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3, Nov, 22

MTG Brothers War Uncommon May Be the Best Card in the Set

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Article at a Glance

Many MTG players are starting to realize that The Brothers’ War looks like an incredibly powerful set of cards. There’s almost no question that this will warp Standard and Pioneer significantly by introducing the Prototype mechanic and the nightmare that is Diabolic Intent. However, players may not have considered that Brothers’ War has a strong chance of significantly impacting every MTG format. Even the likes of Modern may see a major shakeup due to an innocuous Uncommon that addresses the current metagame in a disastrously beautiful way. It’s time to do a deep dive into just how good Haywire Mite is for the Modern format while touching on its potential in every MTG format.

Haywire Mite

haywire mite

This innocent-looking bug is a lot better than it first appears. Costing only one mana, Haywire Mite can sacrifice itself for a Green to exile a noncreature artifact or enchantment. As a massive bonus, Haywire Mite also gains you two life when it dies. This may seem irrelevant, but it makes the card a lot more palatable to main deck in faster formats, and those formats are where this may see the most play.

Brothers’ War has a Lot of Artifacts

Rootwire Amalgam
Rootwire Amalgam | The Brothers’ War

Firstly, Haywire Mite will likely be an all-star in Standard and Limited. There are many artifact cards in Brothers’ War, making the Mite seem like a solid removal option in Limited. Enchantments are already at an all-time high in the Standard format in the forms of Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Wedding Announcement, so this card is likely to see sideboard play there as well.

While Pioneer is a bit of a question mark, there is definitely a place for this Mite in that format. Mono Green is a Karn wishboard deck, but generally, if they get to the point of wishing stuff up with Karn, you’ve already lost. This also hits Fable of the Mirror-Breaker, Fires of Invention, and basically everything in Enigmatic Incarnation decks. If Brothers’ War also manages to impact this format, the Mite might be better than initial outlooks suggest.

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Haywire Mite and Urza’s Saga

urza's saga

Anyone who’s been playing Modern knows that Urza’s Saga is one of the most format-defining cards that exist. This seemingly innocent land can easily win games on its own. Not only does it allow you to play out early threats, but Urza’s Saga can also create multiple Constructs that commonly threaten to end the game on their own in a few turns if left alone. Finally, the last mode on Saga allows you to search for a silver bullet to ruin your opponent’s plans. This card is so powerful that sideboard tech is commonly used to target this card, like Alpine Moon, Force of Vigor, Blood Moon, Spreading Seas, Wear/Tear, and more.

Up to this point, Urza’s Saga has not been able to tutor a card that can remove an opponent’s Saga. Haywire Mite can completely warp the format into a race to win the Saga war. Whoever resolves their search first gets to exile the opponent’s Saga before it does too much damage. While this stops the incoming Constructs and the search effect, it also just blows a land up, which is devastating in its own right.

While Urza’s Saga is undeniably the most significant target that Haywire Mite has, there are a lot of major cards that it hits within the Modern metagame that can tip the scales heavily in your favor. Here is a list of examples:

  • Urza’s Saga
  • Underworld Breach/Grinding Station (this exiles, so exiling a Station can be surprisingly effective postboard if they cut down on Stations. That said, Underworld Breach is, and usually will be, the target you need to watch out for)
  • Amulet of Vigor
  • Colossus Hammer/Sigarda’s Aid/Shadowspear
  • Kaldra Compleat (this exiles, getting around the Indestructible clause)
  • Fable of the Mirror-Breaker (pre-flip)
  • Treasure token targets to an Indomitable Creativity
  • Chalice of the Void
  • Blood Moon (if you can pay the green)
  • Alpine Moon/Roiling Vortex/Relic of Progenitus/Engineered Explosives/Pithing Needle/other common sideboard tech
  • Aether Vial
  • The Indestructible Artifact Land Cycle
  • Leyline of the Void/other Leylines

