Myrrer, Myrrer

Posted in Feature on June 10, 2004

By Mark L. Gottlieb

Myr Week—it's no mere week! Instead, it's a week devoted to our plucky little metallic buddies. But before we get into decks, let's get lexicographal!

Where did the name “Myr” come from? If you look it up, you'll find that it's an abbreviation for “a million years.” Interesting. But dig deeper. “Myr” is the first syllable of “myrmeco-,” which is the combining form of “ant” (as seen in such taxonomic mumbo-jumbo as “myrmecophilous.” And the Myr are the ants of Mirrodin, right? They're small, ubiquitous, busy workers working on structures underfoot. But there's more. The Myrmidon were legendary Thessalians who fought in the Trojan War under their king, Brad Pitt. Er, I mean Achilles. The word has transmuted through history so that the word “myrmidon” (lowercase m) now means a loyal follower—particularly “a subordinate who executes orders unquestioningly or unscrupulously,” according to the Merriam-Webster website. Well, how about that! That describes the Myr to a T, no? It's just an amazing coincidence that the word Myr happens to sound exactly the same as the first syllable of the planet they tend to, Mirrodin… a word derived from “mirror” (since the surface, when pristine, was smooth and reflective). Different, perfect etymologies that lead to nearly identical endpoints? What kind of hocus-pocus is this? And let's not forget about the Mirari and Mirri, both of which are related to Mirrodin (and thus the Myr) through Karn. What does the Magic creative team have with this syllable? Well, if we check Merriam-Webster again… wait… Merriam!!! Nooo! Air growing thick! Room spinning! I'm… I'm… I'm surrounded…

Four on the Floor

Now that I've busted the lid off that weird word conspiracy, let's build some Myr decks. Of course, I've already built plenty. In previous weeks, I've put Coretapper, Lodestone Myr, Myr Landshaper, Myr Retriever, and many others to good use. I'm tempted to try to do something with Omega Myr, but there are limits to even my powers. You see, unlike Chimney Imp, Omega Myr doesn't have a ridiculously broken ability for me to exploit.

Myr Quadropod
There are some Myr so new I haven't been able to get my grubby mitts on them yet, so now seems like a fine time to grubbify them. First up is Myr Quadropod. The first thing that occurred to me was to slap some Slagwurm Armor on the four-footer so it would be a 1/10 creature that I could flip into a 10/1 if unblocked. But that's not nearly good enough. A Fireshrieker would make it lethal in one shot, and a Crafty Pathmage would make sure it would get through for damage. A shout-out to Arjen Briedé is appropriate here; just after I had finished this deck, he wrote in to suggest equipping the Armor to an Aquamoeba! Ah, timing. Now, speaking of reader mail regarding Aquamoebas…

There's a whole other Quadropodic direction to travel. Many months ago, when the Cleric deck powered by the Daru Spiritualist-Lightning Greaves interaction was first making its way around the Internet, Olle Nyrén wrote in with a nifty variation. Instead of using that combo to gain a billion life, then using that life to wait out your opponent or pump up one of your creatures via Unspeakable Symbol, why not just go right for the jugular? Use the combo to create a 1,000,000,000/1 creature and attack! His suggestion at the time was to use an Imagecrafter or a Trickery Charm to turn Aquamoeba into a Cleric, then go to town with the Spiritualist and Greaves. When the 'Moeba is tough enough, give it evasion with Crafty Pathmage or (again) Trickery Charm, attack, and pull the ol' Aquamoeba switcheroo. I liked Olle's deck enough to make my own version and play with it, but then the Cleric combo deck started appearing everywhere—even our website. Olle's bizarre variation was interesting, but I never posted the deck because it felt repetitive to do so at the time. Now, however, is a different story, especially when I can combine both crazy 4+-card combos into the same deck.

Across the Quad

Download Arena Decklist

If you like, you can certainly use Aquamoebas instead of the Quadropods. They're more efficient, though you can't go the Equipment route to attack for 20 in one shot quite so easily. Of course, this would be an awfully silly Myr Week deck if it was filled with Aquamoebas instead of Myr, so I went with the critter from the Standard cardpool.

“Very Curious, Mr. Wigglesbottom. Very Curious Indeed.”

Form of the Myr Servitor?

On Tuesday, my colleague Anthony Alongi wrote all about integrating the flavor and abilities of Myr Servitor into your multiplayer games. I believe he even suggested that you and your friends pretend to be Myr Servitors. Wait, he did what? Form of the Myr Servitor? With papier-mâché Myr hats and everything? And the Myr Servitor Dance? Oh, hey, that Servitor theme music is actually pretty catchy. Maybe he's not nuts after all. That could be the next Macarena.

Where I step in and pick up the Myr Servitor ball (no, not the Myr Servitor Ball—that's the charity gala Anthony is hosting at which he'll premiere his new dance, with all proceeds going to help broken robots—I meant the metaphorical ball) is to explain exactly what to do with these annoying little Robo-Roaches. Yes, they're efficient weenies. Yes, they're excellent at chump blocking. But their true purpose in life, and death, and life again, is as a combo engine.

