In a startling update from seemingly nowhere, Wizards of the Coast dropped some details regarding the upcoming Brother’s War prerelease. While these changes are fantastic for paper MTG players, the same cannot be said for competitive hopefuls hoping to get their hands on these new cards as soon as possible.
Brothers’ War Prerelease Updates
Releasing on Friday, 18th November 2022 (with the prerelease occurring the month before), The event at name is still a few months away. Regardless, Wizards of the Coast released a few tidbits for the event, and while paper players are happy, players gearing up for major competitive tournaments are not.
All Product Available!
Firstly, all Brothers’ War products will be available on the prerelease date. That means Collector Boosters, Commander decks, Draft, Set, and Jumpstart will all be available starting November 11, as long as there aren’t any delays along the way.
This is a change that LGSs have been waiting for. Excitement for any MTG product is at its highest for casual players. This change will allow LGSs to push products as much as possible so that players can get everything they need in one place. While this change has been a long time coming, there doesn’t seem to be a vocal minority upset about this. It’s the other change that people are split on.
Brothers’ War Prerelease Will Come Before Its Digital Release
The big news here is that The Brothers’ War, Phyrexia: All Will Be One, and March of the Machines will all feature prerelease events before the digital release for those sets. While this is a massive win for the majority of the MTG community, the Brothers’ War prerelease proceeding with its digital release is a problem for some MTG players.
As former MPL players Martin Juza and Gavin Thompson pointed out, this “throws a bit of a curveball into LEC Sofia.” For reference, this refers to the upcoming Regional Championship occurring on November 18 in Bulgaria. This colossal event offers multiple Pro Tour invites to successful players, and it’s happening precisely one day after The Brothers’ War goes live.
Unfortunately for Sofia players, Brother’s War cards will be legal for tournament play, making it very hard to prepare for the tournament. The U.S.’s Regional Championship is also occurring on the weekend of the 18th-20th in Atlanta, presenting a similar problem for those players. Canadians get a bit more of a break with their first Regional Championships occurring a week after release.
No Testing and No Cards
The problems for these Regional Championship hopefuls are as follows: there will be no good way to test new cards in Pioneer, the format of choice, and it will be pretty difficult to find copies of the cards from the new set that these players will need.
While prerelease premiums and availability for Brothers’ War products could potentially be an additional issue, primarily since online retailers may not be able to ship single cards until the official release date (pending additional product changes), Regional Championship players are much more concerned about the lack of a reliable way to test strategies:
“Giant middle finger to everybody playing in regionals. No testing new cards online before the event, but you can buy at many packs as you like the week before!” – Gavin Thompson
Good News for MTG
Even though the upcoming prerelease changes are impacting this subsection of players, this is a massive win for Magic: the Gathering as a whole. Competitive players have been asking for events to better line up with product releases to create hype for viewers, and The Brothers’ War seems to have done that amazingly but may have taken things a step too far. A one-week reprieve for these players to get their lists together may be the sweet spot that competitive players are hoping for. While the news of the release changes did come almost two months before the event, the time for players to get everything together is quite tight.
Still, for most of the community that may watch these events, this should make the event much more exciting. MTG’s best minds will try and break the format right out of the gate, raising interest in any new cards that get spotlighted. Ultimately, this is an undeniably strong decision for the game’s future. Additionally, the product change may end up mitigating the problems caused for these competitive players. You can read more about the Brothers’ War prerelease updates here.