Last updated on May 4, 2023
Foundry Inspector | Illustration by Jason A. Engle
There are well over 250 creature types in Magic, but not all of them make a sizeable impact. Of all the powerful tribes and types, the constructs have some of the most diverse (and powerful) creatures in their ranks.
From things like Myr Battlesphere to Noxious Gearhulk, these artifact creatures come with all kinds of unique abilities and mechanics that make for interesting gameplay. Which are the best constructs, and what makes them great?
Let’s get started!
What Are Constructs in MTG?
Combustible Gearhulk | Illustration by Daarken
Constructs are a creature type in Magic that’s typically reserved for artifact creatures. They don’t have a binding or common theme other than that, but each one brings some kind of unique artifact-based ability alongside it.
It’s not uncommon to see weird stats, one-of-a-kind abilities, and other powerful effects. They can even rely entirely on X mana costs.
#30. The Peregrine Dynamo
While I’m disappointed to see that The Peregrine Dynamo can’t copy abilities from commanders, I still think it has some potential. The ability only costs one so you can easily double the value of other abilities for far less than they would otherwise cost to activate a second time.
It only costs three mana to get into play, has great stats for a creature that basically never acts like one, and has haste to grant immediate value. If this could copy commander abilities it would easily be a staple of the format.
#29. Workshop Assistant
Workshop Assistant is a cute little construct card. It costs three and comes in with 1 power and 2 toughness. Nothing special there, but you can return another artifact card from your graveyard to your hand when it dies.
You’ll have plenty of high-priority threats and cards you’ll want a cheap insurance plan on in any artifact Commander deck. This card does just that, and it only costs only a few pennies. Why not give it a try?
#28. Surge Engine
Surge Engine is a 2-mana mythic construct with defender that comes in naturally as a 3/2. It’s got a few abilities that closely resemble evolve at various mana costs to slowly increase its stats and abilities. It upgrades to be able to attack, grows in strength, and finally has a one-time ability to draw three cards for !
There are few things I like more than drawing cards, and I was sold the second I saw that. This is a neat little construct, and a great early creature in a blue artifacts Commander deck.
#27. Corridor Monitor
Corridor Monitor isn’t too special on rate or on its own. Untapping another artifact or creature is neat and has plenty of synergies. This card is most notable not because of its power as a construct, but purely for the fact that it combos with common cEDH staples like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Felidar Guardian.
If you think you’re into playing Derevi, Empyrial Tactician or other similar combo commanders, be prepared to play a copy of Corridor Monitor in the 99.
#26. Chief of the Foundry
Chief of the Foundry is a 2/3 for three that acts as an artifact lord. Lords are always premiere creatures in their various tribal lists, and constructs need one just as much.
This doesn’t explicitly buff constructs, but it has a work-around that buffs all your artifact creatures. This works nicely because nearly every construct is an artifact, and there are still some artifact creatures that don’t have the construct type.
#25. Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
In contrast to the previous construct with smaller stats, Traxos, Scourge of Kroog comes in as a whopping 7/7 for just four mana. As an ex-Hearthstone player I can confirm that 4-mana 7/7s are usually the way to go.
Traxos comes with a hefty drawback though: it enters tapped and doesn’t untap during your untap step. The workaround is that it untaps whenever you cast a historic spell. It isn’t out of the question that you’ll play one each turn if you’re playing artifact or construct-tribal.
If you think your deck has enough artifacts or other historic spells to keep this thing running, give it a shot!
#24. Metalwork Colossus
Speaking of big creatures, Metalwork Colossus is a massive 10/10 that costs 11 mana to cast. It has an interesting cost-reduction ability that reduces the cost by X, where X is the total mana value of your noncreature artifacts. That doesn’t exactly synergize in a construct-tribal setting, but where there are other constructs there are probably other noncreature artifacts.
You can always sacrifice two artifacts to bring this back to your hand. This is going to be one of your premier threats if you’re piloting an artifact deck that goes wide. Like, really wide.
Next is Triskelion, which closely resembles the abilities present on Walking Ballista. It’s pretty much used in the exact same way.
It’s a combo piece that works with other counter-producing cards to one-shot your opponents through infinite 1-damage ping abilities. It’s solid, does its role well, and is a great backup option.
#22. Adaptive Automaton
Adaptive Automaton is a 2/2 for three that enters the battlefield as a chosen creature type on top of being a construct already. It then acts as a lord for that creature type, making this one of the only lords that works with any tribe!
Of course, any lord is a lord for your creatures if you’re playing a shapeshifter deck, but this card brings that same versatility on the lord itself as opposed to the creatures being… lorded?
#21. Scrap Trawler
Scrap Trawler is a 3/2 for three mana that helps bring back other artifacts from the graveyard whenever something with a higher mana value dies. It doesn’t do much to bring itself back, but you’ll have plenty of permanents at various mana values in a construct-filled artifact deck to help chain them back one by one.
