Goblin Welder - Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez

Goblin Welder | Illustration by Victor Adame Minguez

Artifacts are one of the weirder permanent types in Magic. Like creatures and enchantments, they hang around on the field after being cast, can have static, triggered, or activated abilities, and tend to die to removal.

But the graveyard need not spell the end for your artifacts! Many decks make a habit, nay, an entire strategy out of returning their artifacts from the graveyard – baiting out those removal spells just to return that Mycosynth Lattice to the field or cheating a Portal to Phyrexia into play with a Trash for Treasure.

There are so many options for returning your artifacts from the graveyard across every color. Let’s take a look at some of the best!

What Is Artifact Recursion?

Campus Renovation - Illustration by Robin Olausson

Campus Renovation | Illustration by Robin Olausson

Recursion in Magic: The Gathering refers to cards or strategies that return cards from the graveyard to a player’s hand. Recursion is often used interchangeably with “reanimation,” but they aren’t the same. Reanimation returns the card to the battlefield, but recursion technically means returning it to your hand (or having the option to cast it again from the graveyard). Refurbish is artifact reanimation, while Reconstruction is artifact recursion.

That said, we’ll be listing both recursive and reanimating spells for our artifacts. They’re usually used in the same decks, so it makes sense to list them together!

#35. Argivian Restoration

Argivian Restoration

Argivian Restoration is the standard for artifact recursion. 4 mana to return an artifact to the field makes this blue sorcery the same rate as a Resurrection. It’s not an amazing rate, but it’s well worth it if you’re using it to save mana on an Inkwell Leviathan.

#34. Drafna’s Restoration

Drafna's Restoration

Drafna's Restoration from Antiquities is a fairly basic effect for a cheap casting cost. Its biggest benefit is being able to pull multiple artifacts out of the graveyard, but it locks you into drawing them one at a time unless you have a plan to draw them all at once. Drafna's Restoration also has play as sorcery-speed graveyard hate for your opponent’s artifact recursion, or a really funny follow-up to a player Vampiric Tutoring too soon.

#33. Glissa, the Traitor

Glissa, the Traitor

Glissa, the Traitor trades your opponent’s dead creatures for artifacts in your graveyard. So long as you can keep destroying creatures (or your opponents keep sacrificing them for their aristocrats effects), you’ll keep returning artifacts to your hand. Luckily, this zombie elf makes this super easy for you as a first strikedeathtouch creature.

#32. Roar of Reclamation

Roar of Reclamation

Roar of Reclamation is a swingy effect depending on the shape of your Commander pod. If you’re the only Oswald Fiddlebender player, this is a great include! But if you’re frequently facing down a Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor / Armix, Filigree Thrasher deck, Roar of Reclamation can be more detrimental than not.

#31. Abuelo’s Awakening

Abuelo's Awakening

Abuelo's Awakening takes the 4-mana Refurbish effect white’s known for an appends an X-cost to it to turn the returned card into a 1/1 flying spirit with +1/+1 counters. While this white sorcery can definitely turn a board state on its head, I don’t like that it suddenly leaves your reanimated Vedalken Orrery vulnerable to creature-based removal.

#30. Junk Diver + Myr Retriever

Junk Diver Myr Retriever

Junk Diver and Myr Retriever are two halves of the same combo coin. Alongside any free sacrifice outlet like Ashnod's Altar or Krark-Clan Ironworks, these two can bounce each other (or another artifact) into and out of the battlefield infinitely. Perfect for the aristocrats kill with Disciple of the Vault or turning all that colorless mana into an uber-Fireball.

#29. Scrap Trawler

Scrap Trawler

Scrap Trawler could possibly be one of the most obnoxious artifact recursion pieces out there. No matter what, Scrap Trawler is guaranteed to get you at least one cheap artifact back from the graveyard. Perfect in my Keskit, the Flesh Sculptor deck where I’m sacrificing multiple artifacts as part of a single activation, then returning them to my hand, ready to be re-cast and sacrificed for value on the following turn.

#28. Scholar of the Lost Trove

Scholar of the Lost Trove

Scholar of the Lost Trove is a whopping 7 mana, but it lets you cast an artifact from your graveyard for free when it ETBs. Best used on an artifact that costs at least 8 mana and comes with an ETB effect of its own, Portal to Phyrexia and Filigree Angel make for great recursive value for this blue creature. It's fairly easy to repeat the Scholar’s effect, too. Just add Cloudshifts and we’re off to the races.

