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The Most 75% Deck of All


A card was revealed last week and, predictably, Magic players dug deep and found a way to be upset about it, as is their custom.

I find frivolous complaints about good things more funny than annoying or harmful so I got a good laugh this week when an excellent card was spoiled and Twitter got upset that a card from Rivals of Ixalan was spoiled during the middle of Unstable spoiler season. I say spoil all the cards all the time and a few weeks to brainstorm about a good card is always welcome. The card in question? This beauty right here.

I was initially the correct amount of excited about this card. It’s very difficult to be the correct amount of excited about a card at first glance because you’re going to have to have a whole series of thoughts, like “Wow, Tolarian Academy! Except Growing Rites turned out very much to not be Gaea's Cradle. But this is a banned card and now we can play it! Except only in ur artifact decks and how many of those are there?” and after like half a minute of mental deliberation, you end up on the “overexcited” side of the fence and preorder a foil for like $150. Perhaps having been educated by Growing Rites, a card I wasn’t even excited about initially, made me realize this is very powerful but very narrow and very fair. I play Vintage sometimes. Tolarian Academy isn’t good because it taps for a Blue mana for every artifact you have. It’s good because it taps for a Blue mana for every artifact you have on turn one. You dump a bunch of Moxen, tap Academy for 4 or 5, float you Moxen mana, bounce your board with Paradoxical Outcome, draw a bunch of cards and end turn one by blasting them with Tendrils for like 30 because you drew a third of your deck with the Griselbrand you hard-cast earlier. Man, now I want to play some Vintage.

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
Academy is banned because it’s free, gets activated right away and taps for a lot of mana very early. I have never tapped a Tolarian Academy in any game of Vintage where I generated anywhere near as much mana as I routinely generate with a Cabal Coffers in a garden variety game of Commander. Storm the Vault seemed like it was going to be just fine as a card — not broken or bannable and probably pretty fair, especially considering it can only go in one deck I could think of off of the top of my head. I didn’t particularly want to write about that deck (Breya) again so soon even with a new, ridiculous card. Then it hit me — Breya isn’t the only Izzet-containing Commander that uses artifacts. There’s another one, and it’s one I had avoided covering because I barely understood how the deck worked. My first task was to figure out how a card that seemed to be completely useless in Commander would work with Storm the Vault.

Luckily, Gathering Magic has archives full of wonders. I ran across this 2013 article by Jules Robins that detailed the shenanigans you could get up to with Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and Possibility Storm. If you’re not inclined to stop reading this article in the middle and go read another one (or an earlier article he wrote about Mishra without Possibility Storm), you should. However, if you refuse, the main takeaways are that Possibility Storm lets you get a free artifact when you trigger Mishra’s ability and stack the triggers so that first Possibility Storm gives you a random artifact and puts the one you cast on the bottom of your deck and then Mishra’s ability resolves allowing you to search your library for a card with the same name as the one you put on the stack and which should now be on the bottom of your deck. The older article taught me that Blood Funnel is pretty good with Mishra’s ability and I should play Thada Adel, Acquisitor and Praetor's Grasp. Like I wasn’t already going to do that.

Armed with a good historical base for the deck and filled with visions of how the deck might work in the future, I started with Jules’ deck as a base and decided to update it for the future. I want the deck to be 75% and I want to steal a ton of their stuff as well as get double artifacts every time I cast artifact spells. That all sounds pretty doable. Let’s stop overlooking Mishra to the extent that I didn’t even remember there was a deck other than Breya that wanted Storm the Vault and let’s build something dirty.

Mishra, Artificer Prodigy ? Commander | Jason Alt

This is a pretty standard list and the more I tried to take it in a direction that made this feel more 75% and less stock, the more I struggled. This is my 5th draft and it’s like 3 cards different from my first draft. There is a lot more “infrastructure” to the deck than I had anticipated and I don’t have a ton of wiggle room. This presents us with good news and bad news.

The Good news — the deck is basically the perfect 75% deck as a stock list. If it looks like I didn’t do a ton of work here expanding beyond a pretty stock list, it’s because I really didn’t. This is basically the best 75% Mishra deck I could come up with. This is a new experience for me — normally a stock list with some modifications can morph from a deck that does a thing into a 75% deck that scales to their power level.

The Bad news — I would be sort of remiss if I didn’t, you know, do some actual work in this article.

I am going to walk you through some of the things I wanted to do with this deck and which you may be able to try, though basically at the expense of how the deck functions.

Nether Void
Kheru Mind-Eater

Nether Void — This is another Blood Funnel and it lets you basically just cast your artifacts while screwing with them a bit. Nether Void is an expensive card. Am I for real advocating it? I mean, if you’ve got it, flaunt it. I had a Nether Void a few years back before I sold it for, you know, less than it is now because I’m a finance wizard. They exist. Is the deck fine without it? Yeah, for sure. But you can easily jam 100 other cards in that spot and not miss a beat.

Kheru Mind-Eater — This is a 75% card that I have been wanting to build around forever. This could be a good deck for it and you can jam it if you want but I keep imagining a scenario where your opponents just don’t give you anything you can cast. Mishra makes a lot of things possible but this isn’t one of them, really. Try it, but it’s bad when your Mishra is alive.

75% Win Conditions — I really wanted to find room for Hellkite Tyrant and Mechanized Production. It’s probably way easier to accomplish than I think. In fact, there’s room for Tyrant, Production, Revel in Riches, Spell Swindle and the lot. I am worried that including them makes you take out too many important pieces of the well-oiled machine, though. If you cut Nether Void, Planar Chaos, a Daretti and something like Etherium Sculptor I bet you can jam this stuff in there. The deck already functions so well as a 75% build, though, I was worried I was just trying to add “cute” cards to the deck. 75% doesn’t mean “cute” or “terrible” and while adding those to most builds won’t disrupt how the deck works, it felt disruptive here. I personally would add them but I tried to present a balanced decklist that I was reasonably sure would hang as a deck and be able to finish the job. If you are confident in the deck with all of these cards in there, have fun. Revel in Riches is super doable either way, probably.

Everything else I thought about adding seemed like it made the deck play worse.

So what do we do when we stumble across a deck that basically everyone is already building 75% in the wild? I think we bring it to everyone’s attention which is basically what I did this week. But in a way, it feels like you might think it was ALL I did this week. Just know that I tried roughly 2 dozen cards that didn’t end up making the cut because they kept making the deck feel less 75%, ironically enough. How can 75% guy tinkering with a deck make it less 75%? Simple. The deck is in that sweet spot already. So instead of making the deck worse to make it look like I did more work than I actually did, I’m going to submit the best list. Was it necessary to apologize for that?

This is a perfect 75% deck and basically everyone I see building it is building it 75%, which is incredibly gratifying to me, as it should be to long-time readers of the series. Hopefully next week we will have more Rivals of Ixalan cards to discuss. Until then, tinker with this fun old build and see if you can improve on it. I sure couldn’t. Until next time!

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