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Skystrike Officer

The Brothers’ War Limited Set Review: Blue

Our complete review of all the The Brothers' War cards, for limited (sealed and draft).

Hey everyone! We’re back for day two of our limited review of The Brother’s War. Today we’re going to be going deep into Blue.

We’ll be using the normal grading scale described below. The biggest difference from previous sets is that I am going to be lumping artifacts with a color identity in with their color. This is a combination of Wizards numbering system and not wanting to have one article be longer than War and Peace. All grades on them are assuming that you can easily pay the colored cost.

I’m really proud of myself for getting through that introduction without making a BRO joke. With that said, let’s get on to what’s going on literally back in the day.

Here’s the usual grading scale:


Air Marshal

Rating: 2.0/5

This is a solid addition to the Azorius Soldiers deck as a two drop that can jump itself up in the air to get through. Though this Air Marshal doesn’t need to fly solo, as he can bring the rest of his soldier friends with him to form a devastating air force.

Curate

Rating: 2.0/5

I love that they finally just keyworded this to Surveil to make life easier for everyone. It’s fine as a card selection spell with the upside of tossing some unearth cards into the graveyard.

Defabricate

Rating: 2.0/5

This does have a ton of targets and is almost a pseudo Remove Soul with so many artifact creatures floating around. Counterspells also perform better in a format where everyone is playing expensive spells. I just don’t want to have to hold up mana hoping they play into this when they can just play one of their nonartifact spells and strand my mana every turn.

Desynchronize

Rating: 2.0/5

There is a huge delta on the value of this card based off of what you are playing against. Against the soldier decks, this might be too slow and probably drops half a grade. Against the artifact ramp decks, this might actually trade up on mana while giving you a Scry 2 as a nice little throw in probably bumping it up half a grade.

Drafna, Founder of Lat-Nam

Rating: 2.5/5

Heavily dependent on the number and quality of artifacts that you have in your deck. It’s really impractical to think you are ever going to get to use this on anything really expensive unless you have a Scrooge McDuck pile of powerstones laying around. 

Fallaji Archaeologist

Rating: 1.5/5

Are you in the market for a 1/4 for two mana? If not then I don’t really think this is a card you want in your deck unless you have a critical mass of noncreature, nonlands that you really want to hit. At least it gives you the option to take the counter no matter what in case you really need it.

Flow of Knowledge

Rating: 1.5/5

If you are almost mono blue than this can do some damage. If you’re evenly two colors than this is probably going to be unplayable. Think about it like this, when you have six mana with a 50/50 split this is a draw three discard two for five. That’s atrocious.

Forging the Anchor

Rating: 2.0/5

As long as you have enough targets to make this consistently a Pieces of the Puzzle for artifacts, then this can help forge your way to victory. Otherwise, it will anchor you down to the bottom of the standings.

Hurkyl, Master Wizard

Rating: 3.0/5

This is a decent body for the cost that can keep the fires burning all night baby. It’s important to notice that it’s worded so artifact creatures don’t get you an artifact even if you trigger this another way.

Hurkyl’s Final Meditation

Rating: 1.0/5

Way too expensive to be played in a normal game of limited. It can’t even be cast with powerstones. Seriously even if you’re getting beat down bouncing everything and letting them get first crack at everything is rarely going to put you in a better position than you were in beforehand.

Sure, if you cast this for ten, it’s the opposite situation but even then, it’s not amazing. Bottom line is that if you are a deck that could cast this, you probably don’t want to go back to the early turns of the game.

Involuntary Cooldown

Rating: 1.5/5

Impede Momentum‘s older brother can buy you a lot of time or help you slam through for lethal. It does put you down a card so you need to either care about tempo or have such a good late game that you just want to get there.

Keeper of the Cadence

Rating: 1.5/5

This is not the cadence that you want to be following. I don’t know what deck is really going to want this unless decking is a serious concern. If you have one of the draw a million cards rares than you can consider this.

Koilos Roc

Rating: 2.5/5

This is going to roc and roll all night and party every day. It’s a great creature to bridge you to the endgame as a surprise blocker that ramps you up. Even at it’s worst a 3/3 flyer is a good body in this format.

Lat-Nam Adept

Rating: 1.5/5

What exactly is this adept at besides being a Hill Giant? It grows too slowly to be effective against the fast decks and too little against the decks with a fleet of star destroyers.

