Hey everyone! We’re back for day four of our limited review of The Brothers’ War. Today we’re going to be going over every card in Red.
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:
- 5.0: Disgustingly powerful and basically unbeatable. Either answer it the turn it comes down or just pack up your cards. (Tovolar's Huntmaster, The Meathook Massacre, Starnheim Unleashed)
- 4.5: Incredible bomb that still gives your opponent a slim chance. (Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, Alrund's Epiphany, Grand Master of Flowers)
- 4.0: Great rare or the absolute best uncommons and removal. (Froghemoth, Morbid Opportunist, Skullport Merchant)
- 3.5: Great role filler or removal that you never cut. (Magic Missile, Cathartic Pyre, Battle Cry Goblin)
- 3.0: Good playable that I’m basically never cutting. (Usher of the Fallen, Search Party Captain, Dragon Turtle)
- 2.5: Decent playable and the bar I hope nearly every card in my deck to reach. (Mourning Patrol, Steadfast Paladin, Goblin Morningstar)
- 2.0: Mediocre filler that normally is your 20-23rd card(s). (Contact Other Plane, Mindleech Ghoul, Timberland Guide)
- 1.5: Replaceable, overall bad filler. Could also be decent sideboard cards. (Secrets of the Key, Spiked Pit Trap, Village Rites)
- 1.0: Bad filler. Gets cut most of the time. (Secret Door, Mystic Skull, Funeral Longboat)
- 0.5: Very unhappy to main deck this, but maybe it has fringe sideboard applications. (You See a Guard Approach, Bramble Armor, Compelled Duel)
- 0.0: Unplayable in every possible situation. (Mimic, Change of Fortune, Curse of Shaken Faith)
I’m sure you can come up with some crazy scenarios with this card. I’ll save you the trouble, don’t bother. It’s not a limited card and at four mana to activate a Sneak Attack for artifacts, it isn’t really a constructed card either.
It’s not a Bitter Reunion for me as Tormenting Voice is typically a welcome way to filter away an extra land into two new cards. This one even throws in the opportunity to get some hasty action in. That sounds a lot better than any of my family reunions.
You would think that the big fight to kick off the world-shattering The Brothers’ War would do more than three damage to everything. I guess this was when they were just two random humans slap fighting each other.
Three damage is usually enough to at least do something against most strategies and this is cheap enough that it doesn’t look like you are setting them up for a sweeper. It can even wipe out all the powerstones floating around if you are worried about them ramping instead.
Now in Historic this is a real game changer, but that’s not what we talk about here.
Not terrible even if they do trade off for a token since it leaves you with one of your own. I’m fine with this, but prefer some sacrifice synergies to actively want this in my deck.
Dread it, run from it, destiny arrives all the same. The only problem with this destiny is that there is a ton of ways to deal with it such as exiling the creature, enchantment removal, or bouncing it in response. If they don’t have one of those ways, it’s probably going to go the distance though.
I wonder what it is chanting. Is it similar to a wrestling event, but instead of “This is awesome”, they’re chanting “This is decent”. I do love prowess and there is a great trick to use with it in Whirling Strike, but it would be much better as a 2/2 than a 1/3. The ward is technically something, but not too relevant to the grade.
KABOOM! When has blasting your way to victory ever gone wrong? Certainly not today.
I am a big fan of the fact that this can go face because it gives you a way to finish off the game once the opponent has stabilized. Though it’s more likely going to clear a threat out of the way while ramping up. Either way, it’s pretty…pretty…pretty…pretty good.
The Fall of Kroog
Just like the American Healthcare system, this costs a whole lot without really doing anything. I just don’t understand the design of this, I guess there’s a serious tax on land destruction these days.
You really need ways to pump this up before bringing it to the dance. I do like the double strike option a lot more than the four mana 2/4s that pump in the front though.
Feldon, Ronom Excavator
This is basically a 2/2 haste that will eventually get eaten while you get a replacement card. The not being able to block is a pretty big downside to this ability and your opponent can just kill it with a non-damage removal to prevent you from getting the card. If they use a real removal spell on it, I’d still consider that a win.
Cheap, slightly above rate trampler that prevents any life gain shenanigans. It’s even a dinosaur for funsies. RAWR, I’m down to smash with this.
This can be part of some blazingly fast starts as long as you have plenty of ways to sacrifice something. The obvious one is Evolving Wilds, but you can get creative.
Grizzly Bears can be pretty menacing, but this one is taking it literally. On rate, this is a great card, but the powerstone coming out on two is huge. Sure, you lose one when this dies, but you can also sacrifice the powerstone for a beneficial effect before that happens.
Are you playing mono red? Nope, well then, it’s doubtful this is going to do enough. Maybe if there was a red Timmy (Prodigal Sorcerer) effect this would get better.
Mishra, Excavation Prodigy
A 2/1 haste for three isn’t usually going to do much for you because it’s so fragile and plenty of 1/1 tokens are floating around. So is a looter that could potentially produce an extra mana worth it? The correct answer is sometimes.
This is mostly a removal x spell that might potentially do something else. Obviously the Planewalker clause is highly specific to your opponent having a mythic Planeswalker out. The rummaging effect might let you pitch a few lands later, but you’ve been playing out lands by the time you play this so it might only get a card or two. The pump doesn’t give trample or first strike so it isn’t anything special.
The optimum situation is your opponent leaves one creature back and you get to fireball that out of the way while pumping a creature for lethal at the same time.
This is an all-in aggro card one way or another. If something like the Arachnoform deck from Kaldheim shows up, then this could push some serious damage quickly. It’s also a good way to just get 2 for 1’d so probably not going to be playing this much.
