Treasure Hunting

I always find it a challenge to win a game of Magic using weird “you win the game” mechanics. I tried building EDH decks that revolve around satisfying conditions that just instantly wins you the game and Magic has provided us quite a number of these cards throughout its long history.

Approach of the Second Sun
Hellkite Tyrant
Hedron Alignment

Seldom do these types of cards make it into constructed formats because they are quite difficult to pull off and usually takes a good amount of turns to satisfy the win condition. Especially in constructed where players are keen on the interactions of these cards, once your opponent sees your deck behaving quite differently and starts playing different sorts of lands, establishing a pillow fort against aggro, or playing weird spells that seems weak, they know something’s up. And for the person trying to pull off the win, it’s usually a long and tiring process because his deck relies on certain cards to be drawn or must get a certain spell resolved to make the combo work, all the while trying to stay alive.

In most recent standard rotation, we saw Maze’s End do really well at one point by encasing the Gates inside a turbo-fog shell. Basically the deck would run all the Guild gates, cast fogs or wraths every turn to wipe the board, fetch out the gates one at a time, and win the game. What’s awesome about this is that the win condition is a land! It’s hard to kill and you cannot counter it or prevent it from hitting play.

Back in standard when Theros and Return to Ravnica were legal, this combo deck would win decent sized tournaments by using the same combination: Fog effects + Wrath effects + Gates. The deck below was piloted by Corrado in MTGO.

Spells: 32

4 Defend the Hearth
4 Druid’s Deliverance
4 Fog
2 Merciless Eviction
2 Negate
4 Riot Control
4 Supreme Verdict
3 Urban evolution
1 Bow of Nylea
4 Detention Sphere

Lands: 28
2 Azorius Guildgate
2 Boros Guildgate
2 Dimir Guildgate
2 Gruul Guildgate
2 Golgari Guildgate
2 Izzet Guildgate
2 Orzhov Guildgate
2 Rakdos Guildgate
3 Selesnya Guildgate
2 Simic Guildgate
4 Maze’s End
1 Breeding Pool
1 Temple Garden
1 Hallowed Fountain

Back to Ixalan standard we have Treasure tokens that can help win us the game instantly thanks to Revel in Riches. With today’s creature heavy format, Revel in Riches’ conditions seem to be very synergistic. Kill a dude, get a treature. Rinse and repeat until you get 10 treasures and win the game. Typically you would need to pack 12-16 removal spells, a couple of draw spells and hope your opponent plays 10 creatures/tokens for you to kill. The problem with this card though is its mana cost. By the time you get to 5 mana, you might have already killed a bunch of creatures and your opponent won’t have so much cards left in his hand. With very few targets left, it would be difficult to get to 10 treasure tokens.

Revel in Riches

True enough there are cards that make Treasures, but they usually come with creatures. Some come from sorcery or instant cards but they are few and far in between. So for today’s deck tech I wanted to have a more proactive approach with winning using treasures and I found a good card that will help us win the game sooner than Revel in Riches.

Mechanized Production

I believe Mechanized Production is a better card because it helps trigger the win condition without any additional investment from you. The only difference is that you need to have at least one treasure token on the battlefield to enchant, and you’re set to go. Ixalan gave us good cards that get the treasure token generation going and some of them are on decent bodies that can block well and keep us alive.

Sailor of Means
Pirate's Prize
Prosperous Pirates

We also get a lot of support cards from Kaladesh that rewards us for having a lot of artifacts in play. Good thing Treasure tokens are artifacts too!

Battle at the Bridge
Contraband Kingpin
Metallic Rebuke

So here’s my Black Blue Budget Mechanized Treasures deck.

Creatures: 14

4 Contraband Kingpin
4 Dire Fleet Hoarder
4 Sailor of Means
2 Ruthless Knave

Spells: 22

3 Fatal Push
2 Battle at the Bridge
4 Depths of Desire
4 Metallic Rebuke
2 Spell Swindle
1 Contract Killing
3 Lookout’s Dispersal
3 Mechanized Production

Lands: 24

3 Drowned Catacomb
3 Fetid Pools
10 Swamp
8 Islands

Sideboard: 15

3 Negate
4 Walk the Plank
3 Bontu’s Last Reckoning
2 Essence Scatter
3 Never//Return

The deck is not 100% competitive but you got to appreciate the jankiness of the deck and all the synergies going around. First is Contraband Kingpin, he is perfect for this deck! He’s a great blocker and equalizer for the first few turns. 4 toughness is so hard to deal with early in the game. Lifelink is relevant especially against aggro decks and his scry ability works so good with our treasures coming down.

Next we have the pirates that generate treasure tokens for us. Direfleet Hoarder is a great blocker and can deal with 2 toughness creatures and replaces itself with a treasure token. Sailor of Means is another great blocker with 4 toughness. Ruthless Knave isn’t good in combat but his ability of transforming a creature into 2 Treasure tokens is great for this deck.

I think a realistic line of play would be, turn:

  1. Land, pass, or Fatal Push something end of turn.
  2. Land, Contraband Kingpin or Direfleet Hoarder – block something and make a token/gain some life (Token = 1)
  3. Land, Sailor of Means or Depths of Desire, make a treasure and scry (Token = 2)
  4. Mechanized Production on a token, pass
  5. Upkeen make a token (Token =3), land, keep mana up for counter spell or use Battle of the Bridge to kill something and gain back some life
  6. Upkeep make a token (token = 4), land, play something cheap and leave Metallic Rebuke/Lookout’s Dispersal mana up. You can possibly have a Spell Swindle and catch a 3 or 4 mana spell and create Token’s 5, 6 and 7.
  7. Upkeep make a token (Token 8), win the game.
Lookout's Dispersal

A lot of things must go right to pull this off, maybe? That’s why I decided to put some lifelink/lifegain cards to help me stay alive while I clutter the board with Treasure tokens. Having a pirate subtheme also allows us to effectively play Lookout’s Dispersal. Both Metallic Rebuke and Lookout’s Dispersal are played with 1 mana less because we both have pirates and artifacts lying around, another synergy worth mentioning.

The sideboard is just more removal and counter magic to help us protect our board and our treasures and Mechanized Producting getting Cast Out, Abraded or countered.

Walk the Plank
Bontu's Last Reckoning
Never // Return

Nonconditional removal is in the side in case Fatal Push and Battle at the Bridge can’t deal with bigger threats like those in BG Energy, Temur and Dinosaurs. Never is our only way to deal with Planeswalkers if it gets through our counter magic so I saved 3 slots for it, plus it can remove pesky cards from the graveyard which is a bonus.

That’s it for me! If you decided to build it, do let me know how it plays out by leaving a comment below!

Cheers,
Vanson

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