For many players, becoming immersed in a new Constructed format can be a daunting task. Finding a deck to play that is fits your liking can be tough, and finding one that also doesn’t break the bank can be even harder. In a format like Pioneer, most of the top decks in the format are pretty pricey. Paying for the necessary dual Lands for Rakdos midrange or Izzet Phoenix can be a struggle, and some individual cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse cost a ton by themselves.
While there are a couple more budget-friendly options, such as mono-red aggro or mono-blue Spirits, most of them are aggressively slanted, which isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. In a recent Magic Online Pioneer Challenge, however, a mono-white deck built around a plethora of non-Creature Artifacts and Metalwork Colossus got 17th, and the deck is extremely budget-friendly. In paper, the deck is under $100, which is quite nice for a Pioneer deck. For anyone looking to get into Magic Online, the deck is UNDER NINE TICKETS ($9 online) making it extremely easy to build.
Unlike decks like mono-red aggro and mono-blue Spirits, the archetype also has a great Rakdos midrange matchup, making it perfect for anyone sick of losing to Sheoldred. This strategy is certainly unique, so let’s dive right in and take a look at what makes this archetype so intriguing.
In order to maximize Metalwork Colossus and make it a reliable card to cast, you need to play a decent number of non-Creature Artifacts during the early turns of the game. You also don’t want to fall too far behind, especially against aggressive decks. Both Portable Hole and Glass Casket fill this role quite nicely. To help advance your mana development, this deck also makes use of a full playset of Renegade Map. In the early game, you can sacrifice Renegade Map to search for Lands as necessary. Later on, you can always sacrifice excess copies to return Metalwork Colossus from your graveyard to your hand if it dies.
This ability of Metalwork Colossus is what gives the deck inevitability against decks with removal that doesn’t exile. Cards like Power Word Kill out of Rakdos or various Counterspells out of Azorius control won’t keep the Metalwork Colossus train stopped for long. To help ensure that you have a consistent flow of Artifacts to sacrifice, this deck also makes use of cards like Terrarion. Terrarion helps make Metalwork Colossus cost less mana, then can be sacrificed later as necessary and drawing you a card to replace it at virtually no cost.
Finally, in order to make sure Metalwork Colossus can get through a sea of blockers, this deck plays Wedding Invitation and Shadowspear. While there’s only one copy of Shadowspear and two copies of Wedding Invitation, there are multiple copies of Inventor’s Fair that can help search for them, as well as cards like Ingenious Smith that can dig for them.
In addition to playing cheap interactive Artifacts, another way this deck can play Metalwork Colossus ahead of schedule is by playing non-Creature Artifacts that also tap for mana. Cards like Cultivator’s Caravan come a long way in helping you cast Metalwork Colossus. The card naturally makes Colossus cost three less mana, but it can also produce mana that can be used to help cast Colossus, too. It’s quite common to play Caravan and immediately play a one-drop Artifact alongside it.
Additionally, using Colossus, a big Ingenious Smith, or your Companion Jegantha, the Wellspring to Crew Caravan can help you win races and beat board wipes like Supreme Verdict. Caravan does a lot of work in this deck, and it helps you curve nicely into The Mightstone and Weakstone, arguably the best card in the whole deck.
The Mightstone and Weakstone is an incredible card in this archetype, and a huge reason why this archetype can succeed. Obviously, the card helps a ton towards casting Metalwork Colossus, virtually paying for seven of the eleven mana needed to cast Colossus. Both abilities are also very strong. Giving a Creature -5/-5 is good enough to deal with almost any problematic Creature, including Sheoldred. In attrition-based matchups, drawing two cards is a good option to have instead. Both Caravan and The Mightstone and Weakstone act as the glue that hold the deck together.
One of the struggles with this archetype in general is beating removal that exiles Metalwork Colossus. Cards like The Wandering Emperor can be devastating. Fortunately, this deck has some tricks up its sleeve to help beat these types of cards. First of all, even if you spend no mana to cast Metalwork Colossus, its mana cost is still 11. This makes Sanctum of Ugin a great tool for the deck, letting you grab a second copy of Colossus to add extra pressure to the board. This way, even if one Colossus gets exiled, you still have a ten-power Creature left over to bash with.
Touch the Spirit Realm can help with exiling removal as well, while filling multiple other roles. The card can be cast like normal, acting as an Oblivion Ring for problematic Artifacts and Creatures[/tooltips], such as Cavalier of Thorns or Old-Growth Troll out of mono-green Devotion. However, the real strength lies in being able to blink out Colossus and return it to play at the beginning of the next end step, completely unharmed. You can even blink non-Creature Artifacts like The Mightstone and Weakstone to generate extra value or protect them from the likes of Boseiju, Who Endures.
Strengths and Weaknesses
This deck definitely has some weaknesses, but there are a handful of very strong matchups. Take it from the innovator of the deck themselves: this deck has quite a strong Rakdos midrange matchup. While many budget aggro decks struggle against Rakdos’s recipe of cheap interaction alongside Sheoldred and Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, this deck goes way over the top. Both Touch the Spirit Realm and The Mightstone and Weakstone answer any problematic threats along the way, and Metalwork Colossus is a nearly unbeatable threat. Similarly, Izzet Phoenix has a very difficult time dealing with a resolved Colossus, and its clock is typically rather slow.
Where this deck tends to struggle is either against decks like Azorius control that play Farewell or Gruul midrange that plays Artifact removal and The Akroan War. The copies of Portable Hole and Glass Casket help a lot against other Creature-heavy decks, though Boros Convoke has a tendency to go wide very quickly. Additionally, combo decks like Lotus Field combo can pose a struggle, though adding extra copies of Damping Sphere can help a little bit.
This strategy may be a bit off the wall, and it’s unlikely to skyrocket to being a tier one archetype any time soon. That being said, it’s a reasonable choice in a Rakdos-heavy metagame, and its budget-friendly nature both in paper and online makes it an intriguing choice. If you’re looking for something unique, cheap, and fun to play in Pioneer, consider giving this deck a try.