Mishra’s Burnished Banner

“A sojourn through time gave dark inspiration to one gifted young mind.” – flavour text on Mishra, Artificer Prodigy

So true and so, inevitably, sad. Mishra, Urza’s brother, would eventually fall to his own machinations with a little help from Gix and those pesky Phyrexians. But in this The Brother’s War preconstructed Commander deck supplied to us by Unplug Yourself, he may just have a chance at victory!

Right away I am going to say that there are some dragons in this deck, but no dragon-engines! This, I feel, is a little off the mark for a Misha inspired and themed deck. Now that that’s out of the way let’s get on with this review.

The Commanders:

Mishra, Eminent One

Mishra, Eminent One’s ability to copy a noncreature artifact and turn it into a hastey 4/4 Warform creature until the end of turn can be entertaining, especially when targeting cards like Spine of Ish Sah, which bounces back to its owners hand when it leaves the battlefield which you could then replay and kill a thing, or Ichor Wellspring, which can trade as a 4/4 on the battlefield and then draw you a card when it dies. It is also very on-theme for Mishra. And with a plethora of artifacts to play in this precon, using this ability should prove fun and unique.

Ashnod, the Uncaring

Ashnod, the Uncaring looks to copy non-mana abilities of artifacts and creatures if another permanent was sacrificed to activate that ability. In this deck The Red Woman’s ability is nuts. There are so many great cards with abilities that you’d want to duplicate. Suddenly Wayfarer’s Bauble fetches you two lands, Idol of Oblivion makes two massive Eldrazi tokens, Hedron Archive draws you four cards, Nihil Spellbomb exiles two players’ graveyards, Trading Post brings two artifacts back from your graveyards to your hand, Executioner’s Capsule kills two non-black creatures while Oni-Cult Anvil could becomes a much bigger threat to your opponents’ life totals with the right combo pieces.

Either way, the deck’s overall theme (from my play experience with it) is to create an overwhelming army of artifacts, creatures and non, to ensure that you not only out-value, but out power your opponents.

Out of the Box

Out of the box this deck runs, for lack of a better phrase, like a well-oiled machine. It’s fun and interactive – I played with Ashnod, the Uncaring as my commander on our Out-of-The-Box episode of Command This!

  • 37 lands (6 artifact lands and 2 fetch lands)
  • 12 Mana Rocks
  • 12 Sources of Card Draw
  • 6 Targeted Removal
  • 2 Board Wipes
  • 34 Artifacts

Upgrade Ideas

I think, depending on what lines you’d like to pursue with the deck, there are a number of improvements that can be made to the deck. Maybe some bigger creature payoffs like Phyrexian Triniform just for some scary board presence. Blightsteel Colossus, obviously. You could run Kuldotha Forgemaster for some extra graveyard recursion and a Shimmer Myr to get your artifacts into play at instant really couldn’t hurt your strategy. Creature-wise you could round it off with the old tried and tested Walking Ballista. Those creatures would definitely up your attacking package.

If you were looking to get that Anvil combo thing going you could be looking at a Hangarback Walker (or similar, Myriad Construct perhaps) to make a ton of little thopters to sac to the Anvil, then cards like Dramatic Reversal, Umbral Mantle, Paradox Engine, Captain of the Mists, Clever Conjurer, Deceiver Exarch, Dream’s Grip, Hidden Strings, Galvanic Key, Infuse and Manifold Key (there are others, but you get the idea) can all help to get that Oni-Cult Anvil train running, using Ashnod’s duplication ability over and over to just ping your opponents to death. Some hoops, but it could work. There’s probably a much simpler way to do it, if you know what it is let me know in the comments below.

Conclusions

I really enjoy this deck, for many reasons. One of which is the very cool retro framing that WOTC did for the cards, it leans heavily into the time of The Brother’s War in terms of card design and makes the two precon decks feel unique. Also, the deck is fun to play, with either Commander, both give you different lines to follow making them distinct enough for you to try new play patterns. I think with a little push here and there this deck could easily notch up in power and become something to be feared amongst your local playgroup.

Until next time, I’ll see you on the battlefield.

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