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MTG The Brothers’ War Retro Artifacts look weaker than expected

A pre-emptive ban announcement for MTG The Brothers' War contained a telling line that suggests the set's Retro Artifacts may be less powerful than fans' hope

MTG the brothers war retro artifacts - A man in cool mechanical armor holding a glowing powerstone in a huge metal claw.

A recent MTG ban announcement suggests the Retro Artifacts sprinkled throughout MTG The Brothers’ War packs may not be as powerful as players had hoped.

Upcoming Magic: The Gathering set The Brothers’ War is not even out yet, but one of its cards has already been banned. Mishra’s Bauble, a zero mana artifact first printed in Coldsnap in 2006, is preemptively banned in MTG Arena’s Historic format.

This isn’t a regular card from the set, but one of the Retro Artifacts – 63 non-Standard legal reprints slipped into The Brothers’ War packs. These do for artifacts what Strixhaven’s Mystical Archive did for spells, providing reprints of powerful cards that players can snap up for other formats like Modern and Commander, to get a little slice of MTG history.

MTG the brothers war retro artifacts - the artifact card Mishra's bauble

At least that’s the idea, but alongside Mishra’s Bauble’s banning, there’s reason to believe the remaining Retro Artifacts may lack some of the oomph that Strixhaven’s spells had.

The bauble ban was announced on October 30, via the MTG Arena Twitter account, which said: “this Retro Artifact card won’t be legal in Historic. The rest will, though! We’ll be clarifying why in a later article.”

We don’t really have to wait for that clarification. There’s one immediately obvious reason to ban the bauble, and his name is Lurrus of the Dream-Den. An exceptionally problematic MTG Companion, who’s earned a spot on the MTG banlist in half a dozen places, Lurrus could fetch Mishra’s Bauble from the graveyard time and time again, turning it into a nifty value engine.

MTG the brothers war retro artifacts -a sketchbook illustration of a mechanoid worm creature.

The more interesting part of this statement is the suggestion that the bauble will be the only Brothers’ War Retro Artifact card to receive a preemptive ban. Unless Wizards of the Coast is about to shakeup Historic like never before, that implies the power level of the remaining few dozens yet to be spoiled is likely to be somewhat muted.

Compare this to the Strixhaven set, and it’s easy to see the difference. Seven cards from the Mystical Archive got preemptively banned in Historic and Historic Brawl, and several more were axed later on. This probably takes some of the very best MTG artifacts off the table, as you’d expect them to be too format-warping to drop right into Historic.

MTG the brothers war retro artifacts -a sketchbook illustration of mechanical wings

On a more positive note – this does mean that Historic players will get to enjoy 62 new artifacts from MTG history (minus those that were already on Arena). And there are already some corkers. Ashnod’s Altar in particular raises a few eyebrows, while Swiftfoot Boots will be a must-include in many Historic Brawl decks.

Even if the power level isn’t quite at the top level, this huge influx of cards to the format is bound to enable some over-the-top MTG Arena decks.