Stoneforge Mystic | Illustration by Mike Bierek
When I started playing the game before caw blade was popularized by Bryan Kibler, I remember that equipping an Argentum Armor onto a Squadron Hawk was the coolest thing you could do with Quest for the Holy Relic.
A long time has passed since that, and while card quality has overall increased, equipment remains part of every set. Let’s go over the best ways to search for them and how you can pair these cards with others to get a game-winning advantage over your opponents.
Intrigued? Let’s jump into it!
Anchor to Reality | Illustration by Alix Branwyn
In MTG, some cards excel at searching for various types of cards, like Gamble or Demonic Tutor which find various types of cards. However, cards known as “equipment tutors” have a special distinctive: they focus exclusively on finding equipment cards.
Just like their name suggests, equipment tutors are spells that specialize in searching for equipment cards, typically from the library, and put them into that spell controller’s hand, battlefield, or graveyard.
This has to be one of the worst tutors given how slow it is. It signals your plan to your opponents, and the value gained over a few turns is probably only worth it if you’re running on a budget.
I have mixed feelings about Anchor to Reality. It allows you to tutor for other card types outside of equipment, like Esika's Chariot, but you have to sacrifice another permanent to make it possible. The plus side is that putting it onto the battlefield seems very good for only 4 mana.
AFR brought some interesting mechanics, and along came Fighter Class. There weren’t many strong pieces of equipment in the set, but it did the job when needed, and it’s a great asset in Commander strategies that rely on cheap tutors to search for their more powerful equipment.
#12. Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith
For 6 mana, you get to play a 7/4 indestructible commander in Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith that attaches equipment for free whenever they enter the battlefield. If you already have the Hammer of Nazahn in play or in your hand, you can still tutor for any other equipment.
This hard-to-trigger Stoneforge Mystic isn’t as good as it looks. If you play Relic Seeker early on an empty board, you may get the chance to hit with it and do the thing. But in most cases, that’s easier said than done.
Steelshaper Apprentice may be a bit slow, but it can be used multiple times during a single game if unanswered. When I was trying to build a Kemba, Kha Regent Commander deck, it was a critical part of it.
Suppose you have a lot of mana to spare, which is usually the case in Commander games. Taj-Nar Swordsmith can be helpful in many ways because it not only searches for equipment but it also puts it onto the battlefield, an ability that not many other cards have.
I remember playing with this card back when Boros Aggro was a popular archetype in Kaldheim. Axgard Armory provided those aggro decks with the powerful equipment they needed to get through and deal more damage to close out games.
Quest for the Holy Relic may require some setup, but this card can be backbreaking if you get to cast it early in the game. In Standard, it was known for tutoring Argentum Armor and attaching it to a Squadron Hawk that would take over the game in just a few turns. In Commander, imagine the wonders it can do with more powerful equipment like Kaldra Compleat.
Speaking of great tutors in Commander, Stonehewer Giant has to be one of the best around. While it’s pricey to cast and slow to use, once it gets going it becomes a seemingly unstoppable train of value. For a mere 2 mana, it can search for any equipment, put it onto the battlefield, and attach it to any creature you control.
Godo, Bandit Warlord’s combo with Helm of the Host is a very well-known win condition among Commander players because it doesn’t require much other than mana to finish the game the same turn it enters the battlefield.
For a while, Stoneforge Mystic was a critical part of decks that relied on Batterskull and any of the dual swords like Sword of Feast and Famine as part of their primary plan to win games. It saw play from Standard to Legacy, and to this day it’s a critical part of equipment decks that need a solid and cheap tutor.
Steelshaper's Gift is the cheapest way you have to search your library for an equipment card and put it into your hand. It’s been a staple of “Hammer Time” decks in Modern where the aim is to equip a Colossus Hammer onto a creature for free thanks to Sigarda's Aid.
After ranking the best equipment tutors in MTG, you may be thinking about the payoffs from running them. Most of them are the ones that rely on artifact synergies or mechanics like affinity and metalcraft, but some others directly synergize with equipments themselves.
Take Puresteel Paladin. It lets you draw cards whenever an equipment enters the battlefield, which effectively helps you find more equipment cards and other combo pieces you may need.
Other creatures like Bruenor Battlehammer or Goblin Gaveleer gets a bonus based on the number of equipments they got attached to them, while cards like Kemba, Kha Regent can help you assemble a board presence.
Stoneforge Mystic | Illustration by Dan Dos Santos
As you may have seen, equipment tutors are less widespread compared to other card types. This isn’t a problem; you can use other cards that tutor for artifacts to complement your strategies.
What was your favorite one? Would you have liked to see one of them ranked higher? Let me know in the comments or over on Discord!
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