Last updated on February 15, 2024
Daretti, Scrap Savant | Illustration by Dan Scott
For those who are just dipping their toes into Magic, planeswalkers can be some of the most striking and challenging cards to learn about. Their design and layout are so different from your basic Magic card, but they almost always feature some awesome art of a powerful character.
Planeswalkers can do all kinds of things, but one of their most interesting interactions is with artifacts. Many planeswalkers mention artifacts in passing, especially with removal abilities, but other planeswalkers seem made to play with artifacts.
It’s time to list all planeswalkers that interact with artifacts in some way. Spoiler: Among others, it’s a who’s who of Tezzeret cards.
Teferi, Time Raveler | Illustration by Chris Rallis
If you want to be strict about it, artifact planeswalkers in Magic are planeswalkers that are designed to synergize with artifacts. Maybe they generate artifacts, or maybe they animate your artifacts.
But that feels limiting. There are about 40 planeswalkers that mention artifacts including simple removal abilities. Removal isn’t the main point, but all planeswalkers that mention artifacts are here because I’m a completionist at heart. Gotta catch ‘em all!
Vivien Reid’s removal ability costs 3 loyalty and hits an artifact, enchantment, or flier. Boo, hiss. Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury’s removal costs only 2 loyalty, but you can’t use it to bug-zap any fliers. Nissa, Ascended Animist removes artifacts and enchantments for 1 loyalty, but that makes sense especially if you aren’t taking advantage of its compleated ability and casting this for its full price/full loyalty.
We only care about the Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter face for today, and we also only care about the -3 loyalty ability. That’s a lot of text to be ignoring. Tibalt removes artifacts, and exile is a good place to put them. I think I hear Karn, the Great Creator laughing in the wings.
The Eternal Wanderer offers you a slow-blink ability that can hit an artifact, which isn’t bad if you’ve got artifact-fall strategies going. I could see it being used to (slowly) move around auto-attaching equipment or remove the charge or oil counters from an opposing artifact.
Tamiyo, Compleated Sage interacts with a few artifacts, but that’s not really the strategy it fits into. You can tap down an artifact or creature for positive loyalty, and the ultimate gives you a Tamiyo's Journal token. It’s an artifact, but it plays into drawing cards and casting spells. I guess you could use the -X ability to exile and copy an artifact, too.
The artifact synergies here are limited, although Vraska, Betrayal's Sting is a really good card. I mean, it can put an opponent at death’s doorstep with just its ultimate ability. The proliferation of the first ability synergies with some artifacts, but that’s not why it’s there. Same for the ability that turns stuff to Treasure. No, you’ve got something else up your sleeve if you’re running this Vraska.
My brain doesn’t like looking at Ajani, Strength of the Pride and seeing the 0-loyalty ability below the -2, but I can see why it technically makes sense. The 0-loyalty ability also requires that you have 15 more life than your starting total, but you get to trade Ajani in to exile each artifact and creature that your opponents control.
Here’s why next to nobody plays Tezzeret, Master of Metal: You can get a souped-up version of its -3 ability on Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge as a positive loyalty ability. Taking control of all artifacts and creatures an opponent controls is interesting, but the card itself is redundant given the better Tezzerets out there.
When it comes to artifact animation, I like permanent effects more than temporary effects. Especially when it’s making me 5/5s! Tezzeret, Cruel Machinist gives you a temporary 5/5 for 0 loyalty, and the ultimate lets you put “any number” of cards onto the battlefield as 5/5s. Blue is known for its ability to draw cards, so I could see wanting to try to get that off after having drawn a boatload of cards.
You’re less likely to run Elspeth, Knight-Errant with a bunch of artifacts because its other abilities pump out tokens and give your creatures perks, but the fact that its emblem includes artifacts among the permanents it makes indestructible is just so good. No planeswalkers, though, huh?
Dovin, Grand Arbiter pretty much “just” pumps out Thopter tokens, if you’re looking for artifact synergies. The evasive flying Thopters can help to pump up Dovin’s loyalty, which is a nice bit of internal, card-level synergy.
Despite how all its abilities play into artifacts, Tezzeret the Schemer doesn’t excite me much. I appreciate that the -2 ability is balanced so that it can either turn one of your creatures into a glass cannon or remove an opponent’s creature. Etherium Cells feel like a precursor to Treasure, and the artifact animation on that ultimate ability is permanent rather than temporary. This is fine.
