The Brothers' War Set Review - Green
Titania's Command | Illustrated by Dominik Mayer
White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold I | Gold II | Artifacts | Lands | cEDH
Mean, Green, Fighting Machines!
Hello, reader! Travis here, bringing you the green cards from The Brothers' War! You may have seen my CUT articles or seen my reviews in the past; if you have you know that I've been keen on green for the past little bit.
Green has never been a color that has worked hand-in-hand with artifacts, but more recently Wizards has started printing more artifact support in this color, and with BRO being an artifact-centered set, we will see how it shakes the color up!
Awaken the Woods
Opening the green reviews with this haymaker is definitely setting the tone. Awaken the Woods is essentially doubling your access to green mana by creating you a whole swath of Dryad Arbors. In Zaxara, the Exemplary decks, this is another card that slots right in, not only giving you more mana for X-spells, but also giving you another way to gain a Hydra. A newer commander from the Warhammer 40K decks, Magus Lucea Kane would also love this card: when you use Lucea to cast it, you'll get double the Dryads!
Not only are X-spells decks excited, many Landfall decks are biting at the bit to get to play with this card. Tatyova, Benthic Druid and Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait, in particular, will draw so many cards off of this thing.
Maja, Bretagard Protector, Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer, and The Angry Jellybean himself will proceed to double your board presence by adding their own armies to the growing forest. Might as well throw all three of those cards and Awaken the Woods in an Obuun, Mul Daya Ancestor deck and watch it go! Following this card with a Craterhoof Behemoth next turn sounds like some good, clean, green living.
Part of the mythic cycle of artifact creatures with the new mechanic Prototype, this card is very strong. If you just cast it for its Prototype cost, you pay two mana for a 2/3, which is good, but it keeps its ability to sacrifice itself and leave behind a big 6/6 token. The times when you cast it for retail, you get a 5/5 for five mana, then for another five mana you can create a 15/15! That's just on the surface: if you look closely it says: "...where X is three times Rootwire Amalgam's power", which means if you've slapped some counters or Equipment, or have a buff of some kind on this, bam, you get a giant token with haste.
Decks like Adrix and Nev, Twincasters, Riku of Two Reflections, and Trostani, Selesnya's Voice would all enjoy this little robot very much. Digging up a name folks probably haven't heard in a while, Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer synergizes very well with our Golem-token-creating friend. Partner Ich-Tekik up with Armix, Filigree Thrasher and it would create a wonderful home for Rootwire Amalgam.
Titania, Voice of Gaea
Titania, Voice of Gaea, at her base, is a three-mana 3/4 with reach, which isn't terrible. Her other ability to gain you two life every time a land card goes into your graveyard from anywhere is fine, though she herself has no way of putting them in there for you, that's your job to figure out. Since we have already seen a version of her in Titania, Protector of Argoth, it's hard to not compare the two. Current Titania wants lands to go into the graveyard from anywhere and gives you a little life for it, while old Titania rewards you with 5/3s if the lands went to the 'yard from the battlefield.
One is more expensive, but impacts the battlefield, while the other can turn into Titania, Gaea Incarnate, so really, it's up to the deckbuilder. For decks that Titania, Voice of Gaea can slot into, The Gitrog Monster would love the company, as lands hitting the graveyard are that Frog's jam. Lord Windgrace, a fellow Dominarian, would also make good use of Titania. Building a deck around her, cards like Harrow, Crop Rotation, Roiling Regrowth, and Scapeshift are great to help find Argoth, Sanctum of Nature (shoutout to instant-speed Crop Rotation) AND put lands into the graveyard.
Running lots of those effects will help you get her Meld ability off easier and more reliably, because that's where she really shines. Titania, Gaea Incarnate does bring all of your lands back when she Melds, which is nice; for more redundancy, you can also run Crucible of Worlds, Ramunap Excavator, Splendid Reclamation, and the new Perennial Behemoth.
Argoth, Sanctum of Nature
Moving on to Argoth, Sanctum of Nature, this green land is secretly (or maybe not so secretly) a key piece in any green/x graveyard decks. Muldrotha, the Gravetide is a legendary green creature and she'd love to see three cards milled and gain a cute little Bear token while she's at it. Others include Karador, Ghost Chieftain, Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord, and the good ol' toad The Gitrog Monster. Of course, this card was designed to be played with Titania, Voice of Gaea, so that is where it will fit in best. Definitely consider it, though, for Ayula, Queen Among Bears, as it does make Bears.
