Artifact Toys for 100 Card Singleton

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You wouldn’t know it from my old 100 Card Singleton articles, but artifact decks were my original 100CS obsession. This article will detail the artifact deck I’ve been playing a lot in recent months, including quite a bit of card-by-card analysis. If you’re interested in a budget version, that’s at the end.

My very first 100CS decks featured Tezzeret the Seeker, because I realized that his tutoring ability would be really fun in an artifact toolbox deck. I love a toolbox, and you get to put more tools it in if you play big singleton decks.

I played many different artifact deck builds during the days of Alara block, eventually attempting to build competitive decks for Weekend Challenge events. Overall that didn’t work out so well, but I did get help from some smart people, and one time I lucked into Top 8. In case you’re interested, you can find the list at Wizards’ site here.

With 30 artifacts, the deck sports a legitimate artifact focus. That, by the way, is by far the most artifacts that ever appeared in a 100CS Top 8 deck. Reason: artifact decks can’t hang with the really good aggro and control decks in 100CS. At least, they couldn’t at that time.

Briefly, this was a control deck that was focused more on fighting red decks and RGW decks than anything else. With a good chunk of the deck dedicated to defending against creatures and a having a low threat density, it was pretty much hopeless against a blue-based control deck. Even against the aggro decks, it was sketchy because it was slow, it needed a sequence of things to go right, and the win conditions weren’t especially scary. Sounds awesome, right? Overall, the artifacts didn’t do enough for this deck. The artifact mana was nice with Armageddon and Winter Orb, and several of the artifact cards were pretty respectable on their own. But the level of synergy wasn’t high enough to get an artifact deck off the ground. It might have been possible to create a decent blue countermagic-based deck with a couple dozen artifacts in it. But nobody has piloted a deck like that into a Top 8.

I played a control game plan with this deck, because I was told to “put away the toys.” It’s one of many types of artifact deck that you can build. But control wasn’t the game plan I really wanted to play; I like decks that do clever things with creatures. That’s what today’s deck does!

Artifact Toys

I’ve always thought it was fun to play with creatures and artifacts with cool tap abilities, especially if they interact synergistically. I love having a spread of several useful abilities in play that allow me to deal with practically any situation that comes up. That’s my idea of “toys”. Doesn’t that seem cooler than relying on spells that are used up after only one shot?

Since 100CS lists are hard on the brain, we’ll start with a quick visual intro that will give you a pretty good idea what I’m up to.

First, some toys:

With toys like that, you’ll want some artifact creatures like these:

Now add some strong cards that nicely support what we’ve got:

There’s more going on, but that’s a pretty good start. Below is the full list, or you can click here to download it as a .txt file to important into MTGO.

100CS Artifact Toys by Zimbardo

Creatures (31)
Other Spells (30)
Lands (39)
Buy this Deck

Apart from generally using cards that care about artifacts, this deck has some specific themes:

  • Sacrificing artifacts for some benefit
  • Graveyard interaction
  • Cheating on casting costs
  • Artifact creatures with “enters the battlefield” triggers
  • Tutoring for artifacts

There are enough good cards to provide a comfortable level of redundancy for all of those themes — eight or more cards in every category — and that simply wasn’t the case a few years ago. Certain newer cards fill multiple roles, which has really helped. We’ve also seen a number of high-quality artifact creatures, big and small, printed in the past couple of years, and ultimately they are the glue that holds this deck together.

The general game plan of this deck is to develop powerful synergies and big card advantage. Sometimes it can ramp into big things quickly using Mishra’s Workshop or by cheating on casting costs. The easiest type of opponent for this deck would be somebody who tries to control everything you do with spot removal.

Card-by-Card Analysis

Master Transmuter
One of the absolute funnest cards in the deck, Master Transmuter has a unique and flavorful effect. The “bounce” cost of her activation often provides nifty bonus in this deck. If this creature becomes active, things will rapidly get ugly for your opponent. A few tips:

  • The artifact you return can be the same as the artifact you put into play. For example, Transmuter can bounce herself or another artifact and immediately return it to the battlefield in response to removal. You can also return, for example, a Duplicant and put it right back into play.
  • When using her ability to put a creature into play, don’t always just return the cheapest artifact as a cost. Return the creature that you want to put onto the battlefield next turn.
  • I don’t get too hung up about using Master Transmuter to protect herself or my other creatures; I’d rather use her to make some cool plays. If she gets killed, I can probably bring her back later if I need her.

