Mishra’s Burnished Banner Upgrade Guide: Five Ideas

The second of the two Brothers’ War Commander pre-constructed decks is led by Mishra, Eminent One. Similar to the Urza deck, this one embodies Mishra’s army of mechs that he used to fight his brother. In this Mishra’s Burnished Banner Upgrade Guide, I will talk about five interesting ideas I came up with to make this precon unique and interesting for you.

A Brief Note on Budget

This upgrade guide is designed to get your creative juices flowing. I want to brainstorm as many facets of this deck as I can think of. Hopefully one of the ideas you read here inspire you to build a unique deck that is fun for you to play.

In this spirit, I don’t plan to hold back any recommendations I come up with. Specifically, I’m referring to expensive cards. I don’t want to omit a card just because it might be outside some players’ budgets. I mean no disrespect, I’m simply trying to think of as many fun options as possible. If I do end up recommending an expensive card, consider proxying it if your playgroup is okay with that.

And even though I’m doing my best over here, I’m sure I didn’t think of plenty of potential strategies. If you think of one I missed, tell me about it in the comments.

If you don’t already own the Mishra’s Burnished Banner precon, you can get it on Amazon.

Mishra's Burnished Banner Brothers War Commander Deck

Mishra’s Burnished Banner Decklist

Commander (1)
Mishra, Eminent One

Creatures (16)
Audacious Reshapers
Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer
Emry, Lurker of the Loch
Fain, the Broker
Geth, Lord of the Vault
Hellkite Igniter
Herald of Anguish
Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain
Master Transmuter
Metalwork Colossus
Muzzio, Visionary Architect
Padeem, Consul of Innovation
Silas Renn, Seeker Adept
Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer
Traxos, Scourge of Kroog
Workshop Elders

Sorceries (5)
Blasphemous Act
Expressive Iteration
Faithless Looting
Feed the Swarm

Instants (5)
Chaos Warp
Fact or Fiction
Thirst for Knowledge

Artifacts (27)
Arcane Signet
Commander’s Sphere
Cursed Mirror
Dimir Signet
Dreamstone Hedron
Executioner’s Capsule
Fellwar Stone
Hedron Archive
Ichor Wellspring
Idol of Oblivion
Lithoform Engine
Mind Stone
Mnemonic Sphere
Mycosynth Wellspring
Nihil Spellbomb
Oblivion Stone
Oni-Cult Anvil
Prophetic Prism
Rakdos Signet
Servo Schematic
Sol Ring
Spine of Ish Sah
Strionic Resonator
Thran Dynamo
Trading Post
Wayfarer’s Bauble
Lands (37)
Ash Barrens
Buried Ruin
Command Tower
Crumbling Necropolis
Darkwater Catacombs
Dimir Aqueduct
Drossforge Bridge
Exotic Orchard
Great Furnace
Izzet Boilerworks
Mistvault Bridge
Myriad Landscape
Path of Ancestry
Rakdos Carnarium
Reliquary Tower
Seat of the Synod
Shadowblood Ridge
Silverbluff Bridge
Smoldering Marsh
Temple of Deceit
Temple of Epiphany
Temple of Malice
Terramorphic Expanse
Vault of Whispers

New cards* (9)
Ashnod the Uncaring
Blast-Furnace Hellkite
Farid, Enterprising Salvager
Glint Raker
Machine God’s Effigy
Scavenged Brawler
Smelting Vat
Terisiare’s Devastation
Wondrous Crucible

*These are the cards that were printed for the first time in this product.

Mishra’s Burnished Banner General Upgrades

This deck and the Urza’s Iron Alliance deck (that came out at the same time) are very similar to each other. The individual cards are different, but they are both artifact decks with blue and black in their colors. The things that really make them different are that Urza’s deck includes white and Mishra’s includes red.

Philosophically, these are important differences. Wizards made the Urza deck to build a large army of artifact tokens, while the Mishra deck makes one nasty token at a time. Each individual card in the Mishra deck is likely to be a little bit more powerful on average than the individual cards in the Urza deck. It doesn’t have to worry as much about building up an army as it does to build up one powerful threat.

