Last updated on January 31, 2023

Teething Wurmlet - Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

Teething Wurmlet | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

The most well-known iteration of a trigger when a permanent enters the battlefield in Magic is landfall, but there are equivalents that aren’t keyworded. There’s “creaturefall” on The Great Henge, “enchantmentfall” on Verduran Enchantress, and, of course, “artifactfall.”

Let’s explore this last category and rank the best among them!

What Is Artifactfall in MTG?

Kappa Cannoneer - Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

Kappa Cannoneer | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing

Artifactfall refers to an effect that triggers whenever an artifact enters the battlefield under your control. Because this trigger isn’t an official keyword, there are variations of this effect.

It’s time to see what’s cooking in the artifact ETB space in case you haven’t looked at these cards as a group. Let’s take a look at all 38!

Best White Artifactfall Cards

White isn’t great at this effect, and these are niche plays at best.

#5. Jackknight

Jackknight

Jackknight is from Unstable. Um, is there a meta for Un-set Constructed? If there is, can you ping me and explain it?

#4. Thopter Architect

Thopter Architect

Thopter Architect is much better in Draft than the next card, but temporary flying is good in Draft and likely dead in the water for Commander.

#3. Phalanx Vanguard

Phalanx Vanguard

Phalanx Vanguard was like the sad 23rd playable in The Brothers’ War Limited, so this is likely a pass. But there are lots of things that can make creatures with power 2 or less unblockable, so there could be a build that wants this.

#2. Glint Hawk Idol

Glint Hawk Idol

Glint Hawk Idol seems like it would be okay in an Azorius () fliers deck that wants some board wipe protection, but it doesn’t see much play. The flying artifact synergies deck might get there if something like Tawnos, the Toymaker gets printed with a white pip.

#2. Ingenious Smith

Ingenious Smith

This has been decent in Standard and Pioneer artifact decks, and I absolutely run Ingenious Smith in decks like Teshar, Ancestor’s Apostle or Urza, Chief Artificer. But its own ETB is better than its artifactfall trigger, which is limited to once a turn.

#1. Leonin Elder

Leonin Elder

Cat and lifegain decks sometimes want Leonin Elder, but so far it hasn’t seen a lot of Commander play. Maybe there’s a white lifegain artifacts deck to be made if you’re playing the new Transformers card Ratchet, Field Medic?

Best Blue Artifactfall Cards

This is the sea you fish in for infinite combos. But there’s not a lot to catch.

#6. Weldfast Wingsmith

Weldfast Wingsmith

Weldfast Wingsmith is another card that’s good in Limited, but unplayable otherwise.

#5. Skyswimmer Koi

Skyswimmer Koi

Phantom Monster is still a decent Draft card, and Skyswimmer Koi looted for you as well. This is probably gas in fish tribal decks?

#4. Replication Specialist

Replication Specialist

Replication Specialist has a powerful effect, but for a steep cost. Maybe this is a good inclusion in a deck like Mishra, Eminent One or Urza, Prince of Kroog where you may already be leaning into cheating out and copying big powerful artifacts?

Where Replication Specialist really shines is with Dee Kay, Finder of the Lost or Myra the Magnificent as your commander. Attractions are costless artifacts that enter the battlefield, and I think you’d like to copy one if you’re in that deck.

#3. Steelfin Whale

Steelfin Whale

Steelfin Whale is nonsense, but in the best way. It’s only really good for infinite combos like the classic Banishing Knack/Retraction Helix and something like a Sol Ring.

#2. Lumengrid Sentinel

Lumengrid Sentinel

Lumengrid Sentinel is hardly played, but that seems like it’s because Jumpstart 2022 is its first reprint since Mirrodin. I can see it winning the game the turn it comes out if you have a decent board state or grip of artifacts.

#1. Kappa Cannoneer

Kappa Cannoneer

Kappa Cannoneer does a lot. It goes infinite with Animation Module and Phyrexian Altar, or in Legacy Bomberman shells with Lion’s Eye Diamond and Auriok Salvagers. This can be an early-game wincon in any kind of affinity deck, or the kinds of decks that use low-cost artifacts like Mishra’s Bauble.

Best Black Artifactfall Cards

This is an odd batch of cards, but there are a few very unique cards in here.

#5. Skorpekh Destroyer

Skorpekh Destroyer

Skorpekh Destroyer may be the least efficient card in the Warhammer 40k Necron deck? First strike is just okay.

#4. Vermiculos

Vermiculos

I bet you didn’t know Vermiculos was a thing. It could be a house if it was a little cheaper, or was harder to kill. Couldn’t this be an odd Atog-like threat in a Treasure-heavy deck with Marionette Master strategies?

