It’s time for the last part of this mammoth list. The Brothers’ War just has so many good cards worth looking at and thinking about. Sure, some won’t knock everyone’s socks off, but even cards that feel like Limited chaff are actually powerful in the right decks. This last section gets into The Brothers’ War artifacts. They are—as to be expected—some of the best cards in the set. The prototype mechanic might be secretly just reverse kicker, but it’s still got some serious bite.
But, before that, we have a few multi-colored cards to cover—so let’s get started.
I wish this card was one mana less; it would be an instant staple in multiple decks. A sacrifice outlet that can take out any non-land permanent is good enough, but it also has reach, okay stats, and even is a way to recover some health in a pinch.
Third Path Iconoclast
This card is super powerful, especially for formats without Young Pyromancer. Third Path does the same stuff, but also massively bolsters things like Karn’s token creature or the metalcraft count. I can easily see this card making waves in every format, from Limited to Commander to Legacy.
Urza, Lord Protector
The pieces of the meld cards are often better than the meld cards themselves. And, while this isn’t a stellar card, it does enough to matter in certain decks—without being phenomenally slow. Cost reduction for that many card types has a lot of utility, and he’s got good enough stats and a low enough cost to see play in decks that revolve around those types.
I know I literally just dunked on it, but this is still the best meld card of the three. It only needs to survive one turn to wreck someone. Get it into play, make things cost less, gain life, draw two cards and discard one. You might even be able to drop some basic mana rocks afterward for free. Then, fire off the ultimate next turn, and you’ve won the game. I’m not saying someone is likely to do this in most games, but it’s a real possibility in Commander. It’s also a niche control deck win-con if your Urza, Lord Protector is still around when you get to the late game.
No one will cast this for its full cost, and that’s fine because it’s basically a Snapcaster Mage without flash. This, like Third Path Iconoclast, will see play everywhere it can. It recurs (to name only a few) Consider, Lightning Bolt, Thougtseize, Fatal Push, Dark Ritual, Demonic Tutor, and it’s busted with See the Truth. It’s even a wizard, which has niche utility in a few places. The only reason this card isn’t the most powerful thing in the entire set is that it can’t recur counterspells effectively.
Phyrexian Dragon Engine
Whenever I read Dragon Engine, I cannot believe it only costs three mana. It’s an aggro powerhouse that hits hard, can refill a used-up hand, and even has unearth. Don’t bother melding it with anything; play three or four in any Standard aggro deck.
I should issue this blanket statement: I only care about the prototype versions of these cards. Seven mana is far too much for anything but a slow Limited game. The three-cost version, however, has fantastic abilities. Menace and lifelink are a potent combo and making a player Lightning Bolt themselves to target it is still good damage. The only reason I don’t see this card getting played is that there are already so many good black cards in Standard and other major 1v1 formats.
It’s a damage dealer that never stops coming back. This card will shine in places like Modern, Pioneer, and Historic. It’s far too expensive to activate that ability without the discount—especially because it can’t block. I could see this card fulfilling a similar role to Scrapheap Scrounger in the same sorts of decks that card excelled.
Versatility and recursion: that’s basically the only reasons to play this card. Make it a 4/3 and, when it dies, bring it back and pump some other creature (ideally with trample) to finish the game.
This is an unassuming powerhouse. My eyes slid right off it the first time I saw it because it seemed like a generic artifact creature. Then I read it. Protection is never a weak ability, and this card could become the most annoying blocker in certain games. It’s also got a nice, passive lifegain ability. None of this is overly busted but putting all those abilities on a one-cost artifact that somehow even has an extra point of toughness makes it worth considering in a lot more sideboards than you’d expect.
A 3/3 flier that can give lifelink or flying to a creature every turn will win so many games. It’s strong early on and useful in the late game. You might even cast this for its full cost if you have no other plays. It’s even an angel, and that creature type has been getting a lot of support lately.
A Traumatize that also deals damage is good, but I put this on the list because of the unearth ability. It’s far too fragile to bother playing it normally. I see this card as a great mill tool you drop into your graveyard for reanimation and combine with the crabs or Archive Trap to kill. I’m not a big mill player, so maybe I’m overvaluing it, but it seems fun.
The Stone Brain
I love and hate cards like this. I love how it allows players with a high level of knowledge about Magic to ruin other players’ plans. I hate having this kind of card used on me. The Stone Brain is almost always a sideboard trick, but don’t ignore it in game two—it’s made to ruin a combo player’s day.
And we’re done. That’s all forty The Brothers’ War cards that caught my attention. I’m still impressed the list is so long. Usually, I just find the ten or so rares/mythics worth a damn (and the occasionally useful uncommons) and safely ignore everything else. The Brothers’ War has good cards everywhere and will probably be a blast to draft.
And, on that note: good news! By the time you’re reading this, it’s already available on Arena! So, go have fun!
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