27, Oct, 22

Brothers' War Spoilers are the Format-Saving Cards we Need

Article at a Glance

The long-awaited spoiler season for The Brothers’ War has finally kicked off, and these new spoilers are just what we needed to shake up some formats! Standard and Pioneer, in particular, need a change, and some new insane cards should be able to do the trick! Here is the first look at the new Brothers’ War spoilers previewed today!

Phyrexian Fleshgorger

“If you wanted to fill your deck with powerful war machines, we wanted to make sure that you have the ability to play them earlier” – Gavin Verhey

Ok, there is a LOT going on with this card. Phyrexian Fleshgorger introduces a new mechanic available in Brothers’ War called Prototype. Basically, this functions as an alternate casting cost that changes the card’s mana value, color, and Power/Toughness. In the case of Phyrexian Fleshgorger, you can choose to pay the 1BB Prototype cost to get a black 3/3 version of this card.

The Prototype cost allows Fleshgorger to affect the game flexibly when needed. Not only that, but Fleshgorger’s abilities are not to be slept on. Menace and Lifelink ensure that the Phyrexian Fleshgorger can connect and stabilize against faster strategies. The best part about this card, however, is its Ward cost. Should your opponent want to get rid of this thing, they’ll likely need to pay as much as seven life, depending on how big it is.

Prototype gives this card the potential to completely bust formats in half. Unfortunately, as of the writing of this article, it’s still unclear how Prototype interacts with some other rules. If, for example, a copy effect like Glasspool Mimic copies the Prototyped version of this card, does it enter as the original version or as the prototyped one? In the case where an effect like Charming Prince flickers this card, does it come back as its larger variant if it was prototyped? If answered in powerful ways, these questions could lead Phyrexian Fleshgorger to completely dominate formats.

Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa

Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa, is a 4/4 with a rather exciting effect. While my first thought was to couple this with Greasefang so Parhelion II has two reanimation targets, it could also synergize exceptionally well with Phyrexian Fleshgorger. It’s a shame that Unearth exiles the card after it leaves the battlefield, otherwise, we could have another, albeit weaker, Underworld Breach. That said, this card has a lot of potential.

Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim

“Teferi, with the aid of Saheeli and Kaya, form this temporal anchor and cast Teferi back into time so he can see first-hand this Brothers’ War and see how Urza himself deals with this Phyrexian menance.” – Matt Danner

Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim is an interesting addition to what is a ton of incredible Planeswalker cards that unify under one character. While the ability to gain loyalty by drawing cards is a blue player’s dream, Teferi’s Loyalty abilities aren’t the most powerful. Unless you’re aiming to create a ton of tokens and dominate the game with them, Teferi, Hero of Dominaria is a much stronger alternative to this card. This card could easily break a few formats if the ultimate were more appealing. That said, this Planeswalker could see some competitive play in the right deck. Regardless, my first impression would be to relegate this to EDH bomb status (which means someone is going to lose to it horrifically).

Titania, Gaia Incarnate

It looks like Ramp may finally have a decisive win condition in Standard and Pioneer! Titania, Gaia Incarnate is a walking death sentence to any opponent who should face it!… and not remove it immediately upon entry. At worst, Titania should be able to create a 4/4 land creature if it happens to go up in smoke too quickly. On the plus side, this Meld creature is uncharacteristically easy to assemble compared to the other options in this set. All you need are both these cards present on upkeep plus four lands in graveyard. Both of these cards also synergize well with self-milling lands to help along the process.

Urza, Prince of Kroog

This new iteration of Urza could be the Artifact support Standard was waiting for. While it pales compared to Urza, Lord High Artificer, this card could prove quite influential in the right environment. Like Teferi, my first impression would be to expect this in Commander, even as an upgrade to the Urza Commander deck coming out in this set. It will be interesting to see how players use Urza’s activated ability to its maximum potential.

Powerstones Return!

Karn, Living Legacy from Dominaria United, gave us a snapshot at the Powerstone, an Artifact token that we knew would be a big deal in Brothers’ War. To recap, these artifact tokens can be tapped to do anything except cast a non-artifact spell. That means these can be used to activate abilities, like Unearth, which is also returning in The Brothers’ War, pay tax costs to cards like Mystical Dispute, and, most obviously, cast an Artifact spell. Note that these, unlike Treasure tokens, are not one-use. As Good Morning Magic Host Gavin Verhey mentioned, they are just artifacts in play, “so cards that key off of having a lot of artifacts will be better as you add more Powerstones. Keep that in mind when evaluating cards from the new set.”

