CUT #18: Mishra vs Urza vs Urza

Travis Stanley • December 16, 2022

Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa - Darren Tan
Urza, Powerstone Prodigy - Donato Giancola
Urza, Prince of Kroog - Joshua Raphael

The sound of explosions and shots ring through the air. Dust and dirt cake the fallen, and the thunder of a hundred or more footsteps continue to pound forward. Welcome to The Brothers' War, Magic's final Standard release of the year! This whole year has been jam packed with sets, Commander product, Secret Lairs, Universes Beyond, and more. Another fun fact is that this is the last CUT article (counting the finals) of 2022, which is pretty exciting.

Before we get to this week's deckbuilders, let's take a look back at CUT #17 finals and see who won!

Congratulations to Jared! Looks like Dina, Soul Steeper brewed up a winning potion for you! Thanks to Vex for their contributions as well, and a thank you to both of our competitors for sharing with us some cards that meant a lot to them! Check them out on twitter: Jared - @Zomboyprince, and Vex - @The_Terroirist.

Now onto the main show!

The challenges our deck builders had to face for this round were:

  • Must use an "Urza" card or a "Mishra" card as your commander

  • If you use Urza, you cannot include any card that mentions Mishra, and vise versa (Card name, flavour text, ability, etc)

  • You must include at least 15 cards from BRO (The Brothers War main set, not the Commander set)

First up, we have The Minotaur Reviewer! You may recognize them by their Minotaur review articles on Reddit and right here on Commander's Herald! Let's see what they brought to this edition of CUT!

Commander (1)
Enchantments (7)
Creatures (25)
Artifacts (20)
Instants (6)
Lands (37)
Planeswalkers (1)
Sorceries (3)


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Hello everyone, The Minotaur Reviewer here to kick some tail, the old fashion way. You may know me for my Minotaur Set Reviews featured on Reddit and now here on Commander's Heald. I'm ready to prove I know more than just my Minotaur origins. When I was given the invitation to join this round of CUT, I was grinning ear to ear that it was a Mishra vs Urza challenge.

Now, Minotaurs typically come in the Rakdos variety, so there was no doubt in my mind to pick Mishra, but of the four new Mishra cards (and the old one from Time Spiral), it was Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa that really got the Phyrexian oil pumping.

What drew me most was his first ability to give all my permanents "Ward - Sacrifice a permanent". I know in Commander there are a lot of targeted effects, so Mishra adds a level of protection we don't normally see. Now if our opponents want to remove our stuff, they better be willing to pay a bloody price.

Then we come to his second ability, giving all our artifacts a cheap Unearth cost. This is exciting, because now cards never meant for easy recursion can come back for serious damage. Or at the very least it helps get around cards with already steep Unearth costs.

With these two deck archetypes, I decided the only logical direction would be to build a Stax-based deck utilizing Mishra's ward ability to protect our artifacts, then bring back the artifacts with the Unearth ability if they are removed by our opponents. At the same time, I had to further utilize the Unearth side of Mishra to pressure our opponents so that we have a bunch of power or large artifact creatures that we can recur for a big punch when the time is right.

Thanks for the short and sweet entry, hoping we get to see you in the next round! Maybe there will be more Minotaurs there; I guess we will have to wait and see.

Second up, we have Juli! Let's see what she brought to the battlefield!

CUT - Cold and Unyielding

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Commander (1)
Lands (37)
Artifacts (25)
Instants (7)
Creatures (23)
Sorceries (4)
Enchantments (2)
Planeswalkers (1)


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I have a bit of a soft spot for the underdogs. Folks flock toward the fantastical and flashy, neglecting the little person in the corner who only needs a tiny bit of space to flourish.

...I hesitate to use these words to describe Urza, but I do think his younger iteration may be overlooked. We all know the terror that Urza, Lord High Artificer wreaks upon uninformed tables, but where's the fun in that? Kid Urza offers a new kind of mono-blue deck, one with hidden synergies and weird cards that you'd find in a 1994 bulk bin.

Let's break it down here. Urza wants you to discard an artifact card every turn to produce a prodigious pile of Powerstones. The restrictions bound to these rocks don't mean much if you construct your deck to accommodate them. Given how many this deck generates, they're a consistent way to play game-ending threats!

To do this, you'll want artifacts with looting abilities, like Currency Converter, Bag of Holding, and Key to the City. Cards like Thousand-Year Elixir and Patriar's Seal untap Urza to loot more, and Stern Lesson is a looting spell that also gives you a Powerstone!

But these cards all pale in comparison to Teferi, Master of Time, who almost guarantees you a full turn cycle of Powerstones. While we'd prefer artifact looters, the synergy offered here is too much to pass up.

Now that your graveyard is full of artifacts, how can you make them useful? Cards like Emry, Lurker of the Loch and Academy Ruins are the most obvious and reliable solutions to this. Skyway Robber is a new pet card of mine that can cheat out expensive artifacts you discarded early. My favorite recursion card here is one that I hadn't heard of until I dug up a few artifacts from the old Antiquities set! I didn't expect much, but imagine my surprise when I found Drafna's Restoration.

I do not hesitate to say this is the perfect card for this deck. At worst, you can grab a single artifact and put it on top of your deck for one blue mana. That's pretty good, right? Green has a card like that and it puts in work! You're telling me I can take my whole graveyard of artifacts and put them on top of my deck to set up a consistent discard chain? For a single blue mana???

This card's amazing. You should play it.

Moving on! You've got a bunch of shiny rocks! You might ask, "Hey, what am I supposed to do with all these pieces of jewelry?" In another context, I'd tell you to sell all that stuff on the black market and go live your best life in another country. Norway, perhaps? But in the context of Magic: the Gathering, we've got a few different options.

How about drawing cards? Give that mana to Geology Enthusiast (who is a personification of me building this deck), tap them to draw cards with Universal Surveillance, or sacrifice them with Sage of Lat-Nam.

How about making more mana? Dump your Powerstones' mana into Everflowing Chalice, refine it with Energy Refractor, or get stupid with Doubling Cube. Heck, if you dump your Powerstones' mana into the Cube, it removes the nonartifact restriction!

How about protecting your board? A significant weakness of the deck is if anyone plays a card like Bane of Progress; well, you might as well throw your progress in the garbage. The deck has counterspells to stop mass board wipes, and Soul of New Phyrexia helps you keep your board intact even from the grave.

Finally, how about some good old-fashioned murder?

This deck accumulates a huge pile of artifacts throughout the game, and with these spells, you can swing for lethal out of nowhere! Though, in The Antiquities War's case, it isn't a surprise at all, but it's thematic and that's all that matters.

Psychosis Crawler and Mirrodin Besieged reward us for using our looting engines. Unimpeded, you can drain large bundles of life with the former, and surprise someone with an auto-loss condition with the latter.

Kappa Cannoneer comes down early and grows into an unstoppable threat as you play your deck. Inkwell Leviathan is in a similar vein, but I'll admit it's a nostalgia pick. It's one of the first Magic cards I ever saw and it infatuated me with blue! Sail on, my old friend. Rounding this out, Phyrexian Triniform gets discarded early, letting you use your Powerstones for its Encore ability to generate a late-game army-in-a-can!

And like you might close out a game, I'll close out my write-up here. I do wish I could've spotlighted more of The Brother's War cards, but alas. Building a deck for CUT genuinely enriched my knowledge and love for the game we play, and I can only hope to participate again! Much love to Travis for setting up and curating this series!

Thanks, Juli! Great entry, I hope that Urza creates enough Powerstones to power you onto the next round! You can follow and check out Juli over on twitter.

Unfortunately, due to scheduling difficulties, our next guest wasn't able to get their deck ready in time. In that case, I will step in this round to close out the year!

CUT - UwU Urza

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Commander (1)
Creatures (25)
Sorceries (6)
Enchantments (5)
Artifacts (10)
Instants (10)
Lands (41)
Planeswalkers (2)


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It's been awhile since I had to do a CUT article, so let's see what I came up with.

Artifacts aren't really my strong suit, so The Brothers' War has really made me flex my deckbuilding muscles and see how much value I can grind out of these machines. I chose Urza, Lord High Artificer as my commander first, seeing how he is the most powerful version of Urza, but then I remembered, he can just go into a deck led by one of the two new Urzas. Note, he could also go in the new Urza from the Commander set, Urza, Chief Artificer, but I am saving that for the next round (if I make it of course).

The mission of this deck is simple: get out artifact creatures and make them big. Sai, Master Thopterist is a very key component, making you flying attackers every single time you cast an artifact, and when you don't need them anymore, sacrificing them for that sweet, sweet card draw. To create and maintain an artifact army, we have Thopter Spy Network, Thopter Assembly, and Myr Battlesphere as cards that reliably make tokens. One of my favourite enchantments in this deck is Mechanized Production, not only because it's an alternate win-con, but because it also does exactly what this deck wants to do: make more and more copies of artifacts. Of course, having this many artifact pieces means we have to run Bronze Guardian, to give all of our metal stuff ward 2, and Padeem, Consul of Innovation, to pump that protection up to hexproof. To make them even more beefy (aside from Urza's buff), we have Tempered Steel, Chief of the Foundry, and In the Trenches.

With this many artifacts, who really wants to pay retail for them? Certainly not in this economy. Jhoira's Familiar, Foundry Inspector, and Cloud Key all supply a wonderful discount to our artifact (and historic) cards, allowing more bodies to hit the battlefield running. Geology Enthusiast may not look like much, but when you have steady supply of tokens and are able to turn them into 3/3s with Urza, or use them to draw cards, make more copies of artifacts, or use any number of activated abilities in the deck, it becomes very clear how good of an engine that geologist can be.

You know I had to put the Meld combo of Urza, Lord Protector and The Mightstone and Weakstone in this deck if I could. The act of Melding into Urza, Planeswalker is a win-con in my own head, even if it doesn't win the game. Besides him, the other planeswalkers (Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim and Dovin, Grand Arbiter) are there as support cards, either drawing cards, or creating flying thopters respectively.

As with any good invention, this deck takes time to get going and get its board all set up. Building it piece by piece, before the final touches are played, and before your opponents know it, there's a 20/20 unblockable Kappa Cannoneer headed straight for them. There would be other synergistic pieces I would've put into this deck, but I really wanted to make sure I hit that BRO quota that the challenge set.

This challenge was a lot of fun and made me think about building an artifact deck that isn't just combo. Thanks for listening!

The troops have gathered their armies under the flags of one of the brothers. It's now your turn to decide who makes it to the last finals of 2022! This year has been such a blast, and I would like to thank you all for joining me this year and helping grow CUT. Take a long look at these decks (though not too long, the poll does have a closing time) and vote for which deckbuilder you would like to see next time! Thanks for reading, and remember, if you don't love it, CUT it!

If you or a friend would like to be on a future edition of CUT, please send an email to or @ me on twitter @chipman007.

Poll ends: December 24, 2022