Scrap Metal

Posted in From the Lab on November 24, 2014

By Mike Cannon

Mike Cannon started writing From the Lab at the end of 2012 after two years with GatheringMagic. He is an ardent casual player and loves finding uses for bad cards.

Greetings, laboratorians! Today we're kicking off Top 8 Week in honor of the upcoming World Championships. While I'm usually not as concerned with Top 8s as the more competitive players, the theme week did give me another idea. Instead of looking at a Top 8 deck, I've build a deck with a big 8 at the top.

The big 8 in this case is Bosh, Iron Golem, and he sits right at the top of the Commander deck I put together this week. Bosh is a card I've wanted to build a deck around ever since the introduction of color identity allowed him to be a commander. With the release of Commander (2014 Edition), the Golem has several awesome new tools to work with.

Bosh, Iron Golem | Art by Brom

Metal for Throwing

Now the key to a good Bosh deck is having some big artifacts to toss around. There are certainly plenty of options, but for the most part I stuck to creatures that can give you some value when you fling them. Wurmcoil Engine is an obvious choice, allowing you to hit someone for six and still leaving you with a pair of creatures. However, there are even better options available.

Arcbound Overseer is my favorite flinging fodder. It gives you a whopping eight damage, and leaves behind six counters or more, depending on how long it was on the battlefield. Put them on Bosh, and your commander is now big enough to deal the lethal twenty-one damage in just two attacks. Bosh even has trample to reduce the impact of blockers. Arcbound Lancer is a bit less impressive, but it still gives you a lot of value. Four counters and seven damage isn't half bad.

Scuttling Doom Engine is another great option for this deck. Although its converted mana cost is only six, it will tack on another six damage from its own ability, giving you more damage than anything else in the deck. Well, almost anything. Draco still holds the title for the highest converted mana cost of any black-bordered card, and Bosh can put that mana cost to good use. Although in a mono-red deck it will still cost fourteen mana to cast, there are plenty of ways to cheat that in this deck.

Mycosynth Golem is one way to make Draco far easier to put on the battlefield. In fact, with the number of artifacts this deck can put on the battlefield, this Golem can allow you to cast most creatures without spending any mana at all. When your opponents inevitably decide to get rid of it, you can sacrifice the creature to Bosh for a whopping eleven damage.

Workhorse may not seem like a card you would want in any commander deck, but it does some pretty good work here. You can remove three of its counters to get back half the mana you spent on it. Then you can sacrifice it to Bosh for six damage. It's also important that unlike affinity, this method of saving mana will work regardless of whether or not you actually cast it.

Grim Poppet has nice, high mana cost at seven. And before it dies, it can throw three -1/-1 counters around however you like, permanently shrinking your opponents' creatures. Myr Battlesphere, Pentavus, and Triskelavus can all make some tokens before you sacrifice them, with the latter allowing you to cash those tokens in for damage at any time.

Duplicant doubles as removal and Bosh fodder. You can exile an opposing creature when it enters the battlefield. then fling it at your opponent's face for six damage. With all the ways to make copies of a creature, Duplicant can also put quite the stranglehold on your opponents.

Colossus of Akros is in the deck mostly for being indestructible. I chose this card over Darksteel Colossus because of the fact that it will stay in the graveyard when sacrificed, something that's very relevant in this deck. Rounding out the deck are Myr Enforcer and Oxidda Golem. You can usually cast them for free and then fling them for six or seven damage.

Steel Mills

Sacrificing expensive stuff gives you a lot of damage through Bosh, but it also comes with a big downside. You're sacrificing expensive stuff. Fortunately there are quite a few ways to get around that. Instead of throwing the expensive artifacts, we can throw cheap copies.

Feldon of the Third Path is the perfect card for this deck. It makes a copy of any creature you've already sacrificed for just three mana. Since it's going to be sacrificed at the end of the turn anyway, there's no reason not to throw it at your opponent's face. Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker will do the same thing for free, although it requires the creature to be on the battlefield.

Mimic Vat can save the template of one of your creatures and make copies each turn for just three mana. Although it exiles the creature instead of sacrificing it, you can still give the token to Bosh to make sure you don't miss out on a sweet modular trigger.

Mirrorworks and Minion Reflector only work the turn you cast a creature, but either of them will give you a token copy for just two mana. Minion Reflector's will die at the end of the turn, so you'll need some extra mana to fling it right away. Mirrorworks makes tokens that stick around forever, so you can fling it whenever the mood strikes you.

Prototype Portal and Soul Foundry don't give you cheap copies. In fact, you'll always have to pay full price for them. However, they can continue pumping out tokens indefinitely, and those tokens don't go away until you want them to. You can even go back to making cheap copies by imprinting Sculpting Steel on the Portal. Now you can make a copy of any artifact for just three mana. You could even make another Portal and Imprint something else. Although Prototype Portal and Soul Foundry aren't super-efficient on their own, Unwinding Clock can allow to use them on each player's turn provided you have enough artifact mana.

In addition to making token copies of your artifacts, the deck can also just bring back the originals after you sacrifice them. Scarecrone's second ability can return any artifact creature in your graveyard straight to the battlefield for just four mana. That makes getting ammo for Bosh much easier.

Goblin Welder is an obvious choice, allowing you to sacrifice one of Myr Battlesphere's tokens to get back the whole Battlesphere. Trash for Treasure is a one-shot version of the effect, and Daretti, Scrap Savant can do it every other turn if he's well protected. Scrap Mastery can get back everything at once, although you'd best sacrifice any artifacts you want to keep around first.