Not much to write home about here. Nahiri, the Harbinger’s ultimate is the most useful part if you’re focused on artifacts yourself, letting you search for a creature or artifact. -8 loyalty feels like a lot to tutor something that’ll just come back right to your hand unless you’re using killer ETBs and ability doublers.
Dack Fayden plays around in the “yoink!” sphere of Magic with two abilities that let you take control of your opponents’ toys. The -2 ability lets you steal artifacts, but the emblem you get when you ultimate lets you steal anything that you target.
A Brothers’ War planeswalker that cares about artifacts. Shocking, Saheeli, Filigree Master! The anthem-emblem that also offers cost reduction is the most attractive part to me, and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to get there.
You can almost draw a straight line between Tezzeret designs that have an ability that plays around with people’s life totals. Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas has it on an ultimate ability, but the overall mana value and the loyalty cost of that ability don’t feel too high. It’s fine, but it remains outclassed by the best Tezzerets.
I was having a Magic hiatus around War of the Spark, and the uncommon planeswalkers that don’t have built-in ways to gain loyalty took a while to make sense to me. Dovin, Hand of Control gives your artifacts some cost reduction, which is good enough to almost make me never use the loyalty ability.
Copying stuff is always fun, which is why I like what Saheeli Rai is going for. Artifacts with good ETBs like Meteor Golem are some of the better artifacts to pair with this Saheeli card. The “different names” stipulation on the ultimate ability doesn’t matter much if you’re playing Commander and other singleton formats.
The combination of abilities is intriguing. You could, in theory, return the Drones you get from Kaito, Dancing Shadow’s third ability (I hesitate to call it “ultimate”) to your hand so that you can use another loyalty ability. Sure, the token ceases to exist, but if it dealt combat damage to a player, it got you a second loyalty ability for your turn, and its “leaves the battlefield” trigger took more life from your opponents while giving you some as well. That’s a lot of work for a lil Drone to get done, huh?
Nahiri, the Lithomancer gains points among artifact planeswalkers for the fact that it can be your commander. In terms of artifact synergies, this card is equipment focused. The Stoneforged Blade token is so good between its 0-mana equip cost and the abilities it gives to its wielder.
You have to meld Urza, Lord Protector and The Mightstone and Weakstone to get to Urza, Planeswalker, but it qualifies for the list! The fact that you get to choose two abilities per turn is just bonkers, and three of the five (!) loyalty abilities deal with artifacts. Do you want cost reduction, Soldiers that are artifact creatures, or a board wipe that leaves planeswalkers and artifacts alone? Decisions, decisions. The 7-8 mana investment (depending on sequencing) to cast the two component cards, plus the 7-mana, sorcery speed meld ability it takes to get here are the main factors that draw Urza, Planeswalker back.
Listen. Vronos, Masked Inquisitor is a good card. But its only contribution to artifact strategies is pumping out a Construct token. But what a Construct it is! 9/9, vigilance, indestructible, and unblockable? Yikes. Its first ability can help to protect your other planeswalkers, so that’s neat.
Dakkon, Shadow Slayer is best used late in the game if you’re specifically aiming for artifacts. The ultimate ability is your path to playing artifacts without paying mana or bringing them back from your graveyard, but a +1 loyalty ability is a slow way to get there if you drop this the moment you have three lands.
You shouldn’t be surprised that a Daretti card mentions artifacts a bunch, and while these abilities all work well together, I’m not sure where I’d use Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast. The Construct tokens have defender, which makes for good chump blockers and sacrifice fodder. Token doublers in these colors are barely a thing, too. It’s the ultimate ability that really has an impact. Getting three artifactfall and creaturefall triggers (you can grab artifact creatures, after all) all at once can give you all kinds of value.
Saheeli, the Gifted is a solid option for an artifact commander that just happens to be a planeswalker. The ultimate ability copying all of your artifacts can be devastating, especially if your deck is filled with removal ETBs. You’re less likely to use this planeswalker as part of the 99, though.
In terms of artifact synergies, how much better can you get than a Karn planeswalker? Karn, Living Legacy gives you Powerstone tokens that can’t be used to cast non-artifacts, and the emblem you get from the -7 loyalty ability lets you add more tapping utility to all your artifacts. Such pinging.
