The Zac Elsik Deck-Guide For Kids Who Can’t Magic Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too
GP VEGAS 2017 MODERN DECKLIST
2 Thorn of Amethyst
2 Unified Will
1 Ceremonious Rejection
1 Aethersphere Harvester
1 Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
2 Trinket Mage
1 Hangarback Walker
1 Pithing Needle
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
GAMEPLAN #1 – AGGRO BEATDOWN
That was unbelievable!
…I know! I turned left!
First and foremost this is an aggro deck. It’s primary goal is to drop the opponent’s life total to zero as quickly as possible by turning your creatures sideways (left, if possible). This is accomplished by swarming the board with cheap creatures thanks to our cost reduction effects and then following it up with a “lord” effect. Chief Engineer is the fastest way to power out creatures and copters, as it lets you immediately convoke out more threats the turn you play him. The same is true of Grand Architect himself, allowing you to put him into play and then immediately use his mana-ability to pump out big threats. Once you’ve flooded the board with cheap threats, deploy Grand Architect, Master of Etherium, or Throne of the God-Pharaoh to greatly increase your damage potential.
GAMEPLAN #2 – OVERLOAD ON TAX EFFECTS
Blue is the essence of artifacts, and artifacts are the essence of prison.
If there’s one thing I love about artifacts, it’s how drastically that can change the shape and function of a game of magic. A huge strength of this deck is the ability to apply pressure to the opponent’s life total and their resources at the same time. This is accomplished by the simple one mana blue creatures, Mausoleum Wanderer and Judge’s Familiar, as well as Lodestone Golem. The birds and spirits will make it harder for the opponent to disrupt what you are doing, as you can protect your important creatures and copters by sacrificing them to counter removal spells. The golem affects a huge majority of Modern strategies as it increases the cost of all non-artifact spells including creatures. A single golem means playing a Goblin Guide and a Boros Charm takes a total of five mana, which likely has to be split up over two turns. Being able to buy time because your opponent struggles to develop their board gives this deck a huge advantage, especially since it can deploy it’s threats so quickly.
GAMEPLAN #3 – CONTROL THE BOARD
Blue Steel? Ferrari? Le Tigra? They’re the same strategy! Doesn’t anybody notice this?
Winning is winning no matter how you go about it. Sometimes it’s best to build up a strong battlefield of creatures and lords before going all in on an attack. This type of gameplan typically comes up when the opponent shares the same primary goal we do: aggro beatdown. This deck has the ability to overcome board stalls where neither player is attacking by abusing multiple lord effects to buff your creatures combined with a bunch of creatures that fly. More importantly, this deck can generate a ton of mana thanks to Grand Architect and/or Chief Engineer’s convoke ability which allows you to power-out a massive Walking Ballista. This construct can easily mow down all of the opponent’s important creatures in a short amount of time; it can even be built back up just as quick because Architect’s mana ability also works with activated abilities of artifacts.
GAMEPLAN #4 – BUT WHY GRAND ARCHITECT?
Are you serious? I just told you that a moment ago.
POWERFUL STARTING HANDS
I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to life than playing a really, really, ridiculously tier-1 deck. And I plan on finding out what brew that is.
The most powerful opening sequences this deck has to offer involve a 1-mana creature on turn 1 followed by a Chief Engineer on turn 2, immediately convoking out a two-drop creature, copter, or throne. This opens up the ability to play a Grand Architect or Master of Etherium on turn 3, offering to pump your other creatures to get in for a lot of damage.
Here are some plays that I’ve done in the past, all within the first three turns of the game:
Turn 1: Mausoleum Wanderer
Turn 2: Chief Engineer, convoke Etherium Sculptor, convoke Smuggler’s Copter
Turn 3: Master of Etherium + Throne of the God-Pharaoh, crew copter, attack for 8, deal 5 with throne
Turn 1: Judge’s Familiar
Turn 2: Smuggler’s Copter, attack for 1 or leave copter on defense
Turn 3: Grand Architect, tap him and bird for 4 mana to play Lodestone Golem, crew copter, attack for 3.
