Mox Opal | Illustration by Volkan Baga
Artifacts are historically one of the strongest card types in MTG. A lot of Commander decks already accumulate a pile of artifacts by using mana rocks to ramp, and it’s only gotten easier as Treasure tokens become more and more accessible.
One way to get the most out of your artifact-centric decks is to use metalcraft cards that get extra value from the artifacts already on the battlefield. Today I’m looking at the 30 best metalcraft cards in Magic to see how you can maximize the impact of your artifacts. Let’s get into it!
What Is Metalcraft in MTG?
Lumengrid Drake | Illustration by Johann Bodin
Metalcraft is a keyword introduced in the Scars of Mirrodin block that gives spells or creatures an extra effect as long as you control three or more artifacts.
Not all metalcraft cards are artifacts themselves. These cards don’t require metalcraft to be active for them to be useful, though metalcraft is the best way to get the most out of all them. There are metalcraft cards across all five colors.
Best White Metalcraft Cards
#7. Auriok Edgewright
Auriok Edgewright sets the bar as a creature with a reasonable stat line for its cost that gets way better with metalcraft.
A 2/2 for two mana? Perfectly acceptable. A 2/2 double striker for two mana? That gets exciting, especially when paired with equipment that cares about dealing combat damage, like the Swords or Umezawa’s Jitte.
#6. Auriok Sunchaser
Auriok Sunchaser starts out a little smaller than the Edgewright, but its metalcraft bonus of +2/+2 and flying gives it an above-rate stat line paired with built-in evasion. This card works beautifully on its own and is especially good at pressuring planeswalkers in the air, or protecting your own planeswalkers (or life total) from small fliers.
#5. Ardent Recruit
Goblin Guide is an iconic card. It’s powerful because a 2/2 for a single mana is well above rate. So how about a 3/3 for one mana instead?
#4. Dispense Justice
It’s never a bad idea to run removal in your EDH decks, and Dispense Justice adds in a little bit of artifact synergy to boot. Making a player sacrifice an attacking creature (or two) lets this card remove potentially un-targetable threats with shroud or hexproof.
You also don’t have to be the defending player to use this, making it a potential bargaining tool in a multiplayer game.
#3. Indomitable Archangel
Speaking of un-targetable, Indomitable Archangel is a monster of a card. A 4/4 flier for four mana is already an incredible rate, and it can even protect your board. Giving all your artifacts shroud prevents your opponents from interacting with you via spot removal.
It can even protect your lands and works incredibly well with Biotransference to protect all your creatures.
Even without metalcraft, tapping a crucial blocker or attacker can be all it takes to kill a planeswalker or swing a game in your favor.
#1. Puresteel Paladin
Puresteel Paladin is a tad narrower than the other options on this list since you have to be an equipment deck to use it, but boy does it go off if you are!
Drawing cards whenever an equipment enters the battlefield under your control gives you a valuable source of card advantage in white, which the color already struggles with. Add in a metalcraft ability that provides insane mana value and you have the best white metalcraft card.
Best Blue Metalcraft Cards
#8. Spire Serpent
But at the end of the day it’s basically an expensive vanilla creature, and you can do better.
#7. Screeching Silcaw
Screeching Silcaw is a cheap evasive creature. It won’t hit particularly hard, but its metalcraft ability is an interesting one.
Milling the player it hits for four every turn could help enable a spicy artifact mill deck, or potentially let a reanimator deck find fresh targets out of its opponent’s deck.
#6. Lumengrid Drake
Man-O’-War is a solid card, and Lumengrid Drake gives you that effect with flying. Bouncing an opponent’s creatures generates solid tempo for you since they’re forced to play them over and over again.
Flying helps the Drake beat down while the opponent spins their wheels. It also works great with flicker effects to repeatedly bounce problematic threats.
#5. Vedalken Infiltrator
The small power boost this card gets from metalcraft isn’t even necessary, but it’s welcome when you stack it with equipment like Mask of Memory to draw cards as it chips away at enemy life totals.