With that focus in mind, here are some generic things we can do to increase this deck’s consistency and efficiency before we even get into specific strategies.

The Mana Base

Xander's Longue Mishras Burnished Banner Upgrade Guide

This precon has a workable mana base comprised of artifact lands, bounce lands, temples, basics, and a handful of others. A deck is only ever as optimized as its mana base. So, in order to improve the deck, we should first look at improving the quality of the lands.

I categorize land quality with two factors. First: does the land tap for more than one color of mana. Second: does the land enter the battlefield untapped? If the answer to both of these questions is no, you can probably find a better option to put in your deck. However, there is a third category in this deck that I am willing to excuse.

Specifically, I’m talking about synergy lands. Both in this deck and the Urza deck, there is a cycle of lands that I would consider to be bad in most other decks. Specifically, I’m thinking of the bridge cycle that includes Drossforge Bridge, Mistvault Bridge, and Silverbluff Bridge. Most other decks probably cannot utilize these cards outside of them being tapped dual lands. In this deck, however, they can always become creatures with Mishra’s ability.

Other than this cycle, you can and probably should replace the rest of the dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped. Here are some ideas for how to do that:

Five Ways to Upgrade

Most of the rest of this article will consist of five deck strategies that focus on at least one ability from one of the new commanders. I thought a lot about the five strategies in this deck, but I might have missed a cool idea. If you think of something that doesn’t show up in this article, feel free to tell me about it in the comments section. Otherwise, here are my five ideas:

  1. Attacking Artifacts
  2. Copying Abilities
  3. End The Turn
  4. Copying Token Copies
  5. Tribal

Power Level

A last thing before we start talking about those upgrade directions, though. I want to explain the range of numbers that appear in the headings of each section. That range is what I expect this deck to be able to perform at on a 1-10 power scale (Based on the power scale established by the Command Zone Podcast). For more information on the Commander power scale, you can take a look at the table below.

Power LevelNameDescription
1-2Jank Very little synergy among cards. No Commander staples. Under powered on purpose.
3-4Casual Some synergies, but lacking the strong ones. The deck still lacks focus. Mana curves mostly neglected. A deck that a new player would build.
4-6Focused Synergy exists, the deck has a focused gameplan, although it doesn't always win in the exact same way, usually after turn 13. Includes staples and a small amount of tutors. On the same power level as most Commander precons.
7-8Optimized Powerful and varied synergies between the cards. A decent number of good tutors. Good mana curve. Has an efficient and consistent way to win on turns 10-12 (level 7) or 7-9 (level 8). Some social rules — like no mass land destruction, no consistent combo wins — still exist.
9-10Competitive The most powerful decks, on competitive EDH level. Quick and explosive, can win on turns 4-6 (level 9) or 1-3 (level 10). No social rules, no jank cards. Only the most powerful commanders and strategies can reach this level.

Actual power levels may vary, but let those numbers be a guide when considering upgrading this deck in those ways.

1. Attacking Artifacts (5-7)

Recommended Commander: Mishra, Eminent One

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a deck before that was supposed to turn your regular old artifacts into creatures like this one does. It makes you think totally different about the mana rocks, tokens, and utility artifacts that just sit around on your side of the board all game long.

Honestly, any non-creature artifact will do for this kind of deck. There are a few, though, that I think are a bit better than others. For the most part, I’m thinking about artifacts that either:

  1. Benefit combat in some way
  2. Have a sacrifice effect that you could utilize each turn
  3. Are legendary artifacts that die to the legend rule or otherwise want to go to the graveyard
  4. Have static effects that will be beneficial in the post-combat main phase.

Those are pretty specific parameters, but here are a few cards that I found that work with them:


Vehicles are an interesting way to utilize Mishra’s ability because he reduces some need for certain resources that vehicles usually need. It can sometimes be a tricky balancing act to include enough vehicles to crew, as well as creatures that can crew those vehicles. However, Mishra can make a copy of a vehicle before you crew it, and the copy enters as a 4/4 creature without being crewed.

Skysovereign Consul Flagship Mishras Burnished Banner Upgrade Guide

Not all vehicles are better for this. Some vehicles care about the creatures that crew them. If Mishra makes a creature copy of the vehicle, then these abilities don’t do anything. They might as well be vanilla creatures, which are usually not good enough for commander.

Other vehicles normally have more power and toughness than they would if Mishra made of 4/4 copy of them. I left out most of these cards. You can include as many as you want, but the smaller vehicles benefit the most from Mishra, since they are usually balanced around having the power and toughness printed on the card.

Here is a list of vehicles that meet all of these requirements. Again, you can play whichever Vehicles you prefer to play with, but these are the ones that I wanted to highlight here.

New Cards From The Brothers’ War

Surprisingly, there are not very many cards from this new set that work very well with this specific strategy. I supposed you could play any of the non-creature artifact cards for it, but there are no vehicles and a fairly small number of relevant other cards. However, these four seem like they would be interesting:

Although not in the main set, set boosters potentially contain Transformers cards, each of which is a vehicle on the backside. Few of these work well enough with Mishra to actually go in your deck, but if you want to make a vehicles deck, here are the ones that fit in the colors:

What to Take Out

Because this is likely the strategy that Wizards intended for this deck, most of the cards in the precon already work with it. Unfortunately, this means that you might just have to take cards out based on personal preference. The only reason I think this is unfortunate is because cutting cards is often one of the most difficult part of deckbuilding.

2. Copying Abilities (5-8)

Recommended Commander: Ashnod the Uncaring

Another unique way to build this deck is around the b commander: Ashnod the Uncaring. Ashnod gives you access to a Panharmonicon-like effect for whenever you sacrifice permanents with a creature or artifact effect. This version of the deck will go more in-depth about how to maximize that ability.


Altar of Dementia

There are a lot of artifacts that sacrifice permanents for an effect. Unfortunately, there are a bunch of them that create mana as a result of this. Ashnod can’t copy those abilities, because if the ability produces mana, it counts as a mana ability. However, here are a few artifacts that do something cool without making mana:

There is also an interesting thing you can do if you have some non-artifact permanents. For example, let’s say you have a bunch of enchantments or lands with abilities that sacrifice a creature (like Attrition, Bloodfire Infusion, Miren, the Moaning Well, or Hostile Hostel). You can turn those into artifacts with these cards:

Once they become artifacts, Ashnod will copy their effects for even more value. If you want to make this work, though, you will probably need a few ways to guarantee you have access to one of these three cards almost every game.


Ghoulcaller Gisa Mishra's Burnished Banner Upgrade Guide

Ashnod also cares about creatures that sacrifice permanents for effect. There are so many such cards in the game that you could easily choose any number of them for your deck. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of my favorite ones that I found:


Obviously, a commander that rewards you for sacrificing things could potentially lead to a strong aristocrats deck. As I’ve mentioned before, aristocrats decks need three things:

  1. Creatures to sacrifice
  2. Cards that sacrifice creatures
  3. Cards that care about sacrificing creatures

Since Ashnod potentially serves one of those roles, filling the other two is a little easier. For more information on aristocrats deck-building theory, check out any of these other upgrade guides:

New Cards From The Brothers’ War

There are a few more cards from the new set for this section than there were for the previous one. However, not all of them are that good. If you open them in Brothers’ War packs and want to give them a home, this version of the deck will probably be the best home for them. But I wouldn’t recommend taking out a good card to replace with some of these:

What to Take Out

Once again, finding cards to cut for this section is always the hardest. Fortunately, there are a lot of cards in this deck that don’t necessarily work very well with Ashnod’s ability specifically. Some of these cards might be great cards, and you might even want to keep them in the deck. However, these are the cards that I found that don’t directly synergize with this strategy:

3. End The Turn (4-7)

Recommended Commander: Mishra, Eminent One

One thing that sucks about Mishra is that he makes you sacrifice the artifact that he turns into a creature. However, if you’re familiar with Geist of Saint Traft or Obeka, Brute Chonologist, you’ll recognize a delayed trigger when you see one.

