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7.3 Metaminds: I Never Metamind I Didn’t Like

Arctic gusts roared past the gleaming steel buttresses of Metamind Tower 14, Floor 42, belying the quiet focus of its inhabitants.  Within, the chief warmind of the Steel Collective analyzed the reports streaming in from his Doppelbot spy network.

The Demara-worshiping netherscales have lost their goddess’s blessing, causing them to fall to infighting among the naga clutches. The poisonous yeti malice mongers have abandoned them and are now making lighting raids in the eastern outposts, with Arrachtor-summoned elementals and even the once gentle leafkin spotted among their bands of corrupted forest spirits and insects.

Shard powered armor remains an unrealized advantage as the Grove Queen rebuffs all diplomatic and “tactical” attempts to acquire enriched deposits in the upper Deepbranch marshes. The Infinity Warden and his sycophantic sage escorts have been spotted consorting with the queen and her plant and tuskin servants, Saint Nuada included.

The splinter cult, Forgeheart, continues to accumulate disenfranchised faithful from the Great City’s quarters.  Ironbeard embraces a messianic role, as the “Breaker of the False Anvil”.  His prophets spread the news of the “forgespark within”; even the Aerial Squadron commander, Uriel Ironwing, has abandoned its post to join the cause. Clearly, the unmanned battlements and dwindling stock of armaments no longer matter to the former “Hammer of Anvillon”.  Rumors also intimate that Ironbeard preaches of Nekrium monstrosities that would prey upon the faithless– Cyrus the Merciless Grimgaunt, Iniog the Carrion Demon, the Lichmane Drakes– as a means of keeping his flock in line.  

Ghox pursed his gray lips; his quartet of metamind servitors continued to operate their workstations as their leader silently considered the situation at hand.  Tactics, logistics, and acceptable losses flashed through the Paragon’s mind.

*A gray mist silently billowed from a crackling nether portal*

In crisp, calm tones he ordered, “Send the Twenty-Third Frontline Squadron under Infiltrator Crux to assassinate the Umbruk raid leaders. Keep alert for any of the Arrachtoron “lightning titans” and pray we are past the leafkin’s spawning season; even our justicars cannot contain them.”

*Ash-gray claws birthed from the violet world-tear as the portal swiftly grew on size*

“Send Commander Drix to negotiate a resumption of work duties with the “Forgeheart” cultists  Hopefully they are not truly consorting with Nekrium monstrosities. As for Nova..”

Azure lightning surged through the war chamber, enervating Ghox and his minions. The metaminds’ weakened limbs hurled them to the floor as a Tarsian demon skittered from an adjacent hall, jet-black claws scratching grooves in the steel flooring as it approached the Paragon.

Ghox fought his shriveled muscles, stretching for a beam pistol holstered at his waist, as the chuckling demon pierced his flesh with its talons and lifted him into the air. The demon eyed the cerulean fluid leaking from its meat-puppet’s wounds with a nightmare smile and whispered broken-glass words into its target’s ears, “The Great Xerxes wishes to see you you, but first we have some fun.”  With its free claw, the Tarsian “patron of torment” casually snapped Ghox’s upper-right wrist, grimacing delightedly at the metamind’s spasms of pain.  “That was but a taste, worm. You don’t need to see what’s coming next…”

Icy, black fluid splashed in Ghox’s eyes, gumming his already-clouded eyes. He felt himself sinking downward into darkness, but was shocked to find himself still alive in the seconds that followed.  His vision cleared to focus on a luminous blue fist, jutting from a gaping hole in the demon’s chest.  It retracted from the wound, reaching out to grasp him and raise him to his feet.  

Its owner, one of the console operators, was sheathed in a flickering forcefield; similar to the telepathic film exuded by all metaminds, but significantly brighter and, apparently, more impactful.  At his feet, lay the outstretched, heaving forms of the other operators; they grasping his ankles, visages of concentration etched on their faces.

Ghox, heaving for breath and cradling his shattered third wrist, pondered this development. Telepathic force weapons. Strength in Unity.  A missing piece to the puzzle?

He coughed bloody sputum and whispered, “Operator, you have granted us great insight.  It is time we made you a commando.”

(Chronicled by MagaFortOss)

Greetings, Forgeborn! I’m Wendell. You may remember me from such articles as “Killin’ Killion” and “Matrix Warden: An Analysis Using Heirarchical Inversion Theory”. If you do, hello from an alternate universe!

