A Touch of Ensoul

Let’s all take a moment to remember Ensoul Artifact and how good that card was. While it didn’t make its way into every Affinity deck in Modern, it definitely found its way into some of them. This isn’t even counting the Standard archetypes that came about thanks to the card.

There were two extremely strong interactions with the card when it was Standard legal. The first was putting it on a simple Ornithopter. While Ornithopters are generally unimpressive and you rarely want to draw them on their own (no offense, Urza), combining the card with Ensoul Artifact granted you a buff 5/5 flyer—on turn 2 no less! History tells us that Ornithopters can be plenty intimidating when combined with the right effect.

The other option was to put it on your Darksteel Citadel, making the land an indestructible 5/5. Without something like Path to Exile, that’s a pretty tough creature to deal with. We had Banishing Light, and with Theros, we had plenty of other ways to deal with enchantments, but that still didn’t hinder the inherent power level much.

Well, Tezzeret’s Touch takes Ensoul Artifact to the next level. While it’s true that you have to invest an additional mana, and an additional color at that, there is a payoff for the added expense. Now when the artifact dies, you get it back instead!

The most common thing you likely want to be doing with the Touch is to put it on otherwise underwhelming artifacts like Pilgrim’s Eye or Prophetic Prism. Coincidentally, these also happen to be artifacts that benefit you by returning to your hand when they kick the bucket. Pilgrim’s Eye would also be a 5/5 flyer—if that does anything for you.

There are two immediate homes I can imagine for the card. The first is the Metalwork Colossus deck. You’re already going to be playing plenty of artifacts that don’t do much on their own other than make Metalwork Colossus cheaper. This deck has plenty of 2-drops that curve perfectly into attacking for 5 on turn 3. Most of them will also give you a bonus when they return to your hand after their death.

The other deck I could see this finding a home in is a Panharmonicon list. Heck, you could even put it on your Panharmonicon! Not only does returning a Prophetic Prism to your hand sound great when it’s going to trigger multiple times, but putting this on a Noxious Gearhulk just so that it will return after its death is an awesome little perk—it basically turns Tezzeret’s Touch into a Necromancer’s Magemark (be sure you kids hover over that card link to see what grandpa Frank is talking about).

Another cute trick is to play this on Skysovereign, Consul Flagship when you don’t have enough creatures to crew it. In this way, you get a 5/5 flyer that still triggers when you attack. While this isn’t always ideal, and it’s clearly better to turn something else into a 5/5 if crewing is your intention, this is a nice trick to be aware of in a pinch, say, on an otherwise empty board. Thankfully, however, no one is going to be attaching this card to any Smuggler’s Copters, at least not in Standard. Can you imagine attacking with a 5/5 flyer on turn 3 that also loots? I wouldn’t be surprised if that interaction was taken into consideration when deciding to ban the chopper.

I’m sure it goes without saying, but Touch also goes well with both Clue tokens and Etherium Cell tokens, which are made by Tezzeret the Schemer (despite neither having the best “return to your hand” value). Despite the tokens not going back to your hand, this is still usually going to be a 1-for-1. If you put Touch on a token and they kill it, you’re out 1 enchantment for 1 removal spell. You do come out ahead if you’re able to crack the Clue in response. Also, feel free to see if your opponent will mind you putting the token into your hand anyway, a la Hearthstone—it never hurts to ask!

Anyway, that’s all I have for now about Tezzeret’s Touch—worth noting that I’ve had “The Touch” from the Transformers movie stuck in my head the entire time I was writing this. (You’re welcome.) Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you later!

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