Mishra, Eminent One | Illustration by Randy Vargas
One of the most exciting Commander precons from 2022 was Mishra’s Burnished Banner from The Brothers’ War. While the deck itself wasn’t really more powerful than other precons, its commander Mishra, Eminent One offers lots of exciting possibilities. The deck itself also comes with some pretty good cards that work well with this new version of Mishra.
A sign of a great commander is its ability to improve cheaper existing cards and turn them into more powerful options. Mishra, Eminent One fits that bill with how it improves artifacts that have activated abilities and can be sacrificed for extra effects.
Ready to get into it? Let’s jump right in!
Blood Crypt | Illustration by Adam Paquette
Ashnod the Uncaring
Emry, Lurker of the Loch
Farid, Enterprising Salvager
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
Muzzio, Visionary Architect
Padeem, Consul of Innovation
Silas Renn, Seeker Adept
Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer
The Reality Chip
Idol of Oblivion
Machine God’s Effigy
Gonti’s Aether Heart
Sensei’s Divining Top
Seat of the Synod
Vault of Whispers
For this deck I decided to use the precon as a starting point. There’s an easy way to get started if you’re looking to run a deck with Mishra, Eminent One at the head. This deck will likely also give you some ideas for how to update Mishra’s Burnished Banner if you also bought it. Bigger bonus, building this deck from the precon also gives you special retro frame versions of several cards.
This deck is built to take advantage of Mishra, Eminent One’s ability, which means finding artifacts that are improved when copied, or that work well with other cards to create combos. There are plenty of great combos and interactions available in Grixis (), so I wanted to stick with ones that felt natural for this deck. This isn’t a deck where you can just swap out the commander and still have it work well; you want Mishra on the board to help you out.
This deck also has a few different ways to retrieve important cards from your graveyard back into your hand or deck or directly back onto the battlefield thanks to having several combo pieces. These cards also synergize well with sacrifice effects on cards like Hedron Archive, so they’re this deck’s multi-roleplayers.
This deck is prone to graveyard hate (especially full graveyard removal), and there are plenty of options nowadays. I included a few counterspells in this deck to hopefully combat these types of effects.
Mishra, Eminent One is an exciting artifact commander in a color combination that’s great for that archetype. Creating an extra copy of any noncreature artifact you control each turn is an incredibly powerful ability in a couple of different ways. You to get an extra two mana for free when combined with a mana rock like Sol Ring. The better the mana rock, the better Mishra’s ability becomes.
Because Mishra makes your noncreature artifacts into creatures, it creates some interesting interactions that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. Cards like Voltaic Construct can now target cards it usually couldn’t, like Thran Dynamo. It also allows these copies to be sacrificed as creatures for effects that require one, like Trading Post’s third activated ability.
Mishra, Eminent One also allows card effects that are otherwise one-offs to be used each turn. Instead of sacrificing your original Wayfarer’s Bauble or Hedron Matrix you can keep your original on the board and choose to copy it whenever you need to activate its sacrifice ability on a turn.
Mishra, Eminent One is a huge part of your strategy thanks to all this added utility. While it’s a slightly more expensive commander, your ability to generate extra mana with artifacts combined with ways to get extra lands hopefully keep Mishra on the battlefield.
On top of copying your artifacts, you can also copy their abilities.
Cards like Strionic Resonator can copy the ability of one of your artifacts, or it can copy Mishra’s ability to make you an extra copy of an artifact. Lithoform Engine can do the same with the added flexibility to also copy instant, sorcery, and permanent spells.
Panharmonicon works well in this deck because it doubles up the ETB effects of artifacts copied with Mishra, Eminent One. It also interacts with your creatures like Emry, Lurker of the Loch and Goblin Engineer to help you set up powerful interactions more quickly.
Making sure you can get destroyed artifacts back can be important for putting your combos together.
Silas Renn, Seeker Adept allows you the chance to cast an artifact from your graveyard if you’re able to get damage through.
Emry, Lurker of the Loch is even better at allowing you to retrieve artifacts since it doesn’t have to attack or do damage.
Academy Ruins is a great cheap way to retrieve artifacts, and it’s repeatable. Land destruction might be less common depending on your playgroup, so it’s less likely to be removed than some of your other options.
You can always cast Echo of Eons to give yourself another chance at drawing your important cards if too many of them end up in your graveyard. It’s better than losing them for good even if it’s a pain to go searching again.
