Everything that has been before will be again, this is the way with standard constructed. A full circle and back to Tezzeret. The latest version seen in the Dark Ascension Pro Tour and the version before that seen in GP Brisbane… the circle of standard leads me to reconstruct one of my favorite arch-types and add to it a flavor of my own.
Shouta Yasooka’s decklist served as the initial guide to constructing this deck, the Godfather of Tezzeret piloting it again most recently. However, I happen to be a big fan of the Junkwalker decks and planeswalker decks that are popping up around the place in various tournaments and It’s inevitable that I’m going to play one, or try to. So it only makes sense, since I’m such a believer in Tezz, that I work on a Tezzeret Junkwalker build instead of the usual UB Tezz control.
I’ve come up with several different lists and eventually I put one together on Magic Online and played a few test matches in the head-to-head room. The two ticket que often serves as my testing ground for new decks, either ones that I find the lists for online, or develop myself. The Tezzeret list I made changed several times before it settled to one that I liked much better and now that I’ve got it sorted I’ll probably test the absolute crap out of it. I’m still looking for something to not only play here locally but something to take on the Magic cruise with me and to GP Manila in June. Obviously the next set will be out by that time and things may change dramatically. But I’m not about to stall the whole deck building process just because I’ve got no big constructed tournaments between now and then.
Without further ado, here’s the decklist.
UBW Tezz & Friends.
After I made up the decklist I drew a few hands with the MTG Toolbox app on my iPhone. Here’s 4 of the most typical hands. I was very rarely taking a Mulligan, more often than not keeping the first 7. They usually had some kind of board sweeper for turn 4 and early stuff like Cages and Ratchet bombs to help protect me in the early game. Some hands you seem to just draw lots of planeswalkers which, due to some of the testing I’ve done, seems like a decent hand too because it’s threat after threat after threat you’re dropping. And if you are sideboarding the Lilianas in against control then the threats start on turn 3, and they can’t counter everything.
Click on any of those hands to see a clearer image, as they’re a bit distorted after resizing them.. The one that I found to be most interesting was the one on the bottom left, with the three planeswalkers, a ratchet bomb and three lands. Note that all 3 land colors are available. The Ratchet bomb will help to deal with at least some of the early threats and drawing into more lands is likely. The app allows you to draw 3 cards following each New Hand. I did this each time, and often drew Sphere of the Suns, Mana Leak or Land, which makes sense.
The deck is 21% artifacts. Not enough for 3 Tezzerets but enough for two. About 75% of the time when you search the top 5 cards you seem to hit an artifact. Since they’re all useful (except for maybe the Spheres), you are usually pretty happy with the search. This becomes even more important when you’ve sideboarded Spellbombs and Elixirs in.
Planeswalkers are the second most common non-land card in the deck, which makes sense since the whole thing is built around artifact and planeswalker control. Only 8% of the deck requires two colored mana symbols to cast and with Sphere of the Suns helping out, it’s pretty unlikely for you to get color screwed. In the testing games I had on modo I didn’t have that problem at all. A couple of times I kept 2 land hands and never saw a 3rd or a Sphere, but that’s just a bad keep.
The mana curve is heavy in two and four drops. And Black Sun’s Zenith is usually getting cast for a total of 4 these days also. about 74% of the deck meets this criteria. As such, 24 lands seems sufficient. In the actual testing I’ve done, having 4 lands and a Sphere has usually been sufficient. If you draw more lands, which you will do the more the game goes on, you are just building up toward Karn, so It’s no real problem. I didn’t have any massive land floods.
It’s much too early to give stats yet on what decks I won and lost to, and I’ll probably make subtle changes still.
I’m planning on testing this for a while longer, i’ll make another article in the near future to let you all know what changes I made. In the meantime, if anyone else tests this list I’d love to hear about it.
Puresteel and Birthing Pod have had their glory in the sun. Now it’s time for a planeswalker deck, and to me there has never been any other than Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas. He’s the first planeswalker that I’ve really gotten along well with, maybe it’s because of his cool arm, or his enchanting eyes… but either way, Tezz is the first planeswalker that I ever tried to build/play a deck around. Lets have a look at some UB cards that might find their way into a UB Tezz control deck post rotation, now that some of the nasty ramp decks are non-existant.
It’s pretty tempting to build a deck around Tezz and Grand Architect and make it a combo deck with Kuldotha Forgemaster but then again there’s always the chance to also make poison decks and control decks with plenty of counters and stuff that wipes the board like Black Sun’s Zenith. I think it’s worth thinking about all three versions of a Tezz deck… I know I’ll definitely look at making one of them to test out. I’d like to do one with the new Liliana in it: Liliana of the Veil, but that’s all going to depend on the nature of the deck and whether she fits in.
First lets just have a look at some of the new Innistrad cards that might make the cut. Number one is Heartless Summoning which looks like it’s going to be such a great card and playable in many different decks due to the awesome casting cost only having that solitary black mana in it. As mentioned above, the new Liliana should see play in various versions of Tezz. Also there’s no doubt that Snapcaster Mage, Think Twice and Dissipate will appear in various versions as well as Tribute to Hunger which I’m running in the main deck of the 2nd of my decks below.
Deck Idea #1, Tezzeret, Dark Architect.
