A Focus on Utility Cards from The Brother’s War

Hello everyone! Welcome to Standard Weekly!

Welcome to The Brothers’ War standard.

This week I want to look at the utility cards from The Brothers’ War set that will see play across a wide variety of decks.  The focus will be on common and uncommon cards because they do not get the hype that rare and mythic rare cards receive.


Lay Down Arms is a one white mana sorcery that exiles a target creature with mana value less than or equal to the number of Plains you control. 

Lay Down Arms

Its controller gains 3 life.  Lay Down Arms is an ideal fit for decks that have ten or more plains in the deck.  Mono-White Aggro will what this as an answer for trouble some creatures in the format.  Lay Down Arms is not a good fit in three color decks that are not using tri-lands from Streets of New Capenna.  These lands have three basic land types, so you will have some plains from these sources, but Lay Down Arms may miss at times the biggest threats in standard.

Loran’s Escape is a one white mana instant that gives a target artifact or creature hexproof and indestructible until end of turn and you scry 1. 

Loran's Escape

This is like Slip Out the Back or Tamiyo’s Safekeeping.  Slip Out the Back and Tamiyo’s Safekeeping see play in decks that want to provide protection for creatures.  Loran’s Escape serves the same purpose.  It fits well in any deck that wants to provide protection for creatures from spot removal or to give a creature indestructible in combat.  With all the different spot removal in standard, Loran’s Escape should see play in white decks that want the same protection that Slip Out the Back and Tamiyo’s Safekeeping provide.  Personally, I added the card to Azorius Soldiers.  It has performed well in the deck so far.

Soul Partition is a bounce spell that can exile a nonland permanent you or an opponent control for two mana. 

Soul Partition

The downside of the spell is that while the spell is in exile its control may recast it.  The spell costs two more mana to cast If the permanent exiled is an opponent’s.  Soul Partition received a lot of hype over the preview season, but I think Soul Partition will only see play early in the season.  I think the best way to look at Soul Partition is as a bounce spell that taxes an opponent two mana to recast the spell.  In some cases, Soul Partition will be a great spell, but at other times it will only send the permanent away for a turn.


Curate is a reprint.


For two mana you surveil 2, then draw a card.  The ability to put cards in the graveyard is something that reanimation and graveyard decks will want, but there are other better draw cards in standard.

Defabricate costs two mana for a choice counter spell. 


You can either counter an artifact or enchantment spell or an activated or triggered ability.  I feel that Defabricate is a good sideboard option right now, but I don’t see it as a main deck card because we do not know how popular artifact decks will be.

Forging the Anchor is a three-mana sorcery that allows you to look at the top five cards of your library. 

Forging the Anchor

Then you can put any artifacts among them in your hand.  In a dedicated artifact deck, Forging the Anchor will be a star.  Outside of artifact decks, it will not see play.  I do expect an artifact-focused deck to develop, so expect its players to use Forging the Anchor to dig through their decks.

Scatter Ray is a two-mana conditional counter spell for artifacts or creatures.

Scatter Ray

The spell is counter unless its caster pays an additional four mana.  Like Defabricate, Scatter Ray will probably start out as a sideboard card, but if standard remains a heavily midrange format it becomes a good main deck spell.  Early in a game, it amounts to a hard counter of an artifact or creature.

Stern Lesson is a three-mana draw spell. 

Stern Lesson

You get to draw two cards and then discard a card.  Then you create a powerstone token.  Like Forging the Anchor, Stern Lesson might see play in a dedicated artifact deck.  If Stern Lesson did not create a powerstone token it would not see any play outside of limited.  The ability to ramp in blue might make it worth playing in the right deck.

Urza’s Rebuff is another flexible blue spell. 

Urza's Rebuff

For three mana, you can either counter a spell or tap up to two creatures.  Universal blue counterspells normally cost three mana, so Urza’s Rebuff is a playable counter spell.  The flexibility it has does not typically appear on counterspells.  This makes Urza’s Rebuff a spell that should see some standard play.


Disfigure is a one black mana reprint that give a creature -2/-2 until the end of the turn. 


This card has seen consistent standard play in the past, so I expect to see it play again in decks that want to kill small creatures on the board.

Dreams of Steel and Oil is a one black mana sorcery. 

Dreams of Steel and Oil

Target opponent reveals their hand.  You choose an artifact or a creature card from it, then choose an artifact or creature card from their graveyard.  Exile both cards.  With all the creature-heavy decks in standard, Dreams of Steel and Oil works early in the game and is ok in the mid to late game.  The added benefit of exiling the cards is significant because There are many ways to get cards back from the graveyard.

Go for the Throat is a two mana black instant that destroys a non-artifact creature. 

Go for the Throat

It has replaced Infernal Grasp in many decks already because the downside of not being able to destroy an artifact creature currently is not an issue in standard.  Should a good artifact deck develop, then going back to Infernal Grasp will make seen.  Otherwise, expect to see Go for the Threat a lot over the next two years.


Obliterating Bolt is a two-mana red sorcery. 

Obliterating Bolt

It deals 4 damage to a target creature or planeswalker.  Then if the creature or planeswalker would die it gets exiled.  Obliterating Bolt is a replacement for Lava Coil.  Having Obliterating Bolt gives red decks a fighting chance to compete because dealing 4 damage to a creature or planeswalker is important in the format.


Green offers several good cards that should help green decks become better in standard.

Another important reprint for the set is Blanchwood Armor

Blanchwood Armor

For two colorless and a green mana, you get an aura that give the creature Blanchwood Armor is attached to +1/+1 for each forest you control.  In Mono Green decks, it has seen play when it is in standard.  With trample being a common ability among some of the best green creatures, having a couple of copies should fit nicely into a Mono-Green deck or a deck that uses a lot of forests in its mana base.

Bushwhack is an ideal green sorcery because of its flexibility. 


For a green mana, you get to either search your library for a basic land card and put it in your hand or fight a creature.  In games when you are looking for more mana you will use the first ability.  While when you use it mid game or draw it later in the game, you can have one of your creatures fight one of your opponent’s creatures.  The flexibility for only one green mana will lead to Bushwhack seeing standard play.  I can see four copies of the spell in some decks.

Gaea’s Gift might be the best combat trick from the Brothers’ War set. 

Gaea's Gift

For two mana, you get to give a target creature a +1/+1 counter, trample, hexproof, and indestructible until the end of the turn at instant speed.  This means that you will be able to protect the creature from targeted removal and will help keep the creature from dying in combat.


Each color got interesting utility cards from The Brothers’ War set.  How deck builders use these cards will go a long way in determining which decks rise and which decks fall as The Brothers’ War standard season progress.

That’s it for this week.  I’ll see you next time!

By: Scott Trepanier

Scott began playing Magic the Gathering in 1994.  His preferred format is standard.  Typically, you will see him playing aggro decks focused on quickly defeating his opponent but will pivot to midrange or control when standard is unfavorable for aggro decks.  He began creating Magic content in 2019.