Last updated on May 15, 2024

The One Ring - Illustration by Veli Nyström

The One Ring | Illustration by Veli Nyström

While there are many card types, like creatures, enchantments, and lands, among others, some stand out among the rest because of a supertype called “legendary,” making them unique lore-wise as well as how they’re played.

In the past, legendary artifacts in Magic: The Gathering were once a niche category, overshadowed by their creature counterparts. However, their allure has grown, transforming them into sought-after additions for both casual and competitive play. Today, we’ll go over the best of them, explore where they’ve been seen, and, overall, rank them based on their playability and power.

Intrigued? Let’s dive in.

What Are Legendary Artifacts in MTG?

Aetherworks Marvel - Illustration by James Paick

Aetherworks Marvel | Illustration by James Paick

While there are many artifacts with subtypes, like creatures, a subset of them have the “legendary” supertype on them, so they’re called legendary artifacts.

Some cards like Tergrid, God of Fright can be cast in their artifact form. However, for this list, I’ll be mentioning only the ones that are artifacts solely in their original form and that don't transform into one at any given point in the game.

For this list, I’ll prioritize these artifacts that see the most play in MTG formats and will rank them according to their playability, meaning that the most played ones are ranked higher than others that are just niche or in the theorycraft realm.

#35. Codie, Vociferous Codex

Codie, Vociferous Codex

Codie, Vociferous Codex is a fun commander that’s often used in decks where you run very few creatures. It also shines in decks that play only instants and no counterspells, as, in essence, you’ll be cascading into cheaper spells every time you use Codie's ability to cast it. That’s it; if it survives as being an artifact, it gives it a not-very-desirable weakness.

#34. Aetherworks Marvel

Aetherworks Marvel

Back in the day and more recently when MTG Arena was released, one of the top decks in Historic was Aetherworks Marvel, a deck featuring the signature card whose plan was to cheat big Eldrazis like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger into play for free. In Commander, this card has also seen play, and it has more than one infinite combo, often including Clock of Omens, which, for some reason, isn’t legendary. Treasure tokens work perfectly for decks running this card.

#33. Agatha's Soul Cauldron

Agatha's Soul Cauldron

Recently, Agatha's Soul Cauldron has been rising in popularity despite a fairly recent release in Wilds of Eldraine. It enables funny infinite combos in Standard with cards like Sleep-Cursed Faerie and Kami of Whispered Hopes (infinite mana) and some potent ones in Eternal formats like the one involving Ob Nixilis, Captive Kingpin and Walking Ballista. It’s also worth noting that it's a decent graveyard hate card with the upside of pumping your creatures if it exiles an opposing one.

#32. Alhammarret's Archive

Alhammarret's Archive

Alhammarret's Archive is a very shy artifact that has a significant niche in Oloro, Ageless Ascetic Commander decks, and in other lifegain ones in general.

#31. Bident of Thassa

Bident of Thassa

Dealing damage and drawing cards are some of the most potent effects in aggressive blue decks, and Bident of Thassa is the perfect one for the job. Not only is it searchable with cards like Tezzeret the Seeker, but it also has a solid second ability that forces combats when your opponents may not want to, often leading to boards where you can attack freely.

#30. Bolas's Citadel

Bolas's Citadel

Bolas's Citadel is one of my favorite win conditions in sacrifice decks, like Jund Citadel in Pioneer, where cards like Prosperous Innkeeper give you back the life you may lose from playing cards with your legendary artifact. Once you reach a certain point, you can finish things off by sacrificing your board and dealing extra damage with the likes of Mayhem Devil.

#29. Mindslaver

Mindslaver

For a while, this card was one of the best win conditions in multiple formats, all the way back to when it was playing Standard and, more commonly, in Commander games. It’s not the prettiest card to face, as taking an opponent's turn is often lights out for them, and in some cases, more than one opponent may be punished because of it.

#28. The Immortal Sun

The Immortal Sun

For 6 mana, you get to shut down every planeswalker on the field, draw an additional card on each of your turns, make your spells cost less to play, and pump all the creatures you control. If that isn’t good enough to make it onto this list, I honestly don't know what it would be.

#27. Hazoret's Monument

Hazoret's Monument

From time to time, the weird Birgi, God of Storytelling + Grinning Ignus + Hazoret's Monument combo rises in popularity and then vanishes into shadow in Pioneer. Of the Monument cycle, this is my favorite because of its infinite potential.

