Brother's War: My Limited First Look
I'm really excited for this set. It looks like a lot of fun to play. And there's a lot of great nostalgia with choice reprints and fun throwbacks. The set is an artifact set designed around powerstones with a lot of graveyard themes as well.
Let me know if you disagree with any of my opinions. I'm planning on playing two RCQs and writing this is my first step in preparing.
- GW Fog
- Colors and Fixing
- Common Ranking
They did a great job of making every color care a lot about powerstones while also keeping the colors feeling distinct. Green cares about it for big mana reasons, with all three of its common artifacts being protoypes where the other colors just have one common. White cares about them as fodder for ETB triggers for Phalanx Vanguard . They're food for red and black with cards like Penregon Strongbull and Thraxodemon . Blue has 3 colorless activated abilities on its creatures, most notably Third Path Savant compared to the 1 the other four colors enjoy.
Powerstone density is high with Blue and Red having two commons that make them and the other colors one, in addition to Stone Retrieval Unit . There are also 10 uncommons.
The graveyard theme is also sprinkled through all 5 colors with a cycle of self millers that return something, Airlift Chaplain , Fallaji Archaeologist , Ravenous Gigamole , Tomakul Scrapsmith , and Blanchwood Prowler . And just like powerstones each color has its own twist with the same basic ingredient. White and Red can mill Survivor of Korlis and four unearthers. Black and green care about the number of creatures in the graveyard. Some cards like Gixian Skullflayer are trying to get to some threshold and others like Gnarlroot Pallbearer give you a more open ended reward.
Blue is sort of unique in this set in having no particular reason to put cards in it's graveyard at common or uncommon. This may explain why Fallaji Archaeologist is the worst of the cycle. It's a little strange because it has some good enablers like Stern Lesson .
Powerstones add a fun twist to the black red sacrifice archetype. Kill-Zone Acrobat and Goblin Blast-Runner form a very scary pair. Penregon Strongbull in particular to me seems extremely pushed. The as fan of powerstone food isn't that high with only 1 black common and 2 red commons, only one of which I'd describe as premium. But it still has the potential to end games out of no where.
UW has a soldiers theme with 6 common white soldiers and 3 common blue soldiers in addition to one common artifact. Blue soldiers are a little novel. The payoffs are Veteran's Powerblade , Aeronaut Cavalry and Air Marshal in addition to Zephyr Sentinel and Yotian Tactician at uncommon.
A sort of hidden archetype I'm going to try to draft is GW fog built around Union of the Third Path , which seems like one of the most pushed life gain spells of all time, and Fog of War . I'm not sure exactly what my plan to win is but Keeper of the Cadence looping fog seems as good a plan as any. The viability of the plan depends a lot on how highly other people rate Union and Fog. Usually people don't rate life gain or fog very highly but maybe these very pushed versions won't go so late.
I imagine the deck generally being Bant and also prioritizing Yotian Medic , Stern Lesson , and Urza's Rebuff higher than most decks. I'd thought this set had more life gain than normal but it actually has the exact some number of commons and uncommons that gain life as the last couple sets. I guess the life gainers such as Obstinate Baloth at uncommon stood out to me.
Colors and Fixing
This set is a real mono-colored breathe of fresh air after Streets and Dominaria. There are just the 10 obligatory uncommon gold cards. But also at uncommon is a cycle of cards that reward you for being mono-colored including the nostalgic Corrupt and Steel Exemplar who is maybe more of a powerstone payoff like every card in the set.
There is only on common green fixer, Citanul Stalwart , one artifact fixer, Energy Refractor , which would be close to unplayable in a normal set but obviously has a lot of synergies here, and Evolving Wilds .
Every color has three common artifacts in its color identity, except for black which gets four for some reason. For the first time these artifacts have set number coming right after their colors set numbers instead of at the end with all the other artifacts. There are 24 total artifacts which means the artifact commons have a higher as fan than a color's normal common as fan.
