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The Minefield: A Modern Artifact Recycler (T3 Win)

Modern Artifact Combo Competitive Control Infinite Combo WUB (Esper)



Comments regarding how to make this deck more competitive should be left on the page of one of the variants of this deck.

Deck under revision. Description to be considered largely inaccurate until further notice.

The Minefield is a rugged and fast combo-centric deck which recycles small artifacts endlessly to guarantee that your opponent will be combo'd to death eventually, full of control to stall for combo time, transmute to fetch combo components, and the small artifacts themselves which can be expended to further delay the game until victory is inevitable. While nowhere near as fast as some other combo decks, which can manage turn 2 wins (Heartless Summoning Combo) or in some rare cases a possible turn 1 win (Nut Draw Reanimator), this deck is far more sturdy, meaning that disruption is not going to stop this deck from going off. Ever.
The deck averages a turn 3-5 win unless it is against heavy control decks, in which case it averages a turn 4-8 win, depending on how control-heavy a hand your opponent drew.
The rugged nature of the deck comes from the fact that all of the combo components are fetched and played via activated abilities, so traditional counter magics cannot stop the deck. This is accomplished via Aether Vial which is used to play the combo creatures, and the Transmute mechanic, which is used to fetch combo components and win-cons.
The speed of the deck comes from Pili-Pala and Grand Architect both having low Converted Mana Costs, considering they are part of a modern legal infinite combo.

I want to preface this description by saying that the current main board and side board setup is that combination which most consistently gets out the necessary win conditions. However, it is also the combination which is typically weakest to highly aggressive decks, disruption from decks with kill spells, and niche cards (like Stony Silence, Pithing Needle, and Meddling Mage).

This deck features a number of "infinite" combos but they all hinge on one:
Grand Architect + Pili-Pala

While there are only four of each of these in the deck, it isn't hard to achieve this combo, requiring that only one Perplex is ever drawn to fetch Grand Architect or that you draw into it, in addition to drawing Pili-Pala, or fetching Pili-Pala with Muddle the Mixture. There is also plenty of soft fetch with Serum Visions and the Spellbombs. Once this infinite mana combo is achieved, truly anything can be combo'd infinitely by abusing the infinite mana and a Perplex, Muddle the Mixture, any win-con which you already have in hand, or the HIGHLY controlled luck of the draw through a nearly endless supply of cantrips to choose which combo you wish to pull. The second part of the combo involves Auriok Salvagers. Once you have infinite mana, you can use any spellbomb to combo with Auriok Salvagers to win the game outright. Or you could just use Hangarback Walker, Staff of Domination, or Profane Command. But that's pretty mean.

Note about this combo: Until you have at least one of the combo's which can abuse infinite mana, do not place Grand Architect on the field. He is harder to tutor for than Pili-Pala, and all that is required is that he be played successfully to the field to set the combo off.
For a turn 3 win:
T1: Land
T2: Land + Pili-Pala
T3: Land + Grand Architect
Then: Attack with Pili-Pala to tap it. Once you have Pili-Pala tapped, use Grand Architect's second active ability to tap himself. This generates two colorless mana. Untap Pili-Pala with that mana to produce one blue mana. Use that to turn Pili-Pala blue using Grand Architect's first activated ability. From there just make mana forever. Then win. Because this is possible (abusing the infinite mana combo the turn that Grand Architect is played), there is absolutely NO rush to play Grand Architect, therefore it is wisest not to play him until it's combo time. If you know that your opponent has some way to interact with Pili-Pala mid combat, then FOR CRYIN' OUT LOUD DON'T TRY TO GO OFF, just wait until the coast is clear!
As a general rule of thumb, Pili-Pala should only be played once you have Grand Architect + a wincon in hand, preferably on your opponent's end step using Aether Vial. I will explain how this works later in the description. Just know that the last thing you want is to have all of your components assembled while Pili-Pala just sits there in the yard. Safety first kids!!!

Auriok Salvagers + Pyrite Spellbomb = infinite damage-----------------------------\
Auriok Salvagers + Sunbeam Spellbomb = infinite life-------------------------------/
Aether Spellbomb + Auriok Salvagers = infinite board removal -------------------> Infinite Card Draw
Auriok Salvagers + Nihil Spellbomb = infinite graveyard hate.---------------------\
Artificer's Intuition + Auriok Salvagers = infinite costed artifacts.-------------/
Hangarback Walker = LOOK AT ALL THESE THOPTERS!!!
Staff of Domination = Draw your whole deck + tap all creatures your opponent controls + gain infinite life.
Profane Command = Infinite damage to the opponent's face.
Trinket Mage/ Artificer's Intuition = Go find Hangarback

The rest of your play should be made around fetching all of your combo components. This takes first priority. It's a difficult task, but the deck has more than enough flexible fetch cards to consistently pull the combo off, or stall out your opponent until you draw into each component.
Your second priority should be staying alive. Don't be afraid to use cards like Perplex and Muddle the Mixture as counterspells, to fetch tech-cards which will win you the game in certain match-ups, or to find cards that buy you a few turns. A great example of this is Hangarback Walker. While he can act as a win-con, his primary purpose is to slow the opponent down. Shutting down your opponent can be just as crucial as going off yourself. Once all the components are assembled though... It's game over.
Your third priority is to fetch Aether Vial, as it allows you to play your combo components without putting them onto the stack, which means they cannot be countered when played through the vial. It also frees up your mana to use for transmuting or removal.

The Deck's main source of damage, when not combo'ing, will be face beating. And this deck is really quite bad at beating face, unless you are doing it with Hangarback Walker, a couple of Grand Architects, and locking your opponent out of the game. Long story short, you typically don't win if you don't combo. You just do your best to not lose.

Once you have your infinite mana combo, getting Auriok Salvagers/Hangarback Walker/Staff of Domination onto the field and keeping it there, should be your primary goal, and every other card in this deck is expendable to achieve that goal.

First, be aware that Thoughtseize is a painful but universally good card, and that Sunbeam Spellbomb is mainboard to offset the damage it often deals to you. In the majority of post-board games, all three Thoughtseizes will be boarded out along with Sunbeam Spellbomb in favor of tech cards like Leyline of Sanctity.
Against these decks, you want hands that can go fast. These hands usually have two of the following cards: Aether Vial, Pili-Pala, and Grand Architect OR contain Pili-Pala/Grand Architect and 2+ cantrips.
Against these decks, you want hands that create their own consistency as the game goes on. You want to keep hands that have Artificer's Intuition , or two of the following: Aether Vial, Chalice of the Void, Engineered Explosives and the counter spells.
Mulligan for the tech card that beats your opponent's deck.

