The turn of the new year marked the beginning of the Aether Revolt preview season, so the floodgate of new cards has opened. Almost half the set is already out, and it's clear that Aether Revolt will be the exciting sequel to Kaladesh that we've hoped for. There are many intriguing new cards I could write about, but no card has me more inspired than Metallic Mimic.
Metallic Mimic is the newest of Magic's "lord" creatures, which have been the centerpiece of tribal strategies since Alpha's Lord of Atlantis. Metallic Mimic is a shapeshifter that turns into any creature type when it enter the battlefield, and because it's colorless it's a fit into any tribal strategy, just like the tribal all-star Mutavault. As a cheap and aggressive two-mana creature it can form the core of a tribal strategy, so it has tremendous potential in Standard and beyond. Today I'm going to explore Metallic Mimic's applications in the many tribes of Standard, and its implications for building these decks with Aether Revolt.
The most enticing tribe for Metallic Mimic is surely servos. Metallic Mimic is great with tokens, so it's going to work well with servo-generators like Servo Exhibition. More exciting is the new Sram's Expertise.
Sram's Expertise is a huge tempo generator that will produce three tokens and then play another spell for free, so it's the exact type of card that leads to the explosive starts where Metallic Mimic will generate an impressive board presence. Considering that Hordeling Outburst made three tokens for three mana and was a core card of Standard, Sram's Expertise offering three additional mana of tempo for the cost of one extra mana makes me think the card is going to be outstanding. Part of the strength of Collected Company was that it produced six mana of creatures for the price of four, and Srams's Expertise is producing the same level of tempo with two three-mana plays for just four mana. It doesn't produce card advantage – and sometimes it won't even have another card to play for free – but there is something to be said for the consistency of knowing what you're getting. Making the most of the tokens will be the name of the game, and Metallic Mimic is one great way to do that.
The real payoff for playing Metallic Mimic with the Servo tribe is Animation Module. Animation Module produces a Servo Tken whenever a creature gets a +1/+1 counter, and because Metallic Mimic naming Servo will put a counter on each of these new tokens, this combination starts something of a Chain Reaction that produces a 2/2 Servo – bigger if there are more Metallic Mimic in play – for each mana spent. It sounds pretty much like a combo, and it is. While it will need a servo entering play to kickstart it, this is a real engine and potentially very powerful, maybe even busted. The combo of Thopter Foundry and Sword of the Meek was once banned in Modern, and this new Standard combo does a comparable impression while producing even more power for the mana spent and threatening to end the game faster. It's an engine that control decks will struggle to grind out with attrition, and it will overcome any midrange deck over time. It's one of the more powerful things available in Standard, and I'd be surprised if it doesn't offer some competitive potential. Here's how a deck using it might look:
The Servo tribe gains a new constructed playable card in Countless Gears Renegade, which with revolt triggered creates great board presence by making a Servo token. It can be triggered by Evolving Wilds or a Clue Token from Thraben Inspector, and Cogworkers Puzzleknot offers some synergy as another thing to be sacrificed or another way to start an Animation Module chain.
Master Trinketeer finally has a chance its shine with this Servo deck. It's a true lord for servos, so it's the perfect accompaniment to Metallic Mimic and makes the plan of playing the tribe not centered on just one payoff card. It's also a constant source of Servo tokens, which is great on its own but also a way to start the Animation Module-Metallic Mimic chain. Master Trinketeer is also very potent as a free play follow-up to Sram's Expertise, which if combined with Metallic Mimic will put a massive amount of power into play.
Westvale Abbey is an obvious inclusion for Servos as a way to exchange the plan of going wide with tokens to going big with Ormendahl, Profane Prince. Angel of Invention could work very well in the deck as an anthem and a source of tokens, so it's definitely something to explore in the deck. I'm excited for the possibility of Metallic Mimic making the big time in Standard with Animation Module, so I'll have my eyes peeled at the remaining new spoilers looking for more servos.
