Once upon a time, there was a very helpful character who had access to an unlimited supply of battle robots. Unfortunately, these robots did not have the necessary software driver updates to be able to fire their rocket launchers or their grenade machine guns. The task fell to one wandering courier who walked across the scorched plains to find the chip with all the updates and bring it back to the helper, so it could be installed and all the robots suddenly could have much better firepower. In this allegory, you are the plains-walker.
Isn’t it exciting? I always wondered why I had missiles in my shoulders but couldn’t launch them.
Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer has access to a potentially unlimited supply of battle robots. If we bring a better battle bot, Brudiclad can assimilate the upgrades and improve the entire army. They also have haste. Additionally, you may choose the token to copy without mentioning the word ‘target’, so it is okay if it has shroud. Any type of token can be converted, so your Clues and Treasures could someday stand up and fight. Alternatively, your army of robots could turn into Treasure and you sacrifice it all for mana to blast into a giant X spell. Do it your own way.
Our commander costs six mana and we aren’t in green. For mana artifacts, add Sol Ring and Izzet Signet to start. Since there’s 4 generic mana in Brudiclad’s casting cost, I’d also recommend a Thran Dynamo and probably a Worn Powerstone. Sprinkle in more 2-drop mana rocks as you see fit, and a Magnifying Glass for the occasional Clue token (which Brudiclad can turn into any other token). We might also be planning to get some Treasure tokens later that either become an extra mana or an extra token soldier.
We probably plan on having a bunch of identical creatures at some point, no matter which creature that will be, so cards that are generally found in all tribal decks are helpful as long as they don’t ask us to choose a specific creature type and stick to it. Coat of Arms and Shared Animosity are each around $10 and are both win conditions, giving their rewards to our uniform army. Since we get at least one new creature for free each turn with Brudiclad, Eldrazi Monument is also quite good (and also in that price area).
I think there are two feasible ways to go in these colors, and it is important to pick one and stick with it. The choice revolves around which types of card will have the most presence in the deck. Do we focus on instants and sorceries, or on artifacts? I’m not optimistic about strategies involving lots of nontoken creature cards, even if they do make tokens when they enter. Maybe just those artifact creatures. Anyway…
This path is along the lines of Mizzix of the Izmagnus, getting free tokens by casting instants and sorceries in the vicinity of Metallurgic Summonings, Trail of Evidence, Talrand, Sky Summoner, Docent of Perfection, and Young Pyromancer. It probably includes things like Primal Amulet and Jace’s Sanctum to reduce the cost of the high number of instant and sorcery cards in the deck. Possible win conditions for this build include Epic Experiment or Mizzix’s Mastery to cast a flurry of spells for “free”, resulting in a huge token army before combat. Stone Idol Trap can be useful if you are able to copy the 6/12 trampler before your next end step. Rite of Replication is also a win condition when kicked on the right creature.
Dragon Fodder, Krenko’s Command, and Hordeling Outburst are perhaps the most straightforward method of creating tokens from spells, and these are also the most efficient in terms of tokens-per-mana without any other setup required. Most token creation sources are less than 1-to-1 in that ratio. Goblin Rally is next with 4 tokens at 5 mana. There are cards that have the potential for a better ratio, but they depend on other factors. Is your graveyard full enough for Rise From the Tides? Are your opponents foolish enough to join in on Tempt with Vengeance or Tempt with Reflections?
This kind of build is along the lines of Daretti, Scrap Savant and Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain. Efficient Construction, Sai, Master Thopterist, and Thopter Spy Network can produce plenty of free Thopters just by casting artifacts. Storm the Vault gives you Treasure tokens, then becomes Vault of Catlacan which scales mana to the artifacts you have. Mechanized Production is a probable win condition if Brudiclad suddenly gives all of your tokens the same name. Investing heavily into a Phyrexian Processor just before combat can provide a remarkable surprise.
You could go with legendary Artificer tribal and add Arcum Dagsson if you want to sacrifice a Myr to conjure up something ridiculous, Muzzio, Visionary Architect to pay mana to conjure something from the top few cards of your deck, or Padeem, Consul of Innovation if you are tired of opponents targeting your stuff.
Bloodforged Battle-Axe is self-replicating at low mana costs, and Prying Blade and Captain’s Claws make different tokens at similar costs. Any equipment with Living weapon gets a free germ token attached. Batterskull is relatively well-known, Bonehoard and Scytheclaw see some play, but if you just want another token then Flayer Husk is the most efficient at 1 token per 1 mana ratio. In an artifact-heavy deck, Mishra’s Self-Replicator gives 1 token per 1 mana and can be done multiple times if you already have multiple copies and mana. Pretend they each have Extort, but instead of draining a life, they copy themselves.
