Hello, friend, and welcome to one special article. The Brothers’ War Draft Guide is here to help you master the newest draft format and win more games.
If you’ve been reading our articles for a while, you know what to expect. If not, here’s what you can expect. First, we take a look at the mechanics and how they’ll affect this draft format. Afterward, we’ll explore the best commons for every color, as these are the cards that you’ll see the most of in every draft. Then we take a look at the archetypes in the set, and we also rank them based on their power level. We wrap everything up with some final tips about the format.
As you can see, there’s a lot to talk about, so we better get right to it. Before we start, there’s just one very important thing that we’d like to mention. The format is aggressive. That doesn’t mean that you can’t do some fun stuff, but it absolutely means that you have to affect the board quickly. Either by playing cheap creatures or cheap removal spells. If you don’t, you’ll just get run over by aggressive decks, so keep that in mind.
The Brothers’ War Mechanics
In The Brothers’ War draft, you’ll find 5 mechanics, although one of them is more of a format’s specialty than a mechanic:
- Powerstone tokens
- Retro Frame Artifacts
Let’s see what each of them is doing. We won’t go into every detail about the rules, but we’ll provide additional resources, where you can find more detailed information about each mechanic.
Prototype is a new ability, which only appears on artifact creatures. You can cast these creatures for their regular, more expensive cost, and get a bigger creature. You can also cast them for their prototype cost, which is cheaper, but you get a smaller creature. Creature will always have the same abilities.
Blitz Automaton, that you saw above, can be cast as a three mana 3/2, or a seven mana 6/4. In both cases, it’ll have haste. Prototype has some interesting interactions, and you can read all about them in our Prototype Rules article.
These cards are much better than either “half”, as they give you options, and the more options you have, the better decisions you can make in a game of Magic. Prototype cards will want you to play more lands or make use of the next mechanic that we’ll talk about.
Various cards in the set make Powerstone tokens. These are artifact tokens, that you can tap to get colorless mana. You can’t spend that mana on nonartifact spells. You can use it for casting artifact spells, activating abilities, etc.
It’s a bit hard to give value to a Powerstone token, as it’ll depend on the payoffs you have in your deck. One payoff would be expensive artifacts, such as the aforementioned prototype creatures. Another payoffs would be cards that care about artifacts entering the battlefield, or cards that want to sacrifice permanents.
If you have a hard time evaluating cards that make Powerstone tokens, you can value them at around a third card’s worth, at the start of the draft, then change that number depending on the synergies between your drafted card.
You can learn more about Powerstone token rules here.
Unearth is an ability that can appear on permanents. If you have a card with unearth in your graveyard, you can pay its unearth cost. If you do, you return it to the battlefield, and it gains haste. At the end of your turn or when it would leave the battlefield, you have to exile it.
Essentially, this mechanic gives you a second use for your creatures. It has synergies with cards that mill you. If you mill a card with unearth, you’ll be able to get some value out of it. There are cards that let you sacrifice permanents, and these also play nicely with unearth cards.
Almost every card with unearth is quite good here. You can also build a deck with unearth cards in multiple colors, and some ways to get off-color mana with cards such as Energy Refractor.
If you want, you can read more details about Unearth rules.
Meld is a keyword action, which lets you turn two meld cards on the back side into one oversized card, if you control the specific pair. For example, if you control both of these two cards…
…you can turn them over, and combine them into:
For the vast majority of the time, meld doesn’t matter at all for the Limited, as you’ll have to get both a specific mythic and a rare. However, if that does happen, you should just go for it, as it’s certainly going to be at least fun, and probably even good.
Retro Frame Artifacts
Retro Frame Artifacts are reprinted artifacts from Magic’s past. In total, there are 63 of them, and you can find all Retro Frame Artifacts here. Each pack will contain exactly one Retro Frame Artifact card. They have three rarities, uncommon, rare, and mythic rare. Each uncommon appears as frequently as a regular common.
These wary wildly in quality. You have unplayables, like Defense Grid, and powerful bombs like Wurmcoil Engine.
The existence of these means that there will be more artifacts in the set than otherwise. This gives more uses to Powerstone tokens, and improves the quality of cards that destroy enchantments. You can also expect to see more rares, as if you get a rare on the Retro Frame Artifact slot, you’ll also get a regular rare as well.
Best Commons for the Brothers’ War Draft
Now you know what mechanics exist in the set, so it’s time to check the best commons for every color. Note that we’ve counted any artifact with colored mana symbols in their rules box, as a card of that color.
1. Scrapwork Cohort
This unassuming four drop is actually amazing in this format. For four mana you get a 3/1 and a 1/1 token alongside it. For another three mana you get to unearth it, which will give you a relevant attacker for a single turn, and a token that stays behind.
It’s so easy to get value out of this, even discounting any particular synergies. Once that you take into account that it works nicely with self-mill cards, go-wide, sacrifice, and artifact-matters strategies, you see that it does so many things, that you really want to have it in all your White decks. Besides, even non-White decks can play it, particularly if they have some ways to get a single White mana during the course of the game.
2. Airlift Chaplain
We have to talk a bit more about this one, since it’s a part of an important cycle. As we’ve seen in some recent sets, efficient creatures that replace themselves, are simply good. Inspiring Overseer was so absurdly good for a common, that it wrapped the entire format around it.
This time around they made a fixed version of this card, and made it a cycle. This means that each color gets a common card that mills three cards, then you can either return a specific type among cards milled that way, or put a +1/+1 counter on that creature.
All of these cards are at least playable. For the most part, if they draw you a card, they’re good, and if they don’t, they have passable stats for the cost thanks to the +1/+1 counter. Don’t forget that if you’d need a bigger body, you don’t have to put a card in your hand. Furthermore, the self-mill is actually a form of card advantage in the format with unearth.
So, the Airlift Chaplain is a card that can give you either Plains or a cheap creature, or become a 2/2 flyer. Certainly a respectable card, and it plays very well with the best White common Scrapwork Cohort. In order to get the full value from this one, you’ll need to have multiple unearth creatures in your deck.
3. Prison Sentence
This is a great Pacifism effect. It gets a bit worse in this set, as people might have cards like Disenchant in their main deck, and there are sacrifice outlets in the format. However, the scry 2 is a big deal, in the late game, this is close to drawing a card, and it also smooths your draws early.
Ambush Paratrooper is a great two drop, and these are very important in the format. You can sometimes surprise something with it, but for the most poart it’s just a nice attacker, with a powerful ability. Buffing your whole thing is very good in Brothers’ War draft.
On the top end of your curve, you don’t want too many cards, but Aeronaut Cavalry is a fine five drop. It’s a flyer with solid stats, and sometimes the +1/+1 counter makes a big difference.
1. Mightstone’s Animation
Mightstone’s Animation is very well positioned in the Brothers’ War draft. There are just so many disposable artifacts in this set. (Powerstone tokens, and cards like Ichor Wellspring, Elswhere Flask, and Energy Refractor.)
If you’re going to at least somewhat build around this card, it’s going to be pretty close to four mana 4/4, which draws you a card. As you might imagine, this is quite a strong card.
2. Combat Courier
This is another great unearth card, and as such plays well with self-mill cards. Furthermore, it’s so cheap that you can just cast it whenever, and it’ll eventually replace itself.
It doesn’t look like it, but it isn’t the worst blocker out there. It can trade with creatures with one toughness, and against the bigger creatures it can chump block, and be sacrificed in response. This way you don’t take damage, and you get your card back.
3. Wing Commando
Three mana 2/2 flyers is below rate, while a 3/3 flyer would be amazing. Wing Commando is not something that you can stick in just about any deck, but Blue decks can will often play a lot of noncreature spells. In such deck, Wing Commando can be a fine inclusion.
Weakstone’s Subjugation is a traditional Blue removal spell. It looks like it’s going to be pretty good in this set thanks to its modality. You can also disable an unearth creature without your opponent getting value from it.
Machine Over Matter is a bounce spell that performs quite nicely in this format.
Stern Lesson is a filtering effect that we’ve seen many times before. Draw two, discard a card is usually a weak effect in Limited, as even though you’re getting card selection, you don’t get card advantage. The fact that this comes with a Powerstone token changes the card completely. You’re now getting an extra card, which is a Powerstone in play, which you can use for various things.
Fallaji Archeologist is the Blue card of the mill 3 cycle. It looks quite useful, but you won’t want to play it in a creature-heavy deck.
1. Overwhelming Remorse
This card certainly isn’t underwhelming. While five mana is clunky, you can easily reduce its cost. It’ll usually be the cheapest in the mid to late game, and that’s when you want to use a removal spell like this anyway.
You’ll often be able to cast this and play another spell in the same turn, which is a great way to gain advantage in a game of Magic.
Disfigure is very efficient. Just on its own, it kills 63 out of 154 creatures in the format. (That’s 40.9% of all creatures.) You can also use it as a combat trick to finish a bigger creature.
Disfigure moved higher in our rankings, as the format progressed. Give the aggressive nature of the Brothers’ War it’s a great way to deal with your opponents’ cheap plays, and still have enough mana to cast another spell in the same turn, which as we just mentioned, is amazing.
3. Scrapwork Rager
We’ve already mentioned that creatures that draw a card with they come into play are great, and so is Scrapwork Rager. Four mana for a 2/2 is a bit clunky, but you do get the unearth ability, which makes the card much better. In order to make it less clunky, you need to have the rest of your curve quite low.
Moment of Defiance is does a lot of work. If you manage to set it up correctly, it can even win you the game. You’ll probably want to play a single copy in your Black decks, potentially even two.
Cards that bring creatures from graveyard are often mediocre. However, Emergency Weldthis one comes with a 1/1 token, which significantly improves it. You should imagine this card as a baby Gravedigger, a card that is usually very good in Limited. Don’t forget that this card can also grab an artifact.
Revenous Gigamole is the Black card in the mill-three cycle. Its stats are somewhat mediocre, but it does get back creatures, which is the most common type in draft (besides lands).
Gix’s Caress can be useful, provided that you have use for the Powerstone token.
1. Excavation Explosion
Three mana for three damage is a nice effect, although it isn’t an instant. On the plus side, you get a Powerstone token tacked onto it. This easily makes this card the best Red common. Explosion was already a playable card without the token, and that pushes it to the top.
2. Scrapwork Mutt
This was one card that we sadly missed on our original review of the format. However, it doesn’t take too many games to see that this dog is amazing.
Since this format is aggressive, it’s just a perfect two drop. It smooths your plays in the early game, and is really amazing in the late game. The fact that it has unearth really pushes this card, as you can get card filtering when you need it.
It gives Excavation Explosion a run for its money, and might even be a better card. In any case, just pick up as many of these as you can for your Red decks. If you draw too many Mutts, you can just discard one to the other, and then bring it back with unearth when you need it.
3. Goblin Blast-Runner
Sure, this Goblin doesn’t go into every Red deck, just in the once that can enable it. However, it is absurdly easy to enable it, as there are a bunch of sacrifice cards. If you manage to get at least two of these in your deck, try to also pick up some more sacrifice outlets.
Don’t forget that even something like Evolving Winds works.
It’s been a while since we got a trick so good as Whirling Strike such a trick at common. +2/+0 is a nice buff, particularly since you also get first strike, so the zero toughness boost, doesn’t matter that much. Trample is the other keyword that pushes this over the top. It makes Whirling Strike the last play in many Brothers’ War draft games.
Unleash Shell is a bit expensive, but it deals with most creatures in the format, and the 2 damage to the opponent does add up, especially since you just removed the biggest blocker.
