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Goldfish Gladiators: UW Artifacts (Standard, Arena)


Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators! Back before Kaladesh rotated from Standard, artifacts were some of the most powerful cards in Standard, but they've mostly fallen by the wayside since then, even though some powerful artifact payoffs like Karn, Scion of Urza, Tezzeret, Artifice Master, and Sai, Master Thopterist remain in the format. As such, today, we're going to see if artifacts still have what it takes to be competitive in Standard with a deck I've been working on for a while: UW Artifacts. The deck is basically an artifact-based control deck looking to slow things down in the early game before eventually taking over with powerful artifact-centric planeswalkers and other artifact payoffs. Is it time for artifacts to rise again in Guilds of Ravnica Standard? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Goldfish Gladiators: UW Artifacts (Standard)

Discussion

  • As for our record, we finished 3-2, but I have no idea how reliable our results really are because pretty much every match we played—win or lose—was incredibly close. We had some wins where we literally played through our entire deck before finally killing our opponent, and in some of our losses, we were about a turn away from stabilizing before our opponent top-decked the win. 
  • The best part of UW Artifacts is that our payoffs are great. Karn, Scion of Urza is an extremely powerful card, even more so in a deck overflowing with artifacts. Tezzeret, Artifice Master almost always draws us two cards a turn with its zero, and Sai, Master Thopterist is a great way to make a bunch of flying chump blockers that can eventually go on the offense once we stabilize the board. More importantly, all of our payoffs work well together, with the Thopters from Sai, Master Thopterist growing our Karn, Scion of Urza Constructs and the Constructs from Karn helping make sure we have the three artifacts needed to draw two a turn with Tezzeret, Artifice Master
  • The worst part of UW Artifacts is that it's an incredibly slow deck. In fact, before the video was edited down, our gameplay was nearly three and a half hours for just five matches! If you're someone looking for fast wins to grind rewards, you'll probably want to look elsewhere. 
  • Our sweepers—Settle the Wreckage and Cleansing Nova—are perhaps the two most important cards in the deck. When we have one to sweep the board on Turn 4 or 5, we're usually in good shape thanks to our powerful late game, but things can get our of hand quickly when we don't draw a sweeper, especially against aggressive decks.
  • The rest of the deck is mostly artifacts, with Dawn of Hope thrown is as an additional finisher that combines with Fountain of Renewal for even more card advantage. Treasure Map and Azor's Gateway help us filter our draws and dig for those all-important sweepers; then, both are incredibly powerful once they flip in the late game, with the Treasures from Treasure Map growing our Karnstructs and the oodles of mana from Sanctum of the Sun allowing us to activate Dawn of Hope a bunch of times a turn (or to just empty our hand). 
  • Transmogrifying Wand is just a one-of, but it's actually very good against Izzet Drakes specifically, which is a really popular deck on Magic Arena. Turning a 10/4 flier into a 2/4 ground creature is a great deal; plus, Transmogrifying Wand helps to support all of our random artifact payoffs.
  • Finally, you probably noticed that the deck is only playing 21 lands, which is extremely light for a deck with quite a few four- and five-mana plays. The reason we can get away with this is Traveler's Amulet, which is basically a really expensive land. As long as we have at least one land in our opening hand, Traveler's Amulet finds us another. Plus, as an artifact, we can always leave Traveler's Amulet sitting on the battlefield if we have enough lands to power up our Karn, Scion of Urza and Tezzeret, Artifice Master
  • Personally, I really enjoyed playing UW Artifacts. There were some really close, fun games with lots of decisions, and when things go well, you can potentially draw your entire deck before winning! While we can occasionally get run over by fast aggro, our late-game power is unmatched and we have a lot of powerful artifacts to help buy us time while we are getting things set up. If the deck has a downside, it's that it is pretty expensive on Magic Arena, requiring nine mythics (mostly for the planeswalkers) and a massive 26 rares, which is especially surprising since we only have five rare lands in the deck. Unfortunately, it's not a deck that you can make Arena-budget friendly very easily, since the planeswalkers and flip-artifacts are pretty much the foundation of the strategy. 
  • All in all, UW Artifacts was a ton of fun. If you like grinding out slow, hard-fought wins and drawing tons of cards along the way (and also have a bunch of wildcards to blow), give it a shot. It's good enough to win quite a few games against the best decks in Standard, and you'll do some crazy things along the way!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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