Home Strategy Magic 2014 Warsmith deck guide: I heart artifacts!

After an unexplained delay of Valve proportions, Warsmith has finally arrived on non-Pad platforms. And all things were well forever. It’s not the new format definer, but it packs significant punch using a lovely strategy with tons of synergy that renders no topdeck useless. As a first in the history of about every Duels game ever, it also features appropriate support spells from both of its colours that help it get to the midgame where it dominates. Heavy metal, efficient creatures, and gratuitous amounts of burn, what could go wrong?

Trust in tin daddy

Well, the entire deck is built around the Metalcraft mechanic, rewarding you for controlling three artifacts at the same time. Goodness, does it reward you. Thus, it can be a bit weak to drawing the wrong ratio of spells, but artifact creatures help ease the pain of establishing both Metalcraft and a board position. They’re also far more fragile than noncreature artifacts though, so make sure to count your artifacts each time you rely on Metalcraft.

Once the deck gets into motion, it’s very hard to stop when half your artifacts have protection from everything and the other half can’t be targeted by regular removal. So this is why we got four artifact answers in every deck back when they could only hit Staves. Huh. Thanks, Wizards, I guess. This deck also lends itself to a lot of strategies and colour combinations, including technically colourless builds. An example of such a build is included below. However, it is very much advised to use both colours to get the best of both.

Warsmith red/white deck list (by mana cost)

60 cards, 14 Plains, 10 Mountain


  • 2 Ardent Recruit
  • 1 Infiltration Lens
  • 2 Bonesplitter
  • 3 Dispatch
  • 3 Galvanic Blast


  • 2 Myr Sire
  • 2 Auriok Edgewright
  • 1 Dolmen Gate
  • 2 Leonin Sun Standard


  • 2 Etched Champion
  • 2 Sculpting Steel
  • 4 Master’s Call


  • 4 Rusted Relic
  • 3 Warleader’s Helix

5+ CMC

  • 1 Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer
  • 2 Duplicant


Warsmith colourless deck list (by mana cost)

60 cards24 Mountain (Charbelcher)


  • 1 Infiltration Lens
  • 2 Bonesplitter


  • 4 Myr Sire
  • 1 Livewire Lash
  • 1 Dolmen Gate


  • 2 Etched Champion
  • 2 Scarecrone
  • 2 Snapsail Glider
  • 2 Lightning Coils
  • 1 Druidic Satchel
  • 2 Veilstone Amulet
  • 2 Sculpting Steel


  • 3 Chrome Steed
  • 1 Moonsilver Spear
  • 1 Goblin Charbelcher
  • 4  Rusted Relic

5+ CMC

  • 2 Duplicant
  • 1 Razorfield Rhino
  • 2 Pentavus

Warsmith card-by-card analysis

Ardent Recruit: 3.5

Wee when you need something to start, facepunchy when it’s wielding two Bonesplitters in one hand and an Infiltration Lens in the other. You just can’t argue with a one mana 3/3.

Infiltration Lens: 4.0

Just that we only get one of these should say something. It’s as good as unblockable, except that every block provides you with more fuel to finish off your opponent. (Or just kill her blockers and keep swinging.)

Bonesplitter: 3.5

Cheap fodder for Metalcraft, with some serious punch attached to it.

Dispatch: 5.0

One mana exile that does enough in an emergency. Do you really need further motivation?

Galvanic Blast: 4.0

I’ll say it time and again, Shock is fair and Lightning Bolt is overpowered. Oh, and if you aren’t in serious trouble already, this card will hit for four damage at instant speed to any target at a practically free price.

Banefire: 3.0

“But it’s rare, that means it has to be strictly better than that stinky common!” Except that I’d prefer to pay one mana at instant speed than five at sorcery.

Myr Sire: 3.5

And that’s how baby metal birds are made. Just don’t question it. Don’t treat this as a tiny creature, rather as an artifact for the count that your opponent won’t even bother killing and that can chump twice in addition to wielding a Bonesplitter. Important tip though: If this is the third artifact you control and it dies, you will momentarily be left without Metalcraft so that, for instance, your Champion could get burned.

