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Artifact Creature — Construct
When Sparring Construct dies, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature you control.
Sparring Construct Discussion
4 months ago
Well, looking at it, almost every card has an enormously weaker budget option:
- 4x Walking Ballista / Triskelion
- 4x Arcbound Worker / Sparring Construct
- 4x Arcbound Ravager / Arcbound Slith
- 2x Dark Confidant / Pain Seer
- 4x Hangarback Walker / Hooded Hydra
- 4x Steel Overseer / Chronomaton
- 3x Welding Jar / Herbal Poultice
- 1x Animation Module
- 4x Darksteel Citadel
- 4x Forest
- 4x Inkmoth Nexus / Dread Statuary
- 2x Overgrown Tomb / Foul Orchard
- 1x Pendelhaven / Hashep Oasis
- 1x Phyrexia's Core / Claws of Gix
- 3x Wooded Foothills / Evolving Wilds
The deck would suck enormously, but it would be a deck. Are there any better budget options I missed?
7 months ago
I have been brewing a deck for a while based on the Helm of the Host / Timestream Navigator combo, but while there are definite similarities, there are also major differences. I don't know if any of my ideas will be helpful for your deck, but maybe something will work for you.
The big difference is I have splashed red, primarily so I can include Rhythm of the Wild . First, it allows you to give your Navigators haste so you can, in a pinch, drop one and use it immediately (which is also necessary when used in an alt combo discussed below). It also prevents your creature being countered which boosts the effectiveness of Frilled Mystic s--they will counter a spell...unless your opponent casts an enchantment burner as well as their own counterspell. Finally, giving haste or +1/+1 counters can beef up your mana dorks, make them usable the turn they are dropped, or in the case of the Incubation Druid automatically give them the tap-for-three ability.
The second big difference is I am including Prime Speaker Vannifar to pull the Navigator from the deck. What I don't like about Vivien is she doesn't dive deep plus she telegraphs to your opponent what card you pull. She also becomes an immediate target and can get burned fast. Vannifar is a much less impressive target, especially if you don't have many high CMC creatures to sac. If Vannifar is hasted via Rhythm of the Wild, you can use her immediately, sac a mana dork and pull a hasted Navigator. I you don't have a Helm ready, you can use this combo to create a limited loop that will last as long as you have 1 CMC creatures, by which time you have hopefully gotten your Helm of the Host repeater operational. Using Vannifar also means you only have to play two Navigators. She can also convert your Frilled Mystics (or any other 4 CMC critter) to Biogenic Ooze s or Mesmerizing Benthid s
Because I am playing Vannifer, I have a much higher percentage of 1 cmc creatures. Even without Vannifar, this could be helpful because it helps you Ascend faster, plus some of the creatures have an additional use. Siren Stormtamer is a cheap flyer that can also help protect your creatures when you start to activate/cast your combo. Wall of Vines gives you some protection vs weenie and token decks. Fanatical Firebrand (if you are playing red) is early damage and can take out key weenies. Benthic Biomancer can draw cards. Sparring Construct becomes a +1/+1. Get a Beast Whisperer in play and you can really burn through your library.
A few question I do have for you...What percentage of the time do you pull off the combo? How often do you cast the heavies before the combo? If you have few pre-combo heavies, you could maybe thin them a bit in favor of some counter magic and/or green removal or graveyard retrieval.
One final suggestion: Siren's Ruse . It can save a key creature, can double your Mesmerizing Benthid illusions, and can make Frilled Mystic counter another spell.
Good luck with your deck. It looks very viable now and has certainly given me things to think about for my still-brewing monstrosity.
8 months ago
Glad you found the suggestions helpful. My manabase is about the same as yours and supports Baleful Strix well. Some easy and cheap upgrades would be River of Tears , Foreboding Ruins , Choked Estuary , and Path of Ancestry . Also, if you're looking at other sac outlets, consider Greater Gargadon , Attrition , Mind Slash , and Thermopod . If I wanted a value sacrifice engine, Mind Slash would be my first inclusion, and it's been in and out of my build. I definitely understand your thought process behind certain omissions in favor of things that better suit your build. I'd just like to give a bit more reasoning behind a few of my favorites.
