Another Revisit Day

Posted in From the Lab on March 17, 2011

By Noel deCordova

Or should that be Re-Revisit Day? Since hyphens are scary, I'll stick with the above title. Of course, both titles imply that there once was an original Revisit Day (heck, and a "Visit Day" too). I could keep going on this (where are the Revisit Nights?) but its time to stop this bleeding joke in its tracks.

Two years ago I wrote a column called Revisit Day. I still remember it fondly, for it contains one of my favorite decks out of the hundreds I've built. Progenitus and Charmed Pendant is just too silly a combo to be considered otherwise. The real reason I'm reminiscing on this is because that column's miniature theme was the "revisiting" of cards.

I always have a bubbling, constantly rotating nexus of Magic deck ideas in my head, and the three that I picked out of the infinite today all happened to include cards or ideas that I've already touched upon. Don't be too worried, though. The reason these three ideas are revisiting the column today is simply because they are so open-ended. (Aah! A hyphen!)

    Infinite Mimicry

The first of these cards is the wondrous Mimic Vat. See, I told you? Mimic Vat was a classic "shenanigans" card upon its first printing last fall, and it quickly climbed my rankings of imprint cards. Not to the top—Spellweaver Helix may never be bested—but enough to ensure I give it another look.

I initially thought Mimic Vat would take off in casual play. Last fall I humbly asked readers for their best Vat ideas, intending to dedicate a column to it. I didn't receive enough responses though, and I had to shelve that idea.

Well today I'm bringing Mimic Vat off the shelf, and doing one of the more exciting actions in Magic with it, in my opinion: going infinite.

The key creature to imprint with Mimic Vat is mana combo mainstay Cathodion. How, you might ask / be asking? Cathodion makes three colorless mana whenever it hits the graveyard. The goal, then, is to imprint Cathodion onto Mimic Vat. Now you can pay three colorless mana (hmmm) to create a token copy of Cathodion.

The third piece of our puzzle is any sacrifice outlet, in order to sacrifice our Cathodion tokens (in order to get three more colorless mana.) And before anyone objects: Tokens go to the graveyard, people! My Massacre Wurm + Hunted Phantasm deck from last month was psuedo-slaughtered via email by readers who don't understand this rule. Tokens are creatures too, and they definitely hit the graveyard before they fade from existence.

Anyway, I'll choose Blasting Station as my sacrifice outlet, which will eventually become my win condition as well. We just need the fourth and final piece: Dross Scorpion. Now when your token Cathodions hit the graveyard, Dross Scorpion recognizes that they were artifacts and promptly untaps your Mimic Vat. Infinity!

To recap the combo: Have all four pieces out. (This is a classic example of a four-card combo.) Sacrifice Cathodion to Blasting Station to ping for 1. Collect your three colorless mana, then exile the Cathodion onto Mimic Vat. Use that three mana to tap the Vat and make a Cathodion token, which untaps the Blasting Station. Sacrifice the token to ping for 1, and this time Dross Scorpion untaps Mimic Vat. You get three mana, and repeat, Blasting away at your opponent each time.

The supporting cast of the deck naturally needs tutors and removal/tricks. The trick is to synch the deck so the supporting cards mesh with the combo pieces. Four Fabricates first make the cut, since I need to find all four of my pieces. Faerie Machinist also enters the deck, since Mimic Vat can imprint it for lots of tasty "enters the battlefield" triggers. Speaking of "enters the battlefield" triggers, I figured the evoke cards from Lorwyn would click with Mimic Vat. Mulldrifter and Æthersnipe are solid cards on their own, and when dunked in the Vat? Potential craziness.

Blasting Station has always liked multiple token creators, and Myr Battlesphere is the latest and perhaps greatest of these. (Okay, I'm just a big Battlesphere fan.) Imagine imprinting the rolling ball of Myr onto the Mimic Vat? Such a proposition tingles the senses.

Vat Vanity

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    The Most Cryptic of Plasm

Cryptoplasm definitely caught my eye when I first scanned and downloaded it into my brain, as I do with most cards every time a new set comes out. There seems to be an unending conveyor belt of Clone effects, which obviously began with Clone itself. Cryptoplasm, then, is the Upkeep Clone, or Upklone. (Yeah, that was bad.)

What to do with this Shapeshifter? A couple of weeks ago, I paired it with Galvanoth and Gelectrode, for a deck full of instant and sorcery chaos. Paradox Haze contributed to the fun as well. But I couldn't help but think Cryptoplasm had another use. Shapeshifters in general sway my combo seeking brain, tantalizing it with too much potential and not enough execution. I remember poring over Cemetery Puca back in the days of Shadowmoor to the point of starvation.