#26. Whip of Erebos

Whip of Erebos

Lifelink is a huge keyword to give to your creatures, and a static effect that gives it globally to all of them is no small feat. If that weren’t enough, it also has the ability to return creatures from the graveyard to play for the small amount of just 4 mana for a turn and give it haste. In its prime, it was a key part of mono-black devotion decks in Standard, and nowadays, it's happy to be part of reanimator strategies in Commander.

#25. Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer is a token-centric commander that’s very hard to beat when it manages to set up. The plan is to make a copy of a permanent with the likes of Mythos of Illuna and start making copies of it with Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer ability.

#24. Reaper King

Reaper King

Five-color commanders are very narrow (or at least up until a while ago), and artifact ones are even harder to find. Reaper King has a very cute combo with The World Tree + Maskwood Nexus, as you can theoretically put every creature from your deck onto the field and destroy as many permanents.

#23. Forsaken Monument

Forsaken Monument

When it comes to playing artifact-centric decks, Forsaken Monument is one of the best cards to have in your deck. It makes any colorless creature you play significantly cheaper and also gains you life in the process.

#22. The Mightstone and Weakstone

The Mightstone and Weakstone

It seems a bit expensive, but having access to colorless removal is rare in MTG overall. It also provides raw card advantage and can act as a mana rock for artifact spells, which, in a dedicated deck, might seem good. In terms of playability, it's seen in toolbox sideboards like Mono-Green Devotion.

#21. The Stone Brain

The Stone Brain

Memoricide effects are usually only seen in black, but at 4 mana total, The Stone Brain provides a similar effect when played against combo decks that aim in narrow cards to win.

#20. Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender

Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender

One of my favorite cards from Wilds of Eldrane is Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender. Not only is the core concept cool, but Syr Ginger also fits perfectly in my favorite Pioneer deck, Rakdos Sacrifice. Every time one of your artifacts goes to the graveyard, this creature grows, and in a deck centered around Witch's Oven and Cauldron Familiar, you’d expect to see a lot of activations throughout the course of a game.

#19. Skrelv, Defector Mite

Skrelv, Defector Mite

This card may not seem like much, but it's a cheap threat that can start pressuring your opponents early in the game. In the long run, it can help protect your other creatures from spot removal and make them pseudo-unblockable with its activated ability.

#18. The Celestus

The Celestus

I’m not a big fan of 3 mana value mana rocks. However, The Celestus is the exception, as it not only fixes for every color but also helps you stabilize complicated states that otherwise would be impossible to win without the incidental lifegain and rummage it provides.

#17. The Great Henge

The Great Henge

One of the best artifacts of all time has to be The Great Henge. True, it may be hard to cast sometimes, especially when your creatures are small. But once you resolve it, it's almost guaranteed to take over the game when unanswered, as you’ll fill the board in no time, stabilize your life total, and make your upcoming creatures bigger by default. It saw a lot of play during its Standard era, and it's the standard bearer of creature decks playing green in Commander.

#16. Embercleave

Embercleave

If there’s a legendary artifact to believe in, it has to be Embercleave. There are scenarios when this card just completely destroys defenses more often than not, and it's been key in Pioneer's aggressive mono-red builds. It was also one of the best cards in Standard in its prime.

#15. God-Pharaoh's Statue

God-Pharaoh's Statue

God-Pharaoh's Statue is another artifact that mostly sees play in mono-green decks in Pioneer. It may be a bit too pricey to cast, but when you do, your opponents will mostly be locked out of the game as paying 2 more mana to cast their spells is a big deal.

#14. Esika's Chariot

Esika's Chariot

Esika's Chariot, since its introduction, has seen a lot of play in Constructed formats like Standard and Pioneer. One of the best decks for it is Abzan Greasefang, where it pairs perfectly as an alternative win condition when paired with Greasefang, Okiba Boss.

#13. The Ozolith

The Ozolith

This is the perfect card for counter strategies. The Ozolith more often than not sees play in Modern because of its potential with the likes of Walking Ballista and Hardened Scales, where it's surprisingly solid if your opponents aren’t prepared.

#12. The Reality Chip

The Reality Chip

Modern and Legacy love The Reality Chip, as it can be used in multiple combo lines, often paired with Emry, Lurker of the Loch artifact decks.

