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Portal to Phyrexia Art by Svetlin Velinov

The Brothers’ War Limited Set Review: Multicolored, Colorless, and Lands

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

Hey everyone! We’re back for day six of our limited review of The Brothers War. Today we’re going to be going over the main set artifacts, lands, and multicolored cards.

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:


Artifacts

Aeronaut’s Wings

Rating: 1.5/5

Take…these broken wings…and learn to lose again. Let someone else be the Huckleberry.

Decks without evasion or another way to finish games off may possibly want this. It’s never going to be more than a card twenty-three or a sideboard card though.  

Argivian Avenger

Rating: 2.0/5

Another expensive mid-tier creature that fails to do anything to stand out from the crowd at this casting cost. The ability that would have made this really matter is first strike, but they couldn’t really do that when deathtouch was an option.

Cityscape Leveler

Rating: 4.0/5

Complaining about giving your opponent powerstones with this sounds like complaining that Oko gave them a 3/3 Elk. It doesn’t matter nearly as much when you’re just destroying their best cards. Instead picture the Pawn Stars guy looking at a 1st edition Charizard and saying, ”Best I can do is a powerstone.”

Energy Refractor

Rating: 2.0/5

This lets you filter powerstone mana into regular mana at the poor rate of two for one. I actively want this is I am splashing or have sacrifice synergies with it. I hear people saying it’s free, but you wouldn’t play a card that cost two mana to draw one card. Totally fine card when you have a use for it, just not an auto include in everything.

Goblin Firebomb

Rating: 1.5/5

If you are truly desperate for removal or short on playables, then this can do both stuff and/or things. A lot of games will get to the point you can pop this and you might actually be able to pull even on mana in this format. There are just better and cheaper options available.

Levitating Statue

Rating: 1.0/5

What if Stuffed Bear had flying? I’m sure my good buddy Oldfatguy has thought about that scenario plenty.

For a Levitating Statue, this sure does take a while to get off the ground since it starts so small. By that time, you could have played way better cards that don’t require mana to activate.

Liberator, Urza’s Battlethopter

Rating: 2.5/5

An evasive creature that grows is a much bigger deal than a ground creature that can just get chumped. It is mana spent, not power on the newest creature so it’s pretty easy to grow by just playing a normal game afterwards.

The flash ability might not seem like a big deal, but it definitely matters when you ambush someone mid-combat with a 5/5.

The Mightstone and Weakstone

Rating: 3.5/5

Everyone loves ramping, but one of the problems when you tap out for a ramp spell like this is that you did nothing to affect the board. This mitigates that by being a removal spell or even a draw two if there’s nothing worth killing.

Mine Worker

Rating: 1.5/5

Curve filler two drop that can’t attack through a 1/1 token. It’s rare that you will end up with all three of these on the field so look at it as it’s base. Tapping to gain one life a turn is more annoying than good when opponents are attacking with 10/10s.

Phyrexian Dragon Engine

Rating: 3.5/5

A 2/2 double strike for three colorless is going to make the cut all day. Then later you get the option to bring it back for one last crack in and a draw three which just puts this over the top.

Portal to Phyrexia

Rating: 4.5/5

Nine mana might be a completely ridiculous amount of mana, but this is the powerstone format. I’m sure you can make it work.

You’re also the one who knows this is coming so you can properly trade off to get them down to three creatures. Since it’s a mythic, I don’t expect many opponents to be playing around that.

Bringing back the best creature in your graveyard every turn is eventually going to get you across that finish line. It doesn’t even exile when they die so you can keep bringing them back.

This might be the sweetest thing to Repair and Recharge on turn five.

Power Plant Worker

Rating: 2.0/5

This looks like it has a good threat of activation attack, but even with the pump it’s similar to a lot of other cards in that point in the curve. This definitely gets the biggest bonus if you manage to assemble tron since you can put the counters on during their turn as well.

Reconstructed Thopter

Rating: 2.0/5

Evasion is important for some decks and having one in the butt isn’t as big of a deal when you’re up in the air. The unearth might be able to sneak the last couple points in too.

