The Brothers’ War Will Be A Jolt To Magic’s System
The Brothers’ War is the first set in a long time (maybe since Eldraine) with a high concentration of powerful and interesting cards. Every single format will be affected, and some might even warp.
So, to prepare for The Brothers’ War bombshell, let’s go over forty cards I believe will see play. This list is unranked, grouped by color, WUBRG then alphabetical order, includes reprints, and focuses on mostly 1v1 formats. I’ll specify which format(s) if I have specific one(s) in mind, but my comments will broadly apply to Standard, Historic, Explorer, Pioneer, and Modern. We’ve got a lot to get through, so let’s start.
Admittedly, a little weak of a card to begin with, but I see the potential here if the graveyard strategies get out of hand in Standard and it has general application everywhere else. If played at the right time, it will time walk someone. I wish it didn’t exile itself after use, though.
Lay Down Arms
I saw an article or something somewhere comparing this to Swords to Plowshares, and while I wouldn’t go that far, it is a strong removal spell. I like how Lay Down Arms scales with the board state, able to hit bigger and bigger targets. But I don’t like how it requires a high density of Plains. It might have less utility in formats without a lot of Shock Lands.
Mryel, Shield of Argive
I wasn’t expecting to see a Tax-style creature from The Brothers’ War, but this is strong. It stops basically every trick that easily disrupts aggro plans and minimally doubles your soldier count every turn. Even its base stats aren’t awful. Yes, this is a niche card, but it’s so powerful in that niche.
What can I say? I enjoy seeing Elite Spellbinder getting more work. This is basically an especially annoying bounce spell, but its ability to target anything but lands makes it a much more powerful option than maybe is obvious.
It’s no Mana Leak, but it’s a high enough cost that players not planning for this card will lose their creature. Mono-Blue tempo is already a lot of fun in Standard, and this only improves those sorts of lists.
Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim
A little high-costed, but otherwise an ideal planeswalker. It protects itself, gives card advantage, and can win on its own even without its ultimate—what’s there to complain about? Teferi’s passive ability is really what pushes this card to the extreme. It’s easy to get a ton of loyalty in any deck that would run him.
None of these options (except maybe the artifact one) are even remotely impressive, but the variety of options is enough for me to see it as a useful one-of or two-of. I could be overvaluing it, but it’s such a versatile tool, and there must be some strong application.
Ah, our first reprint (at least that I’m aware of). It’s a simple card that forces you into a specific strategy and has a history of being brutal. If you hit someone with Corrupt, it usually ends the game. I’m worried about what this card will do to Brother’s War Standard.
I mean, it’s Diabolic Tutor with an easily handled stipulation. I’m not sure I need to explain why this card is powerful. Does your deck win with a specific card or combo? Cool, now you can get it on turn two. I shudder to imagine what this card will do to Modern or Pioneer.
Another reprint, but a solid one. It’s a Shock that lowers power. Disfigure opens many avenues for killing opponents’ creatures or screwing up their combat math. Easily a three-of in most Standard black decks. This card, Corrupt, and Sheoldred, are a recipe for something terrifying.
Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor
I read this one twice to get it, but it’s a low-cost, card-draw engine with a good stat line and devastating late-game usage. Instantly another include in the hypothetical (but soon to be real) mono-black list.
This is a little high-costed and might get lost in the shuffle of card options, but I can still see it ruining someone’s day. The first ability is a nice incremental drain, and the second ability makes even board wipes a little less brutal. Don’t get too excited about this card, but it’s also no slouch.
Go for the Throat
Another card I heard talk about recently. And I agree with the assessment. This is indeed one of, if not the most, efficient and far-reaching kill spells in the game. It’s a little underpowered in a format that will have a lot of artifact creatures, but it’s a bad idea to ignore this option hitting Standard. Always assume a Standard or Explorer/Pioneer deck with black in it is using Go for the Throat.
We started this part of the list on one of the weaker picks, so let’s also end on a long-shot choice. Anoiter’s abilities are solid, and it, like Puppeteer, offers some easy recovery from board wipes or other kill spells. I wonder if we’ll see a rise in card draw to enable all the new cards with “second draw” abilities.
Well, that’s fourteen down, twenty-six to go. We’ve only scratched the surface of what The Brothers’ War has to offer. Some of the later cards, on later lists, will change Standard and Pioneer forever. It’s an exciting time, so come back on Monday for more.
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