Tiny Forgebots

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Starting a thread to talk about the new card Mystic Forge, specifically in the context of a "Tiny Robots" style aggro workshops list. I had the honor of being able to talk about this card on the Team Serious podcast here: http://themanadrain.com/topic/2799/serious-vintage-ep-42-heating-up-mystic-forge-free-wizards-preview So I've had a head start building around it.

I killed on the first turn with my very first goldfish, my rough-draft list has been getting consistent turn 2-3 kills, but I'm sure there's room to improve it.

So what's going on here?

Mystic Forge + Sensei's Divning Top is a powerful draw engine. You can activate Top to draw a card, and then use the Forge to cast the Top off of your deck. You can repeat this to draw your entire deck, if you have a cost reducer which makes the Top free, e.g. Foundry Inspector. Once you've drawn your entirely library, you can win with whatever kill you want, in this list you just cast Arcbound Ravager, Walking Ballista, and 20ish Artifacts.

This is not an entirely new combo, as you could do this with Future Sight before - but what's new is that all 3 cards are Artifacts, and all 3 cards provide value on their own, giving the deck unprecedented synergy and threat density. Even the kill cards are top-tier threats on their own. Compare naturally drawing Tendrils of Agony in an Outcome deck to naturally drawing Walking Ballista in this.

A three card combo on its own would not be very exciting, but this fits so very cleanly into an already powerful aggro deck. Unlike trying to assemble Show and Tell/Omniscience/Enter the Infinite, all three of these cards are great on their own, and two of them actively help you dig for the others. You should expect to find the other parts of the combo very quickly after resolving a Forge, and if you don't, it's probably because you killed them before you found the combo. Some of the turn 3 kills don't come from assembling the combo at all, but from the fact that Cranial Plating deals a lot of damage, very quickly.

The Tiny Robots focus over a traditional Ravager Shops keeps the mana cost super-low, so that Mystic Forge can be expected to draw tons of cards even when the combo isn't fully assembled. Over a third of the deck is "free" cards that can be cycled off the top of the deck to quickly dig to the combo. I think there's a case to add some number of Mystic Forge to regular Workshop decks, but building this way means you consistently win the turn you play, or the turn after you play an undisrupted Forge.

What's particularly exciting to me is how the failure states of this deck are so strong. When your opponent shuts your combo off with Null Rod, you're still playing 2 or 3 creatures a turn. When your opponent counters your Mystic Forge, you still have 3 to 6 power on the table (compare that to sinking 2 Dark Rituals into a Bolas's Citadel and getting that countered). Mystic Forge can do so much on the turn you play it, sorcery-speed removal like Shattering Spree and By Force and Energy Flux, normally great against an aggro draw, could really backfire against this deck.

I don't think you can cleanly take a strategy you've been running to beat combo decks or shops decks and directly translate it to this. On the other hand, maybe the deck has new weaknesses, Grafdigger's Cage comes to mind.

This is a combo deck that overwhelms Force of Will.

This is an aggro deck that races Dredge.

Preliminary thoughts after initial testing

In goldfishing, Phyrexian Revoker is bad, of course, but that's to be expected. I do think you want some disruptive cards that goldfish poorly, and it's PROBABLY Revoker, but it could be something else. You really can't maindeck Sphere of Resistance, and I think that's going to turn a lot of people off, but I think this deck might be fast enough that you don't need Sphere in the same way that traditional shops does (Outcome doesn't run Spheres, either). There's a chance you could sideboard them for certain matchups.

Skullclamp felt slow. Probably too slow to be useful, and there won't be as many runaway value games as there was when the deck had Genesis Chamber, I think Mystic Forge is your value card and Skullclamp gets cut.

I think it's probably important that you have some card that makes 0CMC Walking Ballista and Hangarback Walker do something. When you have Forge out you're very likely to play several of them off the top of your deck for free. This could be Genesis Chamber, Chief of the Foundry, Metallic Mimic, or surely something else I'm not thinking of. I suspect you want Chief of the Foundry. More maindeck 3-drops make Forge less consistent but I think it's worth it, and I think it would really boost your game against Rods and Collector Ouphes. Chief is, of course, a proven, quality Workshop card even in games where you don't see any combo pieces.

For sideboard-building, Forge has anti-synergy with Grafdigger's Cage, and otherwise good cards like Dismember and Leylines could slow your Forging down. I think, if you worked the Chiefs into the main, you'd want a combination of:
4-6 lock pieces (Sphere of Resistance/Trinisphere/Lodestone Golem)
3-5 cheap/free grave hate Tormods Crypt/Relic of Progenitus
4-6 Cards to hedge against lock pieces and Null Rods (maybe City of Traitors/Precursor Golem, not sure)

last edited by Brass Man

Can't you fit the miser Lodestone Golem maindeck? I know it's expensive but I feel it's the best Disruption after Thorn. -1 Revoker + 1 Lodestone?

Also, I know Inspector is better, but just wanted to note that the effect exists outside of creatures, if you ever want it to dodge Bolt/Swords/Dismember, even if in sb only: Cloud Key.

I suspect that Lodestone Golem costs too much, not just specifically in regards to Mystic Forge, but also this deck has a much lower mana count than typical Workshop decks. It's almost certainly bad in goldfishing, but maybe when the deck has to sit down against Outcome and Xerox, the extra disruption is worth the extra clock speed.

Weirdly, in this brave-new-vintage, the scariest opposing combo deck might be Combo Karn, which is slowed down by Thorn of Amethyst but almost entirely ignores Lodestone Golem. The metagame is in such flux right now that it's hard to pin that kind of thing down.