Slagstone Refinery

Rating: 1.5/5

This does stone cold nothing when you play it. In the right deck, it is possible that the powerstones can add up fast. You just need ways to produce them and then ways to get actual value off of them. Definitely a build around.

Spectrum Sentinel

Rating: 1.0/5

The only real positive thing about this is that it is a soldier if you care about that. It might gain a couple life throughout the game and it is possible that it can block some multicolored creature indefinitely. In a lot of cases, it’s just Woodland Druid.

The Stasis Coffin

Rating: 1.0/5

This doesn’t really do anything since they can see it coming. They just won’t leave themselves open on an all in swing or cast a spell that targets you and matters. If they can’t beat a face up Fog, they most likely weren’t winning anyways.

Steel Exemplar

Rating: 2.0/5

If you are close enough to mono colored or have enough powerstones, you can get a slight discount on Colossal Dreadmaw. In a lot of cases, you’re going to have to either wait until later or settle for the 4/4. Not high on my list of things to do.

The Stone Brain

Rating: 0.0/5

Nooooooooooooooooopppppppppppeeeeeeeeeee.

Playing this is not a big brain play. It’s not a limited card. The only possible niche situation you could even come up with is boarding it in if they have two of the same bomb that you can’t possibly deal with. You have a better chance of winning the powerball than running into that exact situation where you do that and draw this before they play either of theirs. Even then you are still down a card.

Stone Retrieval Unit

Rating: 2.0/5

Not even remotely close to Argothian Opportunist, but still does a good enough job if you are trying to ramp to the top.

Su-Chi Cave Guard

Rating: 2.5/5

The Vigilance and Ward four are nice ways to separate this from a bunch of the other Kaiju creatures.

This is a nice homage to the original Su-Chi which the mana was looked at as a drawback because you often mana burned from it. I know, I know…most of you know about as much about mana burn as you do Horsemanship.

Supply Drop

Rating: 1.5/5

A really expensive trick with a really expensive card draw for later. At least every color has access to it and it can be played with powerstones.

Swiftgear Drake

Rating: 1.5/5

Umm…I know we have powerstones and all that, but five mana for this… for realsies?

Symmetry Matrix

Rating: 2.0/5

Slow expensive card draw that requires your deck to be built around it. It does trigger off token creatures and such so it has some potential.

Thran Power Suit

Rating: 1.5/5

Short Sword for double the cost to cast and equip. The ward two can be annoying and there is the outside chance you are playing another equipment to make this decent.

Thran Spider

Rating: 2.0/5

I’m not thrilled with giving my opponent a powerstone even if I get one too. Still a decent Reach body that can provide some value later in the game.

Tower Worker

Rating: 1.5/5

Stop trying to make Tron happen. It’s not a thing. It’s just a colorless mana dork for three mana.

Lands

Argoth, Sanctum of Nature

Rating: 3.0/5

There aren’t enough legendary creatures running around to assume this will consistently come into play untapped. It replaces a basic land slot and can make bears while enabling some graveyard strategies. That’s enough to overcome usually coming into play tapped for me.

Blast Zone

Rating: 2.0/5

The price of playing a colorless land in your deck is a little higher than the cost of it coming into play tapped. Basically unless I am almost mono colored I don’t want more than one colorless land in my deck because I don’t want to be missing out on colored sources.

What does this do for you? Unfortunately, it enters play with a charge counter so it can’t be used to kill powerstones and token creatures. It’s mostly really slow, really pricey removal that doesn’t take a card slot up in your deck.

Demolition Field

Rating: 0.0/5

This is just a fixed Field of Ruin for commander purposes. It has absolutely nothing to do with limited and should not be in your deck.

Evolving Wilds

Rating: 2.5/5

We’ve seen this one a million times. It’s always good, every deck will play it except maybe the mono color ones.

Fortified Beachhead

Rating: 3.0/5

If you are in the soldier deck, this is absolutely insane. If not, it’s just a fixing land. I don’t want to grab it to kick off the draft, but if I see it when I’m already heading down that lane, I’m grabbing it over almost everything else.

Hall of Tagsin

Rating: 2.0/5

Do you really need to be using your powerstones to make a powerstone? At five mana a pop (including tapping this as a mana), you need to be doing basically nothing else to want to do this. It does allow you to fix powerstone mana into regular mana though.

