Conditions Allow - Tetzin, Gnome Champion + The Golden-Gear Colossus EDH

Ben Doolittle • December 11, 2023

(The Golden-Gear Colossus | Art by Kekai Kotaki)

Big Robot

Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow. In this article series I take a legendary creature with a drawback and turn it into a strength. I wasn't expecting to get the best Gnome commander from The Lost Caverns of Ixalan, but Tetzin, Gnome Champion is a strong new artifact matters commander with a lot of potential. Even limited to double-faced artifacts, Tetzin is a powerful engine to fuel your graveyard and keep your hand full of artifacts. I'm more interested in his other half, however, The Golden-Gear Colossus.

The Golden-Gear Colossus has the unique ability to transform any transforming double-faced artifacts you control. Notably, that doesn't include modal double-faced cards, like Halvar, God of Battle, which can't transform. Luckily, there are still plenty of artifacts that The Golden-Gear Colossus makes much, much better. From old classic Azor's Gateway to the new Master's Guide-Mural, there are plenty of costs The Golden-Gear Colossus lets you circumvent to access powerful abilities faster than you're meant to. All you've got to do is flip Tetzin, Gnome Champion.

A Little DIY

Craft is a new keyword ability that allows certain artifacts to transform by using certain cards from your field or graveyard as materials. Tetzin, Gnome Champion requires six artifacts to transform. At first I thought this would require a lot of extra help to accomplish. Faithless Looting is an easy choice for graveyard focused decks, and Urza's Bauble sends itself to the graveyard. I also grabbed a bunch of cards to make artifact tokens as free permanents you don't mind exiling to craft. Like I mentioned above, however, Tetzin, Gnome Champion is a powerful mill engine in the command zone. 

Having plenty of cheap double-faced artifacts makes it easy to filter through your library with Tetzin, Gnome Champion in the early turns of the game. Not only does this fill your graveyard with artifacts to craft with, it also helps you dig for the more impactful artifacts you want to transform later, and while Neglected Heirloom and Thraben Gargoyle don't provide any value on their own, that isn't always the case. Clay-Fired Bricks helps you hit land drops, and Oteclan Landmark smooths out your next draw. This also means they're not really dead draws after Tetzin, Gnome Champion transforms, either. Even Thraben Gargoyle becomes a one-mana 4/2 with flying.

Some flip sides are better than others, though. Brass's Tunnel-Grinder not only wheels when it enters play, but it flips into a pseudo-cascade once a turn. Inverted Iceberg flips into a slightly worse Frost Titan. Meanwhile, Dire Flail offers a slightly more permanent solution for enemy blockers, especially with the tokens The Golden-Gear Colossus makes when it attacks. Finally, Mysterious Tome is a slow draw engine, but gets slightly more interesting if your commander has already transformed.

Gearing Up

Once you do get The Golden-Gear Colossus in play, the plan is to quickly overwhelm the battlefield with artifacts. The Golden-Gear Colossus puts two 1/1 Gnome tokens into play whenever it enters play or attacks, which is already powerful. Add on the potential to quickly transform Golden Guardian and Master's Guide-Mural, and you can quickly overwhelm the battlefield. Just keep in mind that permanents don't leave play when they transform, so you can't activate Master's Manufactory and then transform it to get both effects in one turn. Similarly, The Enigma Jewel won't gain any abilities when transformed by The Golden-Gear Colossus, but it will still double your non-mana activated abilities.

Which is great because this deck has plenty of powerful activated abilities. Alongside the previously mentioned Gold-Forged Garrison and Master's Manufactory, Dowsing Device turns all your little Gnomes into a serious Voltron threat. Doubling each effect of Conqueror's Foothold makes the mana costs much more reasonable as well. The real star of the show here, however, is Dragonspark Reactor. You'll easily be creating two or three artifacts every turn, quickly making this little artifact a must answer problem for your opponents. While I'm here, I'll had Reckless Fireweaver and Ingenious Artillerist as well. If the game is going really slow, then Toralf's Hammer is a great effect to copy to pull ahead.

Finally, to give all those Gnome tokens a little extra oomph, I'm adding a few lords. Master of Etherium has the added bonus of being very large itself, while Illustrious Wanderglyph gives a more sizeable boost and makes tokens of its own. Anyone familiar with Tendershoot Dryad will know how powerful this effect is. Bronze Guardian won't make your creatures hit harder, but ward 2 makes them a little harder to deal with.

Getting Tricky

With a total of 25 artifacts to transform The Golden-Gear Colossus shouldn't ever run out of ready targets, but just in case you want to get a little more creative, I'm including Archangel Avacyn and Liquimetal Torque in the list as well. By using Liquimetal Torque to make Archangel Avacyn an artifact, you can transform her when The Golden-Gear Colossus attacks. This does destroy all your little Gnomes (and you won't get the indestructible buff when you transform her back), but it is a steady way to deal with opposing token swarms, and chip away at life totals. 

Finally, to go along with all this transforming, I'm slotting in Corruption of Towashi. The Golden-Gear Colossus from Tetzin, Gnome Champion can transform Incubator tokens, but the real focus here is drawing a card every time you transform a permanent. Corruption of Towashi draws a card both with The Golden-Gear Colossus's trigger and when you resolve a craft ability. It even works with the few Transformers cards in the deck, since convert is just transform with a fancy name.

Add in some removal and a few lands, and here's the final list.

Ancient Gear Golem

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Commander (1)
Creatures (17)
Artifacts (32)
Enchantments (1)
Instants (8)
Sorceries (3)
Lands (38)

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Tetzin, Gnome Champion is a powerful card, and a worthy commander on its own, but don't overlook The Golden-Gear Colossus. Cheating on transform costs opens up a lot of possibilities, and this deck can put a lot of artifacts into play very quickly, which is powerful on its own. If you're looking for a fresh take on artifacts in Commander, then Tetzin, Gnome Champion just might be for you.

But how would you build around The Golden-Gear Colossus? Would you focus on Tetzin, Gnome Champion instead? Let me know in the comments, and thanks for reading!

Ben was introduced to Magic during Seventh Edition and has played on and off ever since. A Simic mage at heart, he loves being given a problem to solve. When not shuffling cards, Ben can be found lost in a book or skiing in the mountains of Vermont.