Ten “Decoy” Artifacts and Enchantments
Tired of getting all your cool artifacts and enchantments destroyed? Sounds like you need something to distract your opponents. Let’s give them something else to focus on with a list of my ten favourite “decoy” artifacts and enchantments!
Before I get into the list, let me explain what I mean.
I think it’s suboptimal to only have one or two artifacts or enchantments that are the key pieces of your winning strategy. People run removal for those kinds of permanents. Unless their Commander has black and white in it, those decks exile anything! But if you’re putting all of your eggs into one artifact or enchantment, that’s the one that gets your removal! Hence, the decoys! Why not decoy creatures? Because people rarely have one or two creatures, and even if they did, wraths are all over the place so they tend not to last long no matter what.
A good decoy permanent is something that’s worth removing, but that isn’t central to your strategy. Mana rocks rarely get the attention of an artifact removal spell, so they don’t make a good decoy. The key is to have more than one option for your opponents’ removal spell. If you’ve got only one target, and it’s a great one, it becomes a lightning rod. So here are a few of my favourite permanents that hopefully eat that spell!
Shrine of Burning Rage was the inspiration for this article. Although it references red cards, its identity is colourless, so you can run it in anything.
If you cast this in a non-red deck, your opponents will surely ignore it at first which, I know, isn’t the point of a decoy card. However, it has a certain inevitability to it that can’t be ignored. Heck, if it doesn’t soak up a removal spell before too long, it becomes its own win condition. A great way to bait out a removal spell with the shrine is to tap out so you can’t pay for the activation cost. An opponent might see this as a rare chance to get rid of it without you punishing them for it.
Phyrexian Reclamation. Now here’s an enchantment that doesn’t actually do anything on it’s own. You have to cast creatures for it, and those creatures have to die before you can even activate this one. However, after you keep recurring creature after creature, your opponents won’t be able to resist getting it off the battlefield in a hurry. Assuming your deck isn’t all about spamming certain creatures, that is. It generates value that just cannot be ignored. That’s my kind of decoy!
Speaking of value, Trading Post is a fantastic decoy card. This is a great card to illustrate how a decoy provides value, even if your opponents don’t take the bait. Especially if you use it to bring back a few other decoy artifacts to further tempt your opponents into spending even more resources.
Black Market will draw out some removal every time. It comes down to unknown potential. Once you’re generating tons of extra mana, other players get jealous. They begin to imagine future turns where they’re casting one spell per turn, and you’re casting four. Suddenly that removal spell in their hand gets moved to the front so they don’t have to play in the dystopian future they’re imagining.
Loxodon Warhammer is a fine piece of equipment that admittedly only works in a deck that wants to be attacking. But if that’s your deck, this weapon will certainly get quite a bit of attention once you start swinging life totals into your favour by dozens of points at a time. Getting rid of the creature doesn’t really get rid of the problem, leaving your opponents with one option. Smashing this hammer means one more artifact of yours gets to stay in one piece!
I’m not entirely sure if Mimic Vat is a decoy or a main target. By the strictest definition, it counts if you haven’t built your deck around abusing its ability. But unlike some of the other examples here, this one rarely gets to stick around before it’s dealt with. Or maybe that makes it the perfect decoy?
I may have an unhealthy love of Tamiyo’s Journal. I’ve mentioned it so many times in the past, but it’s perfect here. I swear it’s not just the floating hearts around my eyes.
As a decoy Tamiyo’s Journal is perfect. It keeps generating value as extra cards, or eventually a full tutor. Plus, if you’re disciplined enough to build up six or more clues, you can end-step tutor for one combo piece, and grab the other piece on your turn. It goes from decoy to full-on win condition!
I don’t have much experience playing As Foretold, but from what little I have seen people want this card off the table! This is because of its raw potential. Once you’re able to cast a six-drop or greater for free every turn, it’s sure to trade for a card.
Again, for context, As Foretold doesn’t actually do anything on its own. It helps you with your main strategy, and it gets you slightly closer to being able to resolve your game-winning enchantment without retribution.
Is Sandwurm Convergence a decoy, or a straight up win condition? It can certainly win the game. It might be on a higher power scale than some of these other cards, but it’s built in “don’t attack me” clause is what makes it great.
A bad decoy doesn’t draw removal spells, it just makes your opponents want to remove you from the game instead. The Convergence protects you against that. I’m beginning to think any green deck should just throw one of these in as an eventual bonus win condition.
Future Sight is one of those enchantments that often goes under the radar. Sure, you’re giving your opponents full knowledge of what you’re up to, but after you keep playing cards straight off the top of your library, someone will try to put a stop to that value engine and have one less answer to your ulterior motive.
]The only way this one backfires is if your opponents see you draw your better enchantments and know they have to leave this one alone. But if you know that they know and never play that bomby one, you keep getting that Sight into the Future!
There you have it. I’ll leave you with this philosophical question: If every card is a decoy card, is there such a thing as a decoy?