Auriok Edgewright: 4.5

I’ve seen what Fabled Hero can do, and this is no different. Direct power boosting isn’t the most central theme in this deck, but even without it he will hit for four damage. Two mana. That being said, he is rather fragile and more of a mid game card for when you already have Metalcraft. Two should do.

Dolmen Gate: 4.0

As if this deck didn’t manipulate combat enough already, this little beauty will make your creatures completely invulnerable to trades while they whack your opponent. Sure she can just take the damage… but for how long? Sound overpowered? Well, that’s a Storm Crow sitting on the gate if it tells you anything.

Auriok Sunchaser: 3.0

Eh. You have to watch how many nonartifacts you take into the deck, and it feels like this card could pay off more for the investment. That being said, you could probably switch out a Recruit or two for this if you don’t mind slowing your deck down.(Significantly when you’d otherwise drop an artifact on 2!)

Livewire Lash: 2.5

Expensive Bonsplitter with a highly irrelevant clause in the environment of DotP.

Leonin Sun Standard: 3.0

Can eat mana, but that’s the point: Can, doesn’t have to. Attack with four mana open and murder your opponent’s creatures if they dare block or play a Relic if they don’t. Also fits nice and snuggly into the curve of dropping artifacts every now and then.

Vulshok Morningstar: 2.0

The Vulshok are bad and they should feel bad and should know that I blame New Phyrexia solely on them. Yes, especially you, Koth. Your duel deck sucks.

Etched Champion: 3.5

Literally impossible to kill. Blocks like a true brother or lays on an inevitable clock since all your buffs are untargeted or colourless. The only downside is that it’s a very bad target for Infiltration Lens.

Sculpting Steel: 4.5

So I get another of whatever I happen to need and can yoink my opponent’s Jitte if the opportunity arises? Where do I sign?

Scarecrone: 2.5

Fragile body with an ability that hits nothing but itself and Champions. It’s best quality is that it gets rid of itself so that you can draw better cards.

Snapsail Glider: 2.0

All but far worse than the Champion. It sucks to leave yourself open to fliers, but this would not ward them off either way.

Lightning Coils: 2.5

Hell, I’ve gone many games without even drawing five creatures, so why should you play a mandatory ability that your opponent sees coming kilometers ahead?

Master’s Call: 4.5

Literally instant Metalcraft: Just add Myr.

Druidic Satchel: 1.0

Would’ve been fine without a mana cost for the tap. Would have been meh if you could choose an effect. Would be at least slightly less terrible if it didn’t show your opponent what you will draw with almost no benefit to it.

Veilstone Amulet: 3.0

Funny interaction: It isn’t hexproof but a static shield that protects all creatures you control. Thus, it protects the creature that you cast to activate it. That being said, it just doesn’t seem to fit into the deck for hosing too few strategies and instant speed is still faster than it. Still, it forces your opponent to act now or not and you will have several instants, so you be the judge.

Unwilling Recruit: 2.5

Triple red cost! Weee… no. It would be hard to meet in an even mana base and you will want to tilt yours towards white to more easily meet Edgewright’s WW.

Chrome Steed: 1.5

Well look who’s trying so very hard to be:

Rusted Relic: 4.5

Tried a game with two. Then stocked up to four. How many other decks put down a fourth turn 5/5? This provides the main beef of the deck while being almost impossible to kill itself, so that your Metalcraft will stay active.

Spiraling Duelist: 2.0

Tally ho, gut those rotters then come back for tea! Assuming, of course, that you haven’t died to Electrolyse on the way home.

Moonsilver Spear: 3.0

The fabled weapon of Emo Angel Girl. Huge benefits if you can pull it off, but also enormous costs. You decide whether it’s worth it.