Most Aggro decks are light on spells that can be hit by Muddle the Mixture, though Muddle is still useful to fetch Spellskite, Pili-Pala, and Profane Command. The plan against Aggro decks buy-and-large is to get out Spellskite both to block creatures and protect Pili-Pala from removal. Try to keep the board clear via Engineered Explosives and Aether Spellbomb . The most important thing though is to find your combo components and try to kill that aggro deck, because they won't just let you keep their board clean.
-3xThoughtseize --> +3xLeyline of Sanctity
-1xSerum Visions --> +1xLeave No Trace
-1xSerum Visions --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +1xNihil Spellbomb
-1xChalice of the Void --> +1xAuriok Salvagers

Junk/Abzan is an annoying match-up, because the midrange version runs so much natural graveyard hate in Scavenging Ooze AND the possiblity of side-board Rest in Peace/Stony Silence. In game one, play Chalice of the Void with one charge counter to stop their forced discard, and if possible, play a second chalice with two charge counters to stop their graveyard hate.
Games 2 & 3, Leyline of Sanctity should be able to take care of their forced discard strategies post board, but players of this deck should aggressively mulligan to 5 to obtain Leyline of Sanctity. If you have the leyline, keep your hand. If you are down to 5, keep your hand. Mulligan anything that doesn't meet one of those two requirements. This all said, your primary goal is still to go off and combo that junk player to death. Nihil Spellbomb is here to take care of anything with flashback and to mess with Tarmogoyf. Engineered Explosives should simply be held in hand, but it is a powerful card to obtain. If the opponent starts playing Scavenging Ooze and Tarmogoyf, get two charge counters on the explosives and get those beaters outa here. If he decides to summon a bunch of spirits via Lingering Souls, play it on 0 and get those spirits outa here. If drawn in games 2 & 3, play Chalice of the Void with 2 charge counters to counter Stony Silence and most of Junk's early beaters.
Overall, you are not favored against Junk decks. They tend to win game 1 due to their copious removal suite and forced discard, and while the post-board games favor you slightly, it isn't enough to make up for the fact that you now have to win 2 games in a row since you lost game 1. If you manage to win game 1 though, you are in great shape!
Note: Many players, both on this site and off, have been discussing running more potent sorcery speed removal in place of their instant speed removal due to the fall of Twin. If Junk decks adopt this policy, it bodes very well for the match-up, as this deck can combo off at times where only instants could stop us.

-1xSerum Visions --> +1xEngineered Explosives

These Collected Company decks are annoying, but all it takes is some intelligent play and you will be fine. The downfall of these decks is that none of their creatures have a CMC higher than . Engineered Explosives and Chalice of the Void have field days with CoCo decks. Play Chalice of the Voids with two charge counters if you draw it. Artificer's Intuition should be prioritizing Engineered Explosives though, as it is far more brutal against CoCo decks.
Leave No Trace can be boarded in to answer Stony Silence in game 3, but it usually isn't a huge issue. Thoughtseize should be taking care of those where possible.
All in all, game 1 is decided by how quickly you are able to differentiate this deck from a Junk deck. If you figure it out, you are favored to win, and you are greatly favored post board. Even if you lose game 1, chances are you will win the post board games.

-1xThoughtseize --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-2xThoughtseize --> +2xSpellskite

This match-up is just mind-blowingly easy. First, boggles is light on removal and The Minefield punishes decks like that VERY hard. Your clock is faster than theirs on average. Aether Spellbomb is overly brutal to Kor Spiritdancer, Chalice of the Void placed with one charge counter makes them concede on the spot despite really hurting The Minefield, and Engineered Explosives with one charge counter murders most of their deck.
Pre board they might god draw and out-race you. Post board you almost can't lose though.

-1x Pyrite Spellbomb -1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +2xMeddling Mage
-1xAuriok Salvagers -1xHangarback Walker --> +2xSpellskite

This is one of those match-ups where an aggro deck actually poses a faster combo kill than a combo deck can. Bloom Titan may be fast, WICKED FAST, but the deck is very weak to disruption at critical points. Play Chalice of the Void at 0 charge counters. This shuts down all of Bloom Titan's pact spells, which not only severely damages the deck's consistency, but also takes away Hive Mind as a win-con. Engineered Explosives will typically only be played with 1 charge counter to get rid of Amulet of Vigor, but this play is just an annoyance to the Bloom Titan deck, which is why we don't board the other one in. On top of that, it will kill your own Aether Vials. Do not ever use Aether Spellbomb as fuel for Artificer's Intuition . Play the spellbomb to the field, as it gives you an instant speed response to Primeval Titan. Bouncing him is often just as effective as killing him.
Games 2 & 3, Meddling Mage should be naming Primeval Titan to take away Bloom Titan's primary win-con, and since Chalice of the Void already shuts down the Hive Mind back up, you can effectively lock a Bloom Titan player out of the game. Spellskite should be used to change the active abilities of Bloom Titan's lands (like Slayers' Stronghold and Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion) to itself so that those Primeval Titans can't obtain haste and double strike.
Game 1 is about 50/50. You have Chalice already available to you, you have hand disruption via Thoughtseize, and you have Aether Spellbomb to stop his combo. Despite all these great tech-cards, Bloom Titan is just so much faster than you are and this deck is built to work through heavy disruption, not to go as fast as possible to crush other non-interactive decks.
Post board you are favored, but not as much as you might like. Bloom titan is often just so fast that you don't have time to lock them out of the game. If you did, it wouldn't be nearly as strong of a deck.
Before some argument starts, yes I consider Bloom Titan to be an aggro deck. It does not have a repeatable combo, and wins by attacking with a creature. To me, that is an aggro deck. Bloom Titan just happens to be a very ramp heavy and unfair aggro deck.

-3xThoughtseize --> +3xLeyline of Sanctity
-2x Aether Spellbomb --> +2xSpellskite
-1xHangarback Walker --> +1xEngineered Explosives

Oh look, another aggro deck built entirely around cheap stuff! Chalice of the Void is thrilled. Play it with one charge counter first, so that it shuts down the majority of burn spells and creatures that your opponent might be using. It is ok to play the Chalice of the Void with 1 charge counter even if you don't yet have an Aether Vial in play. If you can get a second Chalice, play it at 2 charge counters so that it shuts down Destructive Revelry and the burn player just cries. Engineered Explosives should take care of those pesky creatures that the burn player will be using. Leyline of Sanctity saves your face from the burn. Spellskite saves your face too, but is the least useful of our artifact hate cards. Feel free to use him as fuel for Artificer's Intuition , and recognize that sometimes you may even need to use Pili-Pala to fuel the intuition as well in order to get Chalice of the Void and Engineered Explosives. Which you fetch is situational, but it should also be obvious to the player. Use Sunbeam Spellbomb for life-gain.
A good strategy against burn is to use your spare mana on Vault of the Archangel, as the lifelink will keep you in the game far longer than holding up counter-magics will.
Just as with Junk Aggro, mulligan aggressively for Leyline of Sanctity. Against burn, I would go so far as to mulligan down to 4 for the card.
Game 1 against burn decks is roughly even. You have the faster clock and a bit of built in resilience thanks to Vault of the Archangel, but The Minefield has a bad habit of hurting itself pretty bad in game 1 via aggressive use of Thoughtseize and shocklands on T1 just to find out what the opponent is playing.
Games 2 & 3 see The Minefield as being highly favored. If you win game 1 you should be able to win the match-up no problem.
Note: The biggest difference in playing against Delver is that you will play Engineered Explosives with 0 charge counters to get rid of flipped delvers. Otherwise, Burn and Delver are played against in much the same way.

-3xThoughtseize --> +3xLeyline of Sanctity
-1xPerplex --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-2xChalice of the Void --> +2xSpellskite
-1xSerum Visions --> +1xNihil Spellbomb
-2xSerum Visions --> +2xPithing Needle
-1xSerum Visions --> +1xAuriok Salvagers

Jund is... intuitive as far as match-ups go. They run A LOT of removal, some graveyard hate, and forced discard. Engineered Explosives is the all-star of this match-up, because even though they have a lot of removal, Jund decks don't have access to Stony Silence AND the majority of their creatures cost 2 mana, which means The Minefield retains it's ability to shut the Jund deck down via Engineered Explosives and Academy Ruins.
Pithing Needle can name Liliana of the Veil if you fail to find Leyline of Sanctity, Raging Ravine, Fetch Lands, and Scavenging Ooze. You run both because Jund has Abrupt Decay and Kolaghan's Command, so they have plenty of artifact hate.
Just as with Junk decks, mulligan aggressively for the Leyline of Sanctity. It will stop the forced discard.
Game 1 you tend to lose. You just don't have enough removal and the jund deck picks you apart with ease. Sometimes a Thoughtseize works miracles, but just as often it isn't enough.
Games 2 & 3 are favored at 60/40 since Jund doesn't gain a whole lot from their sideboard but we are able to even up the playing field. This means you tend to lose against Jund just because overcoming the Game 1 loss is a very difficult feat.
Note: Many players, both on this site and off, have been discussing running more potent sorcery speed removal in place of their instant speed removal due to the fall of Twin. If Jund decks adopt this policy, it bodes very well for the match-up, as this deck can combo off at times where only instants could stop us.

