The Commander 2017 pre-constructed decks for Magic the Gathering introduced a number of strong cards for the Commander format. One of these is a one-mana Equipment called Bloodforged Battle-Axe, released in the Feline Ferocity deck with Arahbo, Roar of the World on the cover. It’s more than an improved version of Bonesplitter, because this Axe can actually copy itself!
At only 1 mana to cast and 2 mana to equip, Bloodforged Battle-Axe gives the equipped creature +2/+0. Also, whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player, you create a token that’s a copy of Bloodforged Battle-Axe! That’s a pretty awesome way to stack up Equipment in a hurry!
This Battle-Axe has a minor initial investment that can copy itself many times over. Also, the tokens then can copy themselves, too. So, if a creature has multiple Bloodforged Battle-Axes equipped, it can create a whole flood of Battle-Axe tokens in a hurry.
Also, because of how Bloodforged Battle-Axe is worded, a creature with double strike that successfully deals damage to a player can cause this Equipment to be copied twice! On the second trigger, you can end up with three total Axe tokens, because the first token will copy itself, as well! If you have something like Parallel Lives or Doubling Season in play, this token creation becomes all the more ridiculous.
Plus, there’s another Equipment released in Commander 2017 called Hammer of Nazahn. This legendary artifact allows you to immediately attach an Equipment that comes into play to a creature. That means all of those tokens can be equipped right away for free! It also doesn’t hurt to play something like Puresteel Paladin to make equip costs cost zero mana instead, allowing you to use these tokens quickly.
Imagine a deck that plays Hellkite Tyrant having a card like this. With the Tyrant’s instant win condition of having 20 artifacts in play, you may be able to automatically win a lot of games just having a bunch of copies of this Axe in play! Interestingly, as of September 2022, we still haven’t seen this really happen. Why it hasn’t is absolutely baffling, as many of the decks that may play the Battle-Axe have Red mana in them!
There are many advantages to having an Equipment card like this, especially in decks that care about how many artifacts you have in play. Plenty of Commander decks would find a slot for this one-mana artifact, even some that may not be 100 percent Equipment based. Any deck which benefits by having a lot of artifacts in play can find a home for this unique Equipment.
Unsurprisingly, the Commander who uses Bloodforged Battle-Axe the most is the very Legendary creature that you would most expect: Nazahn, Revered Bladesmith. After all, Nazahn was one of the alternate Commanders from the very deck the Battle-Axe was released within. Not only can the Cat Artificer from Alara fetch the Hammer of Nazahn and put it straight into play, but it can get other Equipment cards to your hand.
The Battle-Axe also sees lots of play in Akiri, Line-Slinger decks; Akiri loves the additional artifacts that the Battle-Axe creates after all. It’s also a key artifact for other Equipment-happy Commanders such as Balan, Wandering Knight, Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist (and Partner friends), Sram, Senior Artificer, and more.
In February 2023, the Phyrexia: All Will Be One set released two Equipment-happy Commanders in Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden and Kemba, Kha Enduring. Unsurprisingly, Bloodforged Battle-Axe became a must-include in these decks. It definitely doesn’t hurt that the All Will Be One set introduced Equipment cards with the “For Mirrodin!” Ability that brings a 2/2 token into play along with them. So, the future for Equipment based Commander decks is bright, and the Battle-Axe will for sure be a value piece of their arsenals.
How would you use Bloodforged Battle-Axe?