The Brothers' War Set Review - Blue

(One with the Multiverse | Art by Liiga Smilshkalne)

White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Gold I | Gold II | Artifacts | LandscEDH

Oh, Brother

Hello, everyone! It’s your friendly neighborhood Jesguy here, and welcome to The Brothers' War Blue Set Review!

We've got a bevy of beautiful blue cards to go over today, along with quite a number of artifacts, so let's get digging and see what goodies we can unearth!


Mythics and Rares


Arcane Proxy

At first, I was pretty high on Arcane Proxy. An artifact Snapcaster Mage that's a bit more narrow but that lets you cast spells for free is pretty cool, even if it doesn't have flash, but then I reread it and saw four dreaded words:

This limit's Arcane Proxy's usability a lot. No Blink Shenanigans, no Reanimating fun-stuffs, nothing. It's still a decent card, especially since it's an artifact, but its use cases are much more narrow after already being quite narrow.

The best home for this seems to be a deck like Emry, Lurker of the Loch, where you'll have a bunch of Sellf-Mill cards, a plethora of graveyard targets, and a commander who can cast Arcane Proxy from the 'yard.

It isn't an awful inclusion in Artifact decks (I'm sure Breya, Etherium Shaper and Urza, Lord Protector will be able to utilize it just fine), but I can't see this seeing much play outside of those style of decks, except for maybe something like Sevinne, the Chronoclasm.

One with the Multiverse

Eight mana is a hefty cost, but look at it! Whew!

One with the Multiverse is like an Omniscience variant. While the latter is often paired with Enter the Infinite to draw one's deck and win on the spot, there are times where someone plays Omniscience, runs out of cards in their hand, or has a key spell countered, and then just whiffs. They're the stuck with an enchantment that makes them the archenemy, but nothing to do with it. It doesn't happen often, but I have seen it happen more times than I'd care to admit.

One with the Multiverse trades the instant "I win" potential for a ton of value over time. You get a Future Sight along with a single free spell on each of your turns. That's a good amount of card advantage and a solid way to cheat out cards. Don't get me wrong, it's still in incredibly mana-intensive spell, but at least you're getting a great effect from it.

I'm always happy to see diversity in powerful, endgame spells, and One with the Multiverse helps do that handily. I'd think I'd have much more fun playing with this than Omniscience. I'm sure topdeck manipulation decks like Yennett, Cryptic Sovereign are pleased, even if this one has an even mana value.

Surge Engine

I didn't know that we needed another Figure of Destiny variant so soon after the last one but you won't see me complaining about it!

Right off the bat, this seems like a card aimed for 60-card formats. It's cheap, aggressive, and scales really well in terms of how 1-on-1 games progress. For us in EDH though, it's a big, cheap blocker that can eventually draw you a bunch of cards. This certainly isn't bad, but Artifact decks already have plenty of ways to accrue card advantage, such as Ichor Wellspring, Vedalken Archmage, and stuff like that. There are very few times where these kinds of decks are hurting for cards in their hand.

That said, if you're in an artifact deck that likes to beat down with artifact creatures, such as Urza, Chief Artificer, or a deck that uses Bident of Thassa effects proficiently, like Alela, Artful Provocateur, then you might indeed be in the market for an ever-growing, unblockable creature that will net you a bunch of cards later!

Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim

Ah! A planeswalker that gains loyalty from you drawing cards. I'm sure that's fine.

Alright, so like a lot of cards, Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim is kinda busted with Wheels. Drawing lots of cards gets you lots of loyalty, but what exactly do you get for your efforts? Well, a single-target, one-sided Cyclonic Rift, I guess?

Normally I don't judge 'walkers by their ultimates, but Teferi's is so easy to get to that I can't help but try and crack that ability first. It's nice, and it's a great way to try and take a single player out of the game, but I'm not sure if Wheels decks (where this will be most effective) need that. Between effects like Nekusar, the Mindrazer, The Locust God, and Queza, Augur of Agonies, this style of deck doesn't need extra cards that only kinda win the game, since they have cards that actually do win the game.

