Nicolas, 10: Dad, this artifact deck you built me is unbeatable! You hardly ever win with all your other decks!
Chatty (eyeing all the unused artifact destroyers in his collection): That’s true son, but I’ll beat you someday!
A few years ago, at around the time I was teaching Nico to play magic, I went through my then humongous collection of Magic cards. I had purchased a colleague’s collection that included most cards from the Urza’s block (circa 1998). There were some ridiculously powerful cards in there, some that are banned or restricted to this day.
Nico and I aren’t really running a sanctioned tournament store in my kitchen so I thought “What’s the harm?”
I pulled a few cards from Urza (Tolarian Academy, Metalworker and Voltaic Key) and dove here and there in my stash to come up with an Artifact-driven deck that overwhelmed the opposition with big, evasion-based (i.e. hard to block) monsters.
Here it is:
3X Myr Servitor
3X Spire Golem
3X Trinket Mage
1X Mind Spring
2X Voltaic Key
As casual decks go, this more than holds its own in experienced hands around a table . The deck builds up an early defense through its cheapest Arcbound creature which leave +1/+1 counter on other artifact creatures when chump blocking . The deck accelerates into inevitability by unleashing a horde of artifact creatures, trading them for cards through sacrificing them to Skullclamp and ultimately attack with an evasion-powered creature pumped up beyond the opponent’s life total. The deck truly abuses the fact that Mana Burn no longer exists by allowing huge hands filled with artifacts to power Metalworker and Tolarian Academy. In fact, Nico has to be careful when playing this as he tends to be a conservative player and refrain from attacking until he feels he won’t lose too many monsters. He decked himself a few times.
Of course, from a more serious point of view, that deck is a pile of crap supporting an interesting, time tested engine. Because of its lack of counterspells, it dies horribly to Shatterstorm though. I’m keeping that particular lesson to my son for later. It’s other main weaknesses at a casual table is its inconsistent start speed, it can crumble to fast, aggressively played weenie decks on a semi-regular basis. Any control decks will also give it a run for its money, my Mono-Black control deck packing a ton of sacrifice cards makes Nico grumble.
(Yeah Nico tends to forget the times I beat him, like Dave does when I wipe the floor in drafts and sealed decks at cons).
To make the deck more consistent, I’d drop the Bottle Gnomes and Arcbound hybrids and replace them with the best counterspells I could dredge from my collection. I’d also drop the 8 Mana Arcbound Overseer (an overwinner in my opinion) and add either a new Skullclamp or Mind Spring. Drawing cards is fundamental to this deck.
On my side, I’ll tweak my Green Trample-based fatties deck to include some artifact hate (not too much) and teach Nico to play more aggressively by pushing him hard. Next, I plan to walk him through tweaking his own decks. Maybe I’ll blog about that.
Are anyone of you playing Magic with kids? What kind of decks do they like playing? How tolerant are they to control decks?