-1xThoughtseize --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-2xThoughtseize --> +2xHurkyl's Recall

Against Affinity/Robots, blockers like Spellskite tend to be rather useless due to trample effects. This match-up is far from hopeless though. Chalice of the Void can be played with 0 charge counters on it to brick a good 1/3rd of the Affinity deck.
Game 1, either combo off as quickly as you can if your hand is capable, or find Chalice of the Void/Engineered Explosives as quickly as possible. If your hand seems incapable of doing either, I have no idea why you kept it. In games 2 & 3, Engineered Explosives and Hurkyl's Recall do a fantastic job of cleaning up the rest of the Affinity deck.
Affinity is a favorable match-up, as your clock is faster than theirs and they are a rather non-interactive deck in Game 1. Post board you gain WAY more from your sideboard than they do, so the match-up becomes even more skewed in your favor. Just watch out for Phyrexian Revoker, and try to save an Aether Spellbomb just for him. That guy is evil incarnate.

-1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-1x Aether Spellbomb -1xPerplex --> +2xSpellskite

Oh look, another deck like boggles that just loses to a Chalice of the Void at 1 charge counter. Combo'ing off is your first objective, and getting the chalice is your second objective.
Game 1 is favorable, as we already have our biggest tech card main-boarded against Infect.
Games 2 & 3 are highly favorable, as Spellskite fills the role of a blocker which is all we lacked in game 1.

-2x Aether Spellbomb --> +2xSpellskite
-1xSerum Visions --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-1xPerplex --> +1xLeave No Trace
-1xSerum Visions --> +1xAuriok Salvagers

Hatebears is a match-up which puts your skill as a player to the test. They have ways to put you in a lock, using cards like Leonin Arbiter/Aven Mindcensor/Gaddock Teeg and Stony Silence. You have ways to stop their hate though, like putting Chalice of the Void at 1 mana so that they cannot play Aether Vial, then playing a second at two mana to stop all of their artifact destruction and hate cards.
Against hatebears, two Chalice of the Voids or Auriok Salvagers + Hangarback Walker are your secondary win, and Aether Vial alongside their plethora of hard hate cards is their win-con. They have the advantage though, as their hate cards come with bodies.
Game 1 you are actually favored, as their best hate cards for The Minefield sit in their sideboard. Just try to combo off and use Engineered Explosives to clear away any hate cards they play.
Post board, the game gets a lot harder for us. The amount of relevant hate in the Hatebears sideboard is over 9000! If you win game 1, you are in decent shape and have a chance of winning the match-up. If you lose game 1, start praying for them to brick every draw for two games straight.

Most control decks will try to give The Minefield a really hard time, though this deck is built specifically to handle the control match-up better than just about any other combo deck in existence can.
-2xChalice of the Void -1x Pyrite Spellbomb --> +3xLeyline of Sanctity
-1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +1xAuriok Salvagers
-2xEngineered Explosives --> +2xCrumble to Dust

Eldrazi Control is decent match-up game one. They have less hand disruption that the Junk/Jund decks do, but their creatures are even beefier, which means they cannot be reasonably combated via Chalice of the Void and Engineered Explosives. Aether Vial is relatively powerful, because it allows you to put combo components into play when the opponent would not expect it and thus maybe bamboozle a win out of him, but your best strategy in game 1 is to just go fast. The second you have all of your combo pieces in hand, go for the combo. Eldrazi Control takes a while to get going, and you can abuse that fact to kill them before they obtain enough mana to get their deck working. Fetch Aether Spellbomb s where possible, because they are the only form of functional removal which you possess, and they can protect your combo from removal. You can also play Chalice of the Void at one charge counter in game one, as it will shut down the opponent's hand disruption and a lot of their graveyard hate.
Save Perplex for use as a counter-spell. You will force your opponent to choose between sticking some Eldrazi creature to the board, and keeping their hand. If they lose their hand, you are in good shape to try to combo off. If they lose the Eldrazi, they fail to put you on a clock and you gain a few extra turns of play.
The post board games are somewhat better. You can drop the dead-weight from The Minefield and board in Leyline of Sanctity which not only nullifies hand disruption, but also combats a lot of the ETB effects of the opponent's eldrazi creatures. Speaking of ways to nullify Eldrazi, Crumble to Dust can win you the game, and will more frequently than you think. This becomes even more true when combined with Perplex, as people rarely let you counter their Ulamog. Save a Muddle the Mixture for Memoricide . If that resolves, you lose. Don't let it resolve. The match-up is actually favorable post-board, but you must mulligan aggressively for Leyline of Sanctity, as playing the game with it as opposed to without it is a literal night and day difference against Eldrazi Control.
Be aware that Leyline of Sanctity only fights against those cards which explicity say "target player/opponent." It will not stop effects like those on Wasteland Strangler that operate on the text of "target card an opponent controls." The target here is the card, and that it has to be an opponent's card is a restriction. No opponent is targeted, so Leyline of Sanctity does not help with those abilities.

-2x Aether Spellbomb -1x Pyrite Spellbomb --> +3xLeyline of Sanctity
-1xHangarback Walker --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-3xThoughtseize --> +2xHurkyl's Recall +1xAuriok Salvagers

Lantern control is another easy win for The Minefield. Yes, Lantern Control is normally very good against combo decks, but first off we have Academy Ruins. That means we can pull cards out of our graveyard and the opponent can never succeed in decking us. We also have Chalice of the Void, which is to be played at one charge counter. Make this play even if you don't already have an Aether Vial in play, as it shuts down the Lantern deck entirely. Engineered Explosives does much the same thing. Try to hold up mana for Muddle the Mixture to counter Surgical Extraction until you have a chalice at 1 in play.
Post board, having access to Leyline of Sanctity means you shut down most of the lantern deck before the game even gets started, and you should aggressively mulligan for it. Hurkyl's Recall gives you another sweeper to use against the opponent, and the Auriok Salvagers is boarded in so that your graveyard remains a highly accessible resource.
All in all, lantern control is a very easy match-up for The Minefield. They just don't have the tools to stop you.