#3. Ovalchase Daredevil

Ovalchase Daredevil

Ovalchase Daredevil is a fine card to consider for decks that like to use a slow drip of self-mill like Greasefang, Okiba Boss or Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar along with The Underworld Cookbook. Add an Academy Manufactor and Clock of Omens to the latter and you have a combo.

#2. Glaze Fiend

Glaze Fiend

This “fixed” Vermiculos still isn’t good enough to see play, but I stand by the idea of Glaze Fiend and Marionette Master decks.

#1. Underhanded Designs

Underhanded Designs

Underhanded Designs is a win condition. It’s a slow one, and having to pay that mana each time is rough, but those costs are easier to bear if you toss this in an Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist deck.

The usual suspects of black artifact commanders get use out of this card, and it’s even better if you can sync with other lifegain and drain cards.

Best Red Artifactfall Cards

#7. Salivating Gremlins

Salivating Gremlins

Rank Salivating Gremlins between Vermiculos and Glaze Fiend, let’s say?

#6. Towashi Songshaper

Towashi Songshaper

Towashi Songshaper is easier to use than the other cards that temporarily buff from artifactfall because it’s also an artifact. But the power buff is so small you had to work really hard to make this decent in Limited, so this has minimal value for EDH.

#5. Junkyard Scrapper

Junkyard Scrapper

Junkyard Scrapper seems like it could be broken in the right deck, but this Alchemy card is still a slow Hill Giant with upside in a fast format. I can see this in some kind of big red ramp deck that drops extra mana rocks, or as a tool to fetch cheaper pieces of the Aetherflux Reservoir and Mystic Forge decks.

But I’m not convinced.

#4. Dragonspark Reactor

Dragonspark Reactor

Too durdly for Standard, Dragonspark Reactor is a nice quiet threat that’s cheap enough to sac as needed for your other synergies if it’s not going to work out. But it gets a little scarier for your opponents if it sticks around long enough in a deck with trigger copiers like Tawnos, Urza’s Apprentice or Lithoform Engine.

#3. Quicksmith Genius

Quicksmith Genius

Quicksmith Genius greases the wheels of artifact decks and is key to decks with artifact graveyard recursion like Osgir, the Reconstructor.

#2. Ingenious Artillerist

Ingenious Artillerist

A good buddy to our #1 card here, Ingenious Artillerist can rack up damage in decks like Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter, Prosper, Tome-Bound, and many more. It’s pretty much a must-include in any artifact-centric deck.

#1. Reckless Fireweaver

Reckless Fireweaver

Reckless Fireweaver is cheaper and better than the Artillerist’s newly templated and nerfed text that allows all the damage from a big drop of artifacts from, say, a Spell Swindle to get stopped by a Stifle. This may be the best card on this whole list.

Best Green Artifactfall Cards

Green and artifacts sometimes have a tense relationship, and these cards reflect that. They’re just a little bit odd.

#5. Karstoderm

Karstoderm

Wut.

I know Karstoderm looks like the worst thing ever, but it’s the cheapest of only eight cards that drop five +1/+1 counters. So if you’re doing something with The Ozolith and Doubling Season, maybe?

Still pretty bad, though.

#4. Perimeter Patrol

Perimeter Patrol

Perimeter Patrol was low impact in The Brothers’ War Limited, so there’s no way you really want this in Commander.

#3. Legion of Clay

Legion of Clay

This Alchemy card doesn’t seem that great. I’d rather have a Defiler of Vigor than a Legion of Clay.

#2. Sarinth Steelseeker

Sarinth Steelseeker

I’m surprised at the little Commander play this sees. Sarinth Steelseeker does a lot that Golgari () wants to do, and it seems like a good fit if someone ever figured out a good build for Meria, Scholar of Antiquity.

#1. Teething Wurmlet

Teething Wurmlet

I get that green and artifacts don’t always get along, but Teething Wurmlet feels easily breakable with things like Trudge Garden. It remains a cute little oddity that has to go in Kibo, Uktabi Prince decks until someone figures out the combo.

Best Multicolored Artifactfall Cards

These are all really interesting cards, and I’d like to see more in these spaces.

#4. Sludge Strider

Sludge Strider

The hard-mode Underhanded Designs with a hard-mode Disciple of the Vault stapled on. I guess I want Sludge Strider as an Esper () artifacts deck win condition, but it’s so inefficient.

#3. Glassdust Hulk

Glassdust Hulk

This budget Kappa Cannoneer is okay. The cycling on Glassdust Hulk makes it especially intriguing for Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer decks with the right Azorius colors partner, but even then, I dunno.

#2. Yotian Dissident

Yotian Dissident

Bonkers in The Brothers’ War Limited, Yotian Dissident feels like it should be right at home in a Selesnya () counters deck with an artifact subtheme. No one is building that right now, but I think you can find something cool if you start with Esper Sentinel and Patchwork Automaton and imagine another type of build. Toss in Lae’zel, Vlaakith’s Champion as your commander with added Master Chef background and you might have something.

#1. Contraband Kingpin

Contraband Kingpin

Contraband Kingpin seems like it belongs in any Dimir () artifacts deck, but the Kingpin (which is itself not an artifact) can’t quite make the cut in a world where I’m cutting Silas Renn, Seeker Adept in my Mishra, Eminent One deck because it’s not impactful enough.

Best Colorless Artifactfall Cards

You came here for the broken cards and have thus far not been impressed. This is what you want!

#6. Serum Tank

Serum Tank

Serum Tank is the even less efficient old school Jodah’s Codex.

#5. Battered Golem

Battered Golem

Baby’s first infinite combo!

Battered Golem goes infinite with lots of other things in the slowest and durdliest of infinite combos. The classic is Banishing Knack/Retraction Helix, a 0-cost artifact, and some kind of payoff.

My favorite newish version of this that might unlock those green artifacts decks is with Ashaya, Soul of the Wild and Bootleggers’ Stash.

#4. Gonti’s Aether Heart

Gonti's Aether Heart

Yeah, okay. Gonti’s Aether Heart can get out of hand. It doesn’t take much time for this to go nuts with Mishra, Eminent One, especially because you can use the Warform copy as the one you exile and start the process over again!

#3. Arcbound Crusher

Arcbound Crusher

The classic affinity win condition still matters, whether or not you’re playing it in Zabaz, the Glimmerwasp decks. Arcbound Crusher keeps getting bigger the more Treasures drop on the table.

The fact that it triggers on any player’s artifacts is what makes this so efficient in EDH.

#2. Mirrorworks

Mirrorworks

I’ve gone off with Mirrorworks by copying copies with Mishra, Eminent One and Warform shenanigans in the late game with lots of mana around. Mirrorworks can cause havoc even with something as simple as Jester’s Cap for ‘90s cred in those circumstances. It’s all that and a bag of chips!

But if you want to play good Magic (boring!), you can just use the Ashnod’s Altar and Myr Retriever you already have in any artifact deck to go nuts with it.

#1. Grinding Station

Grinding Station

Maybe this is the most reliable way to mill out all opponents in EDH? Grinding Station does this with a variety of combo pieces, some of which you’d likely already have in a deck.

This will make you the archenemy in an EDH game, so be careful.

Artifactfall Cards Addendum

Another sequence of artifactfall cards trigger only when you cast an artifact spell. This is obviously less powerful since it doesn’t trigger when tokens drop or when opponents drop artifacts, but there are still some powerful cards here. You have the bonkers Biotransference, well-known bangers Sai, Master Thopterist and Myrsmith, combo-enabler Mirran Spy, and newer cards like Patchwork Automaton and Jin-Gitaxias, Progress Tyrant.

Here’s the full list if you’d like to dig for some synergistic treasures:

Best Artifactfall Payoffs

The best payoffs here in Commander are for artifact-heavy decks of different kinds.

Artifact Recursion Decks

These decks want to mill artifacts or sac and then recur them from the graveyard. These are probably the hardest decks in this list to make work, as you can imagine looking at the abilities on Emry, Lurker of the Loch and Tocasia, Dig Site Mentor. A more powerful option is from the Necron Warhammer 40k deck, Imotekh the Stormlord.

Artifact Sac Decks

These decks usually like to quickly churn through cheap artifacts to gain different kinds of synergistic advantages. Having ETB effects from artifacts really helps up their power level.

Key commanders for these decks are Breya, Etherium Shaper, Osgir, the Reconstructor, and Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter. A new card that shows promise in all of these builds is Farid, Enterprising Salvager.

Affinity Decks

These decks want to cast and make a lot of smaller artifact creatures to enable actual affinity cost reductions, like for Urza, Chief Artificer, or for other mana or card advantages, like for Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain and Urza, Lord High Artificer. The ETBs are nice with the volume of artifacts at play in these decks.

“Go Big” Artifact Decks

These decks want to ramp to huge powerful artifacts, often to copy them or their effects to really take over the game. The newest arrival in this space is Mishra, Eminent One, but others include Bosh, Iron Golem and Muzzio, Visionary Architect.

Wrap Up

Reckless Fireweaver - Illustration by Deruchenko Alexander

Reckless Fireweaver | Illustration by Deruchenko Alexander

Most artifactfall cards have been made in the last few years, and I think it’s a fun and interesting design space. As with all things post-Dockside Extortionist, the concern about Treasure proliferation means this might be a tentative area for WotC design for a while. That said, as long as cards like Dockside and Smothering Tithe are out there, cards that trigger off artifact ETBs will always be more powerful than they look.

Which of these cards have been most effective in your builds? Let me know in the comments below or on the Draftsim Discord.

Happy crafting!

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