Best Cards in Modern – Artifacts [2022]

The Top 5 Artifacts in Modern

Authors: Andrea Piemonti, Sebastian Rosenauer, Ricardo Silva, Sven Stolz, Zen Takahashi

Editor: Philippe Zens

Last year I was approached by Sebastian, one of our magazine writers, about the idea of making a collaborative series – where a couple of authors would rate and review the best cards in Modern.

A couple of months later and here we are. Looking at the machines of the game: Artifacts.

This is how it works

We asked our authors to send us their personal top 10 artifact cards of the Modern format. Then we created an aggregated list, based on their top 10, to come with a unified Top 5 list of cards. We sent them the top 5 and asked for their comment.

  • Do they think this is a good top 5?

  • Are these the worthiest cards?

  • Were there any snubs?

  • Is the number one spot deserved?

  • What impact do those cards have on the format?

These and many other questions will be answered in this article. One more note before we dive into the wilderness of Modern. We will go straight through the top 5 and then also share the initial top 10 lists of our authors.

We really hope you enjoy this, have fun reading, and don’t be shy and discuss this in the comments. We would love to hear from you.


Fifth Place – Relic of Progenitus

Relic of Progenitus ALA

Andrea Piemonti

This annoying little artifact has been festering modern since I started to play it. Modern format has been graveyard-reliant by its start (remember Tarmogoyf being the threat of the format for 5+ years) and even in 2022 many tier 1 decks (Murktide/Living end/etc) relies on GY.

Relic of Progenitus has been one of the premium answers to some strategies: It’s cheap, and can play a grindy game removing one card per turn, or one-shot-exiling both graveyards at the right time.

Nowadays Soul-Guide Lantern is its direct competitor, but for the reasons above people still prefer to play Relic of Progenitus.

I personally had many tricks with Relic, but my favorite remains targeting me when I have Murktide Regent to pump it. Value!

Some decks at the moment even features some copies in maindeck (Eldrazi Tron/ Tron/some Urza’s Saga decks) to slow down GY-aggressive strategies… But trust me, a t1 Relic can be a pain even if you’re playing a t2 Wrenn and Six!

Andrea Piemonti

Sebastian Rosenauer

The first card on our Top 5 artifacts list is a classic modern staple, Relic of Progenitus.

Given that there are many cheap artifacts that deal with graveyards very efficiently, it is not clear which one is the best.

Tormod’s Crypt doesn’t cost anything to cast, Soul-Guide Lantern exiles a card upon ETB, and Unlicensed Hearse is a graveyard-hate card that can turn into a threat! However, taking it all together, Relic is the best of them all since it can constantly exile a card from a graveyard and thus keeping it empty while also being able to exile all graveyards at once and draw a card from it!

While the other artifacts shine in specific decks, Relic is the best allrounder.

In the current metagame of Izzet Murktide, Living End and Wrenn and Six-decks, flexible graveyard hate is almost always useful and even if it is a dead card, it replaces itself. Being a one-mana artifact means that it can be searched out with the last Urza’s Saga chapter, making it a great one-off in those decks.

Ricardo Silva

Relic of Progenitus has been seeing play in Modern for multiple years now, serving as a necessary evil to stop graveyard-based synergies. Any slower deck like Tron has needed Relic of Progenitus in the past to survive against faster decks like Dredge and Storm – nowadays most decks playing Urza’s Saga also opt to play a copy of Relic of Progenitus as a tutor target.

Even if the graveyard is not relevant, Relic of Progenitus can always be cycled for one mana, so the opportunity cost of playing the card is low.

Sven Stolz

Another card which I was surprised seeing in the top 5, Relic of Progenitus has been the go-to graveyard hate when it came to Modern for a long time.

Just recently printed Unlicensed Hearse, an absolute break out card for Modern, substituted Relic of Progenitus in most lists as the overall better graveyard hate for the nowadays meta.

The reasons: Unlike Relic of Progenitus, Unlicensed Hearse targets specific cards you want out of your opponent’s graveyard. This helps a lot when fighting against opposing Delirium, Murktide Regents and even Reanimator strategies in exiling their Archon of Cruelty or Unburial Rites. Following that, Unlicensed Hearse is a creature as well, so you often get to attack with a 8/8+, swinging your opponent down with 2 hits only.

That’s a huge upside compared to Relic of Progenitus once you can afford to crew it. Relic of Progenitus advantage is mainly that it cantrips when exiling the graveyard so combo and maybe control strategies may want the card draw instead of the beater. Overall I believe Unlicensed Hearse is a stronger graveyard interaction than Relic of Progenitus and most of the decks will continue running it or start picking it up.

