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[Primer] EDH Sharuum Engine: Jostin version

Commander / EDH Artifact Combo Competitive Multiplayer Primer WUB (Esper)


Sharuum the Hegemon

Primer for an Engine build, by Jostin123

What it is ?
This is the original version of the Engine build for Sharuum the Hegemon EDH Multiplayer. This deck focuses on resilience. It is not a hard combo deck. This deck will never be modified in future. It is left as it is for teaching purposes, unless its creator adds changes to the list.

All explanations are compiled info from MTGS member Jostin123. All credits go to him. He wrote this primer!

Introduction Show

Individual Card Explanation Show

(6) Sharuum the Hegemon: duh

(6) Duplicant: Swords to Plowshares on a stick is a great effect, even at 6 mana.

(7) Magister Sphinx: Allows this deck to get surprise wins, and lets you skip the 5 attack steps needed to kill with general damage. Most of the time, when a player gets aggressive very early in the game, they are able to impose their advantage due to being able to race the table. Azusa can hardcast Eldrazi by turn 5 when people are just playing their Solemn Simulacrums and Oracle of Mul-Dayas This allows you to catch them with their pants down and allows the table to get back into the game, because now those 1/1s and 2/2s become relevant.

(7) Myr Battlesphere: As reiterated before, this card is not only a beatstick, but is an excellent way to control planeswalkers. For example:

  • If the opponent's planeswalkers are poorly defended, the tokens can swarm in past blockers and tick them down.

  • If the opponent has multiple planeswalkers with high starting loyalties (Karn Liberated, Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, etc), I can attach into one, while using the attack trigger on Battlesphere to burn the opponent out, redirecting the damage to another planeswalker, knocking off at least 4 loyalty to the other.

  • If the opponent has decently-sized blockers, I can swing in with Battlesphere and still burn out the planeswalker with the method stated above.

In each instance, I can still get through to connect with a planeswalker, even if Battlesphere doesn't attack it directly. This is important because I don't have to sacrifice tempo in order to deal with them: I'm still hitting the opponent, forcing chumps, and overall still affecting the game state in a relevant way. Being how Battlesphere is a decent Sharuum target and synergized with multiple other synergies in the deck (blink effects, Time Sieve) my thinking was that it could offer more on-board flexibility without negatively impacting the rest of the deck. He's always a solid blink / reanimation target. Now that Sundering Titan is banned, Battlesphere is the go-to beat stick for the deck that doesn't leave you exposed if removed.

(8) Sphinx of the Steel Wind (SoSW): It's taken a while, but this card has grown on me a little since it was suggested by the rest of the boards. As said before, the life-gain is nice, but the most relevant abilities are first strike and flying, as it shuts down a most abilities on creatures that triggers on damage: 6 first-striking damage is huge, even in Commander.

(0) Lion's Eye Diamond: This card is more tech than acceleration. It allows me to cast Sharuum as soon as turn 1 if necessary (has come up in some 1v1 side-table match-ups in between Commander games). It is one of 2 functional Lotuses in the deck (for redundancy) but also lets me float mana through my mass-draw spells in the deck, lets me lock down the table when paired with Ensnaring Bridge, and most importantly can function as an Entomb variant. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(0) Mox Opal: Most people label this as artifact ramp. The truth is, unless you play a near 50/50 ratio of artifacts to non-artifacts, this is not reliably artifact ramp (as you can't jump the curve when you really want to, which is between turns 1-3). Most people don't play artifacts as heavily, which in that instance, makes it cost-efficient mana fixing. Metalcraft is d ifficult to achieve for most decks to achieve before your 3rd main phase, which is when your ramp has the most impact. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(0) Mox Diamond: True mana ramp. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(0) Mana Crypt: See above. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(0) Lotus Petal: Good mana ramp, and a huge infinite mana enabler, especially with Salvaging Station shenanigans. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(0) Lotus Bloom: Conditional mana ramp and an excellent pitch target. This is a card I don't see people discard enough, and I don't know why. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(1) Mana Vault: True mana ramp. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(1) Sol Ring: See above.

(2) Grim Monolith: Ditto. I prefer this card over Thran Dynamo as both a way to lower the mana cost of the deck, and make it more explosive in the early game.

(2) Dimir Signet: Much needed mana fixing, especially with the number of lands that only tap for colorless mana that I run. I prefer the signets over the Talismans due to the fact that they fix my colors better. They can provide triple same colors off of a signet and filter land (using the off-color to power the filter-land): not the case with Talismans. I run a lot of colorless-generating lands so that kind of mana flexibility is crucial.

(2) Azorius Signet: Same as above.

(3) Darksteel Ingot: Another great ramp card. This card has even better utility, as both Tez, Agent of Bolas and Karn can make you an indestructible blocker, which is huge when you need to protect your life total or a planeswalker.

(3) Chromatic Lantern: One of the best color fixers in the game, this offers the deck the color fixing aspect of Mycosynth Lattice that you want, without the intimidation factor of giving everything a glass jaw by making them artifacts. This effect has become more useful than the mana-ramping charge counter that comes off the Coalition Relic it replaced.

(4) Thran Dynamo: Mana ramp.

(5) Gilded Lotus: Mana ramp and fixing.

Manarocks Mini-Primer Show

Many people ask why I prefer draw spells over card filtering. My philosophy on this is that card drawing, when playing multi-player games, exceeds card filtering due to the raw card advantage it generates. Even though card filtering spells can dig deeper, when you compare them to the best card drawing spells in the game (and this is a Vintage-esque format with a deep card pool) you can draw more cards with your individual spells (which mitigates the "digging deeper" argument) while allowing yourself more options in-game. More cards means more options, which is important when the games develop so quickly. The card you impulse for last turn may not be what you need now, and the card you need may have been binned to the bottom of your deck thanks to impulse. Lastly, you are playing multiplayer. When you are being targeted by an entire table, you are more likely to survive that barrage when you have an abundance of options (and more importantly, cards to burn/waste) when sitting down against multiple opponents. Whether you're getting hit with a Karn +4, hit by Nath's discard trigger, or any abundance of such effects, it's nice to have the extra cards in hand to protect your genuine lines of play. When looking at my draw spells, understand that most of these cards can be played or used under a Gaddock Teeg, whether it be through casting or reanimation. When I first started playing Sharuum, I played and optimized it under the harshest of conditions. There were 3-4 G/W/X decks playing at any given time, each playing an abundance of hate like Aura Shards, Austere Command, Teeg, and Fracturing Gust (I believe those Generals were Teneb, Gaddock Teeg, Rafiq of the Many, and that 0/5 Treefolk general for 3mana). Lowering the CMC of my draw effects and ensuring that they could be utilized under such hostile conditions went a long way to helping me win games, by ensuring that I could reload my hand after taking everything the table was dishing out.

(3) Thirst for Knowledge: It does what you want it to, and can do it at instant speed. You can't ask for more. Many people play it as soon as it's drawn, but depending on what's in hand, it may be better to sand-bag it.

(3) Windfall: Very explosive in the early turns, this card usually draws me a new hand of 5 or 6. It's not a card I usually sandbag.

(3) Timetwister: This card has two functions. The first is as a method of GY protection, When the table is hating on you, they will randomly kill almost anything that hits your side of the table, not matter how insignificant. Also, you will be the target of opportunity of a lot of opponent's effects, like shattering Spree, Austere Command, Aura Shards, and more. In those instances, I use Timetwister to ensure that Tormod's Crypt doesn't become insane against me. The second use it as a turn 1or 2 Serum Powder. Due to the generous mulligan rules of Commander, everyone starts out with a stronger than average hand. More than once, people have snap mulliganed into an Aura Shards, Viashino Heretic, or other hate card just because they see my general pre-cut. Pulling a timetwister early, especially after you've played ramp, will naturally lower the strength of your opponent's hands as a whole, which means you will tend to play against less hate in the early turns, which is when you are most vulnerable. Windfall doesn't do this because it leaves you more vulnerable to graveyard hate, which is more likely when everyone has drawn a new hand. It's also a great way to neuter top-deck tutors (which has happened more than once).

(4) Fact or Fiction: The only draw spell that does not meet the above criteria, this is the one draw spell that I usually sit on. It's the most player-friendly of them all because it's interactive, but can also function as an Entomb effect when top is in play.

(5) Mind's Eye: This is the draw spell of choice when you need to draw into gas, and no one is threatening the table. Many times, everyone is waiting for the first person to blink, especially when playing against other control decks. Use those extra do-nothing turnsto your advantage.

(5) Memory Jar: The most explosive card draw you have available, and one of the main reasons for Elixir of Immortality's inclusion in the deck. Games involving multiple Jar activations usually end in a Roar of Reclamation for 15+ artifacts, ending the game swiftly. However, there are other, more niche, uses. The first is to draw yourself a permanent 7 when you are desperate. The end-of-turn triggers of Jar can be stacked, such that if you have popped a Jar more than once in the same turn, you can chose which hand everyone keeps by stacking the triggers accordingly. This can be important because, if someone plays a Hurkyll's recall or Rebuild during your turn, you can pro-actively mess-up their anticipated lined of play by switching the hand they were expecting to keep. The second niche effect is to trap game-ending sorceries you know they have in-hand by exiling them for the turn (I've delayed a game-ending Tooth and Nail more than once in this fashion). The third is as an actual win condition. Certain spells will cause players to come dangerously close to decking (cards like Primal Surge, and Strategies like Kami of the Crescent Moon come to mind), and you can actually kill someone with the draw. Many people play with Eldrazi to give their decks "protection from mill" not realizing that when being milled, if Kozilek is one of the last cards in their deck, I can kill them with the shuffle trigger on the stack.