One form of artifact support in this deck is cost reduction.
Padeem, Consul of Innovation gives all your artifacts hexproof, which can be especially helpful when trying to set up combos. Board wipes for artifacts still get through, but they aren’t as common as targeted artifact removal.
Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer can also help protect your artifacts, but it requires a sacrifice to do so. This will still likely be worth playing if you’re protecting an important part of your board.
Master Transmuter and Audacious Reshapers can both help you cheat artifacts out onto the board, allowing you access to some of your more powerful cards sooner or helping you set up a combo with less mana.
Muzzio, Visionary Architect also helps you to cheat out artifacts, and it scales in power as you get bigger and bigger artifacts onto the field.
This deck has a lot of great card draw options.
Artifacts like Dreamstone Hedron and Hedron Archive become consistent sources of card draw when combined with Mishra, Eminent One. Trading Post can also sacrifice copies of itself to draw a card if copied with Mishra.
Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain can be a great source of card draw in this deck since a majority of your cards are historic.
While they don’t technically draw you extra cards, The Reality Chip and Mystic Forge allow you to play cards from the top of your library. They give you access to extra cards each turn as a result. Bolas’s Citadel also allows you access to the top of your library, and it lets you cast cards with life so you can cycle through a decent chunk of your deck looking for answers.
Tainted Pact is great versatile draw card. It’s mostly up to you how far you dig into your deck, which is great to find answers or the last piece of a game-winning combo.
Setting up combos is great, but you need to make sure they have a way to win you the game.
The primary means to win in this deck are Thassa’s Oracle or Laboratory Maniac. There are a few ways in this deck to get infinite draws or turns, so you just need one of these once your deck is empty to win the game.
Aetherflux Reservoir is another potential win condition in this deck. It can gain you lots of life in a single turn if copied with Mishra, Eminent One. You can take out all your opponents with the right combo.
Mindslaver can also help you win the game in the right circumstances. Controlling one or two of your opponent’s turns can be a devastating blow against them, setting you up for victory. You can also set up a way to take all your opponent’s turns if you’ve reached a point when you’re taking infinite turns. Your opponents will likely scoop when they realize you’re able to take over the entire game.
Around a third of your lands in this deck are basics, which is helpful when you’re able to consistently activate cards like Mycosynth Wellspring. There’s also a variety of dual lands to help with mana fixing.
You have shock lands like Watery Grave and Steam Vents, which can be fetched. There’s also dual lands that likely come in untapped, with bond lands like Luxury Suite and slow lands like Shipwreck Marsh.
You also have a couple utility lands in this deck. Buried Ruin and Academy Ruins can help you get some of your artifact cards back from your graveyard. You also have Reliquary Tower because you can end up drawing lots of cards in this deck, and it’s nice not to have to discard.
This deck runs a good number of mana rocks since Mishra, Eminent One can make good use out of them.
Mana rocks with extra abilities work really well in this deck. Both Hedron Archive and Dreamstone Hedron tap for enough mana to activate their own abilities. You can tap the original to sacrifice the copy and draw some extra cards when they’re copied. And because you can accomplish this without having to tap other mana sources, it’s a much bigger benefit than when you need to invest resources from outside these cards themselves.
Both Cursed Mirror and Machine God’s Effigy can enter the battlefield as a copy of any creature, making them potentially powerful counters to your opponent’s bombs and mana rocks. For example, I played Cursed Mirror as a copy of my opponent’s Blightsteel Colossus while playtesting this deck.
Wayfarer’s Bauble is already a good option for finding lands in non-green decks. When combined with Mishra, Eminent One you can create copy Baubles to sacrifice instead, allowing you to find multiple lands if you hang on to the original.
Mycosynth Wellspring can similarly be copied with Mishra to receive multiple lands from its ETB effect.
There are several combos that serve as the main strategy for this deck. Which one you decide to go with depends on your opening hand(s) and the opportunities presented to you in the game.
During the early game you generally want to work towards setting up a mana base and getting Mishra, Eminent One onto the battlefield. I wouldn’t start gunning for your opponents right away with Mishra’s Warforms with this build. Focus instead on copying artifacts to get the most out of their effects. You should be copying artifacts to produce extra mana, or to cash in on card draw effects to help you get a quick start.
Once you have a solid base of mana and (ideally) some card draw abilities, you can start looking for one of your combos to set up. I usually like to keep hands that have at least one part of a combo, but if that isn’t possible then another good rule is to keep a tutor like Fabricate. I chose not to load this deck with tutors, both to challenge myself and for budgetary reasons. You rely on card draw when looking for your combo pieces.