Metaminds featuring Ghox, Metamind Paragon and Drix, The Mindwelder is one of the classic decks from the early days. It fell by the wayside as more powerful decks came to prominence, but the archetype has received a boost recently with the arrival of G.S.F. Commando. Here’s my take on a modern metaminds deck.

The Beats are just getting started.

The Beats are just getting started.

Core:
G.S.F. Commando x3
Ghox, Metamind Paragon x3
Drix, The Mindwelder x3
Nexus Bubble x3
Gauntlets of Sulgrim x3
Ator, Thunder Titan x3
Relic Hunter x3

Flex:
Frontline Combatant x3
Crux, Metamind Rogue x2
Steelforged Avatar x2
Ambriel’s Edict x2

If you can play some Nexus Bubbles, the star of the show is G.S.F. Commando. Even if you don’t manage to get him under a bubble, a couple other metaminds on the field boosts his forge ability so he becomes difficult to remove, and his activated ability can translate to much more than 2-for-1 card advantage.

I came here to chew gum and ping dudes, and I'm all out of gum..

I came here to chew gum and shoot dudes, and I’m all out of gum..

As with the old metamind decks, Ghox feeds Drix, who in turn makes your metaminds into a deadly army. Ghox also feeds Steelforged Avatar and smooths out your draws, helping to ensure you draw what you want.

Variance? What variance? My draws are smooth as silk.

Variance? What variance? My draws are smooth as silk.

The downside of Drix is that he natively has low attack, and you need to wait a turn for him to go on the offensive; the same is true of Commando. However, Imprisoned Heralds brought Ator and the possibility of giving any creature of his level or lower aggressive. This can make for some explosive turns, playing Drix into an open lane and activating to boost the attack of your entire metamind army, or playing Commando and clearing away an opponent’s blocker.

Gauntlets pulls double duty, both allowing you to kill creatures and boosting Commando’s armor, allowing you to kill more creatures. Crux and Frontline Combatant bring some additional control, Ambriel’s Edict is a panic button, and Relic Hunter’s scouts help everyone out.

In magic (lowercase “m”), there is a technique called the “one ahead principle”. The essence of it is that you obtain the information for your next prediction while you deliver the previous prediction, or you place the next thing you’re going to make appear as you’re making something else appear. With its difficult-to-remove soldiers, this deck can capitalize on something similar. Your opponent can’t ignore your Commando, because he’s killing everything. But because it’s hard to take him out with one card, you can play Drix unopposed, which presents a new threat that cannot be ignored. So they block him next. But you play another metamind and pump it with Drix, making another threat that must be addressed. This can let you run away with the board!

With the option to be either aggressive or controlling, you greatly benefit from correctly assigning your role (see Mike Flores’s classic Magic [uppercase “M”] article “Who’s the Beatdown?”). Against aggressive decks that try to hit fast with many creatures (such as mono Uterra poison or Uterra/Tempys raid), take a defensive stance. You need to get your commandos down and online, preferably under bubbles or with gauntlets. Those kinds of decks tend to lack hard removal, so you should expect to get a lot of value. Take out multiple enemies with Frontline Combatant and just try to achieve a stable board presence. Once you’ve got some commandos in place, you’ll be able to finish taking the board and grind out a win.

However, this deck’s late game is weak compared to decks such as Uterra/Alloyin control or Alloyin/Nekrium control. In this matchup, you need to run Ator to hit as hard as you can as fast as you can. Ator and Drix make a potent combination, especially if you’ve already got other metaminds on the board. Clear blockers with combatants or aggressive commandos. Kill level 2 Chrogias with as little damage as possible, preferably removing it before it can block. If those decks get to capitalize on their end game, you’re toast, so push that damage!

Finally, there are the unique decks, such as burn and one punch. The standard mono Alloyin one punch is beatable if you can get a commando under a bubble or with gauntlets, but you do need to focus on keeping their board clear of threats. If you face a variant that uses a lot of armor, though, you’re going to have a bad time. I have not yet faced burn with this deck, so I’ll just have to speculate. You’re in a race, Ator is your starting block, and Drix is your shoes! Armor your important creatures to force your opponent to spend more than one card killing them.

Naturally, the meta shifts, and different players have different play styles.  Here are some other cards that you may wish to consider for your own version:

Oreian Justicar
Cypien Experimentation
Killion, Infinity Warden
Energy Prison
Wipe Clean

I don’t know if this deck is tier 1 material, but maybe you can help make it the next deck to beat!  Regardless, it’s been a ton of fun to play, so enjoy!