Mimic Vat is a natural fit, allowing us to grab some dying creatures as good opportunities arise. So far I’ve been focusing on the quantity of our tokens, but Mimic Vat can improve the quality of our tokens. It can even be fetched by Trophy Mage. You know what else improves token quality and can be fetched this way?
I’ve been waiting for a commander to be printed that has the ability to make this card good, and I think Brudiclad might do it…
If we are using looting or rummage effects where we discard and draw, or wheel effects where we discard and draw a lot, then we can put creatures in the graveyard without having to pay for them and wait for them to die. Soul Separator is an artifact that can sacrifice itself to turn a creature card in your graveyard into two token creatures. One of those is a flying 1/1 Spirit with all the text of the original creature card, and the other is a “vanilla” Zombie with the original creature’s power and toughness. Brudiclad can turn all of the rest of your tokens into copies of either the creature with abilities or the huge Zombie.
Yes, I know this is all easier with Feldon of the Third Path, but work with me here. This section could also apply to creatures that have been Eternalized with God-Pharaoh’s Gift or Hour of Eternity, or with one of Mimic Vat’s creations. Maybe you have Embalmed a token of Vizier of Many Faces and it has copied something juicy, or you cast Stolen Identity or Supplant Form with the same goal. The point is, we can turn a real creature into a token and then make all of our tokens that one thing.
With Soul Separator, if we avoid legendary creatures (since they would self-destruct if we had multiples*), what kind of creatures would still be useful for this separation situation? Colossus of Akros can give you a squadron of flying indestructible defender 1/1 Spirits, with an option to pay ten mana per Spirit to put ten +1/+1 counters on it and turn ‘defender’ into ‘trample.’ Seems like a good defensive option while we wait for something else to happen. As an alternative, we could have a squad of 10/10 Zombies by copying the other Separator token. Chancellor of the Forge can double the number of tokens Brudiclad has to work with, which then all become 5/5 zombies. That’s not bad, but we can do better.
Sharding Sphinx is an artifact creature that cares about each of your artifact creatures that hit your opponents. If you have, say, six copies of the separated token spirit, and you attack with all of them and they can all fly over one of your opponent’s defenses, then you just did six damage with your 1/1 Sharding spirit tokens. But then, each of those six artifact creatures gets six triggers, since they each saw six artifact creatures do some damage. Now you have six 1/1 Sharding Sphinx Spirits and 36 (six times six) brand new 1/1 Thopters. On your next turn, Brudiclad will make another Myr, but copy your Sharding tokens, leaving you with 43 Sharding Sphinx Spirits, and then you’ll need a calculator, because your next combat gives you 1849 new thopters. It’s a similar situation if you separate Utvara Hellkite, except you would get 36 brand new 6/6 Dragons just for attacking.
Hellrider does damage whenever one of your creatures attacks. If you have seven copies of it and attack with all seven at the same defending player, then they do 49 damage (seven creature attack triggers seen by seven Hellrider Spirits), before we even have to think about blockers and combat damage. Can the Soul Separator do better? That depends on how you feel about the Annihilator mechanic. If we separate Pathrazer of Ulamog, for example, then Brudiclad gives us a squadron of flying 1/1 Spirits, each of which has Annihilator 3 and mega-Menace. You don’t need to attack with very many of those to obliterate a player’s entire board state. There aren’t many decks that are equipped to still have enough flying or reach blockers to stop any of your Pathrazer Spirits. No, seriously, the Sigarda Angel Tribal page only has 29 decks right now, so very few folks are equipped to block you (and against those decks, we can just use Bane of Bala Ged).
* If you really must have extra jank then yes, Mirror Gallery is a card. We could potentially do these tricks with legendary creatures and have a squadron of legendary Marit Lage tokens from Dark Depths. Feel free to dive down that thought sinkhole at your own leisure.
I’m going the artifact route with a few favorites from the Artificer tribe. Zero instants and sorceries, just to see if it is a feasible deck, and it turns out, it’s not terrible. Dies to Vandalblast, but that was probably going to be the case anyway unless I add Arcum Dagsson to get Darksteel Forge every game, but then it would kind of just be an Arcum deck. Or would it?