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by ( G_R )
Sun Aug 31, 2014 8:14 pm
Forum: Gaea's Cradle (Casual)
Topic: [Article] Factories and Workers - How to Build Around a Card
Replies: 3
Views: 1090

[Article] Factories and Workers - How to Build Around a Card

Factories and Workers - How to Build Around a Card
There's always that one card that everyone overlooked, or used for different purposes. You look at it and say to yourself: "I can make this work".

What is "Casual?" There are numerous definitions of casual, just as there are numerous playgroups of Magic players. To narrow that down, it seems intuitive to arbitrarily apply Mark Rosewater's classic psychographic profiles, Timmy, Johnny and Spike. Having learned that I'm actually more of a Johnny, it's the obvious choice for me. Don't get me wrong, this is not a Johnny-only article, though I do believe that
there's a bit of Johnny in everyone of us.

So, what is Casual like for a Johnny? As Rosewater puts it: "Playing Magic is an opportunity for Johnny to show off his creativity," and the kitchen table is not the exception. There's always that one card that everyone overlooked, or used for different purposes. You look at it and say to yourself: "I can make this work". I've been there many times. Sometimes it will be cards that everyone "knows" are good for nothing, like Storm Crow, Chimney Imp or Darksteel Relic. Or perhaps perfectly playable cards like [card]Soul's Attendant[/card] that you think can interact with other cards for a new interesting twist.

Some cards are very easy to build around. They might even get the label: "build-around-me card". A prime example of this is Barren Glory. Just by looking at it, you know what you have to do
to win the game with it, and you can start searching for other cards that will help you achieve the desired outcome. But then there's cards like Momentous Fall, where you could have a hard time trying to build around it, and perhaps even think it can't be done. So, how do you build around a card? Any card? Here´s what the process looks like in my head:

To build around a card, you need to answer a few questions:

  • What does the card do?
  • Does it win the game upon playing it?
  • If it does, what does it require?
  • If it doesn't, does it enable a straightforward strategy to win the game?
  • Are there cards that win the game when this is played?
  • What other options do we have to make this card the center of a winning strategy?

At this point, it gets difficult to have a deck that "
feels" built around the card, so I ask myself: Is it viable, then, to build around this card?

Let's view some examples:

Example 1 - Coalition Victory

What does the card do? Wins the game on resolution.
Does it win the game upon playing it? Yes
If it does, what does it require? All basic land types, and creatures of all colors.

We now know what we need to build around it. There are many ways to do it, but the goal is the same, and it's clear.


Example 2 - Darksteel Relic

What does the card do? Oh crap, we're done. Next card, please. (I have actually built a deck around this card, but that's for another article)[/size:
20qten0s]


[size=105]Example 3- Momentous Fall


What does the card do? Card draw and life gain at the cost of a creature. The bigger the creature, the bigger the effect.
Does it win the game upon playing it? Not really.
If it doesn't, does it enable a straightforward strategy to win the game? Straightforward? I, at least, cannot say so.
Are there cards that win the game when this is played? Well, you could use Psychosis Crawler, or Test of Endurance, but you'd be sacrificing ANOTHER card that would win you the game, like Emrakul, for example.

Here's where it gets tricky. The answer to that last question is not clear, and brings about
another question: Do you really want to sac a Big Furry Monster to win with Psychosis Crawler, when you could just attack with it and just win? Before my head explodes, let's move on to the last question, then:

What other options do we have to make this card the center of a winning strategy? There's always creatures that like being sacrificed, like Archon of Justice, or cards that can die without hurting that much, like Penumbra Wurm. I saw a Momentous Fall deck that used modular, and I have built this deck (we could visit it in a future article), so the card is indeed "build-around-able".

As you probably already knew, building decks is not an exact science. It's even more confusing when you are presented with the challenge to build around a card that lacks a clear avenue to victory. I'm trying
to transcribe the mental process I go through with these challenges, in hopes of giving out some pointers to you on how you might get around building around. Sorry, I couldn't help myself.


Assembling a working Assembly-Worker deck

My intention with this column is to explore ways to build around cards, and then coming up with a deck. Be advised that I build my decks for Magic Online, so I tend to favor cards that I already own, and I’ll try to keep the purchases of new cards to a maximum of $10 within the same month. Bills first, right?

