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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 22 2018 1:00pm
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 GENERALISSIMO: It’s time for Standard to feel the touch of our mighty deck-building skills! There really is a plethora of interesting cards in the format that scream to be built around. I considered some green stuff like Polyraptor and Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma but, if I know you and your Magical preferences, we will be making plenty of green decks in the future. I was tempted by Divine Visitation, but an expensive enchantment that does nothing by itself and powers up your other cards felt a little too similar to Primeval Bounty from last time. So, what I want to see is a Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain deck; she’s powerful and has an identity but it seems like there’s a lot of flexibility in exactly how you explore that identity, which should give us areas to disagree over and allow us to argue over exactly whose deck is best… and that is the point of this series, right?

 KUMAGORO: Ah! You can’t dangle Polyraptor before my eyes and then take it away! Although, that would probably end up being just a regular Dinosaur deck with Forerunner of the Empire. And it would be awkward, because we wouldn’t be able to afford Carnage Tyrant, in a deck that aims to cast an eight-mana creature.


 Let's go for Jhoira, then. I like her as a character – who doesn’t love a cute redhead in charge? Her previous version, Future Sight’s Jhoira of the Ghitu, was more buildable-around (also more Timmy-esque, I think – except in Commander, where she’s just broken). This one is yet another permanent that doesn’t do anything when it drops, if not for being a strictly worse Hill Giant. And Izzet is really not my favorite color combination, I must say. But it all makes for a good challenge in Standard.

 So, let’s see, “historic” most of the times is just synonym for “artifact”. There’s just a handful of Sagas, of which only three or four are even good, and none in our colors except for The Flame of Keld, which we can keep in mind but I doubt it’ll be the kind of deck that exhausts its hand in a couple of turns. But who knows, maybe it will be. As for Legendaries, I see them more like something we might incidentally play than like something we’ll actively seek as a strategy. I’m currently testing a deck based on Legendaries, built to try and play Yawgmoth's Vile Offering while also exploiting Loyal Retainers – it runs into all kinds of issues with multiples. In Standard, I figure it’d be even worse, because of the smaller pool.

 Speaking of which, first thing we should do is choose a tribe, because Standard Tribal doesn’t exactly give us all the room in the world in that regard. We could go with either of Jhoira’s two tribes or with an artifact-based tribe. Human is clearly viable, as it always is. Artificer, less so. There’s only other twelve of them, the best of which is Sai, Master Thopterist, who also triggers Jhoira (see? Incidentally). Tiana, Ship's Caretaker is an entirely different build-around card. Rona, Disciple of Gix feels clunky, and requires a black splash otherwise unjustified.


 Most of them require artifact’s presence – including the very ancient, actually not-so-bad Sage of Lat-Nam, which, wow, is a 25-year-old reprint from Antiquities. I see lots of white mana symbols, though; it seems like the whole "historic matters" theme is more in white-blue than it is in blue-red, so maybe our red presence will end up being just a splash for Jhoira and some red/Boros removal? (Probably Justice Strike, probably not Deafening Clarion). White also gives us Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage, D'Avenant Trapper, and Board the Weatherlight. It actually seems like they’ve done a good job of pushing the Weatherlight-flavored cards together, because Weatherlight itself seems like a card we want to include one copy of in a Jhoira deck.


 Artifacts we’re most likely interested in include: Jhoira's Familiar (eh); Traxos, Scourge of Kroog, which combos brilliantly with Voltaic Servant;Mishra's Self-Replicator; maybe Urza's Tome; possibly Thran Temporal Gateway, if we plan on having big stuff around, but I don’t really see the deck going that way. Problem with the mentioned artifact creatures is that they all come from different tribes, except for Traxos and the Servant. I’m afraid we’ll have to go with Human in the end.


 GENERALISSIMO: The Antiquities War also seems like a Saga that’s worth considering if the deck ends up artifact-heavy.
 If there’s ever going to be a time to play a Legends-matter deck, it’s now with all the support for it in Standard, but you’re very correct that the nature of Legendaries creates some pretty serious consistency problems; do you run lots of copies of each Legend and run the risk of drawing too many cards that do literally nothing in multiples, or only run one or two and run the risk that the deck is just super draw-dependent and unreliable?