Turn 1: Mausoleum Wanderer
Turn 2: Etherium Sculptor
Turn 3: Grand Architect, tap him and sculptor for 4, play both Lodestone Golem and Copter, attack with spirit for 2.
Turn 1: Signal Pest
Turn 2: Chief Engineer, convoke Etherium Sculptor, convoke 2nd Etherium Sculptor using the first one, play Smuggler’s Copter and Throne of the God-Pharaoh for free, crew the copter with sculptor, then crew copter with itself, deal 5 with throne.
A DECK FULL OF SYNERGY
What is this? A Modern format for ants? The card synergy has to be at least… three times bigger than Death Shadow decks!
Judge’s Familiar + Chief Engineer: You can play familiar then immediately use it to convoke out an artifact (#1).
Judge’s Familiar + Grand Architect: The bird is both blue and white and therefore is a 2/2 with an Architect in play (#2). Since it’s blue you can tap it for mana via architect’s ability (#3).
Judge’s Familiar + Lodestone Golem: This makes a single Lightning Bolt cost three mana or Terminate cost four mana, creating good protection for your creatures (#4).
Mausoleum Wanderer + Grand Architect: This makes the spirit a 2/2, which is important because it’s ability to counter instants/sorceries is based on it’s power. Doing this allows you to counter a spell unless they pay even more mana (#5).
Mausoleum Wanderer + Signal Pest: Similar to the above, because the Battlecry ability increases the spirit’s power, you can use it to counter something more easily if they opponent tries to play a removal spell end-of-turn (#6).
Mausoleum Wanderer + Mausoleum Wanderer: Occasionally you draw into multiples of these, which is a good thing. You can use the spirit to pump another spirit in play letting you get in for extra points of damage (#7).
Signal Pest + flying creatures: This gives you an extra boost of damage by attacking in the air with birds, spirits, copters, and blinkmoths (#8).
Signal Pest + Throne of the God-Pharaoh: Even if pest has no power, it can still attack and make the opponet lose life thanks to the throne (#9).
Etherium Sculptor + any artifact: You are able to more quickly empty your hand of artifacts. This also works on cards like Walking Ballista, where you pick a value for X (ie 3) then determine the total cost (ie 6), then reduce the cost (ie 5) (#10). This effect is cumulative, so multiple sculptors help reduce costs even further (#11).
Etherium Sculptor + Trinket Mage: Casting a mage to go get a useful sideboard card like Pithing Needle while you have a sculptor in play will let you cast it right away from free (#12). This is important for stopping explosive decks like Devoted Druid combo or Dredge. You can do the same trick with Chief Engineer (#13).
Chief Engineer + Etherium Sculptor: Because sculptor is an artifact, you can use the engineer to convoke it out, then immediately use the sculptor to convoke out another artifact that costs two (#14). This is because your two-drop artifacts cost one less, and sculptor convokes for one mana.
Chief Engineer + Lodestone Golem: Playing an early engineer enables a turn 3 golem, which is often enough to swing a game greatly in your favor (#15). The same applies to an early Etherium Sculptor (#16).
Chief Engineer + Walking Ballista: The engineer allows you to convoke using any number of creatures, which can pump out a huge ballista (#17).
Chief Engineer + Throne of the God-Pharaoh: Because convoke taps the creatures, even ones that you just played, you can use this to your advantage alongside a throne for extra damage (#18).
Grand Architect + any creature: The architect naturally pumps your blue creatures for extra damage, including Etherium Sculptor and Master of Etherium (#19). It can even beef up your artifact creatures by turning them blue, which is important to remember especially for fliers like the pest or blinkmoth (#20). Turning an artifact creature blue means you can then use it to create more colorless mana (#21).
Grand Architect + Smuggler’s Copter: A huge strength the artifact offers is the ability to pump the Copter out of Lightning Bolt range, making it a 4/4 by turning it blue (#22). You can do the same to Lodestone Golem to protect it (#23). Master of Etherium synergizes with those two artifacts in the same way, giving them 4 toughness (#24, #25).