Splitting the Powerstone is an interesting uncommon, to say the least. While players who only desire a quick shot of mana in Standard will definitely lean on Big Score before paying the expensive costs behind this card, an Artifact Ramp deck interested in casting a bunch of full-powered Phyrexian Fleshgorgers naturally may be interested in this card.

Urza, Powerstone Prodigy has a lot of potential for an uncommon card. Not only does Urza enable its own ability, but he can create one Powerstone per turn whenever you discard an Artifact card! The only thing holding this card back in Standard – even Pioneer, is its mana cost. This card would be obscene at two mana. I would not be surprised if this card saw, at worst, some experimentation in Standard.

Mishra, Excavation Prodigy

We discussed how the main set had three different iterations of the Urza and Mishra in a previous article. This was spoiled by the Brothers’ War worldbuilding video that debuted last week. The two ‘prodigy’ cards offer a snapshot of Urza and Mishra as they find the Mightstone and the Weakstone and have a falling out after Urza pulls the big brother card and states that his more significant portion of the spooky magic stone is better, so Mishra has a Weakstone.

As a result, compared to Urza, Powerstone Prodigy, there are many symmetrical features that add a lot of flavor to these cards. Not only are Urza and Mishra’s stats flipped, but both of their abilities, alongside their provided keywords, detail an aggressive and defensive strategy for Mishra and Urza, respectively. While Mishra has Haste, Urza has Vigilance. While Urza’s ability provides solid growth over time with some drawbacks, Mishra delivers a burst of resources.

Hurkyl, Master Wizard

One of MTG’s most name-dropped characters in history is finally getting a card to her name! Hurkyl is an absolute value engine that rewards players for casting non-creature spells. This is an exciting idea when considering zero mana artifact cards like Mishra’s Bauble and Mox Amber. While it probably isn’t strong enough for Modern, this could see some Pioneer play in the right build.

Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor

Looking at this card gives me that nostalgic feeling of opening an incredibly powerful namesake character and being giddy about it. The card’s abilities have absolutely no bearing on my excitement as a child. Simply opening the card that depicts a character from a story I’ve read is very exciting.

As far as Gix goes as an MTG card, it is really interesting. This seems suited to an aggressively-sided midrange deck that can get a lot of damage in early-game and build up to the game-ending activated ability that Gix offers. Admittedly, this comes to mind as a sideboard option for Rakdos Sacrifice decks. It will be interesting to see how Gix impacts formats as The Brothers’ War is released.

Ashnod’s Harvester

This Draft Uncommon showcases Unearth, a new mechanic coming back with the release of The Brothers’ War. This effect is somewhat unique, and its ability to return once means it could see play in an aggressive deck. That said, this is likely to be relegated to draft chaff.

More Pain Lands!

“As this war escalates, the events of which are going to influence not only Dominaria, but the Multiverse itself,” states Matt Danner, a Senior Creative Lead at Wizards of the Coast. “The Brothers’ War has left an indelible mark on Dominaria itself,” is stated when looking at the destruction marked by the four Pain Lands present in this set. Brushland, Battlefield Forge and Underground River all detail a war-torn Dominaria one may expect to see at the beginning of a dystopian story.

Llanowar Wastes, in particular, captures the Sylex Blast, the event that “Teferi is interested in seeing, the Sylex being this very powerful artifact that ends up putting an end to The Brothers’ War and is identified by the heroes by something that can be used against the forces of Phyrexia.” Ironically, this also pictures the end of Argoth, the nature-loving island that wanted nothing to do with The Brothers’ War yet got plundered and dominated by it anyway.

Here, we have a beautiful showcasing of full-art lands coming in The Brothers’ War. Titled the “mech basic lands,” these lands depict the difference in style between both brothers’ weapons. “Urza’s mechs are depicted by the top row here, and Mishra’s mechs in the bottom row.”

“Urza lives in the more urban areas, and has access to a ton of resources. You can see that reflected in his mechs. His mechs are these massive, hulking behemoths whereas Mishra’s mechs are much life and sleek, using found materials and meant to be a bit faster and agile.”

There’s More to See!

While this showcases the new cards spoiled to The Brothers’ War in the core set, there is more to see. Schematic Cards are another unique inclusion in The Brothers’ War that function similarly to the Mystical Archive cards from Strixhaven. We’re also doing a more in-depth deep dive into all the mechanics that are coming in The Brothers’ War, so if you have some questions about the inner workings of Prototype, we should have those answers for you there when the questions are answered. Up to this point, The Brothers’ War has been sold at a loss. I would not be surprised if that changes after these spoilers, so be sure to take a look and see if you can get some deals before they disappear!

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