#11. The Chain Veil

The Chain Veil

If there’s one artifact that Pioneer devotion loves to run, it has to be The Chain Veil. Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner, and Karn, the Great Creator are two of the best planeswalkers at the moment in the format thanks to mono-green. With the Veil, players can activate their planeswalker abilities a second time, often leading to Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx multiple times, or The Chain Veil, to get unlimited planeswalker abilities activations and essentially go infinite in a blink of an eye.

#10. Parhelion II

Parhelion II

When you think about Greasefang, Okiba Boss, Parhelion II instantly comes to mind as the whole niche of this Pioneer deck is to put the latter into the graveyard so you can attack for 13 in one swing as early as turn 3, which is usually lights out for many decks of the format.

#9. Helm of the Host

Helm of the Host

This card is a pair with Godo, Bandit Warlord since Godo can search for it. Once you attach Helm of the Host, you get infinite attack phases and creature tokens.

#8. Kaldra Compleat

Kaldra Compleat

Decks like Stoneblade often like to run a single copy of Kaldra Compleat as you can cheat it into play for just 2 mana with the Stoneforge Mystic ability.

#7. Mox Amber

Mox Amber

Mox Amber is the “budget” version of Mox Opal when the latter isn’t an option. Usually, it’s mainly seen in Historic decks along with Emry, Lurker of the Loch.

#6. Sen Triplets

Sen Triplets

Sen Triplets is a very oppressive commander in an excellent color combination, as Esper excels at controlling the board and keeping threats alive with its perfect suite of removal and countermagic.

#5. Paradox Engine

Paradox Engine

Paradox Engine is the core card for decks like Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy where you can produce tons of mana with cheap mana dorks like Llanowar Elves or mana rocks like Arcane Signet that untap when you cast another spell, providing you seemingly infinite mana and spells to cast.

#4. Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim

Banned from Commander, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim was, in its prime, one of the most significant treats ever printed. Not only because of its ability to tutor key lands like The World Tree that can instantly fix your mana but also because if you pair it with spells like Emergent Ultimatum or Time Warp effects, it creates a very hostile environment and board state overall to navigate with as you’ll be casting free spells left and right every turn.

#3. Mox Opal

Mox Opal

Printed in Scars of Mirrodin, Mox Opal is one of the best cards with metalcraft in the game. Despite being legendary, it gives access to artifact-centric decks to run fewer lands than they should, and some strategies might even use it as part of their infinite combos (Rona, Herald of Invasion + Retraction Helix for example).

It’s commonly seen in Legacy, but it also plays a significant role in some Commander decks. It's still banned from Modern for a reason, though.

#2. Umezawa's Jitte

Umezawa's Jitte

Umezawa's Jitte has been considered one of the best artifacts and probably the best equipment for a long time. Once you get it going, combat becomes miserable for your opponents. It’s a critical piece of Commander aggressive strategies, and it particularly shines in Stoneblade decks in Legacy.

#1. The One Ring

The One Ring

The One Ring is the best legendary artifact ever printed in my opinion. It’s a powerhouse in every deck of every format it's been part of, and even the nerfed version of it in Historic is quite a challenge to overcome. I wouldn’t pay a million dollars like Post Malone did, but certainly, its power justifies its monetary base price.

Best Legendary ArtifactsCard Payoffs

While there are cards like Tezzeret the Seeker which can tutor many of these artifacts, the legendary supertype also enables their use in decks that use legendary tutors like Captain Sisay.

Another card that benefits from running these is Kethis, the Hidden Hand as it makes all these artifacts cheaper, which is a massive deal to colorless ones like The Celestus or The One Ring. Plus, its ability lets you cast them from your graveyard.

Other commanders that can serve as payoffs or build-arounds for legendary artifacts are Jodah, the Unifier, Sisay, Weatherlight Captain, and Gandalf the White.

Last but not least, Bard Class offers a cute synergy with your legendary artifacts as you’ll make some like Esika's Chariot a bit cheaper. Still, the deal with it is that whenever you play one, you’ll get to play another card from the top of your library if the Class is level three.

Wrap Up

Mox Opal - Illustration by Volkan Baga

Mox Opal | Illustration by Volkan Baga

There are tons of legendary artifacts in MTG History, and while some are expensive to cast, others like the Moxes help you to enable those faster starts that propel you into devastating turns.

Did you like the ranking? Were there any other artifacts you would have loved to see? Please let me know in the comments or over on Draftsim’s Discord!

As always, take care, and ‘til we meet again!

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