As much as I would love to play Artificers, since I’ve yet to be able to make a deck for them that I was satisfied with, I think you’re right that the options are too limited and we’d end up having to run too many unhistoric cards for Jhoira to work well. Constructs do seem like the only viable artifact tribe but even then the pool of tribe members is small and there wouldn’t be much wiggle-room in deck-building. Human it is, then! It’s sort of unfortunate that we’re already returning to them but I didn’t think anywhere near that far ahead when selecting Jhoira and it’s too late to back down now!

 KUMAGORO: Well, maybe let’s see what an Artificer base could look like before dismissing it. Something like:


 All the one-ofs are equally decent but unessential, while the four-ofs are good, provided we’ll have a solid base of cheap artifacts, which remains to be seen (there’s also Diligent Excavator, which is a solid early blocker, but I don’t think that trigger would do much for us). Too bad Prophetic Prism and the vehicles have just rotated, but we’ve still got some decent one-drops, plus Pillar of Origins, and I played intensively on MTGA and recommend both Thaumatic Compass and Treasure Map (the latter is kind of expensive, though).


 This is definitely a deck that wants to play 62 cards.

 Attempt with Construct:


 They have a nice curve and none of them is extremely terrible. Traxos seems like a good finisher, which is why I’d run a playset even if it’s Legendary. Not featured: Chamber Sentry seems like a bad, very bad, very very bad new take on Walking Ballista and would make me sad to play it; plus, it wants as many different colors as possible. Gearsmith Guardian is honest in a deck with blue creatures, but we’d only have the three Jhoiras. Guardians of Koilos could be considered as a one-of, since it plays into Jhoira’s ability, but it’s a curve-topper that’s worse on the battlefield than Earth Elemental. Golem has the same number of options as Construct, but they’re mostly awful, and two of them ask for planeswalkers we won’t have (and I’m not even sure how easy it is to find those Planeswalker Deck exclusive cards online, since they don’t get drafted).

 GENERALISSIMO: I agree that’s probably the best you can do with the Constructs available but that still doesn’t look like a very promising start to me. It may be that none of the individual cards are extremely terrible (well, Aesther Glider kind of is) but there just doesn’t seem like there’s a coherent strategy emerging; curving Sparring Construct into Skittering Surveyor into Traxos, Scourge of Kroog seems like the sort of thing nightmares and limited decks are made of.

The Artificers actually look a lot more appealing to me; I’m still worried about running a tribe with so few historic cards but it might be OK if we’re a little aggressive about replacing lands with artifact mana sources, and that looks like a deck that has enough ways to generate value that, at the very least, I could have fun losing with it.

 KUMAGORO: It was just my attempt to avoid playing Human again (which would mean twice out of three projects). But I still feel we probably should. Let’s test Artificer a bit, but I suggest to leave some Traxoses in there, because otherwise I don’t see how that deck has any way to win in a meta where there’s 5-powered beaters out by turn 2.

 GENERALISSIMO: Well, this is a list I built as an initial place to start experimenting from:


 My thinking being that, for the artifact synergies to function, every card in the deck that’s not an Artificer or a land needs to be an artifact. I even tried to replace some lands with Traveler’s Amulet and Chromatic Lantern to keep the artifact ratio as high as possible. Sparring Construct and Fountain of Renewal are there to round out the 1-drops that give Gearsmith Prodigy and Skilled Animator something to do. Gleaming Barrier can buy time on the ground and is good fodder for Sage of Lat-Nam. Forebear's Blade, Sigiled Sword of Valeron and Weatherlight are to try and turn some of the more pathetic bodies in the deck into attackers worth caring about.


 The deck doesn’t have any removal because the only artifact options would be horribly inefficient cards like Bloodtallow Candle and Explosive Apparatus, but the more I look at the list the more it feels like running them may be the grim reality this deck has to face. I’m also concerned that I might have run into the exact same problem I had with the Constructs of a lack of coherent overall strategy; Gearsmith Prodigy into Gleaming Barrier into Chromatic Lantern would be kind of an embarrassing opening.