With this oddball out of the way, we’ll start tackling cards in groups. First up are the cards that put artifacts directly into play from your library.

Birthing Pod
On the one hand, Birthing Pod is like a planeswalker that’s good in practically any deck that fits its colors, like Garruk Wildspeaker, Elspeth, Knight Errant, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The difference, though, is that a deck with Elspeth doesn’t automatically feel like an “Elspeth deck.” Birthing Pod, being a “build around me” card, can seem to take over a deck. That’s because you can do combo-ish things with Birthing Pod, and it causes you to select your creatures a little differently than you would otherwise.

So here is my disclaimer: this deck would be fine without Birthing Pod. Replace Pod with Opt, and the deck will still look, feel, and play about the same. Nevertheless, Birthing Pod is perfect for the deck, and it might even be its best card.

Birthing fills two critical roles: tutoring for and sacrificing artifact creatures. No matter what creature you start with, you can eventually chain it into something strong, accumulating card advantage via triggered abilities along the way. Here’s an example sequence of Pod plays:

Myr Sire > Junk Diver > Faerie Mechanist > Sphinx Summoner > Wurmcoil Engine > Myr Battlesphere > Goblin Welder

[Editor's Note: I'm too excited about the contents of the above flow chart. --PlanetWalls]

If you manage that sequence, you accumulate seven creature tokens, three extra cards in hand, and a great attacker on the board.

The thing about using Birthing Pod in an artifact deck is that it’s an artifact. It’s great in many other decks, but in this one you get a few extra perks: you can find it more reliably, it has extra interactions with “artifacts matter” cards, and you can often bring it back it if it’s destroyed.

What you search for with Birthing Pod should depend partly on how likely your opponent is to kill the creature you find. If your opponent has no cards in hand, you might as well look for something that can blow the game wide open, like Goblin Welder (by sacrificing a token) or Master Transmuter. If your creature is likely to get removed, you can hedge your bets with cards like Junk Diver, Sanctum Gargoyle, Solemn Simulacrum, and Sphinx Summoner. Keep the card advantage flowing, and you can maintain a steady supply of creatures to sacrifice for profit.

Arcum Dagsson
Did you even know this creature existed? He’s a true original, and he’s a great pick for this deck. The biggest non-creature artifact in the deck is Spine of Ish Sah, and sometimes you’ll need to go straight for that one to get yourself out of trouble. If you aren’t in trouble, you’re probably looking at Birthing Pod, Skeleton Shard, Mimic Vat, or Trading Post. Probably Birthing Pod, which you can immediately use to transform Arcum into something like Sphinx Summoner if desired.

Arcum, of course, has the potential to find bigger non-creature artifacts if you choose to include one or two in your list. Some options are Mindslaver, Summoning Station, Akroma’s Memorial, and Darksteel Forge. Those are fun. Correction: Mindslaver isn’t all that fun. Myr Incubator is fun, too.

Kuldotha Forgemaster
If you like interesting and difficult choices in a Magic game, Kuldotha Forgemaster provides. I was super happy when this creature was spoiled – it helped to make up for a Scars of Mirrodin set that was a little light on awesome artifacts.

You should rarely have a problem finding two other artifacts to make Forgemaster work. If you’re sacrificing Forgemaster as one of the three artifacts, you can easily go for Sharuum to promptly bring back the Forgemaster for future use. If not, you can consider Myr Battlesphere to create a fresh set of sacrificial artifacts for next turn. If you want Sharuum and you don’t have to sacrifice Forgemaster, you could instead get Birthing Pod, then sacrifice Forgemaster to Birthing Pod to get Sharuum. Then Sharuum brings back Forgemaster. If that stuff survives until the following turn, you’ll be able to do just about anything you want.

Transmute Artifact
I patiently waited seemingly forever for this card to arrive online so I could abuse it. It’s no Tinker, but it’s so much better than Reshape. It can fetch a Birthing Pod into play for around 4 mana, and that’s exactly what I usually do with it. Sacrificing an artifact is usually not a problem, and sometimes it’s a benefit. This is a really high-quality tutor that’s super fun to play with.

Sometimes you just go for Sharuum. Example: you already have something good in play, like Duplicant or Wurmcoil Engine. For 2 mana, you get Sharuum on the battlefield AND you get to trigger your other creature’s cool ability.

Tezzeret the Seeker
It’s obvious that he’d find his way into the deck. As a tutor, he presents interesting choices. Anybody who’s played with him knows that you can search up artifact lands for a cost of zero loyalty, which is especially useful if you don’t initially have any artifact mana sources to untap for extra mana. Remember that Chrome Mox is a zero cost artifact. I personally think it’s risky to play a card like Tezzeret or Liliana Vess without using the tutoring ability for something good on the first turn. There’s never any guarantee that Tezzeret will see another turn, and it’s a bummer if all you get to do with him is find a land. If you want to make him count, find Mimic Vat or Skeleton Shard on the first activation. Keep in mind that Tezzeret’s untap ability will be great with either of those cards. If you need defense, Epochrasite is a good choice since it arrives as a 4/4 for only two loyalty points. Baleful Strix is a fine choice, too. Tidehollow Sculler is another option if you want to do everything you can to ensure that Tezzeret stays around for a while.

I included the Thopter Foundry-Sword of the Meek combo, partly because it’s easy to find using Tezzeret. The Foundry is a useful sacrifice outlet that fits the deck fairly well in its own right, and Sword of the Meek is at least marginally helpful by itself.

That covers it for cards that fetch from the library into play. This next group deals with more mundane tutoring and card selection, beginning with the other Tezzeret.

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas
I sure do love that +1 ability. It’s way better than “+1: Draw a card” would be in this deck. Your opponent will do whatever he can to get rid of this guy, but you’ll probably come out ahead even if he succeeds. By then you’ll have seen 5 or 10 or 15 cards and found some other evil scheme to hatch. But if he survives for a while, I guess you just win.

Enlightened Tutor
This obvious choice for the deck can find most of the great cards in the deck. Since you already lose a card when you cast this, you might consider avoiding stuff your opponent can kill with a cheap removal spell for the 2-for-1 before you can even activate it once. That includes stuff like Master Transmuter, Scarecrone, and Kuldotha Forgemaster. If you choose something like Sphinx Summoner, Sharuum, Birthing Pod, or Duplicant, you’ll at least get something for your efforts unless it gets countered.

Lim-Dul’s Vault
Here’s a card that isn’t used that often in 100CS, but I think it shines in this deck. With a 100-card deck, the life cost would be a problem if I needed it to find one particular card. But with this deck, I’m usually not. I’m pretty happy with one or two decent artifact creatures, one or two sources of card advantage (toys), and one or two lands. Being able to reject a pile or three and then setup the order of the draws is really sweet and is worth the card you pay in the process.

Brainstorm / Ponder / Preordain / Serum Visions
I was thinking to myself that if a deck has just the right amount of mana, you should get flooded with mana about as often as you’re short. But if you want to reduce the incidence of both of those problems, you need some cards like Ponder to smooth things out. I really like these cards for this deck, because it does really suffer if you don’t draw a reasonable mix of mana and spells. Also, these give you a shot at doing something useful on Turn 1.

I’ve eschewed cards like Fact or Fiction, Compulsive Research, and Thirst for Knowledge in favor of the 1cc spells because I want to use artifacts to generate my card advantage if I’m spending 3-4 mana. If I were focusing more on reanimation, I’d include all three of the previously mentioned cards.

Speaking of reanimating effects, here are some.

Oddly, this deck only has one discard outlet (Trading Post) to go with its reanimation, so you won’t be reanimating your Sphinx of the Steel Wind on Turn 2. That’s not really the point of the deck, though you could certainly take it in that direction at the expense of something else. Instead, the reanimation in this deck provides card advantage by repeatedly cycling creatures into play and abusing their triggered abilities. It also keeps your threats coming back after the opponent kills them.

Goblin Welder
This is the only red card in the deck, but it’s worth screwing around with the mana to include him. The mana efficiency of this guy is breathtaking. Say you have Duplicant and Perilous Myr cycling back and forth from the graveyard. You get to deal 2 damage and exile a creature for no mana every two turns and a 1-mana initial investment. No real surprise here; Goblin Welder is a well-known awesome card.

Recurring Nightmare
Since I’m sometimes not very smart, I didn’t think to include this card for a long while after I built this deck because it isn’t an artifact-themed card. It’s really sweet for the deck, though. This is the only way for the deck to bring back Goblin Welder or Arcum Dagsson from the dead, by the way.

