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: Add to your mana pool. Spend this mana only to play artifact spells.
Mishra's Workshop Discussion
4 days ago
3 weeks 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.
1 month ago
Hey, @jaymc1130, Thanks for the in Depth response I really appreciate it!
"there are a number of choices that are particularly awkward in terms of Cedh and prevent this list from being as competitive as it could be"
Now that would be merely a biased opinion in a dataless world were no tournament viable feedback or anything else is available except for some wonky "FUNmander" youtube channels that attempt to play "Cedh" but don't even come close to what a tournament setting and maximum competitiveness would represent...
Either way, Our commander league, Tournaments, and FNM over here don't mean anything either but the experience of some of our pods are easily on par or even way better than any player on any power/tier/whatever list or any channel/stream you can imagine (not talking about the garbage command zone, TeamTurnThree, or star-city games but most of them are irrelevant anyway as they always have the 4-5-6-7 same people in 4 man pods which does not mean anything either regarding consistency or tournament level competitive viability ;) )!
Nonetheless, I will go over your thoughts with care, but my list seems to have been outdated when you were typing: s
(Cards marked with were already cut during the time of your writing and for some reason you saw an outdated build or my deck hadn't updated yet nonetheless I left at 19:00 ish after the feature and update I did :) )
1 - Aetherflux Reservoir was already cut, the list just didn't want to update for an entire day now but this card isn't needed indeed...
1.1 - Jace, Wielder of Mysteries Though is an equally okay flex slot as for example "consul" or "tainted pact" routes as an extra backup when loopable spells no longer become an option or get used/exiled along the way... Just going for the same strategy is often not always possible and this can fight trough rule of law effects/sphere/ and heavy Stax meta pretty easy regardless of being drawn or not... while just exiling the entire deck under Urza and only having to resolve Jace and a +1 winds-of-rebuke/Labman/and also drawing you a card +1 ... you can side it out pretty easily here as well with any generic draw or interaction spell like you mentioned later on.
I' de say it's consistency would definitely not suffer from running Jace...
2 - Time Spiral : same as fluxervoir... didn't update for the longest time was taken out around 19:00 - 20:00 before featuring it as I had to go to work but yeah still working on the list, after tests and what not xD
3 - Unwinding Clock I can see where you are coming from but being able to tap out for single/multiple activations of Urza or tapping out for anything else and still untapping to be able to interact again still sounds good enough for me. Perhaps sinks could use it to create more advantages but I'm pretty sure just 1 or 2 of those won't make the difference... Yisan also loves its Seedborn Muse although here it's a bit more specific for artifacts and Urza...
4 - The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale It is Just too good in dork/tymna/frog/ or 90% of the decks that need their commander in play to actually do something Meta (najeela,sissay,yisan,gitrog,selvala,and the list goes on and on and on)... + great against Hatebears.. it is fairly expensive sure but if it's not in your budget just use any utility land you see fit or an extra island...
5 - Gilded Lotus : List didn't update...
6 - Tezzeret the Seeker : Tezzeret is a wincon -5 + more mana +1 + a tutor for everything this deck is about so definitely not the wrong deck for it...
7 - Fabricate : Mages are too narrow and don't even compare to Fabricate as it can fetch any artifact at the same CMC so why handicap yourself on specific CMC when you, for example, aren't looking for that CMC 2 card and could have won using a way more flexible tutor...
8 - Fellwar Stone : Fellwar stone 70 % of the time always taps for blue... But you're right there are better Artifacts to slot in, but since I'm on so many I'm actually going to give Sai a shot as he can also combo with some of the cards already in the deck and draw cards...
9 - Merchant Scroll , Dig Through Time , and Fact or Fiction : The cards have always worked and will always work + dig deep so they are kinda auto-includes for me and many others amongst the Cedh community.
10 - Rhystic Study : Hmm, even if they pay for it it has done its job pretty damn well... The amount of time you can come back from otherwise lost games with this card is Absurd... even if it's only one extra card per turn cycle it's worth it and on many occasions, not everyone can afford to pay up... This is a Mono-Blue deck and will have a lot of grindy games so why not grind harder than everyone else? Again if you don't forget the trigger having them pay 1 more for everything sounds like an auto-include one-sided sphere effect to me with the added bonus of drawing you and generating card advantage at any stage of the game if they don't or can't...
Onto your inclusions for this deck:
11 - Crystal Shard : Just no... pretty bad card...
12 - Voltaic Key : List didn't update...
13 - Trophy Mage : Mages are too narrow...
