Aether Revolt provided a huge number of new and exciting Modern cards, especially for fast combo decks. I thought we had seen most of it, but little did I know that just a few weeks later I'd see a completely different card possibly become the most broken of them all.
Let's take a look at Scrap Trawler:
Scrap Trawler, much like Sram, Baral, or Kari Zev's Expertise, is not particularly broken on his own. However, the card just reads as if it should have some breakout potential.
Enter Krark-Clan Ironworks.
Krark-Clan Ironworks has been a fringe Modern combo deck since it inception. Calling it fringe is rather generous, but many people have tried and mostly failed at constructing a competitive KCI deck.
Ironworks is busted on its own, providing you with a ton of colorless mana when played with enough artifacts. In the past you were forced to play Faith's Reward or Open the Vaults, which is a heavy colored/overall mana commitment. You were weak to artifact hate, weak to graveyard hate, and also had the awkwardness that comes with the global effects on the recursion spells. On top of that, you wouldn't always be able combo off after resolving KCI on the same turn.
These are all problems of the past, thanks to Scrap Trawler. After resolving Ironworks, you can immediately combo off by sacrificing some artifacts to get Scrap Trawler into play as he only costs three colorless mana.. Then you essentially have a soft combo - any two-mana artifact sacrificed returns you a one-mana artifact which returns a zero-mana artifact. This nets mana while drawing you cards. You rarely fizzle since your extra ombo pieces aren't redundant, and the second Scrap Trawler wins you the game rather quickly. You get so much mana, additional copies of KCI aren't redundant, as they start the cascade of artifacts again if you are running low.
Moving forward, I've tuned the original list quite a bit. Here's what I ran in the video.
I've replaced Thoughtcast with Glint-Nest Crane. Thoughtcast is a powerful card, but you can't cast it early in this deck. When you do cast it in the midgame, you already have a bunch of artifacts which means you are likely missing a combo piece such as Scrap Trawler or KCI. Crane can be cast on turn two to find an Opal to ramp you, a combo piece or find a sideboard card, which Thoughtcast can rarely do. Crane digs deeper into the deck while providing some defense, and is the superior option.
I've replaced Mishra's Bauble with Everflowing Chalice. You need another zero-mana artifact to go alongside Scrap Trawler since you want the ability to return it to your hand while comboing when one cost artifacts die, essentially providing you with two mana from Ironworks. Bauble doesn't do much other than cycle and provide an artifact. Chalice gives you some mana early, which is important in a land-light deck, and also increases your turn three win percentage by helping land Ironworks more often.
The Myr Battlesphere/Sanctum of Ugin/Emrakul win condition seems odd at first glance, but I think is pivotal to the decks success. Myr Battlesphere is a rather strong card in combination with Sanctum of Ugin because it lets you combo off with Ironworks without having a Scrap Trawler. You can tutor a Trawler with Sanctum. It's also hard castable and a powerful threat against grindy decks. It's extremely helpful to have a win condition that lets you ignore Graveyard hate in sideboarded games by just playing Battlesphere into an Emrakul.
This deck is quite potent, providing several turn three and some rare turn two kills. I would recommend trying this deck for a breath of fresh air, even if you aren't a combo player. While it looks complicated, piloting this deck is rather simple, and you rarely fizzle while comboing. When you go off, you go off through the roof so there is little need to worry about every single trigger and playing perfectly to maximize every single step.
- Steve Rubin