Is memnite better than Frogmite? It feels like 2 power is more relevant in a failstate like null rod and the times where you do not have affinity for the frogmite it is doubtful that memnite would serve you much better. It feels like Myr Enforcer could easily make its way down for free, though that may be too greedy.

Is there any consideration for Defense Grid? It feels like a more relevant sphere for a deck that just wants to go off all at once.

Frogmite is interesting, I bet Myr Enforcer is too expensive. Maybe the right number of Memnite+Frogmite is more than 4... I hadn't realized that was a possibility.

Defense Grid is for sure the better anti-counterspell card, and it provides some coverage for Cranial Plating vs instant speed removal. I don't know if that requires its own sideboard slot though? My thinking is that Spheres might be a necessary disruptive card to slow an opponent down, rather than something to defend your own cards (which are already fairly counterspell-resistant)

I just noticed your list does not have black lotus? Typo?

Any consideration for Vault key in this? Key had other applications in the deck like mana generation.

ALso, LED?

last edited by Protoaddict

Haha, missing Lotus is an oversight, not a typo. It should definitely be in the deck. My turn 1/2 goldfishes were with a Lotus-free test deck. 😅

There absolutely is a Karn list with Forge and Keys, but I don't know that it makes the list noticeably faster, and it does make it more vulnerable to removal, counters, null rod.

In general, my instinct is to keep combo-specific cards (like LED) out of the deck... But that's just the way I build decks. If someone adds Keys and LEDs and it speeds up the goldfish by a turn, it's probably worth it!

LED does not feel combo to me, since you are playing off the top for the most part. I guess part of my question would be how many cards are you holding in hand on average and saving for later vs how much are you just trying to draw gas to make things go.

This looks great!

I think Reality Hemmorage or Complete Disregard may be possible sideboard cards to remove a Collector Ouphe as they can both be played off the top of the deck while Forge is in play. Might need to rejigger the manabase a little for it though.

@protoaddict

I think it qualifies as a "combo" card here because it does nothing without Forge.

@zias said in Tiny Forgebots:

I think it qualifies as a "combo" card here because it does nothing without Forge.

Cranial plating does nothing without creatures, I would not call that a combo. Just sitting in play is something if you run frogmites.

The "balls out" combo version of this deck sounds like the shining answer to the question "What deck would want all eight Keys?"

@protoaddict said in Tiny Forgebots:

LED does not feel combo to me, since you are playing off the top for the most part. I guess part of my question would be how many cards are you holding in hand on average and saving for later vs how much are you just trying to draw gas to make things go.

There's basically not any reason to hold anything in your hand. You're kind of playing everything you can cast, whether you have a combo draw or an aggro draw, so that part of LED isn't really a problem. My concern with LED is that it's "win more", only working with Forge which is probably already going to win you the game whether or not you have LED.

This is different than Cranial Plating, which can do something with Memnite or your other threats that they can't do on their own. Plating probably turns your 7-turn clock into a 2 or 3-turn clock, but LED turns your Forge from a 1-turn clock into ... a slightly more consistent 1-turn clock. It's a lot less bang-for-your-dead-card. This is all conjecture though, if it turns out that LED or another pure-combo card consistently speeds the deck up a turn, then it's probably worth it.

last edited by Brass Man

I suspect getting metalcraft to be very important to both builds, so even the idea of a led that is nothing more than a trinket seems fine to me.

Speaking of combo, has anyone tried throwing a salvagers in here? If you have both lotus and led it could help enable you to go off at times where you cannot otherwise push through. Infinite ballista gets the job done unless your opponent is behind a leyline and an ensnaring bridge at hellbent.

On what number would you typically play Chalice of the Void? Everything from 0 through 4 seems to hurt your combo in some way.

last edited by boerma

@boerma said in Tiny Forgebots:

On what number would you typically play Chalice of the Void? Everything from 0 through 4 seems to hurt your combo in some way.

Yeah, specially if you play more than 1. That would be so bad, I bet they wouldn't even let you enter a vintage tournament with such deck.

@gutocmtt said in Tiny Forgebots:

@boerma said in Tiny Forgebots:

On what number would you typically play Chalice of the Void? Everything from 0 through 4 seems to hurt your combo in some way.

Yeah, specially if you play more than 1. That would be so bad, I bet they wouldn't even let you enter a vintage tournament with such deck.

He meant if you play it for 0, 1, 2 counters, etc. 🙂

My thinking on Chalice is that you play it at 0 and just run your 0 drops into it. You basically get to cycle your dead-to-Chalice cards and your opponent doesn't. If you assemble the combo you're still lethal with a Chalice-0 in play, and if necessary you can sack it to a Ravager. Playing it at 1 cuts off the combo, but could still be sometimes correct, as you can cycle your 1's and the rest of your deck is just workshop aggro.

Remains to be seen if it's worth the slot in practice, but Chalice 0 on the play is so strong it's hard to pass up.

@protoaddict said in Tiny Forgebots:

Speaking of combo, has anyone tried throwing a salvagers in here?

Surely not in this Workshop build, right? The deck has Petal/Pearl/Lotus/Opal for 4 total white sources (assuming the 2nd Opal gets cut for Lotus). LED would make it 5, but you can't cast Salvagers with LED. You'd need to change a lot of cards before you could ever expect to cast a white spell consistently, even if you didn't mind the fact that you can't play Salvagers off of Forge.

Maybe there's a Salvagers/Forge deck but I'm guessing it wouldn't share a lot of cards with this one.

last edited by Brass Man
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