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June 27, 2010

6

Archenemy: Assemble the Doomsday Machine (Part 1 of 2)

by Dredd77

Weclome back to the next installment of Archenemy! The theme of today’s deck- the assembling of a doomsday device- is not only appropriate flavour-wise for the schemes, but also it is a useful metaphor for understanding how the deck works.

In Bring About the Undead Apocalypse, you had a very straightforward deck design. Support a recursion theme with fatties to dump into your graveyard, ways to get them out into play, and removal to clear the path to your opponent. Machine appears much more intricate, with many more moving parts. Gears in the device, if you will.

A Pleasure, I’m Sure

First, let’s get introduced to the beaters of the deck. Doomsday Machine features- by a healthy margin- the lowest creature count of any of the four Archenemy decks. These tend to form two ‘peaks’ on a graphing of the converted mana cost (CMC) of 4 and 7+, which means you won’t be doing much with them before turn 4.

Here we must look, then, at the intricacy of the selection. Most of the creatures here are pulling double-duty, being beaters in and of themselves but also serving a higher purpose. The Metallurgeon regenerates artifcats, while the Ethersworn Shieldmage can drop a surprise combat trick with Flash and turn combat in your favour.

Your artifacts gain a sort of semi-Shroud when the Leonin Abunas hits the table, and should any fall prey to your enemies, a pair of Sanctum Gargoyles are there to fetch them back. Lastly, the Master Transmuter allows for a few nifty tricks to get your more expensive artifacts into play.

Things get even uglier at the higher end of the curve. The Duplicant exiles a critter as it enters play. The Magister Sphinx can play with your opponent’s life total (or boost yours if things grow dire), the Sundering Titan plays with lands and Memnarch, well, he plays with just about anything.

Now for the Devilish Devices

If you looked at the Sundering Titan above and wondered if it had the potential to go horribly wrong, you needn’t worry overmuch. Doomsday Machine is absolutely stuffed with non-land mana sources, a full seven of them! From the colourless (Everflowing Chalice, Dreamstone Hedron) to the coloured (Signets- Dimir and Azorius, Borderposts- Mistvein and Fieldmist, and a lone Obelisk of Esper), you should have more than enough ramp and mana fixing to ensure a steady flow of plays from start to finish.

A handful of utility artifacts (M11’s Sorcerer’s Strongbox, Sun Droplet, and Lightning Greaves are a few to give you an idea) round out the picture. The cogs of this machine are many and varied…

Besides the Abunas, there are only a smattering of non-artifact spells in Doomsday Machine, and these exist mainly in a supporting role. Spin into Myth, Agony Warp, and Unmake provide some removal of key elements in your opponents’ defenses and must be used sparingly. March of the Machines is a particularly nasty “all-in” finisher, animating all of your artifacts and best used as a surprise marshalling of the forces on your turn.

Multiplayer Play?

That said, unlike with Bring About the Undead Apocalypse, there are few options here that become optimised in multiplayer. The last spell, Batwing Brume, is one such card, but the rest tend to be passive effects that just cast a little broader with more players lined up against you (Lodestone Golem, Skullcage, Thunderstaff). That’s not to say that Machine is a weak or ineffective deck, but that if you didn’t know better you could just about be looking at a regular artifact-heavy preconstructed deck, not unlike Planechase’s Metallic Dreams.

The mana base of the deck seems more than adequate when you take into account the various fixing artifacts, and the path to victory seems clear. That said, it doesn’t look as formidable as Undead Apocalypse, and perhaps just a mite too clever for its own good.

But for the real test, we’ll have to see how it performs. Thanks for joining me today as we dissected the deck, come back in two days’ time and we’ll have the writeups ready to see how well it lived up to the notion of “doomsday!”

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. Ben (Twitter: Panahinuva)
    Jun 27 2010

    My friend bought this one, mostly to cannibalize and because it has the best schemes (primarily All in Good Time and the world exploding one) and he has an Esper EDH deck he wanted cards for.

    I know artifact decks well and I’d say that this deck has a distinct chance of being overwhelmingly powerful, although the lack of Master of Etherium helps make it fair. It has good amounts of removal and no end of finishers, especially when paired up with its schemes. Batwing Brume in particular seems like it could be hilarious in an Archenemy game, especially if it looks like everyone can just alpha strike for the win and then you brume and kill everyone. Master Transmuter is the one card in the deck that seriously worries me, because Transmuter is probably one of the most potentially broken cards in an artifact deck, since you can, for example, play a Sanctum Gargoyle to get back something, then bounce the gargoyle to your hand and replace it with that something. It’s especially scary when paired up with the Sundering Titan. Play Titan, use Transmuter to bounce titan, then when the effect resolves, play titan again. That’s going to kill up to 15 lands. That’s scary.

    However, I look forward eagerly to seeing it played.

    Reply
  2. Robert Johns
    Jun 28 2010

    This is the only Archenemy deck I’ve played so far and then only once. I was playing against two (less than tier one) std decks and found it mostly one-sided, in my favor. But it was nice to cater to my evil side, Muhaha.
    The main thing I wanted to add to Ben’s comment is that Master Transmuter is even more evil. Because the artifact you bounce is part of the activation cost, you can put it right back on the field. I had a soft lock going with Sanctum Gargoyle and AEther Spellbomb. You can do the same thing with Sundering Titan for even more evilness. Since in this case my opponents were suppyling the plains and islands, I was only losing a swamp per trigger. Oh, did I mention that I had the artifact that reads “T: untap target artifact” and the “Seedborn Muse” scheme also. Yea, AEther Spellbomb four times per turn cycle is pretty sick!
    Can’t wait till I get to play again.

    Reply
    • Ben (Twitter: Panahinuva)
      Jun 28 2010

      You sir, are horrifically evil. Well done.

      Reply

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