Hello! You’ve probably never heard of me as this is the first Magic article I’ve written but I’ve been playing Magic and other card games at varying levels of competition for a long time (you may have heard of me from Hearthstone, Legend of the Five Rings or perhaps from Day9’s stream). In any card game, my favorite thing to do is brew and right now is a brewer’s paradise with the release of Kaladesh and the rotation of Magic Origins and Dragons of Tarkir out of standard. One of the things I’ve been tinkering with for a little while reminds me a little bit of a deck I remember vehemently hating in the past: affinity!
2 sunken hollow
2 inventors’ fair
4 sanctum of ugin
4 aether hub
4 crumbling vestige
4 glint-nest crane
3 contraband kingpin
4 metalwork colossus
1 elder deep fiend
3 essence extraction
1 radiant flames
1 cogworker’s puzzleknot
4 prophetic prism
4 metalspinner’s puzzleknot
4 seer’s lantern
4 cultivator’s caravan
4 hedron archive
This deck so far has been a blast. While it doesn’t have the blazing speed and nightmare-inducing combo-ish finishes that affinity decks have had, it’s still quite capable of dropping twenty power on the table by turn 4. Let’s take a look at some of the cards!
Between Inventors’ Fair, Glint-Nest Crane, and Contraband Kingpin finding a Colossus by turn 4 or 5 should happen most games. Once you’ve found a Colossus, you’re even more likely to find another one due to Sanctum of Ugin. Prophetic Prism and Metalspinner’s Puzzleknot add to consistency while also providing the start of the artifact train on turn 2 as well as being artifacts to sacrifice to return the Colossus in the later game. Hedron Archive also draws cards on occasion but usually that happens after the Colossi come down or when you’re desperate.
The basic sequence the deck wants is pretty straight forward: turn 2 any artifact, turn 3 mana producer (Seer’s Lantern or Cultvator’s Caravan), turn 4 Hedron Archive + any artifact + as many Colossi as your deck can produce. There are enough redundant pieces that this happens fairly frequently and most of the time you can replace the pieces you’re missing with more of the others: turn 4 can just as easily be a second 3 cost mana producer, 2 cost artifact, and a single Colossus. Even without an ideal start it’s fairly easy to drop a turn 4 Colossus and it’s not uncommon to have multiples out on turn 5.
Unfortunately, I’ve found that the most difficult thing to deal with has been a card that will likely be ubiquitous in the new standard: Smuggler’s Copter. Radiant Flames is a great tool for dealing with hordes of creatures but the Copter attacks from a different angle that past creature decks haven’t always had. I’ve beaten 1 drop, turn 2 Copter, turn 3 creature before but it was far more likely that I was just losing to a turn 2 Copter unless I had a multiple Colossus draw. Essence Extraction is there to shore up the Copter weakness as well as provide some extra time versus other aggro decks (though Grasp of Darkness, Harness Lightning, or even Welding Sparks could be better…). I’m not happy about playing them or Radiant Flames maindeck but sometimes you’ve just got to do what’s necessary. The singleton Cogworker’s Puzzleknot was leftover from when I was running Smuggler’s Copter myself but it just ended up being solid as two artifacts for one card while also adding some consistency as another 2 cost artifact.
The Arch Enemies
While it’s fun dropping 30 power on turn 4 and watching your opponent think for two minutes then scoop, the deck does have some weaknesses. Tamiyo, Field Researcher can be quite difficult for us to handle. Exile effects can be tough for us to fight through, and Declaration in Stone is literally a nightmare card and Emrakul is basically a one-way board wipe against us. Cataclysmic Gearhulk also seems great against us if it comes down pre-Colossi (though it otherwise seems pretty marginal).
Having a minimum of 16 sources of *ANY* color of mana our little hearts desires creates a ton of options. I’ve tried this deck with Jeskai colors (running Fumigate, Blessed Alliance, Skywhaler’s Shot), mono Black (Morbid Curiousity, Grasp of Darkness, Liliana the Last Hope, Noxious Gearhulk) and straight Izzet (Harness Lightning, Combustible Gearhulk, better mana base). With the amount of fixing available to us though I wouldn’t count out almost any possibilities and I’m pretty sure I’ll be running at least 3 Fragmentize, 1 Noxious Gearhulk, 2 Radiant Flames and some number of Turn Aside in my sideboard regardless of what my main colors are. Sanctum of Ugin also provides some interesting options with Elder Deep Fiend and Distended Mindbender being nice tutor targets to have in the maindeck or sideboard.
I’m definitely not the only person who’s been brewing with Colossus. I’m also not the first, and I definitely won’t be the last. I’ve seen a lot of interesting versions including a red white version that ran heavier on vehicles, a mono blue version that looked quite cool running Engulf the Shore and a few others besides. Most of the other versions I’ve seen don’t run the crazy multicolor mana base that is available and are more artifact/value oriented rather than just focusing on killing the opponent with a 10/10. All of the versions I’ve played have been more combo-esque than anything else, and I can’t understand why someone would want to spend their 10/10 crewing vehicles or sacrificing to emerge from.
With the Pro Tour fast approaching, I’m sure we will probably see whether this core is worth pursuing competitively but even if it turns out to just be a gimmicky tier two deck it’s incredibly fun, fast, and is even quite cheap to build. There’s nothing quite like playing multiple 10/10s for free, so go forth and smash!