seanblacksheep
One of the decks I have been planning on bringing to Gencon is a Mishra chaos deck. I currently play the deck and I am in the process of getting it where I want for some fun games in Indianapolis. I get a lot of questions when I take out the Commander. The most popular question, “Do you just use him as a beater or just for the colors?” The answer to both is no. Mishra has a mechanic that I find interesting and he works well with cards that don’t see much play. The archetype of my particular brand of Mishra is a focused chaos deck. For you Marvel fans, it’s essentially the Scarlet Witch of Commander Decks.

The deck is built around cards that are traditionally considered chaos-themed and finds ways to work them to your advantage.


axes

Deck Construction 

The deck has a few important pieces. If you want to build something similar, consider these categories and card allocations.

 Category Breakdown

  1. Commander
  2. Mana Fixing/Ramp [12-18]
  3. Control [12-18]
  4. Library Manipulation [12-18]
  5. Recursion [7-14]
  6. Fun Combo-ish Stuff [5-7]

Theme and Mechanics

  1. Theme 1 – Casting Opponents Artifacts
  2. Theme 2 – Working Within Chaos
  3. Primary Mechanic – Arranging the top of the library
  4. Secondary Mechanic – Steal from Opponents

Critical Pieces

  1. Essential Components
    1. Mishra, Artificer Prodigy
  2. Highly Valued Components
    1. Possibility Storm
    2. Knowledge Pool
    3. Thada Adel, Acquisitor

Recommended Cards

There are a number of options for each category. Here are those I recommend considering.

Commander

Mana Fixing/Ramp [12-18]

  1. Alloy Myr
  2. Ashnod’s Altar
  3. Basalt Monolith
  4. Blood Funnel
  5. Burnished Hart
  6. Chromatic Lantern
  7. Coalition Relic
  8. Crypt Ghast
  9. Etherium Sculptor
  10. Everflowing Chalice
  11. Gilded Lotus
  12. Grim Monolith
  13. Krark Factory Iron Works
  14. Mana Vault
  15. Mind Stone
  16. Mox Diamond
  17. Mox Opal
  18. Power Artifact
  19. Sol Ring
  20. Solemn Simulacrum
  21. Thran Dynamo
  22. Wayfarer’s Bauble

Control [12-18]

  1. Black Sun’s Zenith
  2. Comet Storm
  3. Cryptic Command
  4. Duplicant
  5. Gather Specimens
  6. Grip of Chaos
  7. Hinder
  8. Ice Cave
  9. In the Eye of Chaos
  10. Insurrection
  11. Life’s Finale
  12. Memnarch
  13. Molten Primordial
  14. Nether Void
  15. Nevinyrral’s Disk
  16. Planar Chaos
  17. Reiterate
  18. Spell Crumple
  19. Spelljack
  20. Steel Hellkite
  21. Vandalblast
  22. Wild Ricochet

Library Manipulation [12-18]

  1. Acquire
  2. Bribery
  3. Crystal Ball
  4. Future Sight
  5. Knowledge Exploitation
  6. Knowledge Pool
  7. Lim-Dûl’s Vault
  8. Magus of the Future
  9. Mystical Tutor
  10. Necropotence
  11. Omen Machine
  12. Possibility Storm
  13. Praetor’s Grasp
  14. Scroll Rack
  15. Sensei’s Divining Top
  16. Shared Fate
  17. Sooth Saying
  18. Staff of Domination
  19. Teferi’s Puzzlebox
  20. Thada Adel, Acquisitor
  21. Thassa, God of the Sea
  22. Trinket Mage
  23. Vampric Tutor

Recursion [7-14]

  1. Codex Shredder
  2. Crucible of Worlds
  3. Demonic Tutor
  4. Diluvian Primordial
  5. Goblin Welder
  6. Havengul Lich
  7. Living End
  8. Nim Deathmantle
  9. Past in Flames
  10. Profane Command
  11. Rise from the Grave
  12. Rise of the Dark Realms
  13. Scrap Mastery
  14. Sepulchral Primordial
  15. Spelltwine
  16. Tezzeret the Seeker
  17. Yawgmoth’s Will

Fun Combo-ish Stuff [5-7]

  1. Darksteel Forge
  2. Djinn Illuminatus
  3. Eye of the Storm
  4. Guile
  5. Mirror Universe
  6. Mycosynth Lattice
  7. Phyrexian Metamorph
  8. Rings of Brighthearth
  9. Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir
  10. Time Stretch
  11. Really anything you like

