When Commander 2018 was released, I immediately gravitated toward Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer to brew with. I wanted to gather a collection of innocuous tokens, then turn them all into something terrifying and win on the spot! The trick was having to create a token copy of whatever my win condition was. That’s why I was so excited when Masterful Replication was printed. It’s never a do-nothing spell thanks to its “two 3/3 Golems” choice, and you can copy any artifact without making a token first! This card has some scary potential, and it enables some very silly strategies. Let’s get into it!
Hoarding Can Be Good
First, let’s talk about setup. To get the most out of Masterful Replication, we’re going to want a lot of artifacts on the battlefield. There are a ton of ways to achieve this, but one of my favorite ways is to use cards that make treasures. Smothering Tithe, Pitiless Plunderer, and Revel in Riches can get us swimming in artifacts in no time! Genesis Chamber spreads the love to all players, which makes a nice political move, plus our tokens will get much scarier than theirs will.
Another artifact-collecting strategy is to play artifacts that draw us cards: Prophetic Prism, Arcum’s Astrolabe, Elsewhere Flask, Guild Globe, etc. There are a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to artifact “cantrips.” Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain can also help us flood the battlefield (and our hand) with artifacts. On their own these cards do very little, however there are ways to make them more useful.
Inspiring Statuary lets us use these “useless” artifacts to help pay for non-artifact spells. Urza, Lord High Artificer (is crazy expensive, but) lets us tap each one for a blue mana. Cards like Master of Etherium and Darksteel Juggernaut get JUICED just because these artifacts are sitting on the battlefield! Of course, the real reason we’re playing these artifacts is to surprise our opponents with a huge army of something scary out of nowhere. But what’s “something scary”, you ask? Well, let’s start with a card I just mentioned.
Big, Big Results
Let’s say we control Master of Etherium and five other artifacts (maybe two treasures and three “cantrip artifacts”, it doesn’t matter). That makes our Master of Etherium a 6/6. If we cast Masterful Replication targeting our Master of Etherium, we will end up with six 11/11 creatures! That’s because each copy of Master of Etherium gets +1/+1 from each other Master of Etherium we control.
If we resolve a Masterful Replication targeting an Ugin’s Nexus, each artifact we control becomes a copy. Since Ugin’s Nexus is legendary, we choose one and the rest would be put into the graveyard, but they are exiled instead and we get an extra turn for each one! However, we need to be careful: if the Nexus we keep is the original card, it won’t stop being an Ugin’s Nexus at the end of the turn. That would mean we would have to skip all the extra turns we just got, and that’s less than ideal. So make sure to keep a copy, not the real deal!
Let’s Get Weird
Liquimetal Coating is one of my favorite Magic cards, because it’s one of the easiest ways to create situations that Wizards never intended. For instance, if we use Liquimetal Coating to turn a Sanctum Seeker into an artifact, we can target it with Masterful Replication. Assuming we have five other artifacts (and the tapped Liquimetal Coating), we would end up with seven Sanctum Seekers, one of them tapped. Attacking with the six that are untapped would drain each opponent for 42 life (before combat damage)!
If we pull the same trick but with Utvara Hellkite, we’ll create 42 Dragon tokens! It might not be an instant win, but it should be pretty difficult for our opponents to overcome 252 power and toughness with flying. If you have Pandemonium on the battlefield, it’s probably an instant win.
Let’s Get Even Weirder
Speaking of Pandemonium, what if we made that into an artifact and hit it with Masterful Replication? Keeping our usual assumption of five other artifacts, that makes seven total Pandemoniums. But what can we do with seven Pandemoniums? We can play creatures, which will deal damage equal to their power seven times, but there are even spicier options.
If we already control a Vraska, Swarm’s Eminence when we pull off the “seven Pandemoniums” thing, we can create a 1/1 with deathtouch that can outright kill seven creatures and planeswalkers! If you would rather deal damage directly to your opponent you can do that too, and since Vraska doesn’t specify “combat damage”, your creature will get bigger with every hit! With seven Pandemonium triggers, all aimed at your opponent, your 1/1 Assassin will deal 28 damage and end up as an 8/8.
Wrapping it Up
If I don’t stop here, I’m going to spiral into an increasingly impractical series of weirdo interactions that goes on for another three thousand words. I hope this article has given you some ideas of your own, which I’d love to hear about! You can leave a comment, or tweet at us @PlayableMagic. Thanks for reading, and tune in next time when I’ll activate Loyalty abilities on an Experiment Kraj!