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Ten New Brews For The Brothers' War!

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Warning!

The decks you are about to see are mostly untested first drafts! They were played on Thursday on stream during the Early Access Event for The Brothers' War on MTG Arena and are my first stabs at the new The Brothers' War Standard format. Most are brews jam packed with The Brothers' War cards, while there are also a few updates to previously established archetypes, but it's important to note that these are the first steps and not finished products! Use them as stepping stones for your own deck brewing process, but play them card for card at your own risk!

If Dominaria United was a return home for Magic: the Gathering, The Brothers' War is a twisted trip into its deep past.

Set in what is essentially ancient history for Magic, The Brothers' War tells the story of the war fought between Urza and Mishra, two of Magic's most legendary characters. It has some of the Phyrexian leanings of Dominaria United, but is an artifact set through and through. With some crazy new mechanics like prototype, as well as returning favorites like Unearth, The Brothers' War is a unique looking set in that it treads new ground while hitting on familiar themes.

With Standard only being five sets at the moment, The Brothers' War is almost guaranteed to have a big impact, and there are a lot of odd and interesting cards in the set that are going to make it a lot of fun to brew with.

Today we are going to go over all ten decks I played as part of my Ten New Brews on YouTube and stream, briefly going over each list and my thoughts on how it was, giving it a letter grade, and talking about what kind of potential it has going forward. I played five games with each deck in best of one so the deck's record will also be included.

Let's go!


Deck's Record: 4-1

Deck's Grade: A-

Deck Potential: High

Standout Card: Urza, Planeswalker

Let's get this right out of the way, meld is very real.

Urza, Lord Protector
The Mightstone and Weakstone

The only other time we've seen the meld mechanic in Magic was in Eldritch Moon, where it was on six cards that saw almost zero play in Constructed. However forgettable as it was then, it is the centerpiece of The Brothers' War, and the face card is Urza, Planeswalker. Over the course of the Early Access event, I was able to meld into Urza, Planeswalker numerous times, as well as having it melded against me.

The trick is that both Urza, Lord Protector as well as The Mightstone and the Weakstone are very reasonable cards by themselves, that play especially well together even when they aren't melding.

Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset
Farewell
Negate

Add this into the fact that Urza fits perfectly into an already very reasonable Azorius Control shell, with great planeswalkers like The Wandering Emperor and Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset, solid countermagic and removal, and the best sweeper in the format in the backbreaking Farewell, and you've got something serious.

Meld is going to be a player in Standard until these cards rotate.


Deck's Record: 5-0

Deck's Grade: B+

Deck Potential: Medium to High

Standout Card: Third Path Iconoclast

It's almost a meme at this point that I build some sort of Izzet Prowess deck every single Ten New Brews, but this time it gained some real winners.

Monastery Swiftspear
Third Path Iconoclast

Monastery Swiftspear is one of the best 1-drops ever printed and sees play in virtually every format, making it a no brainer, but the real draw here is Third Path Iconoclast. A better Young Pyromancer for Izzet decks, Third Path Iconoclast has the benefit of being excellent against the removal spells that usually give decks like this issues. Careful play means you can almost always get a token or two out of it against removal heavy decks, which can really help swing things in your favor.

Electrostatic Infantry
Balmor, Battlemage Captain
Lightning Strike

Add this to an already impressive duo of Electrostatic Infantry and Balmor, Battlemage Captain, the latter of which is incredible with 1/1 tokens, and you've got a really impressive threat base that is only lacking a second good 1-drop (and no, it's not Delver of Secrets).

This deck was pretty brutal against everyone's brews, but I do have some reservations about how it would handle a tuned, Sheoldred, the Apocalypse-heavy format.


Deck's Record: 1-4

Deck's Grade: C

Deck Potential: Medium

Standout Card: Platoon Dispenser

Sometimes brews have good ideas, but just don't quite get there.

Invoke Justice
Portal to Phyrexia
The Restoration of Eiganjo // Architect of Restoration

The idea here was to leverage a board control deck that played mostly good cards on rate, but also had the ability to bring back a Portal to Phyrexia on turn five sometimes, without playing a bunch of bad synergy cards like Raffine's Informant. Casting Portal to Phyrexia was perfectly reasonable as well with a ton of Powerstone generation.

Lay Down Arms
Platoon Dispenser
Karn, Living Legacy

The half ramp, half reanimation package proved awkward, as did cards like Thran Spider, but there were bright spots. Lay Down Arms was as excellent as expected, and Platoon Despenser lived up to its billing as my sleeper card from my set review, proving a huge threat that did everything. Karn, Living Legacy is also a very playable card which is also currently operating on sleeper status.

There are good things happening here, but it needs some work.


Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: B

Deck Potential: Medium to High

Standout Card: Skystrike Officer

Make no mistake, Soldiers are very pushed in The Brothers' War. This is honestly kind of odd, as they're the only tribal theme in the set, but they get everything from good uncommons all the way to a tribal rare dual land.

Fortified Beachhead
Skystrike Officer
Recruitment Officer

Good mana is so important for aggro decks, as well as having flood insurance, which has Fortified Beachhead doing it all. Add on some top tier curve-toppers like Skystrike Officer and Siege Veteran, as well as some playable 1-drops like Recruitment Officer and Spectrum Sentinel, and you've got a nice looking aggro deck that can play deeper into the game as well.

Valiant Veteran
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Resolute Reinforcements

There were plenty of plants in prior sets for the soldier deck, from the classic Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, to the excellent soldier lord in Valiant Veteran from Dominaria United. The question is exactly how you want to build the deck.

The version I built here is mostly just your usual aggressive tribal deck, but with some flash elements like Resolute Reinforcements alongside counterspells like Protect the Negotiators, you could definitely build the deck to play out a little more like an aggro control deck.

The biggest draw here is that when your go wide deck is rewarded for playing Blue, you get access to counterspells to help stop sweepers, which is a huge draw. There's something very real here.


Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: B-

Deck Potential: Medium

Standout Card: Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea

Jodah, the Unifier looks silly, but is a very powerful Magic card.

Jodah, the Unifier

There are a lot of good legends in Standard, as well as Plaza of Heroes and Secluded Courtyard to make the mana work, but even then, the deck was missing something in the last format. When things worked, the deck could crush, but it stumbled too often to be a reliable choice.

Well, it gets some major upgrades in The Brothers' War.

Hajar, Loyal Bodyguard
Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea
Loran of the Third Path

Hajar, Loyal Bodyguard does two very important things, aside from just being a very well-sized creature, in that it helps protect Jodah, the Unifier from removal as well as your board from most sweepers (unfortunately not Farewell). However, the real draw is Gwenna, Eyes of Gaea, which not only allows you to cast Jodah on turn four, but also untaps immediately which allows you to play a 3-drop and cascade in the same turn, which is excellent.

Throw in a few more good legends like Loran of the Third Path and Ashond, Flesh Mechanist, and you've got an upgraded Jodah deck with big potential, if it can be completely ironed out.


Deck's Record: 2-3

Deck's Grade: C

Deck Potential: Unknown

Standout Card: Titania, Voice of Gaea

This was the deck I was most looking forward to playing after I built all ten brews, but to be quite honest it was a very bizarre set of games where it felt like we didn't do anything.

Titania, Voice of Gaea
Argoth, Sanctum of Nature

It feels like it should be so easy to meld Titania, Voice of Gaea with Argoth, Sanctum of Nature in this deck, but despite almost always having four lands in our graveyard, we just couldn't get Titania onto the battlefield. The opportunity cost is very low and the payoff very high, but the games were just weird.

Slogurk, the Overslime
Otawara, Soaring City
Teachings of the Kirin // Kirin-Touched Orochi

Slogurk, the Overslime was a card that impressed us a lot in our Worlds testing and is a very powerful card, providing excellent advantage as well as a good body. With 32 lands, the deck was built to play a land every turn, while using the Brokers Hideout sacrifice lands to help fill the graveyard and provide for tons of landfall triggers, but it just didn't really work out.

This is one I want another shot at.