14 - Tangle Wire is okay to run but does die off rather quickly and should see more play in Stax heavier Urza decks... But Trinisphere As mentioned in the primer can only effectively be shut off during the end step of the opponents turn before your turn... it untaps in your turn and you can not break parity like you can with the orbs... Because using it for mana during your turn shuts it off for the others... So a no go for any Urza deck compared to the orb effects... even playing null rod is better than playing trinipshere here...
15 - Aether Spellbomb : Casting Urza and recasting Urza is a bad and slow plan I'm not committing this deck to and requires more dead slots... I'm fairly happy with the artifact suite right now + The Monolith package as it works and wins if it resolves paired with their respective pieces... I've been on Oona long enough and yea having more pieces to the puzzle that do the same and work together is pretty nice...
16 - Pongify and Rapid Hybridization : Are In the maybeboard, they are flex slots if your meta has more creature win conditions but here it's too mixed to have full effect from these (also loopable spell slots if you don't want a bird army but an ape army for example... the same goes for Reality Shift under a second scepter (copy artifact) it still requires a target for it to work though, but can be a wincon when looped)
17 - Mishra's Workshop : Sounds pretty good, to be honest!
1 month ago
Interesting build, but there are a number of choices that are particularly awkward in terms of cEDH and prevent this list from being as competitive as it could be.
First and foremost: Aetherflux Reservoir and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries . At 4 mana these cards are on the slower side for cEDH, and what's worse is both are only good in the situation where you are actively in the process of comboing off. 99% of the time you draw these they will be dead cards. You will lose more games per 100 played against top tier decks just running these cards than if you ran any 2 other random cards. Much too card slot inefficient for cEDH, I personally would never run either of them in any cEDH deck and expect to win consistently.
Time Spiral : If you already own and are running Timetwister then including this card seems very odd. It can't loop your Timetwister and is very difficult to cast. It's not a terrible inclusion for the purpose it serves, it's just that running it makes the deck less consistent in terms of opening hands and early plays as it will also be a dead card outside of actually comboing off. Another card that is too inefficient card slot wise to make the cut for cEDH.
Unwinding Clock : Cute, but it doesn't really have much synergy with the rest of the list. I'm looking for mana sinks that can repeatedly make use of the extra mana available, but Sai is in your maybe cards, there is no Kefnet or similar effect, not even so much as a Compulsion to generate value from the Clock triggers. Ultimately this Unwinding Clock is a card that is already fringe viable for cEDH and while I think there might be an Urza build that could make good use of it your current list seems rather lacking in it's ability to leverage that extra mana for maximum value.
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale : I'll be honest, I immediately included this card in my original lists as well. And then I play tested with it and found out that it was often proving more of an impediment to me than my opponents. Urza + Construct makes for a hefty upkeep tax without considering any other creatures that might come into play on your side or that you might wind up with multiple huge constructs out that are a serious threat you don't want to sacrifice but also can't afford to keep if you want to be able to interact with an opponent. I made the choice to cut this card and keep it as a side board option for specific creature heavy meta's where I'd run a less creature intense list myself and this decision wasn't all that difficult. It's also an extremely expensive card so many people who are not as lucky as I am to own a copy will find it difficult to accommodate.
Gilded Lotus : While this card is a staple for CVT decks, it's not a relevant card the majority of the time for an Urza deck. Urza is already turning all artifacts into mana rocks, it costs 5 mana, and since Urza makes blue mana the colored mana is also not relevant. Fine card, wrong deck for it though.
Tezzeret the Seeker : Similar to Gilded Lotus, this card is a staple for CVT, but out of place in Urza decks. Too mana intensive, a bit on the slow side, and running Paradox Engine as a primary means of untapping basically turns him into a 5 mana artifact tutor that can't fetch Paradox Engine itself. Fine card, probably the wrong deck.
Fabricate : I've been back and forth on including this and ultimately have opted not to run it. I think it's an acceptable card to run, even if it's a bit on the edge of what's truly cEDH viable, but Urza builds focused on low cost artifacts can probably get more value from the tutor mages (Trophy, Trinket, Tribute). Particularly when combined with an Urza must run card I will get to later, the mages out perform Fabricate for their ability to be reused and as blockers that can trade for Tmnya (a very important consideration in cEDH).
Fellwar Stone : In a mono blue deck where all your artifacts are regularly turned into blue moxen this card seriously under performs when compared to Thought Vessel or Mind Stone which offer some utility outside of being pure mana rocks. It seems like a very odd inclusion if the goal is to be cEDH level competitive. Card slot efficiency is key and the other options mentioned bring more to the table.
Merchant Scroll , Dig Through Time , and Fact or Fiction : I've elected not to run any of these for the time being, let me know how they work for you. I'd be really interested to hear how consistently they create the right kind of value as these are options I have on my radar but feel there are better inclusions.
