Mishra, Claimed by Gix – The Brother’s War
Date Reviewed: November 30, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 4.13
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
In Ravnica: City of Guilds Standard, the Rakdos decks were renowned for attacking frequently and going wide, and doing quite well at it. It turned out that a lot of that power was down to the availability of Dark Confidant and Umezawa’s Jitte, but the concept has never quite gone away. We’re used to seeing it lean on the “Aristocrats” style of play, gaining advantage from death triggers, and Mishra offers a much more direct way to turn your large swarms into something good, in a way that you can’t really do in white. Although he’s not technically efficient in terms of his power and toughness, that might be enough to warrant including him in aggressive decks on its own – and then, of course, you can meld him with Phyrexian Dragon Engine. When either card is good enough to include in a deck by itself, and they literally win the game for you if you jump through additional hoops, you definitely have a winner.
This might be more of a question for the bioethicists than the lore experts, but it might be interesting to consider when Mishra was no longer Mishra. At the end of the Brothers’ War’s Argoth phase, Urza realized that his brother had become a Phyrexian, but the process seems to have been gradual, starting off with relatively minor “enhancements” given to him by the Gixians. You don’t just wake up one day and say “I think I might weld myself to a dragon engine”; you take lots of little steps and one day find yourself at a point where welding yourself to a dragon engine is another little step. But is there a clear line where Mishra was unequivocally human immediately before, and unequivocally Phyrexian immediately after?
Commander [EDH]: 4
Mishra’s mythic rare outing certainly catches him at a bad time, I’d say. On his own, he’s actually a surprisingly vicious sort of finisher: a big attacking army before Mishra hits play means that your opponent is taking a lot of damage before blocks come into play, and that’s before he has the chance to fuse with a Phyrexian Dragon Engine. Mishra is a bit slower to potentially flip than Titania was, but there’s still a bit to be done that way, able to come out comfortably on turn 4 or 5 after delivering a pretty stinging strike to them.
As for what you get when he has his friend, Mishra’s final form is suitably brutal; he’s already attacking as a 9/9, and you get your choice of three abilities out of a pool of six, ranging from enabling your army to crash even harder to just directing death and destruction. One swing from Mishra should be enough to put a game out of reach, since he does get his trigger immediately on entering, but a second swing might prove game-ending then and there. He’s definitely flashy, and a lot of his melded side screams “the game ends now“…but so does Mishra on his own, and he’ll make for a fine creature in any deck that aims to go wide.
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
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