Before even starting with my picks for this set, it is worth keeping in mind that The Brothers' War features retro-frame artifacts. Their presence severely impacts the value of the regular cards from the set. Opening a Mox Amber, Wurmcoil Engine, Staff of Domination, or a Ramos, Dragon Engine in one of every three packs is a game changer, just like the cards from the Mystical Archive left the normal Strixhaven cards way cheaper compared to others Standard releases.
That said, it seems that The Brothers' War has a lot more potential than the magical school set, with a ton of nostalgia and the return of iconic characters from Magic's history. Let's dive right in and see what are the hottest deals for you to purchase.
Dominaria United brought us six out of the ten-strong cycle of pain lands, originally from Ice Age and Apocalypse, improving Standard mana bases significantly. Now with The Brothers' War, Underground River and Brushland complete the cycle for Pioneer, which benefits several strategies sporting these colors. As they are going to be legal in Standard for almost two years and relevant in both Pioneer and Commander, getting a playset of each of them for less than €5–6 each is a great deal. This applies especially if you choose the borderless version, which will surely go up in price once the set gets older. Definitely a safe pickup.
Argoth, Sanctum of Nature // Titania, Gaea Incarnate is the first card with the meld mechanic I want to address, which combines with Titania, Voice of Gaea // Titania, Gaea Incarnate. Both are going to be tested in Standard and Pioneer together, since the payoff is quite appealing. However, I think the land can work just as well without the legendary Elemental as it has the possibility to generate a ton of value in both Bears and graveyards. It could fit as a singleton into Amulet Titan in Modern or Elvish Reclaimer build-around shells. In Commander, Argoth is easy to add to a ton of land-matters strategies such as Lord Windgrace, Omnath, Locus of Mana, or The Gitrog Monster. Its €1.50 average makes it quite interesting, even more so as it isn't legendary itself.
Mishra's Foundry is neither Mishra's Factory nor Mutavault. But it will see play in Standard, which lost all the animating lands from Forgotten Realms not long ago. Most monocolored strategies will be happy to add Foundry to their ranks, especially the most aggressive in red and white. Pricewise plenty of playsets sit around €4–5 and will continue to do so, so consider adding it when putting in a larger order.
Haywire Mite is undoubtedly one of the most impactful cards from the whole set across formats. Both Urza's Saga and Karn, the Great Creator can tutor up this Insect to deal with problematic cards like opposing Sagas or Blood Moon, to name a few. Even the exiling aspect is key to answer Kaldra Compleat against Hammer Time in Modern. It goes straight to Amulet Titan in Modern, Monogreen Devotion in Pioneer, and it even has some potential in Legacy as well. That playability already reflects on its price, as it stands at €1.50 average, way more expensive than most bulk rares in the set. Yet, the opportunity cost is so low that you should grab at least two or three copies of Mite in your uncommon package.
Third Path Iconoclast is a new take on Young Pyromancer for the year 2022. Just like the previous example, it enjoys a huge impact across formats. It complements the original where you want two, replaces it where you only want one, and the upgrades are pretty important. Iconoclast triggers for every noncreature spell rather than only instants and sorceries, combining with cheap spells like Mishra's Bauble in Modern. Then the tokens it produces are artifacts, allowing sweet combinations with cards like Grinding Station. (Read all about that here.) Iconoclast is going to see play in Izzet shells in Pioneer too, and even in Legacy it has the extra upside that you can pitch it to Force of Will and Force of Negation, maybe granting it a spot in the Delver shell. All in all, Third Path Iconoclast is another premium uncommon to get as soon as you can, starting at just €4 per playset.
Obliterating Bolt is a quick one. A new take on Lava Coil that can deal with planeswalkers is a crucial upgrade for Blue-Red Phoenix and overall in Pioneer's Izzet builds. They lacked a cheap way to deal with that type of permanent until now.
Yotian Dissident is another two-mana Human with an interesting tiggered ability that gets better the longer it sticks on the battlefield. There are plenty of cards that care about both +1/+1 counters and artifact cards, so surely this card slots well into decks that exist and are doing well today. Hardened Scales could become a real contender in Pioneer, adding Animation Module, which goes off with the Dissident and allows you to create as many one-mana 2/2s as you can afford each turn.
Thran Vigil has a ton of combo potential, maybe not in Standard and maybe not now, but maybe in Pioneer. Here it seems like a nice addition to the Cat-Oven combo, as Cauldron Familiar triggers the Vigil every time it comes back. In Modern it could revitalize the Melira combo alongside Viscera Seer and Murderous Redcap. Only time will tell, but for now it's my last uncommon pick from the list.
As I mentioned already, old artifacts come in spectacular retro frames and sketched versions that are often breathtaking, in my opinion way more flavorful than the alternate art from Dominaria United. Although not Standard playable, some of them are format staples, especially in Commander, and this new reprint can put them in bargain territory. Let's see:
Ashnod's Altar comes from very old times, back from Antiquities, and yet, it continues to be a Commander staple as a repeatable way of generating mana by sacrificing creatures. With this new printing comes the second version of the card in foil, after the Eternal Masters counterpart, so be aware when you open one of these about its real value, which might be hidden under the ton of versions this card has.
Ramos, Dragon Engine is a powerful commander and has been chosen to get the retro schematic treatment. If you are lucky enough to open the collector booster variant (numbered out of 500) that comes in double rainbow foil, you hit the jackpot: €25.000! The regular version is about €12, but still, it's the type of printing that will go up in price just like Mystical Archive did, a pretty great reprint to invest in.
Wurmcoil Engine still holds its value despite Tron's current lack of popularity. No matter how many special reprints it gets, you will hardly find this card below the €10 range. Any artifact-centric Commander deck will have one of these, and the retro frame looks gorgeous on the Wurm. So now is the best time to pick up yours if you haven't already.
Mishra's Bauble, a true Modern staple, was a big partner in crime with Lurrus of the Dream-Den. Despite the latter's ban, Bauble remains among the top sixteen most played cards in the format, as it synergizes with Dragon's Rage Channeler, Ledger Shredder, and Emry, Lurker of the Loch. It could still increase its amount of play, too, if Jeskai Breach takes off further. In spite of four previous versions, this free artifact has historically gone up in price, even to a point when it hovered around the €15 barrier. With this new printing, getting a playset for less than €10 is a fact, and the sketch versions are going to have a huge demand among players. Therefore the actual price won't stay this low for long.
Mox Amber may be the reprint we needed the most. This mythic zero-mana rock from original Dominaria has been skyrocketing lately as I mentioned in my last article, due to the Breach Combo resurgence in Modern. Since legendary creatures (and planeswalkers) are a huge part of the game lately, the value of Mox Amber continues to rise, the more players adopt Commander. In all honesty, it won't be a surprise to see Amber become one of the most expensive retro cards from The Brothers' War, especially in foil. If you are looking to get them, the price trend is going down as we speak, with cheaper copies around €25, but it's a matter of time until they go up in price again.
Loran of the Third Path is a Reclamation Sage with a white body and a ton of extra text. It is surely going to see play in Pioneer, Modern, and even Legacy as it fits a wide variety of strategies. Starting with Legacy, it becomes a direct inclusion in Death and Taxes, where it can be tutored by Recruiter of the Guard and bounced infinite times via Karakas. On top of that, it synergizes well with Spirit of the Labyrinth to stop opponents from drawing that card if you activate the ability during their turns.
Modern's Human tribal shell is more than happy to add Loran to its sideboard, and the same applies to the Monowhite Humans deck in Pioneer. Despite not being super expensive, it's trending up to €3 and seems to be stable in that range. It's a reasonable price at the moment and might go a bit lower in the coming weeks.
The Stone Brain is another card that brings back memories of the original Jester's Cap, but at a more affordable cost: a total of four mana instead of six. Nowadays similar effects are usually sorceries like Unmoored Ego and Necromentia. The main advantage of the Stone Brain is that it can be a sideboard wish for Karn, the Great Creator. Indeed, since it exiles itself, you can bring it back multiple times, giving Monogreen Devotion and overall Karn shells a new angle to fight combo strategies across formats. Things might reach a point where it becomes necessary to take measures against the legendary Golem.
If we do a quick check on the price graphic, we see that it has gone down to below €5 again after an earlier peak. I think it may stabilize on that price moving forward.
Brotherhood's End wipes the board from small creatures, a pretty common effect at three mana, especially in Pioneer with its Anger of the Gods and Sweltering Suns. However, this new take comes with a couple of interesting upgrades: It deals damage to planeswalkers and what's more, alternatively destroys all cheap artifacts. Brotherhood's End has already replaced Anger in the Izzet Phoenix sideboard in Pioneer, becoming one of the few additions from the set we have seen so far in the recent tournament results.
In Modern and Legacy, this card has a ton of potential as well, as it answers Urza's Saga's Construct tokens in a clean way along with the card they tutor up, even to a point where it could replace Meltdown in Legacy. Pricewise, there are copies still below €2, but the value is moving up into the €3.50 range. I could envision a sudden spike if the card shows up in more winning decks, so it's better to grab them now rather than waiting.
Phyrexian Dragon Engine // Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia is probably one of my favorite cards in the whole set, despite melding with Mishra, Claimed by Gix // Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia. It's gaining a lot of value as I write these lines, but I am not planning to combine both cards, rather try to draw a bunch of cards in Modern in the following list:
|Asmo Food by DemonicTutors, 10th at Modern Preliminary, November 17|
It can come back from the graveyard with cards like the original Unearth or Goblin Engineer, making it very appealing in a Rakdos shell, combined with the The Underworld Cookbook/Asmoranomardicadaistinaculdacar package and the Urza's Saga one too. In other formats like Standard and Pioneer, I hope it can see play as well, synergizing with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker // Reflection of Kiki-Jiki to discard for value and then refill the hand via its unearth ability. Regarding the price, €1 trend makes it a cheap investment at this moment.
Diabolic Intent is already a staple in Commander, where tutor effects are quite common. Some of the best are getting reprints lately, just like Imperial Seal in Double Masters 2022. Regarding its immediate applications in other formats, there's Rakdos and Jund Sacrifice plus Abzan Greasefang, Okiba Boss in Pioneer where sacrificing is rarely a pain and sometimes a boon. The same applies to Yawgmoth, Thran Physician Combo in Modern, where Diabolic Intent finds the deck's namesake card by sacrificing Young Wolf or Strangleroot Geist while also looking for key hate cards in post-sideboard games.
Financially speaking, there are going to be a lot of these running around, and the price is going to drop considerably, so I would rather wait on this one. It currently stands at a €13 trend after some initial ups and downs, but wait a couple of weeks to see its real playability and then get your copies once it drops below €10.
In Modern it can flashback Crashing Footfalls and other zero-mana suspend spells like Living End or Glimpse of Tomorrow, and I personally want to mess around with that. Good news, after the initial hype, the price is tanking down to an affordable €7. I will wait until it bottoms out and then grab my copies between two and three weeks from now.
Phyrexian Fleshgorger is by far the most pushed prototype, with great stats plus the ward clause, which can be very painful to pay depending on the state of the game. This black Wurm looks specially designed for Standard, where you can incorporate it into existing black-based midrange strategies. Plus, you can be unlock its full potential via Touch the Spirit Realm's channel ability, bringing it back as a 7/5 and saving it from opposing removal—after they've paid the ward cost. Indeed, I am also interested in trying the same trick in Modern Rakdos Scam, with all the Feign Death effects, though it's going to be hard to make room in the creature suite.
When looking at the price development, we see there was a peak last week when it escalated to the €20 range, whereas now it has stabilized around €15. While not exactly Sheoldred, Fleshgorger looks poised to see a huge amount of play. So it's up to you if you want to invest in it now and start playing, or wait if it drops a bit. But honestly I don't expect that scenario in the short term.
Urza, Lord Protector // Urza, Planeswalker must be the most iconic card from the set, a great design, probably my favorite to meld, which it does with The Mightstone and Weakstone // Urza, Planeswalker. Funny enough, if you control all of the original Urza lands, you can pay the activation cost, so again great flavor when creating this unique card.
Looking at its stats, a 2/4 for three mana and a powerful reduction cost is quite decent, roadblocking 3 power creatures. Urza seems best suited for Standard, possibly in a build-around Azorius Control shell, backed up by The Wandering Emperor and some number of Teferis. Then there's also Commander, whereas Pioneer and Modern are a whole different story. Personally I don't think it is viable there. In any case, Urza's price looks stable below €12—not so bad for one of the marquee cards from The Brothers War. My move here is to wait a couple of weeks to see if it goes down a bit further.
Portal to Phyrexia has become the week one winner pricewise, and I am sorry to inform you, it is now too late to find a copy at the initial €10. Since the set released, it has skyrocketed up to €20, but there are some cheap singleton copies showing up at €18 from people that want to cash in their initial purchases.
The reason this has spiked so hard is that, despite its forbidding mana cost, there are multiple ways to get the Portal into play for cheap. In Standard we have Invoke Justice and the new addition of Repair and Recharge. In Modern Shape Anew back from Scars of Mirrodin can simply sacrifice another artifact, let's say a Food token created by Gingerbread Cabin:
|Four-Color Shape Anew by sheepsLOL|
Even without any consistent tournament results yet, Magic players are always looking for the next crazy deck to surprise. This list and others showed up a week ago, pushing people to buy Portals as if there were no tomorrow. Soon we'll know if the card can prove itself in Modern. It can also be added to the Indomitable Creativity strategy to change the Archon of Cruelty plan after sideboarding. The trigger is quite powerful and if it doesn't get destroyed, it turns the game in your favor by reanimating any creature. All in all, Portal to Phyrexia might end up the most expensive card from the set. Even if it doesn't succeed in the competitive scene, its price won't go down for a while.
If you reached this point, thank you so much for reading. I sincerely hope you enjoyed the content. As usual let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, not of Cardmarket.