Welcome to the deck that collects the greatest artificers of the multiverse (and some goblins for some reason) and tries to create a DOOMSDAY MACHINE out of random scraps of metal and some other parts, like goats, maybe.
Historically, this was my Pia and Kiran Nalaar deck, a commander that came with some Thopters to use as spare parts. I wanted a commander though, preferably with some artifact synergies, and that’s where Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain came in. The cards added some less chaotic options in building artifacts, as opposed to how approached the process. Later, Saheeli, the Gifted came out in Commander 2018, and serves as an alternate commander.
I don’t now which of the two is better for the deck. Jhoira should draw you tons of cards, while Saheeli can produce scrap in the form of Servo tokens, and ramp out the more expense artifacts.
The deck itself is low on interaction; It’s generally more concerned doing it’s own thing, trying to convert one resource into another and creating a rube goldberg-esque sequence of activations to come out ahead, and eventually create loops that can be repeated infinitely. It’s a combo deck.
There are some standard combos like the Fifth Dawn Station cycle, but the deck offers some shortcuts into these combos, or alternate ways to set these things up. It’s essentially a puzzle, and I don’t think I know every interaction and combo by heart yet. There are so many.
You can’t count on opponents to just sit there, so there are a bunch of way to get artifacts back from the graveyard. This makes it ok to just discard or sacrifice stuff you don’t need right now, and get it back later. In fact, the deck can use some self-mill to dig for any needed parts. It’s perfectly acceptible to just mill, then use Scrap Mastery to assemble your DOOMSDAY MACHINE at once from the graveyard. Just try not to run into any graveyard hate, or you’ll have to depend on plan B)
- Plan B) Have Mycosynth Lattice and Kill Switch and shut the game down long enough to find another solution, like:
- Plan C) Put a Darksteel Colossus under a Prototype Portal, make an army of really big indestructable robots. Or create Lodestone Golems to choke out mana production, or;
- Plan D) Have Quicksmith Rebel add some stopping power to one of the many self-untapping artifacts like Staff of Domination and go to town. Or;
- Plan E) Improvise with what you have. It’s a deck; When plans fail, think on your feet and wing it. There is a non-zero chance there is something weird you can do to advance your goals.
The deck also features sub-goals such as assembling Urzatron. That’s not exactly like winning, but at least it’s an achievement when you do it.
There is a lot going on here, so let’s take a look at the current list:
~ Jhoira / Saheeli - Let's Build A DOOMSDAY MACHINE! ~
Aside from the vulnarability from graveyard- and artifact hate, from the list there is one more appearant flaw in this list. The land count is just 32, which should ring some alarm bells. I won’t tell you not to worry about this. Despite the fact there are some artifact concerned with helping you with mana production by either tapping for mana, help find lands or even become lands themselves, 32 ís dangerously low and greedy. Some testing should reveal if it is indeed too low, but if it is there are some ways to get the land count up a couple of percent and make things run a little more smoothly. Some suggestions are:
- Replace Arcbound Reclaimer with Academy Ruins.
- Replace Key to the City with Desolate Lighthouse
This should keep the basic functionality, but up the land count a little. If even more lands are needed, it’s probably Karn, Scion of Urza and Pia and Kiran Nalaar that are here for the Rule of Cool, but are non-essential parts of the deck.
The fact that commander decks are required to have exactly 100 cards does mean there are cards we don’t have space for, but would be nice to include. Some of these are:
- Aetherflux Reservoir. Nothing says DOOMSDAY MACHINE! like a weapon that uses your own forsaken life as a disposable resource. Right now there is little lifegain outside of Wurmcoil Engine and the deck isn’t stormy enough to reliably power this thing up.
- Mechanized Production. Not only does this produce more scrap (sometimes Colossi!) but also functions as an alternative win condition. At the very least we hope to create a lot of Servos and Thopters. If anything, it occupies a niche similar to Prototype Portal in our deck, so maybe we replace the Portals for Productions.
- Padeem, Consul of Innovation offers an extra layer of protection for our Artifacts, while also generating some incidental card draw. Running her would be… nice.
- The Antiquities War. The card selection and draw is helpful in finding the correct pieces to suplement your current plans, and have all Thopters/Servos/Clues turn into (very telegraphed) 5/5s might be game winning. There is a lot of card draw as it is, though, and any boardwipe nullifies the effect of the final chapter. It was in at one point, but I don’t think it’s good enough, so for now it’s out.
- Null Brooch. A literal last-ditch effort stopping any spell, while putting artifacts in the graveyard. With all the rest of the stuff in your hand. It protects your Scrap Mastery from being countered a little bit, or blocks some of the mass artifact removal around. Still, our deck has so if we wanted to stop spells, we had less drastic effects to counter things.
- Other cycles like Kaldra or Empire Regalia – But the deck is crowded as it is, so adding another entire cycle of artifacts just can’t be done.
Anyway, this is the deck as it currently stands. One of upcoming the improvements will probably in the Basic land I’ll be using. I just hope the new Ravnican promo lands won’t be overly expensive! Just look at the Izzet lands:
Yes, having beautiful and thematic basic lands is a crucial part of deck construction. At least it’s incentive to include more lands, while keeping the cool factor.