Open the Vaults
Since this deck isn’t dedicated specifically to abusing this card, it’s more of a late-game God draw. If you can rip this after both players have been through a war of attrition, it’ll be glorious. It useless early in the game, but then again, it’s nice to have this in your grip so you can plan your game around it.

Don’t forget that it sacrifices for a card because that’s what will put you ahead by a card if your opponent immediately points removal at it.

Sharuum the Hegemon
Taking out this one card would be a real blow to the deck. This is the card that adds the biggest punch to all of the tricks you can do with this deck. If you’re tutoring, you should almost always consider this card among your top options.

Moving onto Disentomb-effects:

Skeleton Shard
This is the best of the Mirrodin shard cycle. I think Crystal Shard sees more play, but Skeleton Shard is a card advantage machine that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Academy Ruins, Volrath’s Stronghold
I’ll be honest: I’ve only activated these lands a couple of times with this deck (out of many games) because I usually have bigger and faster things going on. But they’re really sweet when you’d otherwise be out of gas.

Buried Ruin
Love it! Nice little cards like this make me love the new core set model.

Sanctum Gargoyle
Nothing flashy here, but it’s good enough when so many other cards are sacrificing and returning artifacts. Don’t get hung up on the mana cost; it’s fine, and often you’re not paying it anyway.

Myr Retriever, Junk Diver
These two creatures do their job perfectly well, and they also make you want sacrifice outlets in your deck.

Sacrifice outlets are next up. Some of these are already listed above (I count six of them), as they also perform other functions. Here are the others:

Phyrexia’s Core / Phyrexian Tower / High Market
Having a sacrifice ability on a land is pretty handy, and sometimes it’s what makes it possible to win. I think the Tower is the best of this lot, and I would consider cutting Phyrexia’s Core to improve the colored mana situation. Factoid: I cut Savannah and Everflowing Chalice when I decided I wanted both of these in my deck. Then I cut Godless Shrine to add High Market; that was after FTV: Realms alerted me to its existence. Hopefully this gives you an idea how packed the mana base is in this deck; it forces some tricky land decisions in your deckbuilding process.

Trading Post
This was the gem of Magic 2013 for me. I like some of the other stuff, too, but this card’s abilities are all useful to my artifact deck’s strategy. With the activation costs being only 1 mana, this card is going to see a lot of use from me. I think of this as more of a sacrifice outlet than a Disentomb card, but all of the abilities are relevant in the right situations.

If you have nothing pressing to do with Trading Post, consider making goat tokens while you wait for things to develop. Eventually you should be able to use those tokens to return artifacts.

Sage of Lat-Nam / Etherium Astrolabe

I’ve been a Sage of Lat-Nam-fanboy since way back in 1994, and it was also one of the first 8th Edition cards I picked up when I got into MTGO in 2005 (for a Gravepact, which was a pretty dumb trade at the time). In casual Mirrodin-Kamigawa Standard, he supported a lot of my decks, especially where modular creatures like Arcbound Crusher were involved. Trust me, I’ve used this innocent-looking card a lot, and he can do more than you’d think at first glance.

Here are some of the ways that Sage of Lat-Nam & co. may be useful:

  • Chump block with an artifact creature and sacrifice for a card to buy time. This was so much better before wizards screwed up the rules by eliminating damage on the stack. Sigh…
  • Sacrifice something that is going to die to removal anyway. This is especially good if the removal would exile your creature and you have reanimation plans.
  • Sacrifice mana artifacts when you need cards worse than you need mana.
  • Sacrifice Myr Retriever / Solemn Simulacrum / Wurmcoil Engine / etc., to get the “dies” trigger.
  • Sacrifice Precursor Golem as soon as it enters play (eliminates the often-undesirable targeting ability for the tokens)
  • With Genesis Chamber, chump block with a Myr token and sacrifice it.
  • Sacrifice Tidehollow Sculler before its first trigger resolves to permanently exile a card.
  • Put something into the graveyard so you can reanimate it, like Duplicant or Sphinx Summoner.

By the way, I’d be excited if Wizards brought the original Sage of Lat-Nam art to MTGO.

Now we’re done with the main families of cards. Many of the remaining cards are self-explanatory, but certain ones still deserve a bit of attention.

Lightning Greaves: You know all those creatures with tap abilities that will probably get killed immediately? This card really helps them survive, and getting an activation on the first turn is pretty awesome, too. Beyond that, having Greaves on the board with a tutoring effect (Pod, Forgemaster, Arcum) greatly speeds up your ability to create insane board states. It means you can go straight for Goblin Welder, Master Transmuter, or something else powerful and activate it right away, barring instant speed removal. Things can get out of hand pretty quickly. I didn’t include Lightning Greaves at first, and I think it would be easy to overlook its strength in this deck. But there’s no way I’d leave home without it now, having thought through a lot of the insane Birthing Pod / Kuldotha Forgemaster scenarios and played with it in the deck for a while. I would even consider running Steelshapers Gift to find my Greaves.

Genesis Chamber
Here’s a symmetrical effect that you can bend to your advantage. This deck has over 30 creatures, and in some games they will enter the battlefield multiple times thanks to the toys. So I expect to get more tokens than the opponent. More importantly, I should be able to make much better use of those tokens using the various sacrifice outlets in the deck. Also, Genesis Chamber isn’t half bad with Steel Overseer or Master of Etherium.

Phyrexian Metamorph
This is an awesome, super flexible card. Don’t be too afraid to cast it early on, because you can probably bring it back as something stronger after it dies. If you are tutoring for an artifact and can only use something with a cost of 3 or 4, this is sometimes the most powerful option.

I didn’t include Sculpting Steel or Copy Artifact, because I couldn’t find the space in the deck. Out of the artifact clones, Metamorph is easily the top choice since it’s both an artifact and a creature; this makes it a legal target for the highest number of fun abilities. Given another deck slot, Sculpting Steel would go in before Copy Artifact since it’s an artifact.

Precursor Golem
I like this creature in this deck, because you can cast it and then immediately sacrifice it, leaving behind two golem tokens. With the original golem gone, you no longer have to worry about the undesirable targeting ability for the tokens, which won’t enter play until after the original golem is gone. By the way, you can do this safely even with a sorcery speed sacrifice effect, because you sacrifice the golem as a cost before your opponent ever gets priority with tokens in play.

Grim Poppet: I like this as a creature that can have a significant impact on the board state if you’re running behind on troops. It could be in there instead of or in addition to Myr Battlesphere.

Mishra’s Workshop
Since Tolarian Academy is banned, this land is necessarily my consolation prize. The former is pretty sweet, from my few experiences trying it in a singleton Classic deck. Anyway, Workshop leads to some nice, absurd openings, like Turn 1 Coalition Relic or Worn Powerstone, followed by Wurmcoil Engine the following turn.

Expedition Map
At one point, I looked at my Azorius Signet and wondered why that was in my deck instead of Expedition Map. The mana from a fetched Mishra’s Workshop puts me farther ahead than a signet, and the Map is a much better draw later in the game. Many times I’ll be pretty pleased to fetch Academy Ruins or a sacrifice outlet. Mishra’s Factory could also be an important tutor target if Arcum Dagsson is looking for a creature to sacrifice.

Memory Jar
This card doesn’t really do anything in the deck, unless you think it’s useful to draw seven cards.

Bringer of the White Dawn
It’s great fun to get this bringer active on your side of the battlefield. You can make the mana in this deck, but it’s one of the cards you should consider cutting if you have something else that you really want to include.

Cards Not Included

Cool Artifacts

Ichor Wellspring: This card is basically perfect for the deck, and it was an auto-include at first. Unfortunately, I kept finding more “must have” cards for the deck and cut it. The fact that it isn’t a creature makes it harder to justify keeping it in the list. I still love the way it interacts with the sacrifice outlets that can process it.

Soul Foundry / Prototype Portal: These cards are sick fun and would seem in-character for the deck, but I just can’t bring myself to add them. This is for two reasons: the opponent can kill the Foundry to get a 2-for-1, and it costs too much mana. I also don’t like exiling creatures when I could otherwise bring them back later. That said… Goblin Welder on Soul Foundry would be pretty funny.

Time Sieve: You can go infinite with Time Sieve in a number of ways. The simplest way is to bring Myr Battlesphere onto the battlefield every turn, and I can count nine ways of doing that. Overall, you’ll need recursion and token production to make this work. It doesn’t really make the deck better, but it’s cool when it works. When I achieve the capability to take infinite turns, I just tell the opponent as much and concede: The game is over at that point. Time Sieve isn’t in my final incarnation of the deck, because it tends to annoy some people. And after the first few times comboing off with it, I got a little tired of it. Still… the idea of it is pretty cool, and there’s no better home for it in 100CS.

