The 20 Best Equipment Card of 2023

The 20 Best Equipment Cards of 2023

Kristen GregoryCommander, Design

It’s never been a better time to play an equipment deck in Commander, or even just splash some powerful pieces of equipment in your deck. CAG member and combat-step enjoyer Kristen counts down the best equipment of 2023.

It’s safe to say I’ve played a lot of equipment in my time, and it’s one of my favorite card types. I’ve ran with Akiri, Line-slinger and Bruse Tarl, Aurelia the Warleader, and Akiri, Fearless Voyager just to name a few. Right now, my mainstay is Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale, and I’m thinking she’ll remain with the equipment crown for the foreseeable future (the key is to not tie yourself only to playing Knights). 


I’ve discussed some great ideas for Commander Voltron builds on the blog this year, but today I want to recap the best equipment we’ve gotten this year – and there’s a lot of crackers. Let’s see which ones can whet your appetite and which are stone-cold killers. 


Diamond Pick-Axe is especially good if you play in playgroups that love to blow up artifacts in the early game, which is something I’ve enjoyed doing recently with cards like Brotherhood’s End. It has a lot to compete with, though, which is why it couldn’t be higher on the list. And I’m not just talking other equipment, but other equipment that can do a similar thing. Goldvein Pick remains the gold-standard with its equip cost of {1}, and if you go a little more mana intensive you have The Reaver Cleaver. Still, a solid little card.


It’s a shame to see one of the Swords of X&Y so low on a list like this, but really, Sword of Once and Future doesn’t cleanly fit into many archetypes. Recurring spells can be good, but surveil 2 doesn’t draw any cards, and pro-blue and black aren’t the best colors to have protection from. The card gets interesting if you’re running Sunforger, but most of the spells I’m excited to cast with Sunforger are three or four mana, so the synergy isn’t quite there. Still, on a creature like Laelia, the Blade Reforged this will pull its weight. 


I do like a Stoneforge Masterwork in the right deck, but it doesn’t fit in every build; while Lathril might opt for it, other decks prefer to make different kinds of tokens. Felidar Retreat, Warriors from Oketra’s Monument, and whatever else you make? Yeah, not much creature-type crossover. Kemba’s Banner actually improves on Pennon Blade, which feels very overcosted in 2023. Paying an extra mana for the 2/2 token is fine, and the re-equip cost isn’t prohibitive. I’m a big advocate of the build-your-own haymaker approach, and Kemba’s Banner can do that.


Dire Flail is still a little under the radar, but I think once you play with it, you’ll see how much utility it provides. If you’re making artifact tokens – whether clues, food or treasure – or artifact creatures, like Thopters, this’ll provide some steady fuel with which to sweep down opposing blockers and utility creatures. In a Voltron deck, this’ll turn your treasure tokens into the equivalent of a 20-ton ferrous slug. They might be able to go to blocks, but they might not have any blockers left


I always love when key interaction is printed on relevant card types, and so I got excited when Deconstruction Hammer was released. Along with Citizen’s Crowbar, there are now two weapons to free-equip to Syr Gwyn, two weapons to cantrip off of Sram, and two fewer artifacts or enchantments in play opposite you. 

The only thing holding this card back is the {3} to activate, so outside of equipment decks, you likely have better options at Instant speed. 


Green isn’t the usual color you think of for equipment decks, but Tangleweave Armor does something pretty special: it lets you curve from this into a two-mana Ghalta. You can get yourself a sizable body for only four mana in decks like Progenitus, Reaper King, Zacama or The Ur-Dragon, to name a few. Incidentally, equipping this to said costly Commander can usually ensure two or even one-shot knockouts with Commander Damage, which is pretty spicy indeed. 


The other new “Sword” fares better than the March of the Machine offering, but not by as much as you’d think. Sword of Forge and Frontier has much more relevant protection colors, and arguably better abilities – if we judge on the average case. Provided you run enough lands (38+, easily) and are otherwise fine with impulse draw, then this Sword can probably do a lot of work for you. 