The best part about Tezzeret, Artifice Master is the emblem that you can get with its ultimate. Emblems are such a recurring theme today…. Sure, it lets you grab any permanent, but imagine all the bomb artifacts you could be digging out of your library.
Hey, a Teferi that actually works well with artifacts! Neat.
Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset can help to get a prize artifact into your hand more quickly, tap an opponent’s artifact, untap your own…. And ultimately, you get an emblem that allows you to untap your permanents, artifacts included, during your opponents’ turns.
Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh checks so many boxes. Four abilities, one static and three loyalty-based. All care about artifacts. The artifact animation is permanent. You get cost reduction on activated abilities. Meanwhile, the other abilities affect your draw ability. So much blue goodness here, no notes.
*Stefon voice* This planeswalker has everything.
No seriously, Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge does a little bit of everything. Artifact recursion, a damage/lifegain combo, and it can bring a bunch of artifacts from the top of your library to the battlefield. Oh, and it gives affinity for artifacts to your creatures and planeswalkers. Dimir colors () aren’t exactly my first thought for artifacts, then I remember that Missy and Davros, Dalek Creator are Grixis (), just to start.
Being colorless is a massive advantage for Karn, the Great Creator, letting it slot into virtually any deck you’d like. Its static ability prevents your opponents from activating their artifacts, which includes all those pesky tokens we’ve been accumulating. Your first thought with Karn’s first ability is to animate one of your own artifacts, but you could also animate one of your opponents’ tokens or cheerios for an insta-kill. 0-MV makes a 0/0 artifact creature, after all.
The fact that Karn comes in with enough loyalty for two activations of its ability that pulls your artifacts out of exile or from outside is pure silliness.
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer is good more for its versatility than its specific abilities. It’s quite at home in a superfriends deck with Commodore Guff, but artifact creature commanders like Gimbal, Gremlin Prodigy and Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer also find these abilities useful. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The actual loyalty ability is almost secondary to the spellslinging Servo production.
Another Tezzeret that plays around with artifacts, Tezzeret the Seeker is mono-colored, which means it fits into more homes. Untapping two artifacts can be all kinds of powerful depending on the abilities you’re looking to activate again, and being able to trade X loyalty counters for an artifact in your library is flexible tutoring. Animating your artifacts en masse into guaranteed 5/5s makes a sizeable army out of Treasure, Clues, and Food.
Oh, Oko *sighs*.
The abilities on Oko, Thief of Crowns all play around with artifacts in some way. The first ability gives you Food tokens, its +1 loyalty can target artifacts, and its ultimate is an artifact or creature swap. That’s… a lot. Like you can animate the Food you make by turning them into elk, and it’s not an “until end of turn” ability. And swapping control of permanents is the kind of chaos that my internal gremlin simply adores.
How about another artifact planeswalker that can be your commander? At first blush, Daretti, Scrap Savant only has two abilities that play into artifacts. But remember! You can discard artifacts to its first ability. Like the other Daretti, your best artifact-fall effects are going to be helpful here.
You don’t have to use Daretti as your commander, though. There are plenty of mono-red commanders that can make use of this planeswalker, not to mention plenty of other fun multicolor options like Megatron, Tyrant, Osgir, the Reconstructor, and Alibou, Ancient Witness.
Artifacts and planeswalkers are perfect fits for proliferation. Atraxa, Praetors' Voice makes artifacts with charge counters like Astral Cornucopia a lot better and helps to keep your planeswalkers’ loyalty growing. I wonder if there’s an Atraxa deck that leans hard into this.
Artifacts and planeswalkers also share the historic trait, which means that they fit into historic matters themes.
Oko, Thief of Crowns | Illustration by Yongjae Choi
There are so many planeswalkers that have multiple versions that actually care about artifacts (not you, Vraska). Daretti, Saheeli, Tezzeret, and Karn all have some really interesting options if you’re leaning into artifact builds. The current MTG story arc will show us who, if any among our favorite artifact planeswalkers still have their spark, but it’ll be neat to see if any artifact planeswalkers join the ranks of some of these awesome cards.
Which artifact planeswalkers do you run in your decks? Have you built an Atraxa artifact deck? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Discord.
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