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Artifact Creature — Construct
, , Tap X untapped artifacts you control: Look at the top X cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
Merchant's Dockhand Discussion
1 month ago
@ jeacaveo Hey, thanks for dropping by. I've certainly been finding that high quality card advantage sources are tough to come by for this deck and that this seems to be perhaps the most necessary addition for the deck to be as competitive as possible against the top tier decks in the format. I'm not finding that Urza is a deck that has too much trouble against tier 2 and 3 cEDH decks, but as with most decks in the format the tier 1 are pretty troublesome and they seem to simply out grind in a meta that has become very grind oriented.
Power Artifact is in as one more means of redundancy and resiliency. It's relatively easy to fetch with a handful of tutors, and can be used on either Isochron Scepter or Grim Monolith to good effect. In a meta where every last single U/B deck in competitive play is now running Ashiok, Dream Render it's vitally important to have redundant engine pieces in the event that some are exiled. The very printing of that card is perhaps the most fundamentally format warping aspect of this new set in cEDH. Long gone are the days where decks could feel comfortable running one primary win condition and one secondary win condition. Multiple layers of redundancy are a must to be competitive at this point. Until testing demonstrably proves an acceptable degree of redundancy Power Artifact is in to provide it.
Karn, the Great Creator does indeed have a hefty price tag, but this is perfectly acceptable in the new meta we find ourselves in. Also long gone are the days where Turn 3 was the all encompassing turn and cards with higher converted mana costs didn't have a role. In this new, long, grindy as all hell meta, Karn shines as a way to asymmetrically disrupt the best opposing PS decks in the format as a passive hate piece (as well as destroying any 0 cmc artifacts opponents have in play while ticking up), and a way to actively recover important required combo pieces that might be exiled with Ashiok or even Praetor's Grasp (as Karn does not differentiate between face up or face down exile). He is deceptively tough to remove from the board as being at 4 cmc means Abrupt Decay can't hit him, has a rather high loyalty count making removing him via combat also difficult. Meanwhile the best decks in the format will find he is a piece that typically needs to be removed in order for them to effectively combo off as he completely shuts down all Isochron related lines, SDT related lines, etc. If the format meta at the top levels was still as fast as it was a year and a half ago he probably would not have a place, but the fastest decks in the format have long since been supplanted by superior decks in the intervening time that are better at controlling pace of the game and the best grinding deck in the meta is the deck most likely to win these days. Karn can help in that regard, and he has performed admirably in testing in a surprisingly wide range of match ups.
Mishra's Workshop is actually a card I'm a bit on the fence over. I do not, by any means, consider this card to be a requirement for this deck. There are even some situations as you so astutely recognize where it's drawback can be significant (there are times where you cannot cast a turn 2 Urza if Workshop is one of the lands in an opening hand). I will say that the situations in testing where it has been effective have been terrific, however. Turn 1 Astral Cornucopia , Mox Opal , Mana Crypt into Turn 1 Urza is extremely powerful. Turn 1 Trinisphere is extremely powerful. And it certainly never hurts to cast Paradox Engine off Workshop mana. I'll need more testing with it in before I determine whether it's use cases are too narrow for play, or if they are flexible enough to warrant an inclusion. It seemed like an interesting thought so for now it's in to be tested.
Howling Mine does indeed need Urza in play, but since the deck sort of revolves around having him in play and protecting him to keep him active it's not usually a case where the symmetrical effect is a drawback. I've been much more concerned with it's level of performance overall as a card advantage piece for Urza than I have with the rare moments it acts as a card advantage piece for opponents. I did try some other pieces that could turn it off ( Merchant's Dockhand for example), but ultimately found them lackluster and the times where they would be needed quite rare overall. Quite frankly, I'd prefer better card advantage sources, but in mono blue the options are rather limited in terms of quality.
Genesis Chamber is a new addition, it's being used with Skullclamp and other token pieces to see how that package performs in terms of providing a grinding advantage. I don't think I honestly expect it to perform at the level I'm looking for, but I also don't want to overlook any potential options in the quest to optimize Urza against the top tier decks, so it's going to get a fair shake in testing.
