Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Junk Enchantments

So during the week between the rotation of Standard on Magic Online and the start of the new season of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, I was busy testing several new decks and decided what looked promising in the new metagame. I was testing various Boros and Orzhov builds, and had just about settled on a deck, when Zachary Barash (of Hipsters of the Coast fame), sent me this provocative tweet:

Needless to say I was intrigued. Next time we were both online, I got to face this "new best deck" across the virtual battlefield. I proceeded to get beaten by said deck - and hard. Granted, this is not an unusual experience for me. Still, I was impressed. I immediately set aside the decks I had been working on and began testing with this new one instead.

Although this isn't the version he initially showed me (or even the one I eventually played), I believe that this is probably the strongest version of this deck, now known as Junk Enchantments:

The deck's concept is simple and straightforward, yet remarkably powerful. It functions similar to a Hexproof archetype, save that instead of relying on Hexproof creatures, you instead make use of the special qualities of the Bestow mechanic that essentially prevent you from getting two-for-one'd if your opponent destroys the target of the Bestow Aura prior to it resolving. Ethereal Armor is clearly the most powerful card in the deck, followed by Auramancer, Read the Bones, and Hopeful Eidolon.

The strength of the deck is its flexibility. You can go slow and play the value game very well with Auramancer, Read the Bones, and Bestow, or you can explode with a Turn 1 Hopeful Eidolon, Turn 2 double Ethereal Armor. However, conserving your Ethereal Armors is probably the wiser course of action, as they just get better as the game goes on.

Anyway, despite my initial enthusiasm, I have had nothing but trouble with this deck in two weeks of tournament play in Monday Pauper Deck Challenge. I have a record of 2-5 with the deck, and have seen it lose just about every way possible. I suspect that this is, at least in part, a combination of bad play, bad luck, and some less-than-optimal builds, rather than a true reflection on the deck itself. Still, it's been brutal for me.

So what do you think? Is this archetype viable? Or was it just a gimmick whose initial success was more due to its novelty than any real strength? As always, I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks for reading!


  1. Great minds think alike! I played Junk Enchantments in the first event of the season as well. My build was just a little different, but my results were the same. But I, like you, think this thing can stick around and can be honed into one of the defining decks in the metagame.

    Biggest difference I see is that you did not include Stab Wound. That card worked very well for me, fits the plan perfectly, and even acted as an alternate win-condition in gridlocked matches. I think it definitely deserves a slot.

    Pacifism was obviously great, except for the Mono Black decks using the devotion mechanic. The deck may need to switch out for some hard removal against these decks, which I'm guessing are going to stick around.

    I didn't use the Cavern Lampad, it seemed too expensive, but how was he?

    I also like how you included a few hexproof beaters and some Gatekeepers in the side (according to your list entered in Gatherling) I think maybe those of us who are trying these decks out early have gone too "all-in" on enchantment strategy. We've certainly got room to diversify and access the best "off-theme" cards the game has to offer.

    Oh, and I gotta say, this is a pretty weird metagame! strangest rotation I can recall. We might have to wait for the metagame to solidify before this can take off. But, yeah, very weird new environment, super-wide open and unpredictable. A great time to be playing Standard Pauper!



  2. I'm not convinced Green is doing a lot for you here. This could run better maybe as a BW deck? That's the direction I'd try and take, adding Stab Wounds and maybe some Marks in the main.