Archimandrites, Iconoclasts, and Toymakers
The Brother's War is finally upon us. This look back into the past has given new life to old lore, and let beloved characters realize their full potential in cardboard. They say hindsight is 20/20, so let's see what the past has to say about our future decks.
We start out strong with a new commander that adds support to two tribes that haven't really had much of an identity up to now. Magic has plenty of Monks and Artificers, butis the first legendary creature to mention either specifically. The main attraction here is her middle ability to boost your Monks, Advisors, and Artificers based on how much life you gain. This rewards you for gaining big chunks of life at once rather than something like , which cares about many smaller instances. She can also help you gain life whenever you start your turn with more than four cards in hand. Bringing it all together, she lets you tap three creatures to draw a card, ensuring you can easily gain three life every turn.
feels very Jeskai, rewarding you for keeping your hand by buffing your creatures. This makes it easy to keep casting spells to trigger prowess for , , and Monk tokens created by . Your creatures don't even need haste to draw cards with , so she works extremely well in conjunction with , drawing through your library to keep casting spells and making your creatures even bigger.
is also a devastating card if is your commander. When your creatures deal first strike damage, you'll gain a ton of life, which converts into even more damage when regular damage is dealt. That damage will also cause you to gain even more life, setting up to obliterate any remaining resistance.
Artificers and Advisors are less common creature types, and don't care as much as Monks about the combat step.and are both valuable additions, while Artificers give you a little more synergy with powerful artifacts like and .
Red and white have been getting lots of tools to use the graveyard, a tradition thatcontinues. For four mana, you get to wheel, then return an artifact or creature with mana cost one, two, and three to return from your graveyard to play. This is powerful card selection in a color pair famously mocked for lacking it. You can even turn Kayla's effect into card advantage with creatures that return to your hand.
, , and repeatedly return to your hand, ensuring you see more and more cards every turn. even lets you return any permanent to your hand, recycling other abilities that trigger when artifacts enter the battlefield.
Focusing on artifacts lets you apply pressure with, , and . You can also use to get around the mana value restriction on 's ability. Use it to copy , , or . Of course, you can always use to discard those creatures and then bring them back, with or , whichever you prefer.
There are also mass reanimation spells that can bring back everything you've discarded during the game.is very mana-efficient if you stick to one-, two-, or three-cost creatures, while simply brings everything back. Whatever approach you take, brings a ton of value to the table.
Copying spells is always powerful, even if it's only very specific ones. At his most generic,fits into Tribal Tribal decks with lots of Changelings. Doubling the triggers of and generates incredible amounts of advantage. For a more straightforward approach, there are plenty of powerful Birds and Beasts to copy.
and are both Beasts, while and come down earlier to keep the cards flowing. Because the token copies are also artifacts, you can even use and to create even more copies.
If you don't mind getting weird with the rules, however,also works extremely well with Mutate creatures. The token copies will Mutate onto the same creature you target with the original spell, doubling the effects of cards like and .
If anything can be learned fromand , this will be a powerful way to build . As confusing as it is, Mutate is a powerful mechanic that generates a lot of value, even without doubling all your triggers. Even if you opt to play Tawnos without Mutate, however, he offers a ton of value and can threaten to end the game relatively quickly.
The Brother's War only comes with one mythic rare in an enemy color pair:. I usually try to judge planeswalker cards by their plus abilities, but this Saheeli gets her ultimate ability at a mere four loyalty, and it's a powerful one. An emblem that gives your artifact creatures +1/+1 and reduces their cost? Sign me up. A single Proliferate trigger from or is enough to get two powerful effects that your opponents can't get rid of. sets you up to get multiple emblems from , letting you run wild with free s and 3/3 Thopter tokens. decks don't play many spells that cost more than three mana, but could certainly earn a spot.
That doesn't mean you should overlook Saheeli in big artifact decks, though. Her first ability is an excellent source of card selection and advantage.doesn't mind being tapped, and you might actually want to tap to deny your opponents extra cards. In particular, fits right alongside in your and decks. And, of course, anything that makes tokens is worth considering for .
Rares & Uncommons
If you find yourself across the table from someone with powerful tokens, then you could certainly consideras an answer. Being a sorcery certainly feels like a knock against this card, but is played in just over 10,000 decks according to EDHREC. Against certain decks, these cards are essentially targeted board wipes, and gets around and other common answers to .
It's also very flexible exile-based removal, preventing your opponent from recurringand over and over again. As tokens become more prevalent, may be worth reconsidering in your removal suite, and is a worthy companion.
It will be tempting to try and maximizeby having ten or more creatures in your graveyard, but even at five mana this is a powerful effect with only three or four fallen comrades. Three dead creatures puts you on par with , but will quickly outpace it. Decks that already care about untapping creatures, like , will naturally make excellent use of the mana from this card. Additionally, easily refills your graveyard after hits the field, and only needs one color of mana to activate his ability. may seem to suffer in comparison to similar creatures, but , , and don't reach their full until turn five or later either, and if you can immediately tap for five or six mana, does it really matter how much it cost up front? Just be sure to stay away from .
may not be , but it's pretty darn close. Thanks to and , really only misses out on enchantments (and planeswalkers, but how many three-mana planeswalkers are you playing?). The +1/+0 to your small creatures is relevant as well, since many aristocrats and blink decks already accrue tokens over time. makes your Servo and Thopter tokens twice as deadly, letting you turn the corner to start winning the game in , , and decks. Never underestimate the combination of card advantage and win condition.
You may be tempted to think ofas a new take on , but this card is so much more. It fits into a much wider set of decks because it triggers whenever you cast a noncreature spell, not just an instant or sorcery. If you want extra blockers for your planeswalkers, has your back. If you're playing an even spread of enchantments and artifacts, won't judge you.
Artifacts are where this card will really shine, however, because the tokens it makes are also artifacts. That lets you quickly build up counters on, take chunks out of life totals with , and easily achieve the conditions to win with . It isn't flashy, but fits into a ton of archetypes, especially artifact and spellslinger decks.
Aristocrats decks are always looking for more ways to sacrifice creatures, andhas the added benefit of removing a permanent when you do. It isn't flashy, but this is the exact kind of card that ties a deck together and makes sure everything works. Recycling it with or keeps your s happy, and blinking it with lets you keep drawing cards with . Having the added option to gain some life later on in the game is valuable as well, especially in these kinds of grindy, graveyard-focused decks.
Very similar to, doesn't have a flashy ability, but it definitely gets the job done. Adding white to gives you first strike and the ability to pump any creature whenever another enters play. This is great for token decks that can build armies in moments, letting you buff an unblockable for big damage. If your commander has evasion (looking at you, ), this lets you go for the win with commander damage.
If your tokens have haste, you can alternately set up a massive charge to overwhelm your opponents. I actually really likein spellslinger decks, where it turns and into serious amounts of damage. It also fits right in with . A with Myriad gives another attacking creature twelve extra power, while copying any other creature still provides a hefty +4/+0.
Simic isn't a color combination known for its fondness of artifacts, but that shouldn't dissuade you from givinga try. Turning all of your creatures into Powerstone tokens might not help you cast nonartifact spells, but it's great for activating abilities. , , and base their power entirely on their abilities, which helps you activate faster and more often.
Don't sleep on the artifact half of this card either, however. Castingand over and over again is a solid game plan no matter your color identity. The Brother's War added a lot of support for this style of deck. , , and are powerful artifacts that fit naturally into a deck helmed by and . These two normally helm Sea Monster themed decks, but neither specifically cares about creature spells.
And that's all for this half of the Brother's War multi-color set review. There's a lot of exciting new cards here, but I'm especially glad to seeand , which open up new archetypes for their colors. Getting a true Monk tribal commander is awesome as well. How do you feel about these cards? Have any new commanders grabbed your attention, or are you mostly looking to upgrade existing decks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and thanks for reading!