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Against the Odds: Exploding Boobies | Mishra, Artificer Prodigy (Modern)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 312 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had another classic Against the Odds poll, featuring some of the sweetest Against the Odds cards we played years ago, during the earliest days of the series. In the end, Mishra, Artificer Prodigy came out on top. When we first played Mishra back in 2016, the plan was pretty straightforward: use Mishra's ability to double up big game-ending artifacts like Blightsteel Colossus and Wurmcoil Engine. Well, our plan today is a bit different and much, much jankier. In fact, we're using Mishra to help pull off a kill that I've wanted to achieve forever, one of the hardest win cons in all of Modern: the infamous Booby Trap kill! Is it really possible to win a game of Modern by using Mishra, Artificer Prodigy to tutor up two copies of the artifact and then helping our opponent draw their deck? Let's get to the video and find out in today's Against the Odds; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Mishra's Booby Trap

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The Deck

Building around Mishra, Artificer Prodigy is actually sort of tricky. One of the easiest ways to build around it is to play an Eggs-style combo deck, but Eggs is one of the most boring, most mind-numbing archetypes in all of Magic. I wouldn't subject you to that, especially on Against the Odds. I experimented with a few styles of Mishra decks until I eventually realized that Mishra, Artificer Prodigy was the perfect excuse to try to pull off a super-janky win condition that I've been wanting to win with for a very long time: Booby Trap. Here's the plan: 

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The main power of Mishra, Artificer Prodigy is that it essentially doubles up our artifacts. When we cast one, we get to tutor up another. While our deck is overflowing with artifacts, many of them ramp and card-draw spells that work extremely well with Mishra, our main goal is to use Mishra to tutor up two copies of our win condition: Booby Trap!

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Booby Trap is a hilarious card. We get to name a card as the six-mana artifact enters the battlefield, and our opponent takes 10 damage when they draw that card. Of course, 10 damage isn't enough to win the game, especially in our deck, which isn't very good at dealing incidental damage. This is where Mishra, Artificer Prodigy comes into play. We can play Mishra; use it to double up ramp spells like Talisman of Creativity, Talisman of Dominance, Borderposts, and Hedron Archive to ramp into Booby Trap; and tutor up an additional copy with Mishra's ability. Then, once our opponent draws the cards that we name, they'll take 20 damage—enough to win the game on the spot!

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The main problem with our plan is that even once we get Mishra and two Booby Traps on the battlefield, we need our opponent to draw the card that we name before we can win the game. Assuming we pick wisely and choose a card that our opponent likely has four of in their deck, this could easily take 10 or 15 turns—way too long for a fast format like Modern. The last piece our Mishra's Booby Trap puzzle is a way to help our opponent draw cards, to speed up the Booby Trap kill. For this, we turn to Temple Bell and Paradox Engine. Temple Bell taps to draw a card, and Paradox Engine untaps all of our non-lands whenever we cast a spell. In theory, once we get both on the battlefield, we can draw with Temple Bell, cast whatever we draw, untap Temple Bell (and all of our mana rocks, so we have mana to cast more spells), and do it again. While the combo isn't infinite, since our deck only has 16 lands, we're pretty likely to have each player draw a ton of cards before we fizzle (if we do). If we have Mishra, Artificer Prodigy on the battlefield when we cast Temple Bell to tutor up a second copy, we should be able to force our opponent to draw their entire deck, guaranteeing the Booby Trap win, assuming we are smart enough to name a card that is in our opponent's deck!

The Matchups

In all honesty, I'm not sure Mishra's Booby Trap has any truly good matchups. The plan is super janky. That said, we struggle the most against aggro since we don't really have much interaction, which means we have a tendency to get run over before we can get Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and Booby Trap on the battlefield. Midrange and control are still tough since they can kill Mishra, but in slower matchups, we actually have a chance to get our combo pieces on the battlefield and pull off the Booby Trap kill.

The Odds

All in all, we won one of our four matches, giving us a 25% win percentage, which I was pretty happy with. Heading into our games, I was hoping to pull off the combo once but didn't have super-high expectations of winning many matches. Picking up a match win was a nice bonus. As far as the combo, we pulled it off three-ish times in 10 games, although we only got to see the full kill once since some opponents scooped once they realized what was happening. We also had a hilarious game where our Yawgmoth, Thran Physician opponent couldn't really pull off their combo (which involved drawing a bunch of cards with Yawgmoth, Thran Physician's sacrifice ability, which isn't a may) because we had a Booby Trap naming Verdant Catacombs on the battlefield! While Mishra's Booby Trap isn't especially competitive, that's fine because we achieved our primary goal of winning with the combo of Mishra and Booby Trap, and it didn't even take us that many matches to make it happen!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

Next week, we're kicking off our exploration of Innistrad: Crimson Vow Standard with a special episode. Don't worry, the poll will be back next week with a bunch of spicy new Crimson Vow options!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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