Phyrexian Processor | Illustration by Dave Kendall
The Brothers’ War is a set not just about artifacts, but also about the history of Dominaria and MTG in general. Because of this, there’s a bonus included in boosters for BRO: artifacts from throughout Magic’s history in two fantastic retro-framed versions.
What are these Retro Artifacts exactly? Let’s find out!
What Are the Retro-Frame Artifacts in The Brothers’ War?
Key to the City | Illustration by Sean Murray
The retro-frame artifacts in The Brothers’ War are a bit like the Mystical Archive included in Strixhaven, but instead of instants and sorceries, you get artifacts. They come in two different versions.
First, there’s normal art printed in “old border” where it takes the brown-colored border that artifacts were originally printed within the early sets. There are also schematic versions, which have new art that looks like a blueprint, or schematic, of the artifact and are designed to show what the artifact’s designer’s notebook may have looked like. The odds of pulling a schematic instead of a regular retro frame are one in six.
There’s also technically a third type of retro-frame artifact. These are the serialized versions. Each artifact in the set has a serialized version, and each one of these only has 500 copies numbered 1/500 to 500/500.
How Many Retro-Frame Artifacts Are in The Brothers’ War?
There are 63 different Retro Artifacts split into 18 uncommons, 30 rares, and 15 mythics. Uncommons show up roughly 66% of the time, with rares and mythics showing up around 27% and 7% of the time respectively.
List of Retro Artifacts in The Brothers’ War
- Bone Saw
- Burnished Hart
- Chromatic Star
- Elsewhere Flask
- Foundry Inspector
- Ichor Wellspring
- Ivory Tower
- Jalum Tome
- Liquimetal Coating
- Mishra's Bauble
- Pristine Talisman
- Sigil of Valor
- Soul-Guide Lantern
- Springleaf Drum
- Swiftfoot Boots
- Adaptive Automaton
- Ashnod's Altar
- Astral Cornucopia
- Blackblade Reforged
- Chromatic Lantern
- Cloud Key
- Defense Grid
- Door to Nothingness
- Gilded Lotus
- Goblin Charbelcher
- Howling Mine
- Inspiring Statuary
- Journeyer's Kite
- Keening Stone
- Key to the City
- Lodestone Golem
- Mazemind Tome
- Phyrexian Revoker
- Precursor Golem
- Psychosis Crawler
- Quicksilver Amulet
- Quietus Spike
- Runechanter's Pike
- Scrap Trawler
- Sculpting Steel
- Semblance Anvil
- Sword of the Meek
- Thorn of Amethyst
- Unwinding Clock
- Well of Lost Dreams
- Aetherflux Reservoir
- Altar of Dementia
- Caged Sun
- Helm of the Host
- Mesmeric Orb
- Perilous Vault
- Phyrexian Processor
- Platinum Angel
- Ramos, Dragon Engine
- Staff of Domination
- Sundering Titan
- Wurmcoil Engine
What Are the Retro Artifacts with a Serial Number?
For each retro-frame artifact, there are 500 special copies of it, labeled 1 through 500. These have a rainbow foil treatment and will be particularly sought after by collectors thanks to their rarity.
Are Retro Artifacts in Draft Boosters? The Brothers’ War Draft Format?
Yes, Retro Artifacts are included in draft boosters at a rate of one per booster. While this doesn’t make them Standard legal if they’re not already Standard legal, they are playable in Limited formats with those boosters including Draft, Sealed, and prerelease!
Where Can You Open Retro Artifacts?
You can only open serialized retro-frame artifacts in collector boosters, but these appear less than 1% of the time.
How Many Are in Each Pack?
Draft boosters have one guaranteed Retro Artifact in every booster. There’s also a chance that you can open an extra foil Retro Artifact in the foil slot.
