Urza, Lord High Artificer

As promised this is an in depth guide to the new Urza legendary creature from Modern Horizons. In case you have forgotten what he does I’ll give you a quick refresher to kick off the deck tech. Urza costs {2}{U}{U} for a 1/4 Legendary Creature-Human Artificer. When Urza enters the battlefield you create a “karnstruct” (a 0/0 construct artifact creature with power and toughness equal to the number of artifacts you control). In addition, Urza has two activated abilities, and they are what this deck revolves around. The first is you may tap an untapped artifact you control to add {U} to your mana pool. The second is pay {5} to shuffle your library then exile the top card. Until end of turn you may play that card without paying its mana cost. Both of these activated abilities are important to the deck. The important thing to remember when piloting the deck is that the mana ability is on Urza himself rather than the artifact, so he gets through cards like Stony Silence and Karn, the Great Creator. Cards like Cursed Totem however, will shut Urza down fast. With that in mind lets go over ninety nine cards that work really well together because WoTC said so.

Mana Base

I’m going to start with the mana base primarily to just get it out of the way before I forget because it is fairly basic (see what I did there?), but also because it is one third of the deck. The deck runs twenty three basic islands and ten non-basics for a total of thirty three lands. That might feel really light, but when you are running more than five cheap mana rocks it might actually be more than necessary. I’ve toyed with the Idea of dropping a basic, but haven’t found a card worth putting into the deck for a land yet. That aside, for non-basics the deck runs four fetch lands: Polluted Delta, Misty Rainforest, Flooded Strand, and Prismatic Vista. I don’t run Scalding Tarn simply because I don’t own a copy yet. The fetch lands do more than you think in the deck. The first thing they do is provide the ability to shuffle my deck, which is useful after something like brainstorm. On top of this they pull basic lands out of the deck. You might be thinking I mean deck thining, but no. You can’t really consider it thining when your deck is ninety nine cards. The fetching of the basic lands is really important later in the game when you start to activate Urza’s second activated ability. When trying to combo off, the more lands left in the deck the more likely you are to fizzle. I’ll explain this process later, because it happens almost every game, but for now just know that it is so important that at first I ran mana severance to manually remove the lands from the deck. Next in the mana base are the two artifact lands you can run in the deck: Seat of the Synod and Darksteel Citadel. These are great because they are artifacts, and some cards in the deck care about the number of artifacts you control with abilities like, or similar to, metalcraft. On top of this Urza’s ETB construct grows bigger with each artifact. By the way, a cool interaction is that while Urza is in play you can tap Darksteel Citadel for blue with his ability rather than the colorless it normally provides. On top of that it is indestructible. Up next is Cephalid Coliseum. Taps for a blue and deals one to you. It also has a second ability once you have threshold (seven or more cards in your graveyard). You can pay a blue, tap, and sacrifice it to have target player draw three cards the discard three cards. It gives you options and the life loss most of the time is just not relevant. Next we have lands to recur our important artifacts. Buried Ruin taps for colorless and you can pay two, tap, and sacrifice it to return an artifact from your graveyard to your hand. Academy ruins does the same except the second ability costs {1}{U}, you don’t sacrifice it, and it puts the artifact on top of your library. Last but not least is Inventors’ Fair.

Inventors' Fair

This is one of the cards that cares about how many artifacts you have. The life gain attached is less relevant, but the second ability is why we run it. Four mana, tap, sac, and you get to tutor for an artifact to hand, but you can only do this if you control three or more artiacts.

Fast Mana Rocks

This is one of three places where the deck can get far more expensive. The other two are the fetch lands and some of the control pieces. As far as fast mana goes, what I run would be pretty standard, albeit expensive. At zero mana I run copies of Chrome Mox, Mox Opal, and Mana Crypt. Added bonus for the moxen is that with Urza they can be tapped for mana even if you don’t have metalcraft online or a card imprinted under Chrome Mox. At one mana I run the classic Sol Ring and a copy of Mana Vault. Nothing crazy there. Then at two mana I run Mind Stone and Grim Monolith, or as I prefer to call it, Monolito Tetro. My copy happens to be in Italian and saying Monolito Tetro always bring a smile to my face because it sounds so gosh darn cute. While the Grim Monolith will combo with the copy of Power Artifact that I will one day own, at the moment it is just a mana rock. Mind Stone is great because it can be tapped for blue with Urza, and can be cycled away when the mana is no longer needed.

Mana Crypt
Grim Monolith

That’s it for the fast mana. Some people will run Mox Diamond and/or Lion’s Eye Diamond, but I don’t have a copy of either and I’m not the biggest fan of having those in the deck. With all that said and done, up next is the control that the deck runs. Yay blue!

Control

Blue doesn’t have that much removal but it can bounce any threats that slip by counter spells. My version of the deck runs three bounce effects: Cyclonic Rift, Reality Shift, and Chain of Vapor. All of these work for just about anything, the only one that’s somewhat restricted is Reality Shift as it only hits creatures. That’s what you would use it for most of the time anyway. The deck also runs a slew of counter spells. Here we go, (*takes deep breath*): Narset’s Reversal, Mental Misstep, Counterspell, Swan Song, Negate, Pact of Negation, Flusterstorm, Arcane Denial, Mana Drain, Force of Negation, Force of Will, Cryptic Command, Archmage’s Charm (aka cryptic suggestion), and Muddle the Mixture. Cryptic Command and Archmage’s Charm are nice because they have alternate modes, but a real MVP is Muddle the Mixture. It’s special because of the ability to transmute it, and there are a bunch of important cards you can search for with a converted mana cost of two. Most important it can go and get some of the decks combo pieces, which is what I’ll talk about next.

