Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Are Legendary Artifacts in Magic?
As any planeswalker worth their Sol Ring knows, artifacts are a type of Magic card that are generally colorless, fit into any deck, and offer a variety of ongoing benefits. Legendary cards adhere to the legend rule, meaning you can only control one copy at a time. While we often associate legendaries with creatures and commander format, other card types can be mythical as well, leading to a fierce set of legendary artifacts.
You can only control one of each legendary artifact at a time, and several will run you a huge chunk of mana, but they compensate with versatile and powerful benefits few spells can rival. Many are particularly useful in EDH format, where you'll have the time and higher life totals needed to pull them off. But with dozens of ancient relics available, which units reign supreme? These are the 10 best legendary mono-artifacts (no equipment or creature blends) in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Planar Bridge
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 6 (8 to tap)
Starting things off with an expensive spell, Planar Bridge costs a base six mana plus eight more whenever it taps! That drains 14 total for a single use; any cards that can field artifacts without paying mana costs will definitely help you play Bridge sooner.
That said, remember that artifacts (unlike creatures) can tap the turn they're cast, and Bridge lets you search your library for a permanent and place it onto the field—for free! While it runs a heap of mana, you're receiving both a search and a free casting with each use, making this a perfect accessory to ramp or infinite-mana decks.
9. Aetherworks Marvel
Thankfully, Aetherworks Marvel is much cheaper than Bridge, requiring a moderate four mana investment, and it lets you accumulate energy counters whenever a permanent you control enters the graveyard. Energy counters are versatile resources that power a variety of effects, not just the ability of Marvel, and you'll keep any you've amassed even if Marvel leaves the field.
You can use your stored energy to fuel other cards like "Bristling Hydra" or simply for Marvel's own trait. By tapping and spending six of your counters, you can look at the top six cards of your deck, play one without paying its cost, and return the rest randomly to the bottom of your deck. If you're diligent with your counter accumulation, this can search and field cards without the huge mana demands of Planar Bridge.
8. Bow of Nylea
CMC: 3 (2 to tap)
The weapon of the famed deity "Nylea, God of the Hunt", Bow of Nylea is a rare artifact that actually needs colored mana, so be sure to employ some green forest lands when wielding it. As a passive ability, this quiver offers deathtouch to your attacking creatures, punishing any foe who dares block them with death regardless of their power and toughness stats involved. Plus, you can tap Bow and spend two mana (one green) to activate one of four effects, giving plenty of options for any situation:
- Put a +1/+1 counter on target creature
- Deal two damage to target flying creature
- Gain three life
- Put four cards from your graveyard on the bottom of your deck in any order
Stronger creatures are always nice, damage against fliers is especially useful for green (since most of its monsters are ground-based), life gain recovers if your health dwindles, and graveyard recycling guards against mill decks. Definitely a flexible and affordable addition to the green camp.
7. Akroma's Memorial
Named for the famed angel creature Akroma, this monument offers an incredible suite of creature abilities—if you can afford its taxing price. Seven mana isn't cheap; again, use mana ramping or free-casting tricks to quickly gimmick Memorial into play. However, once active, each member of your army gains:
- Flying (can't be blocked by creatures without flying or reach)
- First strike (deal combat damage first in battle)
- Vigilance (can attack without tapping)
- Trample (excess damage against blockers bleeds through to hit your opponent)
- Haste (can attack or tap even on the turn it arrives)
- Protection from red (can't be blocked, targeted, damaged, or enchanted by red spells)
- Protection from black (can't be blocked, targeted, damaged, or enchanted by black spells)
Good luck lasting long against a battalion boosted by all that nonsense.
6. The Chain Veil
CMC: 4 (4 to tap)
Expensive cards generally fare better in the longer matches of commander format, as do similarly-costly planeswalkers. To adeptly support your mystical warriors, employ Chain Veil, which needs a base cost of four mana and four more whenever it taps. You'll also lose two life at your end phase if you didn't activate any planeswalker loyalty abilities that turn.
