Do Your Worst - Mono-Green Artifacts
(Old Gnawbone | Art by Filip Burburan)
Time to Face the Arti-Facts
Hello everyone! Welcome to the second installment of Do Your Worst, where we take a popular archetype and find the most unusual home for it! I'm your host, Philomène, and in this column, we'll be looking at decks that should not be – or should they?
According to EDHREC, Artifacts is currently the most popular theme (or archetype) on the site, with 31,864 decks at the time of writing. We can see that these decks almost always include blue and/or red, which obviously means that for this article, we will disregard those colors completely! We will instead look into Abzan colors (WBG) to build our artifact deck.
Then again, white already has a lot of obvious synergies with artifacts, too. There are 1,504 mono-white artifact decks, after all, so it's tempting to rule out that color as well. We wouldn't want this to be too easy now, would we? This leaves us with Golgari (BG), which would be interesting if it wasn't for Glissa, the Traitor, which already directly supports artifacts in these colors. Bummer.
I know I built a mono-colored deck last time, but here we are! We simply have no choice but to select mono-green for our artifacts-matter deck!
As always, finding a relevant commander can be a good starting point to any deckbuilding endeavor. As it stands, only 4 commanders in our color identity include "artifact" in their text: Kogla, the Titan Ape, Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter, Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer and Glissa Sunseeker. We can rule out Kogla and Glissa, since they don't facilitate artifact shenanigans but rather seem bent on trying to destroy artifacts instead (which, to be fair, is a very green thing to do). I predict that we'll come across this a lot, but do not despair! Oviya and Ich-Tekik both seem like viable ways to explore the artifact side of green.
But which one should we choose?
Oviya looks to be a classic token deck, and at just one mana, we can't help but compare her to Rhys the Redeemed. They can both generate a 1/1 token for three mana, which is a fine rate to get going. Where they differ is in their second ability: Rhys allows you to double up on creature tokens, whereas Oviya creates a tall creature with power and toughness equal to the number of creatures we control. Note that Oviya makes Servos and Constructs, too.
To make this an artifact deck and not simply an 'any-token' deck, we could theoretically concentrate on artifact creatures and the cards that generate them, like Myr Battlesphere, Thopter Assembly, and Hangarback Walker. To assist with this, Parallel Lives and Doubling Season immediately come to mind. Tokens are also good with artifact sacrifice outlets, like an Ashnod's Altar, Trading Post, or even an Eldrazi Monument. As with any artifact deck, we'd do a whole lot of tapping and untapping, so Clock of Omens and Unwinding Clock would be logical inclusions. We could even include a little combo with Dross Scorpion, Myr Turbine, and Blasting Station for infinite damage and ETBs. (Check out this combo and many others on Commander Spellbook!) And, of course, we could just run our opponents over with Beastmaster Ascension or Craterhoof Behemoth.
On the other hand, we also have Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer, which has a lot going on in its text. First, he likes artifacts going to the graveyard - not just your own, but your opponents' as well. When that happens, he pumps himself and the Golems that you control, in the form of +1/+1 counters.
So there's an aristocrats feel to this commander, but it's tied to Golems. I would also consider the +1/+1 counters to be a minor subtheme here. To be honest, I believe Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter has the highest ceiling of these two options, in terms of power level...
...and that's precisely why we'll attempt to build Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer!
Let it Golem
I will not back down on these Golem puns, by the way.
Let's start by searching for notable Golems. Are there any? Is this a barren tribe? Well, not completely. There are 108 Golems that fit our color identity, and some of them aren't that bad! If we keep our aristocratsy theme in mind, we will be interested by the Golems that do something upon entering the battlefield or when they die so that when we recur them we'll gain extra value.
For our headliner, everyone knows the saddest Golem ever printed, Solemn Simulacrum! Meteor Golem is popular as well, and can be used as versatile removal. I think Gingerbrute is a slam-dunk. It gets on the board early, can be evasive when huge, and can sacrifice itself, pumping the rest of our team! Excellent. Tormod's Cryptkeeper is basically Tormod's Crypt but in Golem form (which is, of course, the joke). The vigilance is nice, since we can attack with it and still tap it at instant speed to get rid of a graveyard. Bottle Golems (another joke, hinting at Bottle Gnomes) is interesting because trample matters when you get big, and when it eventually dies, it gains us life. Cool! Golden Guardian can turn into a 4-mana 4/4 producer, which is a decent rate. Note that it doesn't need to die from the fight, you can just make it fight a 1/1 and then sacrifice it and it will turn into the land.
Then we have our top-end twins, Phyrexian Triniform and Triplicate Titan! I can hear folks moaning about their 9-mana cost, but they are awesome. Plus, it's Golems all the way down! Sac' em, get three Golems each, pump your team, recur them, and do it again! We can even Encore the Triniform so that it goes nuts (and bolts)! A lot of thought can be given to the Colossi siblings (Darksteel Colossus and Blightsteel Colossus), but we don't really have a reliable way to cheat them into play, so we'll likely abstain from those.
As far as anthem effects and lords for our tribe, we're a little short. Not to worry, though: we still can get some artifact creatures to do the job! Steel Overseer, Metallic Mimic, Adaptive Automaton, and Chief of the Foundry all help in the matter. Plus, we have the New Phyrexia cycle of Splicers: Vital Splicer is good for protection, and Maul Splicer gives them trample. Since we'll supplement our tribe with creatures that aren't Golems, I also think Maskwood Nexus will be quite useful.
Golem Ahead, Make My Day
This title has nothing to do with the subject of this section. I just wanted to make the pun.
