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Against the Odds: Replicator Historic (Standard, Magic Arena)


Hello, everyone. Welcome to episode 168 of Against the Odds. Last week, we had another super-tight Against the Odds poll, but in the end, one of our Standard options—Mishra's Self-Replicator—took home the victory over Din of the Fireherd. As such, we're heading to Standard today to see just how many times we can get Mishra's Self-Replicator to replicate itself. Our deck is basically a weird Jeskai historic deck overflowing with cheap artifacts and legendary creatures to trigger Mishra's Self-Replicator. What's the best way to build around the artifact in Standard? What are the odds of winning with Mishra's Self-Replicator? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Against the Odds: Replicator Historic (Standard)

The Deck

Building around Mishra's Self-Replicator is interesting. When the artifact won the poll, it was pretty obvious we'd need to play it in some sort of historic deck to harness its power, but figuring out a way to make the deck about Mishra's Self-Replicator was more of a challenge. While the card doesn't have a specific combo, we can use some sweet tricks to make Mishra's Self-Replicator as game-winning as possible.

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Mishra's Self-Replicator is a weird card. On its face, it's pretty bad—a five-mana 2/2 simply isn't constructed (or even limited) playable. This being said, it comes with a huge upside: if we can keep it on the battlefield long enough to cast another historic spell, we can get an additional copy for just a single mana. Things get even crazier once we have two Mishra's Self-Replicators, since both copies will trigger on the next historic spell, so for two mana, we can make two more Mishra's Self-Replicators. Things will continue to snowball until eventually we have so many Mishra's Self-Replicators that we can cast a one- or two-mana historic spell and simply spend all the rest of our mana making more Replicators. 

The main challenge of Mishra's Self-Replicator is getting the second copy. As a five-mana 2/2, Mishra's Self-Replicator dies to just about any removal spell in the format, and since it's so expensive, it's hard to find five mana for a Replicator, more mana for a historic spell, and another mana to replicate all in the same turn. The good news is that ones we get two copies of Mishra's Self-Replicator, it becomes challenging for our opponent to ever deal with our Replicators with targeted removal, since even if our opponent manages to kill one, there's always another right around the corner. So, how do we increase our odds of getting the all-important second Replicator?

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Our best combo piece is Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage. Raff does two very important things with Mishra's Self-Replicator. First, with a Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage on the battlefield, we can simply flash Mishra's Self-Replicator into play at the end of our opponent's turn (preferably while they are tapped out), untap, and immediately cast a historic spell to make another Mishra's self-Replicator. Second, since Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage gives all historic spells flash, if our opponent tries to kill our Mishra's Self-Replicator, we can flash in another historic spell with the removal spell on the stack and make another Replicator to keep the value flowing.

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The rest of the creatures in our deck are all legends, to work with Mishra's Self-Replicator, and on top of being legendary, each has some additional synergy with our namesake card. Shalai, Voice of Plenty gives us another way to protect Mishra's Self-Replicator by making it hexproof. Squee, the Immortal allows us to keep casting it when it does (or goes to exile), giving us a repeatable way to trigger Replicator, while Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain draws us a card whenever we cast a historic spell, which helps to make sure we never run out of cards to trigger our Mishra's Self-Replicator

Other Historic Stuff

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Even beyond our creatures, most of the cards in our deck are historic. Treasure Map, Azor's Gateway, and Search for Azcanta give us an abundance of cheap historic spells to trigger Mishra's Self-Replicator, which in the late game leaves us plenty of leftover mana to replicate a bunch of times in the same turn. Meanwhile, in the early game, these cards help to smooth out our draws, make sure we hit our removal to stay alive, and then eventually find our Mishra's Self-Replicator and other historic stuff to trigger it.

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Traveler's Amulet basically replaces a land in our deck, working like a really slow and expensive land that has the upside of triggering Mishra's Self-Replicator for just a single mana, making it our cheapest historic spell to replicate. If our mana is bad, we can play it and crack it in the early game, but if we already have the lands we need to cast our spells, we can hold it in hand, wait until we get a Mishra's Self-Replicator on the battlefield, and then use it to start replicating. 

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Our last historic spell is The Immortal Sun, which does a bit of everything. Apart from triggering Mishra's Self-Replicator, The Immortal Sun shuts down our opponent's planeswalkers, pumps our Mishra's Self-Replicators out of Shock and Fiery Cannonade range, and makes our other spells cheaper so we have more extra mana to dump into Mishra's Self-Replicator each turn. Oh yeah, and we get to draw an extra card each turn, which helps to ensure we always have a cheap historic spell to cast to trigger Mishra's Self-Replicator

Removal

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Rounding out our deck are a bunch of different removal options, mostly as one- and two-ofs. One of the main challenges of building around Mishra's Self-Replicator is that the artifact is pretty slow, so having removal to make sure we stay alive long enough to make Replicator relevant is important. Deafening Clarion and Settle the Wreckage give us sweepers to deal with a bunch of creatures, while cards like Lava Coil, Shivan Fire, and Seal Away deal with individual threats. 

The Matchups

The matchups for Replicator Historic are a bit weird. We played a lot of midrange-y control decks during our matches, and they seem to be relatively good matchups. Raff Capashen, Ship's Mage is a really good way to pressure counterspell decks, and once we have it on the battlefield, it becomes really easy to play things at times that are inopportune for our opponent. On the other hand, we can get overwhelmed by fast decks. While Mishra's Self-Replicator offers a lot of late-game inevitability, we had some games where we drew multiple copies in our opening hand, never really found the time to cast them, and died quickly against more aggressive decks.

The Odds

All in all, we played six matches and won three, giving us a 50% match win percentage, along with winning seven of 13 games, putting us just under 54% in terms of games. This makes Replicator Historic about average for recent Against the Odds decks. As for Mishra's Self-Replicator itself, it was a lot better than I had imagined. While it is a very slow card, with some careful play and deck building, it's not too hard to get two or three copies on the battlefield, at which point it becomes really hard for the opponent to ever get out from under the ever-growing army of 2/2s. While we only had one or two games where we made a ton of Mishra's Self-Replicators, that's partly because a lot of opponents conceded once we had three or more copies on the battlefield, knowing that they didn't really have any way to answer the problem and get back in the game!

Vote for Next Week's Deck

We're taking a break from our normal poll this week for a themed poll. Ravnica Allegiance is just around the corner (the first card from the set was leaked yesterday!), so let's get ready for the guilds featured in the set by playing a Simic, Azorius, Rakdos, Orzhov, or Gruul card from one of our past visits to Ravnica. Which of these guild cards should we build around next week? Let us know by voting below!

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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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