Where it starts to drop points is in equipment-focused builds. These builds generally pull lands out of the deck with Sword of the Animist and Sword of Hearth and Home, and they tend to run 33-36 lands in a bid for efficiency. What’s more, they’re generally tight on mana unless they get luck and/or draw Sword of Feast and Famine, so there’s a very real chance they won’t be able to cast the cards that are put into exile. Finally, these decks run a lot of key interaction pieces, and seeing a Teferi’s Protection put into exile will always feel bad. 


Cheap vigilance is really good; so good, in fact, that vigilance makes my list of the Best Keywords in Commander right now. Even without the card advantage, this is costed more efficiently than a lot of similar effects. When you slap on the card draw, though? Well, it really shines. In any Kindred deck you’ve a high chance of drawing another body when you attack. 

Equipment has to be cheap to play and cheap to equip in decks that splash them, and Conjurer’s Mantle is both. 


Bitterthorn, Nissa’s Animus had a lot of hype when it came out. Did it deserve it?

Well, yes and no. Sword of the Animist remains the king of ramping, at one less to play and one less to equip. Bitterthorn excels instead in token builds like Neyali, Suns’ Vanguard, where it can enjoy double-strike and a number of anthem effects. This is kind of necessary to making Bitterthorn good, as the 1/1 token will be chumped the majority of the time and you’ll then have to pay three to equip again, which is a lot. 

It does have other homes, though; Nahiri, Forged in Fury and Isshin, Two Heavens as One being prime candidates. It’s just that you’re almost always having to pay that equip cost again very quickly, which dampens my enthusiasm. 


I’m not sure what the designers were thinking with the other Anduril, but summoning spirits happened one time, and was even less of a “thing” in the books than in the movies. I’m glad we got a second Anduril, and that it was powerful.

The City’s Blessing shouldn’t be hard to achieve in a dedicated go-wide deck, and honestly these days with all of the incidental token production in many decks, it’s not difficult in the slightest. I love that this is an attack trigger and not an on-damage trigger, because it turns your forces into serious beaters every time you swing. Equip {3} stops this being S-tier, but really, lowering the equip cost any lower when it only costs {2} to play would be pretty ridiculous. 


This one made waves in 60-card Standard, which is a big ask of an equipment card if you think about it. If you’re unclear on the deck or the combo, Seth at MTG Goldfish has a clip where he managed to break Arena, which is pretty funny. 

Clones are standard fare in Magic, and we see new variations of them multiple times a year. After Imposter Mech’s Vehicle, it was only a matter of time until we got an equipment option. Blade of Shared Souls turns whatever it equips into a copy of another creature you control for as long as it’s attached. You can do some fun stuff with this in Commander, like using Ashnod’s Altar to pay the equip cost and looping through Mitotic Slime or Wurmcoil Engine tokens until you swarm the board. 


Haste is still good in Commander, especially when you have tap abilities. While Thousand-year Elixir and Tyvar can help you get tappin’ straight away, there are other instances where it’s actually pretty nice to have Sting, the Glinting Dagger. The obvious use case is in Lathril, Blade of Elves, as you’ll be able to attack, get your elf tokens, and then be able to hold up her tap ability from the beginning of the next combat. 

Plenty of decks have had their chance to shine with Sting, like Hansk, Slayer Zealout (the reskinned Daryl card), letting you slay every zombie token you can lay eyes upon. Jhoira, Ageless Innovator loves this too, as do OGs like Captain Sisay and Krenko, Mob Boss. Sting feels a little under the radar still, and I’m confident it can add value to more decks than you’d think. 


Darksteel Plate has felt overcosted for a while now, especially if you don’t have ways to equip for {1} or {0} on your Commander. Many decks have opted for the likes of Flawless Maneuver, Boros Charm and Heroic Intervention instead, because reacting to removal is just better than baiting it out. 

Mithril Coat solves this issue, letting it be played at Flash speed and be auto-equipped to a legendary creature. This effect is suddenly worth playing again, it would seem. 


Nazgul Battle-Mace is pretty expensive if you evaluate it purely on the abilities it grants, but it’s costed this way because stealing opponent’s sacrificed permanents is very strong. If this didn’t cost a whopping eight mana in an edict-focused black build, then it’d add another Tergrid way below rate. 