Penragon Strongbull has a fine stats and is problematic to block. It can also help you deal the last 3–5 points of damage, and close out the game in the right scenario. Works great with unearthed creatures.
1. Argothian Opportunist
Three mana for a 3/2 is fine. Once you add a Powerstone token to the mix, the card is much improved, especially in a deck that actively wants Powerstones, which Green decks often will. The fact that you get it when it enters the battlefield, instead of a die-trigger, is also very good.
2. Boulderbranch Golem
In some sets we’ve seen a big Green creature that gains a bunch of life, and it always performs surprisingly well. The biggest downside these cards have that hey are expensive and sometimes opponent can finish you before you could stabilize with them.
That’s not the case with Boulderbranch Golem. Of course, you’d prefer to cast it for seven mana (likely with the help of Powerstone tokens), and gain 6 life, as that’ll certainly swing the game in your favor. However, the fact that you have the option of casting it as a 3/3 for four that gains you three life is very useful. It’s certainly plan B, but it’s always great to have one when Plan A doesn’t come together.
3. Argothian Sprite
We keep talking about how this format is aggressive, and two drops are good. Argothian Sprite is a two drop with two relevant abilities. Sometimes all of your opponent’s blockers will be artifacts. In the late game, you can start pumping mana into it, making it a bigger and bigger must-deal-with threat.
Blanchwood Prowler is another card in the mill 3 cycle. Lands are the easiest hits, and Prowler will make sure that you hit your land drops, which is very important for green decks that want to cast big spells.
Gaea’s Gift gives your creature so many keywords, and +1/+1 counter, that you’re bound to find a great use for it in every game. You actively want at least one copy in every Green deck, sometimes even two.
Epic Confrontation is usually pretty good, as it gives your creature a relevant buff, and is quite cheap.
This time around, there are quite some articles worth mentioning. We’ve included the Retro Frame uncommons here, as each single one of them will appear approximately as often as a regular common would.
1. Energy Refractor
There sin’t that many color-fixing in the set, which improves the quality of Energy Refractor. Furthermore, it has artifact synergies, and with noncreature spell synergies. Finally, it can turn two mana from Powerstone tokens into one mana that you can use for nonartifact spells as well.
This artifact simply does so much in so many shells, that you’ll want to pick it up relatively highly, before other players do. At the beginning of the format, it’ll probably go around late, but eventually players will figure this out.
2. Aeronaut’s Wings
This equipment has preformed quite well. You just want the one copy, but the first one is very good. It makes basically any creature of yours into something that your opponent has to deal with eventually.
3. Chromatic Star
If you draft Chromatic Star, then you should put it into your deck. You shouldn’t pick it highly over actually strong cards. However, when you’re presented with a choice of a card that would be around the 15th best card in your deck, and Chromatic Star, you should go with Star.
The reason is that it basically reduces your deck size. Why would you want this? For the same reason that you don’t want to play more than 40 cards. The power level of the cards in your deck isn’t flat. Some cards are better than the others. With fewer cards in your deck, the higher the chances of drawing your bomb.
That’s why it’s nice to include Chromatic Star in your deck – not to mention the various artifact and sacrifice synergies. However, if you do get them in multiples, do not forget to remove a land or possibly even two. One downside the card has is that it does make your mulligans a bit worse.
It’s a bit weird mentioning Evolving Winds here, but it’s the only land that fixes your mana, outside rare slots. You’ll want to play it in your two color decks, even without splashing. Once you do splash, (or for some unreasonable reason decide to play three colors) you’ll actively want to pick one or two up. Don’t forget that it also works with some sacrifice-matters cards.
Mishra’s Bauble can be good, but you’ll need some other synergies with it to make it worth your while. You might compare it with Chromatic Star, but the delayed draw is a very big deal in the late game.
Here’s one dishonorable mention. Swiftfoot Boots is very popular in commander, and it looks amazing for Limited too. However, you should have a good reason to include it into your deck. The best one is that you have multiple creatures that you really want to keep on board. If you’re playing just a random aggro deck, Boots probably aren’t that great there, as you’d prefer to simply have another creature.
