As one of the most important events in Magic: the Gathering’s history, it’s safe to say that The Brothers’ War is a big deal. Subsequently, The Brothers’ War set of the same name had much to live up to when retelling the story. Thankfully, Wizards of the Coast managed to do just that. Utilizing a three-act structure across the set, Wizards managed to create one of the most story-rich sets in recent memory. With multiple Urzas, Mishras, and legendary creatures aplenty, The Brothers’ War was chockablock with exciting characters and compelling stories. Despite all that the MTG set got right, however, The Brothers’ War was still missing a few things. With only so much space, several characters and cards had to be disappointingly left on the cutting room floor. Thankfully, these cards have now found their home thanks to one of the most controversial MTG formats.
With 32 legendary creatures spread throughout the main and Commander set, The Brothers’ War certainly has a lot of characters. Admittedly, some characters do appear more than once within this impressive list of Legendary creatures. Tawnos, for instance, appears twice as both a Tawnos, Solemn Survivor and Tawnos, the Toymaker. Let’s not forget that the set’s namesake characters, Urza and Mishra, also appear as five different cards. Despite all these multiple printings, The Brothers’ War still has an impressive roster of 19 unique characters. This is obviously not an insignificant roster. However, The Brothers’ War was still missing a few key exciting MTG characters.
One such missing character was the interplanetary smuggling Planeswalker of Bo Levar. Known initially as Crucias, Bo Levar would later become one of Urza’s Nine Titans, so he’s undoubtedly an important character. Admittedly, at the time of The Brothers’ War, Crucias wasn’t heavily involved in the brotherly spat itself. Instead, Crucias was off being the Titan of the Waves, merely watching the conflict from the sidelines. Despite not being actively involved, Crucias is nevertheless an important MTG character from the time of The Brothers’ War. This makes their exclusion from both the Premier and Commander set somewhat surprising. However, there is one often controversial format that provides a saving grace; Alchemy.
Thanks to Alchemy providing an extra 30 cards for a Premier set, Crucias has finally been given their due. Appearing as Crucias, Titan of the Waves, this legendary creature boasts some seriously powerful abilities. Sporting a Seek effect similar to Diviner of Fates, Crucias may well be an Alchemy powerhouse.
All Thanks to Alchemy
Thankfully for players who can’t get enough of The Brothers’ War lore, Crucias, Titan of the Waves isn’t the only new legendary creature in Alchemy: The Brothers’ War. While they’re all supplemental characters, Jarsyl, Raddic, Richlau, and Rusko have all finally been realized as their own cards. Appearing as the cards listed below, each of these new legendaries sport interesting abilities that’ll be excellent in Historic Brawl.
- Jarsyl, Dark Age Scion
- Raddic, Tal Zealot
- Richlau, Headmaster
- Rusko, Clockmaker
Beyond each offering compelling abilities, the real benefit of these cards is that they show off characters who didn’t quite make the cut. This detail was recently explained to us by MTG’s Principal Game Designer Gavin Verhey. Speaking to us, Verhey stated that “with a story as large-scale as The Brothers’ War, it’s difficult to fit everything we want into a single card set. One of the great ways we get to help show off as much as we can though, is with other pieces of the set, like Alchemy which has Crucias.”
Alongside Alchemy having this strength, Verhey told us this is also a key strength of Commander products. “ led the design of The Brothers War Commander Decks and getting side characters like Sanwell and Farid into them helped bring some cards that didn’t have a position in the main set to life. It’s all one story, and we’re trying to show off as much of it as we can.”
Alchemy for All
Unfortunately, while Gavin Verhey attests that Alchemy’s design space is a good thing, not all players are so enthusiastic. Not only do players dislike the digital-only design space of Alchemy, but some players bemoan the format’s exclusive cards. Taking to Blogatog to question Mark Rosewater, Tumblr user Wellgetcreative recently highlighted this issue. “I’m not opposed to Alchemy existing as a part of Arena, but I wanted to say it feels bad to see legendary creatures in Alchemy,” Wellgetcreative stated. “For commander players, it’s disheartening seeing legendary characters that we know from the story or flavor text (Oglor from Innistrad, most recently Rusko) that we aren’t able to play in card form.”
Responding to this complaint, Mark Rosewater provided a glimmer of hope for disgruntled Commander players. Stating that they’ll “pass the note along,” Rosewater also revealed that they’ve heard this complaint “from numerous sources.” For instance, in the Tumblr post’s notes, numerous players voiced their desire for these characters to come to Commander. “Yeah, agreed. Not even for Commander, but I really like playing casual decks that reflect lore things,” Spookybinoopy stated on Tumblr. “Important story stuff being Arena only feels pretty bad with that.”
While not all players were so sympathetic to this cause, Rosewater certainly has heard this request before. Early in November, Mark Rosewater was asked for paper reprints of Alchemy cards, in order to play them casually. Admittedly this is a slightly different request, but there’s clearly a demand for the characters that only Alchemy is getting. Hopefully, this problem may be alleviated soon with the note passed along by Rosewater. That’s soon in the MTG sense, at least, where there’s a two-and-a-half-year lead time on set development.