Rhystic Study : Is a card I've cut from every single cEDH deck I have. The meta has become to grindy with games taking quite a long time and tons of mana available to every player for this card to generate any value at all in my games. Everyone pays for it every time, it's just too slow to get it out, and the mana spent to deny draws seems to very rarely impact opponent's abilities to interact appropriately. I consider this card at the moment to be extreme fringe viable for cEDH at best.
On to some noticeable exceptions from your list.
Crystal Shard : This card is an absolute must run win con for Paradox Engine Urza lists for cEDH. It's hands down proven to be the single most reliable and effective method of winning games in my testing so far and should be run even by budget lists as the card is very affordable to acquire. Generating an infinite army of infinitely large creatures that generate exponential mana ramp all at one time is more than enough to win games. It's never a dead card as it can generate value outside of winning the game where cards like Jace and Aetherflux cannot and is easier to cast than either. A must run for cEDH Paradox Urza lists.
Voltaic Key : Another must run combo enabler and value generator card for any Paradox deck of any color that also runs Top and mana rocks. Just assembling Key, Top, Engine, and mana rocks totaling at least 2 mana production means infinite draw and untap triggers, infinite storm count, and eventually infinite mana as you draw into more rocks. Absolute must run for cEDH viability. At worst it's a 1 cmc mana rock, at best it wins you the game.
Trophy Mage : A quality value body that can find a number of pieces that buy Urza the time needed to go off or the all important Crystal Shard (often the first target, so you can reuse the mage repeatedly for the other targets).
Tangle Wire and Trinisphere : Already running Static Orb, so Tangle Wire should be a no brainer to completely lock down opposing board states and create an opportunity to combo off. Trinisphere, likewise, can be better leveraged by Urza than any other commander and can seriously complicate opponent's abilities to interact, advance board state, etc. Easy to tutor for with Trophy Mage. Turn into mana rocks that allow you to deactivate their effects at will. The best time buying options available to cEDH Urza lists.
Aether Spellbomb : Already running Academy Ruins and Candelabra, so this should be an auto include. Worst case scenario, it's a one cmc mana rock. Situational use scenario, it can interact with the board when needed. Best case scenario, it wins the game through allowing repeated castings of Urza, or infinite draw triggers to draw itself (using Ruins to put it on top of library before it's draw trigger resolves) which generate infinite spell casts for infinite Paradox untap triggers for infinite mana to do basically anything you would like. Must run if already running Candelabra and Ruins.
Rings of Brighthearth and Basalt Monolith : I run these as a flex combo for extra resiliency and more consistent access to infinite mana generation. Between Paradox Engine, Dramatic Scepter, and these its going to be very difficult for opponents to shut down all our infinite mana generation options with a lucky Ashiok, Dream Render activation or similar effect. These two also happen to be easy to tutor for as Trophy mage can target them both. Brighthearth also combos with SDT for multiple draw triggers allowing the drawing of the whole deck and infinite spell casts into infinite untaps with Paradox Engine out for 1 more mana than Key+Top. Redundancy like this where multiple pieces all provide the same net effect makes the deck's performance more consistent against other top tier decks that will all be running tons of interaction and disruption elements that can often stifle your first, second, or even third attempts to position for a win.
Pongify and Rapid Hybridization : Cheap effective creature interaction in a color that often lacks good ways to deal with creatures. I'm not running Gilded Drake at the moment, but that has more to do with my meta not including good targets for it (like Gitrog Monster). These 3 cards are going to be the primary means of dealing with a troublesome creature for cEDH Urza lists, and you must be able to run enough interaction to interact often enough in the longer, grindier meta of cEDH at the moment.
Mishra's Workshop : Doesn't feel like a must run to me, but I have rather enjoyed it's performance in my games thus far. Particularly potent on turn 1 when you have multiple mana rocks in hand and can enable extremely early Paradox Engine drops.
I've got my list here if you'd like to take a look: Looper
1 month ago
Academy Ruins Buried Ruin Seat of the Synod Darksteel Citadel Inventors' Fair Minamo, School at Water's Edge Ancient Tomb Hall of the Bandit Lord Crystal Vein Tolaria West Reliquary Tower Mishra's Workshop Halimar Depths Temple of the False God Shrine of the Forsaken Gods
1 month ago
Just saying Mishra's Workshop is not banned....
1 month ago
Mishra's Workshop , in an Urza deck? Flavor fail.... ;)
1 month ago
Do you have access to a Mishra's Workshop ?
Mishra's Workshop occurrence in decks from the last year
Commander / EDH:
All decks: 0.01%