[casthaven]Daretti, Scrap Savant[/casthaven] is like a sub in a sex dungeon: he begs to be broken. And like the person interacting with said sub, I had to exercise specific care to keep this deck within the boundaries. It would have been easy to turn this deck into some sort of monstrous combo engine, but how much fun would that be? Daretti seems great for combo, given how deep he lets you dig, but combo ends games faster, and Daretti seems like an end-game deck.


50 Shades of Grey is going to be a terrible movie, fwiw.

So I left in some jank, and avoided adding in proliferate engines, which would have just been too much, man. There aren’t the usual suspects, like [casthaven]Power Conduit[/casthaven], even as I’m running cards like [casthaven]Everflowing Chalice[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Ratchet Bomb[/casthaven], which go nicely with both of those. Yes, they would probably be better inclusions than [casthaven]Goblin Kaboomist[/casthaven], and this deck hardly needs the backup commander of [casthaven]Bosh, Iron Golem[/casthaven], a poor counterpart to [casthaven]Memnarch[/casthaven] if there ever was one.

“That’s too much, man!”


But what it lacks in power, and in [casthaven]Ashnod’s Altar[/casthaven]s, it makes up for in the amount of play that it can put together. By leaving open [casthaven]Feldon of the Third Path[/casthaven] synergies, and with one or two solid (but not broken) sacrifice engines, I can get away with keeping in cards like [casthaven]Bottle Gnomes[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Cathodion[/casthaven]. These cards are moderately good on their own, but if you manage to pop a Daretti emblem, they get powerful without threatening to instantly win a game.


Instant wins are about as much fun as slot machines: the appeal is not universal, but the people who are into them tend to be REALLY into them.

That’s always been my issue with planeswalker emblems in Commander. Since they’re impossible to remove, the only way to take out a problematic emblem is to kill its owner. Most of the emblems are thus giant targets, forcing your opponents to kill you as soon as possible, because the alternative is impossible to win through.


Who wants to spend a game staring down the barrel of a gun?

I’m talking emblems like [casthaven]Elspeth, Knight Errant[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Tamiyo, Moon Sage[/casthaven]. If those emblems pop, you’re in serious trouble. Even [casthaven]Koth of the Hammer[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Liliana of the Dark Realms[/casthaven] create some panicked moments, despite not immediately ending the game. If you’re careful, you can mitigate the threat those two create; the same can’t be said for [casthaven]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/casthaven] or [casthaven]Domni Rade[/casthaven].


I find Elspeth’s morality to be questionable. #Xenagod

The problem is, emblems are cool! They’re these big splashy plays that change the rules of the game, usually to your exclusive benefit. They’re fun to play with, but they end the game. It’s a conundrum, and it requires some serious building. Because at the end of the day, I want to pop Daretti’s emblem, and I want to use it for incremental card advantage, not for winning the game. I wanted Daretti to be distinct from [casthaven]Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre[/casthaven] or [casthaven]Sharuum the Hegemon[/casthaven], and that required I thread a needle.


Fine motor coordination can be hard, especially when it’s social coordination, and not physical body stuff.

Here’s how I tried to succeed at that.


I don’t get why Slobad was dead for good, but Glissa and Zendikar are now fine. Also, why does anyone die in a game that regularly likes to give people means of resurrection?

[casthaven]Daretti, Scrap Savant[/casthaven]


Creatures (25): [casthaven]Goblin Welder[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Epochrasite[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Myr Retriever[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Goblin Kaboomist[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Bottle Gnomes[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Cathodion[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Junk Diver[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Palladium Myr[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Pilgrim’s Eye[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Shimmer Myr[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Tuktuk the Explorer[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Feldon of the Third Path[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Solemn Simulacrum[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Kuldotha Forgemaster[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Precursor Golem[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Ingot Chewer[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Hoarding Dragon[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Scuttling Doom Engine[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Steel Hellkite[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Wurmcoil Engine[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Hoard-Smelter Dragon[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Myr Battlesphere[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Pentavus[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Bosh, Iron Golem[/casthaven]

Artifacts (27): [casthaven]Everflowing Chalice[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Codex Shredder[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Panic Spellbomb[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Pyrite Spellbomb[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Sol Ring[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Voltaic Key[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Wayfarer’s Bauble[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Grinding Station[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Ichor Wellspring[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Journeyer’s Kite[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Liquimetal Coating[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Mind Stone[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Mycosynth Wellspring[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Ratchet Bomb[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Commander’s Sphere[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Jalum Tome[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Pristine Talisman[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Unstable Obelisk[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Hammer of Purphoros[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Krak-Clan Ironworks[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Trading Post[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Mirrorworks[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Dreamstone Hedron[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Lorekeeper’s Stone[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Staff of Nin[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Urza’s Blueprints[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Spine of Ish Sah[/casthaven]