Fourth Place – Engineered Explosives

Engineered Explosives MPS

Andrea Piemonti

Another pillar of the format for many years, this strange artifact won many GPs back in the KCI era, but it’s still one of the strongest cards in this current meta, answering a resolved Crashing Footfalls as well as a full HammerTime board.

The funniest interaction I got in mind is playing it for 1 + 1 with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben on the board, and sweeping basically all the creatures from Human deck. I lost so many times to this.

Andrea Piemonti

Sebastian Rosenauer

This is an unusual artifact.

Engineered Explosives takes advantage of the powerful sunburst ability, rewarding greedy manabases. Most of the time though, it will be cast on zero or one colors in order to wipe a board of tokens or cheap permanents. If timed well, it can be a one-sided board clear for only two or three mana, this is pretty impressive.

In my personal list, Engineered Explosives did not quite make the Top 5 because I think it is not at its best right now. It does nothing against Living End and 4 color and it is just okay against Murktide.

It is amazing against Hammertime, Rhinos or Hardened Scales, but these decks are not as popular now as they were a few months ago, and so I think it’s not the best time to be packing a lot of Engineered Explosives into the sideboards. In a vacuum, I totally agree with my fellow writers that this card is exceptionally powerful and well-designed and deserves a spot among the best artifacts of the format.

Ricardo Silva

Engineered Explosives especially shines against 0-mana permanents, serving as an efficient answer to Crashing Footfalls or Urza’s Saga tokens in Modern.

The card’s efficiency drops considerably when targeting one or two mana spells, which has made EE’s prevalency in Modern very dependent on the metagame.

Sven Stolz

One of the strongest nonland permant mass removals, Engineered Explosives is a solid sideboard option for a long time now in Modern. It sees nowadays mostly play against Hammer and artifact strategies, Rhino or Construct tokens and also helps against the powerful one drops like DRC, Ragavan and Death’s Shadow. Engineered Explosives has performed always consistently and is a viable tool for most of the decks in Modern.

Third Place – Colossus Hammer

Colossus Hammer M20

Andrea Piemonti

This bizarre one mana Blazing Shoal felt unplayable until someone figured Sigarda’s Aid + Stoneforge Mystic was a thing, and built one of the strongest and resilient aggro decks in the current Modern.

Not much to say about this card, since it’s only played in one deck (and you can see why) but winning on turn 2 giving a small Thopter +20/+20 is a feeling you should try once in a lifetime, at least.

Andrea Piemonti

Sebastian Rosenauer

Our number three spot is an interesting one. Colossus Hammer is one of those cards I’m always cautious to include into our Top 5. It is the same problem that I see with cards like Violent Outburst or Ephemerate: They do nothing on their own. This is the same for the one-mana Hammer.

But, unlike Ephemerate, I think the equipment is part of such a strong and game-winning combo, that it deserves a high spot on our list. It is usually very easy to cheat the Hammer onto one of your creatures with the help of Sigarda’s Aid or Puresteel Paladin and the payoff is always huge.

It is the namesake card of one of the format’s most quick and deadly strategies that has been putting up consistent tournament results for over a year now. This would all be unthinkable without the “little” Hammer, and therefore it is undisputedly one of the best artifacts in Modern. It also synergizes extremely well with other all-stars of the format like Urza’s Saga and Stoneforge Mystic, making it even more interesting to build around.

Ricardo Silva

Whilst the only equipment on our list is only being played in a single deck in Modern (Hammer Time), it is crucial to the deck’s success. Hammer Time is a very successful and prevalent deck in Modern, where Colossus Hammer acts as a one-mana permanent +10 +10 buff.

With Sigarda’s Aid the card gains flash, and Puresteel Paladin allows you to re-equip it to another creature as well. If equipped on an Inkmoth Nexus, it also threatens lethal infect damage with a single swing. With Urza’s Saga and Stoneforge Mystic the deck also has multiple ways to tutor for their namesake card, making it a highly synergistic and consistent deck.

Sven Stolz

The card with its own shell around, Colossus Hammer is in combination with Sigarda’s Aid and Puresteel Paladin the go-to combo interaction in UW Hammer. Being tutorable with both Stoneforge Mystic and Urza’s Saga has helped the deck a lot gaining consistency and fast wins.

The deck did suffer in meta share once red deck has started picking up more copies of Fury in their lists, still UW Hammer is since its breakout a top tier contender in the format.