-1xSunbeam Spellbomb -1x Pyrite Spellbomb --> +2xCrumble to Dust
-2xEngineered Explosives --> +2xPithing Needle

Tron is a slightly favorable match-up for The Minefield. Given the recent bans on Twin and Summer Bloom, we have gained access to Land Destruction, which means a tron player can be blown out by Crumble to Dust. Chalice of the Void played at one charge counter helps out a lot, as it gets rid of most of Tron's mana fixing and cantrips. It also gets rid of Relic of Progenitus and Pithing Needle, which are annoying. This said, Tron does not have very much in the way of instant speed removal. The only card that have that qualifies as such is oathstone, and they have to play it before-hand so they telegraph that play. This means that using Aether Vial to play Pili-Pala on your opponent's end step followed by a Grand Architect on your main phase takes away the majority of tron's access to removal.
Game 1 you are not favored. You don't have that many good ways of dealing with Tron's big threats, and don't have a good way of stopping them from getting there short of Thoughtseize. The goal game 1 is speed. Don't interact with the tron player, just try to combo off. Tron has issues with stopping combo decks that can go off as early as turn 3. Sounds like us.
Games 2 & 3, Pithing Needle comes in and is pretty useful for getting rid of that blasted Karn Liberated and Oblivion Stone. Crumble to Dust can take care of any of the three tron lands, slowing Tron down to a crawl. Against a combo deck, you can't afford to crawl.
Keep Thoughtseize boarded in so that you will know which threats your opponent has in hand, have an answer to one of them, and know which threats remain which you will need to counter/play around. Chalice of the Void should still be played at 1 charge counter, as it now takes care of Nature's Claim in addition to all of the other mana fixers it previously beat out.
All in all, tron is a slightly-favorable match-up. It just depends on who combos off first in game 1 with you being slightly disfavored, and then favors you in games 2 & 3, as both decks have solid plans to beat the other one, but you are the faster deck.

-1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-2x Aether Spellbomb --> +2xSpellskite
-1xPerplex --> +1xLeave No Trace

We run plenty of basic lands, so Blood Moon decks don't really scare us. Just start fetching up your basic lands instead of those fancy shocklands. Chalice of the Void should be played at 1 charge counter to take care of some of Blue Moons cheap value engines, and then if you aquire a second one, play it with two charge counters so that it can take care of most of the deck's counter spells.
Game 1 they are favored, as the deck is a heavy control deck with plenty of instants, so they don't care if you try to be cute by Aether Vialing in a Pili-Pala on their end step to win. They save all of their mana for you anyway. Just be ready for a painfully slow game. I can't give tips beyond this for game 1 because it is a largely skill dependent game. If one player is less skilled than the other, it will become obvious in this game.
Games 2 & 3 favor The Minefield a little bit more heavily. Despite the fact that blue moon gains access to Shattering Spree and Relic of Progenitus, all this does is make a Chalice of the Void with one charge counter even more potent. You also gain Spellskite, which is a far more potent tool than you might imagine. I recommend reading the Spellskite section of "On the Proper Use of Quirky Cards"

-1x Pyrite Spellbomb --> +1xAuriok Salvagers
-1x Aether Spellbomb -1xSerum Visions--> +2xSpellskite
-1xEngineered Explosives --> +1xPithing Needle

Grixis Control, despite having access to massive amounts of forced discard and Liliana of the Veil often runs neither. This means that the vast majority of the deck will consist of counter magics, which is perfectly alright with The Minefield. It makes for slow, grindy games, and this deck takes to slow games like flying squirrel to tall trees.
In Game 1, play Chalice of the Void with two charge counters to get rid of the majority of the Grixis deck's removal and counter magics. Then just try to jam the combo through as many times as you can. Eventually, the Grixis deck will lose the ability to say no.
Games 2 & 3, play a Chalice of the Void with one charge counter first, and then a second one with two charge counters, so that you shut off the grixis deck's access to cards like Surgical Extraction and the majority of other graveyard hate strategies. Games 2 & 3 are heavily in your favor, as you gain access to Spellskite, and that changes everything in this match-up.

-1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +1xLeave No Trace
-1xPerplex --> +1xAuriok Salvagers
-1xChalice of the Void -1x Pyrite Spellbomb --> +2xSpellskite
-1xThoughtseize --> +1xPithing Needle

American Control decks have access to a greater amount of removal than their grixis cousins, but the match-up plays very similarly. Chalice of the Void on one counter is your priority in all three games though, as it hits Path to Exile. Most of the CMC threats which American Control runs are creatures, and thus can be taken care of with Engineered Explosives.
Games 2 & 3 you will want to save Leave No Trace for any Stony Silences that your opponent may be using. Aether Spellbomb is great because it can bounce man-lands or your own creatures in the face of removal. Pithing Needle can take care of the opponent's planeswalkers and such annoying lands as Ghost Quarters.
DO NOT play Grand Architect to the field unless you are trying to combo off against American Control. Ever.

-3xThoughtseize --> +3xLeyline of the Void
-2x Aether Spellbomb --> +2xPithing Needle
-1x Pyrite Spellbomb --> +1xLeave No Trace
-1xSerum Visions --> +1xAuriok Salvagers

8 Rack is just annoying. You can fight them well enough, because Engineered Explosives can take care of The Rack and Shrieking Affliction. Chalice of the Void with 1 charge counter can take care of most of the opponent's discard spells. If you get a second chalice, play it with 3 charge counters if possible. That takes care of Liliana of the Veil, Ensnaring Bridge, and all those other pesky 3 mana discard enchantments.
Game 1 you lose a fair bit of your hand. Find Chalice of the Void as quickly as possible, but (if at all possible) try to keep in on top of your deck instead of being in your hand so that you can't be forced to discard it. That always sucks. Game 1 still does not favor you. It's hard to combo off when you don't have a hand to do it with.
Games 2 & 3 are a dramatically different story. Hard mulligan to 4 if necessary finding Leyline of Sanctity. You have Pithing Needle to take care of Liliana of the Veil and you have a more consistent method of getting rid of your opponent's "punishment" artifacts and enchantments. That and the leyline are really all you need to turn this match-up from being sketchy to insanely favored.

Token Decks are not a huge problem for The Minefield, as they tend to be far less interactive than most other deck archetypes, and are incredibly weak to cards such as Engineered Explosives.
-1xChalice of the Void --> +1xEngineered Explosvies

Elves is a match-up which is draw dependant. The Minefield is favored, as Engineered Explosives can save you from a few of Elves nut draws, while Elves have nothing to save them from yours. Both decks are incredibly fast with the right draws.
Yes I consider Elves a token deck. The point of the deck is to go wide and just mob the opponent. Sounds like a token deck to me.

-1x Pyrite Spellbomb --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-1xSerum Visions --> +1xLeave No Trace

Against White Weenies, you typically can just combo them to death before the board state every becomes overly threatening. Even if the opponent starts to build up a threatening board because you just can't find your combo components, Engineered Explosives fixes that handily. This is an insanely easy match-up for The Minefield, both pre and post board.
You board in Leave No Trace in the case of things like Intangible Virtue and Bitterblossom.

Go check White Weenies. It's the same thing.
Other combo decks are interesting, because there is no general strategy for playing against them other than "don't let them be the first to combo." This said, each combo deck that The Minefield faces up against can be dealt with, but be aware that sideboarding can be dramatically different for each.
-1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +1xLeave No Trace
-2xEngineered Explosives --> +2xPithing Needle

This match-up is just silly. Living End decks tend to combo off a bit more quickly than you do, but you can counter Living End, and the deck folds if you stick a Chalice of the Void with 0 Charge counters on it, because then they become unable to cast their win-con. Post board you also gain access to Pithing Needle, which can be used to name their fetch lands just to skew the match-up even more in your favor.
Be careful, as Living end does run Ricochet Trap , and nothing sucks worse than losing the game to your own win-con. If you are combo'ing off against Living End, use Staff of Domination to make yourself draw the majority of your deck, and then combo off with Hangarback Walker, or if you don't have the staff but instead have Auriok Salvagers, draw through your deck until you find Pyrite Spellbomb .
Living End is a favorable match-up both pre and post board, though it is more favorable post-board than pre-board.