#27. Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa

Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa

Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa can recur any artifact in your graveyard for , but just once! Unearth exiles that card at the end of the turn/when it leaves the battlefield, making Mishra best for reanimating artifact creatures you plan to hurl at your opponents with wild abandon or mana rocks you don’t mind sacrificing for some value. Cards like Mycosynth Wellspring (with an appropriate sacrifice outlet; remember that exiling to the end step trigger won’t trigger the “dies” effect), or a cheeky Tormod's Crypt to surprise that Muldrotha, the Gravetide player.

#26. Open the Vaults

Open the Vaults

Open the Vaults is 1 mana less than Roar of Reclamation, but it also hits your opponents’ enchantments as well as their artifacts. This sorcery is the cheapest way in white to return your entire ‘yard’s worth of artifacts to the field, but it runs the risk of giving your opponents the same if not more advantage than you generated off this 6-mana investment. I won’t call it unplayable, but be mindful of your opponents’ graveyards before you cast!

#25. Reconstruction


Reconstruction is also from Antiquities, but you wouldn’t know it since every Antiquities printing of this card is missing the MTG set symbol. Reconstruction is a 1-mana Disentomb for your artifacts. It’s about as basic as it gets, but it's still a fair price for some cheap artifact recursion.

#24. Argivian Find

Argivian Find

Argivian Find is white’s Reconstruction. This white instant has the added bonus of hitting an enchantment instead, and can be cast at instant speed. Great for saving that Spine of Ish Sah or Sculpting Steel in response to your opponent’s Nihil Spellbomb.

#23. Brilliant Restoration

Brilliant Restoration

Brilliant Restoration is technically harder to cast than Roar of Reclamation, since it hits only your graveyard and returns all enchantments to the battlefield in addition to your artifacts. Definitely better in most instances with less of a chance of helping your opponents.

#22. Campus Renovation

Campus Renovation

Campus Renovation functions as a Refurbish with a bonus Reckless Impulse stapled on. This Boros sorcery is useful in situations when you need to recover from some removal but also don’t want to waste your entire turn replaying an artifact you’ve cast once already. The extra two cards off the top give you that much more advantage your following turn, hopefully keeping you from “two for one”-ing yourself and wasting several turns trying to stick an artifact.

#21. Beacon of Unrest

Beacon of Unrest

Beacon of Unrest from the cycle of beacons in Fifth Dawn pulls a creature or artifact from any graveyard into play under your control then shuffles itself back into your library. While 5 mana for a very loosely restricted reanimation spell is a little steep, Beacon of Unrest still sees play in many Commander decks. It’s hard to repeat this black sorcery‘s effect due to the shuffle-away clause, but the value from a single casting of Beacon of Unrest is still on par with what a reanimation spell should be.

#20. Arcbound Reclaimer

Arcbound Reclaimer

The cycle of modular creatures from the original Mirrodin block work together by moving their +1/+1 counters around as they die. Arcbound Reclaimer can remove a +1/+1 from itself to put an artifact from your graveyard on top of your library.

Really, Arcbound Reclaimer’s value has a fairly low ceiling. Moving the cards to the top of your library locks you out of playing them that turn (unless you can draw into them, of course), and there isn’t much reason to return more than one per turn. Still, an instant speed ability to pull a card from your graveyard can’t be understated, especially if you’re relying on key cards in your graveyard to execute a combo.

#19. Buried Ruin

Buried Ruin

Buried Ruin mostly sees play in decks without ready access to artifact recursion since it has no color identity. Losing a land to return an artifact to your hand isn’t amazing, but in a pinch you’ll be thankful you could grab those Lightning Greaves back. The best part is Buried Ruin comes into play untapped, so you can activate it immediately rather than broadcasting to the table that you’ll be recurring the next important artifact they destroy.

#18. Silas Renn, Seeker Adept

Silas Renn, Seeker Adept

Commander 2016’s Silas Renn, Seeker Adept is a 2/2 rattlesnake that you can expect to connect with an opponent whenever it attacks, assuming they don’t want to lose their blocker. While Silas doesn’t get you an artifact back for free, its damage trigger doesn’t require mana so you’ll probably have some open to cast the artifact. One of the best Dimir cards in the format if you’re looking for a consistent source of artifact recursion in your command zone, Silas Renn is your card. It gets even better when partnered with Armix, Filigree Thrasher or Glacian, Powerstone Engineer.

#17. Trading Post

Trading Post

Trading Post is one of those perfectly designed boring cards. It doesn’t do anything too flashy, but its utility is undeniable. Its four abilities each cost 1 generic mana and a tap, but their versatility is endless. It's one of the best artifact token generators, works for lifegain strategies, and it's a solid sacrifice outlet – sacrificing a creature to Disentomb an artifact is a fair trade, especially if you used a 0/1 Goat that Trading Post created.

