Mishra's Burnished Banner - Upgrade Guide
Mishra, Eminent One | Art by Randy Vargas
Mishra's Better Banner
Welcome back to another precon upgrade. This is Lenny from the Scrap Trawlers where we to EDH on a budget. Last time I gave to the primer on the Mishra's Burnished Banner deck from Brothers' War an now I'm here to help you tighten the bolts on the deck. Before we get started lets take a look at the original list to see what we're working with.
Mishra's Burnished Banner
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First of all, let's talk about the commander. Mishra, Eminent One.
Mishra is a 5/4 for five mana who makes a copy of a non creature artifact each combat on your turn that's a 4/4 artifact creature with haste. Mishra wants a deck full of non creature artifacts that can impact the game when they enter the battlefield or by being sacrificed. A free 4/4 every turn isn't bad, but we need more if we're going to take down three opponents. As I mentioned in my review article, the deck is heavy on value, but light on win conditions. I want to add some teeth to the deck to combat the decks tendency to spin its wheels as well as a few defensive tricks to provide some breathing room to set up the engines the deck is looking to do. Finally I'm going to add some cards to get more use out of the commander. Mishra's ability is powerful and I want to get more use out of it than once a turn. While the land base in the deck could use a tune up, we'll be skipping that as it's not fun to read or write about.
It's easy to get overwhelmed when looking at possible cards for artifact decks, especially in the. First of all let's look at some cards we can use to take our opponents out. With so many artifacts entering the battlefield, Reckless Fireweaver and Dragonspark Reactor can dish out lots of damage. We can copy Wedding Invitation and put our commander's five power to work by making him unblockable. We can use Masterful Replication like an overrun by turning our artifacts into copies of one of our artifact creatures.
Vehicles make great targets for Mishra since they're designed to become creatures anyway. Knight Paladin deals four damage to each opponent when it enters the battlefield and has trample to boot. Thunderhawk Gunship brings along a pair of 2/2 vigilant warriors when it comes in and gives our team flying when it attacks. Reaver Titan deals a whopping five damage to each opponent when it attacks and with protection from mana value three or less it's not so easy to block.
As I mentioned before, we want to try to squeeze some more value out of the commander. 51% of decks on EDHREC are using Determined Iteration and I have to say the hivemind nailed it with this one. This is effectively another copy of Mishra provided our commander is already out. You just stack your triggers so that you populate the token Mishra makes. We're fine with sacrificing Mishra's tokens, but with Obeka, Brute Chronologist we can keep them by ending the turn in response to the trigger to sacrifice at the end step. If our token can survive its combat, Teferi's Veil will phase it out causing it to miss the sacrifice trigger as well as any sorcery speed problems that pop up on opponents' turns.
Finally we have some odds and ends to add to the deck. Scrap Trawler makes it easier to get away with pitching our low cost artifacts to our sacrifice outlets since we can get them back depending on what we copy with Mishra. Prized Statue is cheap ramp and if we don't need the mana, we can use it to make tokens to set up a win with Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer. Imposter Mech functions as a repeatable clone for our opponents' creatures if we chose to have the original enter as itself. The Stasis Coffin is a new card from Brothers' War that usually protects you for a turn, but Mishra's ability gives the copy it makes a different name so we could use the coffin every turn is desired.
All these cards can be yours for just $11.89 at the time of this article.
It's a testament to how well this deck is designed that I struggled to make cuts after the first few cards. Nevertheless I needed to make some room. Our first cuts are coming from ramp and color fixing. The deck has thirteen mana rocks, which it more than I think is necessary and with so many colorless cards, color fixing isn't as much of an issue. Since we don't care so much about fixing, Prophetic Prism looks pretty bad when we want to make room for Wedding Invitation. Similarly, we're cutting Dimir Signet for Prized Statue. Thran Dynamo is by no means a bad card, but it's less interesting in this deck than many of the other mana rocks, so it's out.
Ashnod the Uncaring and Geth, Lord of the Vault need more support in the 99 to really shine, and Scavenged Brawler would be better off in a deck with better creatures to put those counters on. I don't love Workshop Elders permanently turning an artifact into a creature, and would rather see it in a treasure or clue deck.
Mirrorworks seems like it would do well here, but paying that extra two mana on top of whatever artifact you're casting is harder than it looks and since you have to pay five mana for even that privilege, I'd rather use something else. Hellkite Igniter can dish out some damage, but I've had plenty of times where it can't make a good attack when I'm able to cast it. The deck has plenty of ways to sacrifice artifacts and I'd rather play with the new cards so Trading Post and Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer are out.
Normally we try to keep things on the cheap, but if you're looking for a splurge purchase to help this deck, I have a few suggestions. If' you're looking to get more use out of the commander, you can copy him with Spark Double or Sakashima of a Thousand Faces or you can buy extra combats with Aggravated Assault. If you're looking to keep your board intact, Academy Ruins is a recursion effect on a land and works great with Wondrous Crucible and Smelting Vat. If you'd rather not recast your artifacts, Darksteel Forge will make them all indestructible.
Money may not buy happiness, but is can buy better win conditions. Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge can drain massive amounts of life in a deck like this, and makes it very cheap to power out creatures. Portal to Phyrexia costs each opponent three creatures and lets you steal one each upkeep. Combining that with Mishra's copy effect means only dedicated token players are going to have a chance keeping creatures on the field, leaving you free to attack.
These last two cards aren't as pricey as the others, but bear mentioning as they are very powerful with Mishra, but might rub some plyers the wrong way. It's fairly easy to take infinite turns with Gonti's Aether Heart since Mishra can make it a warform copy getting you half the energy you need to exile your token copy. Mishra is also an efficient way to create a Mindslaver lock since you can copy it and sacrifice the copy to steal a turn. If you want to include these you may want to give your playgroup a heads up.
With adds and cuts out of the way, let's take a look at the final decklist. I managed to lower the average mana value of the deck from 3/73 to 3.54 so it's a bit leaner and I think it will be much better at closing out games.
Mishra's Better Banner
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I largely kept the original strategy intact, but artifacts are so broadly supported in Magic that there are countless directions you could take this precon. After adding in all those vehicles, I couldn't help but wonder if a Mishra vehicles deck was possible, and I know it would be easy to put together a dedicated combo deck that wins with Gonti's Aether Heart or Mindslaver. Feel free to share what you would do with this deck in the comments and check back here for more precon primers and upgrade guide and remember to budget before you buy it.