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Brewer's Minute: Hidden Treasures—Mirrodin


Hey, everyone! It's time for another Brewer's Minute. This week, we have the first in what will be a recurring sub-series on Brewer's Minute: Hidden Treasures! The basic idea is to look back at a set from the past (we're starting with Mirrodin, so we'll probably slowly work our way through Modern) and discuss a handful of cards that have potential but don't really see play at the moment. While I might have some ideas about how to use these cards, I don't have actual deck lists, but that's half the fun! If you have some ideas of synergies or builds that can put these hidden treasures to use, make sure to let me know in the comments!

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#5: Atog

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Atog itself might not be all that exciting—it's been in Modern for a long time without making any waves. However, one thing we've learned is that when we get a functional reprint of a card, it's worth taking notice. For Atog, this functional reprint happened in Aether Revolt with Ravenous Intruder. The reason this is important is because it gives us redundancy with an effect—while having four Atogs is fine, having eight Atogs means that we can build a deck around the cards' effect and trust that we'll draw a copy with some regularity. 

As far as actually abusing our eight-togs, probably the easiest way is to use cheap artifacts that draw cards when they enter (or leave) the battlefield like Chromatic Star, Ichor Wellspring, and the Implement cycle to make our Atogs huge. We can use things like Etherium Sculptor to reduce the cost on the artifacts and Scrap Trawler for graveyard value, and then potentially even finish things off with Fling!

#4: Trash for Treasure

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Trash for Treasure is a speculative pick because I'm not really sure what to do with it, but reanimating something for only three mana—even if that something is an artifact—has potential to be extremely powerful. The good news is there are a ton of expensive artifacts in Modern, and getting something like a Turn 2 Possessed Portal or Inkwell Leviathan should be enough to win most games—we can even use Mox Opal as sacrifice fodder. It could also, perhaps, find a home in a new build of Madcap Moon as an additional way to cheat a Platinum Emperion into play (or get one back from the graveyard if the opponent manages to kill it).

#3: Myr Incubator

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While it's been a while, Myr Incubator was actually in a real Standard deck way back in 2004 as a finisher with Krark-Clan Ironworks. The basic idea is that you play a deck full of artifacts (which isn't really that hard, especially if you're using Krark-Clan Ironworks to make the mana) and then play and sacrifice the Myr Incubator to make 20 or more 1/1 Myr tokens and beat the opponent down. While the argument against Myr Incubator is that something like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is just a more direct and better finisher, this misses out on the fact that killing an opponent with a horde of Myr tokens is way cooler than a flying spaghetti monster. So, while it would take a specific deck (one that has both a lot of artifacts and the ability to make a lot of mana), Myr Incubator could be a hidden treasure as a game-ending finisher in the right build.

#2: Proteus Staff

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Proteus Staff is another card that, much like Atog, seems to have potential because it adds redundancy to a potentially powerful effect (in this case, Polymorph). We've seen Polymorph-based decks have fringe success in Modern in the past, but there's always some risk that you warp your deck (by not playing any creatures except for Polymorph targets like Emrakul, the Aeons Torn) but never draw a Polymorph. Proteus Staff can act like a backup Polymorph while also providing some weird value against opposing creatures. Assuming you have a pretty good idea of what's in your opponent's deck, using a Proteus Staff against one of your opponent's best creatures can often be a net gain (for example, trading your opponent's Knight of the Reliquary for a Birds of Paradise). 

One thing we know about Modern is that getting a fast Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is one of the most powerful things you can do in the format, and giving us access to a curve of something like Turn 2 Raise the Alarm, Turn 3 Proteus Staff, Turn 4 turn a Raise the Alarm token into an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn just might be good enough to form the foundation of a semi-competitive deck.

#1: Mass Hysteria

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When it comes to brewing decks, one of the best things to do is come up with a list of the best options for each effect in a format, and Mass Hysteria comes in #1 on our list of Mirrodin Hidden Treasures because it finds itself on this informal list: if you want to give all of your creatures haste, there isn't a more efficient way of doing it in all of Modern. I can't even count the number of times I made a deck that included the card, although none of them have actually made it to videos. One of my favorite ideas is to use it in conjunction with Cryptolith Rite and creatures like Burning-Tree Emissary, Memnite, and Hidden Herbalists to build our own Desperate Rituals and maybe tossing in something like Beck // Call to be able to draw though our entire deck or even Paradox Engine for untap shenanigans—the end result would be potentially being able to draw our entire deck on Turn 2! While this obviously take a lot of moving pieces to work, which will likely keep this specific combo from being anything more but a sweet Against the Odds deck, the point is that if you are looking for a way to give all of your stuff haste in Modern, Mass Hysteria is by far the most efficient option and should be the go-to choice for most decks!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's been our Hidden Treasures for Mirrodin! What interactions or combos can you come up with for these cards? What other cards from Mirrodin might be floating a bit below the radar but are oozing with potential? Let me know in the comments! As always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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