Oswald Fiddlebender - Illustration by Steven Belledin

Oswald Fiddlebender | Illustration by Steven Belledin

Alright, let’s get these out of my system before we get started.

If you don’t gnome me by now

You will never, never ever gnome me.

-Gamble

Huff, recorded by Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

Gnome-ing me, gnome-ing you (Ah-haaa)

-Andersson

Ulvaeus, recorded by ABBA

And one last one because rule of three.

It happened once before

When I came to your door
 Gnome reply.

-Lennon-McCartney, recorded by The Beatles

Hey, just be happy I chose this over Gnomeo & Juliet references.

Gnomes in Magic have seen a population boom thanks to The Lost Caverns of Ixalan. This set gave us not only a bunch of new gnomes, but also Gnome token generators. Here are all the best gnomes in Magic, ranked for your discovery and discussion.

What Are Gnomes in MTG?

Hotfoot Gnome - Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Hotfoot Gnome | Illustration by Svetlin Velinov

Gnomes are a creature type in Magic, often associated with artifacts if they aren’t artifacts themselves. That’s because gnomes tend to be made by wizards, dwarves, and other artisans. Quarum Trench Gnomes from Legends is the first gnome in Magic, but all others were artifact creatures up until Adventures in the Forgotten Realms added some non-artifact gnomes.

Gnomes are generally portrayed as intelligent, crafty folk (pun not intended; I hadn’t seen the LCI gnomes with craft). I mean, look no further than the flavor text for Copper Gnomes.

Metrognome is an artifact that gives you Gnomes whether you can play it and activate its ability (8-mana investment, yipe!) or if your opponent makes you discard it. Quite niche.

More recently, Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon has an attack trigger that adds Gnomes to your board if you’re attacking without gnomes. It’s dangerous to go alone, so have a gnome! Oltec Cloud Guard creates a Gnome with its ETB, but Thousand Moons Smithy and its reverse side Barracks of the Thousand make Gnome Soldiers that have the potential to get huge.

Illustrious Wanderglyph has an upkeep trigger that gives you Gnomes, while transforming Clay-Fired Bricks into Cosmium Kiln gives you more. Lost Caverns sure is home to gnomes.

There’s also some Un-set cards that are or make Gnomes. Gnomeball Machine, Gnome-Made Engine, By Gnome Means, and one version of Very Cryptic Command can all generate Gnome tokens. Cogmentor is also an Un-set gnome, but these are all silver-bordered, so your mileage here may vary.

#16. Scampering Surveyor

Scampering Surveyor

Scampering Surveyor is Compass Gnome, but as a 3/2 for 4 mana. It puts your basic/cave directly into play, so you could argue over which is better, but my gut instinct is usually that something lower on the curve fits into more homes.

#15. Patchwork Gnomes

Patchwork Gnomes

The most useful spot I can think of for Patchwork Gnomes is in a deck that can copy other permanentsabilities, like Trazyn the Infinite. Otherwise, I’m likely to pass on this.

#14. Flaming Fist Officer

Flaming Fist Officer

I wish that Flaming Fist Officer were an uncommon that cost 2 mana because I can see all kinds of places that I want to play it, like blink and Orzhov sacrifice. Just, not for 3 mana.

#13. Hotfoot Gnome

Hotfoot Gnome

The Lost Caverns of Ixalan has a gnome thing going, and the craft mechanic often uses artifacts to transform a card. Naturally, the set has plenty of craft fodder, including Gnome tokens. As for nontoken cards, Compass Gnome and Cogwork Wrestler have useful ETBs and are small enough that you’re happy to sacrifice exile them for a benefit elsewhere. We like haste enablers, but Hotfoot Gnome dies to a pinger. There’s also Attentive Sunscribe that scries when it taps.

#12. Digsite Conservator

Digsite Conservator

Digsite Conservator looks promising for sacrifice decks, even if you never wind up using its first ability. Paying 4 to discover 4 as a death trigger seems like it could give a lot of value, especially if you’re a deck that also cares about sacrificing Treasure and the like.

#11. Dinotomaton

Dinotomaton

Dinotomaton has a backup ability that’s not quite a backup ability. Menace is great, though I’m unsure whether it’s more at home with other dinos or artifacts. Regardless, you could call this Dy-gnome-mite. Sounded better in my head….

#10. Feywild Trickster

Feywild Trickster

If you’re running blue and rolling dice, Feywild Trickster can be a solid token generator for you. The fact that they’re Faerie Dragons is just heckin’ perfect.

