Another day, another Planeswalker Duel Deck! Welcome, newcomers, and take a look at the project intro article before proceeding!

Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas is one of my favorite Planeswalkers. It manages to say, "Hey bud! If you play a very specific and narrow strategy with me, I will be the best card in your deck and it'll be insane." But you need to play that very specific and narrow strategy, or the card simply isn't very good. 

Fortunately for us, we love a Planeswalker that points in a specific direction. So we'll be playing a lot of artifacts. And even though Tezzeret can get plenty aggressive with his Minus ability, it's his Ultimate ability that I want to focus on, since it's very achievable and points us in a bit of a defensive direction. 

I like this idea since we get to play with a bunch of cards (Rares especially) that don't see much play elsewhere, and I think Blue/Black artifacts make for a fun Pillow Fort strategy. 

Here's what Tezzeret is bringing us: 

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas by Andy Hurst

'Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $35.85

Cards

Darksteel Citadel

Market Price: $0.31

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218795_200w.jpg

Indestructible
{T}: Add {C}.

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Vault of Whispers

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/37453_200w.jpg

(Vault of Whispers isn't a spell.)
{T}: Add {B}.

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Deadeye Plunderers

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/144789_200w.jpg

Deadeye Plunderers gets +1/+1 for each artifact you control.
{2}{U}{B}: Create a Treasure token. (It's an artifact with "{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.")

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Baleful Strix

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $2.18

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218260_200w.jpg

Flying, deathtouch
When Baleful Strix enters the battlefield, draw a card.

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Go for the Throat

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.34

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/139952_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonartifact creature.

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Caltrops

Market Price: $0.57

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Whenever a creature attacks, Caltrops deals 1 damage to it.

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Junktroller

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/183378_200w.jpg

Defender
{T}: Put target card from a graveyard on the bottom of its owner's library.

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Tezzeret's Ambition

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122937_200w.jpg

Draw three cards. If you control no artifacts, discard a card.

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Executioner's Capsule

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219528_200w.jpg

{1}{B}, {T}, Sacrifice Executioner's Capsule: Destroy target nonblack creature.

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Serrated Biskelion

Market Price: $0.28

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{T}: Put a -1/-1 counter on Serrated Biskelion and a -1/-1 counter on target creature.

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Parasitic Strix

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219574_200w.jpg

Flying
When Parasitic Strix enters the battlefield, if you control a black permanent, target player loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

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Dimir Aqueduct

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222601_200w.jpg

Dimir Aqueduct enters the battlefield tapped.
When Dimir Aqueduct enters the battlefield, return a land you control to its owner's hand.
{T}: Add {U}{B}.

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Vectis Agents

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/28624_200w.jpg

{U}{B}: Vectis Agents gets -2/-0 until end of turn and can't be blocked this turn.

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Deny Reality

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.16

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/125405_200w.jpg

Cascade (When you cast this spell, exile cards from the top of your library until you exile a nonland card that costs less. You may cast it without paying its mana cost. Put the exiled cards on the bottom of your library in a random order.)
Return target permanent to its owner's hand.

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Puppet Conjurer

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.08

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/27762_200w.jpg

{U}, {T}: Create a 0/1 blue Homunculus artifact creature token.
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a Homunculus.

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Alchemist's Vial

Market Price: $0.23

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When Alchemist's Vial enters the battlefield, draw a card.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Alchemist's Vial: Target creature can't attack or block this turn.

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Skittering Surveyor

Market Price: $0.17

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When Skittering Surveyor enters the battlefield, you may search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.

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Amulet of Kroog

Market Price: $0.12

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{2}, {T}: Prevent the next 1 damage that would be dealt to any target this turn.

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Enatu Golem

Market Price: $0.06

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When Enatu Golem dies, you gain 4 life.

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Mirrodin Besieged

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.09

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As Mirrodin Besieged enters the battlefield, choose Mirran or Phyrexian.
• Mirran — Whenever you cast an artifact spell, create a 1/1 colorless Myr artifact creature token.
• Phyrexian — At the beginning of your end step, draw a card, then discard a card. Then if there are fifteen or more artifact cards in your graveyard, target opponent loses the game.

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Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $6.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/39066_200w.jpg

+1: Look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal an artifact card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.
−1: Target artifact becomes an artifact creature with base power and toughness 5/5.
−4: Target player loses X life and you gain X life, where X is twice the number of artifacts you control.

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Tezzeret's Touch

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126423_200w.jpg

Enchant artifact
Enchanted artifact is a creature with base power and toughness 5/5 in addition to its other types.
When enchanted artifact is put into a graveyard, return that card to its owner's hand.

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Faerie Mechanist

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219564_200w.jpg

Flying
When Faerie Mechanist enters the battlefield, look at the top three cards of your library. You may reveal an artifact card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.

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Dismal Backwater

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222604_200w.jpg

Dismal Backwater enters the battlefield tapped.
When Dismal Backwater enters the battlefield, you gain 1 life.
{T}: Add {U} or {B}.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.58

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230465_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Corridor Monitor

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219554_200w.jpg

When Corridor Monitor enters the battlefield, untap target artifact or creature you control.

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Tezzeret's Simulacrum

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126550_200w.jpg

{T}: Target opponent loses 1 life. If you control a Tezzeret planeswalker, that player loses 3 life instead.

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Architects of Will

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/37092_200w.jpg

When Architects of Will enters the battlefield, look at the top three cards of target player's library, then put them back in any order.
Cycling {U/B} ({U/B}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Etherium Abomination

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/31729_200w.jpg

Unearth {1}{U}{B} ({1}{U}{B}: Return this card from your graveyard to the battlefield. It gains haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step or if it would leave the battlefield. Unearth only as a sorcery.)

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Witching Well

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198389_200w.jpg

When Witching Well enters the battlefield, scry 2. (Look at the top two cards of your library, then put any number of them on the bottom of your library and the rest on top in any order.)
{3}{U}, Sacrifice Witching Well: Draw two cards.

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Silent Arbiter

Market Price: $1.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/212165_200w.jpg

No more than one creature can attack each combat.
No more than one creature can block each combat.

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Etherium Astrolabe

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.17

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/27664_200w.jpg

Flash
{B}, {T}, Sacrifice an artifact: Draw a card.

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Sly Requisitioner

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126530_200w.jpg

Improvise (Your artifacts can help cast this spell. Each artifact you tap after you're done activating mana abilities pays for {1}.)
Whenever a nontoken artifact you control is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, create a 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature token.

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The Antiquities War

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.23

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162240_200w.jpg

(As this Saga enters and after your draw step, add a lore counter. Sacrifice after III.)
I, II — Look at the top five cards of your library. You may reveal an artifact card from among them and put it into your hand. Put the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.
III — Artifacts you control become artifact creatures with base power and toughness 5/5 until end of turn.

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Icy Manipulator

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162256_200w.jpg

{1}, {T}: Tap target artifact, creature, or land.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.99

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230466_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Tidehollow Strix

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/72311_200w.jpg

Flying
Deathtouch (Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.)

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Metallic Rebuke

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219572_200w.jpg

Improvise (Your artifacts can help cast this spell. Each artifact you tap after you're done activating mana abilities pays for {1}.)
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Contract Killing

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/145779_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature. Create two Treasure tokens. (They're artifacts with "{T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.")

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Elixir of Vitality

Market Price: $0.13

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/5045_200w.jpg

Elixir of Vitality enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}, Sacrifice Elixir of Vitality: You gain 4 life.
{8}, {T}, Sacrifice Elixir of Vitality: You gain 8 life.

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Battle at the Bridge

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126461_200w.jpg

Improvise (Your artifacts can help cast this spell. Each artifact you tap after you're done activating mana abilities pays for {1}.)
Target creature gets -X/-X until end of turn. You gain X life.

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Nihil Spellbomb

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161909_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Nihil Spellbomb: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.
When Nihil Spellbomb is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, draw a card.

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The Game Plan 

The goal here is to keep from losing in the early game and buy time until Tezzeret or another one of our powerful Rares can clean up. Our early game plays excel at punishing attacks, with the Strixes, Puppet Conjurer, Corridor Monitor, and Caltrops preventing damage over the first several turns. Once we get to the mid-late game, more good blockers show up along with some of our synergies to stall opposing progress. Old school throwback Icy Manipulator shines here, as it quietly has for almost 30 years.  Tezzeret's Plus ability isn't quite guaranteed to hit in this deck, but with 26 artifacts in the deck, it sure seems likely that we'll be able to find something. 

The removal here isn't the best, but it's adequate. Executioner's Capsule can be fetched via Tezzeret, Contract Killing leaves behind some artifacts that can later fuel a massive Antiquities War, and Battle at the Bridge can kill lots of stuff and buffer the life total. There's also Icy Manipulator to keep choice threats at bay, Deny Reality to set them back and then some, and our Deathtouchers to discourage attackers.

 As an aside, I really struggled with how to consider Baleful Strix for this project. Although it seems like it's constantly set for Uncommon rarity from its many appearances in Planechase and EDH decks, every time it's slotted into a set that you can actually open in packs or draft (Eternal Masters / Double Masters) it's been a Rare. To me, that kinda indicates that maybe that's where they wanted it to end up, since rarity in EDH decks is sort of nebulous anyway. In the end, I kind of bent the rules and treated them as an Uncommon for two important reasons: I already had 4 of them from one of the EDH sets sitting around with the Uncommon symbol on them, and I really enjoy the card and wanted to play them in several decks instead of just one. Is that a bit of a cop out? Maybe! But these little gray areas are fun to consider when putting all of these decks together and I thought that readers might find some of these little corner cases fun to consider. 

The Rares

This thing is very close to the top of my "Least Favorite Cards of All Time" list. I find the game play insufferable—it slows games down to a snail's pace, and transforms Magic from one of my favorite leisure activities to something loathsome. The copy that I have included in this deck has an autograph from me that is not fit for publication on a family website. However! Not everyone sees the game the same way I do, and it's important to allow for a few decks that tickle other people's fancy. I'd hate to Yuck someone else's Yum, as the saying goes. Plus, I can't deny that Arbiter is extremely effective in this deck as a way to discourage attackers and keep incoming aggression to a manageable pace while we prepare for the endgame. Massive bonus points if we ever hit this with our own Deny Reality to allow for a lethal attack, and sometimes we can just hide behind it while Tezzeret's Ultimate does the dirty work for us. 

My favorite Rare for this deck. First of all, it's a neat flavor nod. This Tezzeret appeared in the set Mirrodin Besieged, and we get to play the card Mirrodin Besieged in a deck that makes sense for it! What a delight! We're also playing enough artifacts that we can comfortably choose either Mirran or Phyrexian and have it be effective. I didn't follow the lore very closely for the return to Mirrodin block so I'm not 100% where Tezzeret belonged in the war, so feel free to choose either side without guilt! 

Absolutely loved this part of Magic Lore, including the book, The Brothers War, and I have a gigantic casual deck based on the characters from the Weatherlight Saga. I'm just trying to say that this card is right in my wheelhouse flavorfully. This deck has enough artifacts in it to ensure that this card is in the deck's wheelhouse functionally. It will always be satisfying when the last chapter here allows you to hit for the win. 

Okay, so this flavorfully applies to the other UB Tezzeret, but functionally it belongs here, as desired removal that can very comfortably pad the life total. Try and save this for the biggest, scariest thing you can think of and try to make X as big as possible. Remember that this isn't like the old Drain Life, where you only gain life for the damage dealt. You can torch a 1/1 for 13 and gain a ton of life, but since our removal isn't terribly abundant, try to keep it for the gnarliest monsters on the other side of the board. 

Unsung Hero

This guy snuck up on me a little bit since I didn't play Ixalan Limited, but boy, these fellas are gonna be absolutely enormous in this deck. We'll want to have as many treasures as possible to fuel up The Antiquities War, Tezzeret's Ultimate ability, and Battle at the Bridge. The Plunderers here will help with that, and also let us have a very relevant attacker. If you're playing a deck that needs the mana (as this one might) or the fixing that comes with treasures (as this one probably won't) then the Plunderers are a great choice.