Whispers of the Muse: Lawrence M’s ‘Grab for Power’ (M12)
Welcome to the next installment of our Whispers of the Muse, the occasional series where a reader asks for help tinkering with and improving upon a precon deck from the Ertai’s Lament community! Today’s request comes to us from Lawrence M., who would like to improve the Black/Blue Grab for Power deck from Magic 2012. He’s building it almost stock from the box, but says “so far I have purchased 1x Throne Of Empires and 1x Scepter Of Empires.”
“I’m fairly new to the game,” he adds, but mentions that he’d like to make the deck more competitive. As you may recall from our review, Grab for Power is a combo-style deck heavily dependent upon hitting it’s three-card combo (the artifacts of Empires) for maximum effectiveness.
Because Lawrence is a newer player, it may be more helpful to limit suggestions to cards more readily available at his local gaming store, but of course any suggestions for improving the deck’s performance are more than welcome. Here’s the stock list:
So… how would you make the deck better? Let us know in the comments below!
I actually ended up building a deck very similar to this one.
The first thing I would do is to have 4 of each of the empire artifacts for consistancy’s sake.
I put in some torpor orbs to keep my stuff somewhat protected
and then just pick your creatures carefully so they fit well with the deck. Perhaps Viscera Seer or something so that you can dig.
I’ve been playtesting it just a little bit using Magic Online’s demo mode (which lets you play all the M12 and D12 intro decks for free). I think going all the way to 4 of each Empires artifact would be too many. You don’t want 4 Thrones because they’re a little hard to cast. You don’t want 4 Crowns because they’re bad in multiples. And you don’t want 4 Scepters because, well, they’re kind of bad. Maxing out on them would make you too reliant on your looters, and they’re too fragile. My initial thought is that 2 of each is fine, assuming you max out on Ponder and Preordain.
And on that note, I would definitely try and max out on both Ponder and Preordain. They’re some of the best cards you can have for improving the consistency of a deck like this, and they’ll help you dig for those pieces without having to have all 4 copies of each.
I haven’t been very impressed with Reassembling Skeleton here. Discarding it to a Looter is cute, but the deck is pretty mana-hungry, and I just haven’t had time to durdle around regenerating him. The vanilla creatures are also pretty obviously subpar–Zombie Goliath is just bad. I’m sure you can find replacements for them pretty easily; look for decent bodies that fit on your curve and have additional abilities that can help kill stuff, stall, or draw more cards. Skinrender and Sea Gate Oracle spring to mind for me; if you poke around on Gatherer, you should be able to find more options.
I really like this deck and i’ve worked a little on it already and will be building it online soon (pre-release events online keep prices high for a few weeks for new sets).
First step I would take is to max out on the Buried Ruin and add 4 Phyrexia’s Core. These are added because of the engine necessary to actually assemble this combo in standard reliably the Wellsprings, with 4 Mycosynth Wellspring and 4 Ichor Wellspring you can thin your deck and fix your mana, Core then helps you recycle these for more advantage. More interesting with his is the addition of Kuldotha Forgemaster on top of this, which will allow you to trade in redundant empire pieces and Wellsprings into new empire pieces and card advantage. To also make use of Kuldotha Forgemaster add secondary finishers like Thopter Assembly and/or Myr Battlesphere which act as both game finishers and artifact producers for Kuldotha Forgemaster to turn into empire pieces.
To power these cards out you can use Grand Architect and other blue creatures to easily dump your hand onto the table and search out your high end creatures (Battlesphere/Assembly) with Treasure Mage. If you want to be more dependent on this package you can add more blue creatures such as Trinket Mage (and some targets for it such as Everflowing Chalice and Elixir of Immortality which can shuffle your empire pieces back in).
Alternatively you can add a Proliferate package in this deck which will help you hit higher mana (with Everflowing Chalice) and fend off other creatures (with Tumble Magnet) and add more blue creatures to tap for mana with Architect (Thrumming Bird / Viral Drake) this uses Contagion Clasps and Contagion Engines.
Obviously there’s quite a lot of suggestions here and many many directions to go down to reach the triple empire pieces, however these are the way I would go, there are other options which other people will suggest and you should choose the play style that appeals to you most (I haven’t added any lists for this reason). All the cards mentioned are really low in price, the max one being Grand Architect but still really cheap considering magic.
I would put in a few royal assassins with the empire theme.
Also tap a creature with an artifact and then controll it. Its nice and easy.
Offcourse i ment to type you can destroy the creature tapped with the crown with a royal assassin.
If you were going to have this deck more extended than standard, you could obviously go for fabricate, and perhaps etherium sculptors and master of etherium. If you want to have this deck in standard (for some weird reason), perhaps use the contagion clasps, etc. that was mentioned earlier.
After some thinking, these cards may be nice for the deck as well. They are all either cheap rares or uncommon’s/commons from recent sets.
* As i mentioned before, the royal assassins for controlling the battlefield.
* more ponders and preordains
*perhaps 1 more buried ruin
* if your budget allows you to, get those nice dual lands from 2012 to help getting a more defined mana flow.
* 2 crystal balls should work fine in this deck.
+ /- 2 voltaic keys so you can make use of the three artifacts more often.
* 4 Treasure mage’s seems to be a fantastic fit in this deck.
its blue, lets you find an artifact with a cost of 6 or less and put it in your hand!
* Oculus for more card drawing
dismiss the treasure mage, doesn’t work that well in this deck since you need to find an artifact with a mana cost greater then six. Sorry, read it to fast i quess. 😉
I had an other idea how to make it work. It’s maybe a bit slow, but still budget-ish.
Make it White-Blue-black, going with the theme’s of the Empire cards: soldiers and tap/control (have to find a way still to direct-player-damage. Black cards? or add red?) and offcourse search/draw.
These are the cards I use and why:
Crown of Empires: The tap and control Empire
Gideon’s Lawkeeper: soldier, and tap
Royal Assassin: destroy the tapped
Assassinate: destoy the tapped
Sleep: Tap all and keep ’em tapped. Handy also for your soldiers to attack.
Mind Control: control ’em
Throne of Empires: make soldier tokens
Mobilization: soldier tokens
Raise the Alarm: more soldier tokens
Timely Reinforcements: soldier tokens and life if you are behind
Scepter of Empires: life drain
No support cards of this theme yet (advise?)
Ponder and Preordain: explaned above in another comment
Fabricate: Exelent missing-piece combo searcher for this deck
Diabolic Tutor: same, but searching the Royal Assassin or Sleep or Timely Reinforcements can come in handy too!
Divination: Card draw
Foresee: Beefed Preordain
This is just another twist on the deck, maybe it’s helpfull, maybe it isnt! But the important part: have fun playing, its all that matters.