I initially didn’t put Colossus Hammer in my top 5 because it’s only really played in 1 deck, but considering the format share and winning Hammer had in the past, I can see it being in the top 5 as well.

Second Place – Chalice of the Void

Chalice of the Void Judge Promo

Andrea Piemonti

Before Modern Horizons, this card was played mostly X=1 and was a tool to beat Lava Spike decks, as well as some other aggro shells. Sometimes you could Chalice X=0 to stop Mox Opals from affinity or Living End.

Back in the Simian Spirit Guide era, some people loved to play it t1 trying to lock you up with a Blood Moon following.

Nowadays, it’s played mostly to fight Crashing Footfalls and Living End due to the printing of Force of Negation and Shardless Agent, making cascade decks tier 1.

Just remember to not slam the second Chalice x=0 once you have one on board.

Andrea Piemonti

Sebastian Rosenauer

For me, this is the best artifact in the format, and it’s not even close.

The number one spot is occupied by a worthy competitor, but Chalice is just too good to end up in second place. It is just such an impactful card, able to disrupt or shut down entire strategies, and it is great against a plethora of decks in the current format. Chalice on one is devastating for decks like Murktide, Hammertime, Death’s Shadow or Burn, while Chalice on zero turns off any Cascade shenanigans as well as a quick start from an affinity list.

Given its wide range of application, it is natural that it finds its way into most sideboards, except for decks that would suffer too much themselves by including it. The card is so good right now that Azorius Control even plays three copies(!) in their mainboard.

Chalice of the Void belongs to those unique cards from the past that would never be designed this way today. I’m thinking of cards like Ensnaring Bridge or Aether Vial, combining originality with raw power.

Chalice, additionally, is very well-placed in the current metagame and therefore should be the number one card on our list. Let us see what can be said about the card that our other authors thought deserved the top spot more.

Ricardo Silva

Just like Engineered Explosives, Chalice of the Voids prevalence is very dependent on the current Modern metagame.

In the current metagame, there are multiple decks trying to cascade into suspend spells, which has made the stock of Chalice of the Void go up significantly again.

Crashing Footfalls, Living End and Glimpse of Tomorrow are all stopped with a 0-mana Chalice of the Void – other use cases for the card are for example disabling Lotus Bloom out of the Tameshi Bloom deck or preventing Affinity decks from playing their Ornithopter, Memnite, Welding Jar and co.

Sven Stolz

Chalice of the Void is an interesting card for Modern. Being played mostly in UW Control and some sideboards, the card never really picked up that much of an archetype enabler, unlike in Legacy in which it’s the go-to card in combination with Ancient Tomb against Brainstorm and Lion’s Eye Diamond strategies.

In Modern, CotV mainly sees play to have hate interaction against one drop creatures like DRC and Ragavan and 0 mana spells like Living End, Glimpse of Tomorrow or Crashing Footfalls.

Being able to interact with those strategies simply by playing a single CotV for 0 or 2 mana, CotV gained tremendous value and importance in Modern. Also, the fact that fair decks rarely use 0 mana spells, made CotV a viable sideboard contender for various archetpyes.

First Place – Mishra’s Bauble

Andrea Piemonti

I love this card for its complexity, and its design and synergy with other cards.

I wrote several pages on how you should sequence with Dragon’s Rage Channeler + Mishra’s Bauble + Ledger Shredder + Fetchlands. Aside from UR Murktide the card still feels busted. I saw many people calling for a ban, many times. Especially during Lurrus of the Dream-Den times.

While I don’t think it’s ban worthy, I like the fact that it’s a smart card and rewards you to play well. And I like the fact that it enables many strategies almost by itself, making cards like Unholy Heat and Traverse the Ulvenwald shine in multiple decks (even in Yorion piles)!

Andrea Piemonti

Sebastian Rosenauer

I get it. Mishra’s Bauble is an incredible card. It is also one of those artifacts with a unique effect (save for Urza’s Bauble, which is not legal) that would not be printed like this today. It is a zero-mana spell that replaces itself at the cost of one turn and it’s an artifact, fueling abilities like Delirium which are key for some decks.

It is an important card in the best deck of the format, Izzet Murktide, and it sees play in other top-tier decks as well. But what it does, as I see it, is simply adding a ton of synergy and consistency to the decks that play it.

This is awesome, of course, and it warrants a high placement on our list. For the number one spot, however, this is not enough. It does just not impact the game as much as Chalice of the Void does.

Unlike Colossus Hammer, which is a game-winning part of its combo, Bauble is simply a great support card that glues the deck together. I understand that it is the best artifact in the best deck of the format, but this is not my logic for this list. If I think about the individual impact of a card, the Hammer and Chalice take it home for me.