This is one of the more unusual combo engines to ever see print. And, like a lot of other Fifth Dawn goodies, it requires proficiency with the stack. (Goblin Cannon and Blasting Station reward stack manipulation as well.) The Servitor's ability has an “intervening-if clause,” namely “if Myr Servitor is in play.” That clause only refers to the creature it's printed on (not any other Myr Servitors) and for the ability to work, this clause must be true both at the time the ability triggers and at the time the ability resolves… but it needn't be true at any time in between. Let's say that when your turn starts, you have three Myr Servitors in play. We'll call them, for the sake of convenience, Servitor A, Servitor B, and Mr. Wigglesbottom. At the beginning of your upkeep, each Servitor's ability triggers. Sure, you don't have any Myr Servitors in your graveyard at the moment... but you soon will.

  • Put Servitor A's ability on the stack.
  • Put Servitor B's ability on the stack.
  • Put Mr. Wigglesbottom's ability on the stack. Good show, old bean!
  • Sacrifice Servitor A and Servitor B to some nifty effect. Atog. Phyrexian Plaguelord. Goblin Bombardment. Whatever.
  • Mr. Wigglesbottom's ability resolves, and you return Servitor A and Servitor B to play.
  • Now sac Servitor A and Mr. Wigglesbottom to whatever you want. Having a Disciple of the Vault in play as you're doing all this couldn't hurt. Well, it couldn't hurt you. It could hurt your opponent quite a bit.
  • Servitor B's ability resolves, and back out from the graveyard hop Servitor A and the doughty Mr. Wigglesbottom.
  • Guess what? Sac Servitor B and Mr. Wigglesbottom. You've gotten 6 sacrifice effects out of this. You have a 13/14 Atog, or have spread around -6/-6 via your Plaguelord, or have simply dealt 6 damage with Goblin Bombardment, or whatever else you could manage—for free! Because now...
  • Servitor A's ability resolves, and Servitor B and Mr. Wigglesbottom return to play. You're back where you started.

This gets downright obscene if you start out with all four Servitors in play or you have a Genesis Chamber standing by. Or both. In fact, anything that triggers on artifacts or creatures coming into play or leaving play will go gaga for these tenacious Myr.

You Got Servitored!

Download Arena Decklist

A couple of interesting things about this deck. Nothing costs more than 3 mana (unless you want to Engineer some big Explosives). For a deck packing Trinket Mage, Leonin Squire, and Artificer's Intuition, it would seem to be light on cogs—just 4 Servitors and the lone Engineered Explosives—until you consider that more than half of the lands are cogs too. The cog-finders are your color-fixers as well as your Servitor-diggers. The deck clearly has a lot of leeway in it; this is just an example to show off some ideas and uses for the Servitors. You can personalize it by heading in a number of different directions.

Do You Mind?

Next up would be the remaining Myr in Fifth Dawn, Suntouched Myr, right? Nah. Don't feel like it. The Suntouched will remain untouched. Sunburst is neat, but Suntouched Myr doesn't have any kind of Chimney Imp-style broken ability I can take advantage of. Not like Mr. Powerhouse itself, Myr Mindservant.

Dude! You can shuffle your library whenever you want! Aren't you stoked? No? Me neither. Not until Friday night, when I was playing in a Fifth Dawn-Fifth Dawn-Fifth Dawn booster draft and my opponent kept using a recurring Lantern of Insight on me to take away my good draws. Inspiration hit. The Lantern can also be used to take away your own bad draws (hopefully setting yourself up with something better), and as long as you already know what the top card of your library is thanks to the Lantern, Myr Mindservant can do the same thing. What if you don't have a Lantern of Insight? For redundancy's sake, we can use an inferior card that does the same thing like Future Sight (apologies to my smart readers for interrupting the flow of the sentence to say this, but if I don't, I'll get a ton of email—trust me—so here goes: that was sarcasm; learn to recognize it) and we're off to the races.

I want to keep the mana costs of my spells low so I can play my entire deck (or as much of it as possible) at once off the top of my library via Future Sight. This means I won't be using the other card that makes the Mindservant and the Lantern whirr with pleasure: Timesifter. Instead, I want to keep putting happy cards (that is, anything but lands or my victory conditions) on top of my library so I can keep peeling them off and playing them. If a land shows up, I can shuffle my deck with the Mindservants, Lanterns, Flooded Strands, or Polluted Delta, or I can pop the card into my hand with Sage of Lat-Nam or (if I'm holding one) Serum Visions.

To keep everything spinning out of control, I could go with something like Early Harvest or Rude Awakening to untap my lands for more mana. But that doesn't help out my Mindservants or Sages, does it? Instead, I've opted for Intruder Alarm and plenty of mana-producing critters… like Silver Myr and Copper Myr! Ah, thematic bliss! Since the deck will keep putting creatures into play, Genesis Chamber has a home here as well, and all those Myr running around means a Coat of Arms fits right in. If you can't pull off a giant Brain Freeze, beating down with giant Myr is the backup plan. All the shuffling should (hopefully) let you find the Brain Freezes and Coat of Arms when you need them.


Download Arena Decklist

Some of you may feel the urge to point out that this is an inferior version of the tournament-caliber deck Tight Sight. Yup. I know. The point of this deck is not to win tournaments. The point of this deck is to do something fun with Myr Mindservant. Hmm… Myr Mindservant… Myr MindervANT!!!

Until next week, have fun with Myr.

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