#20. Cityscape Leveler
Cityscape Leveler is another mythic construct from The Brothers’ War, and it’s a gigantic 8/8 with trample for eight. You get to blow up one nonland permanent of your choice whenever you cast a spell or whenever this creature attacks, with the caveat being that its owner gets a tapped Powerstone token.
It’s your classic monster that beats down opponents and blows their stuff up. It’s amazing in Limited, and it’s great if you can get it out on discount in Commander.
#19. Verdurous Gearhulk
I’ve included each of the five Gearhulks on this list. Unfortunately for Verdurous Gearhulk, it’s coming in last.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a strong construct. A 5-mana 4/4 trampler that distributes four +1/+1 counters among any number of your creatures is nothing to sneeze at. Worst case you’re getting a 9/9 with trample for two green pips.
At best you’re helping reinforce an already strong board while getting a relatively decent body on rate. I like this construct, and it’s worth playing in some green Commander decks.
#18. Combustible Gearhulk
Combustible Gearhulk is a red 6/6 construct with first strike for six. It gives an opponent the option to either let you draw three cards or have them mill three cards and take damage equal to those cards combined mana value.
Your opponent usually chooses to mill and take some damage. But there’s some strategy to be had. There are going to be opportunities when people stack their deck with a tutor, have a lot of cards with relatively high mana values, or just are already low on life.
This isn’t always going to be a draw three, but it very well can be in the right circumstances.
#17. Cataclysmic Gearhulk
Shifting gears to Cataclysmic Gearhulk, a 4/5 for five that comes in with vigilance and starts a pseudo-board wipe when it enters the battlefield. Each player choses one of their nonland permanents and then sacrifices the rest.
This is a pretty cool Gearhulk. It ties in white’s board wipes on a decent body. You’re probably playing this in some kind of white artifact deck and can just choose artifact to keep your noncreature and creature permanents around. A two-for-one!
#16. Cyberdrive Awakener
Cyberdrive Awakener isn’t a Gearhulk, but it closely resembles one as a big body for six mana. It’s a flying creature that gives your other artifact creatures flying, and it turns all your noncreature artifacts into 4/4s until the end of turn when it enters.
This is a great way to blow somebody out of the water from nowhere, and it gives blue artifact decks a great lower-power win condition. I really like this one!
#15. Noxious Gearhulk
The black Gearhulk, Noxious Gearhulk is a 5/4 with menace for six. It has a built-in removal spell when it enters the battlefield that also gains you some life. This is a simple yet effective Gearhulk.
I wish it were a little cheaper because that would make it a more efficient and powerful card, but I think it’s already well-balanced. It’s a great black creature in basically any deck, especially artifact or construct ones.
#14. Torrential Gearhulk
Torrential Gearhulk is the blue Gearhulk, a 6-mana 5/6 with flash that also lets you cast an instant in your graveyard for free when it enters the battlefield.
The great part of about this one is that it doesn’t have a cost limit on the instant, only that it be an instant and be currently in your graveyard. Getting a free removal spell is always good, and I’ll never argue with a free Brainstorm. Getting something bigger like a Dig Through Time just feels great.
#13. Clay Champion
Clay Champion is a newer card from The Brothers’ War. It fits into green and white decks with various effects depending on how much you pay. I like this one because of its versatility and for the fact that you get great value no matter which direction you go.
It has an infinite ceiling with X in the mana cost, and that further makes it strong in green decks that can ramp out mana like it’s nothing. This one isn’t limited to artifact decks, but it can still thrive there.
#12. Codie, Vociferous Codex
Codie, Vociferous Codex is a sweet commander and construct overall. It comes with the unique style of deckbuilding where you can’t cast any permanent spells, and the activated ability makes for some fun and interactive spelling strategies.
Codie certainly has plenty of room for combos and other unique instant-based interaction, but I think it’s just as fun in an all-spells casual deck!
#11. Silent Arbiter
Silent Arbiter is as good on offense as it is on defense. On top of shutting down token decks and other strategies that go super wide, it makes creature with menace completely unblockable.
I’ve mostly been limited to using this card as a defensive layer in control decks, but I’ve been run over more times than I’d like to admit by some beefed-up commander with menace that I now can no longer block.
#10. Thought Monitor
Thought Monitor is an incredible card for basically any artifact decks, and it’s a key inclusion in the classic affinity and 8-cast decks. It also has some great potential in Commander. It’s a format that has plenty of artifacts, and artifact decks can quickly go wide with all kinds of mana rocks and small permanents. This card is super playable there.
I include this in basically every single artifact-based Commander deck I’ve ever played. With things like Sol Ring and Arcane Signet in play, you get additional value out of the affinity mechanic. You can play this thing on turn 2 with two lands, a Sol Ring, and the Arcane Signet.
#9. Chaos Defiler
Chaos Defiler is a new card from Warhammer 40k. This Rakdos () demon construct is a 5-mana 5/4 with trample. It has the battle cannon ability, which states that you get to select a nonland permanent each player controls and blow one of them up at random whenever it enters the battlefield or dies.