-1xHangarback Walker --> +1xLeave No Trace
-2xEngineered Explosives -1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +3xLeyline of Sanctity

You tend to be the first to combo off against Ad Nauseam, which means you are favored in Game 1. Play Chalice of the Void with 0 charge counters to get rid of the pacts which Ad Nauseam runs and to counter Lotus Bloom. Play a second chalice at one counter to get rid of cards like Angel's Grace . The best way to win against Ad Nauseam is to go infinite on life with Staff of Domination.
Games 2 & 3 you win with Staff of Domination or Auriok Salvagers + Sunbeam Spellbomb as they board in Leyline of Sanctity just like we do. This said, your leyline is a lot more impactful than theirs, because they are forced to try to win via Laboratory Maniac. You can counter their Laboratory Maniac via Pyrite Spellbomb or Aether Spellbomb , which is where you obtain the advantage.

-1xSerum Visions --> +1xEngineered Explosives

Merfolk is an interesting kind of combo deck, because for the most part, it is actually an aggro deck. It wins by beating face over and over, but I consider merfolk to be a combo deck because with one singe Merrow Reejerey + Aether Vial you can pump out every single merfolk of a given CMC onto the field for free. Block what you can (Islandwalk permitting) and remove whatever you can't block. Merfolk is light on counter magic, removal, AND flying though, so winning against merfolk is not all that difficult most of the time. You simply go off before they can kill you. Engineered Explosives really helps us out, while Chalice of the Void is a bit of a dead draw given that the merfolk deck also runs Aether Vial AND Cavern of Souls.
Overall, we are favored against Merfolk, but you need to focus on speed and not trying to build a pillow-fort. Wet pillows are the worst.

-2xEngineered Explosives -1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +3xLeyline of Sanctity

Storm is a great match-up for us. We can go off about as quickly as they can, they are fairly non-interactive which means they aren't likely to stop us, and if you play a Chalice of the Void with two charge counters, they just up and concede! Your first chalice should probably still be played at 1 charge counter if you draw it in the first few turns of the game, as shutting down storm's cantrips can cripple the deck just as badly as shutting down their combo. Don't be afraid to play Grand Architect to the field pre-maturely in this match-up. You can always use him to help you ramp into a 2 charge counter chalice, and storm has a hard time dealing with creatures with more than 1 hp. Storm in general just isn't very strong against the kind of hate that The Minefield can dish out.
All in all, storm is a fantastic match-up for The Minefield, both pre and post board.

-1xEngineered Explosives --> +1xAuriok Salvagers
-1xEngineered Explosives --> +1xNihil Spellbomb
-1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +1xPithing Needle

This match-up is actually really simple, and highly favorable. You race the Reanimator deck to combo off. Yes, he is capable of going off faster than you, but he is not guaranteed to. Aether Spellbomb is a bad day and a half for Reanimator, and so is Nihil Spellbomb. Chalice of the Void with two charge counters on it also tends to piss them off.
Pithing Needle can name Grislebrand to shut down the deck's primary combo, but it will not stop the deck permanently. This is why we only board in one.

No Swaps. I'm not kidding.

Just race the Tooth and Nail deck. He doesn't like playing interactive games, but that doesn't mean you can't blow up any small mana dorks with Engineered Explosives, bounce his big creatures with Aether Spellbomb Just another non-interactive combo match-up really, and another favorable one that gets better post board.

-1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-1x Pyrite Spellbomb --> +1xLeave No Trace

Heartless Summoning Combo is another one of those match-ups that is all about the draws. If you draw your combo components, combo off. If you draw Engineered Explosives, blow up his Heartless Summoning when he plays it so he can't combo off. You can do the same thing with Leave No Trace post board. You are favored against them, just like you are favored against literally every combo deck that chooses not to interact with its opponent. Pillow forts can in fact contain explosions.

-1xHangarback Walker --> +1xAuriok Salvagers
-1xPerplex --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-2xThoughtseize --> +2xSpellskite

Twin is a bit of a funky match-up. Of these two combo decks, Twin has the superior control aspect. This said, it is less consistent in its draws, and tends to go off later than The Minefield. Chalice of the Void should be played with 1 charge counter to start, as this will stop Twin from using a good portion of its cantrips, and removal. It also stops their post-board artifact hate. The second chalice should be placed with 3 charge counters, as this allows it to stop twin from combo'ing entirely, as well as countering the rest of their most powerful cards. The only real 2 mana doozie twin runs is Remand. The Minefield isn't threatened by Remand. Engineered Explosives really shines here, as it can remove every clone of Deceiver Exarch/Pestermite at instant speed. Twin basically can't combo off as long as you have a 0 mana explosives in play. Be aware though that while in play, Chalice of the Void is considered to have a CMC of which means that using a 0 mana Explosives also clears your chalices. Academy Ruins and Aether Vial swing the game in favor of The Minefield if you are able to draw into them, as Academy Ruins + Pili-Pala results in nearly infinite combo attempts, and Aether Vial helps stop Twin from countering our combo creatures as they enter play. Spellskite is capable of stopping Twin from combo'ing, as Spellskite can change the target of Splinter Twin to Spellskite, making it the ideal sideboard tech for this match-up. Spellskite also eats all those bolt spells that Twin is so fond of running.
Note: Electrolyze is thought to be the hard counter to Spellskite. This is wrong. I will show you how to let your Spellskite stop even this spell. Go read the Spellskite section of "On the Proper use of Quirky Cards."
While you are down there, also read the Academy Ruins section. I will explain why ruins are better than Desolate Lighthouses.
Read up on Aether Spellbomb as well. It is another highly relevant card in this match-up in more ways than you might think.

-2xChalice of the Void --> +2xLeyline of Sanctity
-1x Pyrite Spellbomb --> +1xLeyline of Sanctity
-2x Aether Spellbomb --> +2xSpellskite
-2xEngineered Explosives --> +2xCrumble to Dust

As a combo deck, Scapeshift is really sturdy all around, as it is very good at controlling the opponent's deck while still combo'ing off. What this means for us is that Aether Vial is going to be crucial. This means that The Minefield needs not try for speed, but instead just needs to be more stable than the Scapeshift deck. Aether Vial with Academy Ruins ensures that this will be the case. Games 2 & 3, mulligan to 5 against Scapeshift for Leyline of Sanctity, as it will shut down their combo. From there, Spellskite should be able to protect your combo creatures from Scapeshift's removal suite. Again, go read up on Spellskite. Knowing how to beat Electrolyze is critical in this match-up. Crumble to Dust provides you with a way to blow-out the Scapeshift deck, but it's highly unlikely to resolve given the controlling nature of Scapeshift.

-1xChalice of the Void -1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +2xSpellskite
-1xPerplex --> +1xEngineered Explosives
-1xChalice of the Void --> +1xAuriok Salvagers

This deck is a brew which is one of The Minefield's worst match-ups post board due to the sturdy and flexible nature of Chord of Calling.
Game 1 is actually favorable. You can play Chalice of the Void on two charge counters to stop the Chord player from using the majority of his creatures. Engineered Explosives can take care of most of the creatures he manages to sneak through the chalice, and you can combo off much faster than the chord deck can. Chalice of the Void on 3 counters won't even stop chord, because it checks what the CMC of the card was when it was cast, not what its vanilla CMC is, so chord is usually cast as a 6+ CMC spell. Chalice can't fight that. You also have a sneaky synergy available to you in Aether Spellbomb + Thoughtseize to get rid of some of the deck's most annoying creatures, so Thoughtseize is rarely a bad top-deck.
Games 2 & 3 are where it all goes to crap. The chord deck gains access to Slaughter Games which blows us out, Linvala, Keeper of Silence which blows us out, and Stony Silence just as the icing on the cake to blow us out. You need to hitting these cards with Thoughtseize, but the problem is that you cannot guarantee that your opponent will have those in hand when you Thoughtseize him/her. If the chord player is smart, he/she gets rid of most of his 2 cmc creatures to board these in, so Chalice of the Void becomes considerably worse post-board. You just have to race the Chord deck and hope you can kill him before he has the mana to access all of these answers. You can also board in a Nihil Spellbomb if you would like in order to keep the chord deck from abusing the Eternal Witness + Reveillark combo. This swap is HIGHLY reactive though, and as the faster combo deck, I believe this change to be unnecessary.
One of your best hopes is that the chord player does not realize just how good Linvala is, and that you can maintain a late-game plan involving Auriok Salvagers which can compete with his Reveillark.
Against Chord, if you lose game 1, you probably are going to lose the match-up.