#4. Vedalken Certarch
Vedalken Certarch might not look like much, but it has incredible potential. Tapping down opposing creatures is already a strong ability. Add in disrupting your opponents’ mana base by tapping down their lands and you’ve got something powerful brewing.
This is basically Rishadan Port, except you don’t have to use two lands every time you want to disrupt the opponent. It also gives you flexibility as a defensive or offensive card tapping opposing creatures.
#3. Argent Sphinx
Argent Sphinx isn’t particularly flashy, but it’s a super solid card. Four flying power for four mana is a reasonable rate and does a lot without metalcraft.
The metalcraft ability is fairly simple but it gives the card a lot of flexibility, protecting it from spot removal and board wipes while doing a passable imitation of vigilance if you activate it before your end step.
#2. Stoic Rebuttal
Counterspell is one of the strongest pieces of countermagic ever printed, and Stoic Rebuttal does a pretty good impersonation of it. Even if metalcraft isn’t active, three mana for a counter isn’t completely unplayable.
It doesn’t even take much effort for this card to be an efficient answer to pretty much anything your opponents try to pull.
#1. Vedalken Humiliator
Vedalken Humiliator has a ton of interesting potential. Turning all your opponents’ creatures into 1/1s enables a lot of aggressive attacks that might not have been present before.
It also works well with small mass damage spells like End the Festivities, basically making it a Plague Wind. Removing abilities also lets you circumvent problematic keywords like hexproof and protection.
Best Black Metalcraft Card
#1. Bleak Coven Vampires
Black gets all of one metalcraft card, but it’s not bad. An eight-point life swing can be all it takes to turn the corner of a close game.
Bleak Coven Vampires also works well with abilities that flicker it like Conjurer’s Closet, or those that can multiply its triggers like Panharmonicon, enabling some interesting ways to use it as a finisher.
Best Red Metalcraft Cards
#5. Spiraling Duelist
Apparently being around a lot of metal makes you hit really quickly since Spiraling Duelist is the second card on the list to gain double strike via metalcraft. This card also works well with a bunch of equipment and has a more aggressive body than Auriok Edgewright.
Spiraling Duelist hits hard and often.
#4. Concussive Bolt
Five mana for four damage to a player or planeswalker is a steep cost, but there’s finisher potential here. Four damage isn’t exactly something to sneeze at and Concussive Bolt making it so the damaged opponent can’t block can be a game-ender.
It does require a developed board state to maximize its potential, however.
#3. Kuldotha Phoenix
Kuldotha Phoenix hits hard and fast, and it’s hard to deal with. Three red pips ask a lot from your mana base, but the reward is a planeswalker assassin that deals a lot of damage.
And you don’t even have to worry about paying any red mana if you’re able to get it in your graveyard before casting it the first time!
#2. Molten Psyche
Speaking of hitting hard, how does spreading 21 damage across an EDH table sound? Molten Psyche has a terrifyingly high ceiling for your opponents.
Wheel effects can be risky since you’re giving free resources to your opponents. Molten Psyche mitigates that by adding a lot of pressure. This could easily finish your opponents in a single flurry of cards with a few other wheels.
#1. Galvanic Blast
This might not be the flashiest card, but Galvanic Blast pulls a lot of weight. A Pauper staple, it’s also got a role in Commander.
Finishing off planeswalkers or opponents, shooting down big threats, or just Bolting the Bird on turn 1 gives Galvanic Blast a ton of flexibility depending on what stage the game it is. It’s also pretty easy to copy or recur it for even more value as an instant.
Best Green Metalcraft Cards
#2. Mirran Mettle
Like black, green is light on metalcraft cards. Mirran Mettle is a combat trick with some explosive potential that could deal a finishing blow in conjunction with a lot of the evasive creatures we’ve seen in the other colors.
Its name is also just a delightful little pun.
#1. Ezuri’s Brigade
A 4/4 for four is exactly the rate you’d expect from a green creature. Add metalcraft and your opponents have to figure out how to combat an 8/8 trampling monster.
