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Right, you can dip 3 levels into something else and essentially lose nothing. If you have a lenient GM you can dip 5 with Magical Knack and still essentially lose nothing.
With the recent change to SLAs you could qualify for Mystic Theurge at level 4 and end up with Cleric 2/Wiz 1/MT 10/Wiz 5/Cleric 2 and end up with a caster level of 17 in one class and 19 in the other with Magical Knack.
A Fighter 1 / Wizard 1 / Rogue 1 / EK 10/ AT 7 build would end up with a BAB of +14/+9/+4 which is only one less than a 20th level Rogue.
Heck they'd still be able to cast level 9 spells at 20 even without Esoteric training...and they'd get it at level 17 with it! Nearly as good a Rogue, nearly as good a Wizard, and a passable Fighter. Not bad at all.
If it were a Dragon Disciple instead you could still go Aasimar Fighter 1 / Sorcerer 1 / EK 10 / DD 8 and (with Esoteric Training and Magical Knack) end up with 9th level spells as a 20th level caster and a BAB of +18/+13/+8/+3 not to mention 11 levels of d10 HD and 8 levels of d12.
Long story short, if you are willing to put in the leg work you can nearly completely nullify the penalty for multi-classing as a character.
This is a tiny bit off topic, but since we are talking about powerful characters, getting 3 free caster levels should be part of the conversation.