Cool Artifact Creatures

Etched Monstrosity: This card is a stretch, but it’s not completely crazy. The deck can make the mana, and a 5/5 for 5 is not a bad backup plan. If you do have the 5-colored mana, you’re looking at a pretty nice play. If it dies, you can bring it back and draw more cards. While I like the idea of this guy well enough, I don’t think he’s better than any of the 4+ casting cost stuff that I included in the final deck.

Molten-Tail Masticore: This creature is great. The only thing that I don’t like about it is that if I exile my creatures, I can’t reanimate them. He’s handy as a discard outlet for reanimation cards, though. No arguments if you think this card should go in the deck.

Lodestone Golem: After initially tossing this in as a seemingly automatic inclusion, I stepped back and asked how much it really matters. It’s pretty easy to kill and doesn’t interact synergistically with the rest of the deck, apart from being an artifact creature. So I took it out.

Phyrexian Revoker: This guy is a two drop with some uses, with deactivating planeswalkers being high on the list. Is it good enough? I’d consider running this guy. Hex Parasite also comes to mind.

Onulet / Bottle Gnomes / Peace Strider: These have obvious utility against fast decks. If you find yourself facing red decks, here’s a bit of help.

Arcbound Ravager: It’s a sacrifice outlet, and it provides a small but useful benefit when it dies. The +1/+1 counters aren’t that important for this deck, though, so I left the Ravager out.

Arcbound Crusher: I’m tempted to add this creature because of its synergy with Genesis Chamber and the sacrifice outlets. Nearly half of the deck is artifacts, and a decent amount of dumping into the battlefield from the hand/library/graveyard occurs. Each of those moves gives Crusher a counter, and those can add up. Then you can give them to another creature if Crusher dies, and you can strategically move the counters around using a sacrifice outlet. It’s cool, but I think it isn’t effective enough for me to want to do it. This is where I get confused as to whether I’m trying to make a good deck or a fun deck.

Sphinx of the Steel Wind: Not having an enters-the-battlefield trigger makes this a little less appealing, and Wurmcoil Engine already has lifelink for your tutoring-for-lifegain needs.

Ethersworn Adjudicator: I played a lot of games with this Adjudicator in my deck before concluding that he isn’t as good as he looks. The issue is that I hardly ever use the destroy ability; in fact, I don’t know if I used it even once in several dozen games. I certainly didn’t find this guy near the top of my tutoring wish list very often, because I prefer to go for things that win the game faster.

Cool Non-Artifact Creatures

Argivian Archaeologist
Hanna, Ships Navigator
Grand Architect
Vedalken Engineer
Vedalken Archmage
Treasure Mage
Vedalken Certarch
Salvage Scout
Blade Splicer
Synod Artificer
Treasure Hunter
Magus of the Unseen

These and others are right up my alley. But if I start including too many non-artifact creatures, I often end up lacking the artifacts to actually abuse their abilities. If any of these were an artifact itself, it would probably make the deck. The three non-artifact dudes that did make the cut are all incredibly useful. If I were to add one more, I suppose Hanna, Ship’s Navigator would have to be high on the list.

Other Cool Spells

Argivian Restoration: I ran this for a good while and liked it. With all of the tutoring and sacrificing going on in this deck, it usually isn’t a problem to find something useful in the graveyard. But I really wanted to add other stuff, and as a non-artifact spell, this was one of the least difficult cards to part with.

Beacon of Unrest: I like this card conceptually, but the mana cost makes it worse than Argivian Restoration. It’s nice to avoid double-black mana costs (the deck has none). I don’t have much removal that puts creatures in the opponent’s graveyard, either, so I wouldn’t get lots of use out of the bonus ability to reanimate from there.

Reconstruction, Ritual of Restoration, Argivian Find: At 1 mana, I think one or more of these would be fine, but I can’t find enough spots in the deck to include them.

Fabricate: I hate slow tutors that make me reveal the card I search for. It telegraphs your plans so your opponent can spend an entire turn preparing to respond. It bothers me to leave such an obvious artifact tutor out of my artifact deck, but I’ve always found this card to set my tempo back more than I’d like. Since this deck doesn’t typically need to find one specific card to survive, I can be a little bit picky about the tutors I select. If I were considering Fabricate, though, I’d also consider Clutch of the Undercity.

Eladamris Call: The green mana is sketchy in this deck, but Call might still be a possibility. It has 32 creatures that vary widely, and there’s a creature for just about every situation.

