Burning Inquiry — Silas & Bruse Fidget Spinners

Reality can be heavy with burden, and, at times, feel like you’re entrenched by your circumstances. School, work, the responsibilities of life; each has the potential to become menial tasks we’re perpetually chained to. Of course there are ways to cope with this stark truth. Some people break from traditional norms after becoming romanced by the poetry of Henry David Thoreau, or fiction like The 4-Hour Workweek. Still others find fleeting happiness from inconsequential extracurricular activities: calligraphy, glass scorpion collections, watching professional sports, etc. Still, it is most common to be so restricted by life that simple access to a distraction, such as the twiddling of thumbs, is needed. Enter the fidget spinner.

Fidget spinners are accessible, easy to use, and conclusively unproductive. They’re also often annoying to those in proximity to the user. While they are the most recent craze for distraction-prone individuals, their concept is nothing new. Before fidget spinners there was bottle flipping, and prior to bottle flipping there was a battle for attention between Snapchat filters and Pokemon Go. Not long ago people were grinding Tech Decks on every surface imaginable. And of course there was an era of paper football and cootie catchers which seems too far gone to remember now. You see, occupying ourselves with the objects we have at hand goes way back. You might even say it’s a way of life, or rather a distraction from one.

 

Business Partners

This time in the Inquiry Cycle business partners Silas Renn, Seeker Adept and Bruse Tarl, Boorish Herder will set up shop and show you all their wares. “We’ve got fidget spinners of all varieties!” When left to its own devices, this combination of commanders allows us to construct twice the amount of trinkets we normally could through the double strike granted towards our Seeker’s combat damage trigger. With so many different artifacts from Magic’s history, the toughest part about building the deck will be deciding which gadgets we’ll wish to include. Consequently, we’ll access a toolbox approach to both deck building and to the board state of an EDH game, fidgeting with the materials we have on hand (or on the battlefield, in the graveyard, or in the library), while totally annoying those around us.

To Make a Fidget Toy You’ve Got To Break…

Inquiry #1: What staples are to be included to make the deck run smoothly?

With a mere eighteen decks listed on EDHREC, it isn’t quite as overt as it should be that this deck not only wants to dabble in heavy artifacts, but really wants to bury them early and often. For this reason artifacts with throwaway use become quite coveted. Lotus Petal, Wayfarer’s Bauble, Traveler’s Amulet, Wanderer’s Twig, Renegade Map, and Expedition Map all provide great foundations for a game. Better yet are the “tactile” artifacts that can replace themselves as they’re discarded such as Terrarion, Skycloud Egg, Darkwater Egg, Shadowblood Egg, Chromatic Sphere, Chromatic Star, Conjurer’s Bauble, Nihil Spellbomb, Mind Stone, and Scrap Trawler. Clearly we’ve got some compulsions that will tip the table off right away that we can’t sit still.

Another necessity for our deck to run smoothly is ensuring that Silas Renn can squirm through his combat trigger each turn. For that we’ve got Flight Spellbomb, Panic Spellbomb, Aether Spellbomb, Alchemist’s Vial, and Key to the City to name a few. Even more effective is giving the Adept a Mask of Riddles or a set of Skeleton Keys to jangle around the table. But alas, behold ultimate power: Vorrac Battlehorns and Chariot of Victory. Combined with passive deathtouch these are the equivalent of that untouchable feeling one gets walking into a classroom with a doctor’s note excusing our excessive use of fidget spinners.

Finally, the last cornerstone to the deck we should make a case for is acceleration. When it comes to fast mana, an artifact laden deck is where it’s at. For raw power we have Mox Opal, Mox Diamond, Mana Crypt, Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Pyramid of the Pantheon, Grim Manalith, Basalt Manalith, and Thran Dynamo, however there are many others we could reasonably include. Furthermore, since we’re casting so many generic mana spells each turn, cost reducers such as Etherium Sculptor, Foundry Inspector, Helm of Awakening, and Cloud Key will often reveal our habitual tick of trying to pay mana for spells when we don’t have to. We can also increase how frantically we tap our feet with card filtering offered to us in Contraband Kingpin, Riddlesmith, Quicksmith Genius, Vedalken Archmage, and Jeskai Ascendancy. It’s here we begin to resemble a lunatic that’s been digging through old file boxes looking to confirm conspiracy theories, and our friends at the table are very worried.

 

Spinning Tricks

Inquiry #2: What does the deck do besides spinning on one axis?

When you play with a fidget spinner it’s easy to get caught up in unnecessary repetition loops. If you aren’t careful it can become another binding menial task. One way to transcend this sorry state is to begin doing tricks while you fidget. This is where all that pointless flash actually becomes impressive, lending purpose to your jittery behavior. There are, of course, basic fidget tricks such as Cranial Plating and Scroll of the Masters, but we can do better. For example, what if we used cards like Disciple of the Vault, Reckless Fireweaver, Underhanded Designs, Pia’s Revolution, and Aetherflux Reservoir to kill the table with our hyper activity? I especially like combining the nuclear artifact with Tainted Sigil. Cool trick!

