The Brothers’ War is upon us and it’s looking like a really exciting set. While this set appears to have a ton of excellent cards that will be completely format-defining elsewhere, such as Pioneer, for Legacy I think this set hits the sweet spot. There is a good combination of sweet cards that may or may not fit into preexisting archetypes, a couple of nice sideboard cards and then a few cards that will make an impact, but not completely warp the format. In that way, this feels like an older set to me rather than something like a Horizons set or even something like Theros Beyond Death. As I always repeat, I do like the push towards including more powerful cards in the format. However, I do think Legacy has been in dire need of a slower pace for a while now and I think this really does land in a nice place.
I’ve been liking the Top 8 format a lot for these set reviews so we’re going to continue that trend here. This time around, this set has an honorable mention so let’s jump right into that!
This is definitely a fairly versatile sideboard card but it’s a somewhat underwhelming one, in my opinion. A one-shot graveyard exile and Silence will definitely be effective in certain circumstances, but it’s a pretty expensive effect. At the point in which you are paying two-mana for the effect, you could cast a card like Rest in Peace, which will certainly be more effective. Still, I do think this is an option that could be relevant from time-to-time, so I’m not going to count it out completely. However, I do think this card should be grateful to be an honorable mention since it is certainly not high on my list of cards that I like.
8. Hurkyll, Master Wizard
This card has a lot of text but I don’t think it’s that far away from “At the beginning of your end step, draw a card if you cast a noncreature spell”, which is a powerful effect. This definitely has the capability of acting as a card advantage engine over a longer game, which I think is something that blue artifact decks could be interested in.
However, despite getting the effect right away, it is fairly slow and while it mostly reads like “draw a card,” it doesn’t literally do that, so there is a chance of missing. Still, I think this is an interesting card that doesn’t ask much of you so I could definitely see playing against this in the future.
7. Argoth, Sanctum of Nature
While this will enter the battlefield tapped more often than not, the effect is very powerful. I think this has a good chance of showing up in Lands, but not in particularly large numbers. Against slower decks, this has the possibility to generate a lot of value as the game goes long. Titania, Voice of Gaea is a bit more costly to include in your deck but it does have a decent effect in some matchups (which, unfortunately, are not the same matchups that Argoth is good in) but if you can consistently meld the two together, that’s a pretty powerful effect. Overall, I think this is a solid option that would probably have been a shoo-in a few years ago but now it likely has too much competition in a format that is too fast.
6. Third Path Iconoclast
As much as I love Young Pyromancer, this is mostly an upgrade for Legacy. It pitches to Force of Will and triggers off of Mishra’s Bauble, which are huge upgrades. It is a downside that it gets killed by Pyroblast but overall that cost is worth paying, in my opinion. This type of threat is not commonly played in Legacy right now, but the card itself is still excellent and will almost certainly replace one of the most beloved creatures in the format, so it definitely deserves its slot on this list.
5. Phyrexian Fleshgorger
I have seen discussion about this card in Reanimator as a combination reanimation target/alternate plan and I’m completely buying into that. While it’s not the most game-ending of threats if it gets reanimated, the fact that it has a lot of flexibility goes a long way in the archetype. I primarily see this as a sideboard card that will be brought in against graveyard hate but I see it as a very effective one that will pair very well with a sideboard plan which involves casting cards like Grief and Fleshgorger.
4. Brotherhood’s End
This is primarily interesting as an alternate version of Meltdown. It’s less efficiency if your goal is to kill zero and one-mana artifacts but it actually gets a bit more efficient if you occasionally want to kill three-mana artifacts, as well. On top of that, while three damage sweepers aren’t generally good enough for Legacy, this is a three-mana sweeper tied to a potent anti-artifact card, which does have a lot of value. This is particularly helpful against decks like Painter, where both of these effects are very desirable. I’m very interested in trying this card personally and I think this could be a very effective option for Delver decks down the line.
3. The Stone Brain
These top three cards are all pretty funny since they will primarily be played as tutor targets. I think this is very likely to be a staple as a Karn, the Great Creator target going forward. It provides Karn decks with the ability to actually stop combo decks in their tracks, which is a huge buff to the card. The fact that there is no limitations to what this card can take is pretty absurd, which not only has the potential to take key combo pieces (Show and Tell or Thassa’s Oracle, for instance) but can also take cards against fair decks if there are only a small subset of cards that matter (such as Meltdown). On top of that, since it exiles itself, Karn can continue to tutor it every turn with his -2 ability, which is pretty great. Overall, I think this is an excellent card that will significantly increase the power of Karn decks.
2. Loran of the Third Path
This is a perfect printing for Death and Taxes since somehow white decks didn’t have access to this specific effect in the past. It makes Recruiter of the Guard packages that much better, it can be bounced by Karakas to rebuy the effect (or blinked with Yorion) and it even has the ability to combine with Spirit of the Labyrinth to create a personal Howling Mine. This isn’t the most powerful card out there but it will absolutely become a staple of Death and Taxes decks for a long time to come.
1. Haywire Mite
This is a slightly weird card to put as the number one card but I don’t see any world in which this doesn’t have widespread applicability in Urza’s Saga decks going forward. It’s an answer to a ton of problematic cards ranging from Kaldra Compleat to Energy Flux. While it doesn’t answer everything since it can’t keep creatures in check, that’s not really the point. This is a low opportunity cost target for Urza’s Saga that adds a lot of versatility to your tutor package in a way that fills a gap that these decks had in the past. In some decks, you’re going to have to stretch a little bit to add green, but others can do it more naturally (using Mox Opal, for instance), so I think we can expect to see the Mite show up for years to come.