Sundial of the Infinite Mishra Eminent One Combo

Delayed triggers don’t go on the stack until a later point in the turn. Often, that later point is the end step. If you have an ability that can counter a triggered ability or end the turn with the delayed trigger on the stack, you never have to experience the negative effects of that trigger.

If that was confusing, let me break it down a little more simply. Step one, make a token copy of an artifact you control that is a 4/4 construct named Mishra’s Warform. You attack with it and it survives combat. That token stays on the battlefield through your post-combat main phase. When you move to your end step, a trigger goes on the stack that will sacrifice Mishra’s Warform if it resolves. If you use an ability like Obeka’s to end the turn before it resolves, you exile all abilities on the stack. Then, your Mishra’s Warform gets to stick around until someone deals with it.

There is a few cards in Magic that can end the turn like this at instant speed:

This list will probably end up looking a lot like an Obeka, Brute Chronologist deck. There are a few artifacts that can also take advantage of ending the turn with delayed triggers on the stack. However, for the most part Mishra will animate whatever artifacts you have lying around in your deck, and you will probably want to play some other Obeka staples. Here are some examples I came up with:

New Cards From The Brothers’ War

Surprisingly, Brothers’ War actually has a perfect card for this strategy. Once every blue moon, Wizards prints a new card that ends the turn. This happens to be that time. The card is Hurkyl’s Final Meditation. It’s not repeatable, nor is it the most efficient version of this effect, but it will keep you alive if there’s a “you lose the game” trigger on the stack. Unfortunately, it doesn’t actually help you when you want to keep your Mishra’s Warforms around, so be sparing about how you use it.

There is another interesting ability from this set that utilizes delayed triggers to balance cards. That ability is unearth, and it exiles the creature at the end of the turn. With Obeka-style effects, though, you can keep your unearthed creatures (or artifacts) forever. Here is a list of cards that have unearth:

What to Take Out

This version of the deck is going to be quite a bit more specific than the previous two. For this reason, there will be a lot of cards that come in the precon that are unnecessary. Other than Mishra, there aren’t actually any cards in the deck that have delayed triggers. This means you can pretty much take out whatever cards you want. You should probably leave (or replace) most of the artifacts, so you can utilize Mishra’s ability.

One last thing I want to point out is that earlier I recommended that you take out the bounce lands from this deck. For this specific version, though, bounce lands act as a kind of ramp. Basically, if you have Sundial of the Infinite or Obeka, Brute Chronologist on the board when you play a bounce land, you can end the turn with the bounce trigger on the stack. It’s a small thing, but it might be worth leaving those in your mana base in the event that it end up mattering.

4. Copying Token Copies (4-7)

Recommended Commander: Mishra, Eminent One

It’s quite a bit easier to make additional copies of creatures than it is to make additional copies of artifacts. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but there are way more cards that copy the prior than the latter. So once Mishra creates a creature token copy of one of your artifacts, you can take advantage of that brief window and copy it even more times. I assume that having one of those artifacts in your deck is good enough that you wouldn’t mind having even more of them.

Coveted Jewel Mishras Burnished Banner Upgrade Guide

The kinds of artifacts that you will want to make copies of are probably the kind that have enters the battlefield abilities. There are tons of those in the game, but here are a few that I thought were interesting:

There is an interesting note here that I want to make before we go on. Usually, if you used an ability like, for example, Katusmasa, the Animator to turn a non-creature artifact into an artifact for the turn and then copy that creature with an effect like Rite of Replication, the copy would enter the battlefield as a non-creature artifact again. However, if you use Rite of Replication to copy a Mishra’s Warform, that copy is still a 4/4 creature with all the abilities of the artifact.

Copy Spells

In addition to your copy-able artifacts, you will also need some copy spells. Here are a few to consider:

New Cards From The Brothers’ War

There are plenty of artifacts in the new set, and some that you might even want to copy multiple times. Three that I specifically want to call out as being good in this deck are:

Portal just seems like a brutal effect to trigger multiple times, and same with The Mightstone and Weakstone. Then the Metamorph is another copy effect that could be strong in the deck.

What to Take Out

The cards that you want to take out of this deck are probably the same as the cards that you would want to take out of the previous deck. Specifically, you will need non-creature artifacts, so hang on to or replace those, and then you can cut most everything else that doesn’t copy creatures/artifacts. This should open up plenty of slots in your deck, hopefully enough to include all the cool new cards for this strategy.

5. Tribal

This section might seem strange because neither Mishra nor Ashnod have any abilities that care about their associated tribes. I’m not writing this because I think they would make good tribal commanders, but rather because I always like to consider how the new commanders contribute to the tribes that appear on their card.

Usually, unless a commander is specifically designed to boost other tribe members, there isn’t much that they bring to the tribe. However, sometimes there are some neat synergies that I find in these sections. As a result, here are the tribes that appear on the commanders from this deck:

Artificers (3-6)

Recommended Commander: Mishra, Eminent One or Ashnod the Uncaring

Scrap Welder Mishra's Burnished Banner Upgrade Guide

Both Mishra and Ashnod are artificers. They also come in the right colors to lead an artificer deck. Oftentimes, artificers care about artifacts, and red/blue/black are decent artifact colors. Other than Grixis artificers caring about artifacts together, though, there is not very much synergy here. Few if any rewards for playing artificers, and hardly any win conditions.

Even more problematic is the fact that you will have to balance enough artificers with enough artifacts. That ratio might not be tricky to figure out, but the reward you get for it probably won’t be anything more special than any other generic artifact deck. For the sake of being thorough, though, here are the relevant/interesting artificers that I found in these colors:

Constructs (3-5)

Recommended Commander: Mishra, Eminent One

Scrapyard Recombiner Mishras Burnished Banner Upgrade Guide

Constructs as a tribe are like artificers in the sense that they don’t have enough cohesion to build around just yet. There are plenty of them out there, but they just don’t really have what it takes to be a powerful deck. At best, you are looking at an artifact-based aggro deck.

Also, Ashnod doesn’t say construct anywhere on the card, and I indicate that Mishra is the recommended commander. However, Ashnod might ultimately be more useful, since some of these constructs have sacrifice triggers. Either way, I don’t recommend building this tribe. If you do, though, here are some interesting constructs:

New Cards From The Brothers’ War

If you do end up building these tribes (for whatever reason) there are plenty of artificers and constructs in the new Brothers’ War set. Here are some of the interesting artificers:

And here are the constructs:

What to Take Out

For tribal decks, I usually recommend taking out any creature cards that aren’t members of the tribe. In this deck, most of the creatures are either one of these tribe members or the other, but it still leaves you with plenty of cards to take out.

Plus, I wouldn’t recommend running too many artificers in that version of this deck, since you need to find a balance of artificers:artifacts. Once you cut out the odd creature types, you will likely have enough room to add the rest of the creature types and build a reasonable deck.


And with that we finish another round of upgrade articles for new commander deck. As always, I hope you enjoyed them. If you have questions or comments, you can leave them in the comment section down below. I always appreciate any feedback or success stories about these articles. If you want to get a hold of me personally, though, you can find me on Instagram or Twitter.

Brothers' War Set Booster Box

These boosters also contain Retro Frame artifacts, which will fit nicely into your deck, thanks to their old borders, matching the cards in the deck.

More Content

And if you want more commander content, there are tons of articles on CardGameBase.com to help you out. These will hopefully be a good start for you:

Until next time, have fun, and win lots of games with your upgraded Mishra’s Burnished Banner deck.

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