Mishra’s Foundry

Rating: 3.5/5

Now this is the colorless land that I want to be playing as a man land can do a lot more for you than most niche abilities attached to the others. This can also pump the tron artifacts if you somehow ended up in that theme.

Tocasia’s Dig Site

Rating: 2.0/5

Every deck with reasonable color requirements and no other colorless land should grab one of these. It’s not quite as good as the scry lands from Strixhaven because it doesn’t fix for colors, but being able to Surveil every turn can win you a lot of top deck wars.

Battlefield Forge, Brushland, Llanowar Wastes, and Underground River

Rating: 2.0/5

If you are these two colors, then these are fine. The damage doesn’t really matter because you’d be screwed way harder if you didn’t have that color of mana.

Multicolor

Arbalest Engineers

Rating: 3.5/5

This is either a 3/3 trample haste or a 2/2 that can ramp or ping something. All of that for 3 mana. I’m in.

There’s also the late game case of playing something else and giving it trample haste out of nowhere. Really good options on this all around.

Battery Bearer

Rating: 3.5/5

All of your creatures suddenly becoming powerstones can let you ramp up in a hurry and the body here isn’t too embarrassing either. It shouldn’t be too difficult to get at least a card or two off of it’s triggered ability.

Deathbloom Ritualist

Rating: 2.0/5

This is so slow that it moves at speed of snail. Paying five mana for a mana dork that might not even produce mana the next turn seems a bit off to me.

You have to dump creatures into your yard first to get some real value out of this. If I’m playing ramp, I prefer my whole deck to be ramping not relying on drawing a rare that also requires a setup.

Evangel of Synthesis

Rating: 2.5/5

Amazing on curve when it can smooth your draw and get some cracks in early. Still good to draw late as it can trigger any of your other draw two cards.

Fallaji Vanguard

Rating: 3.0/5

This can quickly produce some serious heat. This is clearly the card that can take advantage of Mass Production letting you spread out an absurd eight power across up to four creatures.

Hajar, Loyal Bodyguard

Rating: 2.5/5

While not entirely flavor text, the ability really isn’t worth much more than that. This isn’t DMU, we don’t have tons of legendary creatures floating around. Still a 3/3 for two with minimal upside is always going to be a welcome addition to your curve.

Harbin, Vanguard Aviator

Rating: 4.0/5

The ability on this reads, “oops I guess I win” with a requirement of playing soldiers in your soldier deck. Even if you never hit the requisite five, it’s still a three-power flyer for only two mana which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on early in the game.

Hero of the Dunes

Rating: 3.0/5

The leader of the weenie onslaught raises up one of your minions while your team gets pumped for combat. At four mana, this would be premium, but at five I have to say that it’s merely really good.

Junkyard Genius

Rating: 3.0/5

I’m happy playing a three-mana 2/2 body that makes a power stone. Straight up, that’s just how this format is. This genius has come up with a great way to use those late game stones by blowing them up to pump the rest of your team and make them menacing enough to force throw a bunch of damage.

Legions to Ashes

Rating: 3.5/5

A modified Maelstrom Pulse that doesn’t punish someone for drafting multiples of a card. It does go hard at powerstones by wiping all of your opponents out while leaving yours untouched. Most of the time this is just going to be three mana exile their best creature.

Mishra, Claimed by Gix

Rating: 4.0/5

Once again, we’re going to ignore the meld, but by all means have a great time if you happen to pull it off.

This doesn’t require itself to be attacking to trigger, so you can still drain them the turn you drop this. This is a fine body for only four mana and if you already have a couple of creatures out, this presents a very quick clock.

Mishra, Tamer of Mak Fawa

Rating: 3.0/5

While the body is a little below rate, giving all your permanents ward-sacrifice a permanent is pretty insane. Any form of resource attrition is a huge deal in a format based around kaiju battles because they can’t deploy their monsters if they had to sac their mana to deal with yours.

Queen Kayla bin-Kroog

Rating: 3.5/5

If you curve into this and just pop it on turn four with a two and three drop in your hand, you’re already up on mana and cards. That’s not even getting into that discarding could be beneficial with Unearth.