My sense of the common Unearthers is that you can play them in any deck with just a light splash of their color because they're almost at a good power level without unearth and the unearth will still be relevant even if you draw your colored source very late in the game. On the other hand the prototypes are basically their color. You can't feel that good about having common power level 7-10 drops in your deck. The expensive modes are more powerstone payoff than plan A for most of them.
Since WOTC changes their set numbers to group the color identitied artifacts with their colors I do the same here.
I'm really surprised they put scry 2 on this card. Power creep is real.
An excellent main deck card in the artifact set. Especially when everyone is going to be trying to cast common 10 drops. Considering it answers two common removal spells in addition to most of the bombs it's possible I should have put it number one.
Four power over 2 bodies for 4 mana is a great rate before you even consider the unearth and soldier synergies.
Working the turn after combat and making just a bit of value makes it a pretty good version of this effect.
A lot of text and versatility. A common trick, a curve filler and a late game power house. Part of a cycle with expensive colorless activations costs. The joke is that you'll pair them with your powerstones that can activate them despite them not being artifacts.
Decent rate and value. I wonder if powerstones mean you should value this more like you would a 4 mana 4/4?
An interesting card. Reminds me of Argivian Phalanx . It's a little easier to cast turn 3, but the payoff is slightly less.
Not too hard to get 4 mana worth of card out of this one but you can't curve into it. Pairs nicely with a lot of Airlift Chaplain s.
This is a really strange and unique card. I think it's quite good. Imagine playing one of these on turns three and four and then making your first real play on turn five. It seems hard to get run over when you're starting at 34 life, and they may allow you to play more high end than would normally be comfortable.
This is a cool cycle. I think this is one of the better ones because wind drake is a reasonable card and the split between land or gas means it'll be drawing towards what you want in more situations. There's a slight mono-color theme and this one certainly gets better if you can manage to be mono or mostly mono white.
Slighlty worse than God's Willing because it doesn't give unblockable in some scenarios.
The soldier as fan is really high with 5 white commons, 3 blue and one each for Black, Red, Green and Artifact. There's also tokens. Four total power, 3 flying for 5 mana is a good deal.
Thanks to powerstones I don't think you should feel pushed to being white or soldiers to play this card. Though it does reward you for playing tokens which do end up being mostly soldiers. Some decks will want an equipment but there's enough in the set you won't have to prioritize it. I'd rather use my non-creature, non-removal slots on combat tricks since they seem a little pushed this set.
These one drops just get more and more text. I don't think this card is that great. Some decks will need the curve filler and it gets a little better if you're a Airlift Chaplain , Fallaji Archaeologist , soldier deck. It's a little awkward for it that they gave half the other common 1 drops 2 toughness.
I'd be happy to have access to them in my sideboard but against a lot of decks it won't do much. Also cleric soldier? Pick a side.
Best with powerstones to get a full two for one. Even if the artifact you enchant is worth a card it's still great on rate. Especially since it basically has haste. Even good with the draw two cards deck.
This card will hit hard. Even in 2022 Wind Drake isn't that bad and this is a lot better.
This card synergizes with everything. At the end of the day it's still a divination. But I'll be happy to play a mix of it and Urza's Rebuff
A great one for the powerstone deck.
This card is great.
This is the best common cancel ever. Actually doing something as a topdeck is huge. Still it is mostly cancel which is a pretty medium card.
It'll end some games out of nowhere.
Sort of a role player. You'll play as many as you can get but most decks won't have enough reason to take it highly.
A good card for a dedicated powerstone deck. It's nice design that for a normal deck the text is downside but for a big mana deck it's closer to vigilance. So most decks won't want it but the powerstone deck can likely get it late.
A reprint from Strixhaven.
I'm hoping these go late for my horrible turbo fog decks.
The efficiency gain isn't too important for limited. I'm generally happy to play Disperse since at the very least it counters removal spells so it'll come in handy even if it's not a game about tempo.
