Mishra The Mad!

Most Commander builders look at a card and say, “Why?” Bennie Smith looks at Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and says, “Give me 100 sleeves.” Check out Bennie’s take on Mishra here!

Before I get into the meat of the topic today, I want to let you guys know about a charity Magic event being held at Richmond Comix this Saturday, July 19th.  One of our friends and neighbors we met through Magic is in the fight of her life against cancer, and the local Magic community is rallying around to try and help her and her family.  Wizards of the Coast was generous enough to donate some sweet Magic items that are being auctioned off along with high dollar cards donated by local Magicians, and then there are some Magic tournaments (Magic 2015 Sealed and Commander) with proceeds being donated to the cause.  StarCityGames contributed some schwag to help as well.  You can find out all the information about it at the event’s Facebook page, and even if you can’t attend, still check out the website in regards to the silent auction which you can do online.  Hope to see you there!

Some months back I was outside Richmond Comix late one night talking with Magic mad-genius Jay Delazier about Commander, and we got on the topic of Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and what a shame it was that such a cool legendary Magic card was pretty much worthless as a Commander… but then somehow the conversation started veering into some weird directions. Suddenly we had the kernel of a very strange Commander deck idea.

It involved playing Mishra, Artificer Prodigy, a bunch of artifacts and two key enchantments:  Possibility Storm and Blood Funnel.  The Blood Funnel would let you play non-creature artifacts for two mana less, but instead of sacrificing a creature, you would just let it get countered.  Then Mishra’s triggered ability would let you find a copy of that spell in the graveyard (since it was countered), and you could go ahead and put it into play.  Meanwhile Possibility Storm would let you cast another card from the top of your deck that shared a type with that artifact.  If your hand was filled with enough cheap artifacts, especially ones that might cantrip or replace themselves (I’m thinking of the ol’ Magic chestnut Eggs decks), you could do this stuff over and over again.  Ah, if only Cloudstone Curio didn’t have that pesky “nonartifact” clause in there we could get into some real degenerate stuff!

The ideas percolated in my brain for a couple weeks before I decided that I really didn’t like Blood Funnel that much.  Blood Funnel without Mishra on the table was just plain awful… but Possibility Storm, on the other hand, I liked more and more!  Not only did I like how disruptive the card is in general, making reactive instants like counterspells nearly useless, but I simply loved how great it worked alongside Mishra, Artificer Prodigy.  With both cards in play, whenever you cast an artifact you could put Mishra’s triggered ability on the stack first, then Possibility Storm.  Resolve Possibility Storm, coughing up another artifact, while you put the original artifact on the bottom of the deck along with any other cards exiled by Possibility Storm’s resolution.  Then resolve Mishra’s triggered ability, and go get the original artifact you cast from the library and put it into play. Cast one artifact, get one for free sounded like a pretty good deal to me—maybe not necessarily back-breaking, but when you combine it with the disruptive nature of Possibility Storm it seemed like a great way to advance your board presence.

Another interesting tangent: since I’d be playing Possibility Storm, and Mishra lets us play blue, we could toss in an Arcane Laboratory for a near lock on our opponents that our Commander lets us cheat around.

While the ideas were evil, if I was playing Mishra, I was playing Grixis and evil comes with the territory.  I liked it, mainly because it was taking what is universally considered to be a “bad” Commander ability and making it very powerful.

Now I just needed to figure out what sort of artifact deck to build around that idea…

As time passed and I was combing through cards and building different Commander decks, a few other cards cropped up that got added to the Mishra stack:

Hellkite Tyrant + Liquimetal Coating:  This dragon is really quite amazing, in no small part because the artifact theft is permanent even if it gets killed afterwards.  Add to that a 6/5 trampling and flying body, plus a not-that-unrealistic win condition, all for just six mana, and this baby was a killer card looking for a home.  With Liquimetal Coating, your dragon can steal Planeswalkers, other people’s Commanders, or whatever looks tasty out there on the battlefield.  Seemed like a must-include in a Mishra deck that’s likely going to be churning out artifacts.  Liquimetal Coating can even stretch your artifact count from nineteen to twenty if someone tries to destroy an artifact in response to the Hellkite Tyrant triggered ability from controlling twenty artifacts.