 KUMAGORO: Okay, that kinds of look like a zany, scruffy air balloon that’s gonna crash and burn at any moment, so I’m all for piloting it! (But it will crash and burn for sure). I feel like there’s a bunch of bad cards that we only play to draw into… more bad cards? And potentially some decent ones?  I’m not sure Aethershield Artificer still makes sense in this build, because half the artifact creatures in the list are unable to attack, and the other half are vanilla 1/1s. Then again, maybe she’ll boost a Thopter or a 5/5 from Skilled Animator (who, by the way, doesn’t work too well with Gleaming Barrier either). Still, maybe a second Daring Archaeologist would contribute more?

I don’t dislike those Equipment, but I wish there was something to help Jhoira survive being bolted. How do you feel about Blackblade Reforged? We have six good targets for it that are those that we count on for trying and winning. On the other hand, we’d hardly ever be able to pay the equip cost on non-Legendaries.

I know I suggested Weatherlight, and I want to play it (for flavor, too), but I realize we have very few ways to crew it naturally that don’t require more than one creature. Same goes for Thaumatic Compass. It’s great in control with 24-26 lands, but I don’t see this deck having three open mana or seven lands in play too often. Or maybe it does? What does testing tell us so far?

I still think Voltaic Servant is a better artifact creature and two-drop than Gleaming Barrier even if we won’t play any Traxoses.

 GENERALISSIMO: OK, after taking the deck for a spin, I think it’s overall pretty bad but not necessarily unsalvageably so. My impression is that the tribe’s best chance is to try to stall the ground and then win the late game with flyers. Sparring Construct and Gearsmith Prodigy were just too low impact too much of the time while Sai, Master Thopterist was often the MVP. I’m going to give Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker a try, even if the recursion ability is unlikely to trigger, just as a 3/3 flying first-striker.

I agree that Aethershield Artificer really doesn’t make much sense in the deck; I left all three non-Jhoira four-drops in the deck just to give them all a fair shake and I was expecting to end up with just a trio of Daring Archaeologists but now I’m not so sure whether Aerial Engineer might actually be more useful for the deck.


 I definitely like having a small number of Equipments in the deck but I’m not at all convinced I chose the right ones. In particular, the 2/2 tokens from the Sigiled Sword were consistently irrelevant. Blackblade does not seem like a good replacement, though. As you said, we’re unlikely to be able to pay seven mana. Plus, the draws where we don’t find one of the Legends are already likely to be the hardest for us to win without introducing a card that’s going to be a brick in those situations. And even when we can equip it for cheap, it’s still expensive enough that we’re usually going to have to wait until the turn after we play Jhoira to equip it, so she’s still going to be vulnerable to burn. I’m actually considering Dowsing Dagger for the Equipment slot as it works well with flyers and might further help offset the low land count.


 I’ve managed to transform the Compass a couple of times so far in testing. I think it’s probably worth including but three copies may well be overkill.

I don’t really see the advantage of Voltaic Servant; what are we untapping with it, Chromatic Lantern? That being said, I’m not nearly as familiar with the Standard environment as you are; is a 1/3 generally more useful than an 0/4?

 KUMAGORO: It’s generally more useful insofar as it can attack other than block. I mean, sure, there’s a few creatures that are stopped by toughness 4, most notably Goblin Chainwhirler. But it’s not like the Barrier is that likely to survive either, the Chainwhirler player will just deal some damage to it, and the Goblin’s first strike will do the rest. So against Chainwhirler, there’s no difference between Barrier and Servant if they have Shock, while the Barrier spares us three damage (and gives one mana) if they have Lightning Strike or Wizard’s Lightning (it goes similarly against several popular Boros creatures like Tajic, Legion’s Edge). Absolutely no difference if they have Lava Coil – which is a good candidate for our deck, by the way.


