This week I used my Let’s Build a Doomsday Machine deck again. The deck has some downsides, as it’s not very interactive and it does require a lot of concentration and knowledge of all the interactions and combos to use well. Discussing the deck with an opponent, we’ve even discovered some unintentional combos in it here and there. However, a deck is never finished, and even if it’s hard to find spots for new cards, there is always room for innovation, and inspiration comes from all directions.
So, I watched a youtube video on an event on Magic Arena, and this earned me some respect for a particular card. It always felt a bit niche, but seeing it in action really brought the point home of what it could do for the Doomsday Machine. It also happens that the theme of the card perfectly fits the theme for the deck.
Fires of Invention is a really strange card. It’s Wizards attempt at making spells free, without breaking the game. Nce try, Wizards! When it’s in play, it changes how the game works. Coloured mana has less of an impact, lands that don’t tap for mana or that are tapped still count for casting spells. There are two noticable downsides to having this in play: You can cast only two spells per turn, and only on your turn. So, instant and flash cards and interactions are mostly turned off.
So, the question becomes: How often do I play more than two meaningful spells on my turn, and how likely am I holding up an instant to interact with an opponent. As it turns out, the Doomsday deck doesn’t do that very often. Sure, I’ll play some cheap artifacts to dig deeper with Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, but Fires of Invention allows me to play multiple of the more expensive artifacts, for more impact. And that’s where it breaks the two-spell limit: I keep my mana open to activate my artifacts. Because activations aren’t spells, so I get to do even more on a turn, despite the limit.
Concider for example, Planar Portal. Normally, it’s a very slow card, and I have to pay to cast it, to activate it, and then an amount of mana to play the spell I fetched with it. With Fires of Invention out, I play the portal for free, use my open mana to activate it ánd I get to play whatever I choose to find for free as well. That’s huge. Other portals work in a similar matter: There is now less risk on using a Prototype Portal or Soul Foundry, having the mana to activate it and at least get one token out of my card investment. And again, these activations don’t count toward the two-spell limit, so I’ll get a lot more things done per turn.
Another upside is that it allows me to play spells through my Kill Switch / Mycosynth Lattice combo. The way Kill Switch works is that usually, I’m the last one to untap my stuff, but Fires mitigates the downside somewhat. It’s not a perfect solution, but it might buy me some time and drop some things while the game is shut down for everyone else. All in all I’m very excited to try Fires of Invention out.
Another card I’ve found some respect for is Folio of Fancies. It seems Throne of Eldraine has some really weird cards, and this one really helps to dig for stuff, while also having the capability to mill opponents out, if you try really hard. It’s a non-combat wincondition, but also a risky one, because of the cards it gives to everyone. Sadly, it doesn’t have the option to mill yourself, but at least it makes games more interesting.
The discussion around the surprise combo in my deck was about Prototype Portal / Soul Foundry with Dross Scorpion. There was something about duplicating the Scorpion with, say, Sculpting Steel, having a sacrifice outlet and an imprinted Ornithoper. Then you can make infinite Ornithopters. I don’t run Ornithopter, but I do run Hangarback Walker, which dies when it comes of the Portal/Foundry. This does skip the whole “sacrifice outlet” part, and while I don’t get infinite Walkers, I might get infinite “Artifact enters the battlefield” and “Artifact dies” triggers. This in turn gets interesting with Quicksmith Genius or Reckless Fireweaver.
As far as “free” spells go, Stonecoil Serpent is an interesting one. It has both reach and protection from multicolored. This, and the fact that a lot of people run multicolor commanders means it’s a good blocker, holding off commander damage.
Of all these, Fires of Invention is the most likely to find a spot in the deck. The whole mana-efficiency boost it gives may be too juicy to pass up. For the others, well, space is limited, so new things to need to add a lot to the deck to replace old things, and in this deck every bit counts, as almost every card is a part of something.