#16. Emry, Luker of the Loch

Emry, Lurker of the Loch

Emry, Lurker of the Loch can tap to let you cast a target artifact from your graveyard. It also mills you four, possibly loading up your graveyard with some juicy artifacts to cast. While still a solid blue commander, this merfolk wizard starts to pale in comparison to the other options available in the format. Paying full price for the recurred artifact just doesn’t compare to sneaking a Platinum Angel into play with Trash for Treasure.

#15. The Eighth Doctor

The Eighth Doctor

The Eighth Doctor lets you cast one historic permanent (read: artifact) from your graveyard once during each of your turns. If it leaves the battlefield after that, it's exiled instead of being put in the graveyard. Regardless of how you feel about Paul McGann, The Eighth is a pretty good Azorius commander for an artifacts deck. Despite its steep 6-mana casting cost, The Eighth Doctor functions as a stronger Emry, Lurker of the Loch that can still participate in combat with its 4/4 body.

#14. Harnessed Snubhorn

Harnessed Snubhorn

As a Gatecrash-apologist, I like to think of Harnessed Snubhorn as a sort-of “fixed” Treasury Thrull. They're both big-ish creatures that can recur artifacts during your combat phase. The poor 6-mana Thrull is too slow to really make a difference when it comes into play, but it does recur an artifact on its attack trigger, instead of the damage trigger required for Harnessed Snubhorn. However, Harnessed Snubhorn has the advantage of being a 2/5 with vigilance, making it a better attacker and blocker than the Thrull, and it returns that artifact to the field instead of your hand. In almost every case, this white creature beats out the Treasury Thrull in terms of artifact-recursion-on-a-body-in-the-combat-phase.

#13. Ironsoul Enforcer

Ironsoul Enforcer

Ironsoul Enforcer slots really well with those equipment-loving Voltron commander decks, returning artifacts from your graveyard whenever it or a commander you control attacks. Here you have the opportunity to recur two artifacts per turn and capitalize on ETB effects from weapons like Maul of the Skyclaves.

#12. Wake the Past

Wake the Past

If you’re running both red and white in your artifacts deck, Wake the Past is the mass reanimation you want for your artifacts. Besides only hitting your own graveyard, this Boros sorcery will grant haste to all those recently returned artifact creatures you’re running, for just 1 more mana than Open the Vaults. Honestly, I’m surprised we had to wait until Commander 2021 to get a spell that does this; it seems like a no-brainer effect for these colors and deserves a staple spot in all artifact decks that can spare it.

#11. Scrap Mastery

Scrap Mastery

Did you know they made a red Living Death? I didn’t! Scrap Mastery has flown under my radar until now, and I’m kicking myself for missing this red sorcery all these years. Not only does Scrap Mastery recur multiple artifacts better than any other red spell, it also acts as a one-sided board wipe for your opponent’s artifacts. Chances are they won’t have invested as heavily into artifacts as you have; while you’ll be returning your Mycosynth Lattice and Darksteel Forge to the field, they’ll be left without their Sol Rings and Arcane Signets.

#10. Sharuum the Hegemon

Sharuum the Hegemon

The older Elder Dragon Highlander players among you may remember a time pre-Commander precons when Sharuum the Hegemon was the best artifact commander in Magic. Sharuum was the enabler to hundreds of artifact-based combos, most notably the Thopter Foundry / Time Sieve / Sword of the Meek combo. It goes infinite with a Phyrexian Metamorph, a Sculpting Steel, a Thopter Assembly… basically, if you sneeze too close to this sphinx, Sharuum the Hegemon combos out in a heartbeat.

#9. Hanna, Ship’s Navigator

Hanna, Ship's Navigator

Hanna, Ship's Navigator has a repeatable activated ability to return an artifact or enchantment from your graveyard to your hand. Hanna is one of the more consistent stax commanders in Magic since it can be very hard to permanently remove those Norn's Annex and Crawlspace effects. 3 mana is a little steep for what amounts to an Argivian Find, but Hanna’s repeatability and presence in the command zone are what makes this human artificer a powerful artifact recursion engine.

#8. Dance of the Manse

Dance of the Manse

The only thing better than reanimating a bunch of artifacts is reanimating and then animating them into 4/4 creatures. Dance of the Manse does just that. Turning your field of artifacts into a board of actual combat threats has been a tried-and-true strategy for artifact decks ever since Karn, Silver Golem, and Dance of the Manse’s take on this classic effect can feel like you just pulled a Rise of the Dark Realms out for 8 mana.

#7. Daretti, Scrap Savant

Daretti, Scrap Savant

Daretti, Scrap Savant has two artifact recursion abilities. Its second ability is a Trash for Treasure, already useful if you used its first loyalty ability to loot a few artifacts into your graveyard. This artifact-loving planeswalker‘s -10 ability, however, is the ultimate artifact recursion. If you can somehow manage to execute Daretti’s last loyalty ability, the emblem it creates basically ensures you’ll never lose an artifact ever again. Absent a Shattering Blow, nothing will stop those artifacts from re-entering the field when they’re destroyed.