You should look to end the game quickly with a card like Thassa’s Oracle or Laboratory Maniac once you have a combo set up, whether it’s infinite turns or infinite card draw. If you’re taking infinite turns then you can also likely win with Mechanized Production.
Combos are a big part of this deck’s strategy, so understanding how they work is important. The two types of combos in this deck are combos that draw you infinite cards, and combos that allow you to take infinite turns.
For turns combos, one option is Mishra, Eminent One, Gonti’s Aether Heart, and Panharmonicon. When Gonti’s Aether Heart enters, Panharmonicon copies its ETB effect, giving you four energy counters instead of two.
At the start of combat you copy Gonti’s Aether Heart with Mishra, Eminent One. You gain four energy from the new Heart and four from the original thanks to Panharmonicon. Then exile the copy of Gonti’s Aether Heart to gain an extra turn.
You can repeat this again and again on your next turn until you’re able to win the game if you still have all the original pieces of the combo. Your opponents will also likely scoop once you explain how you can take infinite turns if they have no responses.
Another way to take infinite turns in this deck is combining Thopter Assembly with Time Sieve. Once you’ve created five Thopter tokens with Thopter Assembly, you can sacrifice them to Time Sieve and take an extra turn.
Time Sieve can also be used with Mishra, Eminent One and Myr Battlesphere to take infinite turns. Each turn, copy Myr Battlesphere with Mishra and then sacrifice it and the four Myr tokens it creates to Time Sieve. This is also repeatable and gives you infinite turns for no mana.
There are also several ways to draw infinite cards in this deck, allowing you to win with Thassa’s Oracle or Laboratory Maniac. The one piece of these combos that’s consistent is Sensei’s Divining Top, which you’ll use to draw a card.
Once the Top is placed back on top of your deck you need a card that allows you to cast it from the top of your deck like Mystic Forge or The Reality Chip. This allows you to play it directly from your deck and use it to draw another card. Then you need a way to reduce the cost of Sensei’s Divining Top, either Foundry Inspector, Enthusiastic Mechanaut, or Etherium Sculptor. This allows you to cast the top card of your library for free, use it to draw a card, and then repeat as many times as you want.
A special variation of this combo involves using Sensei’s Divining Top with Bolas’s Citadel and Aetherflux Reservoir. Aetherflux Reservoir won’t only offset the cost of the top, it also starts gaining you life starting the second time you cast it. If you’re able to repeat this about 17 or 18 times then you’ll gain enough life to use Aetherflux Reservoir to kill all your opponents.
The nice part when budgeting for this deck is that the most expensive cards aren’t the ones that are super necessary for the deck to be successful.
For example, Fierce Guardianship is the most expensive at around $60, but you can swap it out for a cheaper counterspell. Similarly, the $39 Cyclonic Rift can be swapped for a cheaper card like In Garruk’s Wake.
Sensei’s Divining Top can also be taken out if you don’t want as many combo options in the deck. It costs around $20, so you can always replace it with a cheaper source of card draw or a cheap tutor like Diabolic Intent that can search for a different combo piece.
You can focus more in on artifacts in general if you’re looking to play a less combo-heavy deck than this. You can keep a lot of the base build and include some common artifact deck pieces like Metalwork Colossus and Sai, Master Thopterist. You’ll also want to include artifact payoffs like Hellkite Igniter and Cyberdrive Awakener. Urza, Lord High Artificer always fits well into an artifact deck.
If you want to go in a more flavorful direction then you can make a themed deck around Mishra and his armies from The Brothers’ War. This would mean including other versions of Mishra like Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa or Mishra, Claimed by Gix. You can also include more of Mishra’s allies like Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor and his tools, like Weakstone.
Watery Grave | Illustration by Raymond Swanland
Mishra, Eminent One is a fun commander that transforms the way you look at artifacts. I’d recommend picking up Mishra’s Burnished Banner while it’s still relatively available and cheap if you’re interested in playing this deck or just want to play around with Mishra as a commander. This deck can be powerful if you’re able to get off your combos, so this is the deck for you if you enjoy going infinite and moving on to the next game!
How would you build Mishra? Do you know any other combos that would fit into this deck? Let me know in the comments below or on Draftsim’s Twitter.
Thank you for checking out the deck, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one!Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates: