Rootin' for the Home Team

Posted in From the Lab on February 24, 2011

By Noel deCordova

Hello, and welcome back to the Lab. This week, I find myself torn between two sides of a giant plane-wide war. At least, until I finally picked a side (as this week's theme should testify.) You see, the concept of the Mirran / Phyrexian war has been so well executed throughout this block that I can't help but inherently root for both teams. However, if I'm forced to pick one, I'll take the Mirran side.

There are a couple reasons why I'm backing the home team. I just mentioned the primary one: they're the home team. No one likes to lose on their home turf. In my competitive sporting experience ('d be surprised) I always hated losing at home the most. Losing away from your home field still stung, but at least I could always booby trap my opponent's locker room and escape. Losing at home, though, was extra demoralizing. I'm not sure if that metaphor directly applies, although I bet Ezuri is one hell of a center midfielder. (Koth's the stopper back, and Thrun's the rock solid keeper.) The point is, this game's for all the marbles.

The other reason I'm backing the Mirrans is my love of the underdog. The Phyrexians stroll in, all powerful and legendary and whatnot, makin' themselves at home, thinkin' they can push the Mirrans aroun'? The underdog within my heart compels me to root for the Mirrans.

So with that, let's get to the decks of the day. Last week I focused on the Phyrexians, so this week I'll fittingly focus on some interesting cards with the Mirran watermark. I considered bringing this week's theme fully into the decks (by making an all-Mirran-watermark deck), but eventually decided that this was a distraction from doing what I love: building crazy decks around forgotten/overlooked cards.

To me, out of all the tribes that inhabit (and currently fight for) Mirrodin, the Myr most efficiently represent the metal plane. That's just my personal opinion. Thus, a lot of these decks revolve around the "Myr deck archetype." Never fear, however, as each deck has its own personalized combo (as always.) Let's begin with one of my favorite Myr from Mirrodin Besieged.


As some of you may remember, I had the honor of previewing the amazing Leyline of Anticipation for last summer's core set, Magic 2011. I gushed about that card (and its predecessor, Vedalken Orrery) because of its flashy, um, flash ability. I've always been a big fan of doing lots of little annoying things at the end of my opponent's turn, and now in Mirrodin Besieged we get another member of this little club: Shimmer Myr.

Shimmer Myr is an excellent addition to any artifact-focused deck. It itself has flash, which is useful. Flash it out during your opponent's turn to dodge any unwanted removal, and then you have the power to basically cast your artifacts as instants. Quite nutty. Also, that's some pretty awesome flavor text.

Like I said, Shimmer Myr is fine in any artifact deck. I decided to try to build a Myr deck around another intriguing Myr card from Mirrodin Besieged, Myr Turbine. This five-mana artifact can either tap to make a 1/1 Myr token or tap itself and five Myr to search your library for a Myr creature and pop it onto the battlefield. Of course, my mind immediately jumps to the ultimate Myr, Myr Battlesphere. Now, with enough shenanigans, I could definitely go infinite with the combination of these cards (any sacrifice outlet for the Battlesphere itself, Dross Scorpion, and Reito Lantern or some similar ability) but I instead opted to build the deck with the resources available in Standard, just 'cause restriction is fun. And I already used that skeleton of a combo in a deck last fall.

Turbo Myr

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    A Truly Galvanic Noth

Otherwise known as Galvanoth. I've had my eye on this card since I saw it. And yes, I realize that sentence sums up every card I talk about in this column. What can I say? Cool cards jump out at me.

And Galvanoth is definitely cool. Any ability that deals with instants and sorceries turns my mental lights on. Galvanoth basically allows you to, once a turn, cast any instant or sorcery in your deck for free. The catch is: it has to be on top of your library.

My mind sparks whenever it sees the phrase "at the beginning of your upkeep" because it recognizes another potential broken application of one of my favorite cards, Paradox Haze. Enchant yourself with the Haze and you'll have two upkeeps to hit something with Galvanoth. And since this moved me into red and blue (possibly my favorite combination of colors), and with it being Pick a Side Week and all, I made the unorthodox choice to add the already glanced-at and passed-over Cryptoplasm. Not only is it decent with Paradox Haze (use one upkeep to change into something with a sweet tap ability, use it, then use the other upkeep to change into something that untaps. But what? Hang on....) add Galvanoth to the mix and you'll wind up with three Galvanic upkeeps. Awesome.

The only thing left to do is load the deck with instants and sorceries—preferably expensive ones, so we cut a sweet deal by playing them for free. Since I was already messing with upkeeps, best buds Arc Blade and Reality Strobe made the deck. Staggershock represents rebound here, a mechanic that sadly isn't as broken as I once thought it was. Still, if you're a burn fan like I am, it's a fun card. Beacon of Tomorrows is definitely fun to cast for free, as you save and get another turn. Plus, it re shuffles itself into your library, so technically you could hit it again. And if not, Brainstorm can certainly help. (It helps in general anyway.) Finally, I was looking for another underused suspend spells and re–stumbled upon Dichotomancy. Expensive and weird!

