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Goggles and Goblins

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All week, I have been playing around with different builds and decks to highlight the power of the new set. Though some have certainly been some fun-looking brews, not much got there as far as my competitive side is concerned. This week, I want to do something a little different and highlight a singular deck, but instead of just talking about it briefly, I want to explain my process in theory-crafting and show how I ended up on the list I did, and as time progresses and Magic Online finally adds Magic Origins, I will update on any changes down the road, as I am almost certain this is what I will be rocking until rotation.

Pyromancer's Goggles
So, of course, to earn an entire article, this deck must be somewhat out there—believe me that it's a strange one to be sure. From the limited testing I have done so far, it certainly has the potential to be both explosive and fun.

The first card I wanted to work with again was a card I mentioned a few weeks ago and was happy to see played this past weekend: Pyromancer's Goggles. I thought I had maximized the power of that card in Standard until I was looking through bulk rares the other day and stumbled upon another card still in Standard for a few months that may combo well with the goggles: Chief Engineer.

At first, the synergy is not apparent in a vacuum; I mean, sure, your Goggles now cost 4, but beyond that, it seems strange to place these two in the same seventy-five. The key component is actually neither of these cards, but instead the enablers for these cards: Hordeling Outburst and Dragon Fodder. Not only can we tap the creatures to make our Goggles cost next to nothing, we can also make use of the Goggles to make extra tokens if needed. Both of these interactions seemed real enough for me to at least put a short list on paper. This is where we started:

Stoke the Flames and Shrapnel Blast both seem great as long as we can keep the creature and artifact count high enough. Although we have the Goggles, the deck without any other artifacts is not exactly what you are looking for when you slide a card like Chief Engineer into your deck, so I went exploring further and rediscovered the legendary artifact Bident of Thassa. Imagine living the dream of attacking with a number of tokens only to have each draw you a card—seems right where I want to be.

Chief Engineer
Now that we have a few more pieces in place, let’s see where we are and what our holes appear to be.

Though I am a fan of these thirty core cards, I feel we are fairly weak in the early game until we set up, and while we do have the cute combos, we also need to have the ability to overrun our opponents faster in some games. Shrapnel Blast and Stoke the Flames can close games quickly, but we either need to get those online quickly or find some early card-draw or creatures to keep us alive and able to find our combo.

Unfortunately, both of our artifacts thus far have been legendary, which means we should probably not max out on four of each. I still want a few more targets for Chief Engineer to really shine, so I went to Gatherer only to find that the answer to tie the entire deck together was right in front of my eyes the whole time.

Hangarback Walker
Hangarback Walker does everything this deck wants and more: You have a sink for your convoke, you gain tokens to further that when it dies, and it can hold the fort on its own in some matches for fear of popping it and being overrun by flyers.

I am not as pumped on cards like Lightning Strike, as our early game to midgame is almost always finding us tapped out, so I believe some early card-draw would be better so our game plan does not fizzle. I am a huge fan of Magmatic Insight; as a combo player, I feel this card does big things in both Modern and Legacy, but in Standard, I would also like to see it shine. This gives us the option of keeping hands that may have all of the pieces but a few extra lands or, after Goggles are down, we can instead draw four cards, including the turn we play it.

Before any cuts, that puts us right about maximized on the number of spells we can afford, and though I am equally excited about all of the options we have in the mana base, I want to streamline the meat of the deck first.

Obelisk of Urd
This currently puts us at thirty-four cards, and though I am certain we could jam a few more burn spells or creatures in and call it a day, I want to stretch the capability of the main deck to see what works and what does not when we first go to test. A key mistake so many people make when testing is refusing to try new cards. Yes, it is likely your first instinct was correct and the card is not what you are looking for, but you will never know if you do not test it, so I wanted to reduce a few of the copies in the main deck and see what we can squeeze in on this first leg of our journey.

Hall of Triumph feels fairly weak in this build, and Obelisk of Urd is a little underwhelming when all we have are eight spells that interact with it well. With that in mind, I went digging on a deck-builder's best friend: Gatherer. Of all of the cards I could possibly see playing in this shell, this is what we have:

Artifacts

Alchemist's Vial This is a nice cantrip and additional fodder for Shrapnel Blast, and it can potentially lock out a blocker to force through extra damage or keep your alive for a turn.

Hammer of Purphoros The haste is nice, but ideally, we are tapping our creatures early for convoke, which does not require them to have haste. I am a fan of the late-game reusable guys if we have the land count, but this seems less than great in some matches, leaving it as a sideboard contender at best for me right now.

Alchemist's Vial
Hammer of Purphoros
Phyrexian Revoker

Phyrexian Revoker Here is another card likely delegated to the ’board. I do believe there are times this is playable in the main, but into a blind field, I do not like the choice. Shutting down cards like Elspeth, Sun's Champion or any of the new Planeswalkers can be great, but it’s usually is not backbreaking enough to want what would be a dead card in some matchups main.

Runed Servitor I am never a fan of giving my opponent free value, and that is all I can see when I look at this card. I have seen some of the more aggressive artifact decks running him to keep the cards flowing, but in a build like this, I am a much bigger fan of Hangarback Walker.

Scroll of the Masters I am a huge fan of this card—I have been from the moment I saw it in the spoiler, and ever since, I have been looking for a reason to play it. The cost is cheap enough that, even without the Engineer, it may be playable. The main issue I see with Scroll is just how long it takes to set up, making it bad against most aggressive decks. Unfortunately, I just could not justify it in the main, but against control, it seems very reasonable to ’board in, making your Goblin tokens large threats on their own and relieving the amount of pressure you have to apply into board wipes.

Runed Servitor
Scroll of the Masters
Scuttling Doom Engine

Scuttling Doom Engine If I could always ensure I had Chief Engineer in hand, I feel this card would be an auto-include, but it seems far too clunky on its own to be playable, which, sadly, has me moving forward. Feel free to test this one out, and let me know how it works.

Soul of New Phyrexia This seems to have the same issue as Scuttling Doom Engine, with less damage as the downside and more resilience in the late game to make up for that. Unfortunately, we are not looking for an extremely late game and would like to minimize the amount of mana we have to leave untapped every turn.

Tapestry of the Ages Slow card-draw does not feel great here, but this may prove to be better than anticipated if this deck takes a more of a midrange mode.

Soul of New Phyrexia
Tapestry of the Ages
Ugin's Nexus

Ugin's Nexus Okay, okay, this is just way too cute, but who doesn't want to Shrapnel Blast this thing?

I am not sold on many of the extra artifacts, and Shrapnel Blast already has a number of targets in addition to some number of Darksteel Citadels. I believe the deck still has a ways to go before it is anywhere near streamlined, but for now, I leave you with what I have so far for the shell.

This is where I currently am with the build, but as always, I am looking forward. I have a few other cards I really want to try and that I may tool around with over the coming weeks, but for now, I am off to get some games in on Magic Online as soon as the set releases. Next week, once we have some more coverage on the set, I will get down and dirty digging into the new Standard, but for now, I am off to craft with my Goggles and Goblins.

Ryan Bushard

@CryppleCommand


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