It's an exciting time to be a Magic The Gathering fan with Magic 30 this weekend celebrating the upcoming 30th anniversary of Magic the Gathering, and The Brothers' War set highlighting the large-scale war and fallout between brothers Urza and Mishra. Though we're a few weeks away from the full release of The Brothers' War we had a chance to hear about what's coming in this next set from Matt Danner, Gavin Verhey, and Max McCall. We've got the low down on the upcoming story, key cards, and new and returning mechanics.
The Story Of The Brothers' War
There's no better time than now to be diving into the history of Dominaria and the Magic universe than this year for the 30th anniversary Danner opened the presentation. The Brothers' War will tell the story of the war between Urza and Mishra as the Planeswalkers in the present are doing everything they can to find a way to fight back their own Pyrexian threat. Teferi will be viewing the war from a number of angles, for fans of the storyline the larger moments will be the same but in this revisit, there are more chances to show off some characters that didn't get much of a spotlight in the past.
The story will be told over three acts with various cards for recurring characters, like the brothers, throughout their time. The first act is the two brothers finding a particularly large powerstone that splits in half. Urza takes the larger part (calling it the Mightstone, and his brother's the Weakstone) and it helps precipitate a divide between the brothers kicking off what would escalate into war. Act two takes place during the height of war as different machine creations tore across the land doing battle. The final act serves as the conclusion to the war as Mishra falls to the corruption of the Phyrexians, and Urza rises to become a Planeswalker. Several characters will receive multiple cards set at different times in the set, including the first ever cards of Ashnod, who is Mishra's apprentice during the war. Painlands included in this set such as Battlefield Forge and Brushland will show off the toll that war has taken on the land as massive mechanics monstrosities traverse it. There will also be other easter eggs for fans to keep an eye out for.
The Brothers' War - New and Returning Mechanics
New Mechanic - Prototype
Starting off with Prototype. This function allows you to get some big mechs out while not having to spend too much time. Prototype will allow you to summon a creature as if it was in an earlier stage of development resulting in different power and toughness. An example given with the Phyrexian Fleshgorger can be summoned as a 3/3 instead of a 7/5 so that while you have the option to bring out a card in their most powerful form you can be flexible.
With the set eschewing colored artifacts in general, this allows them to cost colorless cards more conservatively while using colored costs to incentivize playing them earlier in the game as well.
Returning Mechanic - Unearth
Unearth was last seen in Shards of Alara as a major mechanic, with several cameos in supplemental releases since. Unearth allows you to bring the card out of your graveyard and play it on your side for a turn. This allows you to mill cards into your graveyard to then unearth them. There are also going to be Artifacts and non-creatures that will have the ability to Unearth in this new set, as they work to explore new areas with the mechanic.
Returning Mechanic - Meld
To make creatures larger than life you can combine them together to create one melded creature. Titania, Gaea Incarnate, is an example of this ability. Once you have Titania, Voice of Gaea and Argoth, Sanctum of Nature you can then meld them into this larger creature. Urza and The Mightstone and Weakstone can meld together to become Urza, Planeswalker. In this form, the Power Stones become Urza's eyes as he ascends. In this form, Urza has five different abilities. Mishra also has a meld form that's important to the story.
Verhey commented that creating these monsters did cause some difficulty with balance but due to the nature of needing so many specific cards on the field there was less worry about having such a powerful card. Even for Titania, which is a specifically powerful green monster, there wasn't too much worry.
Commander Decks Coming To The Brothers' War
There will be a commander release for Urza and Mishra. For The Brother's War Verhey stated there's no one better than the brothers themselves.
Urza has a white, blue, and black deck. The main engine is that you'll be wanting to create as many artifacts as possible. Mishra is also an artificer but he will duplicate non-creature artifacts on each turn before going away. The engine here is creating many non-creatures to form his larger army. The Commander versions of these cards will use retro borders for the card. All new and old cards will come with these retro card frames, some for the first time. These decks will be fully revealed this weekend at Magic 30.
Special Treatments for The Brothers' War Cards
Every pack will have a new piece of Magic history. The Schematics are artifacts that have the retro frame. Every booster will have one retro artifact, and one-sixth of those are the schematic versions. This will show the artifact as if it were a schematic, with additional notes and information surrounding the subject of the card. These cards are similar to the Mystical Archive cards that were part of the Strixhaven release.
The Retro Artifacts are in Set, Collector, and Draft boosters. Every pack contains at least one or two. Every Collector Booster will have multiples, at least one Rare and one Uncommon. At least one should be a Schematic form.
Transformers Artifacts In Disguise!
There will also be a collection of Transformer cards as part of The Brothers' War, unfortunately, these cards will not be legal in standard. As this set is about giant robots fighting Wizards of the Coast was able to work with Hasbro to create a number of cards themes on the Transformers including Optimus Prime and Megatron in both vehicle forms as well as robot forms. These can be found in Set and Collecter Boosters. They will also have Shattered Glass variants, where the Autobots are the bad guys and the Decepticons are fighting for good. Here you'll see Optimus swap out his color scheme for a deep purple and green that represent the evil tyrannical version of him. Shattered Glass versions are exclusive to Collectors Boosters. RC is not getting a Shattered Glass variant as in the Transformers universe she's about to get an update and they didn't want to print the old version.
Magic The Gathering Arena Updates
As usual Magic The Gathering Arena will be getting a variety of updates in regard to The Brothers' War. This expansion will hit Magic The Gathering Arena on November 15th, three days before the full launch. Some cosmetics that were shown off were an Urza and Mishra avatar among other creature images, and a new wartorn battleground. Starting with The Brothers' War you will also be able to obtain additional golden packs that will include Rare and Mythic Rare cards. You can read more about them on the MTG Arena announcement article.