These Brothers’ War MTG Cards Could Shake Up Pauper

The Brothers’ War is an interesting set when it comes to Pauper. There is plenty of raw power in the file – just look at Overwhelming Remorse – but it’s more than just clearly strong cards. The Brothers’ War builds on a lot of existing architecture while also introducing something entirely new that has the potential to add something to the format.


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Let’s start there – with the Powerstones. Powerstones themselves present a new piece of material to the format. Clues, Treasure, Blood and Food all have made their mark on Pauper by providing extra value stored in an artifact token. Powerstones are limited in their application by design but unlike the tokens listed, they stick around. Powerstones remind me more of a vulnerable Darksteel Citadel than a Treasure token. These generate at least two mana a turn for Affinity and even if they can’t cast Thoughtcast, they still do a great job of reducing the casting cost. But Affinity doesn’t need the help. Instead, Powerstones can do work in reducing the cost of otherwise expensive activated abilities. There have been plenty of expensive abilities printed into Pauper recently – Floodhound and Lantern of Revealing – that have found themselves on the wrong side of playable because of the cost. Powerstones can help make these cards more palatable.

Argothian OpportunistStern Lesson

And then there’s the material itself. Powerstones can do their job and stick around and provide prime fodder for cards like Deadly Dispute and Makeshift Munitions or a card like Kuldotha Rebirth. All of this together means that at the end of the day, Argothian Opportunist and Stern Lesson are the most likely to see play. Opportunist is a bit under rate for a creature but it comes with a pseudo-land. Stern Lesson is a perfectly serviceable draw spell that produces a Powerstone, which could be more than enough to push it into the realm of playable.


Loran's EscapeMilitary Discipline

It feels like every set Heroic gets a new tool or two. The white deck pairs cheap combat tricks with Akroan Skyguard and Lagonna-Band Trailblazer to present hard to answer threats. The Brothers’ War gives the archetype both Loran’s Escape and Military Discipline. Loran’s Escape is another Gods Willing variant that can save a creature but lacks the ability to push through damage. Military Discipline can help you win a combat while also providing an additional point of power, but blocking rarely comes up in Pauper. As such, these are more likely to be niche inclusions than format staples.


Recommission is an interesting one. A more expensive Unearth, you’re never going to get that large of a discount on bringing a creature back, but you do make up for the increased cost in the mode of extra power and toughness. That probably wouldn’t be enough to push this card towards being playable, but the extra flexibility of being able to regrow an artifact might be enough to earn a few slots in the 75. Pauper is familiar with the play patterns involving Ichor Wellspring and Kor Skyfisher and Recommission is simply extra copies of both. That this might also manage to put four power on to the battlefield for the low price of two mana gives it another path to playability.

Union of the Third PathWarlord's Elite

Both Union of the Third Path and Warlord’s Elite are interesting in that they might be an answer to questions that have yet to be asked. Union of the Third Path might not look impressive in a format with Weather the Storm, but it does give monarch decks another way to pad their life total in the midgame. Warlord’s Elite is a stat monster that could come down quickly and gets picked up by both Unearth and Recommission. Again, in a format with Tolarian Terror and Gurmag Angler, it might be too awkward, but it may get there if there’s a white deck that can put enough material on to the battlefield early.


Fallaji Archaeologist

I covered Fallaji Archaeologist here and my opinion hasn’t changed much. The card still looks like a powerful enabler for Dimir Terror and could do a lot of work to power up other graveyard based archetypes. The Brothers’ War is filled with cards that deal with the graveyard and the Archaeologist seems like the best of the “mill three” cycle for Pauper.

Machine Over MatterScatter RayWeakstone's Subjugation

Machine Over Matter, Scatter Ray and Weakstone’s Subjugation are all slightly different takes on existing cards. All of these have the potential to see play in decks that can support them, provided their specific niche is open. If artifact-based decks are looking for cheap bounce, Machine Over Matter makes the cut and Scatter Ray looks like it will do a lot of heavy lifting in the current format, even if it does miss high impact spells like Mwonvuli Acid-Moss. Weakstone’s Subjugation is interesting in its ability to lock down an artifact land but is probably too low impact to matter.

Mightstone's Animation

Mightstone’s Animation is worth a look. Kenku Artificer sees plenty of play as a way to turn a Bridge into a 3/3 creature with flying. Animation trades the flying for additional bulk and replaces itself instead of leaving behind a 1/1. However, if Animation gets removed, the artifact loses its creature status while something given life by the Artificer sticks around. All told, Animation might see play as the fifth copy of Kenku in a deck that goes that direction.