Thada Adel, Acquisitor:  This gal was particularly interesting when thinking about Mishra since there are quite a few commonly played artifacts out there, and if she steals one you’ve got in your deck, you can play it and then with Mishra’s ability, go get your own copy.  Sol Ring, Skullclamp, Darksteel Ingot, Lightning Greaves…  Also she can give you intel on what shenanigans your opponents might have up their sleeve or ways they might have to stop yours.

Dack Fayden:  Opening this guy in my first Conspiracy draft was such a happy accident since I wasn’t sure I was willing to pay $25-30 to own a copy.  Once I owned him, he seemed to fit perfectly on the stack of cards with Hellkite Tyrant and Thada Adel.  I also nabbed a Muzzio, Visionary Architect from Conspiracy at some point, and he works not only as a way to accumulate more artifacts for your Tyrant win condition, but he can advance your board under a Possibility Storm too.

Chief Engineer + Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient:  When Magic 2015 came around these two cards just screamed to be put in a sweet artifact deck, and since Mishra has both red and blue in his casting cost, they could slot right in there.  In a dedicated Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient deck you can do some real degenerate things, but as a supporting character in a three-color artifact deck he still does some pretty crazy things with a lot of the artifacts we’re going to naturally want in the deck (Sensei’s Divining Top, Strionic Resonator, Welding Jar).  I threw Ashnod’s Transmogrant in the deck in no small part to turn creatures with activated abilities into artifacts that Kurkesh can then copy for profit.

Hm, with all this sweetness building up, perhaps it was time to go ahead and build the deck!  Here’s what I ended up with:

The Madness of Mishra

The Madness of Mishra
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 07-18-2014
Magic Card Back

Here’s the mana curve on the deck:

I usually have a bit more cards distributed further down the mana curve, but there were so many cards I felt were “must-includes” lower on the curve that cuts were made at the higher end.  To benefit from the lower overall curve and a fair number of artifact mana and cantrips I was able to shave down to 38 lands.

Here are some notes on the card choices:

Geth, Lord of the Vault:  While the Dept. of Acquisitions was already pretty well stocked with Hellkite Tyrant, Dack Fayden, and Thada Adel, I thought Geth, Lord of the Vault provided us another way to accumulate artifacts from our opponents while also giving us the ability to potentially deck someone if need be.

Trading Post:  Last week I wrote about a Chief Engineer deck in Standard with Trading Post and Scuttling Doom Engine.  The idea seemed strong enough to port over to Commander, and we’ve also got a lot more powerful artifacts to recur in Commander – how about Wurmcoil Engine or Memory Jar?

Goblin Welder:  I just recently picked up a copy of Goblin Welder and was looking forward to the opportunity to abuse it in Commander.  This deck seemed like a perfect fit.  Welding Scuttling Doom Engines with Solemn Simulacrums sounds like too much fun!  I look forward to suiting him up with Ashnod’s Transmogrant and then copying his ability with Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient.

Guardian Beast:  I acquired a hashed up copy of this years ago and he pops into my artifact heavy decks every once in a while.  He’s here to prevent an Akroma’s Vengeance from wrecking my day.

Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, Darksteel Plate, Whispersilk Cloak:  If the main point is to get a Possibility Storm into play alongside Mishra, then we want to make sure Mishra sticks around so I’ve upped the quantity of cards that can protect my Commander from unfavorable interaction with my opponents.

Salvaging Station:  A lot of times I’ll put this card in a deck initially, along with a fair number of zero and one mana artifacts that either cantrip or have some useful little effect because in Commander creatures die quite a bit, and being able to use those artifacts and then get them all back from multiple triggers to Salvaging Station is pretty sweet.  Most of the time the Salvaging Station package gets cut from the deck as I trim it down to 99 cards, but I think in this deck it fits perfectly.

Null Brooch:  Old school card, an artifact that can stop pesky Akroma’s Vengeance from resolving.  Losing your hand for that is well worth it.

Ring of Three Wishes:  I thought about Planar Portal as an artifact that can go fetch up Possibility Storm or Hellkite Tyrant, but then I remembered Ring of Three Wishes which shaves a mana off both the casting cost and activation cost.  Sure, it can only be activated three times, but three activations ought to be plenty.  If not, Goblin Welder or Trading Post can recycle.  I imagine this ability is mighty fun to copy with Kurkesh, Onakke Ancient!

