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Urza, Lord High Artificer - Critical Mass (v1.3)

Commander / EDH Construct Mono-Blue Theme/Gimmick Thopter Tokens Tokens

KBK7101

Maybeboard

Would add but is probably too strong for the power level I want (2)

NEO (1)


*Updated - 5/7/22

“You can build a perfect machine out of imperfect parts.”

-Urza

Hello and welcome to my deck based on (arguably) the most iconic character in Magic's long history, Urza! Despite being mentioned on cards as far back as Alpha and being the main character of Magic's overarching story for much of the 90's, it wasn't until the 2019 Modern focused expansion, Modern Horizons, that Urza finally got a card to himself, in the shape of Urza, Lord High Artificer. It's been a while since this card released and it's synergies are well known (while some are downright notorious). It's main gameplan is creating a token army and then using a card such as Sakashima's Will to turn all of our wimpy 1/1 tokens into massive copies of Urza's construct token and then swing in for the win. So, while this deck may not be anything groudbreaking, I do hope it's a bit different from most Urza builds out there due to the complete and total lack of stax and it's combat-centric gameplan. This idea for this deck came about while researching a mono-blue commander to fit in alongside my Multani, Maro-Sorcerer and Feldon of the Third Path decks as mono-colored decks featuring the most iconic characters in all of Magic. There was never any question which one the mono-blue one was going to be. You can't get more iconic than Urza! Urza is extremely easy to "break", so I also took a few steps to neuter his power level a bit. This deck does manage to explode very quickly but tends to run out of gas just as quickly.

The deck's title comes from the title of the final arc of the Brother's War novel.

Before we get into the deck itself, a little bit about me (feel free to skip this part if you want, I really don't mind!). I've been playing Magic since early 2019 and have been playing mostly Commander/EDH since around the release of Throne of Eldraine. My usual playgroup consists of my two brothers with the rare fourth player being my brother-in-law. My meta consists of all the decks I have listed on here along with some others that I have made and currently have listed as private. When I first started playing Magic, the idea of going to a FNM/some sort of LGS event seemed crazy to me and I was content to just play at home. Once I started playing EDH, though, the urge to play and meet new people started to grow. I was about to dive into my LGS scene right around the time the covid-19 pandemic started. Because of that, I still haven't played with anyone outside of my own house, so please keep that in mind when commenting. I'm an avid deck-builder and I build decks around themes, lore and/or characters rather than broken/infinite combos. I have a LOT of decks but I've only posted a few of them on here publicly but am in the middle of restructuring my deck folders and making more of them public. Most of the decks I build are based around commanders that aren't as common or popular as, say Kess, Dissident Mage or Atraxa, Praetors' Voice. While the term "budget" has a wide meaning, my decks do have one, so please do not recommend insanely overpriced cards such as Jeweled Lotus or Mana Crypt. They're much too expensive for me to justify putting in this deck, no matter how good they'd be. I'm also not looking to add any "fast mana" sources such as Mana Vault or anything like that, so please do not recommend those either. With all that said, let's get into the deck!!

***Note : All research came from Scryfall, Youtube, EDHREC and here on Tappedout.

***Second note : This deck features and complete and total lack of stax pieces and will never include them, as I do not find that type of gameplay interesting. Please do not recommend them.

CUSTOM CATEGORIES FEATURE CARDS IN MULTIPLE LOCATIONS. THEY ARE NOT DUPLICATES. DECK CONTAINS 100 CARDS.

This deck features two copies of Urza. One is the normal MH1 version with this alter frame listed at the beginning of the description. The other is a proxied version of the MH1 timeshifted old-bordered etched foil variants from Modern Horizons 2. I switch between these depending on what kind of mood I'm in.

Where to begin with Urza.... Urza, Lord High Artificer depicts Urza during the final days of the Brothers War (sometimes known as the Antiquities War) where much of Terisiare is war-torn and barren. This isn't Urza as a planeswalker, this is Urza at the peak of his human potential, leading his artifact forces against his brother Mishra in the days leading up to, and culminating in, the battle on Argoth.