This card isn’t the most powerful construct, no doubt about that, but it comes in with great stats for the mana cost and you can take advantage of the ability at least twice. Pair that with the fact that Rakdos and adjacent decks typically have more than enough ways to reanimate this, and it’s a great value machine.
#8. Myr Battlesphere
Myr Battlesphere is a classic card in the Commander format, and it’d be a crime if I didn’t include it. The battlesphere comes in with weird stat for a 7-mana as a 4/7, but its abilities are what you’re after.
Its ETB ability makes four other 1/1 tokens and gets +X/+0 when it attacks for each myr you can tap when the ability resolves. It also does X to whatever it’s attacking, ensuring the damage gets through. It’s a classic end-game creature that goes deep when it needs to and even has the combo potential many cEDH players are after.
Cryptothrall is another card from Warhammer 40k. It’s a 3/3 for four generic mana and has a simple ability: your other artifact creatures have hexproof.
Hexproof is an incredible ability that offers nearly unparalleled levels of protection for your creatures. You’re going to have to face down exactly a board wipe if your opponents want to get rid of your things, and that isn’t always easy to do if there isn’t a white deck at the table.
I’m glad to see this card in play. This kind of effect wasn’t nearly as easy to acquire before the 40k releases, and the format is better for it.
#6. Hangarback Walker
Hangarback Walker is a neat little construct that comes in with +1/+1 counters equal to X, where is in the mana cost. You get a number of 1/1 Thopters equal to the number of +1/+1 counters on it whenever it dies. It can also get a +1/+1 counter whenever you elect to pay one and tap it.
This is one of the most powerful artifact creatures. Hangarback Walker also has a lot of combo potential with +1/+1 counters on top of the limitless potential available through the X costs. Through various other mechanics, especially with regards to Scales strategies, there’s plenty of room to combo out with the Walker.
#5. Kuldotha Forgemaster
Kuldotha Forgemaster is a 3/5 for five that has a simple ability that lets you sacrifice three artifacts to tutor out any artifact card from your graveyard and put it onto the battlefield. Artifact tutors aren’t the most common thing in the world, but this is a great consistent way to turn meaningless Thopters or Treasure tokens into high-value permanents with no mana value limit.
Put simply: if you’re playing artifacts, you also need to be playing Kuldotha Forgemaster.
Metalworker is, without a doubt, the most expensive construct on this list. It’s a 1/2 for three that can tap to add two to your mana pool for every artifact in your hand. The kind of decks playing cards like Metalworker is usually made of nearly entirely artifacts, especially in Vintage, and are built specifically to get upwards of six to eight mana from this.
You’re likely only a few turns from victory through the sheer level of excess mana you’ll produce if you’re able to pick this one up and get it churning in a game of Commander at any level. Don’t even get me started on playing this card ahead of the curve.
#3. Foundry Inspector
Foundry Inspector is, on its own, a 3/2 for three that’s barely playable on rate. But the single ability of discounting all your artifact spells by one is just incredible. This makes so many mana rocks either neutral or positive.
When nearly every single card you play has generic mana as the main cost, this is a great way to get a discount across the board.
#2. Walking Ballista
Walking Ballista is one of the most combo’d cards in Commander right now. On top of being a great creature on its own (it’s a mana sink that can deal small amounts of damage to pesky hatebears or other creatures), it’s a simple way to turn infinite mana into infinite damage at instant speed.
It doesn’t get much better than this when it comes to combos with constructs, believe me.
#1. Construct Token
The Construct token takes the top spot. Sure, it isn’t a castable card, but the fact that it exists and is so easily generated through the likes of Urza's Saga has transformed Modern and other eternal formats.
It’s even had a sizeable impact in Commander through Urza, Lord High Artificer and basically any other artifact commander. You even get the extra artifact tutor to get some value and buff up your tokens if you’re playing something like Urza's Saga.
Best Construct Payoffs
Construct tokens make for a great payoff in construct-based decks. Since a lot of construct creatures are artifacts you get an extra +1/+1 for each construct in play on these. They’re also constructs themselves, so they’re going to get buffed by both construct and artifact lords.
These tokens get out of control very quickly. You’ve also got room for token-multiplying cards that allow for you to duplicate these and pump out plenty of damage if you’re playing green.
Breya, Etherium Shaper
Breya, Etherium Shaper is one of the OG artifact commanders in the game, and it has tremendous power to this day. Constructs fit naturally into artifact decks. With Breya you’ll be able to use all your construct creatures to deal damage, reduce creatures’ combat stats, and even gain life.
It’s that versatility and extreme synergy that has helped Breya, Etherium Shaper to rise to the top, and construct creatures can only add to that immense power.
Kuldotha Forgemaster | Illustration by JD
Thank you for following my deconstruction of constructs! They’re a severely underrated tribe on their own, and I bet you didn’t even realize how prevalent that subtype was on creatures.
What did you think of my rankings overall? Which ones did I miss, and which ones deserve a different spot on the list? What about your favorite payoffs? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or come talk about it over in the official Draftsim Discord.
Until next time, stay safe and stay healthy!
Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: