The Brothers’ War is around the corner, and a new set preview always comes with cards that have the potential to impact Modern. From what we’ve seen so far, The Brother’s War is heavily artifact focused, which almost always lands a couple cards into older formats, especially with Karn, the Great Creator and Urza’s Saga running around. Of course, there are a couple artifacts worth mentioning here, but there are strong options for color spells as well.
The Stone Brain
The Stone Brain, while perfect meme material between the name and the artwork, may also be the best card in The Brother’s War for Modern. Karn, the Great Creator decks don’t have access to great sideboard options to fight combo decks, but The Stone Brain solves that. The ability to wish for a Lobotomy effect is a phenomenal addition to Karnboards.
The Stone Brain isn’t likely to be fast enough to stop some of the fastest combo decks without additional help, but having five copies of it is quite nice. A neat little synergy is that The Stone Brain exiles itself, which means you can keep getting it back with Karn to activate it multiple times.
Third Path Iconoclast
New Young Pyromancer dropped (except Third Path Iconoclast isn’t exactly Young Pyromancer because it requires your deck to be at least Izzet colors). In fact, it’s actually better because it triggers off of noncreature spells instead of only instants and sorceries.
The difference in triggers may not seem like a lot, but there are a lot of Mishra’s Baubles, Leyline Bindings and planeswalkers running around in Modern, and losing out on all of those triggers greatly impacts the playability of Young Pyromancer vs. Third Path Iconoclast. Not for nothing, the tokens are also colorless, which can be good when trying to block against Giver of Runes.
Third Path Iconoclast interests me as a backup win condition in Underworld Breach shells, something that Young Pyromancer would be very bad at doing.
Urza, Prince of Kroog
From time to time, even as recently as a few months ago, Azorius Affinity (or 8 Cast) pops up, and Urza, Prince of Kroog could be a good, top end finisher for that deck. It has been a long time since the world has seen Tempered Steel, but then again, it has been a long time since the world has seen Affinity. Urza is significantly better than Tempered Steel, both by coming with a body and not needing Metalcraft to do its thing.
One of the issues Affinity faces, historically, is that Ornithopter and Memnite are not good cards on turn four. Urza, Prince of Kroog makes the airy parts of the deck more threatening. Thought Monitor and Urza play well together, too. Even though six mana is certainly not cheap, in late stages of the game, copying Thought Monitor is going to snowball out of control quickly.
Haywire Mite is likely going to appear somewhere (likely the sideboard) in every Urza’s Saga deck with regular access to green mana. Haywire Mite isn’t good enough to see play on its own given that the rate isn’t great and that it misses things like Eidolon of the Great Revel, but it has the upside of being tutorable with Urza’s Saga.
In fact, Haywire Mite is incredibly punishing in the Urza’s Saga mirror, as the first person to play Saga can get Haywire Mite to blow up the opposing Saga. I’d expect Haywire Mite to see play in green Saga decks, but unlikely anywhere else — unless there is an artifact or creature payoff involved.
Loran of the Third Path
The “Disenchant with upside” train continues with Loran of the Third Path. Loran is exactly the kind of card that a deck like Humans or Death and Taxes wants.
A white creature with a reasonable body and the human type goes a long way, and when it has a good enters the battlefield ability things get interesting. Vigilance makes Loran good in combat, which, after a counter or two from Thalia’s Lieutenant, matters a fair bit.
There are plenty of artifacts or enchantments in Modern that Humans would like to kill, but they don’t want to spend a turn not influencing the board to do so, which Loran solves nicely. I imagine that the draw a card ability will mostly be flavor text, but in a pinch it could dig you into an answer.
As always, I’m excited to see which cards have an impact on Modern, so I’ll be keeping an eye out once Brother’s War is in the hands of players. If you think I missed a standout card for Modern, be sure to let me know.
You can find me on Twitter @RappaciousOne for questions, comments or feedback. I’ll see everyone back here next week!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.