hope everyone had a great time at the Mirrodin Besieged Prerelease! The new set is sure to shake things up in Standard and Extended. Those of you that read me regularly are already aware of how much I love infinite turn combos. Mirrodin Besieged introduces a new way to take infinite turns to the Extended format. Sure, combo decks like this can be weak to decks like Faeries, but we're hoping Thrun, the Last Troll deters enough players from playing those decks.
Time Sieve has always had potential. The deck did very well in Standard back in the Summer of 2009. As a deck builder, it's generally good practice to keep your eyes on any card that has a colon followed by the words, "take an extra turn."
I have visions of casting a Thopter Assembly on turn four, and sacrificing five other artifacts to my Time Sieve. Taking my next turn, bouncing the Thopter Assembly, making five Thopters, sacrifice the five Thopters to take another turn, replay my Thopter Assembly ...
Enough with the pipe dreams, lets get down to brewing:
Ichor Wellspring is another excellent addition to this type of deck. I already planned on sleeving up Elsewhere Flask, Kaleidostone, and Prophetic Prism. Ichor Wellspring draws the extra card when it enters the battlefield, and does double duty by letting us draw again when we sacrifice it to the Time Sieve.
Now we're already playing sixteen two-mana artifacts that draw us a card when they enter the battlefield. The consistency created by such a high density of cantrips reminds me of the Fluctuator decks that would have dominated Constructed if it weren't for the banning of Fluctuator. I did a quick Gatherer search looking for cost reduction. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there's a pseudo-Fluctuator for this type of strategy.
Semblance Anvil hasn't seen a lot of play off the kitchen table, but it's a card that I've been trying to work out the kinks with since the release of Scars of Mirrodin. When you've got sixteen two-mana artifacts that draw a card when they enter the battlefield, though ... Well, then Semblance Anvil lets you saw through the top of your deck and find the Open the Vaults or Thopter Assembly that will seal the deal.
I still want to play a few copies of Open the Vaults to make the deck more consistent. Sometimes you're going to need to "go off" and win through a Path to Exile.
Preordain is one of the best combo cards ever printed and I'll be happy to have a playset in this type of deck.
Here's a list of the pure combo version of the deck:
If the opponent fails to interact with you, then this deck can take infinite turns by turn five with a startling level of consistency. Unfortunately, it isn't realistic to assume that anybody will be caught without ways to interact with you or your combo, especially after sideboarding.
This deck gets a lot of options when you start thinking about the sideboard. Scapeshift decks will have a rough time trying to deal with Mindlock Orb. These types of decks achieve wins by searching their library. Mindlock Orb isn't a freebie win because most Scapeshift players have cards like Nature's Claim and Primal Command, but it certainly doesn't hurt.
Howling Mine alongside some disruption will make the non-Faeries control match-ups really good. In fact, this type of effect is so powerful in these match-ups that I'd like to go ahead and add a couple copies of Temple Bell to the mix in an effort to increase the frequency with which we draw a Mine effect.
Actually winning the game before we deck ourselves can become a liability once we've gone the way of the Mine. I'd like to include a single copy of Tezzeret the Seeker in the sideboard to make sure this type of thing isn't too much of a problem.
Here's the final list once we have a rough sketch for the sideboard:
I coaxed a friend into playing a few games against the deck with other Extended decks we had.
Red-Green Valakut is a breakout deck in Extended. It works similarly to its Standard brother, but it gets to play a powerful "I win" spell in the form of Scapeshift, and it increases consistency by playing Primal Command.
I lost the roll and kept Sphere of the Suns, Elsewhere Flask, Preordain, Ichor Wellspring, Semblance Anvil, Island, Seachrome Coast. My opponent played an Evolving Wilds and passed the turn. I drew a Kaleidostone, played Seachrome Coast, cast Preordain, saw an Elsewhere Flask and a Thopter Assembly, kept both, and drew the Flask. My opponent used his Evolving Wilds to grab a Forest on my end step. He untapped, played his land, cast Explore, played a Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and passed the turn. I drew the Thopter Assembly, played my Island, cast Sphere of the Suns, and passed the turn. My opponent played his fourth land, cast Cultivate, found some Mountains, and passed the turn.
I drew another Semblance Anvil. Now it's time to have some fun. I cast Semblance Anvil, cast both copies of Elsewhere Flask, that drew me a land and a Time Sieve. I cast both copies of Ichor Wellspring, drew into a Kaleidostone and another land, cast the Kaleidostone, and drew another land. I played a Darkslick Shore, and passed the turn. My opponent played his sixth land and cast a Primeval Titan, and it looked to me like I was going to die if I passed the turn again. I needed to find a way to win on this turn.
I drew Sphere of the Suns, and cast it for free. I played an Island, cast Time Sieve, and cast Thopter Assembly. I tapped the Time Sieve, sacrificed the five two-mana artifacts, including two Ichor Wellsprings, drew into a few more artifacts, and untapped to take my next turn. During my upkeep I had no other Thopters in play and I was able to return the Thopter Assembly back to my hand and make five 1/1 flying Thopters. My opponent conceded. Eventually, I would reach such a mana economy that I would be able to put two extra turns on the stack alongside an army of Thopter tokens and attack for lethal damage.
Sideboarding: -1 Tezzeret the Seeker, -2 Open the Vaults, +3 Mindlock Orb
I kept Seachrome Coast, Arcane Sanctum, Darkslick Shores, Prophetic Prism, Ichor Wellspring, Time Sieve, Mindlock Orb. My opponent played a Raging Ravine and passed the turn. I drew a Kaleidostone, played my Arcane Sanctum, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Mountain and cast Khalni Heart Expedition before passing the turn. I drew a Thopter Assembly, played my Darkslick Shores, cast Ichor Wellspring, drew a Vivid Creek, and passed the turn. My opponent played another Khalni Heart Expedition, played an Evolving Wilds, put a counter on each expedition, and passed the turn. I drew a Semblance Anvil, played my Seachrome Coast, cast Prophetic Prism, and drew another Time Sieve. I cast Kaleidostone, drew another Kaleidostone, cast that one, drew a Sphere of the Suns, cast it, and passed the turn.
My opponent used his Evolving Wilds to find a Forest on my end step. He untapped, played a Mountain, sacrificed both Khalni Heart Expeditions and found four more lands, then cast a Scapeshift. He searched up six Mountains and two copies of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and I took 36 damage—and died.
I kept Vivid Creek, Island, Elsewhere Flask, Prophetic Prism, Kaleidostone, Time Sieve, Preordain. I played my Vivid Creek and passed the turn. My opponent played a Mountain and passed back. I drew a Sphere of the Suns, cast it, tapped it, cast Preordain, put a cantrip and an Arcane Sanctum on the bottom of my library, drew an Island, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Fire-Lit Thicket, cast Rampant Growth, and passed the turn. I drew a Time Sieve played my Island, cast Prophetic Prism, and drew an Ichor Wellspring. I cast the Ichor Wellspring, drew a Thopter Assembly, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Harrow and an Explore, played a Valakut, and passed the turn. I drew a Mindlock Orb, cast it, and passed the turn. My opponent drew and played a Valakut and then passed the turn.
I drew an Arcane Sanctum, played it, cast Time Sieve, sacrificed the used up Sphere of the Suns and the four draw-artifacts, drew another Arcane Santum, and took my next turn. I drew an Elsewhere Flask, cast it, drew an Ichor Wellspring, cast it, drew an Island, and passed the turn. My opponent drew for his turn, cast Cultivate, played his land, and passed the turn. I played my Island, cast Thopter Assembly, and passed the turn back, my opponent knows this is his only chance to win the game.
My opponent thought for a bit and decided to cast Primal Command putting the Time Sieve on the top of my library and shuffling my graveyard into my library. This effectively destroyed my Time Sieve. I drew a Sphere of the Suns, replayed my Thopter Assembly, and passed the turn. My opponent cast another Cultivate, and played his land for the turn. He passed. I drew a land, attacked for 10 and passed the turn. My opponent drew for his turn, cast Primal Command putting Mindlock Orb on top of my library and shuffling my graveyard again. He cast Scapeshift and had plenty of damage with his Valakuts.
I won the roll and kept Island, Preordain, Preordain, Ichor Wellspring, Ichor Wellspring, Semblance Anvil, Semblance Anvil. I played the Island, cast Preordain, found an Arcane Sanctum, drew it, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Celestial Colonnade and passed the turn back. I drew a Prophetic Prism, played the Arcane Sanctum, cast Preordain, found an Island, drew it, and passed the turn. My opponent played a land, cast Wall of Omens, drew a card, and passed the turn. I drew a Time Sieve, played my Island, and cast Semblance Anvil (imprinting the other Semblance Anvil). I cast Ichor Wellspring, drew a Kaleidostone and cast it, drew another Time Sieve, then cast the other Ichor Wellspring, drawing an Arcane Sanctum. I cast the Prophetic Prism, drew a Sphere of the Suns, and passed the turn. My opponent played a third land and passed the turn.
I drew a Thopter Assembly for my turn and my opponent cast a Vendilion Clique during my draw step. He took the Thoptor Assembly, I drew into an Open the Vaults. I cast Time Sieve and it resolved, I played my Arcane Sanctum, tapped the Time Sieve (sacrificing some stuff), and drew two cards off my Ichor Wellsprings (a Prophetic Prism, and a Sphere of the Suns). I cast my other Time Sieve, cast my Prophetic Prism, drew a Vivid Creek, cast my Sphere of the Suns, and took my next turn. I drew a Prophetic Prism, cast it, drew an Ichor Wellspring, cast it, and drew a Tezzeret the Seeker.
I activated and floated mana from both my Spheres, activated my Time Sieve, cast Open the Vaults, drew a lot of cards, put some more turns on the stack, and took my next turn. I cast Tezzeret and untapped some artifacts and it was good enough for my opponent to concede to the impending lethal attack.
Sideboarding: -4 Sphere of the Suns, -4 Semblance Anvil, -1 Thopter Assembly, +2 Temple Bell, +1 Tezzeret the Seeker, +2 Negate, +4 Howling Mine
I took a mulligan and kept Arcane Sanctum, Darkslick Shores, Ichor Wellspring, Preordain, Howling Mine, Temple Bell. My opponent led with a Glacial Fortress and passed the turn. I drew a Prophetic Prism, played my Arcane Sanctum, and passed the turn. My opponent played a second land and passed the turn back. I drew an Island, played my land, and attempted to cast Howling Mine, it met a Mana Leak. My opponent played a third land and passed the turn. I drew another Temple Bell, and he cast a Vendilion Clique during my draw step. He thought for a bit and decided to let me keep the hand. I played my Island, cast Temple Bell, and passed the turn.
My opponent played a fourth land, cast Elspeth, Knight-Errant, and attacked for 6 in the air, then passed the turn. I activated the Temple Bell on his end step and drew a Negate. I drew an Island for my turn, played it, cast another Temple Bell, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked for 6 again and passed the turn. I activated both Temple Bells, drawing a land and a Time Sieve at the end of his turn. I drew a Thopter Assembly for my turn, cast Ichor Wellspring, drew another Time Sieve, then played my Vivid Creek that I had drawn off the Bell. I cast Prophetic Prism, drew Tezzeret the Seeker, and passed the turn. My opponent hit me for another 6 and I was down to 2 life. He passed the turn.
I activated both Temple Bells on his end step and drew a Howling Mine and an Ichor Wellspring. I drew an Island for my turn, played it, cast Time Sieve, which was met with Cryptic Command, which was itself met with Negate. I then cast Ichor Wellspring, drew Open the Vaults, activated both Temple Bells, drawing more cantrip artifacts, activated my Time Sieve, drawing into the other Open the Vaults and some more artifacts, and took my next turn. I untapped, drew an Arcane Sanctum, played it, cast Open the Vaults, drew a lot of cards, and put some extra turns in the bucket over the next turn with my other Open the Vaults. I cast Thopter Assembly with an extra turn ready to go and that was good enough for my opponent to concede.
The deck may have trouble with the speed of other combo decks or the draw-go nature of Faeries, but it's an excellent choice if you're looking for a fun Extended deck that lets you do something extraordinarily powerful. This is a Johnny deck if I've ever seen one.
My Master Transmuter decks are a favorite amongst readers. I've been looking for more reasons to play with this type of strategy, and Mirrodin Besieged offers up reasons aplenty. First off, Go for the Throat is going to become the removal spell of choice for extended Faeries players. Sure, there might be some Peppersmokes in the mix, but the days when we needed to fear cards like Agony Warp and Grasp of Darkness are long gone if all of the creatures we play are artifacts. Thopter Assembly also gives this deck a new tool that could be great when fighting the Fae. I'm going to revisit this archetype next week and talk about Mirrodin Besieged's effect on the archetype. I'd love to see your versions of Extended Transmuter via email or in the forums.