Antiquities Roadshow

While my Channel Universe deck had to take a backseat to spending that budget on #MtgForLife, that didn't mean I didn't brew the last few months. The luxury of having collected a bunch of duals and a majority of the restricted list actually makes building a lot of decks in this format somewhat budget friendly. A couple of months ago I lacked 21 cards for this deck, including 11 Antiquities rares and a pair of Arabian Nights rares, and the whole ordeal still cost me less than a box of Battle for Zendikar.
Dig it.
The plan was the Archaeologist. The digger from Argivia is, like, a super sweet card you guys! Even if we let go of the fact that many of the top decks in the format already play one third artifacts in their decks, the synergies with the card and the broken stuff it can do is just awesome. For two mana, you get back your Lotus. For two mana, you can go inf with Chaos Orb. Two mana nullfies a Disenchant. Repeatable card advantage from a three-drop sounds like a bargain in this format. And being used to pay four mana to repeatedly get a card with the Tome, paying two doesn't seem shabby. In 1994, it was actually the most expensive card in Antiquities, though the price have pretty much stood still since. I've always wanted to try the card properly, and after Hans Henrik Rasmussen showed off his mono-white Bottle of Suleiman deck, I had to try it.

I didn't go mono-white myself though. Sage of Lat-Nam looked like too good a card to pass on. Sacrificing a mox and picking it up again with the Archaeologist nets you a card draw for one mana. And the Chaos Orb synergy is soo good that I wanted at least one Transmute Artifact in the deck. And while I'm blue, mise well add the broken clover of Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, Braingeyser and Recall to the pile.

There are basically two ways of winning here. One is ramping out a Tetravus with the abundance of jewellery, create a bunch of tokens, maybe sacrifice the tokens to a Sage, maybe recur the Tetravus with the Archaeologist, or maybe just bash with the flying 4/4. The other, sweeter, option is to resolve a Martyrs of Korlis and start flipping coins with Bottle of Suleiman. If you miss, the Martyr will take the hit and you can dig up the bottle again with the Archaeologist. If you hit, you get a 5/5 flying and still get to dig up the bottle. You should statistically get a 5/5 flying every other turn for no additional card investment. It's highly possible that one bottle is enough for the deck, and a second Transmute Artifact should take its place. I went with two though. They have a lot of personal nostalgic value, and the reprinted Gathering version was one of the first rares I ever opened.

Creature removal in the deck is kinda scarce, as the Martyrs and the Moat should handle most comers. The Martyrs both blocks Juzam and sucks up all artifact damage from everything between double Factories to stolen Tetravi. You have an extra out to kill summons with Ashnod's Transmogrant though. With six spot removals for artifacts in addition to the four bodyguards, the Transmogrant should remove the claws of most opposing monsters. You can also use it with the Archaeologist to beef up your Martyrs or just cycle it with the Sage.
At this point, it feels like you are cheating.
Finally we get some extra digging value with the Bazaar of Baghdad. I got one this spring, and I haven't had the chance to play it yet. To use Bazaar with some consistency in e.g. Colossus Skull or The Machine, you really want to have two of them. Here it looks like one is just the right number though. Discarding cards isn't really that bad when you can throw away artifacts to be recovered with the Archaeologist. Also, the ability to dig for important one-ofs like Chaos Orb is really neat. Probably a "win-more" card, but I'm not gonna let it rot in my binder. For more budget concerned players, it can be replaced with Jalum Tome without that much loss.
UW Archaeologist.
Though useful, the power cards aren't really necessary in the deck, you'll go a long way with the advantage you get from just the Archaeologist. I'd probably play more Mana Vaults and Fellwar Stones if I hadn't had access to jewellery. Another option is to play red instead of blue and just go nuts with Transmogrant, Archaeologist, and Alladin. Orcish Mechanics should probably fit in there too.

I playtested the deck for the first time this Thursday, and it was really sweet. One thing in particular is the crazy amount of tempo created by the Sages. When using e.g. Jayemdae Tome to draw cards, it taps out four mana and it's unlikely that you can cast the spells you draw the same turn unless you're in the very late game. The tempo is completely different with the Sages. And they combo really well with Tetravus, in particular if you lucked out with an Archaeologist in play.

Next time we're gonna look at a tournament report from players in Canada, stay tuned.


  1. Sweet deck! One very cool combo that I've toyed around with is sage + archeologist + winter orb. You sack the orn to the sage, retrieve it with archeologist and replay it netting you a card a turn + a one-sided winter orb for only 2ww a turn. I might have to revisit that one actually...


  2. Damn you mg, you beat me to the punch. I have worked on Indiana Jones projects ever since the first pimpvitational (the one with Fallen Empiers) but never got the time to write something about it (disco troll is the next deck after you start publishing everything else I have written :)).
    Really intresting twist with the bottle although I think it's good enough without it.
    Did you get some inspiration after my latest pimpvitational deck or did you have the idea before that?


    1. Haha, no I didn’t know you had played the Archaeologist at Pimpvitational. Have thought about it for a long time, but the final match to lit the flame was Hans Rasmussen's monowhite Suleiman :)

    2. I didn't end up playing it (played pefkens machine head) but I tested it alot. It had Sindbad and that Horn from FE that draws 2 and puts one back. In the end I didn't like the mana and the deck was very grindy, but it preformed okey.

  3. This deck is awesome. I developed a fascination with bottle of suleiman when I built mono red coin flip deck, and I always think about playing a copy. Great stuff.

    1. Haha, glad to hear that you enjoy it even though it's white!

  4. Why oh Why MG?
    Please stop writing about cool decks, so I can finally start saving money :(

    BRB, need to shop for Bottles of Suleiman!



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