BRO! This is the last CUT article of 2022, how cool is that? I do enjoy that we get to close out the year with the finals of a CUT and go into the new year with fresh minds and fresh eyes as we traverse into 2023. Looking back on the year, we had so many cool sets and products released (emphasis on many). There was a lot that came out, and I can see why folks are having product fatigue. Even so, this year was still lots of fun, with a plethora of new cards for everyone's Commander decks!
Speaking of Commander decks, let's see who made it to the final Finals of 2022!
Congratulations to our last winners of 2022; Minotaur and Juli!
The challenges I gave our deckbuilders this round were:
Must use a legendary creature from The Brothers' War Commander as your commander
All nonland cards must either be artifacts or must mention artifacts on the card (ability, name)
Max 16 Rares/mythics (including your commander)
First up we have Minotaur Reviewer! Take it away!
CUT - MuzzioView on Archidekt
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Well, I'm thrilled to have made the cut and continue to the next round. This new challenge is particularly interesting by needing all nonland cards to be an artifact or reference an artifact.
There were a lot of interesting commander choices here from the The Brothers' War Commander decks, but the one that stood out to me was, as he rewards playing a lot of artifacts but also playing the big ones that excite my inner Timmy.
The primary strategy we're going for here is to make the most of Muzzio's activated ability in order to cheat in artifacts, hopefully ones that cost more than Muzzio's ability. In order to always hit, we are running in total over 50 artifacts. This should ensure that we will always get a card in play each use of the ability.
One issue is that Muzzio's ability is fairly expensive, and it doesn't offer much control as to which artifacts we cheat in, so we need to balance the deck so that there are enough expensive artifacts in the deck to cheat in, but also enough cheap ones so we don't brick our hand.
Examples of the big artifacts we're looking to cheat in include, , , and . These cards are big threats by themselves, but having them on board also allows Muzzio to dig deeper, which will start a snowball effect.
The artifacts on the cheaper side of the mana curve are largely being filled with mana rocks or with artifact creatures that reduce artifact costs. These include, , and .
Having these smaller artifacts will help us ramp so we can afford Muzzio's ability but also play any big artifacts stuck in our hand.
For our support cards, we haveand to double up on Muzzio's ability. and help sculpt the top of our deck to maximize Muzzio's ability and to also have an idea which cards we can cheat in.
For planeswalker support, I've opted to go withand . Karn I chose for his ability to create Powerstone tokens to pay for our artifacts or Muzzio's ability, but his ultimate is another great way to make our mana rocks that much more deadly. Tezzeret acts as an artifact tutor and a game-ender, as he can turn all our mana rocks into 5/5s
Once we've started to snowball without artifacts we can then assist with spells that have Affinity for artifacts, Metalcraft abilities, or turn them into a killing blow with cards like, , or .
Thanks, Minotaur! You may have noticed that they didn't abide by one of the challenges, as this deck had way over the amount of rare/mythic cards. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to have them re-do the entire thing, so that's where your voting comes in! Make sure after you vote to check them out on Reddit and right here on Commander's Herald!
Lastly, we have Juli! Let's jump right in!
CUT - The Tragedy of This Little PeaceView on Archidekt
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Fantastic challenge this week, Travis. I love playing into a theme. There's a little hamster on a wheel powering the deckbuilding engine installed in my brain, and despite the giant bag of Sour Patch Kids I'm feeding it right now, this is where it thrives. You better step it up, Minotaur Guy.
Before I go any further, I want you to read Farid's story. You don't have to, but I recommend it as a piece of personal enrichment. Miguel Lopez wrote one of Magic's most beautiful and haunting works of fiction to date, and this story drew me to Farid, a man determined to survive The Brothers' War by pulling together what little he can. The deck I built around him survives much the same: it leverages his ability to create extra pieces of Scrap to simultaneously burn his opponents and gain value.
Let's start with our finishers. This deck circumvents combat and elects to deal damage directly to our opponents instead., , , and all reward us for creating or controlling a pile of artifacts. is an homage to my competitor, but it's a strong win condition too, as it converts mana and artifacts into direct damage to all of our opponents. , , and are similar, trading global damage for the ability to hit our opponents' boards. We can take these and amplify them with too!
Figuring out how to draw into these win conditions was one of the biggest challenges I faced building this deck. Card advantage is not plentiful in mono-red, especially with this round's limitations.is our most consistent draw engine, while can sacrifice our Scrap for draw. Meanwhile, cards like , , and can wheel through our deck. But five cards won't win a war; while cards like , , and act as cantrips, they need more work to really shine.
And so, we pull in the majority of our rares to support them by setting up an engine to repeatedly recycle our artifacts., if you will. lets us reuse our artifacts unless one of our opponents elects to take damage, a more dangerous proposition as the game goes on. is akin to for artifacts, bringing back our machines en masse. Continuing the theme of "cards with Scrap in the name," and allow us to repeatedly recycle our artifacts; while it's a travesty they don't synergize with Farid's Scrap tokens (they don't say "less than or equal to!"), we'll take any value we can squeeze out.
The best of these is a card I've never played before:. While we can use him for value, there's a good reason commands 20% of this deck's $50 price tag. This little gremlin can also take a piece of Scrap and turn into, oh, I don't know... perhaps the I mentioned earlier? A for a giant beater? A for removal?
Oh, hey, what about removal! Let's ride this ADHD wave for a second. Red's best targeted removal spell,, is out. is illegal too. While , , and our damage pingers do some work, we need more than that. We can turn to cards like , , , and , but that's not all we've got.
The challenge says all of our cards must care about artifacts. It doesn't say how we should care about artifacts...
Yeah!and turn our opponents' permanents into artifacts, and cards like , , or destroy them! Of course, these aren't dead cards on their own: artifact removal is always handy, and we can still use the Liquimetals to raise our artifact count for cards like or for cards like , who can use it to sacrifice or protect things he normally wouldn't be able to.
This is an awkward segue, but let's close this out. I'd like to turn to you, the reader, and say thank you. I didn't expect to be up against two of Commander's Herald's established writers, and it meant a lot to see folks enjoy my entry from last week. Just to be clear, I haven't written an essay since high school! What am I doing here?!
But look, I'm saying all of this because... if you enjoy reading things like this, and you've always wanted to try something like it, you can do it too. I'm not going to give you sappy motivational advice because god knows we've both read waaaaay too much of that. Just know this random stranger on the Internet believes in you. I'd love to see what you can do.
Thanks so much, Juli! You met all of the challenges and definitely built up a wonderful creation. Make sure after you vote to go and check Juli out on all of her socials!
Those were some fantastic builds! Another big thank you to our participants for CUT #18; no matter who ends up winning this one, you are all winners in my heart. This is the first time that a deckbuilder hasn't quite followed one of the challenges, so it will be interesting to see how that affects their vote!
A big thank you to everyone who read and voted on all of the CUT articles this year, it really means a lot! This article series is tremendously fun to write, plus the people that I get to work with are amazing, and I'm super happy to share their work and creativity with all of you!
Alas, it wouldn't be CUT without the end poll, so make sure you vote on which deck you liked the best, or which deck you thought was the most interesting! I wish all of you Happy Holidays and I hope all of you have a great New Years, and possibly come up with some great New Year's Resolutions, and remember, if you don't love it, CUT it!
If you or a friend want to participate in a future CUT article, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me on twitter @ chipman007!
Poll Closes: Jan 9, 2023