Pyromancer's Goggles, Four Ways

Posted in Event Coverage on April 22, 2016

By Josh Bennett

Pyromancer's Goggles are everything I like in a mythic rare. Flavorful, unmistakably powerful, and with an ability that makes the imagination dance with possibility. However, I wasn't expecting to see them out in force this Pro Tour weekend, and I definitely wasn't expecting there to be so many different takes on how to use them.

The core of these decks are straightforward. You have Magmatic Insight and Tormenting Voice, which give you early plays to churn through your deck and find your Goggles, and turn into draw powerhouses once you do. Fiery Impulse and Lightning Axe are powerful 1-mana plays to double up the turn you play the Goggles. The question is where to go from there. I bent the ears of a few pilots to find out what makes their versions tick.

First I consulted with Damien Mace, one of a small number of players piloting Blue-Red Control with the Goggles and Thing in the Ice. He confessed, with some small embarrassment, that he had copied an existing decklist, but was more than happy to offer his thoughts on the mighty artifact and its place in his deck.

"It plays much more like a Tempo/Burn deck than a control deck," he explained. "You're going to win a lot more games off of a copied Fall of the Titans than you will off of Thing in the Ice. You play your early game, then switch over to burn mode. All the draw spells keep you stocked up, and it doesn't take long to finish off the opponent. The Goggles are so powerful, and right now the environment is very friendly towards artifacts. About the only card you need to worry about is Anguished Unmaking."

Next up was Hall of Famer Willy Edel. He and a number of the DEX Army are playing a Red-White Goggles deck that mixes in an Eldrazi package.

"The Goggles are amazing," he said. "I mean, if you just look around, it seems like there are all kinds of decks playing them. The only one I haven't seen is Red-Black, but every other combination is here. Drawing four off Tormenting Voice or Magmatic Insight, it feels very hard to lose if you get to do that without falling behind. You also have so much late game power copying your burn spells. One of the guys in our team brewed up the first version, which was mono-red Eldrazi. I liked it, but I felt it wasn't quite there. It was adding the white that put it over the top. We were already playing Battlefield Forge as a colorless source, so it wasn't even much of a strain on the mana base. The Needle Spires turned out to be very important, helping you keep the pressure on, but white also gives so much power to the sideboard: Hallowed Moonlight, a wrath in Tragic Arrogance, and then Linvala, the Preserver to go with Eldrazi Displacer. Those two together are game over."

Perhaps my favorite take on the Goggles belongs to Támas Nagy and Christian Seibold. Their version is a straight mono-red deck and features the mighty Vessel of Volatility. "When you play Vessel on turn two," says Seibold, "your opponent gets this confused look on their face. Then you play a turn three Goggles."

Christian Seibold saw the value in putting on the Goggles as early as possible.

I asked Seibold about the genesis of the deck. "I saw Todd Anderson's blue-red list and liked it, but it only played about 8-10 blue cards, and playing with Jace just meant giving your opponent a target for all their removal," he explained. "I decided to try it without creature, first with black for Languish, but the mana was too bad. You want all your lands coming into play untapped. So I went mono-red. It was actually Támas who first suggested the Vessel of Volatility, and I immediately fell in love. The thing about it is, it's not like you're ramping into a big threat that your opponent can then answer. You're ramping into a turn-three Goggles and playing either Magmatic Insight or Lightning Axe, or turn-four Chandra and clearing their board. So you're getting value in addition to a persistent threat."

Last was Team EUreka and their Red-Green Goggles Ramp deck, which was getting a lot of buzz in the tournament hall. I was directed to Pierre Dagen.

"They are absolutely the engine of the deck," he said. "The thing about the Goggles is they give you a great Game 1. You get a very powerful second angle of attack." I asked him how he came to settle on pairing them with green. "People were playing them with blue and it just wasn't giving you enough. Green gives you Nissa's Pilgrimage, and that or a Drownyard Temple pitched to Insight or Tormenting Voice means you can play the Goggles on turn four. The other card is Traverse the Ulvenwald, which can get you a land early, but in the mid-game it's easy to have delirium and tutor up Dragonlord Atarka. It's also a one-mana spell to help surge out Fall of the Titans, which can just end games immediately."

Pierre Dagen, along with the majority of superteam EUreka, all saw the potential in incorporating Pyromancer's Goggles into a ramp strategy.

So there you have it! Four different approaches to wielding the power of the Goggles. As of this writing, they are still haunting the upper tables, with Brad Nelson a perfect 7-0 playing Red-Green Goggles Ramp. Stay tuned this weekend to see how far they'll go.

Damien Mace – Blue-Red Goggles / Thing in the Ice

Download Arena Decklist

Willy Edel – Red-White Eldrazi Goggles

Download Arena Decklist

Christian Seibold – Mono-Red Goggles

Download Arena Decklist

Pierre Dagen – Red-Green Goggles Ramp

Download Arena Decklist

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