While Daretti, Scrap Savant’s final ability won’t necessarily end the game for you, it effectively freezes your board state as far as artifacts are concerned – even if you don’t have your winning combo on the board yet, it’s safe to say you’ll have all the time you need to assemble it. And notice that, although it's a planeswalker, Daretti, Scrap Savant can be your red commander.

#6. Anrakyr the Traveller

Anrakyr the Traveller

Not only is Anrakyr the Traveller one of the best ways to recur artifacts from your graveyard, this black creature‘s also one of the best ways to cast artifacts, period. Most Magic players are familiar with the insane amount of value you generate when you can start paying life instead of mana for spells (hello, Bolas's Citadel), and in a 40-life format like Commander, those costs hardly make a dent in your life total. Entomb your favorite artifact, like a Wurmcoil Engine, drop Anrakyr on turn 4, and laugh as you blow past your opponents.

#5. Dakkon, Shadow Slayer

Dakkon, Shadow Slayer

The beautiful Dakkon, Shadow Slayer is a 3-mana planeswalker that hits the field with loyalty counters equal to the number of lands you have in play. This means there’s a reasonable chance you’ll activate Dakkon’s final ability the turn it comes down, getting you an artifact from your hand or graveyard for free! 3 mana to pull this out in the late game is more than enough value to make Dakkon an auto-include in your Esper artifacts decks, and its built-in surveil ability and creature removal make it a great early play as well.

#4. Goblin Welder

Goblin Welder

Goblin Welder is one of the best ways to return your artifacts to the battlefield. A 1-mana red creature that only needs to tap to activate, Goblin Welder is the quickest way to turn that 0-mana Phyrexian Walker into a Darksteel Forge in a flash.

#3. Salvaging Station

Salvaging Station

Salvaging Station is the best repeatable artifact recursion on a permanent. It easily goes infinite with any cheap artifact and sacrifice outlet; something as simple as an Ornithopter and a Goblin Bombardment basically ends the game. Of course, it plays well with its buddies Blasting Station, Grinding Station, and Summoning Station, too.

#2. Academy Ruins

Academy Ruins

By now you’ve for sure heard of Academy Ruins. This legendary land is the best repeatable artifact recursion out there by virtue of its cheap activation cost and hard-to-kill permanent type. Short of a Field of Ruin or Wasteland, your Academy Ruins should be safe from harm and ready to recur any artifact in your graveyard at instant speed.

#1. Trash for Treasure

Trash for Treasure

Red’s access to artifact recursion usually takes the shape of various Trash for Treasure effects. Trash for Treasure is best used to trade a cheap artifact on your field (like an Ichor Wellspring) for something huge and valuable in your graveyard (like Darksteel Forge or Mycosynth Lattice). At 3 mana, Trash for Treasure is a better reanimation rate than Refurbish. Trash for Treasure also provides a great sacrifice outlet for cards like Mycosynth Wellspring and Junk Diver.

Best Artifact Recursion Payoffs

If your game plan revolves around casting and returning artifacts from your graveyard, there are a few powerful bombs you should consider for your deck.

Kappa Cannoneer

Kappa Cannoneer made a huge splash when it was released with the Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Commander decks. Improvise means you won’t have any trouble casting this 6-mana monster, Ward means it’ll be a pain to remove, and it’ll just become a larger and larger unblockable wall of damage each turn as you return artifacts from your graveyard to the field.

Next is Blasting Station, Grinding Station, and Summoning Station, all three of which synergize well with either sacrificing artifacts or returning them to the battlefield. Depending on your favorite flavor of infinite combo, you can use these artifacts in conjunction with Salvaging Station or just about any other artifact recursion to deal hundreds of damage, mill out your opponents, or create an unstoppable force of 2/2 Pincher tokens.

Wrap Up

Dance of the Manse - Illustration by Yeong Hao Han

Dance of the Manse | Illustration by Yeong Hao Han

Artifacts have been an essential part of Magic: The Gathering since its inception. They occupy an important design space between creatures and enchantments that gives them their own unique flavor and mechanics. The way spells and permanents interact with artifacts hasn’t changed much (not since they introduced equipment), and I’d bet my bottom dollar they’ll stay roughly the same for the next 30 years of Magic.

What are your favorite artifacts to return from the grave? Which recursion spells are worth it in your deck, and which do you skip? Let me know in the comments, or over on Draftsim's Twitter/X.

Thanks for reading! Never stop scrappin’!

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