Elixir of Immortality is important for a few reasons. Ultimately, it's a layer of redundancy (recall the issue present at the moment in the meta with Ashiok) that enables looping, and it is a card that can be retrieved with Karn (even if all spells, every single one, are exiled from this list as long as the deck has Karn it has the ability to retrieve every required piece of at least one engine to combo win). Mostly it was included at first as a way to circumvent a particular looping issue however. Consider: in a deck where looping is the way to finish off opponents that only one real option can win on the turn where Urza combos off without having to wait a turn cycle to attack with Swans, Apes, or Constructs; Windfall. Only the deck could not actually perform this function as the only viable way to loop is Narset's Reversal + Timetwister . Using that loop enabler would restore the graveyards of opponents and the Windfall win line would not be possible. This means we would need to run an alternate immediate win con, but Lab Man, Jace, and Aetherflux Reservoir are all REALLY bad cards in cEDH being completely dead outside of comboing off. The better, more efficient option, is to simply run a mana efficient loop enabler that at worst is a 1 cmc mana rock. Urza doesn't mind cheap mana rocks, in fact, Urza likes those, and on occasion Elixir can also directly protect the graveyard from an Ashiok activation. It's inclusion was a natural progression of this line of thinking. The Elixir might ultimately be cut if I decide the deck is redundant and resilient enough without it, but I'm betting against that being the case with the way the meta has changed post Ashiok's printing.
Cryptic Command and Archmage's Charm are certainly on the expensive side, but again, as the format has slowed down significantly and grindier, more interactive decks are the prohibitive favorites in any given pod, these cards have a warranted slot in testing and testing has so far proven them to be very solid inclusions. I don't know about you, but I LIKE stealing an opponents Mystic Remora . It's far better than just destroying it. I LIKE stealing an opponents Sol Ring . Dack Fayden is still run in some cEDH lists and primarily is used to steal away mana rocks outside of being a win on a loop. The Charm is an even more flexible version of what he does and the mana cost isn't going to be tough for a mono blue deck based around a commander that turns all artifacts into blue moxen. Cryptic Command is also ideal on a loop to return all opposing permanents to hand in the event the deck must wait a turn cycle to attack with an infinite army as the risk of having that army destroyed or disrupted is much less if opponents have no board state at all the turn they need to disrupt it. A year or more ago, these are likely not cards I would have expected to perform well in the meta, but in the current meta these are cards with significant value.
Academy Ruins is the all important tutor land. I initially had Tabernacle in here in the original iteration before discovering that including that hate piece at all was extremely counterproductive and not an ideal direction for a deck that ideally wants Urza in play on turn 2 as often as possible. But when I cut the Tabernacle I didn't cut the land tutors because I noticed a particularly nifty interaction with, at first, Aether Spellbomb . Urza is not a deck that can operate like other PS decks where it tries to stutter start it's engine by using it's commanders ability to chug along on a slim mana margin until it eventually hits the pieces required for critical mass to begin generating infinite mana in a deterministic fashion. The process simply isn't as efficient as Thrasios and Tasigur and most often results in a fizzle and tapped out board state. This means Urza MUST already be able to generate infinite mana in a deterministic fashion using resources already available to it rather than relying on top deck RNG to find the proper resources. One good way I found to do this was to simply recast spells the deck already had access to (Crystal Shard being the most important method of doing so) and reliably being able to get Academy Ruins into play with Candelabra of Tawnos and Paradox Engine allows the deck to repeatedly cast Mind Stone or Aether Spellbomb and generate infinite mana from a deterministic line. The same 6 or so mana that might be used to blindly activate Urza's ability and hope and pray the deck hits (which the math proves, undeniably, is a lower percentage chance than a misfire) could instead simply be used to sacrifice a known quantity, hold priority on it's draw trigger, replace it on top of the library, draw it, and replay it to untap everything and proceed with the loop indefinitely. As long as the loop produces 1 net positive mana the loop succeeds in winning the game. The land tutors are in as ways to reliably enable this back up plan in the event it is required, which hasn't been too common in testing but it has happened a significant number of times.
