Commander Deck Tech: Urza, Lord High Artificer
So we finally made it to 2022 and the world is pretty much the same as last year. I've been wanting to make a Urza, Lord High Artificer deck since it came out way back on June 14th of 2019. At that point I did something like a 28 or 30 box opening of the set and was pretty impressed. The cards were amazing and worked well with Modern and Commander formats. I thought the set was pretty undervalued and powerful, but as we've seen coming forward the strength and quality of newer sets has kept pushing the bar. If I could go back in time I would've bought more Modern Horizons and maybe opened more as well. I'm guessing that we will look back at Modern Horizons 2 and say the same exact thing.
Urza, Lord High Artificer is essentially mana acceleration when used in an artifact deck. We get to put a Construct into play which can tap for Blue, and all of our other artifacts get to tap for Blue as well. It's possible to have enough artifacts in play to beat down your opponents with the Construct, but more than likely it'll die or get bounced before that happens. Urza also gives us the ability to pay 5 mana to play the top card of our library for free. This could lead to interesting stuff at the end of your opponent's turn, or potentially Time Warping to gain another turn. You are definitely going to win some random games with this ability, but most of the cards and combos in the deck are how you should win most of the time.
Now to unlock the power of Urza with some new technology in: Moonsilver Key, Memory Deluge, and Urza's Saga. We have the Key which helps us search our deck for a Basalt Monolith or Mana Crypt which are vital to certain combos. We are trying out Memory Deluge to see how an instant speed dig / draw works with Flashback. The biggest card of them all is Urza's Saga which has direct synergies with Urza himself. We can ramp, add a Construct, and tutor for an Artifact to put directly into play. The tutor is great because you can get cards like Codex Shredder which can be used in combo-ing off for the win.
With new technology we also require old technology. This is a shout out to my old-school and Vintage players. Where would an Artifact themed Commander deck be without the likes of Copy Artifact and Power Artifact? Both these cards are used in combos within the deck but can also be used for temporary mana production / acceleration.
How many combos are in this deck? I really don't know. Dramatic Reversal imprinted on Isochron Scepter is an easy way to get infinite mana / infinite spells on the stack for Storm. If you have a Mana Vault, Grim Monolith, Basalt Monolith, or Sol Ring + Mana Crypt you can use 2 of the mana to activate Isochron Scepter. Once you activate the scepter you will float at least 1 mana and untap all your Artifacts and do it over and over again. The Dramatic Reversal would add one copy to the Storm stack, and also untap your Mana Vault and your Isochron Scepter. You now have infinite Colorless mana, and infinite amount of Dramatic Reversals on the stack. Play Brain Freeze or Mind's Desire and end the game. Here is a list of most of the combos that I found when building the deck:
That's a lot of combos! Note if you take out a Blue card like Consecrated Sphinx or the Memory Deluge you could add in Narset's Reversal and Beacon of Tomorrows to add about another 15-20 more combos to the deck. I thought there were enough as is without adding those cards and wanted a few more ways to draw cards.
Of course, what Blue deck is not complete without counterspells? I included all the expensive counterspells, but Mana Drain is by far the best one in the deck due to getting free Colorless mana on your next turn. You could substitute these counterspells for less expensive ones, but try to keep Mana Drain in the list if at all possible. I've also got all of the annoying card drawing Blue Enchantments in the deck with Rhystic Study, Mystic Remora, and a potential game winning Mirrodin Besieged. The deck also only runs two Time Walk effects which you can run more, but this deck wasn't designed to be specifically an infinite-turns deck. There are several tutors in the deck, but a majority of them are on Mage bodies. We have the Artifact tutors that include: Reshape, Fabricate, Whir of Invention, Muddle the Mixture, Trophy Mage, Trinket Mage, Tribute Mage, and Treasure Mage.
The potential shortfalls of this deck I see are that the cost of the deck is very expensive. There is also a big learning curve with this deck and how the combos work. Plenty of practice will be needed, and I recommend looking up how the interactions / combos work before playing the deck. This deck has the ability to win pretty easily while also protecting its combos via counterspells. That could result in a less than fun play experience for a group if you win on turn 4 or 5 consistently. I'd consider this deck to be a little more competitive so ask your playgroup if the game is going to be casual or competitive before sleeving this one up.
Please drop me a comment if you see any missed combos, potential interactions, or any feedback.
Thanks to all of you blue mage's for reading!
Until Next Time,