He has three abilites. Each one is powerful in its own right but all three together on one card push Urza into "Most powerful commanders of all time" territory. His first ability creates a 0/0 artifact creature token that gets +1/+1 for each artifact you control. This is the same "Karnifact" token that Karn, Scion of Urza creates. This ability and token is the main focus of the deck (more on that in a second). His second ability is the one that has earned him instant fame as one of the most powerful Magic cards ever printed, "Tap an untapped artifact you control: Add ". This ability allows us to crank out artifacts faster than nearly any other type of deck out there. It is INSANELY powerful. Most of the artifacts in this deck are very cheap, CMC-wise, to help us ramp as fast as possible. His third ability, for , lets us shuffle our library to exile the top card and play it for free. Another insanely powerful ability, but not quite the focus of this deck.

Our gameplan is simple. Play Urza as early as possible and ramp as hard as fast as we can to cast as many artifacts as possible and to create as many tokens as we can and then use cards like Masterful Replication and Sakashima's Will to turn all of our creatures and/or artifacts into giant threats to swing in and win. As I said earlier, this is Urza in the build up to the final battle with Mishra and this deck reflects that by having us create an artifact army and then going to war with other players. For me, flavor > function.

In an effort to make this deck a little less "degenerate" and a bit more "fair", we run no protection for Urza and very little recursion. This was a conscious choice in an effort to make the game a bit more fun for the table.

This deck features three planeswalkers. Karn, Scion of Urza is mainly here to create tokens. He creates the same construct tokens that Urza does, so he is a main piece of our gameplan. His +1 and -1 abilities are also good, but he is mainly here for tokens.

Tezzeret, Artifice Master on the other hand, is a triple threat of token creation, card draw and tutoring. His +1 creates a thopter token, advancing our tokens strategy. His 0 ability lets us draw a card, or two cards if we have three or more artifacts (which we usually will). His -9 lets us search our library for a permanent card and throw it onto the battlefield during each of our end steps via an unremovable planeswalker emblem. All three of these abilities are incredibly synergistic with our gameplan and it is one of the most powerful cards in the deck. Speaking of Tezzeret, the new Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh is a wonderful addition from Kamigawa Neon Dynasty. His static ability, +1, and -2 abilities are all extremely relevant. God help your opponents if he stays on the board long enough to hit his ultimate! Having your artifacts read ": Add and draw a card" with Tezzeret and Urza out spells doom for basically any game.

Shimmer Dragon, Vedalken Archmage, Curiousity Crafter and Padeem, Consul of Innovation all offer us varying degrees of card draw, whether they be cast triggers, tap abilites, upkeep triggers or by combat damage. Padeem also provides our artifacts with a nice hexproof bonus, which is always nice.

Myr Battlesphere, Sharding Sphinx, Whirler Rogue and Sai, Master Thopterist are some of our main token generators, Sai being the best among them. Whirler Rogue also has a nice unblockable ability, which works wonders with our gigantic construct tokens.

Master of Etherium, Steel Overseer, Crashing Drawbridge and Chief of the Foundry are all ways to buff our creatures in one way or another. The drawbridge can help us surprise attack our opponents after we amass a token army. Master of Etherium is a great Sakashima's Will or Masterful Replication target.

Filigree Attendant is a fantastic clone target for cards like Sakashima's Will and Masterful Replication.

Emry, Lurker of the Loch and Myr Retriever are simple, creature-based artifact recursion.

Artificer's Assistant lets us scry every time we cast an artifact which is very helpful in keeping the deck running smoothly.

Arcum Dagsson lets us tutor for something by sacrificing an artifact CREATURE to search our library for a NON-CREATURE artifact to put straight onto the battlefield. This lets us swap out something like a Thopter or Clue token for something like Spine of Ish Sah or Blinkmoth Nexus at instant speed. It's very important to note that Arcum swaps out creatures for non-creatures, hence the capitalization. I sometimes forget this myself. lol

Jhoira's Familiar, Ornithopter of Paradise and Ornithopter all offer us some sort of ramp. Ornithopter is a 0 mana artifact which we can tap with Urza for a . Shimmer Myr lets us cast artifacts at instant-speed.

Steel Hellkite for removal.

Master Transmuter lets us pull some instant speed shenanigans, much like Arcum. Her ability returns an artifact from the battlefield to our hand and lets us play out a new one in it's place. Unlike Arcum, she has no restrictions for what she's allowed to swap out. Thopter token for Myr Battlesphere? For one single ? Sounds good to me!

Cyberdrive Awakener and Research Thief are both from the NEO commander deck. Awakener is another artifact animation win-con for us that even gives our creatures evasion! Thief is essentially an artifact creature version of Thassa's Bident. This deck tends to run out of gas quickly, so any kind of card draw is always a good thing.

