The release of the Modern Horizon set brought us many interesting and incredibly powerful cards. The direct to Modern set also brought us characters from the lore as playable cards including Urza. Not counting him as Blind Seer or Urza, Academy Headmaster, sorry everybody. Urza, Lord High Artificer made waves in all sorts of formats including Commander, Duel Commander, and Modern. Urza decks had an incredible ability to consistency to go off with Paradox Engine until it was banned and is still strong with the variety of strategies available. Let’s go through some of those and add some additional options while we’re at it.
Urza, Lord High Artificer
Cavern of Souls
Minamo, School at Water’s Edge
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
Seat of the Synod
Snow-Covered Island x15
Elixir of Immortality
Rings of Brighthearth
Sensei’s Divining Top
Sword of Fire and Ice
The Immortal Sun
Sai, Master Thopterist
For synergies, we could just put every single artifact on the list due to Urza’s ability to have all your artifacts act as a Mox Sapphire. In the cases where the artifact does not need to be tapped to use its ability, such as ones with static effects like The Immortal Sun or equipment like Sword of Fire and Ice, it gives you access to a lot of extra mana. It was quite strange the first time I tapped two equipment to cast a Counterspell.
Winter Orb: One of the main reasons why players groan when they see an Urza deck. With the ability to tap your artifacts whenever you like for mana, Winter Orb turns from a symmetrical land disruption to just a pain for everyone else.
Static Orb: See Winter Orb, but also add on the restriction on all your permanents. To clarify a scenario as well, when both Static Orb and Winter Orb are in play, they can untap up to two permanents, only one of which can be a land. Again, one-sided disruption with Urza, but which one is worse? Also add Tangle Wire + Karn’s Bastion if you feel like being a really good person.
Sai, Master Thopterist: There are huge similarities between what you run in a Sai deck and an Urza deck including running them in each other’s decks. Here, Sai is generating a 1/1 Flying Mox Sapphire every time you cast an artifact spell. Whether by himself or using the wonderful Skullclamp, Sai is a great source of draw as well.
Urza is a fun mana sink and keeps things interesting thanks to his Temporal Aperture like effect. Whether you just want to try your luck at what you may hit or have generated infinite mana for the win, having access to that as your Commander creates a constant threat of going off.
Tidespout Tyrant + Two 0 cost Mana Rocks: Cast a mana rock, trigger Tidespout Tyrant to bounce the other mana rock, tap it for mana, repeat back and forth. This can be done with a lot of different mana rocks in the deck as long as it generates one mana more than it costs to cast (Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Mana Crypt, etc). With Urza generating the mana, the mana rocks can be replaced with any 0 cost artifacts.
Mystic Forge + Sensei’s Divining Top + Etherium Sculptor: The Future Sight/Top combo has been around for a while and let’s you play more things but there are a few advantages to Mystic Forge. It’s cheaper with less coloured mana requirement, it can exile the top card to keep digging a bit deeper, and most importantly it’s an artifact so Urza can tap it for mana. In case you don’t know how it works it says tap Top to draw, cast Top off the top for 0, repeat.
Gush + Mystic Sanctuary: This is a fun inclusion I added to help refill your hand. Cast Gush by bouncing Mystic Sanctuary and an Island to your hand. Play Mystic Sanctuary to push Gush back on top of your library. Next turn Play your Island and repeat. It requires you to have 3 other Islands when playing it to get Mystic Sanctuary’s trigger but this Throne of Eldraine common land has proven to be silly levels of powerful.
Toys and Toolbox
A very broad category I’ve selected because Urza works so well and can fit all sorts of fun toys in the deck but we have to make cuts somewhere. I will go over some of the fun idea some of which made it into the deck.
- Paradise Mantle: A 0 drop artifact equipment that was extra effective when Paradox Engine was around. Since Urza was always tapping everything else I wanted an option for all the non-artifact creatures to become a Birds of Paradise. Grand Architect is great but it is limited to artifacts and always makes me want to run Pili-Pala
- Retrofitter Foundry: while especially effective with Sai, Master Thopterist it not only gives you a mana sink but this 1 drop artifact can generate servos which Urza is happy to tap for mana.
- Elixir of Immortality: A low-cost artifact that gives you a bit of life gain and lets you shuffle it and your graveyard back into your deck. As blue lacks certain types of recursion, it’s something I consider.
- Midnight Clock: Another recursion option with some draw power in it. It definitely feels like more of a fun card as in multiplayer the clock ticks up quickly. A one-sided Timetwister is another effective recursion option and you could run always run Echo of Eons or Time Spiral as well, maybe with Narset, Parter of Veils on board.
- Capsize: The versatility of this card makes it both an answer and a threat. First I will state the obvious and say infinite mana, bounce everyone’s board back to hand. With Winter Orb you can keep people locked out from their untapped land, their land drop for turn, or both if you have enough mana. On the defensive or in a control match up the mana you have open for counterspells can easily turn into Sundering your opponents.
- Nexus of Fate: whether you’re going infinite with Urza or you just need another turn, this was still such an incredible spell to print as an instant.
Dramatic Scepter (3)
Painted Stone (2)
Urza is a powerhouse of a Commander all by himself with some solid abilities, decent toughness, and a handy construct that can be used for mana or grow huge for combat purposes. When supported by the variety of artifacts and using some formidable strategies, Urza becomes oppressive to play against by burying you in advantage.
It’s good to note that Urza himself is the one generating mana not the artifacts so Stony Silence or Collector Ouphe won’t work, but Linvala, Keeper of Silence and Cursed Totem will. His body is out of Lightning Bolt range but unless you’re doing an equipment package I don’t see much effectiveness in victory through Commander damage.
As always there are a variety of strategies that can be done, however, some just synergize much more effectively than others. Nonetheless, I have shared some of the reasoning behind a lot of the cards selected but I wouldn’t have and end if I tried to touch on just how many lines of play are possible with this deck. I don’t think there’s much needed to justify the value that is Urza, Lord High Artificer so give it a try and let it speak for itself.
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