Machine Over Matter

Rating: 2.0/5

It’s comical that Mind Over Matter was one of the most broken cards ever printed, but Machine Over Matter is basically Unsummon. Bounce spells play better in a format where people are either playing expensive cards or trying to play combat tricks. This format seems like any deck that you are going to play against is doing one or the other. Don’t load up on this, but one is a solid addition to most decks.

Mightstone’s Animation

Rating: 2.0/5

This looks like a janky card, but as long as you have some powerstones floating around it turns into a four mana 4/4 that draws a card when it comes into play. In a pinch you can even shrink your opponent’s giant monster down to a more manageable size.

One with the Multiverse

Rating: 2.0/5

Eight mana is a huge cost to pay when you can’t use powerstones to get it out. It’s not even a do nothing the turn you play it because you get the one free Omniscience effect for turn either from your hand or top of your library.  

If you slam this with a board presence, it’s probably going to snowball the game in your favor. If you are trying to catch back up, it will probably cost you the game. That sounds like the definition of a win more.

Retrieval Agent

Rating: 1.5/5

What a Benedict Arnold. Too expensive to go into the soldier deck, but ironically enough a great blocker for other decks playing against them.

Scatter Ray

Rating: 2.0/5

I like this a little more than Defabricate because it’s a lot harder for your opponent to not play any creatures or artifacts than just avoiding playing an artifact. It is important to note that they can pay for this with powerstones.

Skystrike Officer

Rating: 4.0/5

This is a must answer evasive threat or it starts to provide you with an army of soldiers that will eventually start burying them in card advantage too. A pretty easy first pick.

Splitting the Powerstone

Rating: 1.0/5

I can’t imagine this card ever being good outside of maybe with Ichor Wellspring. Even then you are two cards and five mana into a Divination and two powerstones. If it didn’t require sacrificing an artifact, it would be a good card. As it is, it’s not really a limited card.

Stern Lesson

Rating: 3.0/5

Cards like Sift have always been solid limited cards and this one is cheaper and instant speed. I know what you’re thinking, “But Josh this only draws two cards”. Does it though?  What if that other card was a land that went directly into play (the powerstone). Now are you more interested?

Take Flight

Rating: 2.0/5

Four mana is a ton to pay for an aura that doesn’t warp the game around itself. I’m sure there will be games that you scam someone out with this, but it feels like just asking to get blown out.

Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim

Rating: 4.5/5

Oh, hey look another Planeswalker that protects itself and provides card advantage. It’s even a Teferi for maximum annoyance. Clearly a bomb that I don’t think I have to talk anyone into windmill slamming pick one.

Third Path Savant

Rating: 2.0/5

You’ll look like a savant when you have this with a bunch of powerstones floating around to start burying your opponent under card advantage. Early in the game it’s a subpar body, but could be serviceable as a speed bump. Basically, it’s a good in the situation you have a lot of mana and not a lot to do with it. Filler level.

Thopter Mechanic

Rating: 2.5/5

A two drop that turns into a 1/1 flyer when it dies is a welcome addition to any curve. I don’t really value the draw two ability much as its not that easy to trigger and doesn’t really affect it’s survivability that much.

Urza, Powerstone Prodigy

Rating: 2.5/5

The value of a looter has heavily varied throughout the last few sets, but this one throws in a ramp when you pitch an artifact. It can even start paying for its ability with the first powerstone you make. Being able to make one every turn can rapidly get out of control and let you reign destruction down on your opponent.

Urza’s Command

Rating: 3.0/5

The versatility of the commands always makes them worth more than the sum of their parts. There are times when shrinking your opponent’s team can completely blow them out, but other times when it’s worthless. Sometimes you just want to draw a card with a ramp thrown in. Being able to tailor your choice to the situation is the real power here. The construct coming into play tapped is a big drag down as it prevents any surprise blocking shenanigans.

Urza’s Rebuff

Rating: 2.0/5

Finally, we get to the Cancel variant of the set. I do want this against any form of Battlecruiser deck, but the double blue is a hindrance for earlier in the game against quicker decks. While I’m sure there will be times that the tap ability is used, it’ll most likely be pretty rare.

