Table of Contents
Hello everyone, last weekend there was a Historic Metagame Challenge, and I always like these events a lot, because it is a great way to build your collection and it is how I keep MTG Arena free to play.
This time around, I started playing without any knowledge of Historic since the last set of nerfs and the new Anthology sets. I tried a bunch of different decks: Humans, Mono-Red, Phoenix and Control. While I had positive records with most of them, none of them felt really good.
Then I tried Azorius Affinity: At first, I copied this list from DoggertQBones and went 4-1 and I really liked how powerful the Artifact archetype seemed:
However, the initial build had graveyard hate in the main deck when there were basically no decks that use the graveyard, and Ensoul Artifact which performed very poorly. It was also completely missing one of the powerful new Historic Anthology 6 cards: Retrofitter Foundry.
This is what I registered for my next run:
With this list I went 7-0, and 7-0 again and again and again… In total I went 28-0. I didn’t have time for another run, so who knows how many more I could have won. Since I kept winning I didn’t really make any changes, but going forward I’d probably look into perfecting the mana base and the sideboard. Karn, the Great Creator could be a great sideboard option for the mirror.
So why did I win 28 matches in a row?
First of all, the level of competition in the event is quite low – there are a lot of tier 2 decks and they are usually not piloted very well. That said, this is the only deck I had a good record with so it can’t be the only reason.
Second, this deck is good against the ‘bad decks’. As I said earlier, there are a lot of tier 2 decks in the event. For example, a deck like Humans, while very powerful in a certain metagame, struggles a lot against creature based combo decks like Elves, Goblins and Heliod Combo which all seemed somewhat popular. Affinity has a proactive game plan, maindeck removal and countermagic, which all add up for a very good matchup against every tier 2 deck.
Third, people are just not prepared for this deck at all, I faced almost no artifact hate and I felt like I always improved way more then my opponent after sideboard.
Finally, this deck is just a great powerful strategy and my frontrunner for the best deck in Historic right now. It is also quite customizable and you can easily switch cards between main and side depending on what you expect to face.
The gameplan of this deck is quite straightforward – play as many artifacts as possible so your Nettlecysts and Karnstructs become huge and your Thought Monitors become cheap. To enable this gameplan, this deck plays a ton of 1 mana artifacts, Ornithopters, and even some artifact lands.
Lets start with Ornithopter: This is a pretty weird card because on its own it does absolutely nothing. In this deck however, it makes mana with Moonsnare Prototype, gets turned into a 4/4 by Retrofitter Foundry, enables Nettlecyst and Thought Monitor, enables Spire of Industry and is a great target to equip your Nettlecysts later on, and all that for 0 mana! You should however cut this card when sideboarding against matchups where its about resources (like Control) and not about speed.
The first 1-drop and the one you usually want to play turn 1 is Esper Sentinel. We all know how good this card is by now in most White strategies. Its even better in this deck because it is also an artifact.
Then there is 4 copies of Portable Hole, which is just a very solid removal spell that is also an artifact. Don’t hesitate to play them out early to get your artifact count going.
Next, there is 4 Moonsnare Prototype. This artifact has 2 modes, the first one ramps you up (but only colorless mana!) and the second mode is an expensive removal spell, but it can be very good in some games. Thanks to this artifact you can play turn 2 Nettlecyst and turn 3 Karn, Scion of Urza, both of which are very powerful lines of play.
To round out the 1-drops there are 4 copies of Retrofitter Foundry. This card is insane – not only is it a 1-mana artifact, it also makes your Ornithopters 4/4s as early as turn 1. Later on, it is a great way to use your mana and even just making another artifact turn 2 to enable a bigger Nettlecyst or an early Thought Monitor is a good play.
Our only 2-drop is Ingenious Smith, and this is because you will often play either more 1 drops or pass with Retrofitter Foundry up. It is still a great card regardless, as the body grows very quickly, it works as a cantrip, and don’t forget it can also get some of your lands!
Then we have our payoffs: Karn, Scion of Urza, Nettlecyst and Thought Monitor. There is not much to say here, they are why you are playing so many cheap artifacts and every time you play one of those spells you feel like you have already won.
Last but not least there is Metallic Rebuke, very often your 1-mana counterspell. Card is great against slower strategies and reasonable against fast ones, this card is also the reason why you don’t fold to creature combo decks like Goblins and Elves.
Matchups and Sideboard Guide
Sideboarding with this deck is quite straightforward so I’m not going over every matchup and just write up some general guidelines instead, there are way too many decks in historic to cover anyways.
Vs. Creature Decks
|Glass Casket||Esper Sentinel (depending on how many non-creatures)|
|Skysovereign, Consul Flagship||Counterspells|
|Karn, Scion of Urza|
Vs. Non-Creature Decks
- Obviously, also side in graveyard hate when they do graveyard stuff, and so on. If you don’t know what to take out, just trim a bit on Retrofitter Foundry and Moonsnare Prototype.
- Ornithopter is good when the matchup is a race (Aggro/Combo) and bad when it is about resources (Midrange/Control).
Tips and Tricks
- Ornithopter is a Thopter, which means you can make it a 4/4 for free with Retrofitter Foundry.
- Do not play out Ornithopter if there is no reason to do so – it is free after all.
- Always think through your turns and how much mana you have. Between Improvise, Moonsnare Prototype and Retrofitter Foundry, you have some complicated lines, so try to not waste any mana!
- Always consider just passing if you have Retrofitter Foundry, especially if you also have counterspells. You’d be surprised how good making 1/1 artifacts are.
- This deck doesn’t really like to mulligan, but I wouldn’t keep most 1-landers or hands without any action in the first two turns.
- Making an artifact with Retrofitter Foundry in your opponents turn grows your Ingenious Smiths again.