- 36 The Brothers’ War MTG Draft Boosters—the best boosters for drafting The Brothers’ War
- 15 Magic cards per booster
- At least 1 Retro-Frame Artifact card in every pack
- At least 1 card of rarity Rare or higher in every pack
- 1 Traditional Foil card in 33% of packs
Set boosters also have a slot where you open a guaranteed Retro Artifact card, as well as having a chance to open it in the foil slot. There are also two wildcard slots in the set booster that each have a chance of containing a Retro Artifact or schematic.
- 30 The Brothers’ War Set Boosters—the best MTG boosters to open just for fun
- 12 Magic: The Gathering cards plus 1 Art Card in each booster
- At least 1 Retro-Frame Artifact card in every pack
- Transformers card in 10 percent of packs
- 1–5 cards of rarity Rare or higher and at least 1 Traditional Foil card in every pack
Collector boosters have a bit more going on. You can get:
- 1 guaranteed non-foil retro-frame artifact of any rarity.
- 1 guaranteed non-foil schematic artifact of any rarity (one of this or the above cards will be rare/mythic, and the other will be uncommon).
- 1 guaranteed foil uncommon retro-frame artifact or schematic artifact.
- 1 foil that has a chance of being a Retro Artifact, schematic, serialized schematic, or another alternate-art treatment rare or mythic from the set or Commander precons.
- 12 The Brothers’ War MTG Collector Boosters—15 Magic cards plus 1 foil token in each booster
- Only packs that may contain Shattered Glass alternate-art Transformers cards
- Only packs that may contain special Foil Serialized Schematic cards
- Foil or nonfoil Transformers Mythic Rare card in every pack plus 5 other cards of rarity Rare or higher
- 3–4 Retro-Frame Artifact cards, including at least 1 Showcase Schematic card in every pack
Where Can You Get Serialized Retro Frame Artifacts?
Serialized Retro Artifacts are only found in collector boosters less than 1% of the time. Since there are only 500 copies of each one and 63 Retro Artifacts in total, this means there are only 31,500 serialized cards in total. While this may seem a lot, remember that these are spread across the whole world.
There’s definitely a similarity to NFTs here. Each one of these cards is unique because of the number printed on it. This means that some numbers will be more sought after than others either due to their size (single-digit numbers and 500/500 will likely fetch a premium) or because the number is seen as funny (69, 420, etc.)
If you get one of these, you’re guaranteed that nobody else in the world has the exact same one.
Are the Retro Artifacts Standard Legal?
Yes, and no. Retro Artifacts don’t change the legality of any of the cards, so if a particular artifact is already legal in a given format it still is, and if it isn’t legal then it still isn’t.
Retro Frame Artifacts vs. Strixhaven Mystical Archive
There are a lot of similarities between the Retro Artifacts and the Strixhaven Mystical Archive in that they’re both ways to reprint old cards in Standard boosters without changing the cards’ legality. They affect the Draft format and celebrate a particular card type across Magic’s history. But there are a couple of differences too.
First of all, being artifacts, these cards are all colorless (although not all of the Retro Artifacts’ color identity is colorless). This means it’s much easier to include Retro Artifacts in any Draft deck than Mystical Archive cards. This has a chance of skewing the Draft format a bit more than the Mystical Archive did, but we’ll just have to wait and see.
And while the Mystical Archive cards didn’t change their cards’ legality in Constructed formats, all of the uncommons included were Standard-legal cards at the time. This isn’t the case with Retro Artifacts, where there are many uncommon cards that aren’t Standard legal. They’re just generally lower power than the rares and mythics.
Wurmcoil Engine | Illustration by Raymond Swanland
Overall Retro Artifacts seem like a great flavorful addition to a set steeped in history and artifacts in MTG. Reprinting some high-value artifacts is definitely a bonus.
What do you think? Is there a card you’re hoping to play in Draft? Are there any cards left out of Retro Artifacts that you think would have been an absolute slam dunk include? Let me know down in the comments below or over in the Draftsim Discord.
I hope your first draft P1P1 is a Wurmcoil!
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