Let’s make one thing clear, guys. New Phyrexia is a scary place. You have things like Deceiver Exarchs, you have Gut Shots, and Dismembers. You have Birthing Pods! I don’t know why Mirrodin hasn’t built a wall yet, but that’s neither here nor there, I suppose.
Actually, I suppose they do have a Cathedral Membrane…
Today we’re taking a look at a deck centered around one of the more noble cards in New Phyrexia: Puresteel Paladin. About a week ago my good friend Zac Elsik (a literal maniac) took 5th place in an IQ with a Puresteel Paladin Combo deck that has been dubbed “Cheerios” or “Cheeri0s.” While I often dislike ridiculous names like this (shout out to Ceddy P), I at least understand this one, as the deck has a plethora of 0-mana artifacts—circular… like Cherrios. But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself!
Puresteel Combo (Cheerios)
This is actually an updated version that Zac sent me, but you can also see some versions that have done well recently that look a little bit different. We’ll get into that after the videos, but I actually advocate some of the changes I see. The main goal of the deck is to get one or more of your 2-mana creatures into play, play a ton of 0-mana artifacts, draw a ton of cards, return all the artifacts to your hand with Retract, replay them to draw even more cards, then kill the opponent with a huge Grapeshot. Let’s see how easy that is.
While I hate losing to silly things, it’s kind of nice when you can point out exactly why you lost in certain matches. Like, “okay, I can’t really beat a Thalia, Guardian of Thraben when they’re applying pressure,” or “okay, Ie have trouble with Primeval Titan and multiple Valakut, the Molten Pinnacles.” At least you can see where things break down in those situations and how you may need to adjust your deck in the future.
That being said, Stony Silence is a chore to deal with and it requires you to have Echoing Truth. Otherwise, you can’t activate your Mox Opals or equip your Paradise Mantles, so you have no access to red mana for Grapeshot. That being said, one of the changes the newer lists made—and something I suggested in the videos—is to run something like 1 Sacred Foundry in the main deck. You have so many dead fetchlands that you draw in the later turns anyway that having an extra shockland that actually lets you cast your spell seems like a no-brainer. This is something I advocate week after week and it always seems to come up. Sure, you could “play around it” somehow by making sure to equip your Paradise Mantle early, or I don’t know—something, but why makes things harder for yourself? Just add the stupid red mana.
Another addition in the newer lists is Bone Saw, which I think is great, and can easily take the place of some of these Shields (I’m looking at you, Kite Shield). There were plenty of times I had to attack with my creatures—they were usually 2/Xs—and I was unable to get by anything with 3 or more toughness. A set of Bone Saws allows you to get up to 6 power out of these guys, which can even help you kill the aforementioned Primeval Titan! (Nah, just kidding. You’d be dead by then.)
This deck was immensely sweet and I would love to see it as a new addition to the Modern meta. Only time will tell if that’s going to be the case, but it’s nice when a new set can add a single card from which an entire archetype can emerge.