Let’s get back up to speed where we left off. 
When last we touched on the topic, I was itching to build an artifact aggro deck.  I got a long way down the path to a Bosh, Iron Golem list before ultimately throwing my hands up in frustration and coming back over to my Esper roots.
CAUTION…THE SOLID GROUND YOU’RE ON WILL SLIDE FROM UNDER YOU…
Sharuum the Hegemon was my second EDH deck.  My initial foray into the format with Intet, the Dreamer slowly taught me a few solid truths that I’ve since accepted as gospel and built faithfully around:
*Enters-The-Battlefield effects are incredibly strong.
*Synergy trumps Goodstuff™.   
*No-one cares that your Obliterate looks great in foil; it still sucks to play against.
I came into the format from a background of playing Vintage storm combo, and when I saw Intet’s ability, my mind jumped into top gear.  I ended up with a huge pile of splashy bombs that I was playing for free at all the wrong times with Intet’s ability (It turns out that Insurrection sucks after you’ve already attacked) or that didn’t really work with the gameplan I was trying to run.  (Jokulhaups is really good at making everyone lose their permanents and thus not be able to do anything, yourself included.  It’s fun to say, though…especiallty if you mangle the pronouncation and call it “Yodelcarps!”  No, I’m not kidding…) 

Once people got used to what my deck did, it wasn’t long before I was sitting on a pile of splashy bombs that I wasn’t playing, because no-one would let Intet get into the red zone anymore.  I had reduced myself to an awesome deck that never did anything.  It was time to move on to something that worked in conjunction with the deck it was a part of, and didn’t need to attack unblocked to be effective.

These were the early days, back when Sharuum wasn’t immediately synonymous with Disciple Of The Vault and Sculpting Steel.  I admit that I ultimately did end up going down that road before Sharuum ended up filed in the ‘unfun and unplayed’ bin, but in the beginning, it was a sheer joy to throw into motion.  Frantic Search, leaving Memory Jar in the yard and drawing Gilded Lotus, accelerating me into a turn four hand refill felt like cheating.  Hell – back then, I could drop TolarianAcademy into play and Tinker in Darksteel Forge.  Metalworker got me a boatload of utility out of Staff Of Domination.  The deck was a synergistic powerhouse, and I was drunk with the power it provided. 
Of course, the Rules Committee nerfed most of those options once Sharuum really got going globally.  (Funwreckers!)  Ironically, this served to further refine and streamline the deck, and we ended up with the turbo-combo monstrosity that is most-synonymous with the name these days.  Who needed to find utility?  Just tutor up Intuition and combo out.  It became less and less interesting, and very literally became one of the reasons one of my friends all-but quit the format.  (Sorry, Chad!)   
I disassembled the deck in disgust after it sat unused for eight months, despite it being my pride and joy (and the focus of the one-and-only time I’ve actively tried to foil out a deck.  Yeah…I’m kicking myself now for dumping some of that stuff off at buyer prices.  Foil Darksteel Forge?  Yeah…live and learn, I guess.) 

I was back to square one, with no deck and a frustratingly vague target somewhere between my two failed attempts.  I thought I had a feel for an incredibly fun and interesting casual format, and the rug was pulled out from underneath me twice.  

But that’s another story for another time.
And that also gets us current.
THIS ADDICTION
I’m a creature of habit.  Everything I do runs in cycles that I tend to revisit over and over (Ask me about my growing collection of Elfquest graphic novels and Marvel-era G.I.Joe trade paperbacks…), so it was really inevitable that I would eventually come back to my EDH roots.  (Intet is back too, as many of you know.  Stay tuned…we’re going to try to find a happy place with that deck soon as well.)  After rediscovering my foil Sphinx of the Steel Wind and moving on from Bosh to Esper aggro, I spent several days searching Gatherer, trying to convince myself that Dakkon Blackblade or Halfdane would be superior choices for my general somehow just to avoid the storm clouds that follow Sharuum around.  It didn’t take long to come to my senses and just accept the truth – as maligned as Sharuum is, she’s still the best general in those colors at getting artifacts into play, and she fits thematically and mechanically as well.  And there’s also my personal Achilles’ Heel – nostalgia.  There’s no reason to cut off the nose to spite the face here; I’m just going to have to deal with the fallout that will inevitably come as a result.
The deck box is labeled, and there’s one red sleeve containing a Shards Of Alara Foil Sharuum the Hegemon in the bottom.  There’s no going back now.
YOU CAN GET WITH THIS, OR YOU CAN GET WITH THAT
The question remains – where exactly are we going?  I think that, considering the stigma attached to this general, we should be clear where we’re not going:
There is zero chance we’re going to dive into combo territory of any kind.  I want a deck that I can play regularly and enjoy regularly, and I can definitively say that the last few iterations of my former Sharuum build were miserable to experience no matter what side of the table you were sitting on.
Here are the options as I see it:
All Sphinx, All The Time
This option focuses on Sphinx Of The Steel Wind – the reason we’re back in Esper-ville to begin with.  We’ll focus on cards that find the Sphinx (Kuldotha Forgemaster, Transmute Artifact, Enlightened Tutor), cards that make the Sphinx better (Tempered Steel, Steel Overseer), cards that make more Sphinxes (Sculpting Steel, Copy Artifact, Rite Of Replication), and cards that get the Sphinx back once someone deals with it.  (Scarecrone, Myr Retriever)
Full-On Aggro
We’ll open the door for the Sphinx to bring friends.  Darksteel Colossus, Inkwell Leviathan, Mycosynth Golem…perhaps we’ll even go Modular.
Esper Control
This is going to focus more on the synergy of the deck.  Draw that pushes along the deck and works with the general (Frantic Search, Windfall), coupled with strong tutors (Trinket Mage, Entomb) and control elements. (Oblivion Stone, Austere Command)  We’ll probably dig into the Salvaging Station/Artificer’s Intuition engine as well.  (Aether Spellbomb, Nihil Spellbomb, Voyager Staff)
Crazy Theme Deck-Land!
Every card in the deck (save maybe basic lands) is either an Artifact, or has the word ‘artifact’ written on it somewhere.  Or Sphinx Tribal.  Or “Set Draft” construction, with something from each release since the beginning of the game.   The sky’s the limit here.  
???
Because I always miss an angle or twelve.  Is there a better idea here?
ALL HANDS DOWN
Let’s make this a community project.  We all know how dirty Sharuum decks can be, and the bad stigma attacked to them.  Let’s open this up and see if we can’t take back a piece of what makes her a cool general and a fun option to build around. 
For this round, respond in the Comments as to what direction the deck should go.
Whatever floats your boat.  Pick one of the design directions I mentioned here, or something totally new.  Rally other people to your cause.  Whatever works for you is fine with me.  We’ll tally things for the regular post next Monday (2/20) and dive in from there.  The usual rules apply; we’ll tweak the list, finalize and build it, and I’ll run it through a series of games and report back with results. 
As I did with the Thraximundar contest, I’ll make it a worth-while venture to be involved.  Once this thing takes shape, we’ll decide on details, but I’m not adverse to more alterations for prizes, guest slots or co-authors, or other odds and ends that I can come up with.  You don’t even necessarily have to come up with a whole list…I just want people involved here.  It’ll be organic – we’ll figure it out as we move along.  It’ll be fun!
Let’s do this, and have a great time breaking down a stereotype in the process.
àDJ