The Brothers’ War Draft Archetypes
While the archetypes in The Brothers’ War draft have clearly defined themes, they don’t have that strong of a support for them. For example, in Dominaria United, each archetype was trying to do its specific thing. This isn’t the case here, at least not with most archetypes.
The common theme among all these archetypes is that most of them want to be aggressive, or want to have something to do in the early turns.
Anyway, let’s take a look, and we’ll explore what we mean by then on an archetype per archetype basis.
Blue-White’s focus is Soldier tribal. However, there aren’t that many amazing payoffs for the archetype. Yotian Tactician is certainly the best non-rare payoff. If you get multiple copies of it, then you should go all-in on building a dedicated Soldier tribal deck. Otherwise, you’re better off just picking good White and Blue cards, and get some occasional Soldier synergies.
Soldiers with flying are the ones that benefit from various buffs the most. There are three such creatures at common, plus Air Marshal, which can give flying to the Soldiers, so that’s something that might come up often enough.
Finally, if you’re playing cards that make Solider tokens, don’t forget that they are artifacts, so they count towards your artifact synergies.
Black-White: Cheap Creatures
Here’s another unexpected theme. White-Black focuses on creatures with mana value 3 or less. It also has some graveyard synergies.
Since the format is aggressive, you already want to be playing cheap creatures anyway, so you don’t need to try particularly hard to enable cards like Recruitment Officer and Hero of the Dunes, both of which are very good.
As far as the graveyard shenanigans go, you can safely ignore them. Your creatures will naturally get in graveyard, when they trade in combat, so your Hero of the Dunes will have a target, and you don’t need to somehow enable it.
This means that you can just play a good ol’ midrange deck with a low curve, and you’ll do fine.
Artifacts Midrange Aggro
Green-White is a midrange deck with lots of synergies with artifacts. The gold uncommon, Yotian Dissident looks like an amazing payoff for this strategy. And there are also others, such as:
- Sarinth Steelseeker, which will help you find your land drops
- Phalany Vanguard, which is a nice aggressive two drop
- Thopther Architect, which can take your army to the skies
- Great Desert Prospector, can give you a bunch of Powerstones
However, as it turns out, you can safely ignore the artifacts synergies, and just go for an aggressive deck, with some incidental artifact-matters payoffs. The payoffs just aren’t good enough to build heavily around them, and the format is too aggressive to be messing around with something like Great Desert Prospector.
Red-White: Aggro Artifacts
Red-White is, as usual, the dedicated aggressive deck. This time, the specialty is that it also cares about artifacts entering the battlefield, so it’s somewhat similar to the Green-White archetype, that we’ve just talked about.
You have cards that make Powerstones, there’s Horned Stoneseeker, Excavation Explosion and Sibling Rivalry.
Unearth cards will also work nicely in this archetype. They are artifacts, so they can trigger your card that care about them, and they are great disposable attackers to put pressure on your opponent.
With this deck you probably want a low mana curve, so pick your expensive cards carefully, there are only so many slots that you can dedicate to them.
Blue-Black: Draw Second Card
Blue-Black’s theme in The Brothers’ War draft is going to be drawing a second card. This color pair is going to be a bit less controlling than usual, instead opting for a tempo game plan.
As we said before, the themes aren’t that supported or forced in this format. We also can see this here, as this archetype only gets 6 payoffs:
- Lat-Nam Adept – common, which is a bit clunky as a four mana 3/3
- Trench Stalker – common, which can swing the game in your favor, although it costs five mana
- Thopter Mechanic – a cheap good uncommon
- Evangel of Synthesis – gold uncommon, both enabler and payoff, it can be a good attacker
- Gurgling Anointer – another uncommon, probably the best payoff for this theme
- Gixian Puppeteer – amazing rare for this archetype
You’ll probably want multiples of either Evangel of Synthesis or Gurgling Anointer in order to heavily pursue this theme. If you’re lucky, Gixian Puppeteer does perform amazingly in this shell.
