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Mishra's Juggernaut Art by Steve Prescott

Underperformers and Overperformers of The Brothers’ War Limited

What cards have exceeded expectations and came up short in the The Brothers' War draft meta? We update a bunch of card ratings in our Limited Tier List and explain how these cards have been performing so far.

Hey everyone! We’re a week into the new The Brothers War limited format and it’s time to see how wrong some of us were during preview season. Especially with the Arena Open coming up this weekend, understanding what is working and what isn’t will be pretty key to getting ahead of the competition.

This exercise is comparing cards to their initial expectations so you’re not going to see Titania's Command on here because it was a smack you in the face bomb. You’re also not going to see some total piece of trash like Veteran's Powerblade on here because it was so obviously garbage that nobody who has a clue about limited would consider it an underperformer.

As always, the rating updates have been reflected in The Brothers’ War Limited Tier List.


Clay Revenant

2.0 to 1.5

There is a huge difference between this coming back to your hand and to play, especially with it coming into play tapped. The way these creatures typically work, like Sanitarium Skeleton, allows you to have a reusable chump blocker every turn. This way you have to bring it back after blocking and then play it tapped so it ends up blocking every other turn instead.

There are still plenty of sacrifice synergies that can make this playable. It’s just too slow to meaningfully clog up the board.

Fallaji Excavation

2.0 to 1.0

I thought this was trash and let some other people talk me into giving this one a decent grade. If something seems really sus to you, don’t let them convince you otherwise or you might end up where I did here.

This only goes in a very specific deck where you are trying to hit a nine drop ASAP. Unless you have double Portal to Phyrexia, this is probably not what you should be digging up at that excavation.

Mishra’s Foundry

3.5 to 2.0

It’s not often that I am this far off on a card, but I do own up to it when I am. I was living in magical Christmas land with dreams of Mutavault or Mishra's Factory dancing in my head. The two mana to activate is a huge step down and the format generally demands enough colored sources early on that the colorless land can be a major detriment.

Mishra’s Juggernaut

2.0 to 1.5

This seemed like it might be a decent beater, but it has failed to live up to it’s predecessor which was a decent limited card at best. If this makes the cut, it just feels like you’re really stretching to stay mono or something went off the deep end in your draft. Playing a five drop that has to run itself into a bigger creature or trade off with 3/1 two drop isn’t really where you want to be.

It’s really not looking good for Team Mishra here. Its possible that Urza only ended up winning the Brothers War through his brother’s ineptitude.

Painful Quandary

2.0 to 1.5

I wasn’t expecting much out of this card, but with how the format has shaken out it is somehow even worse. Tapping out to do nothing on turn five is never great unless it changes the entire flow of the game. This is not that.

Of course, there is also the chance you play this and they just pitch Obstinate Baloth. Thanks Painful Quandary!

Swiftfoot Boots

2.5 to 2.0

I was honestly surprised that these are performing so poorly. Going down a card to use mana to give something haste just isn’t what it used to be. While Hexproof is great, you either have to move it off what you want to protect to use the haste on other creatures or only use it as a protection spell. It’s kind of a catch 22 in that aspect.

Everyone sees the hype around slapping these on Platinum Angel and gets all excited. It’s still alright, just not an auto include in every deck.


Aeronaut Cavalry

1.5 to 2.5

Contrary to what I said in previews, I am looking to get very naught-y with this. Everything about this card just lines up so well against the format and it’s the ideal common top end for aggressive white decks. The 3/4 body is a monster in the air that gets around Excavation Explosion while being difficult to attack through.

The counter ensures that even if they have removal, you still typically end up getting something out of this. That extra +1/+1 usually means that you can get an unexpected attack through that can change the math for the remainder of the game.

One of Floridamun’s theories is that the lack of a cheap Plummet effect in the format really boosts cards like this. I am still limited on how many I want to be playing though since it is five mana.

Boulderbranch Golem

2.0 to 2.5

You’re just innocently attacking on the ground and have a win lined up the next turn when BAM this thing drops and gains them a whopping six life with a massive body. That’s a ridiculous swing in the game state that feels like you got smacked in the face with both a boulder and a branch.

Even the fail case for a Hill Giant that gains three life isn’t too embarrassing if you just need to stop the bleeding.


2.5 to 3.0

Disfigure is one of the biggest beneficiaries to this being such an aggressive format. It’s so easy to slip one measly mana into your curve without it being a hindrance to developing your board that it almost feels unfair sometimes. It’s nearly always trading up on mana and there are matchups where this plays better than Overwhelming Remorse.

Gix’s Caress

2.0 to 3.0

Every time I hear Gix's Caress I just picture Gix sitting there petting a random Phyrexian while singing “Soft kitty, Warm kitty, Little ball of fur”. The nice people in the white coats told me that’s totally normal though.

This is kind of odd because it is performing really well, but I think it is also the beneficiary of not looking like a good card to the average player. That means the stats on it will drop once people start slamming it in random decks that it doesn’t belong in.

So far it has been playing similarly to Toll of the Invasion with a powerstone instead of a 1/1. It’s taking their best card while adding something to the board. That makes it a solid card in almost any deck that wants a powerstone (that’s most of them if you haven’t been playing the format).

Goblin Blast-Runner

2.0 to 2.5

The secret is out on this one and the shenanigans are probably going to come to a screeching halt soon. For now, it’s still in “How can they keep getting away with this” territory when you end up with three or four of them. This is absolutely bananas in multiples with so many cheap easy sacrifice triggers like Evolving Wilds floating around.

What is your opponent supposed to do with a pile of evasive three power one drops coming at their face? Take a very short explosive ride down, down to goblin town.

Moment of Defiance

2.0 to 2.5

I know that on the surface this card looks like you are just asking to get blown out. You might even be asking yourself why I had it as high as I did and I’m almost positive that most of you are wondering why it is performing as well as it is.

A comparison that you probably haven’t thought of is Majestic Metamorphosis or Suit Up. A three-mana trick that replaces itself while usually at least letting you trade up if not outright eating a creature.

The other big deal is that this is a very aggressive format so there is a good chance that you can pop this off when they are tapped out. That also benefits lifelink as gaining six can flip a race quickly.

Wrapping Up

Thanks for reading! Hopefully this helped you start to understand the format better. It’s always good to have multiple check ins throughout the format to reevaluate how things are playing out. I’ll be updating the tier list and dropping a combos and synergies article before the Arena Open.  

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

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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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