Editor’s Choice: 5 MTG The Brothers’ War Cards To Watch For

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We travelled back in time to experience Magic: The Gathering‘s next set, The Brothers’ War. Here are some new cards that might turn the tides.

Magic: The Gathering has kicked off celebrations for its 30th anniversary, and as part of this retrospective initiative, the card game’s ongoing story is going back to its roots in its next set, The Brothers’ War. The titular conflict, also known as the Antiquities War, and its fallout dominated the game’s earliest storylines, and saw the rise of Urza, the legendary artificer.

We had the opportunity to partake in the early access event on Magic Arena, testing out the cards firsthand (digitally, anyway) in draft and other play modes. Here are some of the new spells that made a big impact on us, that you may want to keep an eye out for when The Brothers’ War launches next weekend.

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5) Defabricate

Any blue deck needs a few counters, and Defabricate should be a welcome pick in later draft rounds. The first clause is a little specific, but with the heavy artifact focus in The Brothers’ War, and the prevalence of enchantments in Standard already, it will still see plenty of utility. Moving the target straight to exile is a nice touch, too.

It’s the second clause, however, that might make Defabricate a hidden MVP. There are countless activated or triggered abilities that would make prime targets, and at only 2 mana, it’s a good backup plan to keep in hand between turns.

4) Giant Robots

With Urza at the forefront of The Brothers’ War, artifacts are a cornerstone, and that also means a literal horde of artifact creatures. Some feature the new Prototype keyword, allowing you to cast them earlier, at the cost of their full power. Steel Seraph makes a decent 3-drop, but if you wait to cast it at full power, it makes a great leader on the battlefield, providing an advantage on each of your combat rounds.

Terisian Mindbreaker, on the other hand, can decimate your opponents’ libraries, especially if you can get it on the field early, or against someone with a large deck (like I keep running into on Arena).

3) The Command Cycle

The Brothers’ War features a cycle of “command” cards featuring the main characters, one per colour. Each allows you to choose two effects from a list of four—for instance Titania’s Command, which can buff your combat power, tutor up a land, or wipe an opponent’s graveyard. Or use Gix’s Command to buff a creature with its first effect, and spare it from the second effect’s culling.

They’re a little expensive to cast for sorceries (though Urza’s Command is an instant), and they might not be the flashiest rare pick in a draft, but these could prove to be solid tools in a Constructed deck and offer plenty of flavor for more Vorthos-minded players.

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2) Portal to Phyrexia

Phyrexia is not a pleasant place. You don’t want to go there. And yet, you may want to consider opening a Portal to Phyrexia, just in case.

For a hefty 9 mana, this Mythic Rare artifact from The Brothers’ War gets the ball rolling by sending three creatures from each opponent to the graveyard. This provides plenty of fodder for its main event: bringing one of those creatures, or any others in any graveyard, back to the battlefield under your control, once per turn.

It’s expensive, but there will be plenty of ways to sneak it into play early. This is one card you’re going to want to plan for—find a way to deal with it, whether with artifact destruction, Defabricate, or maybe even exerting a little control over graveyards with something like Liesa, Forgotten Archangel.

1) Urza, Planeswalker / Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia

The brothers in The Brothers’ War are each represented on a handful of creature cards, but their ultimate forms are incredibly powerful. They both require a lot of work to get on the field—using the Meld mechanic to fuse two separate cards—but they’re worth it, as are the cards you need to have in play to make these appear.

Urza, Planeswalker packs a walloping five loyalty abilities, starts at 7 loyalty, and only needs 10 loyalty for his board-wiping final. That’s an even easier feat to achieve given that you’re able to activate his abilities twice each turn, and there are other options in broader formats that can take this even further. Using any combination of these abilities could make a big difference.

His ill-fated brother Mishra doesn’t need to be a planeswalker to put up a fierce competition. When he enters the battlefield or attacks, you get to choose 3 of his 6 devastating effects. I had the displeasure of being the target of his ire, and it turned an “anybody’s game” round into a total washout.

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The Brothers’ War is the second set in Magic: The Gathering‘s year-long arc, finally bringing the conflict against New Phyrexia to a dramatic conclusion. We’ve already seen our heroes suffer some devastating blows, and we’re sure to see more planeswalkers fall to the villains’ horrifying Compleation process. But for now, arm yourself with these potent tools and prepare to relive Dominarian history.

Thank you to Wizards of the Coast for inviting us to play in the early access phase! The Brothers’ War will be available from your friendly local game store and other retailers, and in Magic Arena, on Friday, November 18.

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