Old Decks New Techs
It has been a while since I have muttered about my first two brews, Iron Curtain and Madness. In recent weeks however those two decks have been mentioned to me multiple times. I’ve been asked if I still play these decks, why I haven’t played these decks in some time and if I have any new tech for them. The answer to the first two questions is no I haven’t played either Iron Curtain or Madness in quite some time. The reasons being meta shifts and my incessant need to brew more decks.
As the meta changes so must your deck to adapt to new tech being brought in by new sets. At the end of Eldrazi Winter the meta was thrown into disarray. New decks started to emerge. I wasn’t playing much when Eye of Ugin was initially banned and came back just as Red White X Nahiri became popular. Unfortunately Iron Curtain was unable to handle the format well at this time so I had to move on. This was as all the madness cards were being printed and spurred the crazy streak in me to start brewing madness. The deck automatically was a nightmare for Nahiri lists. The deck gained value in ways it shouldn’t while maintaining an amount of pressure that the combo and control decks at the time couldn’t handle. Soon Dredge came about and my grave shenanigans and value hunting was no longer enough to keep up and Madness was tucked away in the back of my mind.
The third question “do you have any new tech for Iron Curtain or Madness?” is less doom and gloom. You bet I have new tech. since I put Iron Curtain down, a total of 6 sets have been released. One of which heavily featured the deck’s number one toy, artifacts with silly abilities. The last time I featured this deck the list looked something like this:
The meta has changed a lot since this list. Twin no longer exists, Nahiri is basically dead, Dredge has all but disappeared so what do we change in this new meta?
For starters Grixis no longer appeals to me. I’d run cut the Dimir Signets now to go back to Izzet Signets. I’ve noticed a severe lack of Stony Silence floating around lately so you can likely act like it doesn’t exist. If you are concerned about Stony Silence in your meta, switch to Talisman of Progress to get access to Disenchant.
We are no longer concerned about the existence of Twin. So we no longer need Torpor Orb or Rending Volley. I would just straight up cut them. If you have a large chunk of Melira Company floating around your meta maybe keep the Orbs in.
The biggest issue I found with the deck was inconsistent turns two through four. So I started running four Temple of Epiphany. I also started running 2 Wandering Fumarole. If your opponent manages to get rid of your Blood Moon, Wandering Fumarole very effectively slips under Ensnaring Bridge. If you are adding the white splash I would also recommend two Temple of Triumph.
Koth has recently made his way to the playing field with Skred Red and Sun and Moon becoming higher played decks. Unfortunately I’m not as in love with this planeswalker anymore. I’m feeling Tezzeret the Seeker. When he enters the battlefield, he can immediately protect himself by finding a missing Ensnaring Bridge or Spellskite.
Now, let’s look at some new tech. The biggest advancements were given to us in Kaladesh and Aether Revolt. The Gearhulks all can fit in this deck. I would say Combustible Gearhulk and Cataclysmic Gearhulk are the most relevant ones for us with Verduous Gearhulk and Torrential Gearhulk being the least useful. Cataclysmic Gearhulk, much like Cataclysm, can suddenly turn the match in your favour. With Kuldotha Forgemaster you can find it at instant speed. If you keep a Chalice of the Void and a Blood Moon up they will have a hard time killing it. Combustible Gearhulk has the potential to be a massive amount of damage or 3 cards we, usually, desperately need.
The next thing given to us in Aether Revolt was Pia’s Revolution. Iron Curtain contains a large quantity of zero drops. So imagine sacrificing three zero-drop artifacts to Kuldotha Forgemaster and watching the look on your opponent’s face when they have to chose between putting them back in our hand or taking 3 damage for each. Or picture the absolute chaos of finding Cataclysmic Gearhulk on your opponent’s turn with Kuldotha Forgemaster and then sacrificing all those artifacts. Your opponent will be forced to die or put all those cards back in their hand.
The last time I mentioned B/R Madness the meta had just been shaken up with the banning of Twin. My list was something along these lines:
With the release of Shadows over Innistrad I was inspired to build this deck initially. Eldritch Moon gave us some new toys to play with. The main new toy we get is Collective Brutality. Think how great of a feeling it will be to pay for all three modes on Collective Brutality with Squee, Goblin Nabob then get both copies back on your next upkeep. Alternatively you can discard Bloodghasts and get them into play right away on the next turn. Later in the game we can discard Fiery Temper or Gorgon Recluse and cast them as well. So much value, I kind of want to run four.
Being a two colour deck gives us the luxury of running plenty of basics. This doesn’t give us all the utility the three colour decks that run the format have. What it does give us is the ability to play Blood Moon. Let’s see Bant Eldrazi, Death’s Shadow, and Eldrazi Tron get through a Blood Moon and hordes of Black Red value cards if they can’t find basic lands.
An issue I previously had with the deck was the lack of card draw. My curve is too high to run Dark Confidant. Phyrexian Arena could work but I feel it is awkward to run in the list. Erebos may be too hard to turn into a creature so I left him alone. With Amonkhet I’ve been looking at Bontu, The Glorified. Bontu, The Glorified doesn’t give me card draw but it does set up my draws to be more effective on the next turn while draining my opponent each time I activate him. Activating him on my upkeep lets me set up my draw step and enables him to attack. A 4/6 body with menace is nothing to scoff at.
Hazoret also looks interesting but the ability cost seems a tad high for my liking. If I run it I think I may put it in the sideboard. The concept of having another discard outlet that lets me use my madness cards at instant speed seems very good. I’ll have to test this one further.
Archfiend of Ifnir is another card that, if I do run, will be in the sideboard. However it is definitely on my radar as a potentially powerful card. Every Faithless Looting becomes a potential wrath effect. Every time I plus Liliana of the Veil it is a mini wrath. Every time I activate Call the Bloodline my opponent’s board gets smaller.
A future list may look something like this:
I may be floating these lists around somewhere in the near future. With any luck these cards become direct upgrades in their respective decks.
Contacting Jeremy Brain; Do you have fan mail? Comments? Hate mail? Have a spicy brew idea you want featured? Are you looking to find a way to break a card into a format and aren’t sure where to start, email me at email@example.com.