Metallurgic Summonings, Efficient Construction, Trail of Evidence and Mirrodin Besieged are our main token generators. A few of these offer additional benefits but their main role is to create as many tokens as possible. The tokens are artifacts and can be used as ramp using Urza's second ability and help to build our board-state before we cast one of our cloning finishers. All of these are key to our gameplan.

The Antiquities War is an alternate finisher to our clone cards. While not as powerful as turning our artifacts into construct clones, turning all of our artifacts into 5/5s is nothing to laugh at. Especially when we have like twenty of them!

Mirrormade could be any of the above or any other artifact as well.

Pongify and Rapid Hybridization are cheap and efficient removal. Very simple, very effective.

Counterspell, Swan Song and the new Access Denied are this deck's counterspells. Not a huge fan of counterspells, so these three are all this deck will have for now. Might reevaluate in the future.

Perplexing Test is equal parts protection and boardwipe. It can either bounce all non-token creatures or all token creatures, saving ours from removal or clearing the way for our construct army to get through.

Paradoxical Outcome is a hybrid card draw/protection spell that always seems useful.

Dramatic Reversal offers up MASSIVE turns with Urza and a few artifacts on the board.

Merchant Scroll, Solve the Equation and Mystical Tutor are the decks tutors. These are used to find one of our finishers (see below).

As I've been saying, Sakashima's Will and Masterful Replication are this deck's win conditions. Either of these cards can turn our board of mana rocks/small 1/1 tokens into MASSIVE construct threats. Example, if we have a few mana rocks out and a handful of thopters/myrs/servos alongside our construct tokens, we could potentially have a board of 15 15/15 construct tokens. From there, we swing at the player with the least amount of blockers or cast Cyberdrive Awakener to seal the deal.

Rise and Shine is a bit like The Antiquities War as it's a back-up win condition that isn't quite as strong as the two cards above, but could still get the job done, provided you pay it's Overload cost.

Mystic Reflection can do some stupid stuff with Myr Battlesphere. Can also be use for opponents creatures. They cast Less, Dissident Mage and are about to go off? Guess what? Now she's a 1/1 thopter.

A new addition to the deck is Karn's Temporal Sundering. This is a great way to finish out the game after making a bunch of tokens and preparing to clone them into constructs next turn. Sure, Temporal Anomaly and Time Warp are probably "strictly better", but Sundering shows off one of my favorite moments from the Timestreams novel, one of the best Magic novels. It's too flavorful not to include!

Most of these are cheap artifacts that are either mana rocks, or are cheap enough to be cast before Urza so he can use them as mana rocks. Some have secondary effects like the Wellsprings that can draw us a card or find us a land, but they're mainly here because they're cheap and Urza can abuse them. Some exceptions to this are Spine of Ish Sah for removal, Genesis Chamber and Servo Schematic, which provide tokens, Spellbook which gives us no maximum hand size and Blinkmoth Urn which can help ramp us IMMENSELY.

Kamigawa Neon Dynasty brought us an absolutely incredible card for this deck in the form of Mirror Box. If this is on the field after animating your huge board of artifacts into constructs using something like Masterful Replication or Sakashima's Will, calculating the power/toughness of your creatures is... well... to quote the great Cave Johnson from Portal 2, "I punch those numbers into a calculator, it makes a happy face." It may not work with The Antiquities War or Rise and Shine, but the potential is too great not to try out for a bit. (It should be noted that only non-token creatures get the buffs. Still too potent to ignore, though!)

The lone addition from Streets of New Capenna is a simple little common, Gilded Pinions. For two mana, it provides us a treasure token and an equipment that gives flying. If played early, it can help ramp out Urza, or smooth over a lack of lands to play Urza out on time. If played later, it's a two-for-one package for Urza to use to ramp with. Sure, it's pretty simple... but it's efficient!

The basic land art for the deck is from Time Spiral. Island TSP:289 and Island TSP:287 show a broken and desolate Dominaria, which is exactly the kind of art this deck needs, flavor-wise.

Other than our basics, we have some typical artifact-synergy lands such as Seat of the Synod, Darksteel Citadel, Academy Ruins, Buried Ruin and Inventors' Fair. Myriad Landscape and Saprazzan Skerry help us ramp. Memorial to Genius draws us some cards while Mystic Sanctuary and Halimar Depths help us to recur a spell and smooth out our top deck. Reliquary Tower is another source of no maximum hand size and Field of Ruin fits flavorfully. Command Beacon is a great way to cheat out on command tax after Urza inevitably gets killed a few times.

