The Brothers’ War: Awesome Commons And Key Limited Mechanics

The Brothers’ War Limited has begun to take shape through its previews. Andy “IckyMTG” Ferguson goes over the main mechanics and his early picks for top commons.

Powerstone token
Powerstone token, illustrated by David Auden Nash

We’re back in Dominaria (again), but this time with time travel! Get out your Sunglasses of Urza, because the brothers are likely to set something on fire during The Brothers’ War.

Urza, Lord Protector Mishra, Claimed by Gix

On the other hand, the bros aren’t throwing too much at us in terms of new set mechanics. Let’s take a look at what we’ll see during the feud.

Returning Mechanic: Unearth

Scrapwork Cohort

Unearth is an existing mechanic introduced in Shards of Alara. Unearth allows you to return a creature with the keyword from your graveyard to the battlefield with haste for one final attack before being exiled at the end of your turn. This mechanic rewards self-mill or discard, and appears only on artifact creatures in The Brothers’ War.

New Mechanic: Prototype

Depth Charge Colossus

Prototype is a new keyword. It’s essentially our first interpretation of a split card in creature form. You can pay a cheaper ‘Prototype’ cost for a smaller version of the creature, or the full mana value for the big version. Most of these cards tend to be very expensive, rewarding the player who can afford the full mana cost, while providing a fail-safe so that the card isn’t dead in hand.

New(ish) Mechanic: Powerstones

Argothian Opportunist Stern Lesson Gix's Caress

Powerstones are not an entirely new concept to Magic, but they represent a new mechanic and subtype of token. Most instances of creating a Powerstone are attached to a somewhat underpowered card. Powerstones are somewhere in the territory of Treasure tokens in terms of power level; Powerstones don’t sacrifice to add mana, unlike Treasures, though they only tap for colorless mana that can’t be used to cast nonartifact spells. Powerstones will be a bit stronger in the context of this artifact-heavy set. 

Intriguing Commons

We’ve only got about five commons of each color to peruse at this point, so I’m going to just pick some of the cards that look powerful enough to speculate on.

Ambush Paratrooper

Ambush Paratrooper is doing its best Steadfast Unicorn impression. With the flying ability, it should allow you to get a few early points through. Provided you get a good amount of Powerstones, double pumping your team seems like an inevitability. It looks like white will have some access to tokens, so this seems like a solid creature to look out for!

Mightstone's Animation

In a perfect world, Mightstone’s Animation is a 4/4 for four that draws you a card, which is kind of insane. Turn 3 Stern Lesson into Mightstone’s Animation and attacking for four is a sequence to look for. Keep in mind you can enchant opponents’ artifacts too, potentially shrinking a larger creature or turning problematic Equipment into a creature that can’t attach.

Overwhelming Remorse

Overwhelming Remorse looks like it will be the premium black common removal. Gradually costing less as the game goes on, it also has the relevant text of ‘exile,’ assuring none of your opponent’s rusty artifacts can unearth to try to give you tetanus. 

Mishra's Onslaught

I’ve been liking the multimode team pump spells lately. Red appears to be one of the most aggressive colors in this set, though I’m not sure how wide it will want to go at this point. Either way, the fail-safe of Mishra’s Onslaught isn’t too bad, making it look like a solid role-playing card.

Gaea's Gift

I’m not sure how many more keywords we can fit on a common trick costing two. Gaea’s Gift is Snakeskin Veil’s bigger sibling, allowing you to block flyers or trample damage over for a win. I assume this will be a very strong card that most decks will be happy to include.

Only the Beginning

The bros still have some more cards up their sleeves. I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled as they’re revealed and the archetypes start to take shape.

Lose and learn, learn and win!