The Brothers’ War is the fourth and final Standard Magic: the Gathering set coming up in 2022. Taking place on the TCG’s premier plane of Dominaria, the set will cover 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 have ants in their pants about the upcoming 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.
The set’s release date is right around the corner, and all The Brothers’ War spoilers have now been shown. Here we’ll go over all the details you need to know about the set, from its top cards to main story beats. You can also get a quick overview of all of next year’s MTG sets in our rundown of the MTG 2023 release schedule.
The Brothers’ War Release Date
The Brothers’ War global release date is November 18. As usual there’ll be a prerelease event the week before, beginning November 11. And you can play online a few days earlier, with The Brothers’ War coming to MTG Arena on November 15. Here’s the full list of dates for the set:
Spoiler season for The Brothers’ War is over, with all 287 cards and two 99-card Commander decks revealed (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, just as the Dominaria United one did before – easing us into the world of wartorn Dominaria.
While previously, MTG sets have dropped on MTG Arena one week before physical copies become available, Wizards of the Coast had decided to make The Brothers’ War available in paper first – at prerelease events.
The Brothers’ War Spoilers
Spoiler season for The Brothers’ War has been and gone, and plenty of great cards have been shown off. 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.
We’ve also seen the other warring brother, Mishra. His Meld 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 of 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.
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 for the ‘White Weenie’ archetype, a 2/1 that can dig up low mana creatures. Card draw in white!
There’s also Surge Engine, a little construct that can get much stronger, becomes unblockable, and draws you cards. Mishra’s Foundry, meanwhile, is a land that becomes a creature, and is a reference to classic card Mishra’s Factory.
Several other spoilers were shown off in late October, 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 on the board.
Speaking of (even more) Artifacts, we’ve seen 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 coloured 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 right now: Mishra’s Bauble has been banned from Historic before the set has even come out – leading some to doubt the remaining Brothers’ War Retro Artifacts’ power levels.
The Brothers’ War Mechanics
Meld is a confirmed mechanic 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 token, which tap for one colourless 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.
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 revealed for The Brothers’ War is 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 colour. 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.
The Brothers’ War Story
The Brothers’ War’s story is a retelling of a pivotal moment in Magic’s past, but it’s also relevant to the current day 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 current Phyrexian storyline that started in Dominaria United? Well it turns out Teferi, with the help of Saheeli, is travelling back in time to view the events of the past. As we’ve seen, 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 are 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, won’t be the only thing shown off. Instead, Wizards has 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 are forces led by the two brothers. They’re not just playing soldiers with robots; Urza controls the coastal kingdom of Yotia, and Mishra the desert empire of Fallaji. Neither faction has 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 likely to be 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 is on the mighty mechs, a few Phyrexian characters will be appearing in The Brothers’ War set, to keep us ready for Phyrexia: All Will Be One. We’ve also seen Gix, Yawgmoth Praetor, a card for the Phyrexian demon Gix.This fella is pulling strings behind the scenes and slowly corrupting Mishra, whose compleated Phyrexian form we’ve also seen.
The Brothers’ War Commander
There will be 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, in brand new EDH-only cards.
To celebrate the fact that The Brothers’ War revisits a piece of MTG history, Wizards of the Coast has printed the entire deck in its retro frame, with the old border and font.The full Commander decks were revealed by The Command Zone at Magic 30, on Friday October 28. They’ll be 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.