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MTG The Brothers’ War release date, spoilers, and latest news

The final MTG set release of 2022 was The Brothers' War - from dates to card spoilers, here's all the details on this past Standard expansion.

Magic: the Gathering The Brothers' War - brothers Urza and Mishra fighting on a battlefield of robots

The Brothers’ War was the fourth and final Standard Magic: the Gathering set released in 2022. Taking place on the TCG’s premier plane of Dominaria, the set covered a pivotal moment in the history of the MTG multiverse: a massive, world-spanning war featuring devastating magical artifacts, monstrous mechs, and some of Magic’s oldest heroes and villains.

Many MTG veterans were excited for The Brothers’ War set, and that’s because it’s a retelling of a story we’ve heard before. The high-tech war between super artificer bros Urza and Mishra was the focus of Magic’s second ever expansion, Antiquities, released in 1994. It even had one of the best MTG books – by fantasy author Jeff Grubb. That means the set is full of shiny new versions of old, underdone cards and characters.  

Want to know more about The Brothers’ War? Here we’ll go over all the details you need to know about this old set, from its top cards to main story beats. You can also get a quick overview of all the year’s MTG sets in our rundown of the MTG 2022 release schedule.

The Brothers’ War Release Date

The Brothers’ War global release date was November 18, 2022. As usual there was a prerelease event the week before, beginning November 11. You could play online a few days before the global release, with The Brothers’ War coming to MTG Arena on November 15. For reference, here’s the full list of relevant dates for the set:

Magic the Gathering the brothers' war list of release dates.

The Brothers’ War featured 287 cards and two 99-card Commander decks in total (we’ve showcased the best ones here, naturally). Previews kicked off on October 27, with many shown at the Magic 30 event on October 28-30. Before all that, a Building Worlds video, released on October 20, showed off a ton of card art in great detail, just as the Dominaria United one did before – easing us into the world of wartorn Dominaria.

While previously, MTG sets dropped on MTG Arena one week before physical copies become available in any form, Wizards of the Coast was the first recent set to be available in paper first – sold from prerelease events onwards at Local Game Stores. After a bit of experimentation, this soon became the new standard.

MTG The Brothers’ War cards

The Brothers’ War had plenty of great cards to enjoy. Above you can see one of the finest, the planeswalker card for Urza, which shows off the godlike power of the ‘oldwalkers’. You can’t just play this MTG planeswalker with mana, you have to combine it by melding together the new creature card Urza, Lord Protector, and the artifact The Mightstone and Weakstone.

The set also features a Meld card for the other warring brother, Mishra. His ultimate card, Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia has a ridiculous number of abilities, so it’s a good job Meld cards are split across the backs of two cards. It’s formed when you attack with both Mishra, Claimed by Gix and Phyrexian Dragon Engine. There’s one more batch of Meld cards in The Brothers’ War, the elemental Titania:

She was revealed at The Brothers’ War debut on October 27. Alongside her cards, we saw a Teferi that gains loyalty from card draw, a weird blue ramp spell, Splitting the Powerstones, a Phyrexian Fleshgorger that can be either big or small, and Ashnod’s Harvester, a construct that comes back from the grave. Then there’s Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor, who’s got a super powerful, but very expensive activated ability, and can draw cards like mad.

Alongside these cards, which reveal all The Brothers’ War’s mechanics, we also saw tons of Urza and Mishra cards.

A couple of cards were shown off way back in a WeeklyMTG Announcement on September 29. Recruitment Officer is a strong one-drop, part of the Azorius Soldiers archetype, a top MTG Arena deck created by this set. Its ability can dig up low mana creatures, essentially providing a form of White card draw.

There’s also Surge Engine, a little construct that can get much stronger, become unblockable, and draws you cards. Mishra’s Foundry, meanwhile, is a land that becomes a creature, and is a reference to the classic card Mishra’s Factory.

Several other spoilers were shown off in late October 2022, with many appearing during the Las Vegas Magic 30 event. Saheeli, Filigree Master was revealed as the set’s third planeswalker. Unsurprisingly, her loyalty abilities are all about getting artifacts beefed up and onto the board.

Speaking of (even more) Artifacts, the set contains Urza’s Sylex, which has some handy boardwipe and deck-searching effects. Portal to Phyrexia and The Temporal Anchor let you bring exiled and sacrificed cards back into play. It’s also pretty nifty to see The Temporal Anchor is the only artifact in the set using colored mana – this timey-wimey machine has clearly come from Magic’s present rather than the period of The Brothers’ War.

Plenty of panels were held at Magic 30, and some name-dropped the Retro Artifacts that’ll be included in The Brothers’ War boosters. These are reprints of particularly potent Magic cards, but they aren’t legal in Standard. Cards like Mox Amber, Inspiring Sanctuary, and Caged Sun all offer ways to generate additional mana – while Helm of the Host sets you up for some cool combos through the art of copying.

One Retro Artifact stands out from the crowd: Mishra’s Bauble was banned from Historic before the set has even come out – leading some to doubt the remaining Brothers’ War Retro Artifacts’ power levels.