While Hellkite Tyrant would be quite live in the deck, it is a little obtuse. I’d rather lean on classic little tricks like Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek. But perhaps you’d like a different way to impress: Clock of Omens combined with something janky like Pyxis of Pandemonium seems fun. I’m getting antsy just thinking about it. Flooding the board seems like an interesting direction to trick out our deck (more fidget material!). Here we can use Myrsmith, Faerie Artisans, Sly Requisitioner, and Efficient Construction to great effect with cards like Goblin Welder, Chief Engineer, Helm of Possession, Bident of Thassa, or any of the already mentioned cards that trigger from artifacts entering the battlefield.

Of course there are some real show-stoppers when it comes to fidget tricks. Auriok Salvagers is a card that just has general utility in the deck, but provides infinite mana with Lion’s Eye Diamond. We can do better: Future Sight is another great utility include with so many cheap artifacts, and it just happens to draw your whole deck with spell-cost reducers and Sensei’s Divining Top. Win with Aetherflux Reservoir or Laboratory Maniac, or if you’re a real psychopath Ignite Memories. Your friends aren’t impressed, you say? Well, here’s the ultimate trick to pull off: Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer and the best mass destruction spell of all time Obliterate. That one is sure to send the whole table reeling while you’re still spinning on all cylinders.

 

Becoming Obsessive Compulsive

Inquiry #3: How might we focus the deck?

There’s been a spin to how fidget spinners are advertised. You’ve assuredly heard claims of them being a “focus” tool to help those with attention disorders. While there doesn’t seem to be evidence to warrant this claim, there is anecdotal support that the fidget spinner we’re dealing with here can lend focus to a game-winning strategy. Most directly the fact that we’re tampering with a four-color deck provides us with a rich array of tutors. To name just a few: Trinket Mage, Trophy Mage, Treasure Mage, Arcum Dagsson, Kuldotha Forgemaster, and Tezzeret the Seeker along with Inventors’ Fair, Enlightened Tutor, Fabricate, Reshape, Whir of Invention, and even plain tutors like Demonic Tutor. And if that wasn’t enough to toy with, there’s the ultimate fidget focuser Artificer’s Intuition, which does everything the deck could possibly want.

Another way to focus our involuntary tic is by going all in on graveyard recursion. A package of self-mill cards such as Perpetual Timepiece, Ghoulcaller’s Bell, Codex Shredder, Shriekhorn, Grinding Station, and Mesmeric Orb can ensure we quickly fill our graveyard with fidgety doodads. Combining Altar of Dementia with Metalwork Colossus and Salvage Titan seems fun, and can actually position us into another win condition. Milling an opponent becomes justifiable since many of the cards just mentioned do that too, and we can add to them Altar of the Brood and Mindcrank to further focus that tendency. From here, if you’re looking for yet another cool trick, combine untap effects with Grimoire of the Dead, and feel the weight of the spinner shift in your hands.

Here we’ve established that we’re able to thrive when cards are in our graveyard. If that’s the case we could fret with the goal of going hellbent, and may as well force our opponents to play without hands too. After all, if our opponents don’t have any hands, they’ll have nothing to do but watch our muddy fidgeting. In that interest cards such as Necrogen Spellbomb, Implement of Malice, Scepter of Fugue, and Grafted Skullcap become something we might want to tinker with. We can further intensify the clicking in our opponents’ ears with Herald of Anguish, Necrogen Mists, Bottomless Pit, Words of Waste, and, for the brave: Oppression, Chain of Smog, and Death Cloud. Suddenly we find ourselves wanting to play with torturous devices like Quest for the Nihil Stone, Shrieking Affliction, The Rack, Wheel of Torture, Paupers’ Cage, and Rackling. Good, clean fun.

 

How Do You Like Your Eggs in the Morning?

You’ll see below that the list I put together doesn’t include all of the “fidget” buttons I pressed on, but plays more of a balanced breakfast of distracting actions. Obviously I’ve thought through some degenerate paths the deck can be taken, so the presented list is somewhat of a concession to the power level of my playgroup. In the games I’ve had with the list so far I’ve been generally pleased with the variety of options I have to fidget with each turn cycle. Basically, there’s plenty to do, while at the same time I’m not bothering the table by playing oppressive solitaire and combo-ing off. The recipe is really up to you though.

HAM n Eggs

Commanders (2)
Artifacts (52)
Creatures (13)
Enchantments (2)
Lands (31)

As mentioned, I have had the chance to pilot this list a couple of times now and its turned my usual steady hand incessantly neurotic. For that reason, a word of warning when playing the deck: if all these “fidget” pieces come together, you’re going to be twitching with manic, cackling energy. At this point it’s a good idea to burn off some excess. Stand up and, as a token of good favor, offer to get the table some drinks from the refrigerator, but apologetically clarify that you only have Four Loko.

Cheers to the brewers!

Mr. Walter

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Eric is a graying family man, math teacher at an IB public high school, and a member of a casual weekly EDH playgroup in Fresno, California. He enjoys interactive play and complex board states, and has only recently resolved to include win conditions in the decks he builds.