(1) Entomb: Your most efficient mill card. This ensures that you are always one untap step from doing something unfair.

(1) Expedition Map: This slot doesn't get a lot of accolades, but pulls its weight, most of its uses are to get Mishra's Workshop, Academy Ruins, or Cavern of Souls. The casting cost on this one is extremely important, as it can get you the Cavern of Souls before counter-magic mana is up.

(1) Vampiric Tutor: The only top-deck tutor I will run in the deck, due to its synergy with all the draw and can-tripping artifacts in the deck, and its cheap casting cost. I would never play Imperial Seal in this deck because of its sorcery speed. This being an instant is of upmost importance.

(2) Artificer's Intuition: This is you entomb engine of choice. It lets you bin expensive artifacts to get the ramp needed to play your general. With a Salvaging Station in play, you can instead pay U to put each trinket (1CC or less artifact) into play, circumventing the need to cast spells, which is very important when playing against blue mages.

(2) Demonic Tutor: What hasn't been said about this card already. No one can give the excuse that it's too expensive for their list, no matter how budget it is. This card's effect is worth way more than its $10 - $15 price tag.

(2) Transmute Artifact: The most efficient Tinker effect since Tinker's been banned. It can entomb an artifact when necessary, but that's only come up 3 or 4 times over the years that ive been playing and perfecting this deck.

(3) Intuition: The go-to search spell. This card, like Gifts Ungiven, allows you to dump combo pieces to win on the spot, even if Sharuum is tucked, which is why Unburial Rites is the reanimation spell of choice for this build. However, with the addition of Savlaging Station and Trading Post, you can utilize Intuition successfully without being "all in" and risking losing those critical pieces

A lot of people simply stuff planeswalkers into the deck because they are "good". Planeswalkers are always good, that's why you can't crack them as consistently as rares in packs. Just be because they are "good" doesn't mean they belong in your deck. In my opinion, a planeswalker should provide you with effects you want on your creatures and spells, but with the protections of a planeswalker. Jace the Mind Sculptor is amazing, but the +2 and-1 effects aren't that useful to your deck, and neither is his ultimate. Even the +0 effect sin't amazing, because after the 1st use,, you're seeing the same 3, and there aren't that many spells in this deck that you wan to hide on the top of your library. This deck is not a good-stuff deck: it is a machine with many different overlapping and interlocking engines that give it greater utility and power than its individual cards can on their own. It is with ideas in mind, that the below planeswalkers have made the cut. Also, planeswalkers in this deck tend to stay on the table longer than in most other decks due to the hyper-effective defensive plays this deck is capable of making, protecting the planeswalkers better, thus drawing more heat off of the rest of your board.

(4) Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas: Every ability of this guy is something you want to have at any given point in the game. The card filtering is important, as the depth that you dig is just as important as the card advantage it nets, which is why this gets the nod over Jace 2.0 in this deck. The -1 is very important, as animating a Darksteel Citadel or Darksteel Ingot gives you an indestructible blocker/ attacker (which many of your effects can give pseudo-vigilance by untapping) and Animating an Inkmoth Nexus can win games in the most un-winnable circumstances. Even the ultimate is synergistic with the deck, as it can kill players out of nowhere, and net you the life needed to leverage wins against the rest of the table, offering you an alternate end-game.

(5) Tezzeret the Seeker : Untapping mana rocks is important for enabling the explosive turns that this guy can enable, but the –X ability is just as important, as you can Tutor utility pieces onto the table, and in dire straits, even get lands onto the table without actually playing lands. The ultimate also ends games, because Tezzerter acts as a Super-Karn without the mana requirement. Overall, these abilities compliment all the engines in the deck and also enable a different end-game.

(7) Karn Liberated: This slot was originally occupied by Spine of Ish Sah, but was quickly replaced due to having greater synergy with the deck than Spine, despite the fact it is not an artifact. The -3 ability allowed me to deal with certain obscene hate cards without fear of reanimation, especially white cards like Aura Shards Leonin Relic-Warder and Archon of Justice, which can be reanimated by Sun Titan, Karmic guide, and the infinite Reveillark tricks I yawn at. The +4 help me keep that broken player in check, but more importantly, draws heat off of Sharuum and the rest of my board as people mostly fear the -14 ability, which always draws scoops from the table. The -14 ability has only happnened once, but has forced concessions from the entire table.