Both of these cards are meant to see play almost exclusively with each other, though that doesn't mean they can't go anywhere else, it's just they won't reach their full potential if you do so. Taking a quick look at Titania, Gaea Incarnate, she's a powerhouse, so it's definitely worth running both if you are going to run one or the other. Not only is she as big as however many lands you have, she also brings all the lands out of your graveyard, and she has the ability to just start creating 4/4s, and continue to grow them. Titania, Gaea Incarnate also having trample, haste, vigilance, and reach doesn't hurt either.
Fade from History
An interesting take on a mass enchantment/artifact board wipe. Part of me wishes that the card would just give you the Bears, but alas, everyone gets a Bear from the prize wall. On the surface this is four mana to wipe the board clean of all artifacts and enchantments, which for green is very apt. You could put this in a Adrix and Nev, Twincasters deck to get another Bear, or in Chatterfang, Squirrel General and the new Queen Allenal of Ruadach which gets you other creatures along with your bear.
Of course, I want to say Ayula, Queen Among Bears, but usually tribal decks rely pretty heavily on support from artifacts and/or enchantments, so this will set you back more often than not. Run this with Esix, Fractal Bloom and your Bear may become something else entirely, so that's neat. If nothing else, the award for cutest art in the set 100% goes to Fade from History.
The last time we saw this Survival of the Fittest on a stick was back in Ultimate Masters, and we have to go all the way back to Core Set 2011 to see it before that! Needless to say it's been a while, and it's a welcome reprint. Fauna Shaman sees play in all sorts of Elf-style decks from Ezuri, Renegade Leader to Yeva, Nature's Herald and many more because of its ability to search up any creature you might need.
If you require a simple Reclamation Sage to get rid of a problematic artifact/enchantment, or a Craterhoof Behemoth to finally close out the game, this Shaman can go and grab it. Graveyard decks have long been a fan of this, and Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Karador, Ghost Chieftain, and the new The Beamtown Bullies especially love having easy ways to put creatures in the graveyard. Since this card has been out a long time, it has already carved its niche in the EDH community, but it's always nice to see a reprint of an old friend.
Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea
Another legendary Elf mana dork, except this one is a little bit more restrictive in how you can use the mana she creates. Now if you use the mana to cast a creature spell with power five or greater, you get to make her bigger and untap her, allowing you to cast more creatures! As a commander, Gwenna wants to play big beefy bodies like Steel Leaf Champion, Gigantosaurus, and Ghalta, Primal Hunger. Selvala, Heart of the Wilds could make a guest appearance in the list because of all the big creatures you'll be playing.
The list for additions to the deck is almost never ending, because Big Green is a strategy that is as old as the color itself. Fun interaction, cast Apex Devastator, and for every creature with 5 or more power you hit off of Cascade, that's more mana and more counters! Decks that Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea could slot into include the aforementioned legends, but also Xenagos, God of Revels, Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy, and the Partner pairing of Brinelin, the Moon Kraken + Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood. As long as your deck is playing a solid amount of big creatures, you are going to want Gwenna to help you cast them.
I want to like this card, like, I really, really do, but unfortunately it just doesn't do it for me. Five mana for a vanilla 2/7 is not great; even if you staple on the Crucible of Worlds ability, it still doesn't make up for the payoff you get from your investment. We already have creatures like Ramunap Excavator and Ancient Greenwarden to get lands back from the graveyard, and they are just better. The Excavator is three mana, which is great for the early game, and Ancient Greenwarden, while it is six mana, has another relevant ability, and it has reach.
Now is this a piece you should add to a deck for some redundancy? Absolutely. Saying all that, there is a lack of this kind of effect, so it's nice to have another card with this ability. Perennial Behemoth also can find a home in Arcades, the Strategist and Doran, the Siege Tower decks, as being a 2/7 will make for a solid asset in those builds. Another upside is that it does have a very cheap Unearth ability: for decks running the Dark Depths + Thespian's Stage combo, this card is able to get those pieces back even when it dies. Have I come around a little on this card while writing this review? Maybe. Time will tell what happens with this metal beast and where it will land.
There are a plethora of +1/+1 counter decks that would love to include this. A creature that comes down and brings along more counters is always a welcome sight, especially one that's fairly cheap at three mana. Looking at its Unearth ability, you're still paying a pretty good rate for this card, which amounts to a total sum of seven mana for the distribution of four +1/+1 counters. With the counters being able to go on any creature, you have choices, and having choices are always better than not. Skullbriar, the Walking Grave will absolutely relish in taking all of the counters from this robot ape. Not only him, but there are plenty of other +1/+1-counter-focused decks that would use this card, like Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider, Chishiro, the Shattered Blade, and the new The Swarmlord. This Robot Ape will draw comparisons to Verdurous Gearhulk, which unfortunately, it doesn't match up to. The upside is that it's cheaper and can bring itself back from out of the graveyard.
