Let’s Build a Doomsday Machine, possible updates.

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.

Posted under Commander / EDH

Azorius Folio Control

After being a little burned out on Magic Arena for a while, I got back in with Theros Beyond Death. First thing I made was enchantments, using Paradise Druid with auras that give vigilane, and Barkhide Troll with Hydra’s Growth to get some hard to remove threats, and eventually get something really big. The deck was fun, if a little inconsistant, requiring drawing a good mix of creatures, aura’s and land to work.

Eventually, that became boring as well, so I made an Esper () deck using Folio of Fancies, Smothering Tithe backed up with Underworld Dreams and Ob Nixilis, the Hate-Twisted to turn all the card draw into damage. This worked pretty okay, but I found I could do without the black in the deck. Often, Folio was enough to mill someone out, and slightly better mana made stabilizing early on a lot easier.

So, I threw something together, and it works well, even it’s not the final list:

~ Azorius Folio Control ~

Creatures (14)

Dimir Informant
Dream Trawler
Elite Guardmage
Overwhelmed Apprentice
Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

Artifacts (3)

Folio of Fancies

Enchantments (7)

Banishing Light
The Birth of Meletis
Smothering Tithe

Lands (23)

Azorius Guildgate
Castle Vantress
Castle Ardenvale
Hallowed Fountain
Temple of Enlightenment

Spells (13)

Didn’t Say Please
Shatter the Sky
Sinister Sabotage
Time Wipe
Warrant // Warden

I really love Overwhelmed Apprentice. Being a 1/2 for one mana already stops most other one-drops in red, or at least bait a shock, slowing red down a little. It also mills a little, which helps the Folio win a little, but the most important bit is the scry 2, setting up later draws.

Dimir Informant is a similar speedbump, and the 4 toughness is significant, requiring additional removal spells to get rid of it, most of the time. The surveil further helps setting up the draws. Both these creatures have power 1, making running into them a little problematic for aggresive decks. They tend to be more of a deterent than the 0/4 walls I’ve concidered.

Elite Guardmage is 3 life and a card, and can block flyers. is on the expensive side, but I’ve gotten a lot of value out of them while I had Thassa, Deep-Dwelling. Thassa repeats the scry/surveil/draw on my creatures. It also untaps them by blinking, which helps getting more value out of Dream Trawler, so I can attack with it and still have a lifelinking blocker afterwards. Thassa can tap down something in a pinch, although I haven’t used the option much, if at all. It’s nice to have in an emergency though.

Dream Trawler itself is a nice, hard to remove card draw engine, a source of life, and with Folio of Fancies out, something that can end the game quickly. It’s such a fun card, and some decks simply can’t deal with it, especially if they have to race it after a board wipe.

Speaking of board wipes, I currently run two total, but the idea is to get more. Time Wipe is one, Shatter the Sky is the other. I prefer the latter, because it’s slightly easier on the mana, and sometimes the card draw generates me some extra mana with Smothering Tithe. I plan on getting one or two more Shatter the skies in the deck. Fortunately with all the card draw and scry effects, I get to my wipes often already.

The main part of the strategy is to draw lots of cards using the Folio, and use tempo to invalidate anything the opponent does. Banishing Light is a catchall removal spell, and I run several counter spells. Both Sinister Sabotage and Didn’t Say Please have their merits. Extra mill is good, but setting up draws is nice as well. I had several times where I knew I had a counter on top, and just got it with Folio. Counter-wise I’m concidering Absorb as well, for a little bit more of a life buffer. In want of extra early removal, I run Warrant // Warden. I can Warrant something, then mill it, or counter it later.

The other counter is Quench, which loses some value later on. It helps stabilizing early though.

Finally, there is the “combo” part. Smothering Tithe is there to generate lots of extra mana using Folio of Fancies, potentially chaining Folios into each other to win the game. I think I want an extra Tithe, even though the means I’ll often go shields down when casting it. It is where the fun is for the deck, though, and it’ll often end games within a couple of turns after it.

Other potential inclusions are:

Teferi, Time Raveler. It might replace Warrant as the bounce spell of choice. It also stops opposing counter decks, and sometimes allows me to insta-wrath or hold up a counter, and still have the opportunity to play sorceries risk-free.

Apostle of Purifying Light. Might be a good  sideboard card against Cauldron Familiar / Witch’s Oven decks, as well as aggresive mono-black decks.

…and ofcourse the mana needs to be better.

Conclusion: It’s a fun deck to play, and sometimes wins by surprise. Games tend to go a little long though, so it’s not a deck to quickly get multiple wins.


Posted under Standard