As it stands, it’s medium in that kind of build, but actively strong in any deck that can provide free-equips. Annhilator 1 might not seem like much, but it’s also a hard counter to graveyard-based loops. If you have Gravecrawler or Orah, Skyclave Hierophant fans in your local meta, this mace can put a frown on their face. 


The reason why Diamond Pickaxe didn’t climb higher is because we got an excellent common months before it: Beamtown Beatstick. Boomtown Bopstick is closer to Prying Blade than Goldvein Pick with the equip {2}, which might mark it down a little, but it more than makes up for it with the addition of menace. The Beep Bop Boopstick can keep your early drops from being chumped so soon, which is actually more mana efficient in the long run. 

I really love Motown Beats, sick, and it gets even better if you have free equips. 


The top five of the year are largely interchangeable, and to say that any one of them is “better” is obviously just my opinion, but also heavily depends on the type of deck you’re going to put them into. Bladehold War-Whip takes the number five spot, dropping in a 2/2 doublestrike token for just three mana. Equipment that grants doublestrike is rare, and the fact you also get to reduce equip costs of other equipment you control by {1] is icing on the cake.

Most decks that run this will already have Puresteel Paladin and Ardenn to cheat the hefty equip cost, but combining this with Bladegraft Aspirant reduces that cost by another {1} when equipping to it. Fighter Class is another good one to double-up on discounts, and if you have an Astor, Bearer of Blades that gives you equipment Equip {1}, Bladehold War-Whip makes it free. 


While The One Ring continues to dominate in every format, the “alternate” version is quietly making a name for itself in Commander. Trailblazer’s Boots has long been a staple of equipment decks, but I’ve dropped it for Bilbo’s Ring in Syr Gwyn, because that Equip {4} doesn’t bother me in the slightest. That equip cost does, however, mean Bilbo’s Ring couldn’t make it higher on the list.

Hexproof only on your turn isn’t as good as every turn, but it’s more than good enough, considering it stops interaction on big-swing turns. The main draw is unblockable which leads to Voltron kills; so too does drawing more cards to hit your haymakers like Sword of Feast and Famine and the next card on our list. 


Extra combats usually cost around four to five mana, so on-rate, Hexplate Wallbreaker gets it done. What makes it so incredible is that it’s an on-type extra combat that many decks can enjoy other payoffs for; whether drawing cards, being tutored for, or simply suiting up a fattie with the entire armory and swinging twice. 

It’s also another extra-combat spell for Etali, Primal Storm and other decks that lose out by free-casting traditional extra combat spells during combat – when most of them do nothing thanks to the wording usually being “after this main phase” (which means in combat the spell does nothing). 


I leapt out of my seat when this Halberd was previewed, and for good reason. The format has been dominated in recent years by a slew of tokens. I can’t think of a card I hate seeing more than Academy Manufactor, and it’s not uncommon for decks to generate serious advantage in the midgame by leveraging tokens. Terrain’s Soulcleaver effectively punishes this approach by growing the equipped creature anytime anyone sends an artifact or creature to the bin.

Running it alongside The Reaver Cleaver and Beamtown Beatstick et al is of course going to fuel it reliably, but there won’t be a game where this doesn’t trigger multiple times a turn cycle. Oh and cheap source of Vigilance, much?


The best equipment of the year is white’s answer to Elvish Visionary. I know we already got Spirited Companion, but Glimmer Lens can just. keep. going. 

White hungers for cheap, efficient, and repeatable card draw effects, and Glimmer Lens is not only the best equipment this year, but one of the best white cards we got for Commander all year too. You don’t have to be in an equipment deck to enjoy this card, you just have to be attacking and playing white, which is a very low bar to meet. 

“For Me!”, I din. 


2023 was a bumper year for Equipment cards, and I’ve added a whole bunch of these to my decks – and have plans for some others, too. You can get some of the best For Mirrodin! Equipment in the Rebellion Rising Precon, and for everything else on the list, Card Kingdom has singles as ever. What’s your favorite equipment this year? Let us know on Twitter X

For more, check out our Best Equipment and Best Budget Equipment articles. I’m sure some of 2023’s cards make the grade.