-1x Pyrite Spellbomb -1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +2xPithing Needle

Pithing Needle is brutal against these decks, as two Pithing Needles can take out every copy of two different Planeswalkers, and can be salvaged when necessary. Spellskite might seem like a good card to board in, but truth is he doesn't make us go any faster, and this deck just isn't threatened by walker decks. There is no REAL need for the needles even because you can just race the Walker decks, making them an easy match-up for The Minefield.

-1xSunbeam Spellbomb --> +1xEngineered Explosives

This match-up is about another easy one, because a combo deck like The Minefield doesn't care how high your life gets, and such decks as Soul Sisters sacrifice speed for their life gain. If the Soul Sisters deck actually starts gaining a bit of ground against you, just wipe the board with Engineered Explosives. Regardless, killing the soul sisters deck by going infinite before they can kill you with minions should be a breeze.

Academy Ruins

It is useful to grab Pili-Pala from the yard. Since you don't ever play Grand Architect until it's time to go off, the only way your opponent can stop you is by killing Pili-Pala. Academy Ruins is basically just here to ensure that Pili-Pala can -and will- always be played.
Academy Ruins is very fun to use with Aether Vial as well. What you can do is put Pili-Pala back on top of your deck when your opponent kills it for a grand total of and a tapped Ruins, and then Vial the Pili-Pala back in on your opponent's next end step. If he kills it again, spit rinse repeat. Pretty cheap way to keep threatening to win every single turn if your opponent runs out of removal.

Aether Spellbomb

This card can and should be played to the field whenever you have the spare mana to do so. When you go to combo off and have to first test the waters with Pili-Pala, the Aether Spellbomb can always just bounce him back to your hand in the face of removal, which effectively turns it into a counterspell against most decks. Otherwise, it can act as removal or card draw when you need it to. Aether Spellbomb basically functions as an insurance policy for those hard to predict counter wars and fringe situations.
Aether Spellbomb also has a high degree of synergy with Thoughtseize, as you can bounce your opponent's creatures with Aether Spellbomb and then immediately Thoughtseize that creature, to effectively turn Thoughtseize into removal as the game goes late. Just another interaction to be aware of.

Aether Vial

This card is the detonator of The Minefield.
First and foremost: Aether Vial does not make you pay for the creatures you summon with it. This means you are free to transmute for Pili-Pala and Grand Architect and then vial them in on the same turn that you transmuted for them. You could also use your spare mana for counter magics or to help you build your pillow-fort.
Second: Aether Vial does not place creatures on the stack. It simply moves them from your hand into the battlefield. This means that creatures being put into play with Aether Vial cannot be countered, which is not only extremely useful against combo decks, but it is what allows us to play Chalice of the Void without too much fear of the chalice biting us in the @$$.
Third: This deck is built with a lot of CMC creatures. This is intentional. What you can do is refuse to put charge counters onto the vial once it has two, and then use the vial to play creatures on your opponent's turn, at instant speed no less. A prime example would be playing Pili-Pala on your opponent's end step to see if he is foolish enough to tap out against you. Then, on your upkeep, you can tick the vial up and then play Grand Architect without having to pay for it, allowing you not only to combo off, but to abuse the fact that (once in play) Grand Architects first ability basically provides you with as many Counterspells as your mana base can support.
So the way you use Aether Vial -summatively- is you leave it at 2 charge counters until you combo off, and you use it to play creatures on your opponent's turn like a sneaky little hobbit.
The deck is considerably less threatening if it does not draw Aether Vial, so try to find it as quickly as possible if it isn't in your starting hand.

Auriok Salvagers

You can play this guy to the field before combo'ing off. Since he costs he can't be Abrupt Decay'd, since he has four health he can't be Lightning Bolted, and he gives The Minefield a recurring value engine which acts as a secondary win-con in the long game.
Sunbeam Spellbomb provides a loop to gain 5 life per iteration.
Aether Spellbomb provides a loop to remove one creature from the field.
All three spellbombs provide a loop to draw a card, which while not amazing for value, also isn't bad.
Hangarback Walker: ITS THOPTER TIME!!!

Chalice of the Void

Chalice of the Void may be the quirkiest card in this deck, and the greatest difference between people who are good with this deck and people who are great with it tends to be how Chalice of the Void gets used, and when. Typically you don't want to be casting it with one charge counter on it, as that would cause it to eliminate Auriok Salvagers + any spellbomb as a wincon. However, there are many exceptions. These situations are listed in the match-up table. A generic Chalice of the Void should be played at two counters as the most powerful decks in modern tend to rely on 2 CMC spells. Tron: Sylvan Scrying; Bloom Titan: Summer Bloom ; Any White Deck: Stony Silence; Reanimator: Goryo's Vengeance; You get the idea.
If you EVER plan beforehand to be playing Chalice of the Void at one charge counter, it is often wise to board out the entire Auriok Salvagers win condition set, meaning all spellbombs and of course the salvagers. Your sideboard has no shortage of useful cards that you can board in, most of which will cost 2 mana instead of 1.
Players also should be aware of the rulings on Chalice of the Void, ESPECIALLY: The number of counters on Chalice of the Void matters only at the time the spell is cast. Changing the number of charge counters on Chalice of the Void after a spell has been cast won't change whether the ability counters the spell. If the Chalice had the correct number of counters when the spell was cast, its ability will trigger. If the Chalice had too many or too few counters when the spell was cast, the Chalice's ability won't trigger. (taken from gatherer.wizards.com).
Final comment: You can in fact play Chalice of the Void for 0 mana. Playing it at 0 means it will counter such cards as Pact of Negation, but will not counter creature tokens coming into play. It will however, piss the hell out of affinity players, bloom titan players, and a couple of other select decks.
Also be aware that Chalice of the Void is considered to have a CMC of when on the battlefield. This is relevant in some match-ups where an Engineered Explosives with 0 charge counters is a powerful play.

Engineered Explosives

Engineered Explosives will not destroy man-lands, even if they have gone man-mode. The card explains this (vaguely), but players still often make the mistake of thinking it will destroy man-lands. It won't.
Be aware that when you cast it, the CMC of Engineered Explosives is equal to the amount of mana you spend to cast it. When the explosives are in hand or in play though, it is considered to have a CMC of 0. Just be careful you don't accidentally get your own explosives countered by Chalice of the Void. If you have to, pay an extra mana to change the CMC of the explosives as it goes onto the stack.

Engineered Explosives & Chalice of the Void

But Du, we already went over these!!!
Yes, young grasshopper, but there is still one more critical rule that applies to both cards which you must learn: if your opponent has 3+ damage on board, and you have the option to chalice, explosives, or transmute for combo components, pick the cantrip UNLESS you can both play and detonate the Engineered Explosives in the same turn. Chalice of the Void is only to be played if your opponent has no creatures OR one small and insignificant creature on the board. Otherwise you are on a clock, and you need to be racing to kill your opponent, not sitting there trying to build a pillow fort. Pillow forts don't work if the enemy is already inside!

