Hello Folks and Happy New Year!
Welcome to the first of my Top Ten Lists for 2017! Now that we are fully ensconced in all things Aether Revolt, spoiler season and the nee year are upon us in equal measure. Are you ready for the Kaladeshi action, take two? Given how popular the first set was, it’ll be interesting to see how Aether Revolt may build upon it. Wherefore to now?
There are a lot of synergies in the cards spoiled thus far for AE. I spent about fifteen minutes poring over the potential cards for today’s Top Ten list. What looked good? A lot of ideas popped into my head, but more for Scrap Trawler than the others by far.
So what cards are tweaking my Abe-dar? Let’s take a look!
This hits at #10, despite really being more like #4 or 5 in power because it’s soooooo obvious. I want to save space above for trickier and funner (not a real word) stuff. But these all go very well. Let’s see, Scrap Trawler works best when an artifact with a casting cost heads to the great graveyard in the sky. So obviously any effect that increases your trigger-age is going to be warmly received. It’s nice to have a zero-mana effect here. There are many more to look at, but these are the first that pop into my head. The best is probably KCI — it can sacrifice non-creature artifacts as well as creatures, so it works with cards like Sol Ring and JayemdaeTome.
9. Madcap Experiment, Tinker, and Other Cheating Artifact Tutors
Note that the bigger the casting cost of a given artifact that hits the graveyard, the wider potential you have for bringing back the best artifact that bit it. So an affect that gets an artifact onto the battlefield early on, with a super high casting cost is going to prove very useful. Tinker is the obvious example, although it is banned in many casual formats, and frowned upon in others. Madcap Experiment is another, especially as you can sculpt it with other effects to help get the big and powerful option you desire. There are others out there too to consider. Get it out!
8. Metalwork Colossus and Myr Enforcer
The Colossus supports the Scrap Trawler from a bunch of angles. Due to its high casting cost you can make it your ideal drop for Madcap Experiment and other things above. However, because it can be a lot cheaper to actually play due to its artifact-friendly nature, you can get a very expensive creature on the board for relative cheapness, and have a powerful board presence as well. Meanwhile, the Myr Enforcer is perfect as a 7-drop, bringing back a ton of value in 6-drops or less, like Wurmcoil Engine, Steel Hellkite, Soul of New Phyrexia, Scuttling Doom Engine and such on down. Both play very well as cheap drops that can do more with their higher casting costs.
7. Mimic Vat
The issue with tokens is that they never have a casting cost. So you can’t lose a Clue token to get anything from the Trawler since it has no casting cost. And nothing is cheaper than nothing. But the Scrap Trawler does not have the “nontoken” clause on it. The corner case for tokens is if they are copying something. So if you played Saheeli's Artistry, then the tokens you get from it, which are tokens, will copy the casting cost. That’s pretty sexy right? When that token bites it, then you will get a Scrap Trawler trigger. Now one of the kings of this effect is clearly going to be Mimic Vat. No one else is going to be close. Getting to imprint a dying creature is great. Just make sure it’s an artifact creature. Then tap the Vat, and churn out your artifact tokens with casting costs and everything. And there are other copies of artifact tokens out there as well, in addition to Saheeli's Artistry, Saheeli Rai, Feldon of the Third Path and . . .
One of the main issues with sacrificing great artifacts in order to yield up valuable Trawler triggers is that you really like those artifacts. That’s why you are running them! You often don’t want to sacrifice them at all. I get that; enter Mirrorworks. This is a great engine for Scrap Trawler. When an artifact heads to the battlefield under your control, just add two colorless to make a copy. It’s like a Mirari for artifacts. And the copy of that artifact retains the casting cost, so when you sacrifice or lose it to other effects, you get that sexy Scrap Trawler trigger. Note that it works on artifact creatures as well as normal artifacts, so you can get doubles of key creatures like Wurmcoil Engine or Solemn Simulacrum.
In the short time since its release, Faerie Artisans has already proven its mettle. Every single creature that your opponents play for value is now yours as well. Did you play Mulldrifter? Okay, I get one too! Did you drop a Reclamation Sage? Okay me too! And since the tokens are already artifacts from the Artisans, they are ready to rock. Now the one thing pinning this at #5 and not climbing higher is simple. The worst thing about them is that they have their own built in clock. If an opponent brings any non-legendary creature to the party, you get a new copy of that as well, but the old copy is exiled. Exiling does not trigger your Trawler. If you want to get the powerful artifact triggers off the Trawler, you’ll need to find a way to sacrifice the creature in question first. That’s why we have the cards from #10 above, and you can look at other stuff like Altar of Dementia, Phyrexian Plaguelord and more.