My first thought upon seeing Metallic Mimic was the eldrazi, Standard's forgotten tribe. In Standard there has been nothing to truly tie the eldrazi together as a tribal strategy, and even the aggressive eldrazi deck that broke into the metagame last season was actually just a colorless deck revolving around Ruination Guide and Ghostfire Blade. Metallic Mimic gives the tribe a lord and a reason to stay focused in the creature type. As a two-drop, it helps to flesh out the lower end of the curve of a deck known for its more expensive threats like Thought-Knot Seer and Reality Smasher, so it's a fantastic support card for these Eldrazi.
Metallic Mimic is exciting with Eldrazi Scion Tokens, which as eldrazi will receive counters. This super-charges token producers like Drowner of Hope and especially Eldrazi Skyspawner, which would put five power into play with a Mimic. A second-turn Mimic followed by turn three Eldrazi Skyspawner is one of the most aggressive possible starts in Standard, and it could make the Eldrazi competitive.
The best Standard tribe currently is humans, and realistically that might be the best home for Metallic Mimic. The tribe is already accustomed to plaything an explosive game plan centered around Thalia's Lieutenant and loads of creatures, and Metallic Mimic is further incentive to double-down on this strategy and focus on playing humans. Metallic Mimic will become a human itself, so it will trigger Thalia's Lieutenant and gain counters from it, and it plays very well with Heron's Grace Champion as well.
The tribe gains another great tool in Aether Revolt in the form of Renegade Rallier, which is a game-breaking tempo play with revolt triggered, and can count Metallic Mimic as one of its potential candidates to return. It's triggered by Clue tokens, but adding Evolving Wilds to the deck makes it easy and reliable, and it makes Tireless Tracker even better.
The spirit tribe has received a lot of attention, but the hope and hype for a competitive Spirits deck fell by the wayside because it failed to compete with the metagame. A new addition to the tribe in Metallic Mimic could push Spirits into the competitive realm by giving it an additional incentive to play spirit creatures. The extra power of Metallic Mimic will do well on the evasive creatures, and the extra toughness will help vulnerable spirits like Spell Queller survive removal.
Another Standard tribe that has been out of discussion for a while is Vampires, which never quite materialized as a competitive deck. The addition of a lord creature could be the push Vampires needs, so it's worth seeing how the deck looks with Metallic Mimic.
There are many ways to build Vampires, including mono-black and black-red, so there are other options to explore. In any form, their aggressive nature is a good combination with Metallic Mimic's extra counters.
Werewolves haven't ever really been something to take seriously, but Metallic Mimic puts the deck back into the conversation. Even though some of the individual cards like Silverfur Partisan and Spirit of the Hunt do provide reasonable bonuses, there hasn't been any sort of real lord creature as a payoff, but Metallic Mimic could fill in the gap. Werewolves has lots of cheap threats, including eight one-drops, so it's capable of explosive starts that make the most of Metallic Mimic. It has fantastic synergy with Lambholt Pacifist, which it can give a counter to make it a 4/4 that can enter the red zone.
Metallic Mimic is an artifact, after all, so it also has applications in the artifact-centric Construct tribe, which with great threats like Bomat Courier and Scrapheap Scrounger has plenty of proven cards to work with. Black-Red Artifacts is already a top-tier Standard deck, and Metallic Mimic could transform it into an even more powerful artifact tribal construct aggro deck. It also gains a new land in Industrial Tower, which will help fix mana and painlessly cast artifacts without ever having to come into play tapped.
It's not clear what tribe is the best home for Metallic Mimic, but it's obvious that it has potential in every Standard tribe, and it needs to be seriously explored. Lord creatures have been the driving force behind Magic's most successful tribal strategies, and the arrival of this flexible new one to Standard means all tribal decks just got more competitive. Metallic Mimic is also set to make an impact on Eternal formats, where it has many more tribes to play with. Where do you think Metallic Mimic will have the most impact? Share your thoughts in the comments, and check back next week for more Aether Revolt spoiler talk!