(0) Tormod's Crypt: The majority of decks I've faced play out of the graveyard in some from or another, whether it is through Reveillark tricks, Eternal Witness abuse, reanimation effects, etc. People skimp out too much on graveyard hate, and this is one of the only ways to cut off the easiest route to an EDH infinite.

(1) Aether Spellbomb: People usually see this as a bounce spell, but it has broader applications, it deals with indestructible creatures (especially when combined with a mass-draw spell), keeps your general's commander tax down, and when recurred with Salvaging Station, can draw you many cards over the course or a few turns or attack steps.

(1) Dispeller's Capsule: This is one of the unsung heroes of the deck, and is the only artifact & enchantment destruction cards that is synergistic with the recursion engines of the deck. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(1) Elixir of Immortality: This card is our out to mill win –cons, and plays an important role by protecting us from Crypt-like effects. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(1) Executioner's Capsule: Another slot that draws attackers away from our direction and is Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(1) Nihil Spellbomb: Everything said about Tormod's Crypt holds true here, except that when recurred with Salvaging Station, it becomes a draw engine.

(1) Sensei's Divining Top: Everyone knows the strength of Top. I will only add that Salvaging Station, Voltaic Key, and Rings make this stronger by actually allowing you to net cards with the draw activation, making it a draw spell and not just a card filtering spell.

(1) Voltaic Key: Untaps mana rock, lets you reuse some of your utility artifacts, and gives vigilance to attackers. Just a solid spell.

(1) Voyager Staff: On its own, it allows Sharuum to infinitely chump an attacker, and in a pinch, can save you from an attacker. When combined with Rings, you can start tearing up the board. Recurrable via salvaging Station.

(2) Sword of the Meek: One of the strongest combo pieces of the deck, it also happens to be one of the weakest slots in the deck. There isn't much utility for this card outside of Thopter Foundry abuse, and would be cut is it were not for the strength of Thopter Foundry.

(2) Thopter Foundry: The second-best combo enabler of the deck, most people see this card and cringe. The real value however, isn't with producing lots of flying 1/1's but the ability to protect your artifacts from getting tucked and exiled. This card is also a card-advantage engine when combined with Trading Post, which is nothing to sneeze at.

(2) Time Sieve: People fear the infinite turns. I use this as a way to get an extra turn to rebuild when people play the inevitable artifact sweeper. The fact that it can net me infinite turns (through Thopter/Sword combo or just Salvaging Station shenanigans) is just gravy. I mostly use this as a way to protect myself from exile effects pointed my way.

(3) Crucible of Worlds: A strong slot, with a unique effect in these colors. It's obviously good with fetches, but it shines when used with an active Bazaar. In those slow, grindy games, I can use intuition to set-up a recursion engine with any combination of this, Academy Ruins, Petrified Field, and Buried Ruins to ensure a steady stream or lands and /or artifact recursion effects.

(3) Ensnaring Bridge: Just a great way to say "NO" to the attack step. I have grinded many wins on the back of this card. It not only offers temporary protection to my planeswalkers (it will get destroyed), but when it sticks for the long-haul, can shut down everyone else's attack steps while I swing in with Thopters (using the game's draw step to enable them to attack). People forget that it offers the table protection from annihilator, which helps it survive when necessary. Even if you can't readily attack, it's sometimes a good idea to deploy threats while this is out, as you are always one Memory Jar activation away from a surprise attack. Bazaar help this card manage attackers very well.

(3) Rings of Brighthearth: Look at all the activated effecte this deck offers… then magine getting them twice. That's why it's in here.

(3) Sculpting Steel: The weaker half of the combo, this mostly copies other people's ramp. Once in a while you'll get to double up on a Salvaging Station, Trading Post or other insane effect. Sparingly, you'll get to copy a bad-ass beatstick or utility creature die to the prevalence of Phyrexian Metamorph (it becomes an artifact in addition to the creature it copies, allowing you to sometimes use this as a Clone).

(4) Tawnos's Coffin: This card is a better Voyager's Staff. It's half Maze of Ith and half Venser the Sojourner but all gravy in this deck. It's a reusable artifact that blinks Sharuum and can keep other threats on ice.

(4) Trading Post: This is such a house or a recursion spell. People ask if this is better than Salvaging Station. Neither is quite stronger than the other as they work differently, but the overlap is nice.

More Info on Trading Post Show

  • Discard a card: the effect allows you a discard outlet to reanimate things with Sharuum. My list contains recursive artifact-based blink effects. When combined with said blink effects (one of many self-recurring engines in my deck), you are essentially playing the card you discarded while bypassing the most hostile game zone: the stack. I hear that ignoring counterspells or cheating things into play is pretty good. Also sets up rediculous Roar of Reclamation and Open the Vaults plays. The gain life aspect isn't as important here, but in a rare pinch when playing unusual generals, has had some usefulness.

