Dominaria gave us a lot of goodies and the field on Magic Online is filled with new and original decks. Among the decks that performed last week, user Schott piloted the following Construct Tribal deck to a 5-0 finish in a Competitive League on Magic Online.
I picked it up and 5-0'd the first league I played, so I thought it would be a good idea to showcase it for you. As the name indicates, it's a deck full of Constructs. Literally half of the deck (30 cards) is Constructs, in addition to Karn, Scion of Urza that himself invites Constructs to the party. Thirty artifacts plus Karn make the perfect home for a card that's asking to be broken: The Antiquities War.
The deck isn't really a control deck – it doesn't have any removal apart from Walking Ballista. It's not an aggro deck either as it's more than happy to play longer games. It is hard to categorize, but as long as it does crazy stuff, I'm happy with it.
4 Walking Ballista
4 Bomat Courier
4 Merchant's Dockhand
4 Metallic Mimic
3 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Chief of the Foundry
4 Foundry Inspector
3 Scrap Trawler
For an all-artifact deck, its curve is impressive: eight one-drops, seven two-drops (11 if you count Ballista), 11 three-drops. When you're trying to go colorless, it usually means that you'll have to fill your deck with suboptimal cards (whatever you can find), but in this case, every creature plays a specific role to support the deck.
Bomat Courier deals the early damage and can easily be activated. You can cast it for free off a Foundry Inspector, and can grow just enough thanks to Chief of the Foundry and Metallic Mimic to not be a dead draw in the late game. One of its features is that it can be sacrificed to bring a Walking Ballista back from the graveyard with Scrap Trawler in play. One of the important thing to keep in mind is to play your Zhalfirin Void after you attack with the Courier so you don't lose the scry.
Merchant's Dockhand is not as useful as Bomat Courier but fills the curve nicely. You will be activating its ability in long grindy games and it's a creature that survives a Goblin Chainwhirler. Metallic Mimic is the universal lord and it's not often that its default mode is the mode that will make a Walking Ballista bigger.
Scrapheap Scounger will benefit from the Mimic's counters, even when it comes back from the graveyard. On the play, you almost always want to have them online on turn two. On the draw, since you're not going to be too good at racing, it could be better to board them out. You basically play it for its stats as most decks have ways to exile it – Cast Away, Seal Away, Magma Spray, Vraska's Contempt and so on.
Chief of the Foundry is the bigger of the two lords. Pumping your team is important when you're facing red decks to protect Couriers and Mimics from Goblin Chainwhirlers. It helps you get to that critical mass where all your creatures are bigger than your opponent's and you can force trades and chump blocks. Foundry Inspector helps you curve out two three-drop on turn four and make The Antiquities War that much stronger as you'll be able to play most of your spells on the same turn. It also makes Ballista cheaper/bigger and that's something to be appreciated.
Scrap Trawler makes grindy games turn to your advantage as you will be able to bring back your Mimics, Dockhands and Ballistas over and over again. And yes, I do mention Walking Ballista a lot, because it's such a centerpiece of this deck that every single card makes it that much better.
4 Karn, Scion of Urza
3 The Antiquities War
Something tells me that for as long as Karn is in the format, we're going to see a lot of him. His +1 ability gets you the extra lands you need while slowly looking for more gas. But unlike in other decks, his most important feature is his -2 ability. In most decks, it would only make a 1/1 or a 2/2. Here, it's not unusual to have him create 5/5's or 6/6's, they get pumped by every single of your creatures, plus they get the +1/+1's from the Mimic, and the +1/+1 from the Chief of the Foundry. Gideon only made 2/2's every turn. Lame.
The Antiquities War allows you to dig for gas. With 30 hits, it's really hard to miss (I'll let you do the math). And even if you do miss, you have another shot on the next turn. The last chapter of the Saga will most likely finish the game, or turn it drastically in your favor.
4 Aether Hub
2 Inventors' Fair
4 Spire of Industry
4 Spirebluff Canal
4 Zhalfirin Void
The deck doesn't really require any colored mana until turn four to cast The Antiquities War. You're happy if you have a red to sacrifice Bomat Courier early, but that's usually not too relevant. Aether Hub and Spire of Industry open sideboard options (more on that below). Most importantly, this mana base can afford playing four Zhalfirin Void, which is a card I love. Being able to filter your draws for no cost at all (it comes into play untapped and you don't need the colored mana) is one of the reasons I wanted to try the deck in the first place.
Alright, so the deck is cool and can have incredible draws on curve. But as mentioned earlier, it's not a control deck and it doesn't have any real removal. It will have a hard time dealing with a well-timed Verdurous Gearhulk as it will make your opponent's creatures bigger than yours, and along with their removal you won't be able to gang block efficiently. Flyers are also a problem. An early Heart of Kiran followed by a Gideon of the Trials is virtually unbeatable. Lyra Dawnbringer is also pretty hard to beat…
The 23 lands won't always ensure your turn-four Karn or The Antiquities War, and sometimes you'll need that fourth land early to finish the game. Played too late, neither the planeswalker or the saga will be able to turn the game around.
The Sideboard I used for these videos (and that allowed Schott to 5-0 his league) doesn't answer these problems.
The deck has a real potential, and I've seen other versions of it with Artificer's Assistant or Teshar, Ancestor's Apostle that could work as well. First, I want to try to fix the sideboard as I fail to understand what Blink of an Eye is doing there (I literally never wanted to board it in).
One Negate and two Metallic Rebukes are probably enough as you don't want to dilute your deck too much with cards that don't fit your main plan – you want to play threats and keep your mana open later, not be stuck with counters in your hand and an empty board. I'd rather have a Duress to prevent a Fumigate than a Metallic Rebuke, for example.
I'd consider cutting a couple of Islands (you only really need one blue mana on turn four or five) for red or black sources. Black, because you don't have enough ways to bring back Scrapheap Scrounger, and red for sideboard options. Abrade comes to mind to deal with Heart of Kiran, opposing Ballistas, Gearhulks or God-Pharaoh's Gift.
As of now, this is the version I would submit for my next league:
The three lands in the sideboard are pretty much open slots if you find something you'd rather play.
Oh, and here's my new Twitter handle:@raphlevymtg.