Goblin Charbelcher: 2.5

I can imagine better ways to spend 7 mana than a Rod of Ruin, thank you. It’s unpredictable and you won’t hit a Mountain when you need to. Maybe I’m just personally biased against this since I like playing lands.

Warleader’s Helix: 3.0

One thing this deck sorely lacks is speed and lifegain to make up for the lack of speed. This little beauty sets your opponent back to equal terms by killing just about everything in the game while giving you the life needed to keep yourself from rushdown. Four mana isn’t too expensive, stop complaining.

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer: 5.0

If you need help deciding whether or not to run this, we cannot help you.

Gratuitous Violence: 2.5

What did I say about triple red for an effect that has less of an impact than you would expect?

Concussive Bolt: 2.5

Shock and… aww, they stole my pun. Well, practically it’s more like Flame Slash and awe. Anyway, this can end games very quickly. It can, but often won’t. This isn’t the deck to burn out by turn 5.

Razorfield Rhino: 2.0

It’s like a titan with no abilities and without the beef.

Duplicant: 3.5

Playing it a few times really makes you realise how much tribal buffing there is in this game: It uses exactly and only the printed values the card has outside of the battlefield and “is equal to” values will be zero.* That being said, it’s a conditionless exile that puts the lard to better use on your side without the usual returning clause. What is this new “legendary rule change”, anyway?

Pentavus: 3.0

Horrifically expensive for a 5/5 that needs mana to disassemble into squishy and tiny flier. I suppose there’s a sick combo with Coils, but that’s about it.


*Someone with better rules knowledge confirm that this is supposed to happen. I thought power setting abilities now worked in every zone so that it would still have the strength of a Heedless one?

33 replies to this post
  1. Hmmm, need to significantly tweak my deck then – probably why my win ratio with this deck has been so miserable. Seems like an aggro deck tho; there’s very little to push in late game.

    Also, All is Dust! HA!

    • Why haven’t I thought of that? 2HG Warsmith / Eldrazi. You’d be a bit open to Demons / Izzet which I just know everybody plays (never having actually done a game in 2HG), but you’d have the majestic lifemoose to stay alive. Besides, Eldrazi’s early defense is to drop an Eldrazi on them turn 6 at latest.
      Then, All Is Dust the board while dropping Jor Kadeen as followup, then whacking them for at least 20. Aren’t artifacts awesome?

      • Toraka I can’t wait to do that! Partner with me sometime :)

        This deck IS NOT AN AGGRO DECK. Sure if you get the right draw and you’re facing Chant, go for broke. But the cards aren’t there to play Affinity here. It’s a sluggish mid-range that often can’t kill till it gets Champions online, but has a very powerful set of cards to lean on and make it get there.

        If you build it with too many low-curve cards you will get stomped by decks doing something more powerful (ie most of them) and/or have ugly mana issues.

  2. This deck became a lot better after I started using the dolmen, cheap artifacts and Rusty the Golem x4. Also, Dispatch is a doozy in this deck. Path to Exile without the land draw for your opponent.

    Good guide, Toraka, thanks for the advice. Any plans to do similar for Hunting Season?

    • Not sure. I’m a bit turned down by how stuffed it is with high-cost cards with no means to really get there. So a third of the unlocks are unusable simply due to cost. Also, Green Buff Deck #5 just feels so bland and recycled, contributing nothing to the game except to be strictly better than Garruk.

      Maybe. Not now either way, it’s Exam Season.

    • I’m having a lot of trouble with Hunting Season’s mana curve. The theme of the deck doesn’t take effective until you are 5-6 mana into the game and by then, most decks can overrun you already.

      And you don’t have a lot of mana efficient early game creatures like in Hunter’s Strength nor removals to deal with early-mid game threats. I hate to say it but Wizard actually made a worse deck than the Hunter’s Strength.

      • But what you do have is a lot of creatures that are hard to remove to get out of the way. ;)

      • It’s just too hard to survive until you get to the stuff that’s actually a threat; everything else before 6 manna in that deck are just speed bumps. So how do you balance the need for blockers, lands for late game, actual late game cards all with virtually no life gain/ramp/card draw?