If you need removal you need removal but giving them the choice is pretty painful.
Augur of Bolas doesn't look so good. An 0/3 isn't really worth a card so you can't get much of a 2 for 1. And even in a very spell heavy deck you're going to miss a lot. On the other hand it does play well with the creatures in graveyard subtheme and Unearth cards so I can see why it exists.
It's fine. Mostly Essence Scatter since the artifacts you want to counter are mostly creatures anyway. Most sets I would have put it higher but mana leaks seem worse in a powerstone format.
There are three common blue four drops. This one is a soldier and fine but as the worst of them in my opinion, it probably won't see much play.
Maybe the best common black removal spell since doomblade. Being only single black, sometimes costing 1 and exiling I'd say it's better than murder. It forms a very mini theme with Battlefield Butcher and Skyfisher Spider .
Going to your hand instead of the battlefield is upside in my opinion. Means it pairs with Bitter Reunion and Stern Lesson . Good with the sacrifice cards. Carries Mightstone Animation fine. I'm a little surprised to see it at common. It doesn't have the aggressive angle but it's arguably better than Cult Conscript .
Fun throwback to Phyrexian Rager . Maybe it doesn't count as a throwback though since it was just in the last set.
I think being a 2 mana 2/2 with a tap ability is on net better than being a 3 mana 2/3 which doesn't tap but it's hard to compare. It'll be more difficult to keep up but at the stage of the game where you're activating this a 2/2 isn't that relevant in combat anyway. Cashing in powerstones in particular makes it a better card than it's normal version though.
Best friends with Gix's Caress and powerstones in general. (I wrote this thought before reading the name which sort of hits you over the head with this)
What a delightful card. Probably the best of the cycle since you'll have a lot of creatures and they'll be among your best hits.
A nice little split card.
Menace and efficiency is just what you want for the unearthers equipment.
Returning to your hand is an interesting twist. At first I thought it returned to hand to work with unearth but there isn't a reason you couldn't add a clause to Abnormal Endurance to make it work with exiling. I think they templated it this way because they wanted it to cost 1 to be a better trick but then it would have been too powerful if it returned the creature to play. In any case I think it is pretty powerful. Especially if you have a lot of unearth creatures. Having a few cards like this will make it harder to block the unearth chump attacks.
Nice pay off for the self mill deck
You really need to be building around this one to play it as even a 2 mana 3/2 isn't great. Great in the sacrifice deck though.
I'm always going to be so annoyed when it snipes my unearther and ruins my long term plan.
I love giving discard cards just a little bit of a push. I like to play with them but it's unfortunate when they are bad topdecks. The extra powerstone will make it feel a lot better.
I think this card is a little too hungry to be good. Great in a black sacrifice aggro deck though.
A pretty brutal combat trick in a race.
Sort of an in-between version of this effect. Doesn't return two so it's never an incredible late game play. And it doesn't cost one so it's not that efficient. Some decks will want it but I think it's pretty medium.
This card is pushed. At just one mana to activate it will be hard to get in to combat with. If the game goes on it could easily burn an opponent out from 5 or more. The stats aren't even that embarrassing when you never activate it.
There's a lot of almost 4 mana 4/4s in this set if you count the two in blue. This one will always be scary to not block. Also I guess this card is in the same cycle as the ones that cost 7 to activate? Kind of funny.
I'd always play this card in the artifact set. Thanks to the card draw you won't even feel too bad about hitting a powerstone but I suspect that would usually be a mistake.
A sweet design. It loses just a tad of efficiency versus Thrill of Possibility but sitting in play will make your opponent uncomfortable. Good synergy with Goblin Blast-Runner too. Doesn't look like there's any payoff for having a random enchantment in the whole set.
Nostalgic. But I don't think it's that great.
In DMU I had a 7 Captain's Call deck. I wish some of them were trumpet blasts then. It's just so inefficient though.
