I’d love to write about my changes to modern Modern Urza Thopter Sword fresh off another SCG weekend playing the deck. But with the ban of Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis looming I don’t want to spend too much mental energy on a dead format. Instead, I’ll break down some of the commonly-included cards that I don’t play in the archetype and why they’ve been left on the sidelines.

Teferi, Time Raveler

Let’s start with the card I’ve been asked the most about it’s exclusion from my most recent list, Teferi, Time Raveler.

Teferi offers a powerful effect, locking out cards like Force of Vigor and Force of Negation if the opponent doesn’t cast them in response to the three-mana Planeswalker. Teferi even offers a temporary answer to problematic permanents like Ensnaring Bridge and Stony Silence, and can even be a permanent answer to a Leyline of the Void out of certain decks.

These benefits definitely come at a cost, though. Splashing a fifth color and raising your curve can hurt you a lot in the aggressive matchups even if it’s a boon in the grindy matchups.

Overall my opinion is that Teferi is a strong role player that will move in and out of the deck (like many others) depending on how the metagame ebbs and flows around the archetype.

Karn, the Great Creator

Next up, let’s talk about the worst card I’m commonly asked why I don’t play: Karn, the Great Creator.

I think the initial reasoning that leads people to play Karn is the feeling that they need an instant win after they combo, which just isn’t the case in almost all Game 1 situations, and post-board you have cards like Thoughtseize and Assassin’s Trophy, which make the combo deterministic in the vast majority of games.

The secondary logic behind Karn is that it allows you to have an additional tutor effect for both halves of the Thopter Foundry/Sword of the Meek combo, but Karn is a whopping FOUR mana investment just to find a single piece of the combo. I would much rather stick to my trusty Goblin Engineers that may only find the Sword of the Meek half of the combo, but offers a layer of insulation when you’re trying to lock and opponent out with your prison effects or just keeps Thopter Foundry in play to keep grinding.

Couple the shaky logic for including another four-drop in my already clunky Modern deck with the fact that I also lose three to five sideboard slots and you have a card I want absolutely nothing to do with. Next!

Mind Stone and Pentad Prism

Mind Stone and Pentad Prism are cards that aren’t good in the deck unless you draw Urza, Lord High Artificer with them or are playing the clunky cards like Karn, the Great Creator instead of just making your deck more streamlined. This is a deck that can kill on Turn 3—it doesn’t need to be more powerful and these cards only make the deck better when you draw the best card in your deck. Cut your mana rocks for more Mox Opal-enablers like Chromatic Star and Welding Jar and thank me later.

Sai, Master Thopterist and Monastery Mentor, and Saheeli, Sublime Artificer

I often get asked why I don’t have additional win cons in my sideboard, like Sai, Master Thopterist and Monastery Mentor. I’ll include Saheeli, Sublime Artificer with these two because she fills a very similar role.

All three of these backup threats require you to have some gas left in the tank when you play them, which can lead to some awkward situations in-game. You are regularly boarding these cards in against grindy decks where the games are expected to go long, but these threats are best on Turn 3 and lose a lot of value as the games go longer as you don’t have your cheap artifacts to help in triggering them reliably in the late game.

“Well I’ll just hold my cheap artifacts,” you might say. That would normally be a good way to save up and get value off your threat, but a TON of your powerful maindeck cards actively want you to be playing out your cheap artifacts on curve—Urza, Lord High Artificer, Mox Opal, Thopter Foundry, and Whir of Invention, for example.

These are just some of the cards I’m asked about on a regular basis so if you would like my opinion on more of the commonly played cards that I exclude from my builds feel free to hit me up on Twitter and I can do another article just like this one. I will definitely be playing Urza again at SCG Dallas after the upcoming banning so make sure to join the Team Nova patreon to get my up to date list and sideboard guide for Urza in the new format!

Harlan's Modern Urza Thopter Sword from SCG Richmond

Creatures (7)
Goblin Engineer
Urza, Lord High Artificer

Spells (4)
Galvanic Blast
Whir of Invention

Artifacts (29)
Ensnaring Bridge
Grafdigger’s Cage
Ichor Wellspring
Mishra’s Bauble
Nihil Spellbomb
Pithing Needle
Pyrite Spellbomb
Sword of the Meek
Thopter Foundry
Welding Jar
Mox Opal
Arcum’s Astrolabe
Lands (20)
Snow-Covered Island
Snow-Covered Mountain
Snow-Covered Swamp
Breeding Pool
Polluted Delta
Scalding Tarn
Spire of Industry
Steam Vents
Watery Grave
Inventors’ Fair

Sideboard (15)
Damping Sphere
Grafdigger’s Cage
Mystic Forge
Welding Jar
Assassin’s Trophy
Ceremonious Rejection
Fatal Push
Nature’s Claim
Collective Brutality

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.