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Legacy UW Artifacts with Displacer Kitten – Deck Guide

Recently, I covered a UW Control deck that was utilizing Displacer Kitten as a combo win condition. That’s not the only way to play Displacer Kitten however, and over the past weekend MTGO player Carroz had back-to-back Top 8 finishes with a dedicated artifact deck that more fully takes advantage of the Kitten combo. In general, artifact decks are under a fair bit of hate in Legacy right now, but sidestepping artifact hate and presenting a different angle of attack is a nice approach to the archetype.

Let’s take a look at how this combo fits in this deck.

 

 

4 Karn, the Great Creator
4 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Displacer Kitten
4 Esper Sentinel
4 Ethersworn Canonist
4 Ingenious Smith
4 Thought Monitor
4 Urza, Lord High Artificer
4 Force of Will
1 Aether Spellbomb
4 Chalice of the Void
4 Lotus Petal
4 Mox Opal
1 Pithing Needle
1 Shadowspear
1 Soul-Guide Lantern
4 Ancient Den
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Cavern of Souls
1 Karakas
1 Otawara, Soaring City
2 Razortide Bridge
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Tundra
4 Urza's Saga

Sideboard
4 Force of Negation
1 Grafdigger's Cage
1 Lion's Eye Diamond
1 Mycosynth Lattice
1 Portable Hole
4 Swords to Plowshares
1 Tormod's Crypt
1 Walking Ballista
1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

 

Header - The Game Plan

At its core, this is a traditional blue-based artifact deck where the goal is to overwhelm opponents with cost-reduced threats fueled by artifacts. However, instead of winning through the means we have come to know, this deck is taking advantage of Displacer Kitten and Teferi, Time Raveler, as well as any zero-mana artifact, to draw its whole deck. Once you do this and find a Mox Opal, you can then use your infinite mana (almost infinite) to play Karn, the Great Creator, find Walking Ballista and kill your opponent. Alternatively, you can do a similar combo with just Displacer Kitten and Karn (more on that in Karn section). Since this is also a Yorion deck, it has the ability to sufficiently grind against many opponents and through more traditional means.

 

Header - Card Choices

Yorion, Sky Nomad

While being a Yorion deck does hurt the consistency to some degree, I don’t think it’s enough to justify playing without Yorion. To some degree, you already want to play a lot of the cards you’re adding in, it provides a really solid late-game plan by itself and it does have a fair amount of synergy in the deck naturally. I think Yorion is arguably a staple of this archetype and I really like building the deck to take advantage of it.

Displacer KittenTeferi, Time Raveler

These cards constitute one combo element of the deck. Combining these cards with any zero-drop will result in the ability to draw as many cards as you want. Unlike the UW Control deck we covered a few weeks ago, this deck is full of different zero-drops to enable this. Additionally, because this deck plays Karn as its win condition, you don’t have to dedicate any space in the main deck for an otherwise useless combo piece like Thassa’s Oracle. Additionally, as we’ll see later, this deck has a fair amount of synergy with Displacer Kitten beyond the combo, so it functions as a standalone card in this deck.

By including these, you are cutting some more traditional elements of the blue artifact decks. This deck doesn’t play Emry, Lurker of the Loch, Thoughtcast or any part of a Hullbreacher/Echo of Eons combo. While those are significant losses, you do gain a lot from having Teferi in the deck and those cards don’t really make a lot of sense in a Yorion deck. Shutting down the ability to interact on your turn is huge and acting as a faux-answer to just about anything is something that this deck is in the market for. Overall, there are pros and cons to the approach, but I like going in this direction. 

Karn, the Great Creator

Karn is the other combo element that we haven’t seen much in Legacy as of yet. With Displacer Kitten and Karn, you can use Karn to search up Lion’s Eye Diamond, play it and blink Karn. Then you activate the LED, discarding your hand and use Karn to search up Tormod’s Crypt, cast it (blinking Karn) and exiling your own graveyard. Then, you use Karn to search up the now exiled Lion’s Eye Diamond, rinse and repeat, generating infinite mana. Then, Karn finds Walking Ballista and ends the game on the spot. Even if Karn wasn’t able to be used in this way, it would still be a key piece of the deck since it is both a threat and a lock piece, which is exactly what this deck wants. 

Esper Sentinel

Esper Sentinel is a really annoying card to play against. If your opponents are tripping up on resources, Sentinel is very punishing since opponents will be loath to let you draw extra cards. If they do, it won’t take much for you to pull reasonably far ahead. On top of this, it is still a cheap artifact which has value by itself here, so this is the perfect inclusion for this deck.

Ethersworn Canonist

Canonist is not the most impactful main deck card, but it certainly makes things awkward for opponents at times. The combination of Canonist and Teferi really limits your opponent’s options and almost starts to act as a faux-prison combo. On top of this, there are some decks, like Storm, that can’t really beat a resolved Canonist, so you get some extra mileage there.

Ingenious Smith

Ingenious Smith is not at its peak power here since there are a lot of nonartifacts in the deck. However, there are still a ton of hits in this deck and by including Smith, you can further sidestep the artifact hate that opponents play against you. Additionally, and this is true for the following two creatures as well so I won’t repeat this, Smith is a good target for a Displacer Kitten for times when you don’t have the combo assembled (as well as working with Yorion). 

Thought Monitor

This is going to be a staple of the blue artifact decks for years to come. A cheap creature that can draw two cards is hugely impactful and really makes life difficult for your opponents. It frequently needs to be interacted with, which opens the door for even more impactful cards to resolve down the line. Again, this deck is a bit lighter on cheap artifacts than a deck like 8-Cast, so this might not cast it for one or two mana all the time. However, even at three mana, this is still a great card and you do still play a ton of artifacts.

Urza, Lord High Artificer

Urza has really fallen out of favor as of late. This is because four-mana cards are less reliable than they used to be and a resolved Urza isn’t as powerful in a fairly fast format. This being said, Urza is still an excellent card and there are a lot of games where it is a powerhouse by itself. I’m not 100 percent sure that Urza is the best direction to go with this archetype, but it does have enough synergy and power that I’m not at all surprised to see it here.

Force of Will

Force of Will continues to be an essential piece in Legacy and getting to play it in a deck like this is a huge boon since it answers almost everything that you might care about.

Chalice of the Void (Timeshifted)

Being a Chalice deck means there will be plenty of games where you just get free wins. Like a number of other blue artifact decks that exist, this deck can back it up with Force of Will, which is a play most opponents will not be ready for. Chalice is slightly awkward in this deck because it does play some number of one-drops, but the downside of losing those cards will often be outweighed by the upside of locking them out.

Lotus PetalMox Opal

Zero-mana artifacts really enable this deck to have explosive starts. These are the cards that allow you to play so many four-drops and help you pull way ahead of opponents early on. These are also critical to the Kitten combo, acting as the final part of the combo so make sure you either hold one in your hand or have a Teferi -3 ready to go.

Pithing NeedleAether SpellbombShadowspearSoul-Guide Lantern

These are the Urza’s Saga targets, which are fairly straightforward. This covers a lot of ground so choose the one you most need (remembering that you can also get Mox Opal or Lotus Petal, when needed).

Ancient Tomb

Ancient Tomb needs little introduction in a deck like this, but this deck does need a lot of colored mana. This means that there are significant risks for drawing too many of these and you can’t afford to play cards like City of Traitors for that reason.

Cavern of Souls

Cavern is already close to good enough in traditional 8-Cast decks and in a deck that’s trying to combo with a creature, Cavern can be completely devastating against countermagic decks.

Karakas

Karakas is a bit awkward because you don’t need that much white mana, but it’s still a really powerful card that synergizes with cards like Urza (and Yorion, of course).

Otawara, Soaring City

These land/spell hybrids are perfect for a deck like this, and I could even see wanting to play an extra copy.

Seat of the SynodAncient DenRazortide Bridge

Playing as many artifact lands as you realistically can is important but Razortide Bridge entering tapped is a real cost. I do think it’s still worth it, as it does increase the consistency of the deck, but you have to be aware of the downsides of a land entering tapped. 

Tundra

You need to be able to cast your spells and this deck does have a strong need for both white and blue mana, so four Tundra seems necessary.

Urza's Saga

Urza’s Saga will always be one of the best cards, if not the best card, in these decks. While there has been a significant downtick of Saga since the Ragavan ban, that’s mostly reflective of the lack of mana production in blue decks without Ragavan around. Decks like this will always be perfectly suited for Saga as Saga provides just about everything this deck is looking for. 

 

Header - The Sideboard

Force of Negation

Sometimes the best solution against combo decks is just to double up on your free countermagic, so maximizing on Forces here is an excellent choice.

Swords to Plowshares

The best removal spell around, bringing in four copies will really help against pesky creatures.

Grafdigger's CageLion's Eye DiamondMycosynth LatticePortable HoleTormod's CryptWalking Ballista

When you see one-ofs in a Karn sideboard, you know you’re looking at a tutor package. There’s nothing particularly novel here, but it’s important to keep in mind that Karn can search up a zero-drop artifact if that’s the part of your combo that you’re missing.

 

Header - Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t forget that you can add Yorion to your hand as a blue card for Force of Will in a pinch.
  • Chalice of the Void is a zero-drop artifact if you really need one of those to get the combo going.

 

Header - Sideboard Guide

Izzet Delver

Izzet Delver

Out: 4 Ethersworn Canonist

In: 4 Swords to Plowshares

You could argue that Force of Will is worse in this matchup than Canonist but I just don’t think Canonist does enough. Keeping Force of Will helps you push through Chalice early and defend against Meltdown, so this seems like a really solid swap. 

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Jeskai Control

Jeskai Control

Out: 4 Ethersworn Canonist

In: 4 Force of Negation

This is the matchup where I think you could choose not to sideboard and be fine. That being said, I don’t think Canonist does too much and stopping cards like Narset is fairly important. Force of Negation is definitely awkward if they resolve a Teferi, but I think that’s a risk worth taking since the card is fairly effective at defending against their planeswalkers.

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Elves

Elves

Out: 4 Esper Sentinel

In: 4 Swords to Plowshares

Sentinel does very little in this matchup beyond enabling your synergies. I think it’s much better to cut them completely and aim to disrupt them just long enough to get your combo going. I could see wanting to add Force of Negation as well, but I don’t think it’s necessary (and it’s risky with Allosaurus Shepherd around).

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Doomsday

Doomsday

Out: 1 Aether Spellbomb, 1 Pithing Needle, 1 Shadowspear, 1 Soul-Guide Lantern

In: 4 Force of Negation

The Saga package doesn’t really do much here. While they do have some function, perhaps turning off a Street Wraith’s cycling ability, overall they’re impactful. Swapping them out for Force of Negations should go a long way towards making this matchup more manageable. They’re still a scary deck but Chalice + Force is a good combination to have, especially when you have your own combo that you’re working towards. 

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