The best land in the deck is, without question, Urza's Saga. Not only is it a total win for a vorthos player like me, but all three chapters are relevant to our gameplan. It even makes us a construct token just like Urza and Karn do!

If you decide to build an Urza deck that focuses on tokens, these are cards that I would definitely recommend, as they are key parts of my gameplan for this deck -

vs. Yawgmoth, Thran Physician vs. Feldon of the Third Path

L

Was stuck at three lands for the first few turns of the game. Meanwhile, Yawgmoth drew into an infect creature early and threated Feldon for a few turns. Was able to build up a decent board of varying artifacts, creatures, clue tokens, stuff like Everflowing Chalice etc in the meantime. Drew into Masterful Replication, turning my board of seven or eight artifacts into copies of Master of Etherium. My brother piloting Yawgmoth was running short on time before going to work so I had to wipe him out completely. Feldon had a copy of Rysuei, the Falling Star with Torbran, Thane of Red Fell which did massive damage to my artifact army and after blocking and losing some in combat, resulted in my entire board essentially being wiped. Built back up for a few turns with Tezzeret, Artifice Master and Sai, Master Thopterist but took some damage. By the time I was ready to retaliate, Feldon had accrued too much graveyard value and sealed the deal with a stolen Sakashima's Will with Etali, Primal Storm, turning his attackers into a stolen Shimmer Dragon and getting over my blockers for the win!

Deck ran really well overall and I'm really happy with it despite the loss!

  • All decks in my Legends of Dominaria cycle have two versions of their commander, one normal/modern version and one old-school border version. The modern border ones have alter sleeves. One of the two may be a proxy depending on the deck.

Proxies - Just a MH1 timeshift version of Urza, Lord High Artificer

Alter Sleeves - https://www.altersleeves.com/product/7po8kmeeh2ehnsb?printing_id=39004

Sleeves - Dragon Shield Matte (Blue)

Deck Box - Ultimate Guard Boulder 100 (Sapphire) + Ultra Pro 100 - Black Lotus (for tokens)

Playmat - Ultra Pro - Black Lotus


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That's about everything I have for now. I'd love some feedback on it's relative power level as well as any recommendations on how to make it play a bit more smoothly (but not 100% smoothly. I don't want it to be super overpowered) as well as any good artifact token generators. Hopefully I've made an Urza deck that's a bit different from the insanely fast combo decks or the incredibly punishing stax decks that he tends to lead.

And, yes, my hype for the 2022 expansion based on the Brother's War has me VERY high. Hoping to see some classic names in that set (such as Mishra, Gix and Ashnod) and it's accompanying commander precons!

Thanks for reading!

Suggestions

Updates Add

OUT - Kuldotha Forgemaster, Witching Well, Workshop Assistant, Meteor Golem

IN - Master Transmuter, Gilded Pinions, Myr Retriever, Spine of Ish Sah

Only a single card from New Capenna made the cut for this deck. Gilded Pinions, a simple little common. The other changes were made due to feedback from the comments and helps to smooth out the deck slightly.

Deck is basically stable at this point. Probably won't see any changes until the next Dominaria sets later this year.

Comments

39% Casual

61% Competitive

Date added 10 months
Last updated 3 months
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

6 - 0 Mythic Rares

35 - 0 Rares

25 - 0 Uncommons

15 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.16
Tokens Ape 3/3 G, Bird 2/2 U, Clue, Construct 0/0 C, Construct */* C, Copy Clone, Emblem Tezzeret, Artifice Master, Emblem Tezzeret, Betrayer of Flesh, Frog Lizard 3/3 G, Golem 3/3 C, Myr 1/1 C, Servo 1/1 C, Thopter 1/1 C, Thopter 1/1 U, Treasure
Folders All Decks, Legends of Dominaria, EDH INFLUENCES, Neat Lists, Potential Builds
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Revision 7 See all

3 months ago)

-1 Etherium Sculptor maybe
+1 Gilded Pinions main
-1 Junk Diver maybe
-1 Kuldotha Forgemaster main
-1 Meteor Golem main
-1 Witching Well main
-1 Workshop Assistant main