I knew I had a good start with Paradox Haze, but was thereafter stumped on how to proceed. Reader Derek Andres provided a welcome answer in an email about three weeks ago. He wrote, "As a Mirran fan, I quickly acquired a playset of the Shapeshifter and had my own shenanigans with him and Paradox Haze. Specifically, Mirror-Sigil Sergeant. Once you have enough copied Cryptoplasm, it's great to have them all copy a Knight Exemplar or the various components of an infinite Myr Propagator combo. In short, all kinds of fun has resulted."

Whoa! Mirror-Sigil Sergeant!

That's amazing. I happen to love the ol' "Rhino Solider" (in fact, any Rhino Solider). I used Mirror-Sigil Sergeant and Paradox Haze together when Conflux first came out, and Cryptoplasm is a natural card to add to the concoction. It's blue on its own, so even without the Haze, Mirror-Sigil Sergeant will still make copies of itself. With the Haze, though, Cryptoplasm will use one upkeep to shift into a Sergeant, and the other to copy itself.

This gets confusing, since we're copying a copy, but basically the Sergeant copies that the Crypto-Rhino (my name for the Cryptoplasmed Sergeant) makes also have the Cryptoplasm ability. So this is not only a way to churn out tons of 4/4 trampling Rhinos. It's also a way to churn out lots of Cryptoplasms. This is especially fun because you can, once you have enough, have them all transform into something beneficial (Derek used Knight Exemplar). Since these are Rhino Soldiers, I'll swap that with Field Marshal.

One of my favorite aspects of deck building is building myself into a corner, then finding all the linking pieces. In this case, we have Soldiers, upkeeps, and copying things. Let's go with Benalish Commander! This Soldier lord can be suspended for a lot, and Paradox Haze can help it hit the battlefield quickly, creating lots of Soldier tokens in the process. Cryptoplasm can also copy it late game, giving you two huge Soldier threats. To up our Soldier numbers, I added Kithkin Zephyrnaut, which can Paradoxically have dual kinship.

I also wanted a nice two-drop for Cryptoplasm to copy immediately. The last thing I want is for it to sit around like a lame duck until I drop something. Ballyrush Banneret is great here as quasi–mana acceleration, and when copied, you could potentially land Mirror-Sigil Sergeant on turn four!

We'll need tutors, and Ethereal Usher is hilarious in that it a) is massively underused, b) can find Mirror-Sigil Sergeant or the singletons Captain of the Watch or Austere Command, and c) can make all your Rhinos unblockable. Crystallization, meanwhile, is fine removal of sorts that's also a blue permanent for the Sergeant.


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    Counter Counter Intuitive

Or, just intuitive. You can technically add two "counters" to anything to make it mean the same (or any even number). This is very appropriate for a section on proliferate.

Wait, proliferate? Again? Yep. Proliferate is a five-star mechanic that still blows my mind every time I use it. To limit its potential to -1/-1 counters and poison counters is like not letting any of the Beatles have solo careers. And since I spin Plastic Ono Band on occasion, it's fitting that I explore some other roads for proliferate to work its magic.

One of my favorite unknown cards is Rakdos Riteknife. From the devilish art (and its implied background) to the gory text box to its final bloody blast, I like this Equipment more than the average bear. Of course, my intentions here are obvious: to pile on the blood counters, with proliferate to help out, and unleash the Riteknife and dissolve my opponent's board.

A proliferator that I have yet to use is Core Prowler. It's perfect here: Sacrifice it to the Riteknife for two blood counters, not one. Myr Retrievers and Myr Servitors are lovely bits of fodder as well, the former being able to return your Core Prowlers to hand.

Who's holding the knife? (Besides Lyzolda, I mean.) Have Rakdos Guildmage wield it, not just for thematic points, but because of its nice Goblin making ability. (Just in case there's nothing left to sacrifice.) A wonderful find was Phyrexian Broodlings, providing both a key three-drop and a sacrifice outlet (and counters to proliferate!).

While I'm performing these antics, I need to keep my opponent off my back. Good old Grave Pact forces a sacrifice every time I sacrifice (which will be quite a bit.) Contagion Clasp and Contagion Engine obviously contribute to both antics and removal.

If you give in and just want to beat with a bloody knife, you could do worse than give it to Crypt Champion, who recurs Myr Retrievers in his spare time. Otherwise, build up the blood and pour it all over your opponent. You think that's gross? Macabre Waltz.


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Well, that's it for this week. Until next time!

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