Sower of Temptation vs Zealous Conscripts is a debate that could go either way, and I've personally run Conscripts without Sower before so I get where you're coming from. Consider instead Sower as a replacement for Ravenous Chupacabra. The floor is roughly the same. Sometimes you don't have a sac outlet and the owner of the creature you steal kills Sower, but I think that's niche downside compared to the upside of Sower on 4 into Marchesa on 5, attack with Sower and stolen creature, recur them both. I think you can run Conscripts and Sower and cut Chupacabra.
Trinket Mage usually finds Sol Ring but can also find Skullclamp to pull you out of a pinch, and Imperial Recruiter on 3 can find Trinket Mage to get you an artifact land to hit the fourth land drop the next turn. I used to run it with just Sol Ring and Skullclamp but Heap Doll and Sparring Construct are stronger than they appear and a value creature that finds more value creatures has an exponential sort of effect. I slept on the Construct as well, until I tried it. The baseline is pretty close to equivalent with Siren Stormtamer - you play Marchesa, they play removal, you sac the Construct then sac the Marchesa with the counter on it. It doesn't get to do Graft loops but it does take a counter on the Marchesa turn and then pass that counter to the next creature you drop, letting you recur its ETB and protect it a turn earlier than usual. So basically it's doing what Lightning Mauler , etc, would do, but more reliably, and for only 1 mana (which is key when you're drawing a million off Graft loops/Rhystic/Necropotence/Remora).
Grenzo, Dungeon Warden : you have 34 creatures with power 3 or less, so the 1/3rd chance is perhaps less than optimal, but 6 mana flash a random creature in from your deck is not bad when it's attached to a creature that will come with counters. This one, like Construct and my next suggestion, is a lot better in actual games than on paper. Bringing things in at flash speed makes Grenzo a more resilient sort of army-assembler for situations where you're struggling to get a foothold on the board. It may be that just drawing a bunch of cards is better, and I wouldn't fault you for not trying out Grenzo, but if you do, he just might surprise you.
Demon of Dark Schemes - if the Massacre effect isn't strong in your games then I would understand avoiding this inclusion, but being strong on just the initial cast, then singlehandedly building a board of value creatures to recur, including Reclamation Sage effects to take care of things like Wheel of Sun and Moon, makes this guy practically a second commander. We're great at draining opponents' resources so this is more likely to stick and then untap with a ton of activations, and it's the perfect "last card" sort of finisher to turn things drastically in your favor. It does a lot of things and is almost always relevant which is why I prefer it to simpler haymakers like Living Death etc.
Spellseeker only has 4 targets in your deck currently but just finding Cyclonic Rift already makes it an enchantment removal creature. I understand you don't want to go too deep into tutors so I could see leaving this one out, same as Trinket Mage, but their restrictions make them more balanced and crafting the packages around them has made my experience with Marchesa more fun.
Anyway the list and primer looks solid and I'm glad you could get some use out of my suggestions.
8 months ago
I like this primer, and I appreciate that you understand some of the stronger Marchesa interactions like the applications of the graft creatures and Mimic. I hope you'll check out my Marchesa list. I think we have a similar outlook though I favor low cost cards for curveouts and I think you might find some of my cards to be "do-nothings." Anyway here are some of my suggestions and thoughts:
Dusk Legion Zealot , Baleful Strix , Alchemist's Apprentice , Seekers' Squire , Preordain , Sage of Epityr , Rix Maadi Reveler : The first three are a slam dunk while the rest are a bit of a harder sell, but all of these cards get cast earlier than Mulldrifter/Disciple of Bolas so they help you hit land drops and find your missing pieces. And something like Apprentice can curve right into a counter enabler and draw 4 cards on turn 4 before you'd even cast the more expensive draw spells. Preordain and some amount of the other cantrips are always worth consideration too, since you're trying to put together specific things to bring a powerful Marchesa engine online.
Altar of Dementia , Spawning Pit , Bloodthrone Vampire , Dross Hopper : A critical mass of sac outlets is important and though the creatures listed aren't exciting they're a lot better for rebuilding if your first boardstate gets broken up. Deploy on turn 2 into value creature on turn 3 to recur on turn 4, or deploy alongside 3-drop on turn 5 to try to rebuild. I dislike using my whole turn to play Grimgrin or Falkenrath which I consider to be pretty mediocre standalones in EDH (Grimgrin is probably fine actually though a little finnicky) and Yahenni not being able to sac itself is a problem for me.
