When Prophetic Prism gets cast on the second turn at Pro Tour Kaladesh, players may understandably think they're playing a game of Limited, not Standard. When that Prism is followed up by Woodweaver's Puzzleknot, we're fully into a game of Kaladesh draft.
Except this is Standard. And the Metalwork Colossus isn't far behind.
The standout deck centered around casting the Colossus as fast as possible has been one of the more inventive brews of the weekend. With a bevy of artifacts like Hedron Archive and Cultivator's Caravan alongside the Prisms and Puzzleknots to ramp out the Colossus, the deck can power out the Kaladesh giant as early as the fourth turn.
It's a fearsome start, but as strong as Metalwork Colossus is, it's still just one creature, one vulnerable to a number of removal spells in the format. Of course, if the "Colossus deck" was just about playing a single Colossus, it probably wouldn't be making much of a splash in Hawaii. Instead, the deck can chain together Metalwork Colossi, over and over to drive opponents into the ground.
The trick lies in an innocuous land from Battle for Zendikar: Sanctum of Ugin. Since Metalwork Colossus can often cost as little as zero mana in this deck, chaining it together with Sanctum of Ugin to find more copies and cast them for free is a true combo. It can lead to giant boards of colossi on the fifth turn, fast enough to end games in one fell swing.
In a field of fast and consistent aggressive decks leaning on Smuggler's Copter or powerful-but-inconsistent decks using Aetherworks Marvel, the Colossus deck straddles the line perfectly, at least according to the expert opinion of Oliver Polak-Rottman, who spent a lot of time working on the deck as part of Team EUreka.
"It's the most powerful and consistent thing you can do," he explained. "It isn't unusual to have it by turn 4, and it's super consistent by the fifth turn. That's hard to beat."
Unlike the versions of the deck that have been floating around since the release of Kaladesh, Team EUreka made several key breakthroughs that really changed the deck's role in Standard, taking it from a sometimes-dangerous combo deck to a machine that consistently floods the board with 10/10s. The biggest was the addition of Sylvan Scrying, which means the deck never lacks for Sanctum of Ugin and therefore always has a steady stream of Metalwork Colossus.
Oliver Polak-Rottman ran with his Metalwork Colossus deck to a perfect Day 1 Constructed record at Pro Tour Kaladesh.
The other innovation the team made was adding Skysovereign, Consul Flagship. The battlecruiser could come down on turn 4 and pick off a threat, making it easy to combo off with Colossi on the fifth turn while making use of a Colossus on the turn it comes into play to create an attack and another trigger. The redundancy it adds to the "mid-game" of the Colossus deck is a key factor in allowing the deck to work through clunky draws or play through counterspells and removal from opponents.
"I can't stress enough how much of a difference those cards, and especially Sylvan Scrying made," said Pro Tour Dragons of Tarkir champion Martin Dang. "I didn't play the deck this weekend because I was worried about some of its issues, but after seeing the way it's played out, I really wish I had. It's been great."
That it has, and it may yet see a competitor into the Top 8. It's one of several breakout combos of the weekend, attacking from a different angle and going well over the top of the vehicle decks that dominated the early weeks of the format.
Will the Colossus rise to the top? We've got five rounds of Standard left to find out.