We continue our series on the beautiful and varied format that is current Modern. We’ve seen and analyzed many decks, including Merfolk, Enchantment, and Orzhov Stoneblade.
This week I want to introduce you to Hammer Time — a deck that is more about fun but may have a place in a competitive tournament and that has left me pleasantly surprised.
HAMMER TIME – DECKLIST
Memnite and Ornithopter are the deck’s two zero-drops, and they are cards that, even if it doesn’t seem like it, are very important. These cards help you enable Metalcraft and, along with Puresteel Paladin, provide synergy for the deck. Together with Springleaf Drum, they speed up your starts, and let you put a free creature on the board, which is essential in a combo deck that plays Colossus Hammer in the second turn.
In short, these two cards may go unnoticed, but they’re essential for your starting hand.
Let’s start with the Colossus Hammer — a card so important that the deck is named after it.
This card is unplayable in any other deck, but here it is key. It gives +10+10 to a creature and makes it lose flying. Sigarda’s Aid allows you to play Colossus Hammer with flash and equips it to one of your creatures when it comes into play. On turn two, you could have the biggest Memnite/Ornithopter in history.
Esper Sentinel is a nice card against spell-filled decks like UR Blitz because you won’t run out of resources after drawing, which is crucial in a deck that only draws via Puresteel Paladin.
Steelshaper’s Gift is your guardian. It allows you to search for your key card or Shadowspear, which has the important task of giving trample and lifelink to equipped creatures, both of which could be essential in certain match-ups.
Stoneforge Mystic shows up in an overpowering and important way by allowing you to take equipment from the deck. While it’s useful, it lacks the impact it has in decks created around the card.
HAMMER TIME – BEST POSSIBLE STARTS
With this deck, it’s important to have explosive starts and avoid clunky hands. Let’s look at the most impressive ones!
PROTECTED PURESTEEL PALADIN
POSION KILL ON TURN TWO
DOUBLE COLOSSUS HAMMER ON TURN TWO
Turn two: land, attack, double Hammer, and inflict 20/21 damage.
HAMMER TIME – SIDEBOARDING
Overall, this is a very good match-up. In game one, your opponent doesn’t fully interact with you, because they don’t have any removal, and you have to be faster, which you are and by a lot.
Post-side the situation between Force of Vigor, Dismember and Explosives, gets worse, but the game is still doable by playing decently around these cards. You insert hate against your opponent’s Amulet, which is the most problematic card because it speeds up their turns. Kaldra Compleat helps you put more pressure, and you take out the Esper Sentinel, which doesn’t increase your draw so the card risks being one mana 1/1 most of the time. Shadowspear is also useless because you don’t need to trample against your opponent much. Besides Explosives, Pithing Needle has nothing to name.
This is a complicated match-up for the high number of removals that your opponent plays and the high pressure they put on the board. You only have the Giver of Runes to protect your creatures. Lava Dart is also very strong against you.
Post-side the situation improves slightly enough to become playable. Burrenton Forge-Tender will often be unmanageable for Blitz. Your opponent almost never has a way to remove or block them. You finally have some removal for their creatures to handle the pressure.
Overall, it’s not a match-up you would want to play often.
More or less an even match-up, the game plans of the decks are similar but the synergies are different. Problems arise against versions that play a lot of discards and take your hand apart. It’s in your favor that most versions have little removal, and between Vindicate/Damn, almost no one plays Fatal Push. Solitude will therefore be the card to direct your attention.
The “new” deck, which is increasingly being played online and represents almost 5% of the meta in its various versions, is not a bad match-up. Its lack of removal works in your favor. The only problem could be that your opponent floods the board with creatures.
Post-side you have Seals of Cleansing, which are perfect in this match-up because they break just about anything, especially Urza’s Saga tokens. Your opponent will throw in some more removal, and the Abrades are strong against you.
You have to be very fast and mull aggressively for an explosive hand. However, overall it is an easy match-up.
Hammer Time may seem like a simple and trivial deck, but when you play it you will realize that you have many choices every turn and some that are far from obvious.
If you are looking for a deck that is fun to play, can surprise your opponents with turn-two wins, and still be competitive, then this is the right deck for you. I recommend giving it a chance.