The Rest (10): [casthaven]Faithless Looting[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Whipflare[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Knollspine Invocation[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Koth of the Hammer[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Volcanic Offering[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Chandra Nalaar[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Scrap Mastery[/casthaven]; [casthaven]All Is Dust[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Magmaquake[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Starstorm[/casthaven]

Lands (37): [casthaven]Arcane Lighthouse[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Buried Ruin[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Darksteel Citadel[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Dormant Volcano[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Flamekin Village[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Forgotten Cave[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Ghost Quarter[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Great Furnace[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Phyrexia’s Core[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Reliquary Tower[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Smoldering Crater[/casthaven]; [casthaven]Temple of the False God[/casthaven]; 25 [casthaven]Mountain[/casthaven]s


Italicized cards are artifacts as well, and I’m running both eligible artifact lands, bringing my artifact count up to 46. I would have rather hit an even 50, given some of the strategies I intend to abuse, but I’ll settle for a solid 46 with an eye to upgrade should I have calibrated the power too low. Artifact density is important, because I included a minor self-mill theme. I didn’t lean fully into the theme, which would have required [casthaven]Altar of Dementia[/casthaven], but I did include [casthaven]Grinding Station[/casthaven]. It seems particularly powerful once Daretti gets his emblem, but even beyond that it’s nice with Daretti’s [casthaven]Goblin Welder[/casthaven] ability and with the welder itself.


The range of images that are returned for “sexy welder” is a little worrisome. Wear safety gear!

[casthaven]Krak-Clan Ironworks[/casthaven] is playing the role of [casthaven]Ashnod’s Altar[/casthaven] in this deck. In general, the Altar is a far better card, but the Ironworks should get the job done as well. [casthaven]Jalum Tome[/casthaven] helps with the looting, in case you want to loot and use Daretti’s minus ability in the same turn. And Codex Shredder is a great addition, since it basically allows for Daretti’s minus ability to recur any type of card to your hand. [casthaven]Liquimetal Coating[/casthaven] does something similar, allowing you to turn lands and suchness into artifacts for the purpose of resurrection via Daretti, Welder, or the emblem.


In the real world, you really don’t want to get liquid metal on you.

As it’s one of my decks, there are plenty of ways for it to draw cards. Unlike my typical theme decks, though, this has some straight-up finishers and removal options. [casthaven]Scuttling Doom Engine[/casthaven] is a card I’ve wanted to play around with, and this seems like the perfect opportunity, since sacrificing it gets you the benefit plus a [casthaven]Lava Axe[/casthaven] to the face of a particularly troubling opponent. [casthaven]Knollspine Invocation[/casthaven] is another means to get things into the graveyard, where you can cheat them out; it has the added benefit of being repeatable removal too, which is great!

Remember the Brian Kibler hand-shuffling video?


My selection of Planeswalkers was admittedly a bit odd, though. [casthaven]Chandra Nalaar[/casthaven] isn’t on my regular rotation, since she’s weak, but c’est la vie. I considered [casthaven]Chandra Ablaze[/casthaven], but the heavy artifact theme makes her color requirements weaker than usual. [casthaven]Chandra, Pyromaster[/casthaven] has a useless ultimate, and I’d rather have an artifact if she’s going to just be a draw engine. [casthaven]Chandra, the Firebrand[/casthaven] is also pretty weak… all the other Chandras have spell synergies that only affect seven other cards. [casthaven]Chandra Nalaar[/casthaven] is a red planeswalker, and she doesn’t draw a tremendous amount of attention, so she seems like worth giving a chance.


That’s right, let the planeswalker live.

[casthaven]Koth of the Hammer[/casthaven] is an inclusion for old time’s sake. When I was first introduced to Machine Red it was a Standard deck built around ultimating Koth. Koth’s ultimate is much worse in Commander, where the life bump forces you into hard choices between spending your mana on damage, or developing your board to defend against the inevitable counter-attack. In the meantime, Koth is a solid ramp engine, and the ability to throw Mountains at your opponent is occasionally useful.

I found this by googling “sexy mountain.” So… throw this at your enemies?


Still, there’s the risk that even this watered down version might be too powerful for friendly games. We’ll see, next time I get a chance to play some good old-fashioned political Magic. Tune in next week, at which point I’ll be finishing out this cycle of articles talking about Elfballs. Shudder at that future. After that we’ll likely be heading back to the past to talk about Fate Reforged, aka the set they should have kept [casthaven]Venser, the Sojourner[/casthaven] alive to see. Changing the past?! That sounds like a job for the Tenth Doctor.


Jess Stirba is a Brooklyn-based social-ish worker, as opposed to a socialist worker, which is similar but not the same thing.

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