Heartless Architect

I have a terrible habit of insisting on playing something unproven at States. After all, it’s just States; no one is really playing for much besides the enjoyment of showing off a new creation. This leads to me playing some very bad decks for the sake of playing something new. Even with a typically bad record there, it’s a very fun event.

This time around, it’s a little different. With only a week to go, and a somewhat weak/unsupported set feeling dominated by the power of Scars Block, new and exciting decks that are built around Innistrad cards just aren’t getting it done. Solar Flare decks, essentially centered around Lilliana and Unburial Rites, just can’t compete with the fast Red decks that supplement their game plan with a few Innistrad cards(Stromkirk Noble and Brimstone Volley). All the hooplah over Daybreak Ranger, Burning Vengeance, and Lilliana might turn out to be true…in January when the next set hits and the incentive to play both flip cards and bin-based strategies goes up. So I’m stuck having to take an existing deck and working with it, or finding a deck that was just held down by the old meta, with Caw decks and Splinter Twin. Chapin originally touched on the idea, and although it does prominently feature a powerful Innistrad card, it is NOT the lynch pin of the deck, just another cog in the machine.

  • 4 Spellskite
  • 4 GrandArchitect
  • 4 Treasure Mage
  • 2 Trinket Mage
  • 2 Phyrexian Metamorph
  • 4 Myr Superion
  • 3 Wurmcoil Engine
  • 1 Steel Hellkite
  • 1 Platinum Empyrion
  • 2 Sword of War and Peace
  • 2 Disperse
  • 4 Heartless Summoning
  • 1 Chimeric Mass
  • 1 Semblance Anvil
  • 1 Contagion Engine
  • 1 Nihil Spellbomb
  • 4 Darkslick Shores
  • 4 Drowned Catacombs
  • 3 Buried Ruin
  • 7 Island
  • 5 Swamp

The reason Chapin’s version didn’t garner much of a response is it tries to get too cute with things like Kuldotha Forgemaster and Solemn Simulacrum. It’s tutor targets also contain two very narrow cards in Blightsteel Colossus and Mindslaver, though I give him an easy pass here since not only was the meta not established whatsoever at the time of publishing, but a portion of his job as a writer is to communicate his train of thought. The posting of a deck that isn’t tuned still has great value in terms of insight and putting people on a line of thinking, as it did for me.

This deck can still do ‘cute’ things, but really it’s goal is very direct and narrow. Play any one of nine big ramp spells, supplement with one or more of eight free creatures in Myr Superion and Spellskite, then untap and play either a fatty, or Treasure Mage into the same thing. Here’s a breakdown of the deck’s contents, to allow for greater understanding.

The Engine

  • Grand Architect
  • Heartless Summoning
  • Semblance Anvil

These nine spells are so important a Semblance Anvil wriggled in there to ensure a ‘Sol Ring’ type ramp spell shows up by turn two, even if it comes at the cost of a card. Keeping a hand without any of these is the toughest decision a starting hand can present. Hands like Darkslick Shores, Drowned Catacomb, Island, Treasure Mage, Wurmcoil Engine, Myr Superion, and Sword of War and Peace are difficult to evaluate. I don’t think you can mulligan this, but you don’t have much action to start out. Think like any other ramp deck would. You have a great opener with the assumption you draw just one of your namesake in the first few turns. The great thing here is that you still develop a board, albiet slowly, if you don’t draw an engine part, and when you do get to one, the blanks you drew will all belch onto the board at once to catch you up.

Supporting Cast

  • Treasure Mage
  • Trinket Mage
  • Spellskite
  • Myr Superion
  • Phyrexian Metamorph
  • Sword of War and Peace

Even in a deck that wants to jump from 2 to 5 and 3 to 6 needs something to smooth out the deck and ensure action. Trinket Mage only exists because you can only play four Treasure Mages, though it isn’t really bad. It either gets Nihil Spellbomb to cantrip and be randomly good against Solar Flare, or Chimeric Mass, which can be large in it’s own right and is immune to Day of Judgement. Spellskite is free in many situations, helps protect your Architect or other big threats, and is something to do on two when you don’t have Summoning. Myr Superion, as a 5/6 for almost free, starts applying pressure early, or ends opposing beats so you can take control with bigger spells. Finally we have Phyrexian Metamorph and Sword of War and Peace, which are sorta catch all cards. Metamorph can copy a certain annoying Geist or provide a second even cheaper Wurmcoil, while the Sword is the decks backup plan, and will function well with the Invisible Stalkers in the sideboard(my sideboard is still being developed, but I’m almost sure some fashion of transformation will be available for decks playing more than 4 counterspells). Sword is also yet another way to stay in the race against the aggressive Red or White decks that are going to be everywhere.

The Package

  • Chimeric Mass
  • Nihil Spellbomb
  • Contagion Engine
  • Platinum Empyrion
  • Steel Hellkite
  • Wurmcoil Engine

Yes, I am aware that once Platinum is in play, all the life gain the deck has doesn’t do anything, but let’s just be real. Once you put an eight drop into play, you aren’t planning on it ever leaving the battlefield anyway. It’s needed against Red, so just deal with the non-bo, as it’s the best plan you have. I’ve already covered the Trinket Mage targets above, so refer there if you’ve forgotten. Treasure Mage can get four different things, all good in differing situations. Hellkite removes problem permanents, Empyrion stops Red pretty cold, Contagion Engine deals with token strategies well, and Wurmcoil is the go to for any other spot, though with three maindeck you might have one in hand already, but hey, two is more fun than one most times.

Flex Slots

  • Disperse

These were a variety of things, from Sphinxes to Sheoldred to more Swords, but for now, I’d rather have a 9th and 10th card to play on two against aggro decks(esp against the Noble/Berserker draw from Red), or to deal with random threats/annoying cards.

I admit I’m still working on this deck, and developing a sideboard, so this sixty is far from perfect, but it is the first deck that has any surprise value that wasn’t some flimsy combo/control deck. The deck does break one of the ‘rules’ I set for myself when I sat down to find a deck after that first weekend of results from Indy. “Avoid strategies that rely too heavily on Artifacts.” Still, I don’t think the presence of Ancient Grudge will be as big a deal as it’s made out to be. Wurmcoil Engine cares little for the Grudge, and the decks that can play both ends of the spell are probably favorable overall, so it’s a risk I’m willing to take.

Try the deck out if you want, be aware it exists, and post your comments here(note they must be approved before posting because I get spam sometimes)!

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