Things That Go Boom

Maindeck (61)
Shrapnel Blast
Ensoul Artifact
Codex Shredder
Hubris
Lightning Strike
Ornithopter
Madcap Skills
Izzet Charm
Steam Augury
Darksteel Ingot
Goblin Kaboomist
Steam Vents
Mana Confluence
Shivan Reef
Darksteel Citadel
Island
Mountain
Sideboard (15)
Negate
Mizzium Skin
Elixir of Immortality
Nullify

Let me paint a beautiful picture for you. One where Magical Christmas Land can be reached in almost every game. It’s involving Ensoul Artifact, an Enchantment that was spoiled for Magic 2015, a set that seems to get more and more insane by the second. So, here’s the picture.

Turn one Play one of the following: Island, Steam Vents, Mana Confluence, or Shivan Reef.

Turn two. Play a Darksteel Citadel. Cast Ensoul Artifact on your Darksteel Citadel.

I’m almost 100% certain that a 5/5 on turn two is infinitely better than a 3/2 flyer on turn two. Granted, you aren’t able to attack until turn three, but seriously; this 5/5 indestructible on turn two cannot be ignored. It is powerful in a way that Standard hasn’t been since the days of Snapcaster Mage and Delver of Secrets.

Moving beyond the insanity that is Ensoul Artifact on Darksteel Citadel, let’s look at the rest of the deck. The deck as a whole is low-cost, with high efficiency for its threats, which honestly are not that many. The deck is, effectively, Ensoul Artifact or bust, with the rest of the deck focused around making artifacts for Ensoul Artifact or protecting things that Ensoul Artifact is on. Hubris and Izzet Charm are both in the deck for this purpose. Hubris is a perfect card for the deck, allowing us to use it aggressively to remove blockers and make way for our 5/5s, or to protect our 5/5s while preserving our Ensoul Artifact.

Speaking of preserving Ensoul Artifact, allow me to introduce my friend Codex Shredder. Codex Shredder, while a bit of a late-game effect, is two things for us. It allows us to have a cheap artifact on which to put Ensoul Artifact. The second is fairly obvious in its activated ability, which allows us to return used Ensoul Artifacts to our hand, whether they’ve been countered, destroyed somehow, or otherwise.

So, a bit ago I mentioned that the deck is effectively on an Ensoul Artifact or bust strategy. I regret to inform you that this is not 100% true. The deck, you’ll note, is also playing a playset of Madcap Skills and Shrapnel Blast. Madcap Skills is another powerful two-drop enchantment, that I am a huge fan of, on an Ornithopter, or Goblin Kaboomist. Shrapnel Blast, on the other hand, allows us to make use of our artifacts generated by Goblin Kaboomist, Darksteel Citadels, or even Ornithopters. The card is extremely powerful in a deck like this and will give the deck the ability to close out games very quickly. Connecting Ornithopter with Madcap Skills even once is enough to put an opponent into the danger zone, especially when backed up by animated 5/5 artifacts. Ideally, this deck would like to get an opponent to approximately 10 life around turn four or so, followed up by a pair of Shrapnel Blasts or combination of Lightning Strikes and Shrapnel Blasts. Either way, the red in the deck is extremely relevant.

And by relevant, I of course mean a fantastic way of making your opponent dead.

There are two cards in the deck that seem a bit “off-key” for a deck such as this. The two I’m talking about are Goblin Kaboomist and Darksteel Ingot. Darksteel Ingot, while oftentimes included in Commander decks and less competitive formats, is a surprisingly good addition to this deck. It allows for extra indestructible targets that Ensoul Artifact can enchant, as well as allowing us to have extra mana for our burn package – Shrapnel Blast and Lightning Strike or perhaps even Steam Augury.

Steam Augury is another off-key card in the deck that actually serves an extremely important purpose: Refilling our hand. The only other draw spell in the deck is Izzet Charm, and that nets us negative one cards. Steam Augury is a serious card advantage and being an instant, it is extremely viable to cast it. I debated between a third Darksteel Ingot or a third Steam Augury, and can say I’m torn as to which the better choice is, but both cards are good, even though I’m leaning towards Steam Augury, which makes it the 3-of instead of Darksteel Ingot. If this deck goes into top-deck mode, things go south very quickly. We need to be able to hold up things like Hubris or Shrapnel Blast for those last-second blowouts that will ultimately cause this deck to win.

To say the least, this deck is untested, but speculation so far is pointing to this deck being a viable competitor in the coming months. Really the only thing the deck loses going forward, even after Return to Ravnica rotates out, is Madcap Skills and Steam Vents, which is not a big deal. Losing Madcap Skills is an unfortunate thing, and while I’m not entirely sure of what will replace it going forward, we do have a whole other set that could bring us a load of goodies to make this deck even more relevant.

I don’t know about you, but this is definitely a fun deck to speculate about and I sincerely look forward to testing it to see if it’s really going to be as powerful as it looks on paper. I’m not sure exactly what happened at WotC R&D, but the artifact subtheme in Magic 2015 is awesome, and I look forward to its continued success.

Thanks for reading!

Nathan M.