THS: Maindeck artifact removal

Today, we’ll use the updated card valuations to determine whether it makes sense to maindeck artifact removal in Theros. This spreadsheet lists all the artifacts in Theros.

A quick glance at it reveals that there are only 5 bomb/exceptional artifacts, the legendary enchantment artifacts that are the weapons of the gods. A typical 8-person draft will have 2 of these 5, so you do need the ability to deal with them, but not necessarily maindeck since there’s about a 1/4 chance of facing one in any given match. Apart from these, the only artifacts that I consider good are Akroan Horse and Guardians of Meletis, although Fleetfeather Sandals and Prowler’s Helm can be scary if you have a stalled board. Even if you consider all 4 of these in addition to the weapons of the gods, there will only be an average of 9.5 of them in a typical 8-person draft, so each player will usually only have 1, and you don’t usually want to run artifact removal maindeck or even side it in just to handle a single card unless it absolutely wrecks you.

Even against an opponent with playable artifacts, you’re better off siding in removal that destroys enchantments in addition to artifacts. Fade into Antiquity, Artisan’s Sorrow, and Destructive Revelry (and perhaps even Annul), are better sideboard cards than Demolish since Theros doesn’t have many particularly scary artifacts or lands that. Even Ray of Dissolution is a better artifact removal spell than Demolish since it kills the weapons of the gods and also has many other targets. The only color that has access to artifact removal but not enchantment removal is red, and if you’re in red but not green (or blue), you’re probably better off siding in Wild Celebrants, or running them maindeck since they’re reasonable as just a 5/3 for 3 mana that may occasionally destroy an artifact. The only reason to even side in Demolish is if you don’t have enough other artifact removal, and there’s never a reason to run it maindeck unless it also destroys enchantments.

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