Epic Experiment - Mishra

(Mishra, Eminent One | Art by Randy Vargas)

Epic Preparations

Hello, EDHREC fans! I’m Bernardo, and this is Epic Experiment, a series where we throw all common sense aside and experiment with some unusual strategies, changing how we normally build our deck. Is it going to work? Who knows?! We’re making science here. When you’re an Izzet mage, blowing things up is half the fun.

It's easy to see how powerful Mishra is. He combines a crazy amount of value with a decent clock, and he's also in the right color combination to instigate some real shenanigans. There are a few layers to Mishra's power, so let's dive a bit deeper.

On the first layer, we have an artifact creature token entering the battlefield. This opens a lot of powerful 'creatures and artifacts entering the battlefield' support, such as Purphoros, God of the Forge or Disciple of the Vault, and the extra body can be used to fuel sacrifice effects, like Goblin Welder.

The second layer is about the type of targets that we use this ability on. I'll list just a few types that came to my mind when writing this article:

Artifacts with ETBs and/ or LTBs

These artifacts are easy inclusions for most Mishra lists because they work great on their own and Mishra allows us to play our game like a blink deck. There are a few of those that act both when entering and when leaving, which gives us an impressive amount of value for such low-cost investments.

Artifacts with Self-Tap Abilities

Artifacts with tapping abilities tend to be more powerful, given their limited use. Mishra's ability allows us to get another copy of those on the field which very can effectively turn into "double activations".

Artifacts with Self-Sacrificing Abilities

Like the previous category, these artifacts were balanced around being single-use. Having our commander clone them allows us to have access to that effect without having to spend the actual card.

Mana Rocks

Mana rocks that add more than one mana are surprisingly effective targets for cloning, as they give us a huge bump in mana that can be used to strengthen our board position.


Epic Ingredients

Mishra's ability to produce value is so good that I feel we must trigger it more times. The Sakashima duo (Sakashima of a Thousand Faces and Sakashima the Impostor) and Spark Double are great ways to clone without worrying about the silly legend rule.

However, that's a very small set of creatures, so we need more consistency to make sure we get them into play. Polymorph effects are the key to getting our clones. With them, we get access to five extra cards' worth of redundancy. Proteus Staff is a reusable polymorph effect that's also an artifact, so we could theoretically use it multiple times a turn if we animate it with our commander. Divergent Transformations is very mana-efficient, being an instant, and gives us two extra creatures out of nowhere. Transmogrify and Chaos Mutation are fairly straightforward. Finally, Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast is a bit delicate. On the one hand, it's another reusable Polymorph, but on the other, he's a bit limited, and the targeted creature needs to have a mana value lower than four, otherwise he won't get anything in our deck.

To get our special clones into play, we have two main types of targets to morph with all these effects: the incidental tokens created by our cards, and the Mishra's Warform token from our commander. The first type is usually better to target because they allow us to Polymorph before the combat step, which gives us another trigger and even more immediate value. The second, while not as explosive as the first, is considerably more reliable and can be counted on 100% of the games, since the Warforms come with our commander.

Getting multiple Mishras is just one piece of the puzzle, and the others are our value artifacts. Even if our gameplan is stopped, we still have strong effects at our disposal. Ichor Wellspring and Mycosynth Wellspring provide some amazing value when targeted by our commander, providing two triggers per clone. Wishclaw Talisman is a fun target to clone because we can tutor for whatever card we want without giving an opponent a chance to do the same. Thunderhawk Gunship and Night Scythe are efficient ways to get extra bodies that can either be used to fuel future Polymorphs or just plain old combat.


The Mixture

Many-Mishras Workshop

Commander (1)
Creature (3)
Artifact (33)
Enchantment (4)
Instant (9)
Planeswalker (3)
Sorcery (11)
Land (36)

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Clones tend to be a bit on the win-more side if we're not careful, but if we play our cards right, we won't just have one extra copy of Mishra. We need to clone our commander with either Sakashima of a Thousand Faces or Spark Double, and then we can make even more copies with things like Machine God's Effigy or Cackling Counterpart. With cards like Mirrormade and Mirage Mirror we can copy other important artifacts we have in play already, such as Panharmonicon. Over time, an army of copies will bury our opposition.

We're pretty varied as far as win conditions go. Mindslaver might get a few ugly looks on some tables, but it's not hard to keep controlling more than one opponent's turn per cycle. Knight Paladin's ETB can very easily put us over the edge when we're constantly making a bunch of copies of it. Forsaken Monument is a fun target, given that Mishra's cloning ability gives it a new name, so that gives our team +4/+4 for the turn. Oh, and Portal to Phyrexia is a nasty control tool that can maintain an empty board while also providing us threats and resurrecting any of our Clones that happened to fall in battle!


Methodology

For our opening hand, we're looking for one or two mana rocks to help us accelerate to our commander and, if possible, any value artifact so that we start getting value once Mishra enters the battlefield. Note that mana rocks can be effective Mishra targets if we want to accelerate.

The mid-game starts right about the time when we manage to land Mishra. This is where we get to shine because we can get immediate value out of all the cheap artifacts in our deck that will already be in play before Mishra arrives. It helps a lot to have a random creature token to Polymorph before the combat step. Otherwise, we have to wait for our commander's ability to copy an artifact to give us a token to target, but regardless, once we start chaining powerful ETB abilities, it's hard to beat it.

Our late game is pretty good. Really, it's a snowball. Even if we don't get to stick our main synergy and make copies upon copies, our artifacts provide a lot of inherent value all on their own! If our Clone strategy doesn't work, we just get to do regular awesome Mishra things! This gives us inevitability in addition to the potential to kick things into overdrive.


Santa's Workshop is Open

That’s it for this Epic Experiment! What do you think of this list? Do you have any questions about the deck? Which cards did you like? Which did you not? Was this experiment a success? Please let me know in the comments below!

Bernardo has been playing(on and off) since portal and somehow manage to survive mirrodin block while being a total casual(beast tribal ftw?). He loves all the shades of blue and being the one saying "nope", while holding a full grip of cards in hand.