#9. Circle of the Land Druid

Circle of the Land Druid

Circle of the Land Druid is cheap and useful for enabling a land-based strategy that plays out of the graveyard, like a slower Satyr Wayfinder.

#8. Threefold Thunderhulk

Threefold Thunderhulk

I want to introduce Threefold Thunderhulk to Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge and just watch sparks fly. For your 7 mana, you get a gnome with a bunch of counters and as many Gnome tokens as it has counters. Effects that add counters when your creatures ETB sound like a good idea here, as do all the other +1/+1 synergies.

#7. Clever Conjurer

Clever Conjurer

Clever Conjurer has a useful ability to untap another target permanent that doesn’t share a name with it. It’s limited to sorcery speed, but it’s the things you can do with an extra activation of an ability like Kaza, Roil Chaser’s.

#6. Tetzin, Gnome Champion / The Golden-Gear Colossus

Tetzin, Gnome Champion The Golden-Gear Colossus

I think Tetzin, Gnome Champion is going to make for a strong gnome commander. You’ll want Gnome token generators more than most of these other gnomes themselves (perhaps Oswald Fiddlebender), because you’ll also be running a bunch of dual-faced artifacts. It takes six artifacts to craft Tetzin into The Golden-Gear Colossus, but once there, it makes it super easy to transform your other artifacts. Is it just me, or is this a potential home for some of those Transformers?

#5. Market Gnome

Market Gnome

I think Market Gnome has a lot of potential. A 1-mana creature is already good (read: cheap), and you can sacrifice it to Orzhov and Mardu commanders easily to gain a life and draw a card. What’s nice it that it’s designed to work with LCI’s craft mechanic, giving you your life and card if you exile this gnome with that kind of ability (hi, Tetzin!).

#4. Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter

Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter

I like Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter from a flavor perspective. It turns non-creature artifacts into creature artifacts, and vice versa. It enters the battlefield with haste, but you need an outside artifact to get it started. You get more artifacts than you put into this ability regardless, growing your resources before you even start adding token doublers.

#3. Minn, Wily Illusionist

Minn, Wily Illusionist

Whether at the head or in the 99, Minn, Wily Illusionist can be a lot of fun for your Commander deck. At the front, you’re in mono-blue, making Illusion tokens when you draw your second card each of your turns, and possibly some of your opponents’, too. Gotta love instant-speed draw.

As a support piece, the Illusions fit well into low-power builds like Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive, while second-draw matters is a theme that Zimone and Dina knows very well.

#2. Deep Gnome Terramancer

Deep Gnome Terramancer

Deep Gnome Terramancer is a strong way to keep up on lands if you’re playing white without access to green. It’s a wizard if you’re playing party mechanics with Burakos, Party Leader or Nalia de'Arnise, but you can also double the ability with Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines. All kinds of utility, and it’s good for punishing players who use exile or the graveyard to cheat lands into play.

#1. Oswald Fiddlebender

Oswald Fiddlebender

While it can be a really effective commander in its own right, Oswald Fiddlebender is a great piece with other decks, too. Even if you’re sacrificing tokens to it, it’ll let you pull a 0- or 1-mana artifact out of your library, and there are plenty of impactful, cheap artifacts. It’s a ladder, too: A token gets you a 1-mana artifact, which gets you a 2-mana artifact, which gets you….

Best Gnome Payoffs

Since gnomes are often artifact creatures, the best gnome payoffs are going to be things that take advantage of artifacts or artifact creatures. Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter has utility for both kinds of artifacts, but there’s also creatures like Bartolomé del Presidio that can grow with +1/+1 counters when you sacrifice the right permanents.

“Artifactfall” effects can take advantage of many of your gnomes entering the battlefield, especially your Gnome or Gnome Soldier tokens. Tokens like this can also be great sacrifice fodder considering they count both as creatures and artifacts. Token artifact creatures are also good for crafting fodder, like if you want to transform Tetzin, Gnome Champion.

Take Me Home, Country Gnomes

Minn, Wily Illusionist - Illustration by Dmitry Burmak

Minn, Wily Illusionist | Illustration by Dmitry Burmak

Did you know that there’s a lot of globetrotting gnomes in real life? Come on, I know at least a few of you are familiar with gnoming. Either way, we got through our tour of gnomes in Magic without too many bad puns. But trust me, you don’t want to see the attempts at “bignomial” and “polygnomial” math puns in my recycling bin.

Which are your favorite gnomes in Magic? Has The Lost Caverns of Ixalan made you want to play around with them more? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Discord.

Now, back to my Fable III save file to grind that Gnome Invasion achievement.

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