Artifact Madness!

The battlefield stretched out before Sydri, the bodies of her forces littered the ground. Above the field the giant Esperzoa lowered it’s tentacles to envelop the massive ball of myr that had crushed her enemies the turn before. The battlesphere shuddered under the charge of the flying jellyfish and disappeared from the field, leaving it’s helper myr behind. Sydri could feel the energy of the sphere become available to her and she drew upon the mana of the scorched, mechanical landscape around her and summoned the battlesphere to the battlefield once more, bringing with it a new group of myr helpers. When the sphere had the ability to surge forward into her opponents, it would have more myr to draw power from than it had during the previous attack…


The interactions between artifacts in Magic: the Gathering have always been a great fascination to me. When I started playing Magic again, one of the first sets of cards I obtained (as a Christmas gift courtesy of my wonderful wife) was the Metallic Dreams Planechase deck. When Archenemy came out, the only deck I wanted was Assemble the Doomsday Machine. One of my first Commander decks was Sharuum the Hegemon… as you all should know by now.

esper 3   esper1   esper 2

I’ve been feeling the draw of building a new deck for the past several weeks, and I’ve actually managed to build two! This article will tackle the creation of my latest deck, an Esper build centered around the Commander Sydri, Galvanic Genius. I have been wanting to build another Esper deck for quite some time now, and with some of the great new cards in Magic 2015, I finally decided to pull the trigger on it. Choosing the commander was a little difficult, as many of the Esper commanders are inherently “archenemy” material, including Sharuum the Hegemon, Sen Triplets, Zur the Enchanter, and Ertai, the Corrupted. I had to choose carefully to avoid instantly becoming the enemy of the table, but I still wanted the artifact interaction that I so crave. The latest batch of Commander preconstructed decks gave me my commander. Sydri is powerful, but not too powerful. Essentially she is there to give me an extra attacker or two, and depending on the blocking situation, either give me some life or take out a big blocker. I decided to include other ways to boost my life total during the game, building off of her lifelink-giving ability. As such, I chose to also include Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. Oloro helps with the life gain and also with card advantage, but doesn’t do anything with the artifact aspect of the deck. Sharuum the Hegemon has long been one of my favorite creatures, and it isn’t even because of the ability to combo for the win. Honestly, my first draft of my first Sharuum deck didn’t even have the combo! I found it later and added it in. Given that I wanted a lot of artifact interaction, as well as a means of graveyard recursion (especially if I’m throwing deathtouch creatures into a clogged up board, it was a fairly easy jump to include Sharuum. I didn’t want to be “that guy” however, so I consciously chose NOT to include the “Sharuum combo”.

I filled the deck with a variety of creatures and spells aimed at artifacts interacting with and boosting each other, life gain, and control. Cards like Chief Engineer and Grand Architect along with a bunch of mana rocks make my closers easier to cast, while cards like Esperzoa help me maximize on some of the “enter the battlefield” effects like those of Baleful Strix, Myr Battlesphere, and Sphinx Summoner. I can also interact by making tokens (Sharding Sphinx), and boost my whole artifact team (Steel Overseer). In addition to Sharuum I have several other spells to help recur artifacts, as well as a couple of artifact tutors. I can make my team indestructible as well. In addition to Oloro, I can gain life with Wall of Reverence, Divinity of Pride, and Drogskol Reaver who also lets me draw additional cards! I can even pair the two main focuses of the deck together and drain somebody for the win with Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas! Finally I have a pretty diverse suite of removal spells, several of which are quite happy to be imprinted on an Isochron Scepter! (Stifle on a stick anyone?)

tezzI finished cutting cards (with the help of a friend… thanks Eric!) and sleeved up the deck just in time for game night this past week. Unfortunately I lost both games that I played with Sydri, but it doesn’t really matter. The deck was a lot of fun to play and I had a good time with my artifact friends once again. Game one was against Eric with a green deck based on the new Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, and against Doug playing the Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge pre-constructed deck. My deck hit hard and fast, and Doug and Eric had to team up against me in order to knock me out of the game, then Eric finished off Doug with a mass of creatures. The second game was against Eric playing his Progenitus/Planeswalker deck and Doug playing the same deck, but headed up by Nekusar, the Mindrazer. This time I played the deck at a slower pace (partly because I had to) and was able to do a bit more. I was on a pretty good track to drop a Mycosynth Lattice, use Tezzeret the Seeker‘s ultimate to turn all of my lands into 5/5’s, and attack Doug to knock him out of the game, but alas, my team was removed and Tezzeret was killed. A couple turns later I dropped his other face, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, and after building my artifacts back up thanks to his +1 ability, I was able to set of his ultimate ability to knock Doug out. Sadly, my victory was short-lived, as Eric cast Progenitus and started attacking me with it. I was able to tutor, but only for artifacts at which point I found that there was nothing I could do. All of my mass removal was in the form of sorcery spells. Eric took me out.

Even though I lost both games, I had a good time playing the deck. I liked the interactions that I had, and I like the way that it played. I can see a few things that need work, for example, I need to have at least one mass removal in the form of an artifact… perhaps Scourglass, and as I type this I keep thinking that I should probably get a Rings of Brighthearth into the deck as well. Without further ado, here is the list. Perhaps in the next week or two, I can get an article up detailing my other new deck, Marchesa, the Black Rose!

Note: The cards below aren’t linked to Gatherer, but you can browse the whole deck here:

Potential Commanders:

Sydri, Galvanic Genius
Oloro, Ageless Ascetic
Sharuum the Hegemon

Baleful Strix
Chief Engineer
Etherium Sculptor
Steel Overseer
Tidehollow Strix
Adaptive Automaton
Grand Architect
Master of Etherium
Palladium Myr
Treasure Mage
Faerie Mechanist
Master Transmuter
Sanctum Gargoyle
Wall of Reverence
Avacyn, Guardian Angel
Divinity of Pride
Obzedat, Ghost Council
Razor Hippogriff
Sphinx Summoner
Stuffy Doll
Sharding Sphinx
Soul of New Phyrexia
Steel Hellkite
Thopter Assembly
Drogskol Reaver
Enigma Sphinx
Myr Battlesphere
Sphinx Sovereign
Sphinx of the Steel Wind

Enlightened Tutor
Sol Ring
Swords to Plowshares
Death Grasp
Geth’s Verdict
Go for the Throat
Isochron Scepter
Scroll Rack
Azorius Cluestone
Council’s Judgment
Darksteel Ingot
Dimir Cluestone
Loxodon Warhammer
Oblivion Ring
Phyrexian Arena
Argivian Restoration
Illusionist’s Gambit
Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Unwinding Clock
Well of Lost Dreams
Tezzeret the Seeker
Merciless Eviction
Mycosynth Lattice
Darksteel Forge

Ancient Den
Arcane Sanctum
Barren Moor
Blinkmoth Nexus
Command Tower
Darksteel Citadel
Dimir Guildgate
7 Island
Jwar Isle Refuge
Kabira Crossroads
Lonely Sandbar
Orzhov Guildgate
Phyrexia’s Core
5 Plains
Seat of the Synod
Secluded Steppe
Sejiri Refuge
4 Swamp
Temple of Enlightenment
Temple of Silence
Terramorphic Expanse
Thespian’s Stage
Vault of Whispers
Vault of the Archangel

    • Thank you! I appreciate the feedback. I need to work on keeping the blog more up to date with new posts.

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