If I want to wipe the board, I want to be able to do it at instant speed and on my own terms, rather than after I have to wheel a bunch, and only during my main phase!

Looking at his other abilities, it's nice that Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim can draw you a card the turn he comes down, but that's not really worth five mana. Being able to make a token that grows is also nice, but what decks need a dorky 2/2 with no evasion? Teferi's most enticing mode is his ult, and even that is questionable at best. It makes a lot of cards to get to, and then it only hits a single player. Sure, it's good late game when it's down to a 1-on-1, or as a "Blue Shell" to aim at the person most in the lead, but either way, I don't find any of these abilities to be that impressive.

I don't think Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim is a bad card, I just don't know if he is good enough to warrant including in your average lists. The decks where he'd succeed the most are the decks that don't actually need him.

Drafna, Founder of Lat-Nam

Drafna, Founder of Lat-Nam is another neat, not broken, mono-blue artifact commander, which is always welcome!

Sure, he can go infinite with Ugin's Nexus if you know how to stack your triggers and hold priority, but I mean, if that's the worst he can do, he's pretty tame in my opinion.

I'm much more interested in the fun, durdly things he's able to do, like bouncing and copying Mycosynth Wellspring and Solemn Simulacrum. That's all I ever want to do in my life. Sure, he also has mean things you can do, like bouncing Static Orb or Winter Orb at the end of your opponent's turn so you can untap and they can't, but I don't think he's a great Stax commander compared to the other options already available.

Regardless of his applications at the head of a deck, Drafna, Founder of Lat-Nam is a great value piece in any Arifact deck that has plenty of juicy targets to bounce and copy. I expect him to pop up quite often, especially in Breya, Etherium Shaper lists.

Geology Enthusiast

Ah, blue's Set Booster card: Geology Enthusiast!

This card is neat. I'm pretty high on Powerstone tokens overall, so having a creature that can make one on your end step and that also gives you a solid mana sink is exactly what I want. Six mana is a lot, but if you're in a deck or color that's making a lot of Powerstones, or is looking for a place to put its mana, you could do a lot worse than Geology Enthusiast. Seems like a homerun for most Artifact decks too!

Hurkyl's Final Meditation

I keep seeing people saying "Wow! Look! A fixed Cyclonic Rift!" I don't know if you read the card, but this one is ten mana, which doesn't make it fixed, it makes it cumbersome and borderline unplayable. 😒

I know what you're going to say: "But Angelo! This is EDH! 10 mana isn't that hard to get to! You're overselling how expensive it is! It also only costs 10 mana if you don't play it on your turn!"

No.

Stop it.

10 mana is a metric heck ton for non-Simic decks, and you will never want to cast this on your turn. This is awful to cast on your turn. since it bounces your own things!

I would rather play Evacuation, Rain of Tears, Perplexing Test, Engulf the Shore, and Consuming Tide (in that order), if I was ever looking for another Cyclonic Rift variant.

Being able to end the turn is neat, sure, but not for ten mana! I'm out on Hurkyl's Final Meditation. If you really wanna play it, have a blast, but this is not the kind of expensive card that I'm looking to play. Too much squeeze for not enough juice.

Hurkyl, Master Wizard

Man, that's a lot of words to say "draw an extra card or two at the end of your turn".

Hurkyl, Master Wizard is fine. She's a solid card for Spellslinger decks or other decks that plan on casting a small amount of varying noncreature spells, particularly on your own turn. You can do some cool things with her by overlapping card types, but this is best utilized in a multicolored deck as opposed to a mono-blue one. She'll potentially let you chain spells together, but there's still quite a bit of random chance at play as well. Sometimes you just won't flip over the type or types or cards you need.

I'm quite low on Hurkyl, Master Wizard. She's certainly a cool card, but she forces you to do a lot of work for not a lot of payoff. There are easier ways to draw cards.

Skystrike Officer

So, uh, not to be that guy, but, uh....