Oh, and don’t forget. Do you know someone out there who cares about two things — artifact status and casting cost while bringing a sacrifice engine to the battlefield? That’s right, Bosh, Iron Golem is here to throw big giant tokens at opposing stuff!
The Scrap Trawler works best when you have the perfect slate of artifacts in your graveyard. Well, these folks can do that for you. Did you get by a big flying beater? About to lose the Moltensteel Dragon you blocked with? That’s fine. Is the best artifact in your graveyard under a six-casting cost a Dimir Signet? Why not maximize the value of your Trawler by using the Goblin Welder to swap your on-the-battlefield Solemn Simulacrum for it? Then you get the Signet back onto the battlefield, and the Simulacrum is Trawled back to your hand for another dance around the mulberry bush. The Scrap Trawler is already sheer value. These maximize that value heavily. Plus, you can recur artifacts with high costs for more sacrifice actions. Bring back that expensive beater or powerful artifact from your graveyard. Maximize those triggers!
This card is going to be amazing with Scrap Trawler. First of all, tap and sac it to give any non-artifact creature you’re running a +1/+1 counter and make it an artifact. Now that creature’s death will trigger Scrap Trawler. That opens up every single creature in Magic as an option. Given the very low casting cost of 1 for the Transmogrant, it’s very easy to Trawl back up to your hand as well as easy to replay and use again. Something small and simple, like Filigree Familiar or Mycosynth Wellspring will trigger it back. Also note that because you sacrifice it for its effect, you can bring back a zero cost artifact from your graveyard, such as an artifact land or Welding Jar or something.
2. Nevinyrral's Disk(And Other Mass Removal for Everything, such as Akroma's Vengeance or Obliterate)
So here is how this combo works. Often, heavy artifact decks have to run mass removal that avoids artifacts, to keep their stuff from dying. So they run a reset button like Wrath of God instead of a more thorough one. But the problem is that they often aren’t running a powerful answer to other artifact decks, or things like enchantments and crap as well. That’s where your Scrap Trawler can come in handy. Imagine you cast Akroma's Vengeance to sweep the board of everything that’s not a land or Planeswalker. Now, imagine that five of your artifacts die. That gives you five Trawler triggers. And since you don’t select targets for them until they’ve hit the graveyard, you can choose them. For example, imagine you popped a Disk. You lost the Trawler, a Disk, Izzet Signet, Steel Hellkite and Mimic Vat. All right, you have the Hellkite return the Disk, the Disk the Vat or Trawler, the Vat the Signet, and you have two more triggers left in case you have other artifacts already in your graveyard. With the Scrap Trawler out, a mass removal effect for everything is really more like half of an Upheaval and half mass removal for just you instead. There’s another trick here too. Artifact lands. Check it out. Play something like Obliterate. Everyone loses their lands, but you get two or three artifact lands back with Trawler triggers. Sexy right? Normally artifact lands are more fragile, but here? They are much more powerful.
1. Birthing Pod
The Birthing Pod is a very interesting card that plays into a unique space. It allows you to sacrifice a creature to fetch up a creature with one more higher casting cost. So building the perfect Pod deck requires you to be very sensitive to mana costs. You want to make sure that you have multiple options at each cost to be a beater, an answer, a card drawer, a defender, a combo piece, whatever. Now you should notice multiple harmonies with the Pod and the Trawler already:
Here let me illustrate this with one sample chain:
Turn A — Sacrifice a Filigree Familiar to the Pod. Search your library for Faerie Mechanist. Impulse three cards and find . . . an artifact mana rock, Mind Stone. Draw a card from the death of the Familiar. So sad. Get a dead artifact from your graveyard to your hand with the Trawler trigger.
Turn B — Pod the Faerie Mechanist into a Sphinx Summoner. Tutor your library for an artifact creature. Recur the Filigree Familiar from the dying Mechanist. Play it and gain some life unless you want to play what you just Summoned.
Turn D — Pod the Wurmcoil Engine into a well, you get the idea. You could get a Platinum Angel or Sandstone Oracle or Magister Sphinx or Memnarch or whatever. Make the two 3/3 Worm token creatures, Trawl back a Sphinx Summoner and more. Boom!
The point is that the Pod and Trawler grow at the same time together up the chain, and the focus of the deck on casting costs from both is just terrifyingly good. Pod on baby!
And there you are! From Birthing Pod and Ashnod'sTransmogrant to Krark-Clan Ironworks and Mirrorworks, there are a lot of cards to consider. Faerie Artisans? Feldon of the Third Path? You’ve got this!