Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Artifacts in Magic
Magic: The Gathering challenges players to assemble the best deck possible using several different types of cards. One of those types, artifacts, are invaluable and variable in function. Artifacts are permanents; they stay on the battlefield until sacrificed or destroyed, and because they're colorless, you won't need a specific kind of mana to cast them.
Despite their uses, new (and even experienced) players may struggle to choose the best artifacts thanks to the sheer volume of cards to pick from. Today, we'll help mitigate that issue by reviewing eight awesome artifacts that fit snugly into just about any deck!
8. Chromatic Lantern
Starting things off, Chromatic Lantern has two simple yet helpful functions. It can tap to produce a mana of any color, and it gives all your lands the ability to tap for any color.
An extra mana of your choice each turn for only a one-time cost of three mana benefits any deck, but especially helps those that use multiple colors. If you happen to draw lands for one of your colors but not the other, Chromatic Lantern can save you by morphing one color into another. Give it a try if your deck needs help gathering mana of any hue.
7. Mox Jet
Next, Mox Jet, a card that taps for one black mana each turn. But the real prize is the cost: 0. Mox Jet essentially works like a Swamp land, except because it isn't a land, you can play Mox Jet *and* a land in one turn, allowing you to accumulate mana much faster. There are Mox cards for each color; Mox Pearl for white, Mox Sapphire for blue, and so on.
With such an amazing and cheap bonus, the Mox cards are invaluable to any deck. However, many formats ban them, so they're often best saved for casual play with friends.
6. Aether Vial
Sixth place goes to Aether Vial, an artifact that gains strength over time. It only costs one mana to cast. Once you play it, it gains a charge counter at your upkeep. You can tap it to cast a creature card from your hand with a converted mana cost equal to the number of charge counters it has. The best part: you don't expend the charge counters when it taps. Four counters on it? Tap it for a free four-mana monster, then tap it next turn for a five, and so on.
Aether Vial helps you play creatures while saving mana for other cards, and serves especially well when drawn early in the game.
5. Staff of Nin
Here's a more expensive spell: Staff of Nin. The converted cost of six may turn some players away, but Nin allows you to draw an extra card each turn for free. Few cards can match that. Black decks may utilize Phyrexian Arena (for only 3 mana) to draw an extra card each turn, however that enchantment relies on having Swamp lands and deals one damage to you each turn.
Staff of Nin, on the other hand, can tap to deal one damage to a creature or player of your choice. While seemingly negligible, one damage each turn adds up over time, and often serves as the straw to break your opponent's creatures' backs when your own creatures don't quite finish them off in combat.
4. Armillary Sphere
As our list today shows, sometimes the simplest artifacts are best. Armillary Sphere costs a mere two mana to cast, then another two to sacrifice and activate its effect: you can search for two basic lands and put them in your hand, ensuring you have plenty of resources to play in the following turns.
Armillary Sphere works great because while it costs a total of four mana, that four can be split over two turns (one cost of two to cast and one to activate the effect). Play this card to gain a land advantage over your opponent and cast your game-changers first.
3. Akroma's Memorial
The most mana-consuming card today, Akroma's Memorial demands seven mana of any color to turn your creatures into menacing titans. Once played, Akroma's Memorial grants them flying, first strike, vigilance, trample, haste, and protection from red and black cards.
For new players, a quick run-down of what these benefits mean: Flying monsters are harder to block, first strike allows them to deal combat damage before opposing creatures, vigilance prevents them from tapping when attacking, trample allows them to pierce through opposing creatures' toughness to damage your opponent, haste lets them attack the turn they are summoned, and red and black protection defends them from harm if the source is a black or red card of any type. Seven mana for all this? Not bad at all.
2. Pristine Talisman
Next, another simple card with two useful effects. Pristine Talisman, for the small cost of three mana, taps each turn to bestow one colorless mana. It also gives one life whenever tapped.
Neither effect may seem groundbreaking, but you'd be surprised how one extra resource and one life will build up over time. I often use this card to repeatedly collect mana and reinforce my health, and best of all, it's a surprisingly cheap bargain, costing well under a single dollar!
1. Sol Ring
Yep, we knew it was coming: Sol Ring, a card placed in almost every deck. Due to its one mana cost, Sol Ring can even be played on your first turn by tapping your initial land. Every turn after that, Sol Ring taps for two colorless mana, an amazing benefit for such a low price.
Sol Ring simply lets players cast their spells much faster in the game, and is always a welcome sight when drawn. In fact, this may even be the best MTG card yet...
How to Use Artifacts
Hopefully, you've discovered some new artifacts to bolster your decks. And stay sharp—we have plenty more card types to cover. If you're planning on entering official tournaments, don't forget to keep updated with the ever-changing ban lists to ensure you're not disqualified!
Remember, most Artifacts can fit into any deck thanks to their colorless status, which also lets artifact-creatures strike enemies with protection from color. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next artifact-containing expansion, vote for your favorite of today's cards, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2016 Jeremy Gill