly onerous to use each turn they do pack a massive punch over the alternatives. When you get to grow everything at once it gets pretty out of hand. The creatures all get bigger, the mana rocks all produce more, planeswalkers become more loyal and all of this is in addition to your main artifact payoff cards charging up. Lots going on, lots of potential power and certainly lots of fun!

Scrap Trawler is a bit of a filler card. I wanted another target for my Trophy Mage and I wanted more artifact dorks and I wanted more value cards. Scrappy isn't a great card in this deck at any one thing but he has a lot of overlap. Padeem was trying to cover both protection and extra value. While fine I think I could have found more exciting things to take his place. Perhaps not as protection but certainly as things to enhance the list. These would be the things to be replaced first. While Sai and Karn are not on theme with the counter elements that much I would probably need to do a pretty heavy reconstructive job on the deck if I were to remove them, likely resulting in a bit of an overhaul to the creature elements in the deck such as Steel Overseer and Hangarback Walker.

Padeem, Consul of InnovationPart of me finds this deck distasteful in that it is part combo deck attempting to take infinite turns while also being part beatdown deck like Hardened Scales affinity. In constructed formats doing two distinctly different things is a bad plan. You don't find mill burn decks... You need such an extreme degree of overlap in your core cards before decks with multiple plans become viable. Most do it with sideboard transformations, most of the rest are simply combo decks with two combos both making use of the same support cards. Very few get to be combo and aggressive or combo and control. In cube, while it is still generally not wise to make decks with multiple plans the margins for where it is OK are much much wider. The format is more forgiving and the increased card pool and number of unique cards played allows for much deeper synergies. Linear strategies are also more easily countered in cube so having alternatives in your win conditions is always a boon.

Here are a few cards I looked at running in this list. Mostly they are a bunch of the usual artifact support suspects. Some would allow for greater exploration in certain areas (Statuary), some are a little bit cooler than usual due to counter synergy and some are just a bit spicy because you don't see them very often. There are also a couple of dull answer cards you probably just want in a lot of matchups so that you are not cold to their shenanigans.

Thran Turbine
Thrann Turbine
Fountain of Youth
Pithing Needle
Jeweled Amulet
Inspiring Statuary
Commit / Memory
Chromatic Star
Engineered Explosives

Really what this deck wants is a Sol Ring! Obviously most decks want Sol Ring but some more than others and this is right up there with those that want it most. The thing about this list that hurts it most is lack of relevant early plays. It has few one drops and despite a reasonable number of two drops very few of them actually do very much to affect the game on turn two. You need to spend some time setting up with this deck and that means high aggression or well placed disruption are issues. I considered using lands to assist this problem a little but Saprazzen Skerry is pretty slow and quite hard to use well with proliferate. Ancient Tomb is the best option but it does hurt quite a lot. While it will improve many matchups it feels like it will make those against red decks worse! The real reason we are playing a deck like this is to play cool and unusual cards, to force our opponents to read our cards and then suffer the terrible shame of losing to garbage like Magistrate's Scepter. This is basically trolling people through the medium of Magic the Gathering! Deck optimisation isn't as important as dusting off those quirky cards. This list might not be tier one in power but it is absolutely up there with the best of the troll decks.

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