Welcome to my set review where I will pick my five favourite cards of each colour from The Brothers’ War booster set!
Given that The Brothers’ War also comes out with a pair of preconstructed Commander decks, I’ll also be covering my favourite new cards from there in another article. I also won’t be touching on reprints in either review.
Without further ado, here are my favourite Artifacts and Lands!
I think it’s pretty clear that there are many ways to cheat Portal of Phyrexia into play. Goblin Welder comes to mind. Goblin Engineer gets it into your graveyard for Daretti, Scrap Savant or Trash for Treasure to bring it to play. It’s an artifact, which means Panharmonicon also doubles that ETB, meaning a Hex for each opponent and that upkeep ability can be copied with Lithoform Engine and Strionic Resonator. Get any creature from any graveyard at the beginning of the turn!
Nine mana is a lot but there are no colour requirements, there are a ton of ways to reduce the cost of artifacts, and as I mentioned, you can cheat it in.
Don’t even get me started on Phyrexian Metamorph, Clever Impersonator, or Mirrormade. You play Portal to Phyrexia, knock your opponents back three creatures, next turn play one or more of these clones, and enjoy the groans. Yes, three Fleshbag Marauders for the same price is fine, it doesn’t break the game, it takes a while to get to nine mana, but man, oh man, what a bomb if this sticks around.
Osgir, the Reconstructor can make two copies of this from the graveyard and if Anointed Procession is out, that’s four copies. Suddenly, the game feels a little harder for your opponents to close out. You might be wondering, won’t nine mana be an expensive deterrent for playing this card?
Sure, don’t play it! But I will and I’ll love it. It’s big, it’s splashy, and it reanimates. There are Treasures and Powerstones and ramp and rituals. You’ll be fine! Live a little! Play the Portal!
Liberator, Urza’s Battlethopter is one of the coolest cards I’ve seen. It looks ridiculous with Urza’s face so big and prominent, but it’s very powerful. Flash, flying, and it gets buffer for every spell you cast higher than its power – beautiful. Not to mention the most important part: you can cast colourless and artifact spells as though they had flash.
As a commander, it’s going to be a simple deck: Artifacts and Eldrazi. Easy peasy, play Ulamog at instant speed, attack to exile the top 20, good game.
The ability to sneak some stuff in at flash speed is powerful. There’s a reason Leyline of Anticipation and Vedalken Orrery are beloved. The narrow scope to be colourless or artifact isn’t as limiting as it seems at first. Noxious Gearhulk, Bolas’s Citadel, Nevinyrral’s Disk – only some of the cards you can sneak in. At its worst, Liberator is a legendary Shimmer Myr with flying and added upside of counters and colourless spells being included. Shimmer Myr might have been reprinted into the ground, but it was a powerful expensive card. In the 99, Liberator plays really nicely with Fain, the Broker, Ghave, Guru of Spores, Hopeful Initiate, Jetfire, Ingenious Scientist, Power Conduit, Retribution of the Ancients, Sage of Fables, Sanctuary Warden, Soul Diviner, and Tayam, Luminous Enigma to name a few. Have fun!
Yes, this is one of the cards that melds with Urza to make Urza, Planeswalker, but it is technically colourless. You can include it in any deck!
The ETB choices are beautiful. Two cards or probably killing something important? Sign me up. It triggers Panharmonicon, it plays well with blink strategies like Aminatou, the Fateshifter and Brago, King Eternal, and it’s a mana rock for your mana rocks or activated abilities. Is it phenomenal once it’s in play? Not really. But the prospect of blinking this over and over is very tempting. Plus, when melded with Urza, Lord Protector, you get one of the nuttiest planeswalkers ever printed.
This is an annoying card that is going to do more work just staying put than being activated. The threat of activating and nullifying game actions is very frustrating, especially in a format poised to take advantage of copying artifacts and where the legendary rule rarely matters. Even just having this in a deck where Karn, the Great Creator is protected and ready to -2, you’ll have a soft lock on being taken out. This also wrecks spells that target a player for other effects like Settle the Wreckage.
Where Inkshield is the ‘surprise, gotcha, payback’s a b!tch’ card, The Stasis Coffin is the scene in a martial arts movie where the master leans into the pose and dares his enemies to attack him.
This is a fixed Field of Ruin that doesn’t put two other players up on you. I know this description is reductive and short and sweet, but this is literally an upgraded version of a card we have that players have been asking for.
- Hall of Tagsin – Powerstones are more useful than I expected them to be. Playing control means being able to hold mana up and then make a Powerstone, which fuels activated abilities and artifact spells without spending your control mana.
- The Stone Brain – Not for our format really, but good for 60 cards and might see Modern play if people talking about it online were right.
- Thran Spider – Eight-legged group hug that helps you dig for more artifacts. Best paired with Powerstone generation such as…
- Slagstone Refinery – This is begging to be broken. It doesn’t have any restriction for timing or how many times this happens. If you can untap your Goblin Welder a bunch and do that graveyard trinket dance a bunch, you’ll be swimming in Powerstones.
- Spectrum Sentinel – Reverse landfall is neat!
- Su-Chi Cave Guard – Great for decks that find ways to cheat creatures/artifacts out and get them in and out of the graveyard. Torment of Hailfire anyone?
- Symmetry Matrix – Mana Echoes + mass token generation = you’re welcome.
- Thran Power Suit – Equipment/Aura/Voltron decks, enjoy, but remember it only counts what’s attached to it, which makes it less good, so be careful.
- Energy Refractor – ETBs to draw a care, filters Powerstone mana. It’s no Gemstone Array, but it’s not the worst I’ve seen!
- Goblin Firebomb – Universal Solvent is power crept.
- Tocasia’s Dig Site – Four mana to surveil one is expensive, but if you’re a Powerstone deck or a Zirda, the Dawnwaker deck or a control deck, you could do worse than this land.
- Fortified Beachhead – Soldiers in WU? Okay, Tribal Tribal decks, enjoy this new one.
There you have it! I’ll be back with my thoughts on the new cards in the Commander precons next!