I know they say fun deck names are dead, but I helped Zac Elsik name Blue Steel when he debuted it to the world at Grand Prix Vegas last year, so this one will live on in coverage for as long as I can keep it there.
I digress. Like killing people with Dominaria Limited all-star Traxos, Scourge of Kroog and combining Etherium Sculptor and Chief Engineer to power out giant Walking Ballista? This is the deck for you.
The deck functions almost unlike anything else in the format. Each creature is a "combo piece" in its own right, even though we don't have any sort of combo kill. Instead, we play a weird mix of aggro, tempo and disruption to grinding opponents down in a way that's very difficult to interact with.
Let's start with the mana generation – where all groundbreaking brews start – and talk about Chief Engineer, Etherium Sculptor and Grand Architect. In their own way all can produce extra mana, allowing you to power out big threats early in a way that can snowball on its own as every creature played will produce more mana to in turn power out more threats. It doesn't look like much on the surface, but it adds up quickly and leads to some devastating boards as early as turn three.
Next up is the payoffs. Lodestone Golem is probably the best, as it both taxes opponents already on the backfoot and also hits for five points of damage at a time. But Traxos, Scourge of Kroog is another sweet addition, and one that has some nice synergy with Minamo, School at Water's Edge.
One card that slips under the radar but is a real payoff is Throne of the God-Pharaoh. With all of our durdly creatures either poking in for damage or tapping for mana, we end turns with a lot of creatures tapped, which all convert to unblockable damage with the Throne.
Consistency was the deck's biggest problem when it first debuted, but Dominaria has done a lot to address that. Not only is Smuggler's Copter an extremely powerful tool in the deck, but it teams up with the innocuous-but-important Artificer's Assistant and a Karn, Scion of Urza to keep the deck digging to find additional pieces. Throw in Mausoleum Wanderer as both the perfect creature to help accelerate out bigger threats and an important protection piece in its own right, and you see how it can be difficult for opponents to interact with all the different lines the deck can take.
This version comes with a Trinket Mage sideboard, which I think is a nice fit for the deck and probably a smart direction to take it considering it's a mono-blue brew. I'm sure a lot of tinkering can be done here to fit your local meta, but I like keeping the Trinket Mage package because Mage can also find Walking Ballista to end a game when needed. More combo protection in the form of Thorn of Amethyst is also appreciated, and all in all I was fairly happy with this sideboard for a mono-blue deck.
One last thing – to longtime readers, I apologize for being a few days late here! Spent a few unpleasant days sick that threw me off, but things are back up and running. And if you also enjoy MTG Arena don't miss my dive into making regular Arena content focused on the budget brewer!
Thanks for reading,