Aetherworks Marvel decks have been the talk of Grand Prix Denver, but there are plenty of other flashy Kaladesh cards on display this weekend. Third-ranked player Seth Manfield is currently 11-0 with W/U Panharmonicon and showed off the power of his deck on camera in Round 10, dispatching teammate Rob Pisano in the tenth round with Reflector Mages and Eldrazi Displacers. We’ve also seen a handful of Dynavolt Towers around the room, churning out energy. But perhaps one of the most interesting build-arounds we’ve seen this weekend wasn’t an artifact, but an enchantment: the mythic Metallurgic Summonings, which can produce a small army of beefy Construct tokens in the right deck.
U/B Summonings brews have been popping up at Standard Showdowns across the country, but Bobby Fortanely hopes he can make a name for the deck here in Denver. The New Yorker worked with his good friend and Silver pro Thien Nguyen to develop the deck for this weekend, and he thinks he has a considerable edge against the field.
“There are no main-deck cards in the entire format that answer Metallurgic Summonings,” Fortanely points out, “and there are very few sideboard answers. Blue decks have countermagic, black and green decks have Transgress the Mind and Appetite for the Unnatural, but that’s about it.”
This makes the powerful enchantment a reliable finisher that can close games quickly, Fortanely says. His deck features three copies of Summonings and three copies of Torrential Gearhulk – a versatile and potentially game-ending threat, but one that is sadly vulnerable to popular removal spells like Stasis Snare and Ruinous Path. Summonings is the star of this show, and the hulking creature is often simply a means to an end.
An experienced combo player who rose to prominence playing Amulet Bloom in Modern, Fortanely knows the importance of card draw and filtering. He’s outfitted this deck with full complements of Glimmer of Genius and Anticipate to ensure he hits his land-drops and finds the removal and combo pieces he needs. Summonings is unusually reactive for a combo deck, but sometimes even the reactive pieces are useful. Fortanely’s counterspell of choice is Confirm Suspicions, which can grant him card advantage or get him halfway to fulfilling the six-artifact requirement he needs to turn on Summonings’ activated ability. Plus, if Summonings is in play, he gets a 5/5 Construct token when he casts it. Talk about value!
The most common target of Fortanely’s counterspells is Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, he says. A turn four Gideon is difficult for Summonings to race, and the problematic planeswalker is a mainstay of the W/U Flash deck and other aggro strategies. As a concession to Gideon, Fortanely and Nguyen made a bold strategic choice.
“We included Essence Extraction in our removal suite, because on the draw, you have to leave up countermagic for Gideon,” he explains. “I usually end up having to take a hit from Smuggler’s Copter before casting Essence Extraction at the end of the turn so I can be prepared for Gideon.”
Fortanely and Nguyen also made some unconventional choices with their manabase. “Most blue-black control decks include all three duel cycles,” he says, referring to Sunken Hollow, Choked Estuary, and Submerged Boneyard. “This deck can’t afford to play lands that enter the battlefield tapped because sometimes you need to slam Summonings on turn five.” The deck also runs two Aether Hubs, which complement the Dynavolt Towers in the sideboard.
Fortanely says he barely sideboards against Emrakul decks like B/G Delirium and Aetherworks Marvel, against which he feels strongly favored. “The deck is generally good against Emrakul, because they can’t do very much when they take your turn,” he says. “Any spell they cast will just give you more Construct tokens.”
Aggro decks are a weak point for the deck, however, and Fortanely says his sideboard is built to combat Mardu Vehicles and W/U Flash. His sideboard includes three copies of Contraband Kingpin, which hasn’t seen much Constructed play this season, even in sideboards. Fortanely feels the card is particularly well-positioned against aggressive strategies, however – “there are very few proactive plays on turn two in this format,” he claims – and his plan is to force his opponents to overextend into Flaying Tendrils. He brings in about ten cards for each aggro match-up.
Fortanely just won an exciting Game 3 in the feature match area to improve to 9-1-1, and he hopes viewers at home give the deck a try. He does have one piece of advice for them, however: “It’s very important to play quickly, especially when you’re playing the deck in paper. Games can go pretty long.” If you’re up for the challenge, summon some Constructs of your own at next week’s Standard Showdown!