        Unless you go from speed and +1/+1 counter build in which case I’d just go with elf.

      • Still figuring out Hunting Season…I’m not sure it’s terrible yet. It’s got some great game turns 1-3, and the Lambholts and Vinelashers that make it through the early game are genuinely scary. That said, as most people have pointed out, 90% of the unlocks are unplayable.

        So what I’m trying to do is see if there’s a solid token engine deck in there late game, or if it’s just relegated to Tier 3.

  3. my friend and I played this deck with sword of the samurai in two headed giant and we got three Jittes into play using sculpting steals it was a thing of beauty.

  4. Great build… this is a fun deck compared to most. Artifacts are sorely lacking the current MTG standard environment so this is refreshing to see.

    • I love how they reprinted Darksteel Forge and – Ingot (I have that in foil, and it is literally the most beautiful card I have ever seen), then… gave us a block filled with ENCHANTMENTS and fuck-all concerning artifacts.
      (Sure, god weapons, but is it really worth it to use a 9 mana card to protect your legendary weapon which can then still be exiled for 3 mana by the same spell that kills gods?)

  5. Nice guide, but I disagree with some of the ratings. Etched Champion could be… not he is a beast. With metalcraft activated, morningstar or bonesplitter attached, and Leonin Sun Standard on the board, he becomes shortclock-elemental incarnation. So the only thing that you should be concerned is how to lure opponent to cast counterspell or artifact destroy spell on something weaker, like Chrome Steel (which is perfect for that – not a bad card, yet no regrets if destroyed, and 4/4 can be temptating for it). I don’t rely on Myr Sire too much, but Glider isn’t that bad – he is still a flyer with metalcraft and he is an artifact, he isn’t all that bad. Duplicant gives me a headaches. With horrible flood of wheenies, his ability is not that strong as I thought. And Glorious Violence could be better in H2H, when match becomes a long struggle. Double damage makes every weakling a sub-boss ;)

    • Let me say it like this:
      If you ever, EVER, have to worry about your opponent destroying (not countering) the Champion, you are not playing it right. Also, with a Bonesplitter and Sun Standard, an Ardent Recruit becomes a death machine. The Champion is rated 3.5 because by itself it’s little more than a blocker of supreme brohood.

      If you’re running bad stuff with the sole intention to lure your opponent into killing it, then you need to run more good stuff so that your opponent can’t keep up with the good stuff coming out turn after turn. And I disagree, Chrome Steed is every type of terrible in a deck that gets four Rusted Relic.

      Same for Glider. We do not pay for Gray Ogres, we simply do not. There’s enough better things in the deck already, for both the purposes of facesmashing and those of metalcraft, which do and don’t share the Champion’s mana slot, that there’s no room for Gliders.

      I agree that Duplicant could be better in a meta without fucking Angels, but it’s still unconditional exile with a free lardy on top. The cost only prevents you from playing it on something not worth it. Also, it WOULD be better if Stainless understood Magic; As is, if you exile something that’s */* like Heedless One, Duplicant becomes 0/0 and dies immediately. It should, however, also become */* since stat-setting abilities work in all zones.

      You’re welcome to run the Violence, if you want to wait until approximately turn 10 or later to use it. Colour weight is a thing after all.

      • The “slight” diffrence between Ardent with bronze axe and Le(o)nin Sun Standard, and Champion with same set up, is that Ardent still can be roasted, slashed with void, turned into monkey, whatever. But Champion becomes untargetable and unblockable destroyer, so I rather attack with him and watch his symphony of destruction, than waste him for one block. I could not count how many times I won because he was on board, and how many times I lost because he was on board. He is still vulnerable on board cleaners like Damnation still, somehow.

