Iron Man

Posted in Building on a Budget on March 19, 2004

By Nate Heiss

Last week I hinted at a Darksteel deck that I had in the works, and then this week Bennie Smith mentioned part of the combo in his article. Originally this deck was part of the CMU-Togit testing gauntlet for Pro Tour Kobe. While the deck was not good enough to stand up to the Pro Tour, it was one of the coolest decks we had in terms of using the new mechanics in interesting ways.

Also, it says “I win.”

Imagine this…let's say you cast a Darksteel Ingot. Now I like the ingot. It accelerates you to five mana, it gives you any color, and it is INDESTRUCTIBLE. I put that in all caps because it is so much more fun to say if you use a voice akin to the Sunday monster truck rally guy. Try it…go ahead, no one is looking. INDESTRUCTIBLE! Oh yeah…that's the stuff.

Well overall the Darksteel Ingot is not too threatening. It is not like the Darksteel Gargoyle or Brute. Those things actually have legs and can give your opponent a headache…but what if we gave it legs? That is right, the goal of this deck is to create an army of indestructible robots from the future. They will trounce your enemies, walking through fire and lakes of acid and emerging unscathed.

Ok, so maybe they won't be from the future….back to the subject of I win.

Many of you have looked at Darksteel Reactor and scratched your head. Yes, it will take a long time to get those 20 counters. As Bennie was kind enough to point out in his article, you can Dismantle the Reactor onto itself, effectively doubling the amount of counters it has. With two dismantles, your 20 turn clock turns into a 5 turn clock. Wait until it has 5, then Dismantle it to 10, and then again to 20. Then WIN THE GAME…sorry, monster truck announcer guy came back.

While this combo is not stellar on its own, it works rather well in a deck looking for more indestructible men. The reactor becomes a 4/4 monstrosity that will either get 20 counters or pound your opponent into submission the hard way.

The other interesting part of this deck is Culling Scales. With a Darksteel Pendant or a Darksteel Ingot, you can keep the Scales around forever, locking up all the small casting cost cards in your opponent's hand and giving you time to do your thing. While the Scales alone won't stop a weenie rush, it will buy you some time and turn into a 3/3 blocker once you get your March of the Machines on the table.

At this point I want to take a moment to address an issue that I am sure some people are wondering about…I have mentioned 3 different rares so far, and each of them are going to be a 4-of in this deck. 12 Rares in a budget deck? Yes, it can be done. Truth is that these rares are really inexpensive. Besides, I only want to use 10 of them. Remember, many rares can be had for 1 or 2 tickets each in the trading room. So when you are looking to build your Budget decks, don't discount using cards just because they are rare!

Building on a Budget: Iron Man

Download Arena Decklist

Your plan with this deck is to control the early game a little with Culling Scales and Barbed Lightning and slow down the mid game with Icy Manipulators. You want to find a March of the Machines as soon as possible to turn your Pendants, Ingots, and Reactors into powerful creatures that cannot be stopped by any normal means. You may want to Fabricate for the Reactor if you have a Dismantle in hand. You will win through the Reactor if the ground gets gummed up for long enough (and it will). Use your Darksteel Pendants and Thirst for Knowledge to look for March of the Machines whenever possible. Keep in mind that you can use Thirst for Knowledge later on to discard any extra copies of March of the Machines that you draw.

Tips on playing the Deck

  • There is one Great Furnace in the deck to search for with Fabricate – be careful, because it will die to March of the Machines. Still, it is there as an emergency land to Fabricate up if you are stuck on three mana.
  • Don't forget that your Dismantles can be used to kill your opponent's artifacts – all the better if they have counters too!
  • Don't worry so much about entwining the Barbed Lightning – it is rarely worth waiting a turn to kill a creature for the 3 damage to the player.
  • If you play a Darksteel Pendant out when you have Culling Scales, the Scales will stay around forever (it will just keep destroying the Pendant), but you will not be able to target things that cost 3 mana.
  • Your Icy Manipulators will have summoning sickness when you have a March in play. This sucks…but at least you get a 4/4 as compensation!
  • When win the game goes on the stack, it is required that you pump the fist.

Adding more Money to the Deck

You can add Arc-Sloggers to this deck at a relatively low cost for a high boost in performance. In general, Arc-Slogger is very dominant in this format (this deck is Mirrodin Block Constructed legal) and can win games alone. More Darksteel Reactors are preferable to Fabricates, but I did this to cut some of the cost. The other thing you can do is change this to a black based deck that does not use Culling Scales and instead uses creature control cards like Barter in Blood and Death Cloud, casting the Blue and Red cards off of Talismans and the Ingots. The trouble with this is you have to be very careful after you get your March down, lest you force yourself to sacrifice all of your indestructible creatures…in the end, the iron men can only be turned off by their masters…

Until next time, you may pay to untap Brass Man during your upkeep.

-Nate Heiss
Team CMU
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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