Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset | Illustration by Francisco Miyara
You’re here because you’re somewhat innocently looking for some options to untap your Shorikai, Genesis Engine, am I right?
Even so, beware! Dangerous, combo-infested waters are ahead in the world of Magic cards that untap artifacts!
Ready to dive in to look for some buried treasure?
Unwinding Clock | Illustration by Mike Bierek
There are many cards that untap other cards in Magic. Cards like Seedborn Muse untap everything. Others are targeted like a key piece of Pioneer’s Mono Green Devotion decks, like Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner. Both of those cards untap permanents in general which includes lands, creatures, enchantments, artifacts, and even planeswalkers, but many cards specialize in specific permanent types.
For example, Ley Druid targets lands while Fyndhorn Brownie untaps a creature (and, yes, I chose that card as an example because of the sweet art!). But we’re looking at cards that untap artifacts specifically.
You can use one of the 30-plus cards in Magic that can untap any kind of permanent in that Shorikai deck. But as with many things in Magic, the more valid targets an effect has the more costly it often is to cast. Focusing on artifact-specific untappers may help out your curve!
I don’t see how you make Janjeet Sentry worth it even in a dedicated energy deck.
This card exists. That’s your PSA. I don’t know how you play this. Hyperion Blacksmith wasn’t even the stuff back when mono artifacts turned off if you tapped them.
It’s hard to imagine Elder Druid making sense in this color for this amount of mana.
Infuse basically untaps a permanent like our previous card, but it specifies artifact which is relevant. It still isn’t good, though.
I will admit that I have no understanding of how good the Dimir () attractions/dice-rolling deck is in Unfinity draft. This is the signpost uncommon for that, so that says . . . something? These colors are tough for dice-rolling EDH aficionados (there are some of those, yes?) who probably use Farideh, Devil’s Chosen or Wyll, Blade of Frontiers as generals.
But if, for some reason, you were going five color dice, why not slot in Dee Kay, Finder of the Lost, and a few of the attraction enablers along with your attractions deck? It’s a very reliable source of die rolls if that’s your bag.
We’re here for the untap part which happens if you roll a four. Again, in a dedicated deck like this, maybe that happens a lot. Maybe?
I don’t think the juice is worth the squeeze on Mobile Garrison. There are better vehicles for EDH, and this isn’t even good enough to make the cut in Aether Revolt or Kaladesh Remastered Limited most of the time!
Tap the creature this aura enchants to untap an artifact, sure, but a few other things as well. Nature’s Chosen has some tryhard combos, but it’s mostly useful as a creature-untapper in decks that care about that in green like Emmara, Soul of the Accord.
A fragile and un-combo-able Mind Over Matter with the blue activation pip and the tap, Trickster Mage is rarely played and is just old and forgotten. But this has a lot of use in Tameshi, Reality Architect and Emry, Lurker of the Loch builds that enable artifacts in the graveyard.
A classic pitstop on the Birthing Pod and Prime Speaker Vannifar sac-untap ladder, Corridor Monitor is also useful for any commander that cares about artifacts with a tap ability, like Jhoira, Ageless Innovator or Arcum Dagsson.
If you’re one of the few playing a Barrin, Master Wizard deck, you should definitely add a Magus of the Unseen. No one plays this old card, but I think it has legs. You yoink an equipment off an attacking creature for one thing. It’s also a big mana rock, even if you aren’t going to sacrifice it to return it tapped to frustrate a draw-go player. Or you can just run it with Conjurer’s Closet and start stealing things for keeps!
Aside from having really toxic chat (#sorrynotsorry), Twitch suffers from rate. It’s 2 more mana than our next card to draw one. Not great, Bob.
A classic cheap blue spell surpassed by Dream’s Grip, Twiddle is a key part of so-called Twiddle Storm decks which pair effects like these with card draw and spells like Wish, Underworld Breach, and Grapeshot. These are a deep dive if you want to figure out how to play them. They don’t really have an equivalent EDH version, although this is still a powerful ability in a world of big mana rocks.
3 mana is a lot for the activation of Filigree Sages. Since it doesn’t have to tap to activate, you get (you guessed it!) infinite mana with something that taps for more than 3 mana, like Chromatic Orrery or Timeless Lotus. Given the casting cost curve there, I’m tempted to say you deserve it if that’s how you go big at my EDH table.
A useful enabler in sacrificed-oriented artifact EDH decks with Commanders like Jan Jansen, Chaos Crafter or Oswald Fiddlebender, Dross Scorpion untaps a lot of things. A pile of combos happens in those Jan Jansen decks with cards like Liquimetal Coating to turn it into an artifact and then begin ripping with a Goblin Bombardment in play. There are also a bunch of versions of the basic interaction with this, Myr Turbine, or another other artifact token maker with an artifact sacrifice outlet like Blasting Station.
14 mana is a lot, sure, but in an affinity deck stuffed with artifacts — including treasures — this is kind of trivial to cast. You can keep Blinkmoth Infusion back for surprise blocking in a Tempered Steel kind of deck, but we’re really talking about infinite combos with this card and either Reiterate or Lithoform Engine. I’m not sure I run this outside of such combos, though.