This time we’ll do a quick one, but it’s one of the decks I’m most fond of. [card]Mishra’s Factory[/card] is a very useful land, and it’s widely used for defense in many decks, because of its ability to turn into a creature that buffs itself; the manland by excellence. But my idea of an Assembly-Worker deck actually came from looking at the Urza lands:

[cards]Urza’s Mine
Urza’s Power Plant
nUrza’s Tower
Urza’s Factory[/cards]

I knew the originals from my early Magic days, and when I learned about [card]Urza’s Factory[/card], the obvious interaction with it and the others planted the seed for this deck, and from the same set (Time Spiral) cameAssembly-Worker. Obviously, the first thing you need to make this work is a ton of mana, and we already have the Urzatron for that, but it’s not quite enough, so let’s see what we could do to help it:

[card]Mishra's Workshop[/card]: The other Mishra land, it’s only fitting that it provides the exact amount of mana needed for Assembly-Worker. I happen to own one from a draft, so at least that one should go into the deck.

Tolarian Academy: My favorite Magic card ever. Expect me to overuse it. In an artifact-themed deck, it’s a no-brainer, and it gives us access to blue mana. It also combos very
well with both [card]Minamo, School at Water’s Edge[/card] and Deserted Temple.

Sol Ring: Artifacts that produce mana work wonderfully with Tolarian Academy. There are others, like Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, and even Everflowing Chalice, just to steer away from P9 for the time being.

Doubling Cube: This overlooked piece of tech is excellent once you are capable of producing anything above eight mana with ease.

Expedition Map: Using a restricted land like Tolarian Academy is easily done with this little atlas. My favorite turn 1 play.

Candelabra of Tawnos: Another card that I happened to pick up
in a draft, it’s excellent with [card]Mishra’s Factory[/card], not to mention the Urzatron and the Academy.

We only have three cards producing Assembly-Workers, so I threw in Rite of Replication, and since we’re using a lot of 1CMC artifacts, Trinket Mage sounds great. My first build looked like this:

[deck=Assembly-Workers First Build]
Assembly-Workers
4 Assembly-Worker
4 Mishra's Factory
4 Urza's Factory

Artifacts
4 Everflowing Chalice
4 Doubling Cube
4 Expedition Map
1 Sol Ring
1 Candelabra of Tawnos

Some Blue Stuff
4 Trinket Mage
4 Rite of Replication
4 Tidings
1 Mind Spring

Other Lands
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
2 Deserted Temple
1 Mishra's Workshop
1 Academy Ruins
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
1 Tolarian Academy
[/deck]

A little card draw seemed like a good idea at first, but with the deck being a bit dependent on land drops, filling your hand with
them wasn't helping a lot. M12 gave us another Assembly-Worker, and a lord to boot, in the form of Adaptive Automaton, and the Zendikar block produced an artifact-creature that really fits well in this deck: Walking Atlas. The deck currently looks like this:

[deck=Assembly-Workers]
Assembly-Workers
4 Assembly-Worker
4 Urza's Factory
4 Mishra's Factory
4 Adaptive Automaton

Artifacts
4 Expedition Map
3 Doubling Cube
3 Walking Atlas
1 Candelabra of Tawnos
1 Sol Ring

Blue Stuff
4 Rite of Replication
4 Trinket Mage

Other Lands
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Urza's Mine
4 Urza's Power Plant
4 Urza's Tower
2 Deserted Temple
1 Academy Ruins
1 Minamo, School at Water's Edge
1 Mishra's Workshop
1 Tolarian Academy
[/deck]

Playing the deck:

The mana curve of the deck is actually quite gentle, so I’m usually keeping hands with two lands. The most desired turn 1
play is Expedition Map, and depending on what those first lands are, you either set up your Urzatron, or aim for the Tolarian Academy + [card]Minamo, School at Water's Edge[/card] + Artifact Lands combo. From there, it’s pretty straightforward: produce as many Assembly-Workers as possible, while you draw a Rite of Replication and build up enough mana for it. My preferred target for the Rite is an animated [card]Mishra’s Factory[/card], because then you get land tokens that you can immediately tap in order to give your existing creatures a boost, and they lend themselves to some Candelabra abuse.

Here’s a couple YouTube videos that I made of this deck in action:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpMbncepbSA
RIP V3

[youtube:
20qten0s]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LkZUoS8_AI[/youtube]




I hope you enjoyed this article, and I look forward to share some other of my crazy ideas with you.

You can discuss this article here.

( G_R ), also known as Gaea’s Regent, is a Guatemalan engineer, who started playing strictly casually in the days of Urza’s Saga. He now juggles his scarce free time between being a family man, being a keyboard warrior, and playing stuff on his work’s laptop - including the magical cards.

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