You can trigger these cards each turn. However, it’s going to be easier to trigger them on your own turn. You already draw one card per turn, so you only need to draw one more. In the opponents’ turn, you’ll have to draw two cards.
So, your enablers are all cards that draw a card. Note that the common cycle which mills three, then returns a card to your hand doesn’t count as drawing a card.
You’ll probably want cards like Curate, Energy Refractor, and Scrapwork Rager. There are ways to get these effects in your opponents’ turn, with cards like Stern Lesson and Flow of Knowledge.
However, the deck rarely comes together, and it isn’t one of the stronger archetypes in this format. Drawing cards is better in slower formats, where you have time to deploy them. Furthermore, all the other colors also get a lot of card advantage – in the form of unearth creatures, which is another strike against this archetype.
Blue-Black is back with its usual shtick – caring about noncreature spells. We call the archetype prowess, although there are only three cards with this mechanic. However, the deck does play out in a typical prowess fashion. Play good cheap attackers, and support them with combat tricks, and bounce spells.
Both Monastery Swiftspear and Wing Commando work nicely in this shell, while the third prowess creature, Dwarven Forge-Chanter is somewhat weaker. Levitating Statue is at its best in this shell.
Your best payoff is very likely Third Path Iconoclast, which also triggers from noncreature spells, and it gives you an army of Soldiers, providing the deck with another dimension.
Whirling Strike is going to be a key combat trick here. When you pair it with prowess creatures, it’s going to cause a lot of problems for your opponents.
Machine Over Matter is a cheap bounce spell, which is going to feel at home in this archetype. Involuntary Cooldown remove two blockers for three attacks, which should be enough for you to win the game with the right setup.
Cheap spells that replace themselves, are also useful, so stuff like Curate and Energy Refractor also work here. You might even be able to take advantage of some Blue cards that trigger when you draw a second card in a turn.
The Right Mix
The most problematic part with a deck like this is finding the right mix of creatures vs noncreatures, especially for newer players. It’s hard to give exact numbers, as things will change from draft to draft.
However, the traditional recommendations (17 creatures, 6 noncreature spells, 17 lands) won’t work here. Instead, you should probably aim for something like:
- 10-15 creatures
- 8-13 noncreature spells
- 15-17 lands
Of course, you should pack everything into a 40-card deck. You can afford lower land count if you have cheap spells that replace themselves, like Curate or Energy Refractor.
Cards that can fit both creature and noncreature role can help you greatly with finding the right mix. One such example would be Mishra’s Onslaught. Furthermore, Third Path Iconoclast kinda turns your noncreature spells into creatures.
Blue-Green: Powerstone Ramp
Blue-Green color pair is always trying to do something sweet, and this time it’s no different. This archetype uses Powerstones in order to ramp into big prototype cards.
Here are some cards that you can use to make Powerstones:
Basically, every prototype card in Green and Blue is a payoff for this deck. If you’re feeling lucky, you can also play off color prototype cards, and either splash for them, or just plan to cast them for their expensive cost.
The problem with this type of deck is often that it has weak removal. Your best options this time around are Epic Confrontation and Weakstone’s Subjugation, neither of which is amazing. You want to play every Boulderbranch Golem you can get your hands on, as it’s the perfect card to stabilize with, and it excels in this archetype.
However, in a world where everyone is attacking, getting Powerstones in order to use them in the late game just isn’t the winning strategy, and this is probably the worst archetype in the Brothers’ War draft.
Black-Red: Sacrifice Aggro
Black-Red archetype is an aggressive deck first, with a sacrifice subtheme, which can do really well in the Brothers’ War draft.
This is the deck that takes the most advantage of Goblin Blast-Runner with its many sacrifice outlets. One of the best ones is certainly Junkyard Genius, which can win you lots of games. Many of the Retro Frame artifacts will also shine here. Ichor Wellspring, for example, will perform amazingly. You’ll round the deck with good sacrifice effects, (particularly Penregon Strongbull), aggressive cards, and some combat tricks.