With all the instants and sorceries being thrown around, I thought Gelectrode might be a fun add. This is where I come back to Cryptoplasm. Copying Gelectrode is doubly Weird (zing!) and allows for some ultra-silly shenanigans to take place. Speaking of ultra-silly shenanigans, I decided to add four copies of Stomping Slabs to the deck. Why not? It's wacky (up my alley), it fits into what this deck wants to do (synergy, which is also up my alley) and it deals 7 for (...not down my alley).

Galvanic Haze of Weirdness

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Such a deck concept is obviously malleable, and as always, I urge people to come up with their own riffs on my deck ideas.

    Double Dragons

I definitely love building kooky decks, but I almost love reading emails about kooky decks more. (Almost.) The reason I love my mailblag so is because I can experience wackiness from an angle I hadn't thought of yet. To that end, I like to think of emails as mini-columns, and thus, it definitely helps an email's case when it's well written, creative, and brave enough to be funny. (You should all be taking notes.)

Today's last two decks come from two such emails. The first is the brainchild of Michael, a.k.a. A Guy Sitting In Japan. In his words, he "wanted to take a couple of underrated rares from the SOM block and make them more powerful." A true Johnny's creed! And I was both excited and intrigued when he revealed his chosen gold-symboled cards to be Hoard-Smelter Dragon and Hellkite Igniter. As a pure lover of Dragons (remember, the card that hooked me to Magic was Volcanic Dragon), I was pleased that these two firebreathers would be getting some deck-building love. I enjoyed the top-down-ness of Hoard-Smelter Dragon upon first viewing it, but never opted to build around it. Hellkite Igniter got basically the same treatment. Add the fact that both cards bear the Mirran watermark, and the resulting curiosity overwhelmed me.

These beefy flyers need artifact help if they want to put their abilities to good use. Fortunately, Michael landed on—who else?—Myr Battlesphere (probably the Pentavus of this set in terms of multiple avenues of deck building). It creates a ton of artifacts (which can beef up the Igniter) and has a delicious converted mana cost of 7 for the Smelter of Hoards. Michael was searching for a card to help things repeat easier and found it in Nim Deathmantle. Oh boy. In his words, "Hellkite Igniter can get its big boost from all the Myr tokens coming out onto the battlefield, while Hoard-Smelter Dragon gets incredibly strong after blowing up Myr Battlesphere repeatedly. Big ball breaks, Deathmantle reassembles, and everybody is happy, except for your opponent."

The mana Myr rescue the deck, with Iron Myr, Palladium Myr, and Myr Galvanizer(s) stepping in to make lots (or even infinite) mana. And if things go sour, Michael included the latest of what he calls "Napalm" cards: the various damage spells throughout Magic history. Red Sun's Zenith is certainly crazy, and I'm definitely glad to use another Zenith in a consecutive week ('cause the Zenith's are pretty awesome as a concept. Either that, or I just like saying the word "Zenith").

I swapped some numbers around, but this is very close to Michael's deck:

Dragon Duo

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The Hoarding Dragons were my addition. I've wanted to use Smaug in a deck for a while now, and this was the perfect thematic excuse. Search up a Myr Battlesphere and dare your opponent to kill it. Meanwhile, Liquimetal Coating makes things for Hoard-Smelter to kill, the Igniter to pump up a bit, and Shatter to shatter.

Today's last deck focuses on the probably broken Myr Welder. Reader Sebastian Kearney concocted a neat deck list that (what else?) goes infinite and has lots of cool interlocking parts. Here's his deck, and his description below:


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Playing the Deck:

The whole combo is: Myr Welder + Soliton + Khalni Gem + Steel Overseer + Triskelion.

You have Myr Welder imprint Soliton's untap ablility. Then you have Myr Welder imprint Khalni Gem's add 2 mana of any color ability (namely blue mana). The combination of these two abilities allows you to tap Myr Welder to add 2 blue mana to your mana pool, then use one of those to untap Myr Welder; Which would leave you with one blue mana left over. Rinse and repeat for infinite mana.

Imprint on a Steel Overseer to give Myr Welder the "tap: put a +1/+1 counter on each artifact creature you control." ability. Now you can use your infinite mana to continually tap/untap your Welder to provide an infinite number of +1/+1 counters to your field.

You can either have Triskelion on the field or have it imprinted on the Myr Welder; it doesn't matter either way. Now with your infinite supply of +1/+1 counters, you can activate Triskelion's ability and deal infinite damage.

Silver Myr is there for early-game mana ramping. Enclave Cryptologist, Reckless Scholar, and Sphinx of Lost Truths funnel the cards into your graveyard for Myr Welder to imprint them. Whispersilk Cloak is there to protect your Myr Welder and to provide an alternative win condition by swing through for lethal in case you can't find a Triskelion."

Pretty awesome. Okay, that's it for this week!

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