As part of an ongoing effort to expand the genetic alphabet for in vitro and eventually in vivo applications, we have synthesized a wide variety of predominantly hydrophobic unnatural base pairs exemplified by d5SICS-dMMO2 and d5SICS-dNaM. When incorporated into DNA, the latter is replicated and transcribed with greater efficiency and fidelity than the former; however, previous optimization efforts identified the para and methoxy-distal meta positions of dMMO2 as particularly promising for further optimization. Here, we report the stepwise optimization of dMMO2 via the synthesis and evaluation of 18 novel para-derivatized analogs of dMMO2, followed by further derivatization and evaluation of the most promising analogs with meta substituents. Subject to size constraints, we find that para substituents can optimize replication via both steric and electronic effects and that meta methoxy groups are unfavorable, while fluoro substituents can be beneficial or deleterious depending on the para substituent. In addition, we find that improvements in the efficiency of unnatural triphosphate insertion translate most directly into higher fidelity replication. Importantly, we identify multiple, unique base pair derivatives that when incorporated into DNA are well replicated. The most promising, d5SICS-dFEMO, is replicated under some conditions with greater efficiency and fidelity than d5SICS-dNaM. These results clearly demonstrate the generality of hydrophobic forces for the control of base pairing within DNA, provide a wealth of new SAR data, and importantly identify multiple new candidates for eventual in vivo evaluation.