Esper Sentinel is still the most underplayed card in Modern.
Sentinel is a perfect fit in Hammertime; it’s a powerful disruptive creature that forces your opponent to wait to deploy their noncreature spells or allow Esper Sentinel’s control to become a card advantage engine. This effect is phenomenal in Hammertime, but is also amazing in any proactive strategy. I’ve been having a lot of success exploring artifact-based midrange decks with Sentinel. One of these decks is an Azorius Stoneblade deck that I wrote about a few weeks ago. You can read that article here:
What I liked most about this deck was the package of white cards. Sentinel, Ingenious Smith, Stoneforge Mystic and Portable Hole give this archetype access to a robust early game with reliant creatures and premium interaction, all with artifact synergies. And while I do think the blue cards (Thought Monitor, Metallic Rebuke and Urza, Lord High Artificer) all give the deck an increased power level, drawing multiple blue cards early often lead to clunky draws and more losses than I’d like.
With this thought in mind, I started to brainstorm if there was a way to build the deck without a splash. Being mono-white with a low curve lets this archetype have fast and consistent draws with smooth mana. I began to look into options for mono-white artifact payoffs for a deck like this and I recalled a very unique creature from the recent Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set:
Oswald Fiddlebender is a really powerful card. It does have deck building restrictions, but his ability can either allow you to outgrind your opponents or find powerful disruptive artifacts. I’ve seen players try to build around Oswald in the past, usually trying to transform a Myr Enforcer into a Platinum Emperion or a Sundering Titan.
This is the wrong approach in my opinion. Untapping with an Oswald can be really powerful in a deck full of artifacts that you’re happy to draw naturally, and building your deck without Myr Enforcers or eight-mana creatures makes you much more resilient to disruption. Oswald is not a creature that you can completely build around since it’s so fragile to interaction, but it slots perfectly in this archetype as another powerful white creature with artifact synergies to back up the rest of the white cards.
Here’s the current build of the deck. I’ve been playing it a lot for the last couple of weeks. I’ve liked this deck a lot, its powerful, versatile, and consistent.