Top 10 Artifact Creatures

(Azlask, the Swelling Scourge | Art by Alexander Mokhov)

Five-Color Colorless

Welcome to Too-Specific Top 10, where if there isn’t a category to rank our pet card at the top of, we’ll just make one up! (Did you know that Canoptek Spyder is the only artifact creature that draws cards when other artifact creatures enter the battlefield?)

Three mana Aristocrats Eldrazi commander with access to all five colors? Sign me up!

Only, you know what's easier to find than Scions and Spawns? Artifact creatures!

Top 10 (Colorless) Artifact Creatures

The idea of continuously moving creatures from one pile to another and accruing value as you go is not a new one, but I must admit that I myself have never pursued Aristocrats with artifact creatures specifically. Even better, with the win-con stapled to our commander, there's absolutely no reason why we can't just build the entire deck to spin its wheels until you have enough board presence and mana to swing in for an alpha strike!

Which is why I'm not too worried about narrowing things down, this time around. Don't get me wrong, we're going to want to find all of our Junk Divers in the honorable mentions, along with some sac outlets like Arcbound Ravager and some payoffs like Dross Scorpion. For right now, though, why don't we just see what the best artifact creatures are? Seems like as good a starting point as any!

Criteria: Colorless Artifact Creatures. As is tradition, all results are ordered by EDHREC score.

10. Myr Retriever

(93,969 Inclusions, 2% of 4,046,881 Decks)

Hark! A Junk Diver appears, through no artificial narrowing of criteria! Myr Retriever is the cheapest of the bunch, and is therefore widely regarded as the best, but I wonder if that's true in this case.

There are only three other artifact creatures that return an artifact from the graveyard when they die, and there's no question: We're going to play all of them. As for which is best with Azlask, however? I would posit that both Scrap Trawler and Junk Diver are going to be better than Myr Retriever in this case. Scrap Trawler in an artifact creature deck is just going to put in massive amounts of work, and will be a must-remove for the table as soon as it hits the table. As for Junk Diver? Yes, usually Myr Retriever wins out against its older compatriot due to the lower mana cost, but crucially, Azlask's WUBRG ability doesn't provide trample or any other evasion like most Overrun effects do. With that in mind, artifact creatures with incidental evasion are going to be at a premium, even if it means paying a slightly higher cost.

9. Meteor Golem

(95,015 Inclusions, 2% of 4,046,881 Decks)

What's not at a premium when you're playing all five colors? Overpaying for colorless removal. Meteor Golem has long been the go-to option for decks that can't remove a certain permanent type in their colors (or lack thereof). We have no need of such things.

8. Walking Ballista

(110,074 Inclusions, 3% of 4,046,881 Decks)

Everyone's favorite infinite mana outlet is also just a good little beater that can get bigger or remove problems when you've got extra mana laying around. While I do feel like the former is pumping these numbers up more than the latter, there's also no question that Walking Ballista is just a good card, pretty much no matter what you're doing. As for Azlask, our deck is going to be made up mostly of ramp, so that extra mana option seems like a good one.

7. Psychosis Crawler

(111,660 Inclusions, 3% of 4,046,881 Decks)

I'm always surprised that despite the ever-increasing rate of power creep (seriously, we're Yu-Gi-Oh now, it's not even a joke anymore), that five mana is still the go-to rate for Psychosis Crawler's effect. And honestly, if you're not the deck that is going to kill with this, I'm not sure the cost is worth paying anymore.

6. Roaming Throne

(140,089 Inclusions, 9% of 1,626,483 Decks)

Roaming Throne only just arrived on the scene in Lost Caverns of Ixalan last year, but has already made a huge impact across the format. It turns out, a lot of commanders have triggered abilities, so even if that's the only ability you're copying, Roaming Throne is absolutely worth. In the case of Azlask, however, I'm not really a fan. Doubling experience counters may seem good at first glance, until you see things like Thopter Squadron in play with Azlask and realize that you don't really need any help getting ludicrous amounts of experience. You could also use Roaming Throne as an extra Scion or Spawn that also doubles Annihilator 1 to Annihilator 2. That's more enticing, but honestly feels a bit win-more. All in all, I'm not sure the juice is worth the squeeze here, at least in this case.

