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Much Abrew: Echoing Urza (Modern, Magic Online)


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. This week, we're continuing our quest to play all of the decent cards from Modern Horizons with a very different take on an Urza, Lord High Artificer deck: Echoing Urza. While we've played some Thopter Foundry / Sword of the Meek builds of Urza in the past, Echoing Urza is basically an all-in combo build of Urza looking to use Echo of Eons to draw (and play) multiple hands worth of cheap or even free artifacts in the same turn before eventually stocking our graveyard and winning with Mirrodin Besieged on our end step. The deck sort of feels like a Modern version of Legacy High Tide or even of some Vintage decks that look to dump their hand of cheap mana-producing artifacts and then use one card to refuel and draw a new hand. Does Echo of Eons have a place in the Modern format? Can Urza, Lord High Artificer thrive without the Thopter Foundry / Sword of the Meek combo? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we can talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Echoing Urza

 

Discussion

  • First off, our record. Technically, we finished 3-2, which is fine if unexciting. However, both of our losses came to time outs thanks to how time-consuming our combo can be (combined with the fact that I spent a while thinking about the right line in some situations). Our first time-out-loss game against GW Valuetown was in a game that we were probably something like 75% or 80% to win if time weren't a factor, while our second came against Mardu Pyromancer, which was more of a 50 / 50 situation. Discounting the time-out losses, I'm very confident we would have finished at least 4-1 in our league, with an outside chance of the perfect 5-0. 
  • Thanks to the time outs and some other long games, I'm pretty sure Echoing Urza now holds the record for the longest episode of Much Abrew. Before editing, we had 3.1 hours of gameplay, and even after editing, the video is almost two hours!

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  • As for the deck itself, it felt surprisingly strong, discounting the time-out issues. While our primary plan for winning the game is to have a big combo turn that ends with us filling our graveyard with artifacts thanks to Grinding Station and Riddlesmith to win with Mirrodin Besieged, we can also win without our graveyard by making a massive board full of tokens with Saheeli, Sublime Artificer or Sai, Master Thopterist, so we do have a way to fight through all of the graveyard hate in our current Modern format. 
  • The deck has a few different loosely related plans. The first is to use our 22 free artifacts like rituals with the help of Urza, Lord High Artificer. With an Urza on the battlefield, we can cast cards like Everflowing Chalice, Mishra's Bauble, Engineered Explosives, and friends for zero mana and immediately tap them for a mana with Urza, Lord High Artificer's ability. This gives us a weird sort of High Tide-esque combo where we cast our hand full of free artifacts, use the mana to draw a new hand with Echo of Eons, cast another hand full of free artifacts, flash back Echo of Eons to draw another hand, and keep the combo going. In the end, this allows us to play through most of our deck in one turn, and we'll eventually find our Mirrodin Besieged and Grinding Station to sacrifice our board of artifacts to get 15 in the graveyard and win the game on our end step thanks to Mirrodin Besieged

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  • Riddlesmith is a really sweet card in Echoing Urza. Not only does it give us a backup plan for filling up our graveyard with artifacts for Mirrodin Besieged, but it also allows us to loot Echo of Eons into the graveyard so we can cast it as a Timetwister. With the help of fast-mana cards like Mox Opal and Simian Spirit Guide, this turns Echo of Eons into early-game graveyard hate against decks like Dredge, Phoenix, and Hogaak by allowing us to shuffle our opponent's graveyard into their library on Turn 2 or 3. 
  • Be careful with Chalice of the Void. While it can be tempting to run it out for zero mana, unless we have a Grinding Station to sacrifice it, having a Chalice of the Void on zero is usually a bad plan since it locks down a big portion of our deck. On the other hand, we can play Chalice of the Void on one as early as Turn 1, which is a good way to beat both Phoenix and Hogaak, likely the top two decks in the format at the moment.

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  • All in all, Echoing Urza felt very competitive and was super fun to play, although if you decide to pick it up (especially on Magic Online), make sure to practice it a lot so you can play it fast. One of the problems with the deck is that unlike Thopter Foundry / Sword of the Meek, the combo of Grinding Station and Mirrodin Besieged isn't all that obvious to opponents, so they are less likely to concede to the combo, and it takes a long time to actually play through the combo properly, especially if you're on the "tap Grinding Station multiple times for each thing we cast" plan. As we saw in the video, timing out is a real risk, although practicing a bunch should help to minimize the issue. While the combo does take a long time, if we didn't have to spend so long thinking about the correct line, we might have had time to finish another match or two.
  • So, should you play Echoing Urza? I think the deck is legitimately good, although as I mentioned a moment ago, timing out is an issue on Magic Online. In paper, it shouldn't be as much of a concern though, and if you practice enough, you should be able to play the deck on Magic Online without timing out often. If you like big-turn combo decks like High Tide and playing through our entire deck in one turn, Echoing Urza is a blast. It's about as close as you can get to play Legacy High Tide in the Modern format, which makes it fairly unique as far as Modern combo decks go. As long as you're willing to accept the risk of timing out, it seems like a fine option to grind out some leagues on Magic Online, and I wouldn't be surprised to see something similar pop up in the paper world in the coming weeks as players continue to figure out the right shell to take advantage of Urza's immense power.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck by liking, commenting on, and subscribing to Instant Deck Tech videos! 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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