Deck's Record: 2-3

Deck's Grade: C-

Deck Potential: Low

Standout Card: Platoon Dispenser

Another shot at a powerstone sort of ramp/control deck, this one proved to have many more flaws than the White version.

Platoon Dispenser
Karn, Living Legacy
Reckoner Bankbuster

Again, Platoon Dispenser was awesome, and the engine of Karn, Living Legacy and Reckoner Bankbuster did a good job keeping the cards and material flowing, but the Red cards just did not do their job. Thran Spider once again was more of a liability than anything else, while Horned Stoneseeker not having a good 4-drop to ramp into made it feel somewhat worthless.

Abrade
Voltage Surge
Excavation Explosion

The biggest issue was that the Red removal just wasn't reliable enough. There are a lot of very large creatures in this format, which constantly left them falling short.

There's something to the engine, but better removal and likely sweepers are definitely needed. Red does not feel like the right color.


Deck's Record: 1-4

Deck's Grade: D+

Deck Potential: Low

Standout Card: Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor

This deck looked so sweet, but fell super flat.

Ledger Shredder
Faerie Vandal
Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor

The idea was to play a good 2-drop into a turn three Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor or Kaito Shizuki and get the cards rolling, with a bunch of 2-drops that love to see extra cards, but it was awkward in practice. Admittedly, Ledger Shredder felt like the most important piece and was often absent, but without any 1-drops, if they killed your 2-drop you were often stuck with a 3-drop that didn't do anything productive.

The removal spells not lining up well was also a huge issue, as there are a lot of things that must die but are too big for cut down.


Deck's Record: 4-1

Deck's Grade: B

Deck Potential: Medium

Standout Card: Teething Wurmlet

Looking more like a Modern deck than a Standard deck, this artifact aggro deck got in early and often and won some impressive games, only losing to a double Depopulate draw from an Azorius Control deck.

Teething Wurmlet
Patchwork Automaton
Yotian Dissident

The big draw here is being to play a super low curve with a bunch of cards that scale very well as the game goes on. Teething Wurmlet and Patchwork Automaton grow wonderfully as the game progresses, while Yotian Dissident can put counters where they need to go.

Simian Simulacrum
Kodama of the West Tree
Michiko's Reign of Truth

Normally the issue with decks like this is you're playing too many garbage cards like Iron Apprentice and Spectrum Sentinel, but with a bevy of payoffs like Simian Simulacrum, Kodama of the West Tree, and the awesome Michiko's Reign of Truth // Portrait of Michiko, you get to balance some raw power alongside the potential for some very fast busted draws.

Throw in an excellent creature land and a few removal spells and you've got a really fun one!


Deck's Record: 3-2

Deck's Grade: B+

Deck Potential: Medium to High

Standout Card: Rite of Oblivion

This deck is a murderer's row of cards that looked awesome but just didn't quite get there, but with enough new tools to hopefully cross the finish line.

Rite of Oblivion
Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist
Platoon Dispenser

Rite of Oblivion is one of the best removal spells in the whole format, allowing you unimpeded shots anything your opponent has with that all important exile clause, while allowing you to do it again when needed so it feels like you never run out of removal. However, finding a deck that can run Rite of Oblivion isn't always easy. New cards like Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist and Platoon Dispenser join a bunch of sacrifice-style cards to form a deck that can curve out and be aggressive, but also go late if needed.

Braids, Arisen Nightmare
Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia
Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim

This is the kind of deck that folded to The Meathook Massacre in the past, but with the upgrades it does a great job at toeing the line between being aggressive and grindy. Braids, Arisen Nightmare has tons of food to work with, while Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia provides food to everything and cards like Elas il-Kor, Sadistic Pilgrim get those chip shot points in.

This list is certainly untuned, but there's something here.

The Melding Of The Minds

There's a lot of sweet stuff happening in The Brothers' War, but it's going to take a little to unpack. We're not used to the idea of the meld mechanic being playable, so it's going to take some getting used to, while both prototype and powerstones are also difficult to wrap your head around.

With a good mix of power and synergy, we're off to a good start!

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