Just a few days before the massive Magic 30 event, Wizards of the Coast dropped a ton of new information about the upcoming The Brothers’ War set. The entire set covers somewhere between 40 to 60 years, highlighting pivotal events over the course of not only the war but also over the lives of the titular brothers, Urza and Mishra. 

As one of the most important storylines in Magic: The Gathering’s history, The Brothers’ War is peak Magic design, combining extremely powerful mechanics with characters and events that have never been printed before. Let’s take a look at everything announced in this week’s Weekly MTG.

The Brothers’ War is set more than 4,000 years in the past from Magic’s current storyline, back in the era of Urza and Mishra when they were both humans and neither of them had destroyed any continents yet. Over the course of the set, players can follow the events of Urza’s and Mishra’s lives, their education, decades of war, and finally, the devastation they caused in their wake. 

A stylized edit of the four painlands reprinted in Brothers' War: Brushland, Underground River, Llanowar Wastes, and Battlefield Forge.

The best place to witness the brothers’ impact on Dominaria is on the lands. The rest of the anticipated painland reprints were revealed: Brushlands, Underground River, Llanowar Wastes, and Battlefield Forge. Each of these lands showcase the impact that 40 years of unfettered mechanical progress and warfare had on Dominaria. Even the basic lands feature some of the massive mechs that wandered the world. 

Let’s Talk Mechanics

The Brothers’ War features two brand new mechanics. The first is an ability called Prototype, and the second is a new type of tokens called Powerstones. There are two returning mechanics as well, the graveyard focused Unearth and the extremely powerful Meld.

Prototype is an alternate casting cost, providing players the choice to bring out expensive creatures at a discount, both in casting cost and in stats. The first card shown is Phyrexian Fleshgorger, which has a prototype cost of 1BB. Casting it this way gives you a black 3/3, while if you pay the full seven mana, it enters the battlefield as a colorless 7/5. In either case, it is an artifact creature with menace, lifelink, and a unique ward cost that charges the opponent life equal to its power. 

Fun fact: if you can find a way to blink this creature while it’s a 3/3, you reset it’s Prototype ability, so it’ll enter the battlefield as the printed 7/5 monstrosity. Fun!

The second new mechanic coming in The Brothers’ War is Powerstone tokens. These artifact tokens are similar to Treasures, but you can tap them to add one colorless mana that can’t be spent on nonartifact spells. Unlike Treasure tokens, you don’t have to sacrifice it to gain the mana, just tap it. 

A stylized edit of a Meld trio from Brothers' War: Titania, Voice of Gaea and Argoth, Sanctum of Nature meld into Titania, Gaea Incarnate.

Both Unearth and Meld make their return in The Brothers’ War. Unearth gives your creatures one chance to come back and strike again before exiling themselves forever, while Meld fuses two cards together to make an impossibly powerful combination. Magic already revealed the Meld cards for both Urza and Mishra previously, but this week we got our first look at Titania, Voice of Gaea; Argoth, Sanctum of Nature; and their melded form, Titania, Gaea Incarnate. 

A number of other cards were revealed, including Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim; Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor; and Splitting the Powerstone. Each of these cards seem pretty darn good and we can’t wait to start building decks around them.

Blueprint Cards

A stylized edit of the Brothers' War "Blueprint" promo of Ornithopter.

The Brothers’ War will also feature Blueprint cards. These cards are all artifacts and can be found only in Collector Booster products. The blueprint designs come from the perspective of famous artificers like Urza, Mishra, Tawnos, and Ashnod, and are their sketches and ideas of popular and iconic Magic artifacts. These cards will function like the Mystical Archive from Strixhaven, where they may be found in packs but are not playable in Standard. 

The Brothers’ War Commander Decks

A stylized edit of the retro-frame variants of Mishra, Eminent One and Urza, Chief Artificer.

While Wizards of the Coast had already revealed some information about The Brothers’ War Commander products, they provided some additional insight as to how the decks will function mechanically. Urza’s “Iron Alliance” deck will go wider, with a focus on playing many smaller artifact creatures that grow as the game proceeds. Mishra’s “Burnished Banner” has more sacrifice abilities, with a focus on massive individual artifacts. 

Both decks will feature a complete retro frame deck, both for reprints and new original cards, in a nostalgic throwback to the olden days of Magic

Real Life Robot Fight

A screenshot of the Extreme Robots arena. It reads "IN THE ARENA..."

Perhaps the wildest announcement from the Weekly MTG stream is the reveal that Wizards of the Coast is partnering with Extreme Robots for some real life robot combat. Formerly the Robot Wars TV show, Extreme Robots will build two real, physical robots based on each of the brothers and pit them against each other in various challenges. Not a whole lot of information was revealed about this real life war, but it sounds like it’ll be a good time. 

Release Info

Close-up of an unfortunate elf who is about to fight Ajani.

Wizards ended the stream with the reveal of several prerelease and release dates. Players looking to enter physical prerelease events can do so on November 11, just a few short weeks away. MTGO and Arena players can start playing on November 15, while paper The Brothers’ War products will hit shelves on November 18. Commander Parties for The Brothers’ War will take place on December 16 and go until December 18.

One last bit of news was dropped for players: on October 30 a new animated trailer will be revealed at the Magic 30 convention. The first 20 seconds were revealed, with a growling Ajani stalking an elf holding some type of powerstone. It doesn’t look good for the elf, but we’ll have to wait for the rest of the trailer to drop to find out what happens next.

Ryan Hay (he/him) has been writing about Magic: The Gathering and video games for years, and loves absolutely terrible games. Send him your bad game takes over on Twitter where he occasionally rants about everything from cats to Lord of the Rings.

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