Last week I went over the five most likely cards from The Brothers’ War to make an impact in Modern, which you can find here. But as we get closer to the release of The Brothers’ War, I want to take a closer look at a couple of the cards I previously mentioned — Third Path Iconoclast and Haywire Mite — and take a look at some decks that I think will be good landing spots for these new friends.
Young Pyromancer hasn’t been a strong Modern card in a few years, and on its surface, Third Path Iconoclast is a harder to cast Young Pyromancer. That would make it unlikely to see play, if not for Grinding Station.
You see, there are a couple very important differences between Young Pyromancer and Third Path Iconoclast that matter quite a bit when it comes to slotting into Modern Underworld Breach decks. The first being that Iconoclast triggers off any non-creature spells, which means Grinding Station, Underworld Breach, Mox Amber, Mishra’s Bauble and all of the other ancillary artifacts that Breach plays will net you a token. Pyromancer would be hard pressed to get more than a couple of triggers per game in the same situation.
OK, so Iconoclast will trigger more often than Young Pyromancer. Does that actually matter? If Iconoclast and Young Pyromancer both made 1/1 red elemental tokens, the answer would likely be no. However, Iconoclast happens to make artifacts in the deck that happens to care about artifacts.
Oh, and the actual reason Iconoclast will find a home in Breach decks: it enables another combo with very little effort. Iconoclast + Underworld Breach + Grinding Station + a zero mana value artifact lets you mill out your opponent. The mill kill isn’t exactly bulletproof, because if you have less cards in your deck than your opponent you’ll need to have a couple extra spells in the tank to untap Grinding Station and finish the job, but it is another line your opponent will need to respect.
In addition, Iconoclast makes it much easier to recover from an Endurance in response to your Underworld Breach. Usually you’d need an untapped Grinding Station with something to sacrifice in play, plus be able to play another artifact to sacrifice to really get going again. Now, thanks to Iconoclast, you just need any non-creature spells, which opens those lines up considerably.
Worst comes to worst, Iconoclast provides a reasonable, secondary win condition, as it isn’t graveyard or combo reliant. However, due to its ability to combo, I do think it likely earns a spot over the common flex spots of either Ledger Shredder or Fable of the Mirror Breaker.
Amulet Titan, Temur Breach and More
Haywire Mite is our new insect friend who is here to make an impact primarily as a sideboard card and/or Urza’s Saga target. I’m of the opinion that Haywire Mite will see play in any green deck with Urza’s Saga, which means the list of landing spots looks something like Amulet, Temur Breach, possibly Jund and Hardened Scales.
I could also see Haywire Mite seeing play in Yawgmoth decks, given all of the tutors they have access to, but Outland Liberator is likely better in most cases for Yawgmoth. Still, given some of their combo setups require them to be at a higher life total than their opponent, the life gain from the death trigger could be relevant.
Haywire Mite doesn’t offer a ton to talk about because it isn’t flashy or likely to see play in high numbers per deck, but it will be an important role player. Just consider how powerful it is in the Urza’s Saga mirror, since its presence means the first Urza’s Saga in play gets to tutor Haywire Mite and destroy the opposing Saga — a huge blowout.
Personally, I think Haywire Mite will be the best in Temur Breach and Amulet. Breach wants Mite to combat things like Leyline of the Void, Roiling Vortex, Chalice of the Void, etc, while Amulet wants to be able to clear out Blood Moon and Ensnaring Bridge.
While I’m sure there will be more cards from The Brothers’ War that will show up in Modern, Third Path Iconoclast and Haywire Mite are the ones I’ve been thinking about the most recently. This weekend is The Brothers’ War prerelease, which means we’ll start seeing tournament results with new cards coming soon, and I’m excited to see what they bring!
As always, you can find me on Twitter @RappaciousOne for questions, comments and feedback. Best of luck to everyone in whatever tournaments you may be playing in this weekend. I’ll be jamming prereleases at my LGS!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.