Weakstone’s Subjugation

Rating: 3.0/5

I loved Bubble Snare back in Zendikar Rising and this is a straight upgrade on that by hitting any permanent and removing the second blue in the Kicker cost. The thing that makes this great is that if you are getting beat down, you can spend one mana to shut something down while still adding to the board. If you are the beatdown, then a four-mana removal spell to clear the way is on rate. It’s good early, good late, and plays well in most decks’ strategies.

Wing Commando

Rating: 2.5/5

Wind Drake with a pretty sexy glow up. Prowess always plays havoc on combat as it leads to complicated blocks with huge risks of getting blown out of the water. This gives the soldier deck a way to continue to pressure in the air when the opponent finally stabilizes on the ground.

Zephyr Sentinel

Rating: 3.5/5

There’s a lot to love with Zephyr Sentinel. At it’s base it is a two-power flash flyer for two which is something you would play in almost any limited format. The true power is using this to save a creature in response to removal or a trick in combat with the bonus +1+1 counter thrown in if it was a soldier.

Arcane Proxy

Rating: 3.5/5

It’s either Torrential Gearhulk or Snapcaster Mage that we have at home. That’s a pretty high standard though, so even knockoff versions of those all-stars are still pretty good. It should go without saying that it’s not worth playing if you don’t have any spells worth flashing back.  

Coastal Bulwark

Rating: 1.5/5

A wild 3/3 defender for two appears! We get variations of them all the time and they never really do more than fill a niche. I do like the Surveil ability as a pseudo looter effect, but your mileage is going to vary when it comes to how much use you get out of the body. In this case, it’s good against the aggressive decks and pretty bad against the big ol’ artifact decks.

Combat Courier

Rating: 1.5/5

I actually don’t hate this as a cantrip mini fog by blocking and sacrificing it. Especially with the ability to get it back for another card later. It’s nice to drop this in the graveyard with Curate to nab an extra card later too. Not something I actively want, but it will probably make the cut more than people expect.

Depth Charge Colossus

Rating: 1.5/5

We’ll go ahead and get the obvious thing out of the way. Yeah, this sounds like what you dropped off before warning someone not to go in the bathroom for at least 15-20 minutes.

As for the card itself, that might also be a good way to describe it. Even on the cheaper form, it’s a 6/6 for six that you have to pay three to untap. While that also gives you expensive pseudo-vigilance, it’s over all a drawback.

Hulking Metamorph

Rating: 3.5/5

The Incredible Hulk(ing) Metamorph is a huge beater that can really take advantage of anything that has keywords or enters the battlefield abilities. For instance, curving Combat Thresher into this keeps the cards and the beats flowing.

It would be a lot higher if it could copy any creature instead of just yours, but what else can you ask out of an uncommon.

Spotter Thopter

Rating: 2.0/5

I’d prefer to spot a better card to ramp to than this thopter. While Scry 4 is a great way to set up your later draws, I want a better battlecruiser to win the war with. The prototype version of a four mana 2/3 scry two might be a better use for it.

Surge Engine

Rating: 4.0/5

You can surge ahead in the race with this unblockable monster leading the way. It’s important to notice this doesn’t say until end of turn so it functions like Ascendant Spirit where the changes stay after you activate them.

It even provides a one-time card advantage pop to keep the engine revving which can conveniently be paid for through your friendly neighborhood powerstones.

The Temporal Anchor

Rating: 2.5/5

This is a very stupid card that is either going to win or lose any game that it’s involved in. If you pay six mana to do literal nothing against any deck that’s beating you down, you’re gonna have a bad time.

If you’re against anything trying to go late, it’s a personal double Howling Mine. I think you can figure out how to win with that. It’s just never going to be involved in any game with interesting decisions. Either a win more or lose more card.

Terisian Mindbreaker

Rating: 1.5/5

It’s a lot harder to mill your opponent out with this than you think. While half their deck seems like a lot, you need to attack with this multiple times and then basically wait it out to deck them. This is also a format with Unearth in it so you are potentially giving them tons of fuel by doing this.


Wrap Up

Blue is another solid color that is split between cards for the Azorius soldier deck and the build-a-battlecruiser decks. It has a lot of undeniably powerful rares even if some of them are difficult to cast. It backs all of that up with multiple counter spells and a solid removal spell in the Weakstone's Subjugation.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my The Brothers' War Limited Review of Black. Until then, stay classy Magic people.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

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j2sjosh
j2sjosh

Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

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