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 Black cards from the set and the accompanying Commander sets.

       1. Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist

Ashnod is a character I have been waiting to be printed for a long time. I’ve been a fan of Ashnod’s Altar, and I have long waited to see this genius on a card herself. I’ve actually got an Serrated Scorpion decklist brewing that while I’m disappointed she doesn’t work with her own altar, I am excited for the possibilities.

This version of Ashnod – Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist – seems like a really aggressive commander. Plug in all the one drop creatures worth running like Serrated Scorpion, Banehound, and Barrier of Bones, then swing with Ashnod. Give her Blade of the Bloodchief or any other means of pumping her power and toughness, and you’ll have a solid beater in no time.

The real juice is in the “skeleton” effect. Bloodsoaked Champion is fantastic in this deck. Attack with Ashnod, sacrifice the Champion, create a Powerstone token, and because you already attacked, you can bring back the Champion to play. Granted the Powerstone comes into play tapped, but the next time you do this, the Champion’s ability only costs B.

Cult Conscript, Bloodghast, Brackish Trudge, Death Tyrant, Nether Traitor, Persistent Specimen, Razorlash Transmogrant (you’ll see soon), and of course Reassembling Skeleton – these all get way better when you can make Powerstones to help get them back to play. Pack the rest of the deck with artifacts or cards with lots of activated abilities and BAM! You’ve got a deck. The new Necron precon will definitely help with this.

Eventually she uses the Powerstones to exile the cards from your graveyard to make a Zombie swarm, and you can play Coat of Arms to wreck face!

In the 99, I unfortunately don’t see much of a future for Ashnod. I don’t know where I’d put her. Having to attack to sacrifice and get the Powerstone means a lot more hoops than I’d want for a card in a deck that it’s dedicated to her.

      2. Razorlash Transmogrant

This is like one of the “skeleton” cards I mentioned above. A creature that returns to play cheaply for you to abuse in your dance with the graveyard. For two mana, a 3/1 that can’t block just beats face because your opponents won’t want to trade anything for it considering you can just bring it back.

This is Commander – your opponents will likely have four nonbasic lands by turn four if they’re playing a three colour deck. This condition will likely be easy to meet. I think we’ll see the Razorlash Transmogrant in decks that thrive in the late game pulling off graveyard shenanigans. You can bring it back with an Animate Dead or with a Goblin Welder. It’s versatile and interesting! I’m going to test it in a few decks.

       3. Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor

Gix is also a character we’ve waited a long time to see and we finally have one of the most badass looking cards out there. Gix is a dastardly character and his lore is flavourfully represented in his first ability which is basically Edric, Spymaster of Trest with the  quintessential black exchange of life for a card.

You’ll want to play a swarm of creatures to get a ton of cards, but you’ll want lifelink too. Whip of Erebos is a fantastic inclusion in this deck as it lets you recoup the life you’ll spend on card draw, and allow you to return a creature to play one last time when you discard it to Gix’s second ability.

Imagine having a full grip of cards, paying 4BBB, discarding your hand and then exiling your opponent’s top seven and you get to play everything – even a land. That’s power. That’s insane. Peer into the Abyss to draw your deck and then pull this ability off. Play half of your opponent’s deck, why don’t you!

I’ll be testing this in my Thalisse, Reverent Medium deck, and if I build Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist, this is slotting right in.

       4. Terror Ballista

Seven mana is a lot, but repeatable creature destruction at the cost of a creature sacrifice on attack is really strong. You can Unearth this for five and give it haste, too. The flexibility is solid and artifacts are really easy to discount. Thalisse, Reverent Medium is getting a lot of cards to test. Necron players, get in on this and start thinking of your utility lines. Not much else to say  besides this is a solid card that will be fun to see go off.

       5. Gurgling Anointer

I am surprised by how much I like this card. Every second card you draw gets you a bigger creature from your graveyard without the tribal rider on it like Body Launderer has. It definitely is limited to once a turn for counter growth, but if you’ve got cheap creatures and you want them in and out of your graveyard, by turn three of having this out, you’ve got enough for a four drop to return. Not to mention it’s a Horror, so Captain N’ghathrod decks can definitely use a flying Horror that gets bigger and has added utility. I’ll give this a go in my Lyzolda, the Blood Witch deck, considering her ability allows me to draw and I draw a lot in that  deck and creatures go in and out of the graveyard.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Fateful Handoff – This is just a very funny card and sometimes you can make an ally by giving them something powerful to kill and benefit from the draw. Not to mention if you Unearth something cheaply, attack with it, then Fateful Handoff before it needs to exile. You give them a turn with it, and it goes away while drawing you equal to its mana value, not its Unearth cost. Fun!
  • Hostile Negotiations – This is Fact or Fiction that looks at six cards, plays a mind game with the opponent you’re targeting, and sends one pile to your hand and the other to your second hand, aka graveyard.
  • Gixian Puppeteer – It stays in play until you need to return a creature from the graveyard or dissuades attacks for the same reason, while letting you drain the table every time you draw two cards each turn? Sign me up.
  • Misery’s Shadow – This prevents death triggers which, if you haven’t noticed by reading about my favourite play style, is really important to some people. Good tech for a meta call.
  • Transmogrant’s Crown – “Fixed Skullclamp”. Now you can sacrifice the creature attached to it to Phyrexian Altar or Ashnod’s Altar and move it to another creature, sacrifice that one to the Altar of your choice and keep the flow of cards going. This could have been in my top five but I wanted to showcase an uncommon, too.
  • Battlefield Butcher – Golgari decks, play Seedborn Muse and Hermit Druid, the game will end fast if you have this guy out.
  • Disciples of Gix – Artifact Buried Alive stapled to a creature? Damn, this is strong.
  • Gnawing VerminAraumi of the Dead Tide decks, enjoy.
  • Gruesome Realization – The modality of sweeping a board of weenies or Painful Lesson is worth considering for a slot.
  • No One Left Behind – Very cool way to ensure that you’re not overpaying on your reanimation cards.
  • Transmogrant Altar – “Fixed Ashnod’s Altar”. Gating this behind tapping for either ability is rough, but this is a new Altar and worth noting.
  • Overwhelming RemorseBaleful Mastery is a thing, but if you’re a self-mill deck and don’t want to give away a card, consider this. Or if you’re a Pauper EDH player, here’s your Baleful Mastery!

Come on back for the next colour! Coming soon!

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