This is a card that can be what I call an equalizer. It’s something that you can bring in when you’re playing against someone that is a much better player than you or has a better deck than you. Basically you can play cards like this to try to lower the amount of decisions and turns in the game. Sometimes its better to be lucky than good.
Was You See a Pair of Goblins too good? I like the versatility of modal spells, but the extra mana makes this really sus to be playing.
If this was common, there could be an entire archetype based off of it. At uncommon, it’s a bit harder to pull off since your common red prowess creature is Dwarven Forge-Chanter. Still just a great creature if you are building an aggressive deck.
They upgraded Lava Coil to hit Planewalkers as well. Two mana, four damage, do not pass go, go directly to exile. Really solid removal spell.
Over the Top
I’m sure there is a way to build around this with a ton of powerstones and other ways to go wide on permanents, but then you still have to pay seven actual mana for it. Once that happens, you get to play the die roll game with your opponent to see whose top is better? No thanks.
At some point you can just sac out to win the game with this if you’re playing enough artifacts. It’s also difficult to block because of the threat of activation. Bread and butter beater.
Obviously, you would prefer to use this in response to removal to Fling your creature at one of theirs. Well technically the optimum thing is to kill them instead, but you know what I mean. Drawing a card makes this a lot easier to swallow then the automatic two for one that you get on Fling, but it still costs you board presence.
Raze to the Ground
Your opponent will be playing artifacts that you want to kill. The first one of these should be considered premium removal for your deck.
There are some artifacts that cost one, they aren’t really ones that you’re ever going to be using this on so the card draw clause isn’t very relevant. I know…I know…I just said card draw wasn’t relevant. That’s blasphemy around here.
As a 3/1 for two, there is the problem of there being plenty of 1/1 tokens being made in this set. It would be a real reach to think it’s ability changes the equation much.
If you are mono red this is a fine addition to your deck. That’s it though, just fine. If you are not, then don’t play this unless you have an 0/4 wall fetish. I don’t kink shame or anything here, just saying it’s on you.
We’ve all done the steal/sacrifice song and dance before. If you have multiple cheap ways to sacrifice a creature than you want these. If not, you don’t.
The ability doesn’t really make sense though as a Threaten effect is usually done to win the game while a tapped powerstone is for building towards something.
I really don’t want to be paying three mana for a 3/2, but a 2/1 draw a card is premium at the same price. That makes this an overall below average card that sometimes works out.
Tyrant of Kher Ridges
One of my favorite cards as a kid: Shivan Dragon (it was Unlimited times, options were limited and big Shivs was sexy as hell).
One of my favorite cards once I was serious about making pro tours: Flametongue Kavu.
I think I might be a bit biased here, but getting to play both on one card makes me unreasonably giddy. This has nothing to do with artifacts or any particular theme, but killing their creature while playing a monSTAR is always a good time. Oh to top it all off, this can actually just Fireblast the face too.
I can’t read this without picturing Michelangelo saying “We’re about to Unleash Shell on Shredder”. I just can’t imagine any world where this wasn’t intentionally a turtles joke.
As a card, this is a fine removal spell that tosses in some extra damage to the face. You’ll almost always play the first one, but five is a lot of mana to play many more of them.
Visions of Phyrexia
This is a personal Howling Mine that will almost always make a powerstone the turn it comes into play. Good way to keep the gas flowing with the option to ramp if you don’t want to play the card you hit.
Even though they seem very different, to me this is reminiscent of Run Amok that can be used on defense too. Trample is a very nice ability to have on a trick because it can just steal a game through a chump block. The first strike mostly negates the lack of toughness added against anything but damage removal. The major problem is the usual caveat of it’s a trick so you have to play it carefully.
Sometimes you just want to dial up a blitz to take down your opponent with a strategically placed 3/2 with haste. It’s not a great card, but one you are usually happy with in an aggressive deck. It also gets a big glow up when you draw it late with a hasty Craw Wurm coming at your opponent’s face.
Fallaji Dragon Engine
I’m not really happy with this at either cost, but I could see it having a place if you make a ton of powerstones. Just another generic payoff.
The real question is how many of these gigantic chonkers can you realistically play in your deck. Many of these are just interchangeable with each other. You need ways to get to this point in the game and ways to cast them, but the actual method of your demolishing doesn’t matter as much.
Wait…flavor fail…Unlike the original Juggernaut, this one can be blocked by walls even though it is clearly smashing through one in the picture. Trample and unearth are nice, but it’s still got a tiny butt for five mana.
Mishra’s Research Desk
All this research and Mishra can’t even get two cards without spending four mana. No wonder he lost this war…plus that whole thing about Phyrexia, his brother destroying the world or something…just details…At least this is until the end of your next turn so I don’t have to feel bad about seeing people busting this after playing their land.
It’s a little bit of card selection at an above rate cost. More expensive than Experimental Synthesizer, but without the 2/2 thrown in. Not great, but will occasionally make the cut with the right artifact or sacrifice synergies.
Not the bestest boi, but a good boi none the less. Muttley helps rummage away a reanimate target or dig for land early. He doesn’t forget about the good times either as he rises from the grave for one last chance to help. Clearly deserving of some pets and a treat.
Now this is a ramp payoff that really pays off. Three 4/4s with trample and haste is a massive swing in a game and can potentially end the game on the spot. Even if you have to settle for the prototype, it’s still six hasty damage coming at your opponent out of nowhere. Just don’t be “that” person who tries to reanimate this.
Red is a really good color that seems a step ahead of white in the aggressive department. It has a great package of removal at different points in the curve including the ever-important artifact removal with Raze to the Ground. There are also some pretty sweet rares with Tyrant of Kher Ridges and Skitterbeam Battalion. I can definitely see myself playing a lot of red in this format.
I’ll be back tomorrow with my The Brothers’ War Limited Review of Green. Until then, stay classy Magic people.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.
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