Muddle the Mixture
Force of Will
Mana Drain

Combo/Win Condition

Before I get to the combos themselves I’m going to talk about how the deck gets to the point where it wins from. With Urza on the battlefield all you need to win is infinite mana. With the infinite mana you can activate Urza’s second activated ability to “draw” your deck into exile to be cast for free, and win from there. The game plan of the deck is getting to infinite mana, there are a few other combos that you can use that I will also go over in this section. First, getting to infinite mana. The best way to do this is by building up mana and using Urza’s ability to cast spells for free to find the combo pieces. The card that lets this happen is Paradox Engine.

Paradox Engine

It is the best card in the deck and it provides the most value and consistency to the deck. It may sound tedious but you get into a cycle of activate Urza, tap artifacts for mana, cast the spell you got from Urza, resolve the engine trigger to untap your artifacts, and repeat. This is that process I briefly mentioned when talking about the fetch lands in the mana base. While you can play a land off of Urza’s ability if you haven’t played one already, playing a land doesn’t trigger Paradox Engine, and therefore makes it harder to continue the process of digging for pieces. The first infinite mana combo is Isochron Scepter and Dramatic Reversal.

Dramatic Reversal
Isochron Scepter

This one is a classic in decks that look to assemble infinite mana because all you need in addition to this is three mana in mana rocks and BAM! Infinite mana. Even without infinite mana this combo is useful if you can repeat it. With two mana in rocks you get an infinite storm count, which isn’t relevant, but the deck also runs Codex Shredder, which you can tap to mill target player for one. Do that a trillion times and your opponents will lose on their draw steps. Up next is Rings of Brighthearth and Basalt Monolith.

Rings of Brighthearth
Basalt Monolith

Tap the monolith for mana, use that mana to untap it, and with the untap on the stack you copy the ability with rings, placing a second untap on the stack. Let the first one resolve, float three mana, and let the second resolve. Tap it for mana to untap it and you still have three mana in pool. Use two to copy leaves you with one left over. Repeat this until you have infinite mana. Those are the infinite mana combos I have in the deck right now. A future copy of Power Artifact will generate infinite mana with Basalt Monolith or my beloved Monolito Tetro (Grim Monolith). The last combo I run is easier to interact with, but is still good and actually really cool. The deck runs two artifact cost reducers, Foundry Inspector and Etherium Sculptor. Both of these reduce the cost of Sensei’s Divining Top to a whopping zero mana. If you throw in Future Sight, the enchantment not the set, you get to draw your deck. Future Sight lets you look at and play the top card of your library, so with a cost reducer in play you tap the top to draw a card and place to the top on top. If you haven’t gotten lost yet, you then cast the top for free out of your library because of the cost reduction. You can repeat this until you have drawn your entire deck. No matter how you get there, once your library is empty, you cast Jace, Wielder of Mysteries and activate his +1 ability on yourself to win the game.

Jace, Wielder of Mysteries

Tutors

I know this has been a long deck tech, but the end is near. These last three sections will be really quick. The deck runs nine tutors, ten if you count Muddle the Mixture. I run Mystical Tutor, Merchant Scroll, and Spellseeker for instants and sorceries. In addition to those I run Fabricate, Trinket Mage, Tribute Mage, Whir of Invention, Reshape, and Tezzeret the Seeker for artifact tutors. One day there will be a copy of Transmute Artifact in my collection that will end up in this deck, but that will come later.

Up next some hate/“symmetrical effects.

Stax, Hate, and “Symmetrical” Effects

The Deck runs Pithing Needle and Phyrexian Revoker to shut down activated abilities. A copy of Narset, Parter of Veils prevents a lot of card draw for your opponents. Next are the pieces you should find in every Urza deck. These five artifacts are great because you can turn them off by tapping them so that they don’t hurt or only benefit you. Winter Orb, Static Orb, and Storage Matrix will restrict your opponents untap steps. On the end step before your turn you tap them to turn them off so you can untap normally. Next is Trinisphere which will slow down your opponents, and you can turn it on and off with Urza, Paradox Engine, and Voltaic Key. Last of the five is Howling Mine. Draw two cards and tap it during your turn so that only you get the extra cards.

Last up is some utility, cantrips, and flexible slots.

Utility

In utility we have Rhystic Study and Mystic Remora for card draw. Training Grounds and Sapphire Medallion for cost reduction on blue spells and Urza’s second activated ability. Voltaic key for untapping, Tormod’s Crypt for graveyard hate, and Welding Jar to regenerate an important piece. I will at some point put in a copy of Grafdigger’s Cage for more graveyard hate.

Cantrips

At the moment I only run three cantrips, and they are Brainstorm, Ponder, and Gitaxian Probe. Nothing crazy fancy here, just some card draw and velocity.

Flexible Spots

The last few cards I’ll talk about briefly fall here. They are not necessary, but they allow you to customize the deck to your own personal style a bit. At the moment I have five flexible spots one being taken by Future Sight which I mentioned in the combo section of the deck tech. The four previously unmentioned cards are Vedalken Archmage, Echo of Eons, Hurkyl’s Recall, and Paradoxical Outcome.

That my friends is my deck tech for Urza, Lord High Artificer. Let me know what you think of the deck in the comments, I always check them and will do my best to respond. The deck is always improving and if you want to see the current list let me know down below and I’ll post the link to the list. Alright then, until next time.

Warper of Worlds

Cards images from:

https://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Default.aspx