Combat Courier

Combat Courier is nothing special and that’s what makes it fantastic. It does a lot of little things and staples them on to an easy to resolve body. I could see this card getting time in aggressive blue decks that are looking for some additional card flow in the late game but are also worried about connecting with Ninjas.


Emergency Weld

I was not sold on Emergency Weld until LSV called it a two-mana Gravedigger on Limited Resources. Then I was sold. This is not an on-curve play but rather, in the middle stages of a grind fest, this will get back a valuable piece – creature or artifact – and have mana left over to commit it to the battlefield. It also comes with a nice piece of material to feed to Deadly Dispute – a lynchpin black card in Pauper these days. While it may never be a centerpiece, I have high hopes for this holding some decks together.

Gixian InfiltratorGixian Skullflayer

Gixian Infiltrator and Gixian Skullflayer are cards worth watching. The former is another copy of Mortician Beetle for sacrifice-based decks, except it also triggers off of Treasures and Blood. This could open the door for some Carrion Feeder decks to make waves as feeding the Feeder with Beetle and Infiltrator on the board can triple your damage output. Skullflayer is likely too slow but it is rare indeed to find a common that grows itself for no mana investment. That alone is enough for me to keep my eyes peeled for situations where the Skullflayer could make an impact.

Overwhelming Remorse

Overwhelming Remorse is a fantastic removal spell for creature-based decks. If this can be reliably cast for two mana, it will be an all star and anything lower than that is just obscene. That this exiles is what really sets it apart from other cheap removal spells. Recursion is the name of the game in Pauper thanks to Blood Fountain and this stops that value train. The biggest downside of this card is that it can’t touch Guardian of the Guildpact, but that’s what Chainer’s Edict is for.


Bitter Reunion

Tormenting Voice has seen some play from time to time and Bitter Reunion is just another take on the spell. I’m not sure what to make of this as it is stapled to an enchantment. Red is fairly good at making tokens so I could see a deck that wants this to find key cards and then turn its tokens sideways, but I also feel like those decks could just run Goblin Bushwhacker for a similar effect. Still, this is unique enough for consideration and I would not be surprised if it shows up.

Dwarven Forge-Chanter

Is ward – pay two Life enough for a Sanguinary Mage to see play? We’re about to find out thanks to Dwarven Forge-Chanter. Prowess is a far cry from the bursts of damage from Kiln Fiend and Festival Crasher, but this one is far more painful to remove. If anything this could fill the slot of the 13th and 14th creatures in Red Blitz decks that lead on Monastery Swiftspear.

Goblin Blast-Runner

Speaking of red one-drops, Goblin Blast-Runner has a lot going for it. It has two native toughness, making it a little heartier than Delver of Secrets. Add to that the number of cards in Pauper that can either sacrifice themselves or are simply fodder to be chucked to the bin and you have the makings of a potent one drop. Goblin Blast-Runner might be at its best in a red-black sacrifice deck that makes use of Body Dropper and Gixian Infiltrator as a way to apply additional damage early while eventually becoming Carrion Feeder fodder later.

Scrapwork Mutt

Scrapwork Mutt, like Combat Courier, is interesting in its simplicity. It staples a lot of small effects together in a way that makes it more than the sum of its parts. This dog is a far cry from a staple, but I can envision some decks that want to turbo cards into the graveyard and then use this to filter for some new fuel.


Boulderbranch GolemRust Goliath

The two green cards of note in this set are Boulderbranch Golem and Rust Goliath. Both of these could find homes in the Arbor Elf ramp decks as a way to make use of their mana both early and late. Rust Goliath can come down quickly to hold the line and then end the game in its full fledged mode. Boulderbranch Golem can provide a healthy buffer to your life total on the front side but also help to put the game out of reach for full price. That these can both be fetched with Fierce Empath should be noted as they give the green decks additional utility out of an otherwise limited tutor.


Energy Refractor

Considering that I covered Tocasia’s Dig Site before, there’s one card left in the set worth discussing: Energy Refractor. This is not Prophetic Prism and because of the cost in filtering mana, it’s not going to see play in midrange Kor Skyfisher decks. Instead, this gives Tron an important tool at a decently high cost. The ability to make multiple colors of mana each turn is an advantage over Prism, but it costs twice as much mana. The Urza Tron looks far less daunting when it makes three colors of mana with a colorless extra. If Tron does make a comeback, it might be able to increase the colored pips on its spells but would do so at the expense of its traditional mana advantage. To me, this puts Tron in a sweet spot where it could be viable without being dominating.

There you have it. The Brothers’ War is filled with potential and I for one an excited to see what unfolds when the set hits Magic Online in the coming days.


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