Ricardo Silva

I’ve written an article about Mishra’s Bauble’s prevalence and utility in Modern for Three For One Trading in the past.

Since then, Lurrus of the Dream-Den has been banned, which has changed quite a lot for Modern, but this hasn’t prevented Mishra’s Bauble from being successfully played in numerous tier 1 decks of the format.

The card still synergizes incredibly well with Dragon’s Rage Channeler and other Delirium cards, or Emry, Lurker of the Loch which has since made a re-appearance in Jeskai Breach and Esper Turns.

One card which did not exist yet when I wrote the article was Ledger Shredder – as I alluded to in the article, the synergies with Mishra’s Bauble will only continue to increase over time, and Ledger Shredder is a good example of this.

Although it is not necessarily overpowered, casting a Ledger Shredder on turn 2 followed up by a Mishra’s Bauble allows you to connive with the bird straight away. This combination has proven useful enough to be played in multiple decks in Modern – Jeskai Breach, Esper Turns, UR Murktide, Grixis Shadow, and Arclight Phoenix.

Sven Stolz

Mishra’s Bauble, being one of the better cantrips of the format, takes the number 1 spot in our artifact list. Since the banning of Lurrus of the Dream-Den the relevance of Mishra’s Bauble actually decreased a lot, still Mishra’s Bauble is seen in a couple of decks of the format.

Especially with Dragon’s Rage Channeler and also Ledger Shredder, Mishra’s Bauble still performs and synergizes very well with mentioned cards, being able to manipulate the library, making up for better draws, helping with Delirium and fueling the graveyard for earlier Murktide Regents. Mishra’s Bauble potential in gaining meta share definitely exists once new cards come out which synergies with it, until then Bauble continues to perform very well in UR Murktide.

Personal Top 10 White Cards of Each Author

Andrea Piemonti

Andrea Piemonti

Sebastian Rosenauer

Ricardo Silva

Sven Stolz

Zen Takahashi

Zen Takahashi

All Articles from the Series

  • Grist-the-Hunger-Tide-Art

Best Cards in Modern – Multicolor [2022]

October 6th, 2022|Constructed, Highlights|

We asked our seasoned team of authors a tough question: What do they think are the best ten multicolored cards in Magic the Gathering's Modern format. We then went a step further and created a Top 5. Learn what they think about the very best cards of one of the game's most popular formats.

  • Otawara, Soaring City Art

Best Cards in Modern – Lands [2022]

October 4th, 2022|Constructed, Highlights|

We asked our seasoned team of authors a tough question: What do they think are the best ten lands in Magic the Gathering's Modern format. We then went a step further and created a Top 5. Learn what they think about the very best cards of one of the game's most popular formats.

  • Pithing Needle Art

Best Cards in Modern – Artifacts [2022]

September 27th, 2022|Constructed, Highlights|

We asked our seasoned team of authors a tough question: What do they think are the best ten artifacts in Magic the Gathering's Modern format. We then went a step further and created a Top 5. Learn what they think about the very best cards of one of the game's most popular formats.

Best Cards in Modern – White [2022]

August 5th, 2022|Constructed, Highlights|

We asked our seasoned team of authors a tough question: What do they think are the best ten white cards in Magic the Gathering's Modern format. We then went a step further and created a Top 5. Learn what they think about the very best cards of one of the game's most popular formats.

Best Cards in Modern – Green [2022]

May 27th, 2022|Constructed, Highlights|

We asked our seasoned team of authors a tough question: What do they think are the best ten green cards in Magic the Gathering's Modern format. We then went a step further and created a Top 5. Learn what they think about the very best cards of one of the game's most popular formats.

Best Cards in Modern – Red [2022]

April 20th, 2022|Constructed|

We asked our seasoned team of authors a tough question: What do they think are the best ten red cards in Magic the Gathering's Modern format. We then went a step further and created a Top 5. Learn what they think about the very best cards of one of the game's most popular formats.

Best Cards in Modern – Black [2022]

February 28th, 2022|Constructed|

We asked our seasoned team of authors a tough question: What do they think are the best ten black cards in Magic the Gathering's Modern format. We then went a step further and created a top 5. Learn what they think about the very best cards of one of the game's most popular formats.

Best Cards in Modern – Blue [2022]

February 4th, 2022|Constructed|

We asked our seasoned team of authors a tough question: What do they think are the best ten blue cards in Magic the Gathering's Modern format. We then went a step further and created a top 5. Learn what they think about the very best cards of one of the game's most popular formats.