Combining Hobbies - Nothing is Better Thran Artifacts!
(Thran War Machine | Art by Pete Venters)
Feeling Better Thran Ever
Hey everyone, Kya once here again!
If you haven't noticed yet, I've gone a little insane since my last article. I've been spending a lot of my time listening to lore videos of various hobbies, and a good chunk of it has been Warhammer and Magic: the Gathering. As fun as it is, you can lose your sanity when you're alone in a dark room for hours on end listening to anything for too long, but especially when listening to a bunch of fantasy lore!
Now listening to various lore videos can be fun, but there's nothing quite like the real thing. Magic: the Gathering novels are a fun treasure to find in older bookstores when I travel out of town. Here are two books I found in Seattle, for instance.
I'm slowly gathering a collection! However, as fun as it is to search for older Magic books, I'm definitely not finding them fast enough to satiate my appetite for more lore.
So what's a girl to do? Well in my search, a friend - or should I say Coach - approached me with some audio books he created on Youtube. They were really good. You can his set on The Thran here.
If you were interested in what the Magic: the Gathering story looked like before 2000, you are in for a treat with The Thran. In our return to Dominaria we saw some slight mentions to these stories in flavor text and card titles. Say what you want about Wizards, but one of my favorite aspects about them is their consistent and light brushes to the past. Here is an example of what I mean:
I bet many newer players didn't fully appreciate the name of this card or its meaning upon first glance. I won't ruin it for you, so when you have the time take a listen to Coach's audio. If you liked it, be sure to try and hunt down a copy of the book for your very own collection!
Mishra Did Nothing Wrong!
I know what you're thinking. "Cool story bro, but what does that have to do with EDH?" Well, sometimes you need to find some motivation for deck creation. If you've been the unfortunate victim of reading my articles in the past, you know I'm a sucker for lore and meaning behind my decks. In the past I've had a habit of twisting that lore to bend to my personal life experiences or comparing it to other hobbies, but I don't believe I've yet made a lore deck for Magic lore!
Surprisingly, I had more difficulty finding the deck that was perfect for this story. I could have caved in and made a deck of Nicol Bolases, or a five-color deck full of Sagas, but that's too simple. I want a challenge. I want the underdog! I wan't the little brother of -
Let's make a deck out of Urza's lesser known little brother. Originally a man of the people, Mishra's fall began as he studies the ruins the Thran left behind. It's strange that Mishra became the bad guy in all this, considering what a jerk Urza was.
Anyways, what are we going to do with this angry little Artificer? His ability is definitely a strange one for EDH. He REALLY wants to find multiple copies of the same card... but we're a one-card format. I'm sure many of you are instantly turned off on the idea of having such a seemingly useless commander. Well don't worry, Kya is going to shed some light on some fancy tricks with him.
It's Not Chaos! I Swear!
I know I preach chaos decks all the time, and many might not believe me when I say that this isn't a chaos deck, especially after I show you this card. Well, here goes nothing:
Don't attack me yet! I promise this isn't for chaos this time! This is actually a really amazing card with Mishra. Why? Because you can manipulate the stack to decide how you want the triggers to go off. When you cast your artifact spell, you can resolve the Possibility Storm first. Then, when it's been tucked back into your library, Mishra's ability will go and search your library for a card with the same name as the artifact you cast in the first place!
Instead of your artifact turning into any random artifact from Possibility Storm, you get both the original and a free artifact! Imagine casting a Sol Ring and getting a Blightsteel Collosus for free!
It's far more involved, though. Mishra, Artificer Prodigy actually protects your artifacts. Imagine that someone tries to Counterspell your artifact. How rude! Well, by the time that counter-insult is completed, Mishra will then look for a card with the name of the spell you cast in your deck and in your graveyard. Oh look! There it is, in the graveyard, because it was countered! A counterspell wasted and an artifact now on the field! Your opponents will have to be clever about the timing here, waiting until Mishra's trigger finishes resolving before they attempt to mess with your cards, which is nice insurance if your opponents aren't paying attention.