This and Mishra's other common are pretty modal. I guess he must be a resourceful guy. Both modes on this one are pretty weak and I don't usually like to pay so much for optionality. It's fine.
Not a big fan of the rate of either half. Red is just full of medium split cards this set.
Ward is close to irrelevant on a 2 drop and it's not a ton of stats.
I have this and Kill-Zone Acrobat pretty low but they do form a sort of dream team. There's definitely a viable and scary aggro sac deck. I guess I put them so low because I think they will be weak outside of that context.
Hey what happened to Broken Wings ? What happened to power creep? Still worth playing.
The perfect card to curve into Rust Goliath .
This and Depth Charge Colossus are unusual designs. Normally magic card don't have optionality between being expensive or extremely expensive. Normally your kicker cards have a cheap and expensive mode. I think this is a pretty good finisher for the big mana deck.
Both upsides on this 2 mana 2/2 won't come up every game but it's good enough.
I like this card. A 3 mana 3/2 is always trading down but the powerstones will add up. Hopefully you're not trading down with Powerstone Engineer though.
This trick does it all.
I've been too spoiled by Nessian Courser s lately.
This will end some games out of nowhere. It's the second one that will really get them.
It and Disfigure are trying to make a little nostalgic cycle.
Loam Dryad tends to be medium but working with powerstones (like everything in this set) is a big plus.
This will be key for the self mill deck. All you need is two of them and a sacrifice outlet. Then you wait them out.
Note the non-universality of this fog means you'll sometimes actually be able to trade it for a card. It'll be hard to win a combat you weren't winning anyway though. Good with Burrowing Razormaw , and against Goring Warplow and Hoarding Recluse . You can blow out a double block but they get blown out by every trick anyway. Good board card against a faster deck but I think I'd usually avoid starting it. I'm tempted to try to draft a GW turbo fog deck with this and Union of the Third Path but I'm not sure what my plan to go over the top would be.
It's okay. Better early as a 1/1 that draws a land.
It'll come up that it's a threat on it's own in top deck battles but I think you almost always want to cast it on a mediumish creature in combat or ambush. A 4 mana 2/2 that also 2 for 1s yourself is a little embarrassing.
What's with two drops with ward in this set? I'm not exactly itching to cast my removal on them as it is. Ward 2 is even weirder than Ward - pay two life as in the powerstone set this will be even less of a cost than normal.
There aren't that many payoffs for self mill. Unearth is the big one. It's nice to give Overwhelming Remorse a little bit of a push. It's just a little wasteful.
This has got to be the best colorless combat trick of all time. Well after Mutagenic Growth . It's a little expensive for a combat trick but both halves are helped by powerstones and I'm happy to pay extra for a two for one.
I suspect most decks will have some reason to play a 2 mana cantriping artifact.
Sort of a weird card. If you're desperate for removal you can play it even without without synergy or ramp but it certainly wants one or both of those things.
I love these cards.
An interesting design. It reminds me of the Strixhaven campus cycle which were fine. I think in limited I'd rather have a tap dual than colorless in this slot. The graveyard deck will want one.
Keep in mind for durdly ground mirrors.
- W: Ambush Paratrooper , Deadly Riposte , Disenchant , Loran's Escape , Military Discipline , Union of the Third Path
- U: Curate , Desynchronize , Koilos Roc , Machine Over Matter , Scatter Ray , Stern Lesson , Urza's Rebuff
- B: Ashnod's Intervention , Disfigure , Moment of Defiance , Overwhelming Remorse
- R: Mishra's Onslaught , Unleash Shell , Whirling Strike
- G: Fog of War , Gaea's Gift , Giant Growth , Tawnos's Tinkering , Wasteful Harvest
- : Goblin Firebomb , Supply Drop
- W: Calamity's Wake
- U: Defabricate , Flow of Knowledge , Zephyr Sentinel
- B: Go for the Throat
- R: Pyrrhic Blast