Sibling Rivalry can perform well in both versions of the deck, as it can act as an actual removal spell, combined with a sacrifice outlet.
Creatures in Graveyard Midrange
Black-Green is once again back at it with its graveyard shenanigans. However, as with many of the archetypes here, you’ll do best to just ignore that, and go for a regular aggressively-slanted midrange deck.
There really isn’t much else to say about this archetype. If you’re getting passed good Black and Green cards in the draft, you end up with this archetype. It’s not a bad one by any means, but you don’t need to push for anything fancy with it. You’re also the deck that can cast Skyfish Spider without any splashing, which is great.
Similarly to Black-Green, Red-Green color pair is also best described as simply midrange.
Just take a look at Arbalest Engineers, the gold uncommon for this color pair. It’s certainly a good and versatile card, but it doesn’t really pull you in one specific direction.
So pick enough good cards, have a good curve, and you should probably do fine.
The Brothers’ War Draft Guide: Power Rankings
It’s time for the power rankings. These are mostly tiebreakers, as all the colors are playable in the Brothers’ War draft.
As far as the colors go, these rankings almost don’t matter. The best two colors might be White and Red, but the other three are closely behind.
Best Archetypes in The Brothers’ War Draft
- Red-White: Aggro Artifacts
- Blue-White: Soldiers
- Blue-Red: Prowess
- Green-White: Aggro
- Black-Red: Sacrifice Aggro
- Red-Green: Midrange
- Black-Green: Midrange
- Black-White: Small Creatures
- Blue-Black: Draw Second Card
- Blue-Green: Powerstone Ramp
To the surprise of no one, the aggressive decks are on the top. We feel like Red-White, and Blue-White are a notch above everything else, but not by much. Then all the decks from third to eight are somewhat equally viable. Finally, there’s Blue-Black which really isn’t great, and Blue-Green, which is often just bad.
Additional Tips for The Brothers’ War Draft
Before we wrap up, here are some final tips that might help you in The Brothers’ War draft.
If you didn’t pick it up by now, the format is fast! So you should either be aggressive (we’d recommend this option if you’re just starting with the format), or you should be prepared for the aggressive decks.
You can do so by playing cheap removal, and some cards that will allow you to regain some lost life and stabilize. A couple of examples would be Boulderbranch Golem and Moment of Defiance.
Traditional Brothers’ War Tips
Here are some tips if you’re planning to do the fifth Dechatlon event.
How do the things change if you’re playing the Brothers’ War draft as a best-of-three format? Well, for the most part, not that much. Most of the decks are still pretty much aggressive, and you need to be prepared for that.
However, you can get a lot of edge with sideboarding, perhaps even more than in some other formats.
Cards like Disenchant, and Shoot Down are the prime examples of sideboard cards. However, in this format you might play them in your main deck, especially the two mana version.
During the sideboarding, you should think about how many good targets has your opponent presented. If there weren’t many, you should sideboard it out. If there were a lot of them, consider boarding them in. That’s particularly true if you saw something that can otherwise be really hard to beat, like Draconic Destiny.
Board Against Opponent’s Answers
Let’s say that in game two, your opponent played two copies of Disenchant. In that case, you might consider boarding out your cards that are weakest against it. Sometimes you’ll be able to reconfigure your deck in a way, that they’ll end up with two blank – or at least very bad – cards in their deck.
Board Bad Cards Out
Sometimes you feel like there’s no particularly good card to board in. In that case, you should still think about if there are cards that are bad in the specific matchup.
For example, you played Ashnod’s Harvester, which is pretty good. Your opponent, however, had a couple of Yotian Medics. This card completely blanks your Harvester, so you should board it out and bring in something like Tocasia’s Outlet. It might be mediocre, but at least it’ll be able to attack into these pesky 1/4s.
