urza block mtg

Urzas Saga – MTG Deck Builder

The fact is the Urza block is horrifically broken but it doesn’t mean that there aren’t some cards that should be in your UrzaTron deck. Enter the “UrzaTron” lands. On their own they each tap for a single colorless mana but by assembling Urza’s Mine, Tower, and Power Plant the deck can easily cast creatures as large as Emrakul. You can either patiently wait to naturally draw the Mine, Tower, and Power Plant or you stock your library with cards like Condescend, Remand, Thirst for Knowledge, and Expedition Map ensuring that you enable Urza’s “Tron”.

urza mine card

So… what if Urza block hadn’t been horrifically broken?

A bit of history: Urza block had… let’s call it “a few” cards that were too good. If this isn’t enough to jog your memory, check out the Legacy banned list: bits of fun like Tolarian Academy, Yawgmoth’s Will, Windfall, and the so-good-it-had-to-be-emergency-banned-in-Standard Memory Jar. Basically, what happened is that a small group of people rushed the designs on the set, and there was no time to find out in playtesting that Grim Monolith goes rather well with Voltaic Key.

But what if those cards hadn’t gotten printed in their final forms; if the designers had been a bit more conservative with things like “making spells free to cast”? The fallout from the Urza block debacle shook Wizards to its core. They completely revamped how they playtested sets, by hiring a team of former pro Magic players to tell them when they made cards that were unprintable. In the meantime, they shipped out an underpowered Masques block to tide things over.

Urza block ended up being one of Wizards’ most important teachers. Their devoted fans, the people going to Standard tournaments every week, got fed up with losing to a turn two combo kill and found other things to do with their time. The Urza block experience (a.k.a. printing things way, way too powerful for tournaments and suffering for it) seems like an inevitability. There was no one who could find out beforehand what all the powerful, unfun cards were. Even if they did find some, there was no Future-Future-League to test things that would happen two years down the road, with enough time to go back and change (or remove) those problematic cards.

The fallout from all these broken, un-playtested cards gave us something else, though: a whole ton of cards that define Legacy and Vintage. Sure, Gaea’s Cradle might have been a bad idea to print… but Legacy is a more interesting format with the Elf deck running around. The same goes for Sneak Attack, Show and Tell, Exploration, and even Yawgmoth’s Will in Vintage.

Of course, things go in cycles. The tension builds and builds after a broken block. Designers push things more and more, things get changed closer to the absolute deadline of printing a card, and people naturally become riskier after a long period of time without getting punished for it. Magic had been building up to this point for five years since the game began, and Urza block was the dam breaking. Then, the tension builds for five more years as Urza block fades slightly in memory, and Mirrodin happens. Yet again, a lack of playtesting and too many last-minute changes leads to a bunch of bans in various formats.

The lesson here, then, is to be ever-vigilant about repeating one’s mistakes. Don’t get so confident that past lessons are forgotten, or you’ll find yourself wading into the same waters that pulled you under years back.

Now onto an incredibly fun deck to play…that will allow you to cast Emrakul.

Cards in this Deck:

4 Celestial Colonnade
1 Eye of Ugin
3 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island
3 Seachrome Coast
1 Tolaria West
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower
25 lands

1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
4 creatures

4 Azorius Signet
1 Condescend
1 Day of Judgment
3 Expedition Map
4 Gifts Ungiven
1 Oblivion Ring
4 Path to Exile
4 Remand
1 Repeal
1 Talisman of Progress
4 Thirst for Knowledge
1 Timely Reinforcements
1 Unburial Rites
1 Wrath of God
31 spells

Forward by: Matt Dolge
Written by: Jesse “Horrifically Broken” Mason

Build this deck at Card Kingdom.

Looking forward to your comments…

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