High Tide and Extraplanar Lens were actually both in my original iteration of the deck and it was only after about 10 games of testing that I realized these cards don't actually do anything for this deck. Urza doesn't care about land mana generation, it runs off artifact mana generation. Dramatically more often than not these cards wound up simply being dead spells that didn't provide any value at all and the times where they did provide value it was of a negligible amount. Ultimately I realized neither of these cards was important to the way the deck wanted to operate and so I cut them. I do not expect I will return either to the list at any point, Urza, at least as constructed, isn't a Storm style deck that regularly makes use of untapping lands to generate extra mana and in the situations where this can be done it means the deck has already untapped a half dozen or dozen artifacts that are providing the mana needed. Essentially, these cards were identified as "win more" in function and summarily cut. Unwinding Clock was another cut in the same vein, dead out side of winning and only helped win harder as opposed to just helping win.
Back to Basics is a worthwhile consideration, but I've never felt like this was a particularly difficult hate piece to navigate when playing against it. Urza already has more universal means of locking down opponents resources that aren't limited to just lands and these means also don't care about land type, and are also able to be tutored for and more reliably employed where Back to Basics cannot. Rhystic Study is a card I am less and less and less enthused about in the current meta. It's a card that is essentially dead outside of playing it on Turn 1 or Turn 2, and Urza has things it already wants to be doing on those turns. If I get desperate for card draw sources this is a card that could make it's way back onto my list, but I'm going to have to be very desperate indeed as this card is no longer cEDH worthy. If you want to understand why just watch the most recent Lab Maniacs S3 gameplay video on YouTube. Sigi's Rhystic Study legitimately generated no value at all and sucked up 3 mana to play. Not a position I want to be in and yet that is the type of position this card puts players in given the state of the meta at the moment. Verity Circle has significantly out performed it in testing, dramatically so the longer a game goes on. Trail of Evidence is out for the time being while I test some other card draw sources. It performed acceptably well, it just didn't stand out and I was curious if I could do better. I think this is a card that could very likely make it's way back into the list, but I want to give every other potential option a try as well in testing so for the time being it's relegated to the bench.
Well, that was a lot of words! Thanks for dropping by though, it's always worthwhile to vocalize and consider the reasons for various inclusions and go over the reasons behind the choices. I expect a number of ridiculous seeming ideas will be tried in my attempts to make this list as competitive as possible and I fully expect most of these ridiculous ideas to prove unworthy in testing, but anything that has some degree of potential should be looked at and verified in practice or else I'd still be running cards like Rhystic Study blindly believing they would improve the overall deck performance. I'll certainly keep you posted on what worked out well and what silly ideas proved to be rather too silly as testing continues and I hope you'll return the favor with the things you test.
2 months ago
First of all, this list has been retired for a few months. If I was still updating it, I would for sure take out Mox Amber , Copy Artifact , Snapcaster Mage and Daze , as well as most of the card draw stuff like Dig Through Time . However, there are cards I stand by that you listed to cut. The fetches don't matter, except I have them and I can flex. There may be no reason to run them but there's also no reason not to. Power Artifact is a backup plan with the monoliths and Walking Ballista , in case Arcum gets shut down. Strip Mine is actually fine, and Merchant's Dockhand is just a 1 mana sac target, one that just so happens to have an ability that isn't useless if it gets to that point. Guardian Idol is a rock that can be a creature of necessary, and Everflowing Chalice is just a rock, it doesn't need to be searched, and I don't see why it would ever need to be. Metalworker is very good, it can get a ton of mana to hardcast your combo pieces if they get stuck in your hand. I don't see why you say the creatures are slow, the main sac targets are 0 and 1 mana, which is what most decks usually play. I used to play Darksteel Forge and Mycosynth Lattice but I took them out because I found that it's useless to tutor for them. I would rather win then durdle around with indestructible. In most cases your stuff wouldn't be destroyed, rather countered which indestructible doesn't help with much. On the contrary, Delay and Flusterstorm are both must haves. A combo that wins on turn 1-4 90% of the time is useless if you can't protect it. I don't know if you've played in a real cEDH game, but if you haven't, I suggest watching a few videos on the YouTube channel Laboratory Maniacs. They play cEDH games. Most of these games don't end on turns 1-4, as everyone has some kind of response to the other's important spells. If you can't protect your stuff or take out your opponents key pieces, you lose.