 I think Voltaic Servant untapping itself or untapping the Thopter token that’ll allow us to attack without dying to Doom Whisperer the turn afterwards might be at times crucial, generally superior than just the one-toughness buff. And if it actually eats a bolt before Jhoira shows up, that’s fine by me. Then again, maybe it’s better as a replacement for Sparring Construct; we can still have the Wall to consolidate the “enduring” strategy you described, and ideally devote turn one to drop a shockland without getting damage.

 Dowsing Dagger feels nice enough, I’d say better than the current choices. There really isn’t much to love among the Equipment in current Standard, is there? All in all, Short Sword is probably the best one in a vacuum.

 I’m not against Tiana (and certainly not against trimming the worse Artificers), but I’m not entirely comfortable with our five-mana curve-topper to still be vulnerable to the dozens of bolts we may face. First strike on a 3/3 flyer is pretty much irrelevant, her ability will trigger very rarely, so we might be better off just increasing the Aerial Engineer count.

At this point we’ve definitely decided not to play Human?

 GENERALISSIMO: Unless you’ve got any great desire to try a Human build, I’m happy enough just attempting to squeeze something playable out of these Artificers. I’m pretty glad you pushed to try them; I’ve already had a bunch of fun designing and testing this deck.

I’d say that the fact that the Goblin Chainwhirler player would need to spend the Shock to get it past a Barrier does make it pretty different compared to the Servant. That being said, I think there’s reasonable arguments for either card: Servant is better against things like Goblin Instigator and lordless Silvergill Adepts or Skymarcher Aspirants, whereas the Barrier is better once an opposing lord has come down or when facing an Adanto Vanguard. I think there’s a decent chance that the correct line is to play a split of the two cards but your guess is as good as mine for what that split should be.


 You make a fair point about Tiana. Her advantages are being Legendary for Jhoira and combining well with an Equipment and Sage of Lat-Nam, but I’d have a hard time defending that as being enough to make her better than an Aerial Engineer.

 KUMAGORO: Yeah, it’s true that Tiana triggers Jhoira and combo with Equipment sacrifice, maybe we could play one copy. Then again, it’s not like the deck doesn’t trigger Jhoira enough.

My idea was to replace the Sparring Constructs and running four Barriers and four Servants. Or three of each and two Sparring Constructs.
 For the rest, I’m ready to bring your final list to the event, I haven't much else to suggest. I admit I wasn’t really inspired by any of these cards, and maybe by Tribal Standard in general as it is right now. By the way, I’m not going to run the Izzet lands, since I don’t have them and they amount to, like, three quarters of your deck’s cost. I’ll probably play only Jhoira as a red card, and there’s plenty of ways in the deck to fetch a Mountain or otherwise generate any color of mana by turn four. So I’ll just use some Evolving Wilds (always strictly better than any tapland that doesn’t have further benefits). Unfortunately, Azorius wasn’t one of the Guilds in Guilds of Ravnica, so white-blue is currently underrepresented land-wise.

 GENERALISSIMO: I’m now reasonably sure this is going to be my final list:


 As much as I didn’t want to run a 4-mana Shock and a 7-mana Dismember, I eventually had to concede that the deck fundamentally needs some removal; it’s difficult to win in the air with Thopter tokens if you have absolutely no way to clear out opposing flyers, and it’s a lot easier to clog up the ground if you can actually take out the enemy lords that are adding so much of the pressure. It may be that I’m too stuck on the idea that everything needs to be an artifact, and those should just be Lightning Strikes or something, but the whole deck really does completely fall apart if you can’t get the artifact synergies going, so I’ve chosen to die on the hill of bad artifacts rather than no artifacts.

 It’s a janky one, to be sure, and it’ll probably have to get at least a little bit lucky to do well, but it’s better than I thought possible when looking at the list of Standard Artificers and it at least offers a lot of choices to make on most turns of the game, which makes it interesting to pilot and oh-so-satisfying when you are able to construct a win with it.

 KUMAGORO: All right, I'm gonna trust you almost entirely on this, so I'll be able to blame you if we do horribly, which we will. As mentioned, I’ll abstain from buying the Izzet lands (not my most frequent combination), so I'll just run Evolving Wilds and a few more basics. As a consequence, I want to run the fourth Traveler's Amulet. What's the best candidate for replacement here?

 GENERALISSIMO: Fountain of Renewal, maybe. They're both fairly individually low-impact utility cards that are there primarily to enable artifact synergies.

 KUMAGORO: Hmm, not sure. Fountain does something on its own. I'm leaning more toward Explosive Apparatus. Do we know from testing that it has worthy targets?

 GENERALISSIMO: Elvish Clancaller, Legion Lieutenant and Merfolk Mistbinder are the targets that jump immediately to mind. It’s certainly a card that runs the risk of being a brick but I think the times when it does do something, that something tends to be important.


 KUMAGORO: Fair enough, Fountain goes. Since I don't trust my red sources, though, I'll replace Tiana with a second Archaeologist. Even if it doesn't fly, it just seems to interact with more cards in the deck.

 GENERALISSIMO: Just so you know, I’m going to act extremely smug if one of us actually does well with this deck and I’ll be sure to throw all this doubt back in your face.

 KUMAGORO: It’s a risk I’m more than willing to take. By the way, do you realize these Artificers are ALL Humans?

 GENERALISSIMO: Tiana’s an Angel! It’s not my fault you decided to cut her.

 KUMAGORO: That’s the most compelling argument in her favor: avoid to play the worst Human deck ever. Also, she’s Jhoira’s mechanic on the Weatherlight, so that’s a point for Vorthos as well. Did Weatherlight not work well enough in the tests, by the way? Was it the crew problem I suspected?

 GENERALISSIMO: It worked fine but I ultimately cut it for the third Dowsing Dagger just because the Equipment was more versatile – it can act as mana when you’re getting screwed, it’s better at turning a Thopter token into a noticeable clock without having to sacrifice ground defenses, and the power can be moved around to help on defense too. Plus, the Weatherlight trigger, while certainly powerful, felt a little too win-more since the games where you can get the flying creature to deal damage are generally the ones where the strategy is already working.

 KUMAGORO: Hey! I just realized I do own a set of Treasure Map I had forgotten about! I feel like I should put some of them in there, but what to replace?


 GENERALISSIMO: Wow, it must be nice to just stumble across forgotten cards like that. Hmm… I guess, trim on the Compasses, since they kind of compete for mana with the Map and maybe take out that extra Amulet since the Map can also help find and/or create fixing.

 KUMAGORO: They were less than 1 tix when I bought them, I was liking them a lot in my MBC deck on MTGA before the rotation, was going to do something with them on MTGO too but then I didn’t (yet). I don’t want to lose the Compass entirely, though, the Maze of Ith transformation can be crucial. The Lantern, maybe. Yeah, so I'm rolling back to your build, minus the land base, and do just: -2 Fountain, -1 Lantern, -1 Compass, -1 Tiana, +4 Map, +1 Archaeologist. How does that sound?


 GENERALISSIMO: It sounds like a change I can use to explain away if you do poorly that doesn’t require me to take the blame for the deck’s core problems, so that’s fine by me!

 KUMAGORO: You do that, I’ll just point out how much your land base is worth than mine. You throw that kind of money at the game, of course you do better!

The two lists were entered into Tribal Apocalypse 409 on November 10.
Here's Generalissimo's video commentary of the event.


 GENERALISSIMO: So, there’s no being smug for me (except for the fact that I won our post-event match *smug smug smug*) as neither of us did even close to well.

 KUMAGORO: Yes, you could say that winning two games out of twelve, between the two of us, is not exactly doing well.

 GENERALISSIMO: I still maintain that the fact we both faced AJ_Impy’s Angels was pretty unfortunate matchmaking as his deck’s position as a bigger late-game flyers deck made it a steep uphill battle, since we didn’t have either the speed to outrace him or the power to out muscle him. Excuses aside, though, the deck was just not very good; the artifacts-matter payoffs weren’t really strong enough to make up for the weaknesses of the artifacts we had to run to enable them, and playing only 20 lands to make room meant that the deck was liable to stumble and fall behind without sufficient ways to catch up. It turns out extremely expensive and inefficient removal with a low land-count is not a great recipe, who knew?