What about Darksteel Forge?  Surely with all these artifacts Darksteel Forge has a home!  Well, as evil as I’m trying to be here, Darksteel Forge is the kind of card that I think goes too far over the “fun line” for me personally.  I’m building this deck for the “cool factor” of transforming a “bad” Commander into a good Commander so I’m not including it in my list… however, if I’m playing against some cut-throat people I’d be tempted to go ahead and add it to the deck alongside a Kuldotha Forgemaster to go find it.

So there you have it—a Mishra, Artificer Prodigy deck that actually uses his ability to good effect!  I’m very curious to hear what you think of the idea and if you have any other suggestions for the deck.

New to Commander?

If you’re just curious about the format, building your first deck, or trying to take your Commander deck up a notch, here are some handy links:

My current Commander decks
(and links to decklists):

Yisan, the Wanderer Bard (All-in Yisan)

Selvala, Explorer Returned (Everyone Draws Lots!)

Grenzo, Dungeon Warden (Cleaning Out the Cellar)

Karona, False God (God Pack)

Child of Alara (Land Ho!)

Doran, the Siege Tower (All My Faves in One Deck!)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (my Magic Online deck)

Karador, Ghost Chieftain (Shadowborn Apostles & Demons)

King Macar, the Gold-Cursed (GREED!)

Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind ( Chuck’s somewhat vicious deck)

Roon of the Hidden Realm (Mean Roon)

Skeleton Ship (Fun with -1/-1 counters)

Vorel of the Hull Clade (Never Trust the Simic)

Previous Commander decks currently on hiatus

Anax and Cymede (Heroic Co-Commanders)

Aurelia, the Warleader ( plus Hellkite Tyrant shenanigans)

Borborygmos Enraged (69 land deck)

Bruna, Light of Alabaster (Aura-centric Voltron)

Damia, Sage of Stone ( Ice Cauldron shenanigans)

Emmara Tandris (No Damage Tokens)

Gahiji, Honored One (Enchantment Ga-hijinks)

Geist of Saint Traft (Voltron-ish)

Ghave, Guru of Spores ( Melira Combo)

Glissa Sunseeker (death to artifacts!)

Glissa, the Traitor ( undying artifacts!)

Grimgrin, Corpse-Born (Necrotic Ooze Combo)

Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge ( Suspension of Disbelief)

Johan (Cat Breath of the Infinite)

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer (replacing Brion Stoutarm in Mo’ Myrs)

Karona, False God (Vows of the False God)

Lord of Tresserhorn (ZOMBIES!)

Marath, Will of the Wild ( Wild About +1/+1 Counters)

Melira, Sylvok Outcast ( combo killa)

Mirko Vosk, Mind Drinker ( Outside My Comfort Zone with Milling

Nefarox, Overlord of Grixis (evil and Spike-ish)

Nicol Bolas (Kicking it Old School)

Nylea, God of the Hunt ( Devoted to Green)

Oloro, Ageless Ascetic (Life Gain)

Oona, Queen of the Fae (by reader request)

Phage the Untouchable ( actually casting Phage from Command Zone!)

Phelddagrif (Mean Hippo)

Polukranos, World Eater (Monstrous!)

Reaper King (Taking Advantage of the new Legend Rules)

Riku of Two Reflections (

steal all permanents with
Deadeye Navigator + Zealous Conscripts


Roon of the Hidden Realm ( Strolling Through Value Town)

Ruhan of the Fomori (lots of equipment and infinite attack steps)

Savra, Queen of the Golgari ( Demons)

Shattergang Brothers (Breaking Boards)

Sigarda, Host of Herons ( Equipment-centric Voltron)

Skullbriar, the Walking Grave ( how big can it get?)

Sliver Overlord (Featuring the new M14 Slivers!)

Thelon of Havenwood ( Campfire Spores)

Varolz, the Scar-Striped (scavenging goodness)

Vorosh, the Hunter ( proliferaTION)

Xenagos, God of Revels (Huge Beatings)

Yeva, Nature’s Herald (living at instant speed)