Nim Deathmantle can get back any creature at the moment you sacrifice it, provided you have four more mana to spend. Combined with Draco, you can deal 16 damage for every eight mana you have. Cauldron of Souls works similarly, but can only get back each creature once. Unless, of course, it enters the battlefield with +1/+1 counters, which many of these do.

If you can't return your artifact directly to the battlefield, you can at least return them to your hand. Myr Retriever and Junk Diver can get something else back when they die. Draw both, and you can use each to get the other back, giving you unlimited sacrifice fodder for Goblin Welder, or for Bosh himself if you're in a pinch. Trading Post can also return your artifacts, although it requires you to sacrifice a creature. Fortunately it can make creatures of its own.

Spine of Ish Sah isn't a creature. It's much, much better. For seven mana it destroys any permanent on the battlefield. Then you sacrifice it to Bosh for seven damage and it goes right back to your hand, ready to kill again.

For the Love of Mana

If it wasn't obvious by this point, this deck requires an absurd amount of mana to function. That's why I've loaded up with plenty of ways to produce it. Worn Powerstone, Thran Dynamo, Gilded Lotus, Sol Ring, Mana Vault, and Everflowing Chalice are all pretty straightforward, giving you some extra mana each turn, or every other turn for Mana Vault.

Clock of Omens can untap any of them using artifacts that don't have tap abilities, if which there are plenty in the deck. It can also tap itself as one of the two artifacts. The Clock also works quite nicely with Blinkmoth Urn, allowing you to prevent anyone else from getting free mana.

Cloud Key permanently reduces the cost of all your artifacts. That can easily save you two or three mana per turn in this deck. Meanwhile, Burnished Hart and Solemn Simulacrum take a more traditional approach to mana acceleration, finding you lands to put on the battlefield.

Speaking of lands, there are plenty of ways to make those produce more mana in a monocolored deck. Although most players won't have access to a copy of Gauntlet of Might given that it hasn't been printed since Unlimited, Gauntlet of Power does a pretty good impression for just one more mana. Caged Sun costs one more mana than that, but won't benefit any opponents who are also playing red. Although Extraplanar Lens requires you to exile one of your own lands, it can easily repay that tenfold by giving you extra mana from all the rest.

Krark-Clan Ironworks allows you to sacrifice all your artifacts in preparation for Scrap Mastery, and can turn the tokens from cards like Myr Battlesphere into extra mana if you need it. It also has a few ways of giving you infinite mana. Nim Deathmantle plus Myr Battlesphere, Pentavus, Triskelavus, or Workhorse can do it. You can also use the Junk Diver/Myr Retriever loop if you have a Cloud Key to reduce the cost.

Notable Exceptions

Not everything in the deck fits into a neat category, so here are a few highlights from the rest of the list.

When equipped with Basilisk Collar, Bosh will give you life for every artifact he flings. He can also now throw smaller artifacts at creatures to kill them with deathtouch. If you need to deal with a whole army at once, All Is Dust is the perfect choice. With only five colored permanents in the deck, most of the time you won't be losing anything at all. Blasphemous Act gives you a second board wipe, although it's not nearly as powerful.

Most Commander decks have several artifacts in them, and this deck needs all the artifacts it can get. That makes Hellkite Tyrant a great choice, allowing you to steal artifacts from your opponents and keep them forever. As if that wasn't enough, Hellkite Tyrant can make you win the game instantly if you reach your upkeep with at least twenty artifacts. Between stealing them from other players and making artifact tokens, that's not an unreachable goal for this deck.

Lightning Greaves can give Hellkite Tyrant haste for a nasty surprise. They can also protect Bosh from reprisal (and Reprisal) when he starts throwing artifacts around.

Rings of Brighthearth can do a lot of work in this deck. Pay an extra two mana when you activate Bosh's ability and you can double your damage. Prototype Portal and Soul Foundry can now make a second token for a fraction of the cost of the first, and you can double up on everything from Kiki-Jiki to Mimic Vat.

Card advantage is pretty important in Commander, and although this deck can produce quite a bit of that through its various artifact, a bit of drawing power is rarely a bad thing. Mind's Eye is a classic multiplayer staple, giving you an endless supply of cards for just one mana each. Staff of Nin will only give you one card per turn, but it doesn't cost any mana beyond the initial six.

Vedalken Orrery lets you keep your options open until the last second, which can go a long way in a deck that spends as much mana as this one does. You'll often be using all the mana you have, so waiting until just before you untap prevents your opponents from making you regret your decisions. When combined with Unwinding Clock, you can fill the battlefield with artifacts alarmingly quickly, casting spells on each opponent's turn.

Darksteel Forge makes all your artifacts indestructible, keeping you safe from commonly played cards like Austere Command which could otherwise wipe out everything on the battlefield. In fact, I added in Kuldotha Forgemaster largely for its ability to grab Darksteel Forge. Although making your creatures immune to most removal and board wipes is a nice bonus, cards that say "destroy all artifacts" are just too devastating to ignore.

Darksteel Juggernaut is just a big fat pile of beatdown. Thanks to indestructible it can't be killed in combat, and with a deck this loaded with artifacts it can easily grow larger than anything else on the battlefield. Finally, I threw in a copy of Chaos Warp as a catch-all that can deal with any problem permanent at instant speed.

Boshing Faces In

COMMANDER: Bosh, Iron Golem

One Week

There one week left until the deadline for the flavor deck building contest, so get those submissions in! If you missed the announcement, check out last week's article for the details. Until then, may you find a way to turn a pile of scrap into something incredible. See ya!

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