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MTG: The Brother's War Draft Tips and Tricks

I've been playing Magic: The Gathering for some time, and today I want to share my tricks.

The Brother's War Draft Boosters

The Brother's War Draft Boosters

About the Expansion

The Brother's War is the 94th expansion for Magic and is set, as the name suggests, during the War between Urza and Mishra. The war of the brothers Urza and Mishra had already been told through the Antiquities expansion set but from a different point of view.

Antiquities was focused on historians and speleologists who tried to reconstruct history through the lost relics. In this case, however, we will be able to see the progress and actively participate in the fights. Both sides will be backed by the latest mechanized creations made by the brothers in an attempt to win the war.

Innovations and New Mechanics

As a side note, I think the set is particularly innovative from a design point of view. The original idea was to create a pair of thematic decks, but then it took shape as a complete set. Some elements have remained, while others have been mutated with other game mechanics.

Among the most important innovations, which we will explore later, is the use of coloured mana costs to make artifacts more valuable and somehow interconnected with the colour structure. One of the scourges of old sets with an artifact's core theme was the excessive difficulty in balancing these elements since all decks could have access to them. An example of this is the affinity deck that dominated the metagame during Mirrodin's Standard format or even the Modern format.

Below we'll take a look at the following mechanics:

  • Prototype
  • Powerstones
  • Unearth
  • Meld

Prototype

"Prototype" is the first mechanic we'll look at that uses coloured mana for interacting with artifacts. Specifically, it allows us to cast an artifact creature spell with a reduced alternative cost. In this case, the creature will usually be small in size but will retain the abilities of the final product.

Prototype is extremely interesting for filling the mana curve and giving more consistency to our deck. Depending on the game situation, we will be able to cast the spell at a reduced cost in the early game or at the full cost in the late game for a greater effect. This is provided that you have access to the colours shown on the cards.

This mechanic then works like the Kicker mechanic (in the sense that it allows you to cast a card at a normal cost or a higher cost for a greater effect) but in reverse, i.e. reducing the cost for a smaller effect.

Prototype also works very well in "blink" strategies, where a creature is exiled and immediately returned to the battlefield. In this case, we could cast the card at a reduced cost, perform the Blink and get the creature to the maximum possible size.

Powerstones

The Powerstones are the reason for the war between the brothers, as they possess the potential to change the fortunes of the entire multiverse. In terms of gameplay, they add up as possible energy sources for the cast of artifacts in addition to lands. Alternatively, they can be used as colourless sources of mana for paying for activated abilities.

Getting Powerstones will be very easy, as some spells will reward us with the creation of Powerstones tokens in addition to the normal effects of the spell. The Powerstones can then be used as ramps for strategies that involve casting prototype cards to their maximum potential.

In some ways, we are again faced with a "Battlecruiser" style of play as seen in the Rise of Eldrazi expansion. In that case, the ramp was provided by the Eldrazi Spawns that could be sacrificed to generate colourless mana. The Powerstone, unlike the Eldrazi Spawn, does not have to be sacrificed and therefore can provide energy continuously during the game.

Unearth and Meld

The repurposed mechanics for this expansion are Unearth and Meld.

Unearth

Unearth was first introduced in the Shards of Alara expansion as a mechanic of the Grixis faction focused on the death and resurrection of creatures by necromancers.
In this case, however, it represents the recovery of large mechanized war machines to attempt one last heroic action on the battlefield.

This is the second mechanic in the set that binds artifacts to coloured mana. We will only be able to launch the war machines from our graveyard if we have the required colour of mana in our decks. Recovering these war machines can be a way to gain card advantage over the opponent or as a means of delivering the final blow.

Meld

Meld, on the other hand, is one of the few mechanics that remained from the initial concept of thematic decks. There were two cards per deck with this ability to symbolize the two brothers as Commanders. One theme deck had Urza as its commander (focused on WU colours), while the second was dedicated to Mishra (focused on BR colours).

During the development of the expansion, an attempt was made to fill in the missing colour (green) and, in this way, the Titania card was born. The third pair of cards is precisely the one you saw in the introductory video of the mechanic.
Compared to the other set's mechanic, Meld is a secondary mechanic with more of a commemorative purpose than with a real implication in terms of gameplay.

Should You Draft One-Colour, Two-Colour or Tricolour Decks?

An easy way to tell if a set supports tricolour deck building is to check for a cycle of lands that provide mana of different colours at common rarity. Unfortunately, it is not present in this expansion.

The only card that allows some fixing of common rarity colours is Evolving Wilds—too little for a tricolour theme without risking too much in terms of consistency. Even Powerstones that can ramp can unfortunately only provide colourless mana.

In this limited environment, it is better to stay on the bicolour or the mono-colour theme.

ColourArchetype/Main Theme

WU

Soldier tribal

UB

"Draw two" Matters

BR

Sacrifice + Unearth

RG

Stompy Midrange

GW

Artifact means +1/+1 counters

WB

Recursion from the GY—low mana value matters

BG

Graveyard matters

GU

Powerstone ramp Tempo

UR

Noncreature Spells matters

RW

Enter the battlefield Aggro

Colours in The Brothers War vs. Dominaria United

Compared to the previous set marked by mechanics like Domain and Kicker and greater access to coloured mana, The Brother's War presents a turning point towards classic colour schemes. The bicolour decks are the masters.

With over 60 artifact cards and many strategies that focus on them, The Brother's War is a set with a strong artifact theme. When considering cards for the deck, remember to rate cards that can remove artifacts from the game slightly higher than normal, especially with Exile effects to prevent them from returning with Unearth.

Some premium removals, such as Go for the Throat, may be slightly less powerful than normal because they are unable to remove the opponent's more powerful artifact creatures.

© 2022 Christian Allasia