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Against the Odds: Mishra's Ark


Hello everyone and welcome to episode twenty-nine of Against the Odds. First off, thanks to all of you for voting in last week's poll. Mishra, Artificer Prodigy ended up crushing the competition, taking in 35% of the over 5,000 votes cast! Coming in second and third (and returning for another shot at glory) were Zada, Hedron Grinder and Sunforger, while Polymorph in Legacy and Mirror Mockery came in at the bottom of the heap and will drop off the poll. What that means is that this week we are playing a deck I'm calling Mishra's Ark. In our deck Mishra, Artificer Prodigy gathers in all the animals, big, robotic animals two-by-two!

We'll talk more about Mishra's Ark in a minute. First let's get to the videos. A quick reminder. If you enjoy Against the Odds and other video content here on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up with the latest and greatest.

Against the Odds: Mishra's Ark Deck Tech

Against the Odds: Mishra's Ark Games

The Deck

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Building around Mishra's, Artificer Prodigy was more difficult than I thought. I actually went through three different ideas before settling on the build shown in the videos. My first stab was to build a list involving Eggs (e.g. Chromatic Sphere) and Blood Funnel, which essentially lets us play all of our Eggs for free (assuming we have a Mishra, Artificer Prodigy on the battlefield). We could just let our Eggs get countered and then use the search ability on Mishra, Artificer Prodigy to get the countered copy back from the graveyard. The problem was, if our opponent kills Mishra, Artificer Prodigy, Blood Funnel quite literally locks us out of the game, which sounded a bit too risky, even for Against the Odds. Then I tried a non-Blood Funnel Eggs build, but it was both horrible and boring to watch, so I shelved that idea as well. Finally, I was intrigued by the idea of using Mishra, Artificer Prodigy to double up on Booby Trap and deal 20 damage to our opponent out of nowhere, but that felt too much like Against the Odds: Booby Trap. Eventually I ended up with a pretty sweet artifact ramp build of Mishra, Artificer Prodigy, which is incredibly explosive when we get good hands and draw our cards in the right order, but incredibly bad when we don't. 

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The basic idea Mishra's Ark is that we resolve a Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and then combo off by playing a bunch of cards like Cloud Key and Etherium Sculptor, which make all our artifacts cost less to cast. While our deck can play out like a normal ramp deck, the big benefit is that we can use the cost reduction multiple times each turn. Essentially, we build our own Eye of Ugin, except it reduces the costs of artifacts instead of Eldrazi. In fact, there were some points in our games where we stacked enough copies of Etherium Sculptor and Cloud Key that all our artifacts cost eight less to cast!

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After making all of our artifact super cheap, we look to finish the game by playing some of the most expensive and powerful artifact creatures in Magic's history. Of course, we play two copies  of each creature, so when we draw and cast one, we can use Mishra, Artificer Prodigy to get a second copy. Kuldotha Forgemaster allows us to search out our other expensive artifacts and put them directly on the battlefield. Wurmcoil Engine keeps us alive against aggressive decks. Steel Hellkite gives us an evasive threat that can also act like a Ratchet Bomb. Platinum Emperion is pretty much game over against Burn and some combo decks. Finally, Blightsteel Colossus is the biggest, baddest artifact creature of them all, ending the game in one attack on an empty board, and usually in two attacks through blockers.

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Our Plan B is to build a unique version of the Mindslaver lock. Most of the time when you see someone stealing their opponent's turns with Mindslaver, it's because they figured out a way to generate a ton of mana (e.g. Tron). Well, our deck does it the opposite way. Instead of making so much mana to casts (and activate) a Mindslaver every turn, we use our Etherium Sculptors and Cloud Keys to reduce the cost on Mindslaver until its free! Then we go through the loop every turn until we kill our opponent with what we have on the battlefield. Most often our opponents just scoop when they figure out that they don't get to play Magic anymore. 

The Matchups

While the biggest issue for our deck is just how often it losses to itself, either by drawing all mana acceleration and no payoff cards, or the reverse, the biggest matchup question is the speed of our opponent's deck. I would expect that against fast decks like Burn, Infect, and Zoo we might win 10% of the time. I think we have a reasonable shot against midrange and control. If we manage to live long enough to start casting our huge creatures, our board will trump our opponent's board very quickly. Plus, Mishra, Artificer Prodigy is a really weird Cavern of Souls for artifacts, since even if our opponent counters an artifact, we can use Mishra, Artificer Prodigy to immediately return it to the battlefield. 

The Odds

Overall, we won 6 of 16 games and 2 of 7 matches, which puts the game win percentage at 38% and the match win percentage at 22%. I expect that these numbers are about right. While we had some bad loses, we also had some surprisingly lucky wins. On one hand we lost to RB Minotaurs, which might be the most depressing loss ever on Against the Odds, not so much because our opponent's deck was bad (although Diabolic Tutor for Ragemonger really shouldn't work in Modern), but because that match highlights the worst aspects of our deck's inconsistency. In game one we mulled to five and never really did anything. In game two we drew pretty much every piece of acceleration in our deck, but never found a payoff card, even though our opponent gave us a million turns by flooding out themselves. 

On the other hand we had some incredibly explosive draws which stole some games, and our Tron opponent did literal nothing all match even though they managed to get Tron on turn three consistently. I expect that, when it's all said and done, the game win percentage is a little bit too high and the match win percentage is a little bit too low, so let's split the difference and say that we should win about 30% of the time with Mishra's Ark.

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Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Don't forget to vote for next week's deck! 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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