They are really pushing green to be okay with artifacts eh? Makes sense, considering the entire set is really artifact-focused. Going back to this little guy (and he is just that: just a little guy), for one mana you get a 1/1 that will do nothing but grow in the right environment. In green we've received Treasure-creators, like Prosperous Innkeeper, Black Market Tycoon, and Tireless Provisioner, which make great buddies for this Wurm. Jolene, the Plunder Queen would love to have this little guy in the 99 as there will be plenty of Treasure made and this Wurm will flourish becasue of it. Not to mention Baru, Wurmspeaker gets another Wurmy friend to add to his stable of long buddies.
The Brothers' War has brought with it another command cycle. The green one was the last previewed, so I was waiting with bated breath to see what it would do. It turned out to be the most expensive of the cycles at six mana, which you would think means it has the biggest effect. Other than Urza's Command, which is at instant speed, this command has the potential to be very potent and potentially game-changing. Like all "command" style cards before it, the advantage lies in the flexibility, there may be times where you want a kicked Vastwood Surge but you also get to get out any 2 lands you want. Or you want to stop a graveyard player, gain some life, and get some 2/2s. Titania's Command is definitely one of the better commands of this specific cycle, and even comparing it to the other green "command" cards, like Verdant Command and Primal Command, it's close to being top dog (or bear). Green wants +1/+1 counters, token creatures, getting rid of an opponent's graveyard, and, most obviously of all, ramp, and Titania's Command can deliver. Any green commander would be happy with Titania's Command, like Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig, Ayula, Queen Among Bears, and Greensleeves, Maro-Sorcerer.
Set Booster Commander Cards
What? Excuse me? Come again? It says all lands are basic? Wow. Now my Evolving Wilds, Terramorphic Expanse, heck even Fabled Passage are halfway to real fetches now. Plus it turns Cultivate/Kodama's Reach, all iterations of Explosive Vegetation into land tutors that just put your Dark Depths combo pieces right on the board (though for what it's worth they come in tapped nine times out of ten, but still). This is pretty good protection against any Blood Moon effects, and it makes Price of Progress cry in the corner until this meddlesome Elf goes away. Rootpath Purifier is a shoe-in for Phylath, World Sculptor decks, because it essentially turns Phylath into Avenger of Zendikar. While it's on the field, you can get around Thalia, Heretic Cathar and Archon of Emeria effects; in addition, if you're playing Land Tax, you can go get whatever lands your heart desires! There are so many wonderful things this card allows you to do, this Elf is anything but basic.
Titania, Nature's Force
Wait. I thought I already covered... oh... there's another Titania? Okay. Let's take a look and see what she does.
She's six mana for a 6/6, lets you play Forests from the graveyard, by playing Forests she creates 5/3s, and then when those 5/3s die, you mill three. She's literally the whole engine in a card, creating her own feedback loop by reducing, reusing, and recycling your Forests. As a commander she'll need cards like Three Visits, Nature's Lore, or Skyshroud Claim to go and grab as many Forests so that she can grow her Elemental army. Ashaya, Soul of the Wild is a must include, as it turns all your creatures into Forests that will then proc Titiana to create more 5/3s, plus Ashaya is an Elemental, so when Ashaya dies, you mill three and possibly hit more Forests. With all of the Landfall support in green there are a lot of cards you could play with Titania, including her other selves Titania, Protector of Argoth and Titania, Voice of Gaea. Might as well throw in Argoth, Sanctum of Nature to try to get the achievement of having all the Titanias out at once!
As for decks she goes in, Omnath, Locus, of All-of-Them would be happy to have her, though the latter two may be a bit iffy unless you're running Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth or lots of "Forest" dual lands. The less colors you play, the more reliably you'll be able to get Forests for Titania's abilities, so decks like Yedora, Grave Gardener, Karametra, God of Harvests, and Aesi, Tyrant of Gyre Strait are great places for this Titania. Though Yarok, the Desecrated would make every Forest drop create two 5/3s, which may very well be worth it.
Uncommons & Commons
At first glance this Aura looks like the watered down, more fair version of Rancor. I tend to agree, but the benefit of drawing a card is often times greater than getting back an Aura that needs a creature to be useful. If you run Rancor, there's no reason you shouldn't also run Audacity. The typical enchantment commanders have yet another toy to add to the ever-growing list. Commanders like Sythis, Harvest's Hand, Eutropia the Twice-Favored, and Tuvasa the Sunlit would very much enjoy this cheap enchantment.
The number of games this card has won me on Magic Arena is a silly amount for how simple this card is. Yes, yes, I know Mr. Editor, this is supposed to be about Commander, but I love this card to bits because of its play in other formats.
Now, in Commander, this is a very useful card in mono-green decks, especially if your commander has trample, like Ghalta, Primal Hunger or especially Multani, Yavimaya's Avatar, or Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer, because it will essentially double their power. Of course, if you're running a Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth, this just becomes a Blackblade Reforged, which isn't a bad thing to have that as your ceiling.
What do you get when you combine a Prey Upon and a Lay of the Land? You get Bushwhack. Will this spell see a lot of play in our format? No. Am I glad it exists as an option for Neyith of the Dire Hunt decks, or a budget brew of a Lands style deck? Yes, of course. As was said before, modality is the key for making a card better. This card also has one of the most flavorful names in terms of what it does.
Fog of War
Another Fog-effect is always good to have in the format, though this one is hyper specific, it can also just be used to gain life at instant speed. Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn could always use more ways to gain life on other people's turns, as with Heliod, Sun-Crowned. Plus the upside of stopping that player that pulled off their Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker/Pestermite combo for one turn, may be all you need to turn the game around. A good pick for any decks that want to go turbo-fog; looking at you Derevi, Empyrial Tactician.
If there was a card that gave a creature the "I'm the Main Character" clause, Gaea's Gift would be it. Board wipe? Gaea's Gift gives whatever creature you want indestructible. Exile? Gaea's Gift gives hexproof so your opponents can't target it with anything. Can't get through because there is a 1/1 token stopping your rampage? Don't worry, Gaea's Gift has got you covered: it will give trample and a +1/+1 counter to really make sure you get there. Decks like Chishiro, the Shattered Blade or Kosei, Penitent Warlord would love the benefit of a counter plus all of those keywords. Protect your dinosaur leader, Gishath, Sun's Avatar or Zacama, Primal Calamity so that they can live to stomp another day. Gaea's Gift is the gift that keeps on giving.
Treasures have become so easy to obtain that there's no reason to not be running Sarinth Steelseeker. Everytime a Treasure, or Food, or Clue enters the battlefield you get to essentially surveil 1, with the added bonus that if it's a land card you get to put it in your hand. Old Gnawbone would definitely use this, connect with however many creatures, Sarinth Steelseeker sees all the Treasures come down, and you can start digging up lands, or binning cards you don't want. Gruul legends Meria, Scholar of Antiquity and Jolene, the Plunder Queen will put Sarinth Steelseeker to work, with the number of artifacts they create. This Steelseeker has their work cut out for them, and I think they'll be just fine.
This card is anything but wasteful, that's for sure. At instant speed, being able to fill up your graveyard and bring a permanent back to your hand brings a tear to every Muldrotha player's eye. Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, Meren of Clan Nel Toth, The Mimeoplasm, and The Gitrog Monster are all examples of decks that this would fit beautifully in.
Technically these are artifacts, but since you can cast them for green, and they have a green color identity, let's talk about them.
- Boulderbranch Golem is a 3/3 for four mana, or a 6/5 for seven; either way you're going to gain some amount of life. Willowdusk, Essence Seer could make good use of this Golem.
- Cradle Clearcutter, a reference to Gaea's Cradle in name and design as it taps for mana, either one mana if you paid three mana for it, or three mana if you paid six mana for it. Green already does mana ramp much better than this, but a commander that's very excited to see all of these Golems is Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer, so it seems Cradle Clearcutter has a clear home.
Iron-Craw Crusher has an effect we have seen multiple times before, except in this case, the other creature has to be attacking as well. A bump in power is still a bump, but with the options being +2/+0 for four mana, or +4/+0 for seven mana, you'll get maybe one hit before your opponents just block the Crusher and stop that from happening.
- Rust Goliath is the biggest bang for your buck in the lower rarity prototype cards. For five mana you get a 3 / 5 with reach. Not the best stats (it sits right above a Giant Spider), but where it really counts is that it can also be a 10/10 for 10 mana. Play this in a flicker deck, like Emiel the Blessed, and bam, a 10/10 for five mana, easy. Other than that, this card is fine, green has lots of big beaters, so this is just another one for the rust pile.
The Brothers' War has given us some really neat cards in green. Wizards has steered green into a direction where artifacts can be apart of its identity, which is interesting! I can't wait to Meld together Titania, Voice of Gaea and Argoth, Sanctum of Nature to start stomping my opponents into the ground. Which green cards are you most excited for? Thanks for reading my review of the green cards from The Brothers' War, and if you haven't already go and read the other set review articles here and on EDHREC!