Grand Architect

Grand Architect can be played to the field as a creature against grindy decks. He can provide ramp for your other artifacts and can get Hangarback Walker out as a bigger minion when your opponent would not expect something like that. A single architect can then pay for the activated abilities of two different Hangarback Walkers. In games that go long, that is not bad at all as far as repeating abilities go.
This "endgame" isn't something you should be trying to assemble. You want to combo off, not just durdle around. This strategy is a sort of last resort, perhaps if Pili-Pala gets nuked by a Slaughter Games or something of that nature.
Speaking of Hangarback Walker + Grand Architect interactions though, Grand Architect can in fact turn Hangarback Walker blue. What this means is that (and I have only experienced this situation once) you can pull of the "mid combat infinite combo" with Grand Architect + Pili-Pala and then use your infinite combat mana to turn Hangarback Walker blue. After combat, assuming Hangarback Walker is untapped AND Pili-Pala survives and is tapped, you can tap the hangarback for two colorless and then go infinite on mana in main phase two. The only time I have had to abuse this was to fight a counter war against an American control list when he tried to kill Pili-Pala mid combat. I stopped him, then nuked him with a Profane Command. This interaction also works with thopter tokens.

Hangarback Walker

This card actually is quirky. Feel free to play him with only 1 +1/+1 counter. He can grow bigger, can be reclaimed via Auriok Salvagers or Academy Ruins if the game is going longer, and replaces himself with a thopter when he dies.

Meddling Mage

Meddling Mage was originally put in as an answer to Stony Silence, though since then it has become a powerful tool agaisnt combo decks. Playing this card means that you must know your opponent's deck inside and out. Boarding him in means you lose consistency and thus speed, meaning that boarding him in is your concession that the other player's combo deck is faster OR is capable of shutting down The Minefield if left unchecked. If you board him in, keep Thoughtseize boarded in as well. The seize will keep you informed of which win-conditions your opponent has in hand, and thus which win-conditions you need to be countering.
Note: Meddling Mage cannot be used as a counterspell if used in conjunction with Aether Vial. What I mean by this is, if your opponent tries to play a spell (say Chord of Calling) and it goes onto the stack, and you respond by vialing in a Meddling Mage naming Chord of Calling, it will not stop that Chord of Calling from resolving from the stack. From Gatherer: Spells with the chosen name that somehow happen to already be on the stack when Meddling Mage enters the battlefield are not affected by Meddling Mage's ability.
I SERIOUSLY think that Meddling Mage needs to be oracle'd to read "spells with the chosen name cannot be cast," because saying that the named spell cannot be played normally means it cannot be placed onto the stack AND cannot resolve from the stack. Saying it cannot be cast simply means it cannot be placed onto the stack, but can resolve from it.

Muddle the Mixture

Muddle the Mixture's usefulness changes based on different match-ups. Generally speaking, in aggro match-ups, Muddle the Mixture is used to fight your opponent's removal/fetch Pili-Pala. In control match-ups, it tends to be used to fetch Artificer's Intuition to make sure that you can get Aether Spellbomb /Engineered Explosives/Chalice of the Void out to disrupt your opponent's creatures, or to fight in counter wars. In combo match-ups, Muddle the Mixture is used situationally. Some combo decks rely on creatures, in which case creature disruption is key. Others use only spells, in which case spell disruption is key. In any match-up though, Muddle the Mixture is extremely useful to fetch Pili-Pala to guarantee the win for The Minefield.


And of course, my beloved Perplex. This card is usually either used to find Grand Architect, because after 4-5 cantrips he is STILL nowhere to be found (it's rare, but it can happen), as a counterspell in combo match-ups, or used to fetch your win conditions. To further explain this third condition, assuming you already have infinite mana of any color, transmuting Perplex means nothing other than an essentially free tutor.
You can tutor for Staff of Domination and use the infinite card draw that it gives you to find a game-winning combo, like Profane Command, Hangarback Walker, or the Auriok Combo. From there, win. Having all these ways to win though does beg the question of why I would possibly need so many win-conditions. The answer: Pillow Fort and Hate-Bears style decks will not be able to stop me. Any pillow-fort can be beat by either Auriok Salvagers + Pyrite Spellbomb or Engineered Explosives assuming I have infinite card draw.

Profane Command

This card is primarily here to ensure that Muddle the Mixture can be a win-con as well as Perplex. It would only be used when you have infinite mana, and thus guarantees infinite damage. In some circumstances though, it is useful to remove an opponent's creature and/or to fetch Pili-Pala out of the yard. Remember, this is a sorcery, so if you choose to bring pack a pili, it has to last through your opponent's entire turn.


Spellskite should be used to protect Auriok Salvagers/Pili-Pala/Staff of Domination to ensure that you can get off an infinite combo (your primary win condition). It receives support from Perplex once you have a copy of both Grand Architect + Pili-Pala either in hand or on the field. This being said, it usually is worth it to risk playing the first Grand Architect + Pili-Pala combo the minute you have all the tools you need to win (unless you are faced off against a control deck), especially since you have three more copies of the combo in your deck, with at least three other cards to hard-fetch each component of that combo.
Spellskite also combo's very nicely with Aether Vial. Take the following scenario: You have Pili-Pala and Spellskite in hand, it is your turn, and you have an Aether Vial with two charge counters. You also either have Grand Architect or a Perplex to transmute for him. Play Pili-Pala that turn. The reasoning for this is: If your opponent has some spell like Electrolyze and you play the Spellskite first, the second that you try to vial in Pili-Pala on their end step, they will simply Electrolyze both the Spellskite and Pili-Pala, and since Spellskite is already a target of Electrolyze, he won't be able to redirect the 1 damage going at Pili-Pala. However, if you play the Pili-Pala first, your opponent is forced to try to remove him, or you just win next turn. So he uses Electrolyze and targets Pili-Pala and something else. Maybe your face, it doesn't matter. In response to the Electrolyze, you vial in Spellskite and then activate his ability to change the 1 damage headed at Pili-Pala to Spellskite, since Spellskite was not a legal target when Electrolyze was first cast. You can do this same thing with Forked Bolt. Against all other removal spells, it doesn't matter which you play first as they only target one thing, but for the sake of proper sequencing, in a scenario like the aforementioned one, you should always play the Pili-Pala first and leave the Spellskite as back-up to be Vial'd in.

Muddle the Mixture & Perplex

When either of these cards is transmuted, it counts as an activated ability being placed on the stack. This means that only a card such as Stifle can stop a transmute, and regular counter magic cannot. Oh wait, Stifle isn't modern legal... well it sucks to be your opponent!

Trinket Mage

He can be used prior to combo time simply to fetch some artifact that is situationally useful. Players of the deck need not make a special effort to save him as a win-con. While this isn't a particularly complex quirk, it is still a quirk nonetheless.

Worry not young planeswalker, for I have assembled an entire list of combo's that can be used with Grand Architect + Pili-Pala to win games. Pick your favorites:

Filigree Sages + Lux Cannon = POWER UP THE BASS CANNON!!!
Epic Experiment to cast every other wincon in the deck.
Kessig Wolf Run because Trample-Pala
Increasing Confusion because you would rather mill than use Blue Sun's Zenith
Aurelia's Fury because multi-player
Filigree Sages + Grindclock
Blue Sun's Zenith
Blue Sun's Zenith + Laboratory Maniac because decking the other guy wasn't cool enough.
Clockspinning + Ral Zarek
Legacy Weapon
Darksteel Colossus + Lightning Greaves
Dimir Guildmage
Memnarch = steal everything
Door to Nothingness
Helix Pinnacle
And just to be evil, you could always throw in something like Saltblast or Rain of Salt to throw at your opponent just before you kill them.