Anything that untaps without tapping itself is abusable. Voltaic Construct is a bit mopey outside of combo builds using commanders like Sydri, Galvanic Genius. Add a Thran Dynamo or Mana Vault with your commander out and you get all the mana. I’m not sure how I’d use Voltaic Construct in a fair build, though.
Our next cards are a bit safer to play because they’re creatures, but Voltaic Servant does its thing automatically with no mana or tapping. Because it only really triggers once, it isn’t a combo enabler the way a lot of these cards are. This is still a really nice addition to decks that want to untap an artifact or two, like Traxos, Scourge of Kroog.
Voltaic Key is a great artifact untapper. It’s cheap, efficient, and is surpassed by our next card (but you are honestly playing both in this space).
This is about as efficient as it gets. 1 mana down and one plus taping for Manifold Key. It’s also an artifact itself and that can have synergies with Emry, Lurker of the Loch and other similar kinds of shenanigans. 1 mana is cheap enough to make it work with Leonin Squire reanimation effects, as well. Oh, yeah, you can also use it to make something unblockable too which is perfect for commander damage, and that’s why this is in so many EDH decks.
Aphetto Alchemist is a fragile creature that needs a turn to start untapping things. That’s a downside. But, having a free untap ability that’s 1 mana cheaper than more broadly targeting cards like Vizier of Tumbling Sands and Clever Conjurer is really helpful. It has a lot of use in the classic untap combos like Wake Thrasher and Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker as well as the newest combos like Halo Fountain and Phyrexian Altar.
Treasures are a big thing now in EDH. There are a lot of them running around, and that makes this even more abusable in an artifacts shell. In my Shorikai, Genesis Engine deck, this generates a lot of untap triggers. It goes infinite with a lot of things, most especially Magda, Brazen Outlaw and a variety of enablers like Bloodline Pretender. You could also consider Dockside Extortionist and your Lithoform Engine or even adding a Pitiless Plunderer to your obnoxious Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven combo.
Mind Over Matter goes infinite with a lot of single other cards, which, if you’re in that space, is much better than a three-plus card combo. Mind Over Matter untaps more permanents than just artifacts, so it’s kind of bigger than this list, but it does specify artifacts so we’re going for it.
Pair this with a card that taps to draw, like Arcanis the Omnipotent, and draw through your whole deck. Thassa’s Oracle wins easily with that, but that many cards in any blue deck should yield plenty of alternative wincons. There are literally hundreds in various colors, which makes this a high-demand card.
It’s not at the top of the list because it’s so hard to cast, but it’s still nuts.
Yeah, this is stupid. You get an infinite combo! You get an infinite combo! You get . . .
Unwinding Clock combos with everything. Even as a straight-up value play to go crazy with your mana rocks this is still a lot. Just pretend you’re playing fair Magic and mess around with your Icy Manipulator. Nevinyrral’s Disk plus Darksteel Forge and Mycosynth Lattice also gets rancid and unfair.
Not given the respect of previous Teferis on release, Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset is slowly climbing in EDH decklists. A surprise part of green devotion decks (I know that sounds weird, but it can drop with a Storm the Festival or work with an Oath of Nissa) for a while, it provides another way to untap the various combo pieces like Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx in Pioneer and lesser entities like Nyx Lotus in Explorer. If you need to untap artifacts in a deck where some artifacts are also lands or creatures, this is big money.
Of course, there are plenty of unfair infinite things you can do with the usual suspects, but don’t forget about The Chain Veil which is also making its way into those same green devotion decks.
If you only run a few mana rocks in an EDH deck, these are not the kinds of spells you’re looking for. But once you get a critical mass of artifact synergies, you’ll have a powerful artifact you’d like to untap.
This list is strewn with them, but there are loads that didn’t make the cut due to time (word count?). They generally fall into two categories:
The first is the decks that untap mana rocks that give more mana than it costs to untap them to profit additional mana.
The second type of deck loop triggered abilities over and over again for benefits like card draw. Those effects usually have some redundancy, and they may already be in your decks waiting for these artifact untappers to appear and break them.
From the new three legends in the Warhammer 40,000 Imotekh the Stormlord deck to older classics like Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain, any commander in this area could use ways to untap their powerful artifacts. Even something like a Manifold Key is also an artifact so extra synergies are possible.
Some decks really need an untap ability like Traxos, Scourge of Kroog or my new favorite EDH commander, Shorikai, Genesis Engine. Don’t forget about the combo decks which are usually helmed by Sydri, Galvanic Genius.
The Brothers’ War?
Whether or not the upcoming artifacts set rewards untapping remains to be seen. It will likely depend on the extent that the various new Urza and Mishra cards become popular in constructed formats.
Voltaic Servant | Illustration by Jonas De Ro
I often find infinite combos ruled out by “Rule 0” conversations at EDH tables, and that makes sense. If that’s your experience, then be careful of these cards! I have often had to indicate that my Manifold Key was only to enable Shorikai things, none of which went infinite, just to appease the table.
It helps that I culled cards from my deck until that became true! But, if you’re in a Commander meta where people are not trusted when they say what their decks can’t do, these cards may well make you an unwitting target.
That said, if you can pull off the politics and will play these cards fairly then they can be a lot of fun to tinker with.
Make sure to comment below what your favorite artifact untapping combos are, or join the official Draftsim Discord and talk about it there.