Wizards of the Coast kicked off preview season for the upcoming set The Brothers’ War earlier this week with an announcement stream chock full of mechanic reveals, story tidbits, and, most importantly, card previews! Today at the Magic 30th Anniversary Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, WotC gave us more of all that good stuff in the form of a live panel. The panel was hosted by Anna Prosser and featured Miguel Lopez, game designer and world builder, Yoni Skolnik, game design lead, Taylor Ingvarsson, principal art director, and Light Humphreys, global brand marketing manager.
We bring you all the card spoilers and important information from the new set that came out of this interesting panel.
The Brothers’ War Cinematic
While this reveal came towards the end of the panel, we just had to kick this breakdown off with the incredible Dawn of the Phyrexian Invasion official cinematic trailer that features Teferi facing some harsh truths.
Worldbuilding with Miguel Lopez
Narrative designer Miguel Lopez got his start at Wizards of the Coast working on stories for Zendikar Rising and Kaldheim and is now with Magic‘s Studio X’s Worldbuilding Team. At the panel, he summarized The Brothers’ War story in eight words: “sibling rivalry unresolved plunges Terisiare into total war.
Speaking with host Anna Prosser, Lopez discussed how the original The Brothers’ War novel by Jeff Grub was a foundational source of lore for Magic: The Gathering and how the worldbuilding and design teams set out to retell and revisit the story. He noted how a Magic set allows worldbuilders to fill gaps from the novel and to show off different perspectives through cards.
Of course, this wouldn’t be a Magic panel without a preview card, and Lopez came prepared with The Fall of Kroog. He said this card was the perfect example of how the design team sought to showcase the history of The Brothers’ War from the ground up. The card art features Mishra’s Dragon Engine destroying Kroog, the capital city of Yotia (as seen in Yotia Declares War).
The Brothers’ War Mechanics
Yoni Skolnik, game design lead for The Brothers’ War, has been working with WotC since 2014 and came on the panel to discuss the set’s mechanics. He showed us the preview card Stern Lesson to illustrate the importance of the Powerstone Mechanic to the set (you can read more about the set’s mechanics here).
Skolnik noted how the ramp and artifact synergies supplied by Powerstones would be very important in Limited given how many large artifacts and expensive activated abilities there are in the set. He also pointed out how the tokens coming into play tapped mitigated some of the risks inherent to mechanics that generate mana. He also previewed the rare land Hall of Tagsin:
We also get to see new Prototype cards, including commons Rust Goliath and Depth Charge Colossus.
Much more exciting, however, is this newly spoiled mythic rare Prototype creature, Arcane Proxy:
Just like the Phyrexian Fleshgorger card we’ve already seen, Arcane Proxy shows off how this “reverse kicker” mechanic plays with the power-matters design space well. Having different ways to use cards depending on what else you have going for you is a great indicator for playability in competitive formats.
Skolnik also showed us two cards with Unearth, one of which we’ve seen before. He noted that Unearth represented two aspects of the story of The Brothers’ War as told through cards: Urza and Mishra unearthing Thran artifacts in their early years, and the siblings salvaging machines for parts to continue the war effort towards the end of the set’s timeline.
We’ve already seen the three Meld pairs in Urza, Mishra, and Titania, but at the panel we found out that the original impetus for The Brothers’ War set being made was Magic Design Vice President Aaron Forsythe wanting to do a transforming Urza card like the creatures cards in Magic: Origins that flipped into Planeswalkers.
Storytelling through Art and More
Taylor Ingvarsson, principal art director for The Brothers’ War, came on the panel to talk about how the set’s story is roughly separated into three time periods in the lives of Urza and Mishra. Act I shows off a pristine and peaceful Dominaria, where Tocasia tutors the young siblings as they study ancient Thran artifacts. Act II covers the main part of the brothers’ conflict, showing how much Dominaria has changed for the worse after decades of battle. Finally, Act III revisits a broken and barren Terisiare filled with advanced automatons and exhausted soldiers.
Prosser and Ingvarsson also briefly discussed how the ten full-art basic lands from the set showcase how war machines have taken over the landscape of Dominaria due to the conflict.
The panel’s final guest, Light Humphreys, talked about how he worked on getting players to interact with The Brothers’ War story beyond the card set, such as the short stories available on Magic‘s website. He also showed the audience a Story Spotlight card, The Temporal Anchor. The card depicts the time machine that Saheeli designed to help Teferi travel back in time from present-day Dominaria to the plane during the events of The Brothers’ War.
Humphreys highlighted how Magic players could enjoy the set’s story through Commander and spoiled this Commander card that will be available exclusively in The Brothers’ War set boosters.
The panel ended with a Q&A, which you can watch in full on Magic‘s official Twitch channel.