Gotcha covered: Check out

Budget Architect: Power Up the Value Cannon!!!

Modern DuTogira



Zombies in Kansas (T3 Win)

Modern DuTogira


This is a sultai variant of the deck. It is the only variant which does not run Aether Vial, and is largely based around graveyard recursion. It is also the slowest deck and most similar in style to how twin used to be, in that it is primarily a control deck with combo elements. This variant is most vulnerable to disruption and the weakest against other combo decks and aggro decks. It is the most skill intensive variant of the deck though, so players who are looking for a combo deck which requires heavy thought and frequently engages in long games, this is the variant for you!

The Architect of Oz

Modern DuTogira


This variant is still esper, but it does away with the bomberman win-con in favor of competitive power. If you are looking for a combo deck with an artifact/control sub-theme, this is the deck for you. It is also what I run in tournaments, so it has that going for it. This is likely the variant of choice if you are a Johnny who still wants a powerful competition deck.

Ozzy, the Architect of Pillow Forts

Modern* DuTogira


This one is a pure esper control combo deck. It actually does away with the Pili-Pala combo in favor of a different infinite combo which is composed entirely of cards which are decent on their own. The games are slower and more grindy, but the deck isn't overly difficult to play either, so it might not be right for die-hard control players. It feels more like lantern control with a fun combo element. Check it out.

Grixis Oz

Modern DuTogira


This is a Grixis variant of the deck. It is the strongest variant of the deck against aggro decks AND sports nearly as much graveyard recursion as the sultai variant, but is also weakest against tech cards like Stony Silence. This means that the grixis deck is the most consistent is getting off the combo, is the most consistent at re-assembling it when disrupted, and strongest against those decks which make up the highest percentage of the meta: Aggro decks. The Grixis variant is likely the most competitive variant, but it also feels completely linear to play and thus isn't recommended if fun is something you value.

The Land of Oz

Modern DuTogira


This is the bant variant, and is... well it's Vorthos heaven. The deck is built primarily to be competitive and none of the cards in it were implemented for any reason other than competitive power and synergy with the deck, but it just so happens that the deck also is PERFECTLY thematic with The Wizard of Oz. There is not a single character missing from the caste of the deck. The bant variant is the most generically powerful variant. It features a wishboard as it runs Glittering Wish which means it always has access even in game 1 to tech cards for any and every match-up, it has minor elements of graveyard recursion, and it has perfect access to anti-tech cards. In terms of play-style it feels like playing Kiki-Chord, the difference being that kiki-chord has a slightly stronger long game plan, while The Land of Oz has a faster combo which it gets off more consistently.

Thanks to Crazybop09, ToolmasterOfBrainerd and 3n3rgy2, all of whom constructed the deck, and for their feedback on its performance. I can't thank you guys enough for this service, as real world testing is invaluable, and is something which I as a deck builder can never have too much of.

Big thanks to CrovaxTheCursed for making me aware of a former versions fatal flaw: Lotus Bloom, and for helping me balance lands. This deck would still be a mess without him.

Thanks to uiuiho12 for helping me refine the overhauled deck after the Lotus Bloom crisis.

Thanks as well to asram9 for stopping me from making a few unwise changes to the deck. What can I say? Sometimes I get over-hyped about combos.

Thanks to Dusk for suggesting Staff of Domination. Before the cantrip overhaul, the staff was really rather unnecessary in the deck, but the staff is still a win-con and it can't be stopped by Ricochet Trap . It also is useful in some slower match-ups like Tron to just tap down an opponent's Emrakul, the Aeons Torn turn after turn, which is hilarious when it works.

Thanks to Adameus2012 for suggesting Aether Vial. Using it over Postmortem Lunge has revolutionized the deck, and I never would have come up with that on my own.

Thanks to ToolmasterOfBrainerd for his constant support, both with The Minefield and with Zombies in Kansas. Neither deck would be where it is today without him.

Thanks to hubatish for suggesting Trinket Mage, as this suggestion fixed the deck's need for a second win-con in the 3CMC slot.

And finally, shoutout to TheRedBurner for suggesting Artificer's Intuition . This change fixed a major problem I had been experiencing, where acquiring cards like Engineered Explosives and Chalice of the Void was extremely difficult. Not only did this massively improve the deck's consistency, but it was my inspiration for splashing Pillow Fort, which is a rather integral part of the deck.

I'm always looking for feedback and ways to improve the deck, so any provided is much appreciated.

The presence of Emrakul, the Aeons Torn in the maybe-board is as a suitable replacement for one Hangarback Walker, though a far more expensive substitution which I myself was not willing to make. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is stronger vs mill, while Hangarback Walker is stronger against hatebears and other pillow-fort style decks. My local meta has no mill decks... so Emrakul is unnecessary for me anyway.

Revoke Existence can also be swapped out for Hurkyl's Recall if you prefer, though for me the presence of Hurkyl's Recall is better against such decks as Robots, which is very prominent in my local meta. Both are good answers to Pithing Needle in either case, which is a nightmare and a half for this deck when used to name Grand Architect, though Revoke Existence is far stronger against such cards as Stony Silence. Thing is, The Minefield as a deck struggles more against Stony Silence than against Affinity/Robots, so this isn't a bad swap to make either way.

Meddling Mage can replace Crumble to Dust to improve combo match-ups at the cost of control match-ups.

Spreading Seas can replace Crumble to Dust to make the deck go a bit faster since it cantrips. The Spreading Seas also come out faster and are easier on my mana base. The seas don't create blow-out wins against Tron and Bx eldrazi though, which is why I prefer Crumble to Dust.

Thanks for Checking Out the Deck!

I hope you enjoyed the deck and my long winded description, but if you are still reading at this point, please don't forget to +1 the deck, or to leave feedback if you think the deck could be improved. If you do neither I'll just assume you fainted from the sheer brilliance of this deck and were therefore unable to do either of the aforementioned things.

15000+ people have fainted from the sheer brilliance of this deck!


Updates Add

-3x Thoughtseize --> +3x Path to Exile
First reason: Thoughtseize hurts, and Path to Exile doesn't. This is extremely relevant against aggro decks.
Second reason: This deck wants to run more sources than sources to be able to utilize Auriok Salvagers as a late game plan. Having three sources means we can gain 7.5 health per turn with Sunbeam Spellbomb or bounce three creatures per turn with Aether Spellbomb . Path to Exile is more fond of us going for 3 and 2 than Thoughtseize is.

-2x Hangarback Walker --> +2x Ensnaring Bridge
This is something I am trying in order to make the deck all around stronger. The deck is very comfortable playing with no hand given its strong access to the graveyard via Academy Ruins , It also should prove to be stronger against aggro decks.

-1x Chalice of the Void mainboard --> -1x Leave No Trace sideboard --> +1x Viridian Longbow mainboard
This change is made because I need a new cmc = 1 wincon, and Viridian Longbow provides a great long game plan with Pili-Pala even without attacking. Combine the two and you basically get a : deal x damage.

-1x Vault of the Archangel --> +1x Polluted Delta
Because this new variation on the deck tries not to let your opponent attack. Might as well gain more mana fixing.

-1x Watery Grave --> +1x Hallowed Fountain
I switched to Path to Exile . Nuff said.

-2x Crumble to Dust --> +2x Ensnaring Bridge
Because I could use more bridges in some match-ups. Besides that, Crumble is tech against tron and eldrazi. I already crush tron though, and Ensnaring Bridge is just as good against the eldrazi as crumble is.

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