Artifacts are a large part of Magic the Gathering and especially commander. Deck construction is limited to your commander’s color identity so artifacts fill in the gaps for what your deck needs. Here is the list of the top ten artifacts in commander. As always this list is subjective. Emphasis was given to utility and the ability of an artifact to slide into any deck. I am sure you can list off several of the top cards on this list. For this reason, we will include two additional honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention Nevinyrral’s Disk
Nev’s Disk is a board wipe and it takes all but lands and planeswalkers with it. It is slow as you need to untap the disk to use it. However once the disk untaps it can hold any battlefield hostage. Players can then target the disk and you can activate it at instant speed getting value out of it. Your opponent also loses a card. This card can be slotted into any deck as mass removal. It wants to be in the top ten it is that good. Unfortunately, there is no room for it.
Honorable Mention Aetherflux Reservoir
This card in no way wants to go in every deck. For the decks it wants to go in it is an absolute beast. In storm and life gain decks it can be a win condition. Once you are over fifty life the card is safe to win you the game. If someone targets the card for removal you can just pay fifty life and kill them. It’s quite resilient. It missed the top ten because not every deck wants this card. And there will be times when causing fifty points of damage will not kill a player.
Honorable Mention Bolas’ Citidel
War of the Spark was a game-changing set. Bolas’s Citidel is one of those game-changers. Black has many ways to tutor for cards. That is strong but being able to play a card without paying its mana cost could be stronger. Yes, you pay life to cast the card and it is six mana so it is not an early gameplay. These help balance the card. Commander would absolutely abuse this card if they didn’t balance it. It is these drawbacks and that it can only slot into black decks that keep the citadel out of the top ten.
Skullclamp is best effective in weenie decks. When you can spend a mana to draw two cards you are beating the preferred rate of return by two mana. Even in green stompy, you can use Skullclamp to help rebuild your hand from an eventual board wipe. Often there are better choices for card draw in those decks. It is still useful and should be considered. This card is great utility for a category of a deck every deck needs.
9 Perilous Vault
Perilous Vault is a mass exile effect. Unless you are building an indestructible themed deck perilous Vault is a consideration to include in your removal package. This card easily slots into them. Unfortunately, it costs nine mana to play then activate it or you can wait a turn around the table and then hold players hostage. It is this mana intensity the prevents it from being higher on this list.
8 Blightsteel Colossus
It’s big. It’s indestructible making it difficult to deal with. While expensive in mana this card can end games and reduce the highest life total to a ten damage clock. It would not be nearly as strong if it didn’t have trample. Once it hits the battlefield players must deal with it or it will be game over. Trample and indestructible while causing poison damage makes Blightseel much like Thanos… Inevitable.
7 Sensei’s Divining Top
The Top is quite versatile. It allows you to fix your draws to help get the card you need when you need it. At one mana it is always playable and with one mana to activate you will be spinning the top every turn. You can even activate it on your upkeep to fix your draw. It also protects itself if someone targets the top for removal. Just use its ability to draw a card to protect itself. It could be higher on this list. But there are that many great artifacts it’s hard to bump any of them lower.
6 Solemn Simulacrum
Every deck wants to ramp and draw cards. Solemn SImulacrum does exactly this. When it enters the battlefield you ramp. The ramp is in the form of land and in many cases, players will not target your land for removal. When it dies you draw a card replacing itself. It is vulnerable as a creature and that is exactly what the card wants to do. Being vulnerable allows you to easily draw a card. If your dek has any creature recusion it can be effective if not broken to gain these triggers again. This card can slot into most decks and be effective.
5 The Signets
This is cheating a little bit as it is ten cards in one. However, The Signets all do the same thing for the same mana cost. Rather than have them populate multiple spots on the list we grouped them all as one. As a group, they fit in any deck except a colorless deck and every deck can use their appropriate signet in it. These cards are almost instant includes in any deck and they are affordable enough to do so. It is mana ramp AND mana fixing rolled up into one card at an affordable casting cost.
4 Vedalken Orrery
This is another card that can improve almost every deck. One advantage any deck can have is being able to play at flash speed. This allows you to protect your creatures from board wipes and to strategically play your cards to their best advantage. It doesn’t outright win you the game but it is an effective tool to allow you to control the game and get you there.
3 Lightning Greaves
Ever since commanders were allowed to relocate to the command zone if it is tucked, decks increasingly rely on their commander to win or control the game. Commander removal is desired more than ever. Lightning Greaves is an efficient way to prevent it. Haste is nice, but shroud and equip 0 that makes the card a top three artifact. At two mana the greaves will come out before your commander does. Once you cast your commander it’s a free and an immediate equip. Only stacking instant speed targeted removal on top of the equip action will thwart the greaves. Board wipes often happen at sorcery speed. This gives commanders time to abuse whatever abilities they have. This protection is invaluable and every deck can use this ability. The haste it grants is just an added bonus. Lightning Greaves’s power and versatility places it just inside the top three.
2 Mana Crypt
Mana Crypts is one of the two mana rocks that generate more mana than it costs to cast it and untaps automatically every turn. This allows you to net two mana on the turn you cast it and is useable every turn thereafter. This ramp is exceedingly rare and is a significant advantage that all but the most color-intensive decks can use. The only drawback is that every turn there is a chance for you to lose life. Life loss here and there is OK in commander due to the high life totals to start. However, when a game goes ten or so turns and the crypt is played early, the life loss can pile up. It is this life loss that keeps Mana Crypt out of the number one slot and firmly entrenched at number two. .
1 Sol Ring
Sol Ring is the other mana rock that always untaps and generates more than its casting cost in mana. It does not have any drawbacks. Even though it generates one less mana than Mana Crypt on the turn it is cast, the lack of drawbacks makes this the most powerful and versatile artifact in the game. It is exceedingly rare to find a deck that is not budget that does not have Sol Ring in its decklist. Even then budget commander decks can include it because it costs less than $5.00. Sol Ring decisively is the top artifact in EDH.
So, how many of these artifacts did you guess were on the list? Would you include Mana Vault or one of the two monoliths? For that matter are there any other artifacts you would include. Feel free to post here. If you have any questions feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as soon as possible.