  • Pay 1 life: put an 0/1 goat token into play - feeds into it's most important ability, making Post a stronger card, but more importantly, generates a creature that dies easily to trigger a Salvaging Station untap. Trading a life to buyback a crypt or spellbomb is decent in lists that look to abuse them.

  • Sacrifice a creature: return target artifact from your graveyard to your hand - when facing the hate, it eliminates Sharuum's general tax. This allows you to work Sharuum as hard as you want and keep it cheap for the endgame. In conjunction with Thopter Foundry, enables a broken recursion engine that overlaps Salvaging Station, and branches it out to larger CC spells. It proactively helps you dodge graveyard hate, recycled your ETB effects, and allows you to slaver lock without skipping your draw step to do so.

  • Sacrifice an artifact: draw a card - helps dodge targeted exile effects, tuck effects, and helps you dig for threats, especially when paired with top-deck tutors. Has also been combines with salvaging station to become a Skullclamp engine for artifacts when used on 1 drops like nihil spellbomb and Sensei's divining top, both of which net you 2 cards when sacrificed properly.

All these effects are decent and assume that you're only using Post once a turn. If you have untap effects, it gets better. The presence of Trading Post in my lists helps bridge interactions between the various card engines and feedback loops, creates new ones, and serves to protect existing ones on the table.

(6) Mindslaver: People see this card and shudder. The truth is, it's only an infinite if there is one opponent left on the table. Sometimes, to pull in a player that's gotten out of hand, you need to use their deck / resources to dismantle themselves. This card allows you lines of play that wouldn't be possible without its use, and is very difficult to use optimally. Most of the games where it's used, it's only been used once that game, and although its possible to Slaver-Lock someone into a concession, I haven't needed to do it in almost 3 years. It is an avenue to an alternate win, but one that is painfully slow. It's best use is to deploy and use it when you can catch the most aggressive player with their pants down.

(6) Salvaging Station: One of the all-stars of the deck, it is an uncounterable source of card advantage. Aside from reviving your trinkets, it is also a great attacker. People forget about the untap trigger, which is the reason this card is so good. Manytimes, I will animate the trinket I am about to use, just to be able to get it back with Station. When Station itself is animated, it becomes a 6/6 that untaps when it gets chump-blocked, making it an ideal attacker. Just through simple combat, it can untap itself many times before you take your next turn, and in conjunction with Karn, Silver Golem and a little mana, can offer you protection from annihilator.

(3) Bitter Ordeal: The reason I prefer this win-con over Disciple of the Vault or Extractor demon is that it can be good all by itself. Something as normal as fetching a land and using a capsule to kill something (generating Gravestorm 3) can neuter the most abusive infinites your opponents' deck have. Using Thopter/Sword can neuter them, just as firing off a Time Sieve activation.

(5) Unburial Rites: Reanimation spells play well with our General, but this one is chosen over some of the more conventional reanimator spells due to its flashback. This is the only spell that will let you go infinite with Sharuum if it is tucked, by way of Intuition and etra mana alone. No other reanimation target you fetch out with an Intuition pile can do that (cuz it will most likely end up in the yard). In a sense, it forces them to give you Sharuum.

(6) Open the Vaults: You run almost 50 artifacts and you'see how good this is. Running both this and Roar of Reclamation makes your Crypt and Nihil Spellbomb that much better, as it makes this all the more one-sided.

(7) All Is Dust: This used to be interchanged with Oblivion Stone, but this is by far the stronger of the two as it leaves most of your board unscathed.

(7) Roar of Reclamation: Same as Open the Vaults, but even more one-sided.

There's not much to say about the mana base other than this configuration is the most optimal list available, and that the use of Chromantic Lantern and Urborg overlap very well and enable your fetchland to tap as actual mana sources. They also allow Bazaar and Mishra's workshop, Ancient Tomb, and Mana Confluence to tap for mana normally, which is more important that one would think it is. I'll only elaborate where necessary.

Fetch Engine: Flooded Strand, Godless Shrine, Hallowed Fountain, Marsh Flats, Polluted Delta, Scrubland, Tundra, Underground Sea, Watery Grave.

Mana Acceleration: Ancient Tomb, Crystal Vein, Gemstone Cavern, Mishra's Workshop.

Artifact Lands: Ancient Den, Darksteel Citadel, Seat of the Synod, Vault of Whispers.

Rainbow Lands: City of Brass, Command Tower, Glimmervoid, Reflecting Pool.

Tarnished Citadel: The damage dealt is well worth having another Rainbow land that comes into play untapped, and can mana fix in conjunction with the filter lands.

Mana Fixing: Fetid Heath, Mystic Gate, Sunken Ruins, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.

Utility Lands: Academy Ruins, Buried Ruin: I run the 4-land artifact/land recursion engine of Academy Ruins, Buried Ruin, Petrified Field and Crucible of Worlds to be able to ensure that, if a piece gets hit with graveyard hate, the other 3 will still keep the engine going.

Bazaar of Baghdad: A difficult card to use optimally, Bazaar feeds into a lot of other engines and feedback loops in the deck. When games get grindy, the recursion engines can let Bazaar become a card advantage engine when you lack a hand. Urborg and Chromatic Lantern allow this to also tap for mana when necessary.

Bazaar Mini-Primer Show

In the game of magic, you naturally only draw one card a turn. That card drawn will revert back to a +0 advantage when you play that card. Bazaar converts that natural +1 advantage into a +0 advantage in exchange for seeing two more cards from your deck. However, each card you play after a Bazaar use will put you at -1 advantage to play it. If you use a Bazaar liberally, you will run yourself out of a hand. The turn you play Bazaar essentially is equivalent to missing a land drop, as Bazaar does not tap for mana.

This is a lot of disadvantage to manage for using one card. However, getting to see two extra cards a turn, without the use of any additional card or mana investment is huge and if managed competently, can lead to tempo blow-outs from which no one will be able to recover.

Bazaar is used primarily for digging and card filtering purposes. The two are not synonymous. When digging, the deck pilot is looking for specific cards or effects and utilizing Bazaar as a means of finding those cards or effects.
(Example: You have a Worldgorger Dragon in your graveyard and you are looking for one of many Animate Dead effects to create your infinite Mana loop.)

Through filtering, a player can trade out useless cards in hand for those that have more immediate value.
(Example: You have a Blightsteel Colossus and Sphinx of the Steel Wind, neither of which you have the colors or mana to cast, so you activate Bazaar to draw 2 cards, keeping other cards that you can cast).

Conveniently, Bazaar puts the cards in a zone very convenient for creating huge tempo gains and generating tons of abuse and value: the graveyard. There are exceptions to when you Bazaar for value, and those exceptions will come up somewhat regularly. With that said, here are the basic guidelines for Bazaar useage in any format it's legal in:

In order to use a Bazaar, you have to play it. Because it does not generate mana, the most optimal time for you to play Bazaar if Baghdad is under the following conditions:

  • You have enough cheap mana acceleration such that playing Bazaar for the turn does not equate to tempo loss of mana for the turn.

  • You do not otherwise have a land drop for the turn.

  • You have an effect that will allow Bazaar to tap for mana at no tempo loss to you (such as an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth.)

  • You recognize early on that you are required to hit specific resources before a specific amount of time, and you need to filter with Bazaar to guarantee you hit those resources. It could be a certain mana threshold with which to operate, or it could be a certain engine that will allow you to play through an impending game condition.

Guidelines for Activating your Bazaar

  • If you have 3 or more cards in hand it is usually safe to Bazaar. That will allow you to play a land and a spell.

  • When you have 2 cards in you will need only be able to keep one of them, so that value has to be great because you will lose 3. You will only be able to play a land or a spell.

  • Never Bazaar with one card in hand. You will lose your entire hand for little to no benefit. You will need to wait a turn to draw up to two cards, then you will be able to keep one, like the senario above.

  • If you have no cards in hand, you can elect to use Bazaar during your upkeep. If you do, you simply draw and pitch two cards, then draw and keep your card during your draw step.

Bazaar of course gets better when you have effects that allow you to use your graveyard as a resource: Sharuum offers is the ability to do so. When the game state allows us to do so we can use Bazaar as a way to gain card advantage, not lose it. Sometimes, you will filter into a game breaker (like Open the Vaults or Roar of Reclamation).

Bazaar + Sharuum & Tawnos's Coffin / Conjurer's Closet
When you Bazaar, you can pitch whatever cards you want to get out directly into play. When you trigger the Coffin or Closet, you'll get whatever artifact you target with Sharuum. This generates ridiculous advantage and tempo boost, and is the #1 way to beat counter-spell heavy decks like Azami.

Bazaar + Crucible of Worlds
This engine allows you to break even on the Bazaar -1 card advantage. You can use Bazaar to ensure you hit your land drops. Just pitch your lands to Bazaar and replay them out of the yard.

Bazaar + Salvaging Station
This is the same with Bazaar except that you are pitching your cogs to put them into play instead of lands.

Bazaar + Ensnaring Bridge
You can use Bazaar to manage your hand size for Ensnaring Bridge, while digging for a permanent answer for the creatures you are keeping from attacking you. Ensnaring Bridge will eventually get blown off the table, so when it does, you want to be ready. Sometimes the answer or enabler you dig into (Karn Liberated, either Tez, or Memory Jar. Ensnaring bridge is also a card that slows down the pace of the game enough to allow Bazaar to become even more impactful than usual. In a sense, it's secondary role is a great way to protect your Bazaar digging.

Bazaar + Memory Jar
You can get maximum value from Jar and even use Jar to dig for specific cards to break games open. With a Mem-Jar on the table, crack the Jar to draw seven on your last opponent's end step (the one who goes immediately before you do). Activate Bazaar while still in the end step to draw 2 and pitch 3. Then on your draw step, draw your card and activate Bazaar to draw another 2 cards. This allows you to see a maximum 12 cards through a single Jar activation: this play digs you deep enough to act as a tutor for most overlapping cards or effects (cards or effects that play similar roles as another card or effect in your deck).

Bazaar + Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas / Mind's Eye / Sensei's Divining Top & Voltaic Key
Tez, AoB's +1 allows you to use Bazaar and mitigate the -1 are advantage for the activation, and plugs very well into interactions like Crucible and Salvaging Station, to even net you +2 and occasionally +3 advantage with a Bazaar activation, which is along the line of Uba Mask abuse.

Also, when filtering through your deck, you may occasionally filter into a Roar of Reclamation, Open the Vaults, Trading Post, or other spell or engine, Bazaar or otherwise, that completely changes the equation for which you value Bazaar activations (usually it will break Bazaar in half). This is not by accident: in my list, a Bazaar, properly used and left unchecked, will end the game. Period.

Open the Vaults and Roar of Reclamation will usually become .5X for 1's where X is the number of cards in your graveyard. Trading Post will turn your thopters and Myr tokens into Regrowths with an active mill engine (via Bazaar) online.

There are other minor interactions, like surprising your opponents with creatures in response to a Living Death, generating instant threshold for Cephalid Coliseum between an opponent's end-of-step and your upkeep, and it's obvious synergy with just your general.

Cavern of Souls: It's really pulled its weight against blue mages.

Cephalid Coliseum, Inkmoth Nexus, Petrified Field, Phyrexia's Core, Strip Mine, Wasteland.

Deck Strategy Show

Primary Pieces: Thirst for Knowledge, Windfall, Timetwister, Fact or Fiction, Memory Jar, Mind's Eye, Sandstone Oracle.

Secondary Pieces: Nihil Spellbomb, Sensei's Divining Top, Aether Spellbomb, Trading Post, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Bazaar of Baghdad, Cephalid Coliseum.

Purpose: These cards work together to create a card advantage and card filtering engine. The primary pieces inject the deck with burst card draw to keep the cards flowing to help build your board and help you reload after the eventual board sweeper. The secondary pieces are there to interface with card engines that the primary pieces dig you into, which will allow you to draw cards freely as abilities and not spells. This allows you to draw as many cards as you'd like at will, becoming a system that is much more difficult to disrupt and nets long-term advantage.

Primary Pieces: Entomb, Expedition Map, Vampiric Tutor, Demonic Tutor, Transmute Artifact, Intuition.

Secondary Pieces: Artificer's Intuition, Tezzeret the Seeker , Memory Jar.

Purpose: The deck uses tutors to bridge the gap between explosiveness and effectiveness. This deck utilizes cogs (0- casting cost and 1 casting cost utility artifacts) as the main workhorses for repeatable utility effects. The primary tutors work to stabilize (and sometimes cripple) the board so you can set up your secondary tutors (which interface with many of the deck's overlapping engines) so they can stay on the board to incrementally give you more ways to interact with opponents to keep them in check while you build to "go off". However, many times you will just fall into an insta-win opportunity early enough to take it, despite resistance from the table.

Purpose: These cards serve to protect your cards from global and targeted effects in order to maintain the most amount of decision play options and decision trees available to in-game. These systems are the bread and butter of the deck as they not only protect each card, but most also aid in furthering your board presence and disruptive capabilities.

Protection from Exile Removal (in play): Voyager Staff, Aether Spellbomb, Dispeller's Capsule, Thopter Foundry, Time Sieve, Tawnos's Coffin, Trading Post, Kuldotha Forgemaster, Phyrexia's Core.

Protection from Exile (graveyard removal): Timetwister, Elixir of Immortality, Buried Ruin, Academy Ruins.

Combat Protection: Ensnaring Bridge, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Thopter / Sword Combo, Voyager Staff, Tawnos's Coffin, Karn, Silver Golem, Myr Battlesphere.

Life Loss / Direct Damage Protection: Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Thopter Foundry, Elixir of Immortality, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Trading Post.

Proactive Prevention: Tormod's Crypt, Nihil Spellbomb, Dispeller's Capsule, Executioner's Capsule, Karn Liberated, Duplicant, Phyrexian Metamorph, Karn, Silver Golem, Bitter Ordeal, Magister Sphinx, All Is Dust, Expedition Map targets, Myr Battlesphere.

Primary Pieces: Sharuum the Hegemon, Salvaging Station, Tawnos's Coffin, Trading Post, Rings of Brighthearth.

Secondary Pieces: Voyager Staff, Voltaic Key, Roar of Reclamation, Open the Vaults, Unburial Rites, Crucible of Worlds, Karn, Silver Golem, Venser, the Sojourner, Phyrexian Metamorph / Sculpting Steel.

Purpose: These are the cards which, when they interact together, allow the deck to recycle and compound its effects into an insurmountable advantage over the rest of the table. When certain combinations of cards (recursive and otherwise) come together, they create game situations where you essentially go infinite (effects, mana, turns, etc.) or create such a board state that winning is inevitable.

I describe this as the ability of the deck to reduce relevant interactivity and create effects and loops that enable the deck to function without using the stack. The closer the deck performs to this threshold, the more difficult it becomes for opponents to stop the deck from performing. Going infinite requires tapping into the deck's recursive engine in such a manner where you are using effects that would normally protect the deck's internal components and utilizing them to instead generate advantage.

The deck revolves around to functionally similar recursive pieces: Sharuum the Hegemon and Salvaging Station. Salvaging Station has the ability to trigger and recur cogs fair artifacts (with casting cost 1 or less, which we will call cogs for the purpose of this primer) an unfair number of times. Sharuum can recur unfair artifacts a "fair" number of times. Salvaging Station triggers when any creature dies, and Sharuum triggers upon entering the battlefield. Both events can happen pretty often, and the various engines of this deck feed into both components of this engine.

With Salvaging Station, every time a wrath effect is played or combat damage is assigned but before it is dealt, you can respond with lots of effects so that when the creatures hit the graveyard you can respond between each untap trigger, allowing you to vastly manipulate the table and end up with no net loss of board presence to your field. Furthermore, you create effects that will force Salvaging Station to trigger. Karn Silver Golem is invaluable in this regard. Karn can turn your 0 cost artifact into creatures, killing them, and forcing Salvaging Station to trigger, whereby you can return it to the field (this allows Mana Crypt to generate infinite colorless mana for you) You can also animate artifacts your 0-cost cogs before sacrificing them, in order to allow Salvaging Station to bring them back to play.

Sharuum and a "blink effect" will work very much the same way, but not nearly as efficiently. There are only 3 blink effects in the deck: Voyager Staff, Venser the Sojourner, and Tawnos's Coffin. For voyager staff, one would need a repeatable way to recur it (Salvaging Station) in order to start gaining ETB triggers. The other two blink effects can work without any outside assistance. Venser is the weaker of the remaining two blink effects, but has a much higher ceiling for degeneracy. Tawnos's coffin is the more resilient of the two and compliments Sharuum very well. Specifically, Tawnos's Coffin blinks the target back in when it is either untapped or destroyed, which allows you to pull the trigger when your last opponent passes you the turn. If a player targets Sharuum, you can blink Sharuum to fizzle the spell, but if the opponent targets the Coffin for destruction, you can blink Sharuum in response, and when the coffin dies, it will trigger Sharuum to bring the coffin back. You can also use Tezzeret or Voltaic Key to reuse the coffin. This flexibility and resiliency is the reason I prefer coffin to alternatives like Conjurer's closet.

Both of these cards can function mutually exclusively but also interact very well together. More so, every system in the deck is built to interface with either or both of these engines. Time Sieve works with Salvaging Station as a way to both protect Salvaging Station from exile effects, and to quickly populate your board to take extra turns. Venser works to reset both. When you start interfacing other engines into the recursion engine, you start breaking these effects wide open. Plugging Memory Jar into the Sharuum engine gives you a ridiculous card advantage engine. Plugging Karn into Salvaging Station hakes for a hyper efficient Station engine. Plugging Nihil Spellbomb into the Station engine makes for an efficient draw engine, whereby you cantrip for every creature that dies while clearing out graveyards. While labeled a recursive piece, when working with a recursive system, Trading Post helps bridge all the engines together through converting one resource into another.

One important piece in kick-starting this engine is Cavern of Souls. Cavern of Souls allows you to bypass counter-magic, making it very difficult for opponents to impede your ability to jumpstart the recursion engine. The only real way to "buy time" against a board state of mana, an inactive Sharuum, and a Cavern of Souls is recursive bounce, which itself can be responded to with various effects throughout all of our engines to make that recursive bounce line-of-play less effective for the opponent.

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