There are NO Soldier commanders listed on EDHREC with blue in their color identity.

Does that mean this card is bad? Of course not! Does this card have a home though aside from the brand new and (relatively) unsupported Harbin, Vanguard Aviator? Of course not!

A flier that makes a body and can draw cards is a great payoff for blue Soldiers decks, we just don't really have any of those yet. When we do, though, this will be an excellent addition to them!

Terisian Mindbreaker

Wait: seven-mana creature that mills half an opponent's library? Where have I seen this before? Seems fishy to me. 🤔

Joking aside, Fleet Swallower, is in over 10,000 decks, which bodes well for Terisian Mindbreaker. People love milling, especially when it's milling huge swaths of their opponents' libraries. My issue with Fleet Swallower was that I was always afraid I'd never be able to swing with it and get value. With Mindbreaker, I never have to worry about that. Unearth will basically guarantee at least a single, massive milling attack, so that's nice!

Slap this fella in your Bruvac the Grandiloquent decks, and go to town!

The Temporal Anchor

Whether it's Torrential Gearhulk, The Magic Mirror, or Cyberdrive Awakener, I'm a sucker for big blue artifacts, and The Temporal Anchor is no exception.

Bottom line: The Temporal Anchor draws you two additional cards a turn. Yes, you can only use them on your turn, but you can use them on any of you turns, unlike red's impulsive draw. More often than not, unless you have a Counterspell or other instant-speed interaction you want in your hand, you'll be bottoming two cards each turn in order to "draw" them.

If you scry a lot, or just want additional card advantage, I'd give this a spin. While it won't do anything in an Eligeth, Crossroads Augur deck if he's on the field, I think it's a solid backup to include in case the commander tax gets too pricey!

I might be too high on this card, but I don't mind. It's big, splashy, and draws cards. What's not to love?

Urza's Command

I'm always down for a blue command, but I won't lie, it's hard not to compare this one to the the last one.

I know there's no way this was ever going to be close to the power of Cryptic Command, but man, I'm just unimpressed with this and think it's a bit lacking, especially for your average blue deck.

In my opinion, the best two modes are the middle two: make a Powerstone and a Karnstruct. Even then, though, is that worth the four-mana investment? Even at instant speed? The extra modality is nice, but it just does not feel good. I think only a Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer deck will be excited about this easy way to make a good token to mulitply.

I know I often point to it, but my colleague Dana wrote a great article last year about modal cards, and when they don't justify their premium cost, and I think this is a prime example of the kind of card he was taking about. If you're an Artifact deck, I'm sure this can be of some use to you. Otherwise, I wouldn't bother.


Uncommons and Commons


Urza, Powerstone Prodigy

This is a curious little card, and one of the five Urza cards in the set. Really making up for lost time, huh WotC?

While this isn't the most busted Urza card printed, I think it's still a solid mono-blue commander. You won't be straying from the path of Artifacts, but there aren't many mono-blue artifact commanders that can ramp you this much while also not making you a kill-on-sight threat. *Stares at Urza, Lord High Artificer*

There are plenty of ways to play around with this Urza that involve discarding cards and artifacts. If the goal is to try and discard an artifact a turn, you can get extra value from them with cards like Currency Converter, Containment Construct, and Bag of Holding. Key to the City gives you a discard outlet on your turn that can make Urza unblockable, which then allows him to tap on someone else's turn, or you can use Helm of the Host to perform a Parallel Lives impression to get double or triple the amount of Powerstones each time you discard. Mind Over Matter is, well, busted, but I mean, Urza is in the art, so I can make an exception for this one!

There are plenty of big ol' artifacts to ramp into, and plenty of cards with powerful activated abilities, so you'll have plenty of options to sink your mana into.

Regardless of this applications at the head of the 99, Urza, Powerstone Prodigy is a shoo-in for any Shorikai, Genesis Engine deck. Being able to incidentally create Powerstones to help pay for other artifacts in the deck, or for Shorikai's own commander tax is awesome, and having two power to help Crew it is a nice plus too!

