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