This week I bring you the end result of a request by my fiance and fellow hipsters writer, Kate Donnelly. She asked me to build a Mud deck based around Aetherflux Reservoir as the primary kill condition.

I was thrilled by this challenge and could not wait to begin brewing, so I immediately started researching cards that would synergize with the game plan. Obviously this deck would need to be able to get to fifty life with relative ease, perhaps while drawing a lot of cards. These were my goals. After probably two days brewing I had something that I was ready to show Kate and we began testing within a week. The original variants included Mox Diamond for the additional ramp, Wastes as some protection against Wasteland, Alhammarret’s Archive and Well of Life. In the end Kate and I cut them all in favor of more streamlined and coherent Mud options and came to this specific list.

Mud Reservoir

Lands (24)
Ancient Tomb
Cavern of Souls
City of Traitors
Radiant Fountain

Creatures (8)
Wurmcoil Engine

Spells (28)
Aetherflux Reservoir
Grim Monolith
Pithing Needle
Staff of Domination
Trading Post
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
Venser’s Journal
Well of Lost Dreams
Sideboard (15)
Chalice of the Void
Grafdigger’s Cage
Metalwork Colossus
Orbs of Warding
Spatial Contortion

The final list is based on two main engines: Life gain and card draw. These two engines allow us to not only pad our life total against aggressive decks but also draw into the cards we need to get the combo online. Well of Lost Dreams has been the all star in testing given all of the cards that allow us to gain life and being able to draw that many extra cards has been disgusting. Most of our testing has been against Death and Taxes and while Sanctum Prelate was great against the combo half of the deck this deck is still a Mud deck and the back up Wurmcoil Engine plan is still as strong as ever.

Image result for well of lost dreams


Metalworker, as usual, is a great tool in both plans for the deck. The ramp of Metalworker makes it simple to set up for the combo and apply threats like Wurmcoil Engine. As usual alongside Metalworker we have Staff of Domination for an infinite combo of mana, life gain, card draw and tapping or untapped creatures.

For those of you not familiar with this combo, you need a Metalworker that can tap for mana (not summoning sick), a Staff of Domination and three artifacts in hand. You begin by tapping Metalworker for six mana revealing the three artifacts in hand, you then use three mana to activate Staff of Domination untapping a creature you control (three mana left), use one mana to untap Staff (two mana left) and repeat this process as many times as desired gaining plus two mana through each cycle. This infinite mana combo can then be pumped into the Staff to gain infinite life, draw infinite cards or just tap down infinite creatures for defense if something is stopping you from killing your opponent with this combo. Perhaps your opponent has a Spirit of the Labyrinth so you can’t draw into your deck for a win condition.

Wurmcoil Engine is a hard to answer threat that can not only take over a game, but kills most anything that gets in the way and gains some life along the way. Alongside Well of Lost Dreams, Wurmcoil Engine has been an essential part in getting this deck online and catching up when we can’t find our alternate win conditions. Every attack or block can translate into six life gained and potentially six more cards to make more terrible things happen to your opponent.


As mentioned before with Metalworker and Staff of Domination we have access to an infinite combo that can gain infinite life and draw every card in our deck which can turn on our Aetherflux Reservoir allowing us to win on the spot, without having to worry about attacking at all.

Aetherflux Reservoir has two functions in this deck: to gain life and to kill our opponent. Mud is a big mana deck and can easily cast multiple spells to take advantage of the triggered ability on Reservoir for the linear life gain. Once our life total hits fifty we can use the activated ability on Reservoir to pay fifty life and kill our opponent.

Well of Lost Dreams is our main engine of the deck to draw cards from the life we can gain throughout a game. Most of our life gain does not require us to cast spells so as long as we resolve a Well and have mana available we can draw through our deck to find all the cards necessary to close out a game.

Venser’s Journal, while not a main part of our engine, allows us to gain life for all the cards that we have drawn and removes that pesky maximum hand size. Combined with Well of Lost Dreams we have the ability to easily gain large amounts of life and use all of it to draw additional cards each and every turn. The synergy between these two cards make it impossible to pass up at least a couple of slots.


Aetherflux Reservoir was in play, you can guess how this game ended.


Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is here to provide control and an additional win condition when things go sour. Once weakness the deck had was an early Sanctum Prelate on four which stops most of the engine and some of the win conditions. Ugin makes his appearance here to help clean up the mess and provide a solid control element that Kate and I both felt the deck needed.


Trinisphere is here to help slow down other decks and hedge against combo in game one. Trinisphere also helps to preserve the combo against cheap counter magic like Force of Will and Daze while our opponent is tapped out allowing us to resolve our spells freely.

Trading Post is a utility knife to gain life, create chump blockers, return used artifacts and draw additional cards. Since we are able to draw extra cards when we gain life it is not an issue to discard a card a turn in order to gain four life.

Pithing Needle protects against Wasteland and shuts down opposing Planeswalkers alongside countless other activated abilities of creatures or artifacts.


Chalice of the Void is here to help shut down combo and lock out other decks full of cheap cantrips.

Grafdigger’s Cage is another potential answer to combo decks like Storm while giving us some utility to help shut down Dredge.

Metalwork Colossus comes in when we need more threats. The fact that it has Affinity on crack means that in this deck there are going to be many times that we pay zero to three mana. Our deck is full of non-creature artifacts that cost three or four so it is not impossible that Colossus wouldn’t cost more than four by turn three. If Colossus is somehow answered we should easily be able to sacrifice two artifact to return it to our hand and recast it on the cheap.

Orbs of Warding helps us fend off any targeted discard and burn as well as reduces damage that we take from small creatures like Monastery Mentor and Young Pyromancer as well as the tokens that they produce.

Spatial Contortion is our removal of choice to answer problematic creatures like Gaddock Teeg, Sanctum Prelate and Spirit of the Labyrinth. Worse comes to fun we get to use it on our Wurmcoil Engine or Metalwork Colossus for a surprise additional three damage in combat.

Initial Thoughts

This deck has been brutal in testing against Death and Taxes and Vintage Aggro Loam (coming soon to a brew corner near you). While testing I was able to drop a Sanctum Prelate early to shut down all of the combo pieces, only to die to a Wurmcoil Engine several turns later. Another game I was able to use Phyrexian Revoker to shut down Aetherflux Reservoir and ended up staring at life totals that looked like this:


You can’t keep a solid engine down

I believe that this deck will be even better in an open field where many decks rely on a fast start to close out a game quickly. Even in games that I won in testing it amounted to dealing over fifty or more damage, having a Sanctum Prelate to prevent the engine from coming online, having Swords to Plowshares to answer Wurmcoil Engine and being able to dodge an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. All in all brewing this deck was so much fun and it is good to still feel excitement over new cards after a long, exhausting and expensive spoiler summer.

Happy brewing to each and every one of you. If anyone has an idea for a brew that they would like to see, I will gladly take requests and challenges on twitter. 🙂

Aaron Gazzaniga manages a restaurant and in his off time has been an avid magic player/brewer since 2003. Having begun in Odyssey Standard Block and always favoring control and prison style decks, we come to this moment in time where Aaron finally gets to talk about and share his ideas. If you want to contact Aaron tweet @aarongazzaniga

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