5. Academy Manufactor

(147,608 Inclusions, 4% of 4,046,881 Decks)

Amazing as Academy Manufactor is getting for Treasure and Tri-Token decks these days with all the new Clue, Food, and Treasure support, that's just not what we're doing today. Skip!

4. Ornithopter of Paradise

(171,123 Inclusions, 4% of 4,046,881 Decks)

Here we go! Arguably the best non-green mana dork, Ornithopter of Paradise is the best addition for Azlask we've seen yet. Translating copious amounts of colorless mana into WUBRG is going to be a challenge, and as previously mentioned, evasion will be at a premium once we actually get that WUBRG Overrun effect activated. In other words, this is everything you want and need for any Azlask deck. It's just even better in an artifact creature one.

3. Foundry Inspector

(175,073 Inclusions, 4% of 4,046,881 Decks)

Cost reduction can be a finnicky deal, but not when it comes to this deck. If anything, we're going to want to lean as hard into these effects as we can, so why don't we look and see what else is out there?

Top 11 Artifact Creature Cost Reducers

  1. Foundry Inspector
  2. Etherium Sculptor
  3. Cloud Key
  4. Jhoira's Familiar
  5. Ugin, the Ineffable
  6. Enthusiastic Mechanaut
  7. Starnheim Courser
  8. Urza, Lord Protector
  9. Tamiyo, Compleated Sage
  10. Saheeli, Filigree Master
  11. Herald of Kozilek

Why 11? Well, because that's how many there are, and leaving Herald of Kozilek off the list felt wrong when it was definitely going to make the actual deck list. As for the rest, keeping our colorless creature count up seems paramount, so I don't think including even Etherium Sculptor is the right call. Ugin, the Ineffable, however, seems right up the deck's alley. All our spells costing two less is going to win games, and making tokens that draws cards when they die is so good in this deck that we're essentially never going to be unhappy to see this card.

2. Burnished Hart

(197,025 Inclusions, 5% of 4,046,881 Decks)

I think I'm on record a half dozen times in these articles saying that I don't think Burnished Hart is good. Even in mono-color decks that aren't good at ramp, there are too many good mana rock options these days to be messing about with a creature that spends six mana to get you two lands. Well, I take it all back, at least when it comes to Azlask. With how easy it is to end up with ludicrous amounts of mana in a "colorless" deck, six mana is nothing. Sure, we could pay less to go get a Skyshroud Claim to do the same thing, but it wouldn't be an artifact creature that sacrificed itself, playing into all of the synergies that the deck is trying to do all at once. Combine that with this being able to get two different colors of mana at once to feed our eventual WUBRG victory activation, and this is just worth doing, period.

1. Solemn Simulacrum

(590,820 Inclusions, 15% of 4,046,881 Decks)

Which means that I'm going to eat my words on Solemn Simulacrum, as well. I do stand by my well-trodden opinion that Sad Robot isn't good anymore, and just doesn't do enough for four mana. With that said, again, an artifact creature that gets you a land/color on entry and then draws a card when you sacrifice it is just worth the price of admission in a deck that's going to be running Worn Powerstone and Thran Dynamo alongside a half-dozen Eldrazi Scion and Spawn makers. You get a pass this time, bot! Just don't get used to it.

Honorable Mentions

First off, we've obviously barely scratched the surface of artifact creatures, so let's see what else is out there.

Top 25 Artifact Creatures

11. Myr Battlesphere
12. Steel Hellkite
13. Scrap Trawler
14. Palladium Myr
15. Wurmcoil Engine
16. Ornithopter
17. Jhoira's Familiar
18. Shimmer Myr
19. Spellskite
20. Blightsteel Colossus
21. Crashing Drawbridge
22. Steel Overseer
23. Silver Myr
24. Iron Myr
25. Metallic Mimic

With lots of great options here, none sticks out more than the mana Myr. Palladium Myr especially will have us drowning in mana in the early game, and then be available to swing in in the late game for a lethal alpha strike, but the two mana versions will put in just as much work and may be the very reason we achieve WUBRG. As far as general utility, however, Spellskite may take the cake. Our commander will understandably be a removal magnet, both in the mid-game as we start stacking serious experience counters on it, and in the late-game when it will just spell game over. With that in mind, Spellskite will see work, and most likely add another experience counter when it does. Finally, in a deck full of mana dorks and masses of tokens, what could be more impactful than Crashing Drawbridge?