2 months ago
I play an Arcum Dagsson list that combos off between 1 and 4 in 90% of games. I would ditch the fetches, you don't need to thin the deck as you aren't topdecking you are searching so you don't need to thin out the lands you draw. I run Codex Shredder in mine as a way to A. Infinite mill when the deck goes infinite any way and it's a safeguard for Paradox Engine . Ditch some of your spells and focus more on combo as earlier as possible, I feel this is split between a control edh and combo edh and you want to focus it as much as possible, I would ditch Strip Mine because it's a dead draw if you topdeck and pretty dead in start hand, you want your land base mostly blue as most arty ramp is colourless, ditch Mox Amber as it's mostly useless to you, ditch Snapcaster Mage as it's not worth it, it holds up an opponent but will mainly hold up you more. Tolaria West is definitely worth running as is the land that gives a creature haste, Hall of the Bandit Lord or something (the name escapes me), Flusterstorm isn't worth running, Power Artifact isn't worth it - that's not the direction the deck is going, I'd ditch Daze , Metalworker , Merchant's Dockhand , Guardian Idol , Everflowing Chalice , Copy Artifact , Dig Through Time , and Delay . The creatures are too slow, Everflowing Chalice can't be searched for with Arcum Dagsson so is a waste, Copy Artifact is neat but too slow and uses your precious blue mana, Dig Through Time is slow and clunky, and you likely won't have enough stuff in the graveyard to cast it cheap. I run Mycosynth Lattice in mine, Arcum Dagsson can sac himself if desperate, you can remove all opponents critters, and sac any of yours, also stops blue mana being an issue, and Darksteel Forge protect all your stuff then. I run an Eldrazi titan in mine (ramp into it early most people will freak) and it's useful to shuffle your grave if stuff gets hard, surprised not to see Junk Diver as a backup combo piece, and Aetherflux Reservoir is your biggest asset and yet wasn't in the list, I'll add a link to my list in a moment.
1 year ago
Oh and possibly an extra Merchant's Dockhand in the sideboard for control.
1 year ago
I can’t believe how much of a sleeper card Sequestered Stash is, it’s an amazing card in most artifact based decks and especially one like this where digging for the stones is specifically what you’re going for. Merchant's Dockhand is a lot more risky but if you have a good amount of artifacts in the deck for synergy it can help dig for those stones too.
1 year ago
Something you don't have calls out to several of your cards (i.e. volt key, brighthearth rings, omen clock, and divining top.) It wants to be abused. It's name is Paradox Engine. Infinite draw with the top is so disgustingly beautiful. The combo is extremely flexible because the clock, rings, and volt key are all valid substitutes for one another. The objective is to get two instances of the top's drawing ability on the stack so you draw your new card plus the top itself. Cast the top again, and every nonland permanent you tapped in the entire process (e.g. mana vault/basalt monolith) becomes untapped. Do it all again. The best part is that the Paradox Engine untaps your mana rocks, so infinite mana may become an unintentional, but useful, byproduct of this interaction. While not as impressive as true infinite draw, Paradox Engine + Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain is still an insane draw engine, and will get you very far, very quickly.
Arcum Dagsson, Merchant's Dockhand, Cloud Key, Myr Retriever, Junk Diver, Summoning Station, Intruder Alarm, Blasting Station, Altar of the Brood, Staff of Domination, Battered Golem, Unwinding Clock, and Vedalken Orrery are all great cards. Put the Nevy's Disk back in there too. Switch out Feedback Bolt for Vandalblast. Mycosynth Lattice lets Vandalblast sweep away everyone's stuff and leaves your stuff untouched when cast for the Overload cost. Even though it's a sorcery, the effect, for the same mana cost as the Bolt, is way better. People will often concede because of it.
The final thing I want to add is that Tolarian Academy has been brought into Commander from the banned list, in a rather unexpected way: Storm the Vault. It flips into what is essetially Tolarian Academy. In artifact decks, it flips the turn it's played about 80% of the time, making it a must-have for almost any Breya deck.
1 year ago
I didnt add Voltaic Servant at first, because its Power was rather lacking to start with, other than to give 1 of your artifacts basically vigilance, although I will give it a shot.
I didnt really think about adding Aethersphere Harvester to the Sideboard. Adding that to the Sideboard for sure. Thanks!
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