A few weeks ago, the results of Regionals were the only resource available to ambitious magic players prepping for upcoming Standard GPs and PTQs. Those results brought us the “next big deck” in the form of Cascade Swans, which went on to win GP Barcelona and was the deck of choice for many last week at GP Seattle.
In the days following Regionals, Evan Erwin/SCG were diligent in tweeting links to the top 8 deck lists as they appeared. Going over the top 8s, region by region, I saw pretty much what I expected: a lot of token decks. It was not until Evan tweeted the results from Charlotte that I saw this very unique list:
Masters of the Universe!
Adarkar Wastes x4
Arcane Sanctum x4
Exotic Orchard x4
Mystic Gate x3
Underground River x4
Elsewhere Flask x4
Mind Stone x3
Thousand-year Elixir x3
Etherium Sculptor x4
Filigree Angel x2
Grim Poppet x2
Master of Etherium x3
Master Transmuter x4
Sphinx Summoner x3
Sharuum The Hegemon x3
Relic of Progenitus x3
Path to Exile x3
Sen Triplets x2
Seeing a deck like this make top 8 was especially exciting to me as rarely a week went by pre-Regionals without someone around the office (i.e. Ferrandynamo) talking about an artifact/Master Transmuter deck. Transmuter just got us excited, and it was easy to come up with various scenarios by which to “live the dream.”
Master Transmuter was so exciting in fact, that it inspired the pilot of the above deck to get back into Standard. Tony Purrazzella had quit playing standard when Kamigawa came out, opting instead to play older formats. While Tony wasn’t actively playing Standard, he still kept up on the format by frequenting dailymtg.com. It was the Building on a Budget article from March 5th (written by none other than our good friend Jacob Van Lunen) that got Tony seriously interested in the format again.
“I read through the article and I thought Transmuter was an amazing card; it reminded me of Tinker so much, and had such an old school feel for me.” Said Tony, when recounting his first encounter with the card. “Then I saw Thousand-Year Elixir. At this point I was sold, I was making this deck and trying it out.”
Tony invested a whopping $25 in Magic Online to build up his deck and set to testing. After a couple of weeks, Tony was set to commit himself to Standard again. For the month prior to Regionals, Tony re-acclimated himself to the format, visiting his local card store and refining the build with friends. Tony recounts that at first the deck was a tough sell to his buddies:
“I ran into an old Magic friend of mine named Derrick, so I told him I had a Transmuter deck and it was pretty good. He responded by saying something like ‘yeah I’ve tried that out, it wasn’t very good.’ We went out to his car and started looking through his deck and comparing notes; he kept talking about how Transmuter would die… what happened was that he didn’t realize that returning an artifact is part of the cost for Transmuting!”
Despite missing out on a qualification for Nationals, Tony has plenty of confidence in the deck and plans to play it throughout the Standard PTQ season. I asked Tony how he has changed the deck now that Regionals results have been made public.
“The only thing I have changed so far is putting in Wraths instead of Relics in the sideboard, to help out with tokens. I’m thinking about changing the Paths to Condemn since I usually only side them in against Bant, and I would rather not give them the land.”
When asked about the threat of Swans, Tony suggested that either Runed Halo, Rule of Law, or Ethersworn Cannonist could also be shifted into the sideboard, but he was going to wait to see if the deck became popular in his area before he committed to making that change.
For anyone interested in trying out the deck, Tony has this piece of advice:
“This is not a control deck. That is the biggest misconception. I win very many games without Transmuter and/or Elixir. It is really an aggro deck, I promise you! Think about Tinker (99-00); it played very aggressive in the early game and then assumed control of the board. My deck is identical to Tinker in many ways, since that is how it was designed.”
Special thanks to Tony for sharing his Regionals experience with me and taking the time to talk about his deck. I love that he was able to approach the format from a different angle and succeed with such an interesting deck choice. Hopefully you all are as excited about this deck as I was when I first came across it.