Tainted Pact: Exiling a bunch of your cards is a bummer in a deck like this. I suppose you could always just settle for the first really solid card you see to mitigate that problem. The deck is completely singleton (assuming you include one Snow-Covered Island), so you can always find what you want in a pinch. I could picture situations when Open the Vaults would be your ultimate silver bullet.

Entomb / Buried Alive: These would probably be okay in this deck as is, and they’d be even better with some support. If you like these, you might even consider Gamble.

All Is Dust: When this came out, I thought I’d use it in every artifact deck. A lot of the good cards in this deck are colored, however, so it isn’t always going to be a one-sided effect. It costs 7, it’s not searchable, it’s not an artifact, and I’m therefore not always going to be tickled to draw it.

The Abyss: I have only a few non-artifact creatures in my deck, so everything else is immune to The Abyss. I played with Abyss for a while before cutting it for stuff that was faster and better. But it’s a fun, iconic card to play with.

Budget Version
As of this writing, it costs somewhere around 380 tickets to buy this article’s featured deck from bots. Certain cost-saving substitutions would be mostly painless, but as usual you’d have to switch to a cheap mana base to really save tickets on this deck. Doing that, it’s possible to drop the price of the lands from 265 tickets to 6 tickets. You lose a few cool things and slow down the mana with some “enters tapped” lands, but that’s totally fine for casual play. From there, you can get this thing down to about 25 tickets if you delete some of the pricey cards. I’ve included just such a list below (which you can download as a .txt by clicking here). Of note, the budget list lacks Goblin Welder, Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas, Scarecrone, and Enlightened Tutor. On the plus side, I had room to include some of the fun things that got left out of the other version of the deck.

100CS Budget Artifact Toys by Zimbardo

Creatures (30)
Other Spells (32)
Lands (38)
Buy this Deck

The budget version gives up some power, but it’s still a fun list that holds its own in the Just For Fun room.

Could this deck become competitive if I replaced a few of the silliest toys with more powerful cards? I don’t think it can get all that close to the best decks in the format (Elves, Goblins, and White-Blue Control, in my estimation), but I think it could be tuned into a legitimate second-tier deck if we actually had a competitive 100CS scene. That’s all moot, though! That’s why I aimed first and foremost to build a fun deck.

Thanks for reading! I hope some people are getting excited to have some new 100 CS tournaments, courtesy of MTGO Academy!

  1. Some quick thoughts …

    1. With Dagsum and Forgemaster, I would definitely find room for Blightsteel Colossus. He just ends games.
    2. Baleful Strix seems like it would fit very nicely in the deck as well.
    3. Drain without Jace just seems wrong.
    4. Everytime you’re casting/tutoring Sword of the Meek & Thopter Foundry, your mirror opp. is casting Painter & Grindstone. Also, every time you have SotM instead of SoFI you will have a sad.
    5. Trinket Mage (finding Engineered Explosives, Executioner’s Capsule etc) seems powerful. Also, Architect into Treasure Mage is a reason to have them as maindeck redundancy for Metalworker.

    Overall, I feel the archetype can be quite powerful in 100cs.

  2. Thanks for the comment, juggernaut.
    1) Blightsteel could go in, maybe. Note that Dagsson can only search non-creatures. I prefer stuff that can be hardcast, but there’s an argument to be made.
    2) Yep, Baleful Strix is very good and is in the deck (but not in the budget version)
    3) Yep, I have a more competitive version that has Jace. It’s only different by a handful of cards – it includes Swords to Plowshares and Oblivion Ring among a few other that I forget off the top of my head.
    4) Sure, but I’m thinking about the cards’ usefulness on their own, too. Thopter Foundry, at least, is quite useful even without Thopter Foundry, and that’s not something I can say for Painter or Stone.
    5a) Maybe Travis can address the Trinket Mage topic. I hear he is a pretty big fan of Trinket Mage toolboxes.
    5b) Grand Architect is pretty neat, and he’s probably a little better than he was in my mind when I dismissed him early on. I might try him for a while and see what I think. Like I said, I don’t want very many non-artifact creatures in the deck, but he might be worth a shot.
    5c) One thing that occurs to me is that Treasure Mage would be a candidate for sprucing up the 3 slot in my Birthing Pod lineup. Blade Splicer might be more desirable in that spot – I’ve tried her and not been unhappy.

  3. Slug – you’re the man! A couple of really interesting suggestions there. I’ll ]have to try them out.