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Much Abrew: Puresteel Hammer Time


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another episode of Much Abrew About Nothing. As you probably know, I've had a love affair with Hammer Time ever since we first played the deck for Budget Magic, right after Colossus Hammer was released in Core Set 2020. While the archetype started out as a Turn-2-kill meme deck, it has evolved over the past couple of years, slowly being tuned and developed by the community, until recently jumping to the forefront of Modern as a very real deck and maybe even a tier-one deck! Today, we're going to take the newest build of Hammer Time out for a spin. Perhaps the biggest change to the deck is that is it less focused on janking opponents out on Turn 2 than it was in the past. (While Turn-2 kills are still possible, we don't have cheap double-strike creatures, so they are much less likely.) Instead, the current build of Hammer Time—Puresteel Hammer Time—mostly is looking to kill the opponent over the course of two turns by getting a Colossus Hammer on a Memnite or Ornithopter. While Puresteel Hammer Time might be worse than past versions at winning on Turn 2, it's much resilient, thanks to the card draw and repeatable free equipping of Puresteel Paladin, Unearth, and the combo of Lurrus of the Dream-Den with Mishra's Bauble, being able to easily fight through opponents' removal, discard, and other disruption and still pick up the Colossus Hammer win. Is Hammer Time a real deck now? Can we still get Turn-2 kills even with the new, slower build of the deck? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Much Abrew: Puresteel Hammer Time

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Discussion

  • Record-wise, we ended up 4-1 in our league, which is quite solid. Our one loss came to a Belcher deck, where our opponent basically just out-goldfished us (with the aid of going first, so their Turn-3 kill beat our Turn-3 kill). That said, we really should have lost an additional match to our Amulet Titan opponent thanks to Colossus Hammer making the equipped creature lose flying, so our opponent could easily chump block with their Field of the Dead Zombie tokens, but rather than scooping early to sure defeat, we stuck it out, and our opponent didn't see the line, allowing us to sneak out an extra match win!
  • If you're a long-time Hammer Time player, the most important thing to realize about Puresteel Hammer Time is that it's not really a Turn-2-kill deck. We did have the Turn-2 kill happen once in our league, but it required having two Colossus Hammers in hand to play on Turn 2. While Puresteel Hammer Time still often wins fairly quickly (on Turn 3 or 4), it also has the ability to play a much longer game than past versions of the deck did, thanks to Puresteel Paladin and Lurrus of the Dream-Den
  • While the pace of Puresteel Hammer Time is a bit different than past builds, the plan is still the same: use Stoneforge Mystic or Steelshaper's Gift to find Colossus Hammer, use Sigarda's Aid or Puresteel Paladin to get Colossus Hammer on a creature, and use that creature to win the game, most often in two attacks, but occasionally in one if we have Inkmoth Nexus
  • Memnite and Ornithopter probably look like strange targets for Colossus Hammer, especially with cards like Kor Duelist and Slippery Bogle running around in Modern, but there is a reason why these cards are in our deck: Puresteel Paladin is really, really strong, but we need at least three artifacts on the battlefield for it to be strong. Even though Memnite and Ornithopter are less powerful attackers than some other Modern options are, they offer a lot of synergy in our deck, powering up Puresteel Paladin, allowing for explosive starts by making extra mana with Springleaf Drum, and turning Cranial Plating into a legitimate backup plan in games where we can't win with Colossus Hammer
  • One thing that was pretty obvious while playing the deck is that the list is pretty tight and there aren't really many flex slots to make changes or for sideboarding. Unearth is the one card that can easily be cut from the deck. It's solid against removal-heavy decks as a way to get back a Puresteel Paladin, Stoneforge Mystic, or our Lurrus of the Dream-Den after our opponent kills it. But it is pretty bad in removal-light combo matchups. Otherwise, during sideboarding, we mostly would trim copies of Springleaf Drum, but it's important to keep as many artifacts in the deck as possible to turn on Puresteel Paladin's metalcraft ability, which makes it hard to sideboard out more than a few artifacts at a time. 
  • In general, Puresteel Hammer Time felt extremely solid. The ability to play a fair-ish longer game of Magic is a really big deal for the archetype. Older versions were extremely fast, and their good draws were close to unbeatable for some decks, but they also had a bit of a glass cannon feel, where one timely removal spell could ruin our entire game. Puresteel Hammer Time is very much not a glass cannon. I was surprised at how well the deck could go long when necessary and fight through disruption and removal. While the ungodly nut draws of literally winning the game on Turn 2 are less common, winning on Turn 3 is still more than good enough in most matchups, especially combined with the ability to win on Turn 8 or 10 in grindy matchups that older builds of Hammer Time were mostly missing.
  • So, should you play Puresteel Hammer Time? I think the answer is yes! The deck is fast enough to keep up with combo (despite our loss to Belcher, I think this is still mostly true) but also resilient enough to fight control and midrange. It may have taken almost two years and countless evolutions, but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Puresteel Hammer Time considered a top-tier Modern archetype and possibly even one of the best decks in the format (at least until the metagame adjusts to try to fight it)!

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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