Change Gears if Necessary
If your opponent has a bomb that you can’t very hardly beat, then you should sideboard into a more aggressive deck. Cut some of your more expensive stuff for a random two drop or a combat trick. Perhaps you might surprise them with something like Tawnos’s Tinkering.
On the other hand, if you have the better late game, then you should make sure that you reach it. Keep your expensive cards that allow you to win the late game, but the rest of your cards should work only towards the goal of getting you there.
Draft With Sideboarding in Mind
Of course, if you want to be able to do some of these tricks, you’ll have to make sure that you actually drafted the cards that will allow you to do so. So during the draft, you should also think about cards that you’ll be sideboarding in.
For example, even if you aren’t the biggest fan of Aeronaut’s Wings, you might need it in a specific matchup. That’s why you should pick it up eventually.
You can find some more general advice in our Traditional Draft guide.
How Many Lands to Play in The Brothers’ War Draft?
You can’t really mess things up if you do decide to go with classic 17 lands, and call it a day. However, you can often cut that number down to 15 or 16.
One reason for doing so would be if you have lots of cheap cards that draw you a card, (like Energy Refractor, Chromatic Star, and Ichor Wellspring). The reason is that these cards don’t do much on their own, and you could dilute your land vs meaningful spells ration because of them.
The other reason would be if you have an aggressive deck with low curve. However, in that shell, you might play some amount of Scrapwork Mutts. In that case, you don’t need to cut your lands, as you’ll be able to filter them anyway.
Whenever you start playing a new format, it’s useful to check the format for wraths (cards that card destroy all creatures). This way, you can recognize when your opponent isn’t committing any meaningful creatures on the board, and you can try to play around a particular card. Or, if you know that there isn’t a wrath in their colors, you just play out all of your creatures without worrying.
The closest thing we have to an actual wrath is Urza’s Sylex. You might expect it, unless your opponent plays seven mana in a turn.
Then there’s Brotherhood’s End which deal three damage to each creature and each planeswalker. It can be played post combat, to finish off big blockers. Gruesome Realization gives all creatures -1/-1, and also has a draw spell mode.
Finally, Fade from History destroys all artifacts and enchantments, and gives injured parties a Bear token for their troubles.
There are a few cards that open possibilities for additional archetypes. They don’t seem that powerful, but we might be wrong about this. If you’re looking to do something different in this format, you might want to try some of the following options.
Mono Colored Decks
There’s a cycle of cards that benefit from your deck being all in one color, or mainly in one color, and with just a light splash.
None of these are truly amazing, but if you somehow end up in the mostly monocolored decks, they are nice rewards. Playing a mono Black deck with a couple of Corrupts could be fun. One combo with it is to pair it with Elsewhere Flask.
These three creatures get better if you have all of them on the battlefield. Assembling all of them can be a challenge, even if you have multiples of them. When you do assemble all of them, they don’t win you a game, or gain an insane advantage. They just become strong cards.
This probably won’t be the archetype to win you many games, but it’s going to be fun to try if you’re doing a ton of Brothers’ War drafts.
Explore More Brothers’ War!
And that’s it! You’ve reached the end of our Brothers’ War Draft Guide. Now you’ve learned enough about the format, that you are prepared to battle, and win lots of games. If you’re planning on organizing a draft for your play group, you can get a Brothers’ War Draft booster box on Amazon.
Furthermore, you can explore all the cards in this set on our Brothers’ War spoilers page. This set comes with many exciting cards, including MTG Transformer cards, although these won’t be available in Draft boosters.
As we mentioned before, we’ll probably do an update to this article in a couple of weeks, when we play more games with the set. If you don’t want to miss it, you can follow us on Facebook or Instagram. There we post when we publish new interesting articles, and you’ll also find reminders for MTG Arena codes for free Packs. Speaking of which, you can find all currently available MTGA codes here.
Anyway, that’s it for today. Until next time, have fun, and win many Brothers’ War drafts.