Lands [35-40]

  1. Academy Ruins
  2. Blood Crypt
  3. Bloodstained Mire
  4. Bojuka Bog
  5. Cabal Coffers
  6. Command Tower
  7. Dimir Aqueduct
  8. Evolving Wilds
  9. Halimar Depths
  10. Izzet Boilerworks
  11. Moonring Island
  12. Polluted Delta
  13. Rakdos Carnarium
  14. Reliquary Tower
  15. Steam Vents
  16. Temple of Deceit
  17. Temple of Epiphany
  18. Temple of Malice
  19. Terramorphic Expanse
  20. Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
  21. Vivid Crag
  22. Vivid Creek
  23. Vivid Marsh
  24. Volrath’s Stronghold
  25. Watery Grave
  26. Basics

Detailed Strategy Guide

This deck is a bit different from a mainstream Commander Deck. It does not have a solid and straightforward path to victory. The deck is both chaos and judo, so every game you have the puzzle of discovering how you can win a game using your opponents’ cards. That usually isn’t much of an issue, but you are going to be doing it in a chaotic environment. It’s not simply about what cards can win. It is about figuring out how you can manage to resolve those cards. To play with this deck and be successful, or really just to avoid frustration, you need to know the tricks to operating when one or more chaos cards are on the field. That is where Mishra comes in.

Possibility Storm

The way Possibility Storm normally works is that players cast things and then something random, and different, happens instead. This is probably why Mr. P. hates the card. You essentially just have to get lucky in those situations and thinking is taken out of the equation. With Mishra out, when you cast a spell – say an artifact – you arrange the abilities such that Mishra’s is on the bottom and Possibility Storm’s trigger is on top. The Possibility Storm trigger resolves first, putting a new artifact into play and putting the one you cast on the bottom of your library. Then, Mishra’s ability resolves and you search your library finding a card with the same name as the one you cast, the one you just put on the bottom, and put that onto the battlefield. Whenever you cast an artifact spell with Mishra and Possibility Storm in play, you get that artifact, plus the next one in your deck. Free cards = good.

If that was the only way your deck interacted with Possibility Storm, it would be cute, but not great. The best way to take advantage of Possibility Storm is to control what goes on top of your library. This is where the library manipulation portion of the deck shines. Using cards like Scroll Rack and Sensei’s Divining Top paired with Mishra’s ability to shuffle the library, you can scry, sift, and shuffle your library until you have something big and awesome on top that you know you will hit with Possibility Storm. With Academy Ruins and Volrath’s Stronghold, you can also take cards from your graveyard and put them on top of the library for the same benefit.

The deck also has ways to simply interacting with Possibility Storm by casting from libraries with cards like Future Sight or casting from the graveyard with cards like Yawgmoth’s Will.

And yes, Teferi is as mean as he looks in a deck like this that has players jumping through hoops.

Counterspell Enchantments


In addition to Mishra, Guile can be used in conjunction with several of the meaner cards both to get value from Possibility Storm, and to turn things into one sided taxes when possibility storm isn’t around. Cards like Planar Chaos, Ice Caves, In the Eye of Chaos, and Nether Void make things difficult, or at least costly, to cast. With Mishra or Guile out, you put these enchantments’ trigger on the stack underneath the counter spells. You let your spells get countered, and then you get to cast them anyway. With Possibility Storm out, you let the spells get countered before they can get tucked. Then get a Possibility storm spells. Then, you get to spell from Guile or Mishra anyway.

Grip of Chaos

This is not a card that Mishra works with, but it’s one of those cards people generically hate. As a result, I wanted to include it in here just to show it can be played with without being super annoying. The majority of spells in this deck were specifically chosen to have more than one target. If a spell targets 2+ things, Grip of Chaos just sits there. It does provide protection to your chaos pieces and creatures as players will need to get lucky to be able to hit any one specific target. I suggest a random number generator app for this card. (Thanks @platypusjedi)

Mishra

Real quick for people who don’t already know; Mishra will trigger off spells you cast that are your opponents. That is why Havengul Lich, Knowledge Pool, Praetor’s Grasp,and Thada Adel, Acquisitor are all in the deck.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this list. If you have any questions or comments send me a message @sworstoplow on twitter or leave a message below. If you need any advice with decks, feel free to email me at swordstoplow(at)gmail.com.
-STP