Igniting the Spark of Urza, Lord Protector

The Brother’s War is still a few weeks away, but that won’t stop Bennie Smith from brewing with the set’s flagship planeswalker!

Urza, Lord Protector
Urza, Lord Protector, illustrated by Ryan Pancoast

The debut video for The Brothers’ War and previews start later this week, but we’ve already gotten a few teasers to whet our appetite, including a super-cool version of Urza where Urza, Lord Protector and The Mightstone and Weakstone can meld into a gigantic and powerful Urza, Planeswalker!

Urza, Lord Protector The Mightstone and Weakstone Urza, Planeswalker

I really love that we’ve basically got a mini-game built into a Commander deck with Urza, Lord Protector as the commander.  Can we find The Mightstone and Weakstone and have them both on the battlefield long enough to pay the seven mana needed to ignite Urza’s spark and meld the two cards together into Urza, Planeswalker? There are many points of interaction for your opponents to interfere with your plan, so pulling it off is going to feel amazing!

The melded card is powerful but not completely backbreaking. You could exile two target nonland permanents the turn this happens, which can eliminate two of your biggest threats but it will leave Urza with just one loyalty. But there are a ton of options available given Urza can activate an additional loyalty ability during each of your turns, and I expect the default will often be the +1 and +0 to draw two cards, discard a card, and creating two 1/1 Soldier tokens.

Outside of the mini-game to ignite Urza’s spark, I appreciate Urza’s simple yet powerful static ability: artifact, instant, and sorcery spells you cast cost 1 generic mana less to cast. This gives flexibility into what you want your deck to be focused on: you could be a heavy artifact deck, or a spellslinger deck, or a bit of both.

Okay, let’s dig in!

Finding that One Artifact

Inventors' Fair Fabricate Whir of Invention Enlightened Tutor Moonsilver Key Oswald Fiddlebender Kuldotha Forgemaster Arcum Dagsson Mystic Forge

I figure the first order of business is to incorporate ways to find The Mightstone and Weakstone.  I don’t usually play many tutor cards in my Commander decks, but I’d make an exception here since you’re basically just trying to level up your commander to his planeswalker form rather than assembling some game-ending combo. Moonsilver Key and Kuldotha Forgemaster are artifacts so if you’re leaning towards an artifact-heavy deck they’re going to be a slam dunk. If you’re leaning more towards a spellslinger deck you can rock Fabricate, Whir of Invention and Enlightened Tutor.

Oswald Fiddlebender and Arcum Dagsson can sacrifice an artifact to find what you need, while Mystic Forge helps sift through the cards on the top of your library to help you draw into The Mightstone and Weakstone.

Artifact Synergies

Academy Ruins Urza, Lord High Artificer Etherium Sculptor Foundry Inspector Vedalken Archmage Sai, Master Thopterist Thought Monitor Ethersworn Canonist Shimmer Myr Jhoira's Familiar Padeem, Consul of Innovation Artificer Class Glacian, Powerstone Engineer

There are endless artifact synergy cards available in Azorius, so I’ve selected some of the best ones to highlight here. I would definitely play Academy Ruins in the deck if you own one since if an opponent destroys Urza, Planeswalker The Mightstone and Weakstone will end up in your graveyard.

With Etherium Sculptor, Foundry Inspector and Jhoira’s Familiar to go alongside Urza, Lord Protector you can really stack up the discount on artifact spells!  Artificer Class from Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur’s Gate helps with the discount too and can potentially help find The Mightstone and Weakstone.

If you own an Urza, Lord High Artificer it definitely will have a home in an artifact-heavy version of the deck, effectively turning all your artifacts into mana rocks for blue mana that you can always dump into his ability if you don’t have anything else to do with it.

Artifacts of Interest

The Reality Chip Ornithopter of Paradise Master Transmuter Bronze Guardian Aetherflux Reservoir Solemn Simulacrum Sicarian Infiltrator

There are no shortage of impressive artifacts you could load up your artifact deck with, but I wanted to point out a few here are particularly nice with Urza’s mana discount. Shaving a mana from the cost to cast and reconfigure The Reality Chip means you can get it out there and generating card advantage a turn early.  Master Transmuter’s activation returns an artifact to your hand so if you use a cheap artifact for that you might be able to cast it again immediately. With a way to fill your hand with cards and an Aetherflux Reservoir on the battlefield, you could potentially cast a bunch of cheap or free artifacts to gain a bunch of life. Five artifacts cast in the turn means 1+2+3+4+5 life triggers for 15 extra life, which could very well spell another player’s doom.

I like Sicarian Infiltrator as a good way to squeeze some extra cards if you have a lot of mana hanging around, but I like it even more if the mana cost is shaved off by Urza and other effects! 

Instant and Sorcery Matters

Haughty Djinn Tura Kennerud, Skyknight Talrand, Sky Summoner Murmuring Mystic Niblis of Frost Jace's Sanctum Wizards of Thay Baral, Chief of Compliance Mystical Tutor Displacer Kitten Archmage Emeritus Monastery Mentor Taigam, Ojutai Master Primal Amulet Sentinel Tower Metallurgic Summonings Font of Magic Shark Typhoon

Spellslinger strategies got a boost from Dominaria United with Haughty Djinn and Tura Kennerüd, Skyknight to go with a bunch of other classic support cards. Making token creatures with Talrand, Sky Summoner and Shark Typhoon really help set up defenses for when you ignite Urza’s spark and get your planeswalker online.

Niblis of Frost provides a way to interact with your opponents’ creatures, particularly something large with evasion or trample that might otherwise be problematic for your planeswalker. I’ve been looking for a place to slot in my copy of Displacer Kitten and this might be the place—it could be especially nice to blink your copy of The Mightstone and the Meekstone for extra effects before you merge it with Urza.

Instant and Sorcery Spells of Note

Frantic Search Snap Solve the Equation Impulse Reality Shift Teferi's Protection Pull from Tomorrow Sphinx's Revelation Paradoxical Outcome Tezzeret's Gambit Approach of the Second Sun Nexus of Fate Drawn from Dreams

Outside of countermagic, shaving a mana from some instant and sorcery spells really kick them up a notch.  Frantic Search and Snap will net you an extra mana, helping you have a double spell turn earlier. Teferi’s Protection is an amazing reactionary spell that gets much better if it only costs one or two mana. I’m particularly excited about running Pull from Tomorrow and Sphinx’s Revelation since each discount to the spell means an additional card drawn.

Approach of the Second Sun and Nexus of Fate are powerful cards that cost a bunch of mana, so casting them at a discount seems worth stirring up the ire of your opponents.

If you’ve got a handful of one or two mana artifacts with Urza on the battlefield, Paradoxical Outcome becomes a really sweet card draw engine since you should be able to replay the ones your return to your hand quite easily.

Tezzeret’s Gambit already lets you shave a blue mana off the cost by paying life, so being able to cast it for two or even one mana is going to be sweet, especially if you’ve got Urza, Planeswalker on the battlefield to proliferate.


Grateful Apparition Karn's Bastion Sword of Truth and Justice Flux Channeler Thrummingbird Inexorable Tide Contagion Engine Viral Drake

Speaking of proliferate, if the plan is to put the pieces together for Urza, Planeswalker quickly then we’ll probably want a good number of proliferate cards too to increase the loyalty counters since Urza’s ultimate ability to destroy all nonland permanents except for your artifacts and planeswalkers is bonkers.  If we’re leaning heavily on artifacts we can play a bunch of artifact creatures with +1/+1 counters and artifacts with charge counters to benefit from cards like this even more. These cards are particularly nice since they can generate a proliferate effect multiple times over the course of multiple turns. Viral Drake even opens up the possibility of defeating an opponent with poison counters.

Planeswalkers Matter

Oath of Teferi The Chain Veil Luxior, Giada's Gift Spark Double Teferi, Temporal Archmage Ajani Steadfast Oath of Gideon

Oath of Teferi and The Chain Veil are bonkers with planeswalkers, but I’d probably want to run more planeswalkers in the 99 before I ran them in this deck since they won’t do much of anything if we stumble igniting Urza’s spark. Ajani Steadfast is definitely one you could add to the mix since he supports other planeswalkers quite nicely.

I just love the imagine of equipping Urza, Planeswalker with Luxior, Giada’s Gift while cranking up his loyalty.  Since Urza starts out as a legendary creature I’m definitely going to play Blackblade Reforged, so imagining Urza, Planeswalker wielding Luxior in one hand and Blackblade in the other is epic!  Definitely worth a snap picture to share on social media.

Will We See More Powerstone Stuff?

The Mightstone and Weakstone Karn, Living Legacy The Mana Rig

One thing that I find interesting is The Mightstone and Weakstone is a Legendary Artifact – Powerstone, which is the first non-token artifact with that artifact type.  The Powerstone tokens that Karn, Living Legacy and The Mana Rig make also have the Powerstone artifact type, which has me wondering a few things. First, is being a Powerstone going to be something that matters to other cards in the upcoming set?  I can’t imagine the answer is no or else why bother doing that?  Powerstones are something that we might want to consider for Urza since the mana from them can be used to activate Urza’s ability to meld.

Fractured Powerstone Worn Powerstone Powerstone Shard

Which has me wondering if they will errata these three cards to add the artifact type Powerstone to them?  Doing so for Powerstone Shard probably won’t matter too much in Commander unless there’s some way to copy Powerstones, but Fractured Powerstone and Worn Powerstone are already playable in Commander.  I’m definitely curious to see what’s going on with Powerstones in The Brothers’ War!

What other cards would you want to play in your Urza, Lord Protector deck?  What other planeswalkers would you run in the 99?  And what do you think Wizards of the Coast are planning on doing with Powerstones in the upcoming set?

Talk to Me

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And lastly, I just want to say: let us love each other and stay healthy and happy. 

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