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By: stsung, Ren Stefanek
Mar 30 2020 12:00pm
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Dalakos is a highly synergistic deck that can lock the game for the opponent.

While I was busy building Kadena, Queen of Morph, Inubashiri was working on their own deck. They chose Dalakos, Crafter of Wonders as their general and I wondered how the deck would work. When the card was spoiled I wondered what kind of a deck could be build around it. I like the card's design (and illustration) but I am not an expert on artifacts and certainly not an expert on equipment, Inubashiri though has an affinity for artifacts. I was always in awe when I played against their artifact based decks.

They agreed to share their insight about the deck with you.

Hello and welcome to PureMTGO, Inubashiri. Thank you for doing this interview. Let's start.

When I asked you about your general you told me you picked Dalakos. It took me a while to remember what the card actually is since it is a brand new card and doesn't see play in competitive formats. How and why did you pick this general and what did you want to achieve with the deck?

 

Well for one, I chose Dalakos, because he is a brand new card from THB. Second reason was his mana cost, he's easily playable early and can give you a decent chance to drop large artifacts on turn 4, like Steel Hellkite, Wurmcoil Engine or Memory Jar. And lastly, the synergy with equipment has a large impact on the deck, hasting your utility creatures, like Goblin Welder, and avoiding opponent's blockers. Also, Batterskull becomes a wee bit nastier.

So we have an artifact based deck that found use for equipment in a unique way. What kind of equipment do you run and what role does it play?

A basic assortment of the "good stuff" equipment like various Swords, Umezawa's Jitte, Lightning Greaves, Skullclamp or Batterskull and the new Shadowspear. There's place for Loxodon Warhammer for additional lifelink, Mask of Memory for the draw and discard or Basilisk Collar for blocking and synergy with Walking Ballista or Pia and Kiran Nalaar. Ideally you want to have one to three in play. There's unfortunately not much place for jank cards here except for Inventor's Goggles, since many of the creatures in the deck are Artificers, including Dalakos himself, Goblin Engineer or Master Transmuter who really like haste.

Dalakos is a blue-red creature which means you can play blue and red cards. Which ones do you run and what do they allow you to do that artifacts only can't?

You want to run all kinds of cards (mostly creatures) that manipulate artifacts or make artifacts easier to cast, such as Emry, Lurker of the Loch, Trash for Treasure, Grand Architect or Master of Etherium. Additionally you have to compensate for the deck's weaknesses. That is spot removal with cards like Spellskite, board wipes with cheap counterspells, aggro decks with Pyroclasm or Earthquake, and running out of cards soon (due to the deck's acceleration) with Windfall or Wheel of Fortune.

Oh no, my army of 2/2s just died.

 

Now that we have an idea of how the deck looks like could you tell us how the deck plays out and what are its usual (and unusual) win conditions?

The main strategy of the deck is to fly over your opponent's blockers using equipment enhanced by Dalakos. So it is important to respond to your opponent's spot removal cards using cards like Siren Stormtamer, Spellskite or Lightning Greaves. This should protect Dalakos himself or your equipped heavy hitter. Board wipes can slow Dalakos substantially, so there's a small assortment of cards to counter that: Negate, Disdainful Stroke or Soul of New Phyrexia. Warping Wail can also create a token to finish off an opponent using leftover equipment after a wipe. In the case your opponent's life total somehow exceeds 9000, you can use Inkmoth Nexus to poison them instead. Your equipment can speed this win condition up significantly.

Against singular threats you can use Spine of Ish Sah and Meteor Golem that you can fetch with toolbox creatures like Treasure Mage or Goblin Engineer and later dig it up with Goblin Welder, Trash for Treasure or Emry, Lurker of the Loch.

As for your early game, you should focus on building up your mana base or dropping some equipment on the board. Then on turn 3 to 4 (if you're worried he could die and can protect him) cast Dalakos. You may be able land a major 6 or 7 mana threat on turn 4 (Wurmcoil Engine, Steel Hellkite or Myr Battlesphere).

If possible, you want to take the heat off Dalakos so that you can keep spiking damage with hasted flying creatures, forcing your opponent to scramble to find responses. A good distraction are the deck's walkers that aren't really essential to the deck's strategy.

As a final note, don't be too afraid to discard your hand with Windfall or Bomat Courier. It's always good to have some options with a top decked hasted Goblin Welder.

All the decks I had the honor to play against featured a wholly singleton mana base. Could you talk about your choice of lands and why do play the maximum of utility lands in your decks? Is it always worth playing it even though your deck may be more vulnerable to land destruction?

I think that in case the game grinds to a halt (usually after a few wipes), the abilities of the various lands can be what tips the balance of the game in your favor. The deck mostly requires 2 blue and 1 red mana for colored mana, since there's a good serving of artifacts, you might be able to pace yourself to play one colored spell per turn. This is also the reason the deck's counterspells cost one blue mana at most. Of course, multicolored lands (Command Tower, Spire of Industry) and fetchlands might stabilize the manabase.

There are many what-if lands, like Academy Ruins, Phyrexia's Core, Riptide Laboratory (Glen Elendra Archmage or Trinket Mage are Wizards after all), Cavern of Souls (most of the creatures are Artificers), Buried Ruin, Thespian's Stage, Blast Zone or Inventors' Fair.

Some lands can keep your game up even after a board wipe. Think Foundry of the Consuls, Mishra's Factory or Inkmoth Nexus.

Artifact lands synergize with Master of Etherium and Tezzeret the Seeker or Daretti, Scrap Savant's second ability.

Also singleton lands can easily include the great and powerful Field of the Dead.

When I write articles about EDH I also look at the budget and come up with alternative cards replacing the expensive cards. There are cards whose effects we can't replace (like Urza, Lord High Artificer, Walking Ballista) but certain cards are not crucial for the deck even though they are very good (The expensive cards in your deck are Walking Ballista, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Urza, Lord High Artificer, Karn, the Great Creator, Blast Zone, Ancient Tomb, Cavern of Souls, Fiery Islet, Wasteland and fetch lands).

Instead of Jace, the Mind Sculptor you can play Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor for token creation and looting, she can also slow your opponent's spot removal.

Urza, Lord High Artificer can be replaced with Karn, Scion of Urza, for the token creation ability at the very least.

Cavern of Souls can be replaced by the less powerful Unclaimed Territory. The effect of the Cavern is very situational in EDH anyway.

Instead of Wasteland you can include Ghost Quarter.

Fetch lands would best be replaced by lands that enter the battlefield untapped since you need mana ready during turns 1-3.

Karn, the Great Creator can be switched with Karn, Silver Golem at least for the animation effect, plus it's creature now! And creatures are good.

Blast Zone, Ancient Tomb and Fiery Islet can't really be replaced for a similar effect, so it would be best to switch them for another utility land such as Desolate Lighthouse, Quicksand or Minamo, School at Water's Edge, or Urza lands (if you're feeling lucky).

Walking Ballista has mainly a removal function, so you might replace it with Duplicant.

Are there some unique cards or interactions you'd like to talk about?

There are two cards in the deck I don't think I would play in any other deck. First is Inventor's Goggles that autoattaches to your Artificers, hasting the ones with useful tap abilities. The second is Scytheclaw that is overpriced, with no evasion and tiny. However, Dalakos attaching wings to it makes it possibly a very high damage output card. As a honorable mention I would like to point to a card that I cut in the final version and that is Bludgeon Brawl. Just imagine hopping on a floating Darksteel Citadel for those Ghibli vibes.

Lastly, who will enjoy this deck the most?

I believe the deck most suits Johnnies / Jennies (the players who like deck synergies and are planners). It is a deck aimed at 1v1 casual EDH play. In a multiplayer the deck would destabilize rather than stabilize the game, probably ending up attracting hate and not being able to fire off synergies.

Thank you for your time!

S'Tsung (stsungjp @ Twitter)

Decklist

Dalakos, Crafter of Wonders
inubashiri, 294 tix

1 Bomat Courier
1 Chief Engineer
1 Emry, Lurker of the Loch
1 Etherium Sculptor
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
1 Goblin Engineer
1 Goblin Welder
1 Grand Architect
1 Hangarback Walker
1 Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
1 Master of Etherium
1 Master Transmuter
1 Meteor Golem
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Padeem, Consul of Innovation
1 Phyrexian Metamorph
1 Sai, Master Thopterist
1 Siren Stormtamer
1 Soul of New Phyrexia
1 Spellskite
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Treasure Mage
1 Trinket Mage
1 Urza, Lord High Artificer
1 Walking Ballista
1 Wurmcoil Engine
1 Chaos Warp
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Negate
1 Warping Wail
1 Earthquake
1 Pyroclasm
1 Trash for Treasure
1 Windfall
1 Thopter Spy Network
1 Arcane Signet
1 Batterskull
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Expedition Map
1 Inventor's Goggles
1 Izzet Signet
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Mask of Memory
1 Memory Jar
1 Mind Stone
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Scytheclaw
1 Shadowspear
1 Skullclamp
1 Spine of Ish Sah
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
1 Talisman of Creativity
1 Tome of Legends
1 Umezawa's Jitte
1 Dack Fayden
1 Daretti, Scrap Savant
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
1 Karn, the Great Creator
1 Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer
1 Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
1 Tezzeret the Seeker
1 Academy Ruins
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Arch of Orazca
1 Blast Zone
1 Buried Ruin
1 Castle Vantress
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Command Tower
1 Darksteel Citadel
1 Field of the Dead
1 Fiery Islet
1 Flooded Strand
1 Foundry of the Consuls
1 Great Furnace
1 High Market
1 Inkmoth Nexus
1 Inventors' Fair
1 Island
1 Maze of Ith
1 Memorial to Genius
1 Mishra's Factory
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Polluted Delta
1 Riptide Laboratory
1 Scalding Tarn
1 Seat of the Synod
1 Shivan Reef
1 Snow-Covered Island
1 Spire of Industry
1 Spirebluff Canal
1 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Temple of Epiphany
1 Thespian's Stage
1 Volcanic Island
1 Wasteland