Goblin Cratermaker , Heap Doll , Mausoleum Wanderer , Goblin Trashmaster , Abyssal Gatekeeper , Nevermaker : Personally only run the first three but have included all of these at some point or another. They're all creature-based interaction that Marchesa can recur, but at instant speed. For example, I much prefer Heap Doll to Agent of Erebos since you can stop something like entomb-reanimate or Survival discarding Kiki to find Karmic Guide. The downside to cards like these is that they're rare and not usually efficiently-costed, but they're definitely worth considering. Boompile , Oblivion Stone , Engineered Explosives : Grixis' best enchantment removal. I'd go with these over the Grave Pacts for multiple reasons. First, destroying all nonlands and being left with Marchesa is a bigger power play. Second, it's nice to be able to remove Rest in Peace and other generally pesky enchantments. Third, these cards aren't reliant on your engines being in place to do their job, so they're better for coming back from behind. In the same line of thought:
Sower of Temptation , Grenzo, Dungeon Warden , Hostage Taker , The Eldest Reborn , Demon of Dark Schemes : My topend may look odd to you but each of these cards is strong interaction on its own, and becomes an army-builder alongside Marchesa. Stealing creatures is great for ramping and killing enchantments, or winning with Primeval Titan. Bribery and Phantasmal Image are more cards in this vein, as well as the Puppeteer Clique and Gonti you're already playing. I prefer these to Flayer, Herald of Secret Streams, etc since they help you come from behind when Marchesa isn't out, and having "finishers" that rely on your engine being all in place isn't all that effectively different from just running some combo (Metallic Mimic / Murderous Redcap is the most efficient one for Marchesa imo if you wanted to go the route). Of course, Flayer does act as removal, and is also very fun, but I hope you'll consider cutting Herald, Merchant, and Kokusho. Mikaeus is actually nice as a "backup commander" with great synergy with Marchesa but he's not in my build because I run too many Humans. Luckily we have Grenzo who is an absolutely insane engine card.
Awaken the Erstwhile , Mindslicer : Marchesa can dominate the board but is weak to combo, hate enchantments, the whole table targeting all your stuff with removal, and brick hands. These cards take care of the first three. Landing them early with your value engines already online is like a more reliable sort of "land destruction win" since in either case they can't cast their spells. Trinket Mage , Spellseeker , Phyrexian Metamorph , Mindclaw Shaman , Entomber Exarch , Trophy Mage , Ixidron , Sparring Construct : Miscellaneous other value ETBs. Trinket Mage is the best one, I highly suggest you include him. Construct will surprise you with how strong it is. The baseline is on-board protection for Marchesa the turn you cast her, but the upside is acting like a limited Graft creature by giving each new creature you play a counter.
I think that's just about it for suggestions, maybe consider Spell Pierce , Stubborn Denial , and Fire Covenant , but overall, great primer, very well-written, and I think you'll set people in the right direction when it comes to building Marchesa.
9 months ago
Work your way into getting a playset of Sparring Construct and The Antiquities War for sure...a interesting equipment is Sigiled Sword of Valeron whis is great for putting on theaters. splashing white for Board the Weatherlight is worth considering too.
11 months ago
This deck needs some 2-drops. You have no turn-2 plays. I would drop all of the Sparring Construct and add an artifact that is a decent 2-drop.
I don't understand what you are doing with all of the non-basics... this is mono blue. You understand that there is no limit on how many islands you can play? I would run probably 18 islands, 4 Zahlfirin Void and then you green/blue for your green sideboard card.
1 year ago
Path of Mettle Flip will only kill Sparring Construct, and that may not be a bad thing. Still, Tajic, Legion's Edge can protect it. I'll add that Metzali, Tower of Triumph can kill a single attacking Vine Mare or Carnage Tyrant. You would have to adjust your creature base accordingly to make it work, however.
1 year ago
Yeah, I am gonna take that advice and grab some checklands sometime next week. Chamber Sentry is decent removal, but I might put Walk the Plank on the sideboard, just to add a little bit more. Might also go down a Sparring Construct and a Juggernaut to grab a couple more lands.
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