MTG The Brothers' War release date - Mishra's Bauble Magic card

You should also check out these glorious full-art basic lands, each one featuring a giant robot.Magic the Gathering the brothers' war full art basic lands featuring mechs

The Brothers’ War Mechanics

Meld is one of the returning mechanics for The Brothers’ War. Previously appearing in Eldritch Moon, this allows you to combine two cards together to make a third, much stronger card. There are three sets of Meld card pairs in The Brothers’ War: Urza, Mishra, and Titania

Powerstone tokens, as first seen on the Dominaria United planeswalker card Karn, Living Legacy, are also a major mechanic in The Brothers’ War. These artifact tokens, which tap for one colorless mana, aren’t that exciting mechanically, but they should play well in artifact-matters decks. Note that you can’t use their mana for just anything. You can’t use it to cast non-artifact spells, so you’ll mainly use it to pay for artifacts and for activated abilities.

MTG The Brother's War, a giant mechanical dragon.

Then there’s Unearth, another returning mechanic. This lets you bring a creature (or other permanent) from the graveyard to the battlefield. It gains haste until end of turn, but is then exiled.

The only truly new mechanic for The Brothers’ War was Prototype. An alternate way of casting cards, artifacts with Prototype can be played regularly, or cast for their cheaper, Prototype cost. If you choose the latter option, you won’t have to pay as much, but you will have to use a particular color. Your artifact will come down with all the same abilities, it just won’t be as large.

Magic: the Gathering has been through some momentous design changes since Urza and Mishra first waged war, and it’ll be intriguing to see modern design sensibilities at work on a piece of the game’s past. Planeswalker cards were a decade away when Antiquities released, and MTG vehicles were but a distant dream. However, MTG designer Gavin Verhey says The Brothers’ War has no vehicles, to keep it feeling retro.

MTG The brothers war, two warriors backed by war machines, screaming as they charge into battle

The Brothers’ War Story

The Brothers’ War’s story is a retelling of a pivotal moment in Magic’s past, but it was also relevant to the contemporary plot. Story articles for The Brothers’ War began to appear on the Magic website from October 20. There are five main stories set in the past, covering the events of the war. Then there are five side stories covering the present day, leading up to Phyrexia: All Will Be One.

How does The Brothers’ War set link to the Phyrexian storyline that started in Dominaria United? Well it turns out Teferi, with the help of Saheeli, was travelling back in time to view the events of the past. Both of these characters have planeswalker cards in the set.

As was said on the Wizards Presents 2022 stream: “the fate of the future might be rooted in the past”. Specifically, the modern planeswalkers were hoping to figure out how to activate the Golgothian Sylex, the ultimate superweapon that could end the Phyrexian threat.

Many, many cards in The Brothers’ War represent Urza and Mishra’s robotic forces, the former bulky and unstoppable in appearance, the latter sleek and lethal. But the battle, while a central part of The Brothers’ War, wasn’t the only thing shown off. Instead, Wizards decided to split the story of The Brothers’ War into three arcs, to show the origins, climax, and aftermath of the conflict.

The main factions in The Brothers’ War were forces led by the two brothers. They weren’t just playing soldiers with robots; Urza controlled the coastal kingdom of Yotia, and Mishra the desert empire of Fallaji.

Neither faction had really been fleshed out much before, however, always playing second fiddle to the artifacts – relics left over from a fallen kingdom called the Thran Empire. There’s also a third faction in The Brothers’ War, the island of Argoth. This forest of elves and druids, led by Titania, is where most of the green cards in the set come in.

Other characters in the set include artificers Ashnod and Tawnos, star-crossed lovers who fight for opposing sides, but come together in the final battle on Argoth and give Urza the Sylex.

While the focus was on the mighty mechs, a few Phyrexian characters appeared in The Brothers’ War set, to keep us ready for Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Most notable was Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor, a card for the Phyrexian demon Gix. This fella was pulling strings behind the scenes and slowly corrupting Mishra, whose compleated Phyrexian form we’ve also seen.

The Brothers’ War Commander

There were also two Commander decks released alongside The Brothers’ War main set: Mishra’s Burnished Banner, and Urza’s Iron Alliance. Each features one of the two brothers at its helm, with a bunch of EDH-only cards.

To celebrate the fact that The Brothers’ War revisits a piece of MTG history, Wizards of the Coast printed each deck in its retro frame, with the old border and font.Magic the Gathering the brothers' war commander cards with old framesThe full Commander decks were revealed by The Command Zone at Magic 30, on Friday October 28. They were released alongside the global launch of the set, on November 18.

The two decks both have heavy artifact themes. Urza’s Iron Alliance relies on creating a ton of little artifact creatures, and has many cards that reward you for going  wide. Mishra’s Burnished Banner, meanwhile, wants you to get serious value out of sacrificing artifacts, then bring them out of the graveyard, only to sacrifice them all over again.

Overall, The Brothers’ War Commander decks are unusually strong. The Urza one made our top MTG Commander precons list, and the Mishra one packs a punch as well.