Let's break down the categories and components this deck will need!
Artifactocrats. These cards will help us recur our artifacts and sacrifice them at will, generating us tons of value and making us pretty resilient. We've got the usual suspects (Myr Retriever, Junk Diver, Scrap Trawler, and Workshop Assistant). Arcbound Reclaimer is a Golem and it synergizes pretty well with our +1/+1 counter sub-theme. Scarecrone is in there too.
For sacrifice outlets, we've got Arcbound Ravager, Throne of Geth, Trading Post, and Phyrexia's Core, squeezing the most out of our shinies. While we have no Blood Artist nor Marionette Master, we still have a very interesting payoff for all these triggers: Fangren Marauder! Hear me out, this card is pretty awesome. It triggers on every single artifact. It triggers on opponents' Treasure tokens, their Mind Stones, their Clue tokens, every single thing. That's a big chunk of life to keep us fortified. Plus, I just had to showcase one of the few green cards that care about artifacts, y'know?
Now that we're done with the tribal and aristocratsy elements of the deck, let's turn our attention to making our deck function with ramp, card advantage, and interaction.
Ramp and mana. Guardian Idol, a two-mana rock that becomes a Golem. Yeah, get that in here. Liquimetal Torque can turn anything into an artifact, and since a lot of green's interaction spells mainly deal with artifacts and enchantments, that effect will definitely come in handy. Burnished Hart, Commander's Sphere, and Mind Stone sacrifice themselves, fueling our bloodthirsty board. Our deck will attack a whole a bunch, too, so both Sword of the Animist and Sword of Hearth and Home are appealing, and we can even blink our commander with the latter to make a 3/3 Golem every turn!
Much digital ink has been spilled over our next card: Old Gnawbone. Look, Treasures are where it's at these days, and every Treasure we crack pumps our team. It's so good. Now, I hear you say, "No Farseek? No Cultivate? No Rampant Growth? Are we even green?" All I can say is, "Synergy, baby!" Artifact deck? Artifact ramp! (Also, I just want to briefly mention Treasure Vault. Since it's an artifact land, when you sacrifice it, it will trigger Ich-Tekik's ability. It's so awesome in this deck.)
Card advantage. Artifacts will be sacrificed and returned to hand and replayed often in this deck, which means Ichor Wellspring fits well in here. Elemental Bond triggers on a lot of our creatures, including the Golems summoned by our commander. Inspiring Call makes a ton of sense with all the counters we're going to distribute, and it doubles as a protection spell. Towashi Guide-Bot just came out, and it looks like we'll have enough Modified creatures to draw a card for free each turn. Return of the Wildspeaker is just a solid modal card we ought to run here, and we also have green's greatest artifact: The Great Henge! It triggers on enters-the-battlefield, not on cast, so it still works even when we're recurring stuff. *Chef's kiss*
Oh, and would we really be a Golem deck without the superstar, Karn, Scion of Urza?
Interaction. Can we squeeze a little bit of synergy out of our interaction? Definitely! In addition to the the ubiquitous Nature's Claim, Beast Within, and Reclamation Sage, I think we can muster some spicy picks.
Crack Open is less efficient at 3 mana and sorcery speed, but it creates a Treasure, which we love. Sword of Sinew and Steel lets us destroy multiple artifacts over the course of the game, triggering our commander a bunch, and protection from black and red is pretty relevant, since damage-based board wipes are often red, and single-target creature removal spells are often black. Sylvok Replica is a body that we can then sacrifice, so that's a thumbs up. Gauntlets of Chaos is interesting. A Role Reversal for 10 mana? Let's keep it in! As for wipes, Nylea's Intervention will help us get rid of those pesky fliers, and we include Blast Zone in our lands.
Okay, now for the big one: Rampage of the Clans. Yes, it will destroy all our precious artifacts - but our commander's gonna get huge! Think about how many counters that generates! Besides, if we have Darksteel Forge out, it'll be one-sided. See? We just have to draw the Forge. Easy.
All Systems Golem
Now let's see the deck in its entirety!
Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer | Golem Hard or Go HomeView on Archidekt
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
Before We Golem
This deck was a ton of fun to brew, but let's address the elephant in the room: Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer has the Partner ability. You could absolutely add another commander in the zone, even another mono-green commander, to buff the deck up even more. In particular, I think you can make a strong case for playing Kodama of the East Tree alongside Ich-Tekik to make a more powerful version of this deck. I didn't do it because Ich-Tekik gave us a clear direction, and I wanted to try to follow it fully without getting distracted by another commander's effects. (Plus, side note, he has a lot of text for being only half of a Partner pair. Good for you, Ich!) Regardless, I hope this has given you a smorgasbord of ideas if you want to take this shell and adapt it with another commander in the command zone.
Speaking of future ideas, I also came really close to including the new Mechtitan Core from Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. We have a lot of artifact creatures and ways to make them. Is the dream real?
Lastly, can I offer some beauty tips? The Forests printed in the sets Mirrordin, Scars of Mirrordin, Mirrordin Besieged, and New Phyrexia are gorgeous and a perfect fit for this deck. At 25 Forests, you can play two copies of each set's full cycle and three copies of your favorite among them.
So, how would you build your mono-green artifacts deck? Would you go with Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter instead? Is there some interaction or card that I've missed? Maybe some awesome Golems that I glossed over? Let me know in the comments! I'm Philomène, and this has been Do Your Worst. See you next time!
I want to thank my brother Mathieu Gatien, once again, for his valuable input on the deck.
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