        Maybe I am too conventional, but Steel is still… a 2/2 without metalcraft, and only -1/-1 comparing to Golem. Rusty without metalcraft is… nothing. And yeah, sheet happens you know? Destroying artifacts is very desirable target for your opponents, so they finaly have Torch Fiends, Bramblecrushes in their decks, and they won’t hold back with any of it against you. So I have Rusty and Steel mixed, just in case.

        Since UTM is in the house, I started to be lover of antyhing that could fly, so for me glider is still an option. But I can agree, that it should be a slightly better card. Well, I can agree with other parts of your reply. What I’ve only found in recent games against Warsmith, mostly in 2v2, is that Druidic Satchel can be useful in later parts, when you have more mana, and one draw for two lands is not bad at all. Maybe I don’t have place for this thing in my deck, but rate 1.0 is a bit too low for me.

        Ok, that’s all I think. Warsmith is a great deck for 2v2, and still a fun deck in duels. Just have in mind, that there are better decks in this game, but at least you are not a Dracomancer ;)

      • Sorry, Toraka is 100% on the money here. Glider is awful.

        Do not extend your champion into a position it could possibly be killed, simple as that. If you do not know how ridiculously unfair he is, you have a) never played against Affinity with a fair deck. b) Do not understand inevitability.

        Champion is an all-star, and Rust Golem is nuts because he makes up 1/3 of his own requirement by existing. You are literally 1 masters call from beating face. If you don’t have 2 artifacts in play by turn 4 anyway, you probably built your deck wrong or failed to mulligan.

        This deck is fantastic. Possibly (probably?) not Tier 1 (still testing), but real solid, and a pleasure to play.

      • I think this deck’s major weaknesses are that, at least early on, you need to keep the Myr tokens on the field for Metalcraft, so the one current top tier deck will have a field day with you. Rusted Golem is also rather fragile to the removal spammers once it’s a creature. Veilstone Amulet might help, but I don’t exactly see this deck being in much of a position to utilise the Amulet against thirty Doom Blades. Plus FOUR Edicts, of course.

        It has some momentum problems, lacking the ten comeback mechanisms that Elves has. Aside from that though, it’s my absolute favorite deck and can still hold its ground very well.

      • What you say is precisely spot on Toraka.
        Except Enchanter’s Aresnal remains my favourite though :)

    • I’d certainly hope so, though the question would be how to fix mana. There were some triple coloured decks in DotP12 if memory serves, including Esper. How did they fix again? Just the good old Expanses?

      I think that DotP15 NEEDS to implement the mana pool, or even just a solution to make multi-colour lands work. A lot of deck types (including Esper) just do not work with only basics. Which is sad because refer to this article’s title.

      If we’re already prophetising, I’m calling it now that at least some decks in DotP15 will see plenty of Bestow creatures from Theros. I hope it won’t be UW though, because Theros has made UW into a highly aggressive colour and Azorius aggro is not a thing that happens. It just isn’t.

      • Mana pool will never happen, same with planeswalkers or priorities (and ofc walkers would be very very bad cards without the priority system).

        It just flies in the face of the philosophy behind the existence of Duels. If you want nitty-gritty Magic, it’s not the game.

        So just relax and enjoy casting Doom Blade on Oracle of Mul Daya as soon as it enters play and reveals a forest :)

  6. I run mine totally differently.

    What I found was that I was running 10 mountains for the sake of 7 spells, and generally what I was wanting to draw in a mana screw situation was a plains.

    So I cut the mountains out entirely – No Galvanic Blast nor Jor Kadeen.

    Further, I found the deck could be a bit on the slow side at times, so I restricted costs down to 3 except for the Moonsilver Spears.

    I run the Sunchasers – because flying is the bane of my existence in this deck.

    Otherwise I find it quite satisfactory – particularly when you draw into those etched champions.

  7. what i like about this deck is to the noobs like me it is a real headache. i can tell you now i would have been lost without this guide. normally my decks are vaguely similar to the top tier guide decks because there normally haven’t been too many hard decisions but yeah the deck i just made was shit compared to this! so cheers.

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