This deck was inspired by Hammer Time (A popular Modern deck) but is drastically revamped as only several of the cards from the original are usable in Pioneer. The fundamental concept remains unchanged – attach high power equipment cards such as Colossus Hammer to unblockable creatures like Gingerbrute then flip sideways and hit for massive damage. However, the old deck’s draw engines such as Esper Sentinel and Puresteel Paladin are restricted from Pioneer. Even worse, Stoneforge Mystic and Paladin, critical pieces used to fetch the Hammer and equip it bypassing the 8-mana cost respectively, are also gone, leaving the combo crippled.
This deck presents an alternate workaround, relying on Warrior creatures with inherent unblockable and double strike in combo with Resolute Strike, which allows you to equip the Hammer to warrior creatures at instant speeds right as the attack hits your opponent, delivering fatal damage in only one or two combat rounds. Think of it like a football game, with the objective getting the football (Colossal Hammer) to the touchdown line (Your opponent’s face), while preventing the opponent’s tacklers from taking down your quarterback (The creature equipped with the Hammer). Hence the new deck’s namesake.
However, it's a work in progress...while the current composition works I'm actively researching ways it can be improved, especially its draw engines. Expect the deck to get better over time, especially after the release of BRO in the coming weeks. On the other hand, it's relatively low cost, coming out to a total of $220 (60 tix in MTGO). Let me know what you think, especially if you have any tips or suggestions, and I hope you enjoy!
Colossus Hammer – The original deck’s core card and namesake, this equipment gives a whopping +10/+10 to the equipped creature and only costs 1 to put on the field…but takes 8 to equip, which renders it unusable except for the next two cards. The quintessential football of the new deck, with only 2 touchdowns needed to take out your opponent – you need 4 of these.
Resolute Strike – As mentioned, lets you attach an equipment on the field to a Warrior creature at instant speeds for only one mana, while also giving +2/+2 for extra oomph. The card that made the new deck possible, this should always be a 4-of.
Sigarda’s Aid – The only other core card still playable from the original deck, this 1-cost enchantment lets you attach equipment cards at instant speeds from your hand to any of your creatures on the field. Superior to Resolute Strike in that it can target any creature type, not just Warrior, and stays on the field so is usable repeatedly. However, it cannot attach equipment already on the field, a weakness that Resolute Strike covers. Again, 4-of is a must.
Mist-Cloaked Herald – The star quarterback of the deck, this unblockable 1-cost Warrior will get the football to your opponent’s face in most of your games. With a nut draw it can be dropped turn 1, given the Hammer with Sigarda’s Aid/Resolute Strike on turn 2, and deliver it for 11-13 damage that same turn. You guessed it, you want 4 of these.
Kor Blademaster – If the Herald is the quarterback, the Blademaster is the coach. This 2-cost Warrior not only has double strike, but also gives it to any of your equipped Warriors on the field. That 11-13 damage last paragraph? Imagine it being 22-26 on turn 3. In emergencies she can carry the football herself, but this isn’t recommended as she can be blocked. You can get away with only 2, but 3 is recommended.
River Sneak – The backup quarterback, essentially just Mist-Cloaked Herald but costing an extra mana. However, you might find yourself relying on her when all your Heralds mysteriously die from spontaneous combustion or being pushed off a ledge, and her +1/+1 when you drop another Merfolk can be the difference between winning and losing a tight match. 2-3 should suffice.
Mizzium Skin – Your opponent isn’t going to just let you slam 10-20 damage into his face unimpeded. This 1-cost instant makes one of your creatures hexproof, or all of them hexproof if you pay 2. Every quarterback needs blockers against pesky targeted removal, and Mizzium Skin is it. Minimum is 2-3, though you want 4 if you’re expecting creature hate. If you’re facing decks with heavy artifact/enchantment hate or board clearers though, you’ll want the following card instead.
Slip Out the Back – Despite being a core card, this will sit in the sideboard for many of your games, but it’s a key player in the deck for a reason. The deck’s reliance on equipped creatures makes it vulnerable to permanent hate – taking out either the football or the quarterback kills the combo. Even worse, all the combo pieces are 2-cost or less, making them removable by cheap cards like Portable Hole. While there are plenty of replacement cards in the deck, it’s still not an ideal situation, and this problem stymied my development of the deck for a while.
Introducing the phase out mechanic. Slip Out the Back is a 1-cost instant that removes the entire combo – the creature and all its attached equipment/enchantments, from existence until right before your next untap step, where the stack returns to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it. This makes your quarterback and the football she’s carrying immune to everything…even board clearing spells such as Supreme Verdict or Farewell that would normally spell the end to your game. The only card in Pioneer that can do this, Slip Out the Back is a 3-of all the way, and is a good contender for replacing Mizzium Skin in the mainboard.
The Support Staff
Greataxe – You might be asking yourself how this deck could be viable with only 4 Colossus Hammers. This 1-cost equipment is the answer. +4/+0 may not seem like much compared to the +10/+10 Hammer but remember Resolute Strike adds another +2/+2, and Kor Blademaster doubles the total to 12 damage – nothing to laugh at. ‘Only’ costing 5 to equip, this can even be hard cast in emergencies. You want 4 of these, giving you 8 footballs in your deck, which combined with the fetch is more than enough for reliable draws.
The Reality Chip – A 1-of legendary equipment, this card when attached to a creature lets you play cards from the top of your library, an invaluable advantage. At 2-cost to cast and 3-cost to equip, it can even be hard cast if you have the spare mana.
Shadowspear – Another 1-of legendary, this equipment is more underwhelming, giving its creature +1/+1, trample, and lifelink. However it comes in handy if you find yourself relying on your Kor Blademasters (who would otherwise fall apart to a few 0/1 blockers) to deal damage. It also can remove hexproof and indestructible from opponent permanents, but this is again situational.
Dance of the Manse – If you have a bad time and end up with most of your combo pieces in the graveyard, this card is the Hail Mary pass. For 2 + X cost, you can return X artifacts/non-Aura enchantments from the graveyard to the battlefield. For example, if you still have a naked creature on the field in the pre-combat phase, you can retrieve Sigarda’s Aid and Colossal Hammer for 4-cost. The Aid lands first, letting you instantly equip your Hammer to your creature and swing that same turn. Being the panic button, only 1 copy is needed.
As there are at least 8 of each combo piece in the deck, you’ll be drawing duplicates quite often. While not a bad thing – it’s even beneficial against hate/control decks – having to rely on luck to draw any missing pieces is not a recipe for success. I am still in the process of researching optimal draw engines - the following will suffice but are not ideal given two of them require you to discard after you draw. These cards will change in the future.
The Modern Age – A 2-cost saga enchantment, Modern Age lets you draw/discard a card twice before turning into a 2/3 creature with flying over the course of three turns. While underwhelming at first glance, the ability to replace your duplicates with missing land and combo pieces can turn a bad hand into a great hand, while leaving the disposed pieces accessible by Dance of the Manse. The 2/3 flyer, while not able to carry the Hammer without losing flying, can still be equipped with a Great Axe by Sigarda’s Aid and deal the final damage needed to win a close match against a non-flying opponent. 3-4 is recommended.
Curious Obsession – This 1-cost lets you draw a card each time the enchanted creature pokes (or slams) your opponent, and even gives +1/+1. However, if you miss attacking with a creature for a turn it goes to the graveyard. If this doesn’t sound great to you Combat Research is a viable alternative, giving the same effect but without the +1/+1. It synergizes well with Mist-Cloaked Herald – at only 2 total cost you’ll get an unblockable free draw for each attack. The number you want is up to you, though I carry 3.
Monastery Siege – A 3-cost enchantment, with Siege you can choose to either draw/discard a card every turn (Making it a permanent version of Modern Age) or make opponent’s spells that target you or a permanent you control cost 2 extra mana (Protecting all of your combo pieces). This flexibility makes it a great match for the deck as a 2-of.
While the deck is slanted towards Blue, the combo’s core pieces are white, and so it heavily relies on dual lands. Unfortunately, Pioneer does not have a Blue/White fast land (though it has them for other color combos, WTF), but it does provide a new double-faced land type, which you’ll want 4 of. Fortunately, this being an aggro combo deck, you’ll take down your opponent before the damage from your pain lands bites you in the ass (Hopefully).
Adarkar Wastes and Hallowed Fountain – You want 4 of each of these dual lands. Being pain lands however, you're free to replace some of them with other lands of your choice.
Hengegate/Mistgate Pathway – Dual faced land that lets you choose whether it’s an island or a plain when placed on the field. Also a 4-of.
Deserted Beach – A dual land that comes in tapped unless you control 2 lands. 2 is recommended.
Roadside Reliquary – Given the deck contains both enchantments and artifacts, sacrificing this land for 2 with an enchantment and artifact on the field lets you draw 2 cards, a useful backup draw in mid-endgame. You want 3 of these.
2 Basic Islands.
Sideboard comp is based on your preferences and your expected opponents, though I recommend protecting your combo from inevitable hate. Here are some suggested cards:
Slip Out the Back – Protects your combo, mentioned earlier in the guide.