Sure, it can be a bit better if you get a one drop out of it too, but don’t play bad cards to make your really good card slightly better.

Saheeli, Filigree Master

Rating: 4.0/5

Breaking News: Mythic Planewalker that can protect itself and draw cards is really good. Hard to believe, I know, that sounds crazier than Floridamun showing up prepared for a podcast recording.

Sarinth Greatwurm

Rating: 3.0/5

Finally, we have a fatty that’s stats qualify as “better than Colossal Dreadmaw”. Outside of slapping them silly with this big ol wurm, there’s some real power in the ability. Getting an extra powerstone with every land drop is almost like making your new lands produce two mana each.

Skyfisher Spider

Rating: 3.5/5

This lets you trade your worst creature for their best creature. That’s usually a trade you are going to be very happy about. Unfortunately, you can’t sac itself so you need to have a sacrificial lamb out before you play this.

Tawnos, the Toymaker

Rating: 1.5/5

The list of birds and beasts in BRO: Koilos Roc, Trench Stalker, Giant Cindermaw, Burrowing Razormaw, Obstinate Baloth, and Perennial Behemoth. Once you account for this already being two colors, that reduces your options even further. There are decks this will be good in, but in the vast majority of decks it will be a vanilla 3/5.

Third Path Iconoclast

Rating: 3.0/5

An updated Young Pyromancer that works for any noncreature spell and produces artifact creatures. That can put in some serious work when you’re on the go wide beatdown plan. If you somehow find yourself in Jeskai, this can do some ridiculous damage with Fallaji Vanguard.

Tocasia, Dig Site Mentor

Rating: 2.5/5

I don’t think straight up three-color decks are going to be a thing so this is going to have to be a splash. That means it’s going to be really rare that you get to pull off the graveyard ability without something like Energy Refractor to get you there.

Just on its face, it’s a really good card that lets you dump your deck into your yard or set the top of your deck. It’s just the lack of easy mana fixing holding it back.

Urza, Lord Protector

Rating: 3.0/5

This is just a 2/4 for four that provides a discount on your artifacts, instants, and sorceries. That’s still a really good card, but you were probably expecting more out of mythic rare Urza.

If you want more than that, then draft The Mightstone and Weakstone with this and go cray cray.

Urza, Prince of Kroog

Rating: 3.0/5

The double lord effect can put a serious hurting on your opponent, sometimes providing a surprise lethal out of nowhere. Urza also gives you a really good use for all that extra powerstone mana you have laying around by letting you poop out 3/3s with the abilities of any artifact you control.

The coolest thing to do? Start copying Portal to Phyrexia and let them try keeping up with sacrificing three creatures every time you do it.

Yotian Dissident

Rating: 3.0/5

As long as you can keep dropping artifacts this is going to grow your side out of control. It even triggers for creature tokens or powerstones coming into play so your creatures are going to look like me after Thanksgiving. That’s chonky for those that haven’t figured it out.

Yotian Tactician

Rating: 3.0/5

Just like Fortified Beachhead, if you’re playing soldiers than this is amazing. If you’re not, it’s not. Sometimes it’s that simple.

Bladecoil Serpent

Rating: 4.0/5

This is very versatile if you’re playing two of the colors that it can get an effect from. A fatty that does something like Mind Rot them and gain trample haste is going to swing a game quickly.

It’s kind of an odd duck because it’s an artifact creature that you don’t want to use powerstones on.

Clay Champion

Rating: 4.0/5

If you’re green white, then this is going to bring a whole bunch of power and toughness to the battlefield one way or the other. Even if you just have GG and another color you’re still dropping a 5/5 for four.

It’s great early and late, that’s a sign of a good mythic bomb.


Wrap Up

As can be expected the artifacts without a color identity are mostly underwhelming filler with a few really amazing standouts. The lands are going to be dependent on your deck with no real slam dunks outside of Mishra's Foundry and the typical auto include Evolving Wilds. The multicolored cards are almost all individually powerful, but need to be played in the right deck to maximize their value.

I’ll be back tomorrow with my The Brothers War Limited Review of Retro Frame Artifacts – that’s right, the Mystical Archive makes a comeback with Artifacts. 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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