Best Multicolored Metalcraft Card
#1. Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer
Multicolor joins black in having a single metalcraft card, but Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer has a ton of potential as a finisher. A 5/4 first strike creature is a solid body that attacks well, but giving your team a massive power boost lets it come down and finish an opponent in a single turn.
Best Colorless Metalcraft Cards
#6. Chrome Steed
Metalcraft cards that are artifacts have a huge advantage over a lot of the others on this list for a simple reason: they enable metalcraft themselves. You only need another two artifacts for Chrome Steed to get its metalcraft bonus.
That said, a 4-mana 2/2 isn’t the most thrilling card. Making it a 4/4 does put it on rate with some green creatures, but it’s still relatively unexciting.
#5. Rusted Relic
Rusted Relic is a neat little card. It provides an extra artifact for metalcraft while becoming a reasonable threat. A 5/5 for four colorless is above rate, but an opponent removing metalcraft also functionally removes this card.
You can pull some interesting shenanigans if you’re able to manipulate the number of artifacts on your board, making this into a surprise blocker or turning it back into a noncreature permanent to dodge a wrath.
#4. Urza’s Workshop
Urza’s Workshop is an interesting card, calling back to both the Urza Tron lands and Mishra’s Workshop, but failing to reach the heights of either. It takes an awful lot of work to make this tap for more than one colorless, and while Sol lands are good you’d be better off putting in the work to assemble Tron (or just finding an Ancient Tomb).
#3. Snapsail Glider
Evasion tacked on to metalcraft creatures is really useful since equipment cards are a great way to enable metalcraft. It doesn’t take much to make Snapsail Glider into a flying creature that’s going to carry an equipment card over the opponent’s board and right into their face.
#2. Etched Champion
Protection is an incredibly powerful mechanic. Protection from a single color can be a game-warping effect, but Etched Champion goes the extra mile by gaining protection from all colors. This makes it a strong evasive threat since most decks won’t be able to block but also makes a strong defender, deflecting any sizable attackers and taking no damage in the process.
Oh, and have I mentioned that evasive creatures hold equipment well?
#1. Mox Opal
It ramps you, fixes your mana, provides a free artifact for its own metalcraft count, and any other effects in your deck that care about having a number of artifacts in play. To top it all off you can tutor Mox Opal with Urza’s Saga.
Best Metalcraft Payoffs
Now that you’ve assembled your metalcraft cards, what are the best payoffs? Well, a big one is other cards that care about the number of artifacts you control.
Creatures with affinity for artifacts find a similar benefit. And (as I said once or twice) equipment cards work well with any metalcraft card that gains evasion or other combat-related keywords like double strike so you can finish that opponent off quickly.
When Does Metalcraft Check the Number of Artifacts a Player Controls?
For creatures and artifacts that don’t use metalcraft as a triggered or activated ability, the number of artifacts is counted as a state-based action. For example, Mox Opal is always going to tap for a mana without a triggered or activated ability if you control three or more artifacts.
For spells and abilities that use metalcraft, the number of artifact cards is checked on resolution of that spell or ability. So if you cast Galvanic Blast with three artifacts but one is removed while it’s on the stack, Blast resolves, see that you control less than three artifacts, and only deals two damage.
Can You Kill an Artifact in Response to Metalcraft?
Yes, you can. You should kill artifacts in response to a spell or ability with metalcraft so that your creature is only tapped, not exiled. Abilities can also fizzle if metalcraft is removed. For example, if you attack with Vedalken Humiliator and your third artifact is removed with the ability on the stack, the ability fizzles and no creatures are affected.
For cards like Auriok Edgewright that check for metalcraft as a state-based action, removing the third artifact just removes double strike from the Edgewright without placing any abilities on the stack. The keyword just no longer applies.
Urza’s Workshop | Illustration by Alexander Forssberg
This wraps up my rankings! Metalcraft is an excellent ability, and one that can make cards powerful without making them broken (with the exception of Mox Opal, of course). The cards on this list will only get better with time with artifacts becoming more and more prevalent in MTG.
What did you think of the list? Were there any surprising placements or cards that I missed? Let me know in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: