This week on Adam Plays Magic, we've got a spicy one! UR Powerstones is an artifact-centered deck featuring flashy finishers like Skitterbeam Battalion and Cityscape Leveler that are powered out through artifact-based mana accelerants. In particular, Stern Lesson and The Mightstone and Weakstone are (or generate) powerstones that can be used to cast artifacts. This mana can also be used for activating abilities like that of Reckoner Bankbuster or even Field of Ruin.
This acceleration mixed with card draw is supported through countermagic and removal like Make Disappear and Abrade. Multiple copies of Brotherhood's End do a great job of clearing out popular midrange creatures like Bloodtithe Harvester and Graveyard Trespasser // Graveyard Glutton to ensure access to the late-game.
What I Like
The UR Powerstone deck seems like it always has something to do. Half the deck interacts with the opponent while the rest ramps and draws cards, often on the same spell. Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki is the best card in Standard and this deck can take full advantage of it. The treasure generation helps stick a Mightstone and Weakstone by turn four and getting to copy a Cityscape Leveler with Reflections of Kiki-Jiki is game-ending.
While most decks in Standard are playing Reckoner Bankbuster, they tend to run into scenarios where it's better to cast spells rather than activate it. This leaves the artifact sitting in play not doing much. Thanks to all of its powerstone mana, that's rarely the case for this deck. After ramping into Mightstone and Weakstone, its mana can then be used to cast or draw a card from a Bankbuster. Efficiently using additional mana sources is what gives this deck an edge over its competition.
What I Dislike
Between Abrade and Brotherhood's End, UR Powerstones is really good at killing x/3 creatures. Alley Strangler out of the sideboard helps to max out that part of the skill tree. However, there are several highly-played cards in Standard that have more than four toughness and this deck can't easily answer them. In particular, Raffiene, Scheming Seer is a 1/4 with ward that can grow quickly if left unchecked. It's too mana-intensive to clear it out with two removal spells while also paying for ward. Obliterating Bolt or Burn Down the House in the sideboard might help to alleviate the issue in future builds.
I also found that it was difficult to hold up countermagic while also developing a board state. It's a choice between casting Fable or Mightstone and Weakstone on a given turn, or keeping up Make Disappear which has diminishing returns the longer the game goes. It's a tension point that kept coming up, so it's possible replacing blue with green for Argothian Opportunist is a better option going forward.
And that's a wrap on another installment of Adam Plays Magic! I love fiddly decks like this that draw cards and ramp because there's almost always something to do each turn. The finishers also just scratch a Timmy itch in a way that only 12-power hasty creatures know how to do. I'm looking forward to exploring this archetype more when Phyrexia: All Will Be One drops in a few weeks.
In the meantime, you can keep up with me and all my nonsense on Twitch or Twitter, or click the links below to see all the previous work I've done for QuietSpec. It's hard to believe it's already been a year. Can't wait for what comes next.