 KUMAGORO: Well, I did beat those Angels! In game one. And just because I drew into three Aerial Engineers in a row while he was stuck on three mana, then I dropped a Skilled Animator for the win post-sweeper. After that game of course I got my derrière handed to me by AJ's fliers, and I'm sure that matchup would end that way 99% of the time. Turns out Bloodtallow Candle might not be one of the best ways in the meta to deal with Lyra Dawnbringer, as I'm sure you also found out. Our sole other option was cracking three Explosive Apparatuses in the same turn, although that's 9 mana and a 3-for-1 for the opponent, so maybe not entirely advisable.

 GENERALISSIMO: No, I never got to got to experience dealing with a Lyra, just dying to one.


 KUMAGORO: In another game, my early Skilled Animator managed to deal a ton of damage before Lyra appeared to back up Resplendent Angel. I vote the Animator as our MVP.

 GENERALISSIMO: It’s definitely good. It’s our most aggressive creature and, as you demonstrated against AJ, five hasty damage is very useful post-board wipes. It can also be quite an effective deterrent to ground attackers from the aggressive decks. Still, it’s vulnerable to basically all removal (well… except for Explosive Apparatus) and in our own match you can see how you were able to get out quick Animators and do a bunch of damage but it wasn’t able to finish the job and it gave me the opportunity to kill artifacts that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

 KUMAGORO: Yeah, it's also often terrible with Dowsing Dagger because if you animate a ground-based creatures, you really don't want to give the opponent multiple cheap blockers.

 GENERALISSIMO: I think Sai is the best card in the deck. Although, admittedly, he does get a lot better when a Skilled Animator is able to supersize one of his Thopters.

 KUMAGORO: Oh, of course he is, but Sai is a serious card that actual players use in top decks, so he was out of competition for me. In fact, we should build a Modern deck with Sai at some point.


 NAGARJUNA: Hey, guys. I tinkered myself with Sai and preferred a more artifact heavy deck with Constructs over the Artificer build, to maximize the artifact count (up to 30) and play The Antiquities War to close the game. Did you consider it?

 KUMAGORO: We mentioned it, then we forgot about. I think, mostly, ours wasn't a deck that could afford to run only 20 lands. I had to mull down to 6 or even 5 due to multiple unplayable one-lander opening hands in two thirds of the games, and then kept struggling with the deck asking me to spend mana I didn't have.

 NAGARJUNA: I’d play 22 lands, Sai, The Antiquities War and 30 artifacts. Traveler's Amulet helps finding lands. Here’s my list:


 KUMAGORO: Oh look, the tournament's winner (and seasonal leader) is suggesting Traxos/Servant. Who would have thought?

 GENERALISSIMO: Well, he didn’t win the event with a Traxos deck. The reason I didn’t include Traxos was that it’s another 4-drop in a deck that was already operating on the ragged edge of land-consistency (and probably on the wrong side of that edge). You’d really need to ditch some of the high-end Artificers for cheaper ones and some of the cheaper artifacts for the Traxos, which wasn’t appealing to me because Jhoira, Sai and Skilled Animator all benefit from the artifacts being the cheap ones.

 NAGARJUNA: Witnessing the second game between Generalissimo and lovetapsmtg's Soldiers showed me that the 4- and 5-drops Artificers were way too slow. All you did were playing artifacts to trigger Sai. So if you still want to run it as an Artificer deck, I would go with the other cheap Artificers in blue and drop the multicolored and white ones entirely. Here's the list I toyed with before switching to Constructs:


 KUMAGORO: You said to drop the multicolored ones, but then you have Rona, Disciple of Gix. We dismissed her almost immediately, but she's actually kind of interesting as a way to replay cards like the Amulet and even The Antiquities War.