The Downsides

Ironically, the most significant downside for Haywire Mite in the current Modern metagame is that it needs green to use. Currently, there aren’t a lot of green Saga decks seeing a ton of play. There are some decks that this slots beautifully into, however. We’ll take some time to highlight those here:

primeval titan

While Amulet Titan is a prominent home for this card, it’s questionable how much the deck will actually search for it. Unless there’s a piece of hate stopping Amulet Titan from winning the game outright, the deck is much more likely to go for an Amulet of Vigor. Blood Moon destroying Urza’s Saga before it goes to search for the Mite makes things a bit more awkward. This card will definitely see some play in Titan, but I’m not sure if it’s going to reinvent the archetype in any way.

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underworld breach

The best colors for Underworld Breach are undeniably Jeskai. While I pale compared to the best Breach pilots out there, I managed to qualify for Regionals coming later this month with it.

teferi, time raveler

Teferi, Time Raveler is integral in many of the common matchups you’ll find in the Modern metagame. Between the Counterspell war found when playing against Murktide and the Cascade decks found in Living End and Crashing Footfalls, this card fixes a ton of holes the deck would have without it.

wrenn and six

That said, Modern MTG streamer Aspiring Spike did create an RG Breach list that features Wrenn and Six. This deck’s game plan varies slightly from the Jeskai version, but Haywire Mite probably finds a maindeckable home in this archetype. Any deck with Wrenn and Six and Urza’s Saga is probably very interested in this card.

An interesting question that emerges with Mite being a potential mirror tech is if a four-colored Underworld Breach list could be in our future? I already occasionally find Urza’s Saga annoying in a three-colored deck, so if this deck exists, it will likely need to be built by someone with a lot of experience. Emry, Lurker of the Loch, can recur this hate piece if someone finds a way to make this, so there is an insane amount of potential on the table.

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This brings us to Zoomer Jund, or Jund Saga, which is probably the most natural home for Haywire Mite. This deck has not had the best results, but Mite does give it the strict upgrade it direly needs. Scam and other non-artifact decks could keep this from being a maindeckable card, however.

Haywire Mite in Commander

muldrotha, the gravetide

As many MTG players have pointed out already, Haywire Mite is almost a strict upgrade to the Commander favorite Caustic Caterpillar. Haywire Mite notably cannot kill artifact creatures, but Urza’s Saga does see a good amount of Commander play. Mana rocks are also incredibly popular in this format, alongside annoying enchantments like Rhystic Study and Smothering Tithe. There should be some solid targets for Haywire Mite to hit on a board of four people.

Things get slightly more ridiculous when you put Haywire Mite in a deck that can recur it. Muldrotha, for example, can replay this card every turn as either an artifact or a creature. That means you could loop this effect twice in a turn if there are some particularly nasty things it takes care of.

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Formats Where Mite Misses the Mark

painter's servant

The two common archetypes in Legacy that likes to play Urza’s Saga is Painter and 8-Cast. Named after the core card Painter’s Servant, Painter is generally a mono-red combo deck aimed at milling your opponent out with Painter’s Servant and Grindstone. Since the deck is Mono Red, Haywire Mite is a bit of a miss. 8-Cast, a primarily blue artifact deck, also plays Urza’s Saga. That said, artifact and enchantment destruction is not as relevant in Legacy.

Additionally, the best deck in Legacy doesn’t really play any artifacts. Izzet Delver is the deck to watch out for in this format, and having a dead card against the best deck in the format is not where you want to be.

Ultimately, Haywire Mite stands to make an impact in Modern, Standard, Limited, and Commander. Pioneer is a bit of a question mark, and Legacy and Vintage are probably too much for the little guy. The Brothers’ War looks to be an incredibly powerful set as it is, so there’s likely to be more than just this card that impacts MTG, like the card pictured above that has the community worried will break Pioneer into pieces. That said, this Mite will likely be on the frontlines.

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