Tezzeret is one of my favorite planeswalkers in the game—the fact that one of his iterations falls within two of the three Sultai colors doesn’t hurt either. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas has always been a fascinating planeswalker with powerful abilities that was continually shy of finding a competitive home.
Well today, thanks to Ben Scarsella, we’re going to see if the Bolas-loyal planeswalker might finally have one. Ben managed to win his Modern States event in March with the list we’re going to be looking at, so let’s dive in.
There was actually a second player who won their States with Tezzeret, Thomas Bauer, but the lists are slightly different. I like to keep my eye out for new cards, and the 4 Whir of Invention in Ben’s list are pretty… inventive. You also have some copies of Herald of Anguish in the sideboard, some Fatal Push, and an Inventor’s Fair—a good number of new cards. The deck also has access to the Thopter/Sword combo, which I presume will end up winning a good deal of games.
Okay, so right off the bat, let’s get one thing straight: This deck is weak to both Blood Moon and Stony Silence. You have 1 copy of Engineered Explosives in the main deck that could deal with Stony Silence if you happened to have a basic land in play. Ratchet Bomb would also work. If either could be activated! Truth be told, Stony Silence is brutal against you, and unlike Affinity, which has a bunch of creatures and that can still attack, this deck has a bunch of artifacts that can’t activate. It’s sad really. What unfulfilling lives for those artifacts—they had such big dreams.
Blood Moon is less oppressive if you manage to get your Swamp and your Island out before they land it, but it’s still rough. You still have things like Pentad Prism and Mox Opal, but getting to 3 blue mana to cast Whir of Invention is a tall order. Nevertheless, it is still possible to Engineered Explosives or Ratchet Bomb a Blood Moon, so at least you’ve got that going for you.
The main problem is that the deck is a little slow, and unlike the U/W Control decks, doesn’t have many ways to recover from aggressive starts (Supreme Verdict, Sphinx’s Revelation, etc.). A lot of times if your life total is low or they have a good number of creatures, or both, you don’t have a real way to stop that.
One unfortunate aspect of the deck is that many of the cards are dead in certain matchups. Cards like Engineered Explosives or Pithing Needle or Nihil Spellbomb could just be blanks at times. Of course, there are enough cards in Modern that you could always find some use for them, even a fetchland, but honestly, drawing a Pithing Needle against Zoo is painful.
I would start by upping the amount of removal in the deck, maybe even add a couple Damnations. Keep in mind that Whir of Invention can’t search for Engineered Explosives unless you want it to enter the battlefield with 0 counters. I could even see cutting one of the Tezzerets—I never feel comfortable playing them until the board is stable, and when you have multiples sitting in your hand on an unstable board, it can be a little frustrating. I would also not be opposed to more Fatal Pushes, or even just adding more green to the main deck to play Abrupt Decay or Nature’s Claim. In fact, you have so few colored cards that I can’t see a reason why you wouldn’t.
I love the idea of Tezzeret decks in Modern. I’m not sure we’re there yet, but thanks to Kaladesh block, we might be getting a little closer.