Miss Arcum’s Astrolabe? Try Experimental Synthesizer in Modern!

I’ve spent most of my time over the last two weeks experimenting with the new cards from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. There are lots of interesting new tools to try out, but the one that has me the most excited is an unassuming common: Experimental Synthesizer.



Experimental Synthesizer

Ever since the banning of Arcum’s Astrolabe in Modern, artifact decks have been craving a one-mana artifact that draws a card when it enters the battlefield. Synthesizer isn’t exactly that, but it does fill that void in a few different decks, and is one of the most interesting enablers I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with. I’ve found for Synthesizer to be a powerful card when you can meet these three conditions:

  1. Synthesizer is at its best in decks with a low mana curve. Ideally you’ll be comfortable casting this card on turn two or three for value, and in order to meet this requirement, your list will need to be mostly one and zero-mana spells, a handful of three-drops and very few if any three-mana spells. Mishra’s Bauble is a great card to pair with Synthesizer not only because it lowers your curve, but also because it allows you to look at the top card of your library so you can decide if you want to cast your Synthesizer or not. 
  2. Despite Synthesizer being able to sacrifice itself for value (which does come up in the late game), the best Synthesizer decks will have ways to sacrifice the card for value. The best ways I’ve found to do this are Arcbound Ravager, Oni-Cult Anvi, Shrapnel Blast and Crack the Earth, but I’m sure there are more unexplored options. 
  3. This may seem obvious but it’s important to note that Synthesizer decks will need artifact synergies in order to maximize the value of the card. You won’t want to play the card in a deck like Prowess or Rakdos Midrange, there are better options for card advantage in those colors. 

In deck’s that meet these requirements, Experimental Synthesizer is an absolute powerhouse and I recommend that Modern brewers explore these avenues.


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