Grand Architect + any artifact: The architect is able to create large amounts of mana for use in casting artifact spells or activating artifact abilities (#26).
Grand Architect + Walking Ballista: While it’s known you can cast a big ballista with architect mana, or even put counters on it quickly with that mana, one other cool trick is turning the ballista blue so that it’s a base 1/1 creatures instead of a 0/0 (#27). This means you can remove all of the counters from the ballista and still keep it on the battlefield. Master of Etherium allows the same trick but works across multiple turns as well (#28).
Grand Architect + Throne of the God-Pharaoh: You can use the mana ability of the architect to simply tap all of your creatures for deal more with the throne (#29). This is important if your creatures can’t attack for some reason, ie. Ensnaring Bridge.
Master of Etherium + artifact creatures: The master naturally pumps all of your artifact creatures for extra damage (#30). This allows signal pest to actually get in for damage.
Master of Etherium + Hangarback Walker: Playing a master after your hangarback walker dies is a quick way to attack in the air for a lot, as well as have a huge master (#31).
Walking Ballista + Trinket Mage: Often I will side in the mage just so I can have access to extra copies of ballista, as the mage tutors up an artifact that costs one or less and ballista meets those requirements because it’s converted mana cost is zero (#32).
Walking Ballista + Basilisk Collar: Since deathtouch/lifelink apply to any damage dealt from the creature, not just combat damage, you can use ballista to ping any creature for one damage and instantly kill it off (#33). This works even if you remove the last counter from ballista and it dies because the game uses Last Known Information. The coolest part of this combo is that trinket mage finds both pieces.
Lodestone Golem + Lodestone Golem: Putting multiple of this creature onto the battlefield is incredibly powerful because their effects are cumulative; they add together making it even harder for the opponent to play spells (#34). The same is true of combining it with Thorn of Amethyst (#35).
Smuggler’s Copter + Throne of the God-Pharaoh: The copter allows you to tap summoning sick creatures to crew itself, even if you just played the copter that turn. This is important because sometimes you just want to tap all of your creatures so that the throne will deal extra damage (#36), especially if there’s an Ensnaring Bridge in play. It’s also worth noting that you can tap the copter to crew itself assuming you already crewed it once this turn so it became a creature (#37).
Smuggler’s Copter + Oboro, Palace in the Clouds: As a game goes long, you’ll often run out of cards in your hand. If you’ve played an oboro, you can pick it up and loot it away with copter’s ability (#38).
Throne of the God-Pharaoh + Blinkmoth Nexus: Often you’ll have turns where you have one extra mana and nothing to do with it. You can use this mana to animate a blinkmoth even if you can’t attack with it. This will add an extra damage from the throne at the end of turn (#39).
Blinkmoth Nexus + itself: A little known trick is that you can use the blinkmoth’s third ability to pump itself if it’s a creature (#40). This trick is extra useful because of the lord effects of the architect and master, allowing for strong defensive blocks. Beware, this doesn’t work if you just played the blinkmoth since your last turn began.
Cavern of Souls + “Vedalken”: This to me is awesome, being able to name Vedalken as the creature type for cavern (#41). The deck plays 16 of these creatures!
Unified Will + Blinkmoth Nexus: You can animate blinkmoth in a pinch to have an extra creature in play if something goes wrong, such as an opponent flashing in a Snapcaster Mage (#42). You can do the same by crewing a copter (#43).
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner + Mausoleum Wanderer: Since Kira is a spirit, it’ll buff the wanderer for extra damage (#44).
Trinket Mage + 1-drops/X-drops: The mage allows you to have multiple copies of your sideboard hate cards (#45). This is extremely important for the second or third game in a match where you need a cage to stop Collected Company or a needle to stop a combo piece. Don’t forget, you can grab ballista or hangarback because their converted mana cost is zero.
Magic players don’t think for themselves.
That’s not true!
Yes it is.
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