Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Deck Tech: Tezzeret's Empire

Hey there, folks.  I know I've been gone a month, and it couldn't have been a worse time, but instead of being remorseful about the spoilers and bannings I missed, I want to jump straight back into the brewing game with a cycle of cards that have managed to pique my interest.
In case you hadn't figured it out by the title of the article, this means the Empires artifact cycle from M12.  Like the Urza lands that gain increased power if all three are on the table, the same goes for the Empires artifact, and this is a mechanic I'm happy to see being reused.  It's rare that Magic lists another card by name, but they've been doing that more and more frequently ever since Shards of Alara's cycle, and the concept has been fully culminated here.

Your mom had one of these in her nightstand.
The first of these artifacts is the Scepter, and it's decidedly the most lackluster of the bunch.  All three of them can win the game, but this one whittles away at your opponent directly.  The others also require costs to activate, while this one is free, and also rely on attacking with creatures to get the job done, while this one does not.  It's still pretty weak to Standard's white leyline.  Long story short: Don't expect to win off this one a lot.  If it could ping creatures, then it would be good.  But it can't, so it's bad.

I wore one of these in your mom's room
last night.
The crown is a particularly nasty part of the set in that it singlehandedly stops the titans you're sure to face.  Three mana is a steep cost compared to that of a Tumble Magnet, but well worth it once you get all three artifacts and start stealing titans.  The lack of needing charge counters offsets the mana dependency a little, but not a lot.  It is good to note, however, that the crown comes down a turn before our tumbly wumbly friend.

herp derp your mom lolol
The token generator of the Empires set, this is how you get dudes when your opponent isn't playing any for you to steal.  Personally, I actually like the crown more, but the throne's cheaper activation cost is nice as well.  It does nothing against fliers, titans, or Hero of Oxid Ridge, but at least it's relevant when your opponent isn't beating in, I suppose.

Now, being artifacts, the Empires cycle can fit into any shell you feel like.  Some, like this guy over at StarCity, are toying around with Glissa, but instinct alone tells me that there's a better way to go.  And by better I mean Tezzeret's Empire.

I met this guy walking out on my way to
hook up with your mom.
Tezzeret digs five cards deep a turn in search of your missing artifacts, can turn any extras you get into 5/5 beaters, and if all else fails serves as an alternate win condition.  He makes more artifacts, makes them stronger, and then gains life off them somehow.  Urza would be proud, at least more so than your mom is of you for spending your time for reading these articles.  No matter, one thing is clear:

Tezzeret is the Emperor.  And today's deck is about Tezzeret's Empire.

When I first thought of this deck, there's so many auto-inclusions to me that I'm just going to list out my original concept:

4 Crown of Empires
4 Scepter of Empires
4 Throne of Empires
4 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

These four slots make up the core of the deck.  Without them, the deck would simply not be.

3 Everflowing Chalice
3 Contagion Clasp
3 Tumble Magnet

The standard proliferate package to go with Tezzeret.  No surprises here.  A proliferated Chalice becomes extremely useful when you're relying on the activation costs of the crowns and thrones on the table.

4 Ponder
4 Preordain
3 Tezzeret's Gambit

...It's a blue deck.  Again, no surprises here.  We need to dig a lot to find the artifacts we need and/or Tezzerets.  The gambits ramp up chalice and keep Tumble Magnets alive an extra turn.

2 Black Sun's Zenith

Because I curve out at four and have the power of proliferate along with chalices, not to mention the four ponders and preordains, I feel safe in running only 22 lands, freeing up the slot for two BSZ.  BSZ gets rid of annoying shrouded creatures like Thrun, the Last Troll, along with token armies that I otherwise can't deal with.  This deck doesn't like tackling more than one or two creatures at a time, which makes BSZ indispensable at taking out a wide swath of little dudes.  A turn two Chalice into turn three BSZ for two will save the game against most of the aggro lists out there right now.  The card is a must.

4 Creeping Tar Pit
4 Drowned Catacombs
4 Tectonic Edge
7 Island
3 Swamp

The manabase is also pretty simple for this deck.  Since literally all of our cards are draw and artifacts, there's not a whole lot of color dependency outside of Tezzeret and BSZ.  I keep a 7-3 split only because I don't want to be washed out by a Spreading Seas.  Again, due to lack of a color dependency, I find Darkslick Shores too much of a risk.  The deck simply doesn't need it.

U/B is a tough, but also a really interesting matchup against this deck.  Their Inquizitions, Duresses, Spell Pierces, etc. all do wonders against you, but if you resolve a crown they'll usually find it to be a tough time beating through it.  U/W is a bit different, with it being easier to resolve your artifacts but Oblivion Ring is there to ruin your day and turn you into a sad panda.  Against U/W, remember that you could need multiple copies of your artifacts at any time, so don't go throwing them away or turning them into 5/5 beaters.

Vampires can be tough if they get an explosive draw, especially since Viscera Seer makes sure you can't steal creatures.  an early BSZ is really the only way to win this matchup, followed by an active throne.  PyroTwin is a bit annoying in that their exarch combo will never get off the ground, but at the same time they can control the board all day and keep you at bay.  Resolving a Throne is again the best way to deal with them, as the infinite sea of dudes will eventually break through the deck's card advantage and steal the win.

Valakut is answered with Tectonic Edge, plus all the digging to get the lands.  The crowns and magnets keep Primeval Titan at bay, meaning that Avenger of Zendikar is really the scariest card in the matchup, but luckily you pack Black Sun as well as your own token generating army.  If Valakut does go online, Tezz's ultimate can buy you a turn or two to shut it back off or beat for the game.  RDW puts up a strong fight, and is probably the worst matchup you could have.  BSZ helps, but usually not a lot.  Really the only way to win this one is to pop a big Tezz ultimate by T5-6 to recover.

One last time, we have my set of 60 for Tezzeret's Empire.  Until next time, this was Yo Mama, and I was just joking earlier.  She really is proud of you for reading these articles.  She told me while we were making out.

Artifacts (21)

  • 4 Crown of Empires
  • 4 Throne of Empires
  • 4 Scepter of Empires
  • 3 Everflowing Chalice
  • 3 Contagion Clasp
  • 3 Tumble Magnet
Planeswalkers (4)
  • 4 Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
Sorceries (13)
  • 4 Ponder
  • 4 Preordain
  • 3 Tezzeret's Gambit
  • 2 Black Sun's Zenith
Lands (22)
  • 4 Creeping Tar Pit
  • 4 Drowned Catacombs
  • 4 Tectonic Edge
  • 7 Island
  • 3 Swamp

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