There is still one category that other Azlask decks will focus on that we haven't even looked at, however.

Top 10 Colorless, Non-Artifact Creatures

  1. Wandering Archaic
  2. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
  3. Artisan of Kozilek
  4. Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre
  5. Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger
  6. It That Betrays
  7. Void Winnower
  8. Kozilek, the Great Distortion
  9. Morophon, the Boundless
  10. Pathrazer of Ulamog

You know, it's not often that I agree with the criticisms stating that EDHREC homogenizes the format, but man do I understand them at times. Let's try that again and see if we can find any non-10-mana, non-$50 cards, shall we?

Top 10 Colorless, Non-Artifact Creatures That Cost Five or Less

  1. Wandering Archaic
  2. Smothering Abomination
  3. Eldrazi Displacer
  4. Sifter of Skulls
  5. Endless One
  6. Skittering Cicada
  7. Eternal Scourge
  8. Kozilek's Channeler
  9. Matter Reshaper
  10. Abstruse Archaic

Eldrazi Displacer and lots of artifact creatures that seem destined to have impactful ETBs seems like a match made in heaven, but I think what I'm really excited for from this list is Sifter of Skulls and Skittering Cicada. A single black pip for Sifter isn't too steep a price like Smothering Abomination feels like it might be, and as much as I've tried to lean away from it, I haven't forgotten how good having a storm of Annihilator 1 Eldrazi Scions is. As for Skittering Cicada, I'd just like to state how much of a tragedy it is that Shimmer Myr is still in more decks than Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter, which is still in more decks than Skittering Cicada. Okay, tragedy is overstating it, but if you want the downside of "homogenization", then you're looking at it.

So, hopefully having deftly side-stepped playing worse cards because they're more popular, let's see what we ended up with in the deck!

5c Artocrats

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Commander (1)
Removal (9)
Ramp (26)
Aggro (5)
Draw (7)
Tokens (18)
Land (34)

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The deck doesn't actually play as mean as I expected it to, but man does it feel inevitable.

With tons of cheap creatures early on that make tokens and mana in the mid-game, board wipes feel pretty recoverable with large amounts of mana and Junk Divers galore. Then experience counters rear their ugly head, and no matter how expensive your commander gets, it will eventually land and pump the team. Farewell and the like can feel a bit like checkmate, but otherwise, you just keep on coming!

Nuts and Bolts

There always seems to be a bit of interest in how these lists are made (this seems like a good time to stress once again that they are based on EDHREC score, NOT my personal opinion…), and people are often surprised that I’m not using any special data or .json from EDHREC, but rather just muddling my way through with some Scryfall knowledge! For your enjoyment/research, here is this week’s Scryfall search.

What Do You Think?

We've had a lot of artifact creature support of late in Boros, but this was the first time I'd seen that we got to expand things out a little bit in an intentional way. With that said, Azlask was obviously intended as an Eldrazi Scion and Spawn commander, and that's probably how most will build it. I'm not actually convinced that that means it's better, however.

And finally, what is your favorite artifact creature? Are you brewing Azlask? If so, are you doing it as artifact creatures, Eldrazi Spawn, or both?

Let us know in the comments, and we'll see you at the white folding table someone painted a rainbow on. Pretty sweet, actually.

Doug has been an avid Magic player since Fallen Empires, when his older brother traded him some epic blue Homarids for all of his Islands. As for Commander, he's been playing since 2010, when he started off by making a two-player oriented G/R Land Destruction deck. Nailed it. In his spare time when he's not playing Magic, writing about Magic or doing his day job, he runs a YouTube channel or two, keeps up a College Football Computer Poll, and is attempting to gif every scene of the Star Wars prequels.

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