 NAGARJUNA: Well, I was only talking about the multicolored Artificers you guys played! Rona is 3 CMC and really helps with The Antiquities War, as you said.

 GENERALISSIMO: My fear with your list, Naga, would be not drawing Sai. In testing, I found cards like Gearsmith Prodigy and Sparring Construct would do too little and become outclassed too quickly to matter most of the time. The deck felt full of chaff and lacking in ways to actually get any kind of advantage. Not that I think your build would have done worse than our actual deck did since… well, it’s basically not possible to do worse than we did.

 NAGARJUNA: In most cases those weaker cards help to stall the game until Sai and/or The Antiquities War are in action. If my opponent wastes early removal on them, I'm happy to draw less attention on Sai later. And even the weakest Artifacts on the board fuel The Antiquities War when it goes of. With four copies of Sai and some help from Treasure Map, finding him shouldn't be a problem if you survive the early game. But to be honest, I wouldn't expect to have better results with my build than you guys had!

 KUMAGORO: With all this talk about Sai, we shouldn’t forget that the whole thing started from Jhoira, though. The idea was to play a deck with Jhoira.

 NAGARJUNA: But from the video and my own testing, she was just not as relevant as Sai is.

 KUMAGORO: Maybe we should pair her with a Modern artifact tribe, instead. She just can't do it in Standard.

 GENERALISSIMO: Yeah, the artifacts are just overall pretty bad in Standard right now. Dowsing Dagger being the best Equipment should probably have been a warning sign.

 KUMAGORO: But you’ve seen how Voltaic Servant actually helped?

 GENERALISSIMO: Yes but I still think it’s a toss-up as to whether it or the Barrier were more helpful. It was mostly untapping to give Thopters pseudo-vigilance, which was nice but not – I don’t think – ever game-changing and the Barriers have the advantage of becoming two cards with a Sage of Lat-Nam.

 KUMAGORO: Something I’ve routinely forgotten to do, so I disagree on that basis.


 GENERALISSIMO: The Servants were better against the 2/1s but the Barrier was better versus Adanto Vanguard, which I strongly suspect will be an important fixture of the format.

 KUMAGORO: I think the Servants have more uses, like untapping a Treasure Map to activate it twice in the same turn to get to the Treasure Cove faster. Too bad I rarely had the spare mana to do it. But rewatching the games, I also realized my constant inability to remember that the stupid Apparatus also hits players, so I wasn’t really in tune with these cards, you could (mercifully) say.

 GENERALISSIMO: For some inexplicable reason, untapping a Treasure Map never came up for me! Beyond untapping attackers, the only real target in my version was Thaumatic Compass if I was ever in the situation of having six mana and nothing better to spend it on than searching up a pair of basics. Maybe the deck needed an Elaborate Firecannon or Sorcerer’s Wand to make use of the Servant’s ability and round out the suite of awkward removal.


 KUMAGORO: Anyway, it's all your fault, because at some point instead of doing your usual Spike fix and force us to run some damn real removal, you went full Johnny with that terrible artifact-removal junk. The deck's plan would have worked even without having those, I think. Conclave Tribunal would have been perfect here, with so many creatures sitting there doing nothing anyway. We might have looked into convoke in general. Venerated Loxodon to put +1/+1 counters on all the Thopters, for instance.


 You know that if you don't police us in that regard, I won't!

 GENERALISSIMO: I still think in the alternate timeline where I did that, there’s a high chance you would be blaming the deck’s failure on me not putting enough cheap artifacts into the deck.

 KUMAGORO: Well, I think the absence of cheap artifacts would be less blatantly evident than the absence of a way to kill basically any creature with toughness higher than two, or before hitting six mana.

 GENERALISSIMO: It probably is all my fault but for the reason that I was the one that suggested playing a Jhoira Standard deck in the first place.

 KUMAGORO: Poor Jhoira. Forced to be the captain of a sinking ship.


  1. The Human Snacks – Modern Mardu Humans feat. Falkenrath Aristocrat
  2. Why Did It Have to be Snakes? – Legacy Underdog Simic Snakes feat. Primeval Bounty