Grand Architect is an awesome magic card. A real swiss army knife, the best part is being able to use the mana ability the turn you cast it. The printing of Chief Engineer added another hasty blue artifact mana producer, and allows this deck to exist:
4 Grand Architect
All 3 vedalken artificers give this deck explosive mana, allowing multiple artifact spells to be cast right away. They are all blue so they get the buff from Grand Architect and can produce artifact mana as well. This allows us to accelerate into a 4+ mana cost artifact turn 3.
All of the artificers also allows us to play the deck’s Tarmogoyf: Myr Superion. Landing that guy on turn 2 or 3 is serious aggro. We can use Grand Architect mana, Convoke from Chief Engineer, double Etherium Sculptor, single Etherium Sculptor + animated Blinkmoth Nexus or double animated Blinkmoths if we need to. Myr Superion is bigger than Siege Rhino and can grow even bigger with Master Of Etherium and Grand Architect making it blue. A 5/6 for 2 mana is pretty crazy provided you have enough ways to play it, which i think this deck does.
Chief Engineer and Etherium Sculptor makes us want to play one drops, because we want to have cheap artifact creatures that we can chain convoke or cast for free off of Etherium Sculptor turn 2. Vault Skirge and Signal Pest are our best cheap artifact creature option. Judge’s Familiar is also a worthy one mana creature. It is blue, has evasion, it can delay many of our opponent’s early plays, keeping early counter magic and removal in check. Interestingly it saves us from Hive Mind by countering our own copy of any Pact. The taxing ability also adds up well with Lodestone Golem.
Lodestone Golem is an awesome creature. Some decks have a hard time beating it. Burn is forced to spend a Lightning Bolt on it. All of our artificers enable turn a 3 Lodestone Golem. You can even cast it on turn 2 with the ‘nut draw’. Lodestone is also a great threat, 5 power is no joke. Getting multiple golems on the field is ridiculously painful for the opponent’s mana and it usually doesn’t hinder our strategy since most of the deck is artifact-based. In the post ban meta there is a chance that not every deck you will face will have Lightning Bolts. Paying a single Blue mana with Grand Architect or having Master of Etherium out keeps it out of Bolt range.
Master Of Etherium boosts most creatures in the deck. In this deck, you get a lot of synergy from a creature that is both blue and an artifact. He might not be as big as in Affinity decks but he’s great nonetheless.
Aether Spellbomb breaks every creature-based combo and can give us the tempo we need to beat the opponent. Once on the field, the ability can’t be countered and is unaffected by golems, as opposed to Vapor Snag, but there is no surprise factor. At worst it cycles or it saves a creature from removal.
Bident Of Thassa is a sweet one of. This deck tends to be able to play a lot of evasive creatures by turn 2 so landing this on turn 3 with Convoke or Etherium Sculptor can give us tons of card draw. Sweepers are bad for us so drawing a bunch of cards can compensate for the incentive to overextend. At worst, we can still draw cards from our manlands if we lose our creatures. The ‘taunting’ ability is just a bonus.
At first i was playing Tectonic Edge to add up to the mana denial plan of Lodestone Golem. I changed to Blinkmoth Nexus because we are aggro and manlands are more synergistic. I choose Blinkmoth Nexus in particular because they are cheap to activate, they come untapped (as opposed to Faerie Conclave), they are evasive (as opposed to Mutavault), they block as well as Mutavault (using the pump ability on themselves) and can be pumped via Grand Architect. Mutavault‘s creature types do not matter here.
Academy Ruins can easily be used while casting the recurred artifact with Artificers. It is just a great way of recovering key artifacts,since it can keep up the pressure by insuring us relevant draws.
I think 11 Islands is the correct number. We do want double blue for a turn 3 Grand Architect. Playing with 11 Islands makes us almost Blood Moon proof, a card i hate losing to. We never run out of basics for Path To Exile and Ghost Quarters and we can’t get mana-screwed with an opposing Tectonic Edge.
Thorn Of Amethyst basically comes in when Aether Spellbombs are bad, vs. creature-light match-ups like Storm, Scapeshift combo, Burn, etc. We play 4 so we can replace our 4 Aether Spellbombs. They are also better than Batterskull vs. Infect strategies. The taxing effect adds up with Lodestone Golems and Judge’s Familiars and makes winning very hard for those decks unless they get rid of it. Even if the opponent sided in artifact hate,they will still have to pay the extra mana to get rid of it which makes for great tempo.
Mindlock Orb is a very powerful option, it used to be even better when Birthing Pod was around but it is still backbreaking vs. Scapeshift and Amulet of Vigor decks, preventing both their mana from developing and the combo itself. Being a blue artifact means that we can cast it on turn 3 with our Artificers.
Torpor Orb is mainly for Splinter Twin, but with Siege Rhino everywhere is is an option vs. Abzan decks as well. It is not a bad inclusion against Amulet combo on the play to prevent the first Primeval Titan trigger.
Monastery Siege is here mainly for the ‘Dragons’ mode. It is for the removal-heavy deck such as Abzan or Burn decks. The taxing adds up with Golem/Familiar/Thorn and at worst the ‘Khans’ mode is never terrible.
Artifacts…transform and roll out!
This deck can be a great budget-friendly alternative to Affinity, with some added disruption. We can’t play Cranial Plating since we don’t have enough artifacts and Darksteel Citadel is just bad in this deck, so a turn 3 kill is not a possibility. It has potentially explosive turn 2 plays that may lead to a turn 4 win.
On the plus side, the deck is not as affected by hate as much as Affinity is. Stony Silence doesn’t do much and Judge’s Familiars, Grand Architects and Chief Engineers aren’t affected by artifact destruction. Creeping Corrosion/Shatterstorm/Fracturing Gust are still devastating but we have Judge’s Familiars and Lodestone Golems to delay them and hopefully win before they are able to be cast.
Kataki, War’s Wage is pretty bad for us, especially when we have our explosive turn 2. Early Choke or Boil can be a pain. If we already have some Artificers on the field we can keep casting our artifacts which is the most important thing to do in this deck. Also our non-basics aren’t affected by it so with some luck we can overcome the hate.