Magic: The Gathering will release its latest set The Brothers’ War documenting the Antiquities War fought between brothers Urza and Mishra, on tabletop on 18 November.
First mentioned in the Antiquities expansion set in 1994, The Brothers' War was the conflict between two legendary artificer brothers, Urza and Mishra, who have gone on to become a core part of the lore in Magic: The Gathering, with Urza himself getting an entire block to his name back in 1998.
It was the main overarching storyline of Magic, before the Gatewatch saga and Nicol Bolas came onto the scene, and returning to it ahead of the game's 30th anniversary is bound to give long-time fans a trip down memory road (just check out the preview card we got).
This new set will introduce two new mechanics: Prototype and Powerstone.
Prototype is a new ability found on a few powerful artifact creatures in the set. Artifact creatures with Prototype will have 2 different casting costs — a normal one, as well as an alternate cost involving coloured mana.
When said creature such as Arcane Proxy is cast normally, its mana cost is larger, and it enters the battlefield with a larger power and toughness (4/3 in the case of Arcane Proxy).
If you cast Arcane Proxy with its Prototype ability, you will have to pay 1 generic and 2 blue mana instead, and it enters the battlefield as a 2/1.
However, it will still retain its enter the battlefield trigger (important: Arcane Proxy's power is now 2 instead of 4). Arcane Proxy is still an artifact creature, but it is now also a blue creature.
If Arcane Proxy is not on the battlefield or on the stack with its Prototype ability, it will be treated as a colourless artifact creature that has 4/3 power and toughness, as well as a 7 mana cost.
The next new keyword Powerstone applies to a new kind of tokens, similar to Treasure tokens.
Technically, Powerstone has all ready appeared in the previous set Dominaria United, but it's set to make a much bigger splash in The Brothers' War.
Powerstone is a colourless artifact like a Treasure token, and it can be tapped to produce mana.
However, while a Treasure token is sacrificed, a Powerstone token does not get sacrificed, meaning it can be used again once it untaps.
The Powerstone produces one colourless mana (unlike a Treasure which can produce any coloured mana) which cannot be used for any non-artifact spell.
It can, however, be used for other spells and abilities, including activated abilities of any permanents. You just can’t cast Urza or Mishra in this set with a Powerstone.
Speaking of Urza, The Brothers’ War will bring back the mechanic Meld.
With Meld, a player can transform two cards from a meld pair to form an even bigger threat.
With the cards Urza, Lord Protector and The Mightstone and The Weakstone on the battlefield, a player can pay 7 generic mana at sorcery speed to meld both cards (by physically flipping them both) into one big boy: Urza, Planeswalker.
Tokens can’t meld, so forget about duplicating copies of Urza, Lord Protector or The Mightstone and The Weakstone.
The melded permanent will behave like a single permanent, but if Urza, Planeswalker dies (spoiler alert, lmao), gets exiled or just leaves the battlefield, the meld breaks and it is back to the two cards.
In The Brothers’ War, there will be three specific meld pairs, with each pair transforming into Urza, Mishra, and Titania in the right circumstance.
The next mechanic to return is Unearth.
Unearth is an activated ability which allows creatures to be cast from the graveyard for a temporary period of time, but the ability now extends to even non-creature artifacts in the graveyard!
To add to throwback to old Magic: The Gathering days, 63 famous artifacts across Magic: The Gathering’s history will be printed in the retro frame.
Some of them were already printed in older borders (i.e. they are old, old cards), but a lot of these 63 artifacts have never been printed in a retro treatment before.
They will come in two treatments: the usual retro black borders with the card's original art, and a schematic form with brand new art which showcases the early schematics of the card’s original art.
These cards will come in both foil and non-foil, and each Draft and Set booster will feature one such artifact in either normal retro or schematic form.
These artifacts will appear more than once in a Collector booster, and there is even a chance to open an extremely rare serialised (0 to 500) version of these 63 artifacts!
Autobots, roll out
In a really unexpected twist, characters from Transformers (cues Michael Bay and... Shia LaBeouf) will also appear in The Brothers’ War and be part of the ever expanding Universes Beyond.
They will come in both the normal foil and non-foil treatment, as well as an re-imagined Shattered Glass version where the heroes are now villains (gasp, bad boy Optimus Prime), and vice versa.
These Transformers will appear in both Set and Collector boosters, but only the Shattered Glass treatment will appear in Collector boosters.
Okay, before anyone gets too excited, these cards are obviously not Standard legal, but go ahead and roll them out in your next Commander deck (or Legacy/Vintage if any of you still play it).
The Brothers’ War will be available as Draft boosters, Set boosters, Collector boosters, Jumpstart boosters, Commander decks, and Bundles.
Jay Chan plays a lot of Dota 2 and MTG. He's terrible in Dota 2 and a scrub in MTG, and maybe spends too much money on both games.