As far as Tezz decks go, it would work the best in a Grand Architect version due to the fact that you can very quickly spring some big nasty creatures on your opponents. The best of them being the ever present Wurmcoil Engine but also the extremely useful Steel Hellkite and the completely free to cast Myr Superion. Kuldotha Forgemaster makes an appearance in a deck like this also, offering even more ways to search for things (besides for Tezz). Tezzeret gives you that advantage to swing at an opponent with a 5/5 poisonous Inkmoth Nexus also and then theres a Blightsteel Colossus which can finish things off very quickly. Grand Architect Tezz deck could be quite frustrating for an opponent but then again there is a new 1 mana cost articfact counter spell to stop this type of stuff happening.
One other thing I’ve encountered before in Tezzeret decks is multiple ways to win and this obviously increases the complexity of the deck. One thing that might be worth noting is that Heartless Summoning probably not worth playing unless you’re going to be ramping up into one of the big guys. I’ve included two Wurmcoils in the decklist below so that if you peel one of the Treasure Mages early and a Summoning, you can easily do turn 2 Summoning, turn 3 mage and Turn 4 Wurmcoil. However, if you’re not going to be ramping stuff out quickly don’t worry about playing the summoning too early. It’s only two mana and can probably be dropped on any turn you like. I wouldn’t want to miss out on a potential two turn kill with an Inkmoth Nexus just because I stupidly put a Heartless Summoning out earlier and then didn’t use it.
A Tezzeret Architect deck might look something like this:
Deck Idea #2, UB Tezz Control.
Combolicious, rampy Tezz decks aside, the previous version I used to play of UB Tezzeret used to excite me somewhat, especially when it really went off. Now it’s probably much better and can probably find its way to a new form whilst still maintaining a nature of control. It used to run a lot of card draw artifacts and attempt to keep Tezzeret in play to utilise his end abiltiy to win the game. I think that’s still reasonably possible as long as the deck is able to pack enough counterspells to stop mass artifact removal. Creeping Corrosion is the number one thing to worry about but I think as long as there’s a Mana Leak or Dissipate in hand then that shouldn’t be too much of a worry.
The idea of the control/end-ability Tezz build is to do just that. Wipe the board, ruin their hand, build up artifacts and then… Bam! win with Tezz’s grand finale. One of my favorite cards in the previous version was Ichor Wellspring so when I built this decklist it was the second card I picked.
The wellspring is not only a second turn play that draws you a card, but it’s an artifact that can easily become number one target to be turned into a 5/5 creature (by Tezz) if you need a blocker; Or if you want to go on the agro. And obviously the best reasoning behind this is that when or if it dies you’re going to get to draw yet another card. I also like it with Mirrorworks.
Lets have a quick look at the list below:
Deck Idea #3, Tezz UB Poison.
The third and final incarnation of the Tezzeret deck is probably one that’s similar to a version I’ve had for a while now on Modo and never really got firing properly. A lot of the time I’d find a ramp deck getting out an Eldrazi, effectively ending the game… or getting out a couple of Valakut and burning you away before you even have a chance to really do much. So it’s probably much more worth while looking at a poison version of a UB Tezzeret now, than it was previously due to the absence of these other powerful decks. The version I was running on modo utilises the proliferate and phyrexian mana mechanics and tries to use a lot of little tricks to poison up your opponent asap. One of the key cards in the deck is Tezzeret’s Gambit (shown here). This card not only utilises both mechanics but helps draw cards and speed things up. For basically the same cost as Divination you still get the two cards but get to add counters around the board (poison on opponent, counters on Tezz, on the Sphere etc). Here’s a new version of the same thing.
One thing that will become noticable in the previous two Tezz decks is the lack of Dismember. I just don’t see a place for it in some of those decks, they’re either a combo/ramp deck or a slower control deck. The spots are far more well used by artifact removal and in the one case where I ran Tribute to Hunger, that card is used in that deck in order to resolve a situation where you’ve got one untouchable creature left on the board. Particularly good following an opponents board wipe when they play a single creature afterward. In this third version of the deck I’ve decided to run 4 maindeck Dismember in order to remove blockers and speed things up. The whole idea is to get 3 or 4 poison through as quickly as possible and finish up the game using the proliferate cards, which there is plenty of.
Once the opponent is poisoned there is absolutely no way they can remove those counters and then you can just add to them using proliferate, which is something else that they can’t stop from happening. The only way they’d be able to stop it is counter every single artifact that you cast, but with Tezzeret on the battlefield you’ll find those proliferate artifacts so much more easily.
I’ve packed some Feast and Famine into the sideboard to help with speeding the plays up. Poison is all about trying to end the game reasonably quickly. The swords not only make your creatures Pro Black, to protect them from spot removal like Dismember, but also help you to untap your lands and then continue to play more spells, or leave mana open to regenerate Skithryx. Some other cards that I might like to see in the sideboard of this deck rather than having so many counterspells, would be Curse of Death’s Hold. This new curse allows you to effectively deal with an opponent who is playing mass creature decks, or using cards that create lots of tokens.
Well that about brings an end to the three part article about post rotation standard. I think, judging by the last SCG Indianapolis results that we might see more Illusion or Mono Red Decks, but time will tell. I will probably be testing all three of these builds myself soon to see what they’re like… once I’ve done the last of my University work for the semester that is. Gotta keep my priorities in order. Of course GP Brisbane is right up there in the priority list. I’m looking forward to my 3rd Grand Prix for the year but quite distraught about what I’m going to play. At the moment I’m probably looking at a BUG Pod deck that I’ve built (based very closely on the list from the last article I wrote) which seems to do quite well, however I can’t seem to get it to function well against UW control quite yet. I’m keen to hear thoughts on the three decklists that I just wrote up if anyone else out there is a Tezzeret Fan.
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