While this version of Urza is probably the least flashy of all this cards, I still think that there is a lot of potential here for a fun commander, you just need to work for it a bit. Reminds me of EDH back in 2013.

Lightning Round!

  • Defabricate is a nice modal little counterspell. When it can't hit artifacts or enchantments, it's nabbing activated and triggered abilities, and vice versa. I still have a few counters I'd run above it (Negate, Arcane Denial, etc.), but it is a lovely option to have access to!
  • Flow of Knowledge is a pricy draw spell, but in mono-blue, or heavy blue decks, it can easily net you a ton of cards. As long as you can consistently draw four or more off this, you'll be quite pleased. Seeing four or more cards, especially late game, can be huge, and the ceiling is even higher than that. This isn't Sphinx's Revelation, but that doesn't mean I'm any less biased towards it.
  • Forging the Anchor is a Lead the Stampede for artifact decks, which is neat, but these decks already have so many ways to accrue card advantage, I'm not sure it needs this as well. I am not an artifact player at heart though, so I could be missing something here and wanted to be sure I didn't skip over it!
  • Hulking Metamorph joins Phyrexian Metamorph as another artifact-based clone for Artifact decks. Four mana for a 3/3 clone of your best thing isn't the best rate available, but the fact that it's an artifact will easily push it over the top for builds that care about it.
  • Keeper of the Cadence is really unimpressive across the board, but I just wanted to make sure to mention it since I'm sure there is some kind of way to do some wacky loops with it. It's expensive and doesn't do much, but it's a card that stands out to me as an effect blue rarely gets, which is why it made my ear perk up. It's also soft grave-hate for opponents as well, if that ever matters!
  • Splitting the Powerstone seems bad in most decks, and it probably is, but in the decks that want it are happy to have it. In an Artifact deck, saccing something dorky like Mycosynth Lattice or Myr Retriever to get two permanent mana sources is pretty dope!
  • Stern Lesson is a solid little spell. It takes a lot for a Divination variant to get my attention, but an instant looter that gives you a mana is a sweet little combination. If your commander can take advantage of the Powerstone token, and you want some more filtering, Stern Lesson is real smooth. I know I'd definitely try it out in something like The Scarab God!
  • Take Flight is a bad, expensive Combat Research, which is already a bad Curiosity, but seeing as that the former is already in over 4,000 decks, Aura decks might not turn down another effect like this. I wouldn't play this, but I'm also a bit spikier than most players.
  • Zephyr Sentinel is like a suped up Jeskai Barricade. A 2/1 flier that can save a creature, and has marginal upside in niche decks is a solid card. It's still no Whitemane Lion, but it's a nice get for Blink decks!

Transform and Roll Out! Wait, Wrong IP

And there we have it! All the blue behemoths from the set!

The Brothers' War has a lot going for it. Nostalgia, dope artifacts, and plenty of fantastic cards. In particular, both Prototype and Unearth's application on the artifacts in order to give them color identity was perfectly executed. No notes.

As for specific cards, I think I am most excited to give One with the Multiverse and Urza, Powerstone Prodigy a spin. I really think that Urza can helm a unique deck, and I might try and put one together.

What about you, though? What blue cards caught your eye? Any commanders you're stoked to build with? Any cards you agree or disagree with me on? Make sure you let me know down in the comments below!

You can reach me on Twitter (@thejesguy), where you can always hit me up for Magic- or Jeskai-related shenanigans 24/7. Do you have any comments, questions, or concerns? Please don’t hesitate to leave them below or get in touch! Stay safe, wear your mask, wash your hands, and keep fighting the good fight. I support you. No justice, no peace.

Angelo is a Connecticut resident who started playing Magic during Return to Ravnica, and has made it his mission to play Jeskai in every format possible. Along with Commander, he loves Limited, Cube, and Modern, and will always put his trust in counterspells over creatures. He is still hurt by Sphinx's Revelation's rotation out of Standard.