Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia – The Brother’s War
Date Reviewed: December 27, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale: 1 is bad; 3 is average; 5 is great.
Despite Mishra’s importance to Magic’s lore, he barely appeared personally on any cards before 2022 – his only real portrayal was in the Vanguard series! And considering his important to Magic’s lore, he got a very suitable card in The Brothers’ War, with entry and attack triggers that come pretty close to saying “You win the game”. That’s how versatile and universally applicable they are, but perhaps it makes sense considering he’s not the easiest card to meld. Neither of his two parts has haste or any innate protection beyond Phyrexian Dragon Engine’s unearth ability, so I expect he’ll get play in two kinds of decks: those that can guarantee a particular sequence with tutors and the like, and those that are so threat-dense that they can win without melding him and can break through the staunchest defenses when they do.
Limited: 2.5 (because of the difficulty of getting both halves and pulling off the meld attack; once he’s in play, you should win every time)
Neither half of this meld pair made my Top 10 Cards of 2022 list.
Full disclosure: The Brothers’ War was a hard set to really rank because of how close it came out to the end of the year, so a lot of its cards had little time to really leave their mark in the competitive landscape. Mishra’s mythic rare meld pair was certainly a threatening presence, with a solid pre-meld ability that paired well with his usual “go wide with artifacts” approach, but the challenge with meld is that you’re relying on two cards being out at the same time, and Mishra’s hard-pressed to meld before turn 5 (since he needs to attack to get the trigger off; at least Phyrexian Dragon Engine is on-curve). And if you do pull of the flip, they should see their lives extinguish in short order, which you should hope for.
I will say that I’m not displeased with Mishra making it this high, because his abilities are certainly imposing if they get off. I’m not convinced that he will be a star, since he demands a fair bit of support to land the way you’d want him to, but there are definitely worse investments in terms of what you get out of the mana and cards that go into Mishra,, Lost to Phyrexia.
Limited: 2 (the individual pieces are fine, but getting this out is a herculean task)
Commander: 4 (Mishra can be the commander, and Phyrexian Dragon Engine is searchable enough; pair them up, and let things get crazy)
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