I Said It's Not Chaos!
Pretty cool so far, right? Well, we can take it a step further. Surprisingly, there're a number of cards you can play that will automatically counter everything people cast. Since Mishra doesn't care about such things, it's amazing to watch. Here's an example:
I swear I'm not doing this on purpose. I know, another chaotic card, but it's actually very good! Let everyone else sigh in dismay as you laugh and pick up any artifact you cast from the graveyard and put it right into play!
But wait! There's more!
Isn't it great? There are so many routes you can take with this seemingly useless commander. Best of all, he's fairly unique. Not many players run him because of his weak appearance, but the tricks he has up his sleeve make him a great sleeper hit.
Let's make Mishra even more frightening! Thanks to his ability, we have an opportunity to steal other people's cards and then get our own versions!
Hehe. Did someone say ALL the Sol Rings? EDH players can be very uniform in some of the artifacts they play - Sol Ring, Lightning Greaves, etc. - so you'll find yourself stealing their belongings and pulling a fresh copy right out of your deck very often! It should be no surprise that artifacts can be very expensive in this game, since they're so prolific. Mishra can take advantage of that in a really fantastic and devious way.
It's More Thran Just Artifacts
As mentioned before, this is a deck I want to hit home in terms of lore. Mishra wouldn't have gone far if it wasn't for his search for Thran artifacts, so it only makes sense we add some! What's great is that some are actually pretty helpful!
Okay, the last one was a joke. Technically it's on-theme for the lore, but this deck is for fun purposes, and I'm willing to make cuts on lore cards that won't help the deck actually function (or in the case of the weird-looking Mightstone, cards that could actively help other players more than it helps us). If you only knew how sad I was Mishra wasn't in white for Fall of the Thran!
I'm a little upset I couldn't find more love for Thran among Magic's many cards and flavor texts. There are a few cards that mention the Thran, such as Damping Sphere and Su-Chi. Both can be somewhat interesting cards, but I personally didn't find much of a use for them. I laughed out loud when I saw Fractured Powerstone also had a Thran reference.
At least I have The Antiquities War to add to the deck!
Spoiler - Mishra Wins
At the end of Mishra's tale, he time travels back in time and slaps Urza silly. Urza realizes what a monster he was and gives Mishra a Snickers to make up for going to war with him. Don't look it up. Just take my word for it.
As fun as this deck is, we need to build in some wins for our favorite brother.
I know it's not original. It works, though! Turn everything into an artifact, give all your artifacts indestructible, and destroy all artifacts. Your opponents lose everything - even their lands, which are now made of metal too - and you lose nothing. No way to lose from that position. Unless you're very, very bad at Magic, I suppose.
Besides, this combo takes quite a bit of setup, so if you win with this, it's everyone else's fault for not seeing it coming by now.
Other essential rude win-cons with Mycosynth include:
Opponents tapping lands for mana? Those are artifacts now! Treasure Nab them! Managed to hit someone with Hellkite Tyrant? Gain control of everything they own!
Pepper in some excellent blue and black artifact synergies (and maybe even another combo or two among them), plus a few more Mishra-depicting or Mishra-referencing cards, and we have ourselves a deck! I'd call them out explicitly, but just like Mishra, I think it'll be more fun if you have to go searching for the artifacts and interactions, to prove you're clever enough to handle the power of the Thran! Some will be apparent, some will be a little hidden! See if you can find them in the deck list below!
Mishra, Trickster of Artifacts
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
I have to be completely honest with everyone: the more decks I create, the more satisfied I am with making silly decks, and tiny throwbacks are just another version of silliness that I hope to continue exploring. What decks have you created as an ode to Magic lore? Have you read or listened to The Thran? Are there other Magic the Gathering novels you like? I would love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time!