However, when Chain taps, you can activate a second ability of each planeswalker you control that turn as if you hadn't already used their "once per turn" effects, letting you rapidly amass their loyalty counters and unleash powerful ultimate strikes.
5. Alhammarret's Archive
Five mana isn't cheap, but it's far from unattainable, and this magical collection provides two awesome boosts. First, you double any life gain you receive. Second, whenever you draw a card outside your draw step, you draw two cards instead.
It's as simple as that. Double life gives huge health reservoirs to fall back on (particularly useful to the healing specialties of white and green) and extra cards ensure you're prepared for any situation, stacking well with the numerous hand advantage tactics of blue.
4. Bontu's Monument
Each color bears their own legendary monument, and they're all so useful I had to stop myself from clogging the entire list with them. Like its brethren, Bontu's Monument reduces the CMC of a certain color of creature spell you cast, in this case, black units.
That would already be a fair effect for three resources, but whenever you cast a creature spell, Bontu also lets you gain a life and sap one from every opponent! Note this helpfully triggers with creatures you cast of any hue, not just the black members Bontu leans toward.
3. Rhonas's Monument
As much as I love the other sculptures, Rhonas's shrine stands above the rest. First, it supports green, arguably the most creature-centered faction who can most easily benefit from reduced cost for its monsters.
Even better, whenever you cast a creature (again, of any color), Rhonas lets you boost a target creature by +2/+2 and give it trample until the end of the turn. This formidable buff lets your titan swing hard and pierce through blockers to land some hefty direct damage.
2. The Immortal Sun
Earlier we saw how to support planeswalkers; now we'll learn how to counter them while also gaining a mountain of other benefits. The Immortal Sun prevents players from activating the loyalty abilities of planeswalkers, essentially rendering them dead in the water until Sun is removed. Of course, this includes your own units, so Sun fits best in planeswalker-lacking structures. Either way, you also gain three additional tempting abilities:
- Draw an additional card at the start of your draw step
- Your spells cost one less mana to cast
- Creatures you control get +1/+1
These versatile benefits should assist any theme. Extra draws, cheaper spells, and stronger monsters? Sounds like a pathway to success, especially while your opponent struggles to retaliate with their neutered planeswalkers.
1. Paradox Engine
For a sizable expense of five mana, Paradox Engine offers a useful boost to any team and insane, infinite-combo potential to decks that build around its effect. Engine simply untaps all nonland permanents you control whenever you cast a spell.
Think about this. If you construct a build that rapidly accumulates mana through creature and artifact taps, Engine can instantly refill your mana whenever you cast anything, giving insane amounts of mana that can potentially go infinite. Strong support options include the Signet artifacts, Sprout Swarm, and Blightspeaker, among many, many more. I enjoy comboing Paradox with buyback cards since they ensure your hand never depletes of units to cast, and while not an inexpensive card considering its potential, you can obtain your own copy for prices under $20.
How to Support Legendary Artifacts in Magic
Each legendary artifact blends with spells that fit its theme, but here are some general cards that supplement a variety of artifacts:
- Metalworker (creature that taps for three mana for each revealed artifact in hand)
- Tinker (blue sorcery that sacrifices an artifact to search and field one from your deck for free)
- Darksteel Forge (artifact that gives your artifacts indestructible)
- Sculpting Steel (artifact that can enter as a copy of any artifact, although be careful with the legend rule)
There's a small handful of the dozens of relic supporters we'll undoubtedly tackle in another review, but for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of fearsome artifacts, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill
Jeremy Gill (author) from Louisiana on May 11, 2020:
Cool catch, I could see how that would work: use Nissa to untap five forests, spend four of it to use Chain Veil to give your planeswalker and extra loyalty ability, then untap Chain with Teferi and repeat with Nissa.
But practically, it'd be really hard to pull off. Nissa requires five mana, Chain four (and four to use), and Teferi six. You also need three colors (blue/white/green), but Nissa's untap effect only works on forests, which most multi-color lands don't count as.
a fan on May 11, 2020:
I discovered a combo with "The Chain Veil" and Nissa, worldwaker and teferi timebender allowing for infinite loyalty.