Last updated on January 13, 2023
Powerstone token | Illustration by David Auden Nash
Powerstone tokens are a new artifact token introduced with Karn, Living Legacy in Dominaria United. The splitting of an ancient Thran powerstone was the final straw at the beginning of the Brothers’ War in Magic lore, as depicted on Splitting the Powerstone.
So, naturally, Powerstones are all over the place in The Brothers’ War. Although there have been powerstone cards before, like Fractured Powerstone, Powerstone Shard, and Worn Powerstone, Powerstone tokens along with legendary artifact The Mightstone and Weakstone are the first to have the powerstone subtype.
It’s important to understand how these cards work to prepare for Limited and Constructed formats using cards from The Brothers’ War. So let’s get into it!
Urza, Powerstone Prodigy | Illustration by Donato Giancola
Powerstone tokens are artifacts created by other cards. They can tap for one colorless mana, but that mana can’t be used to cast nonartifact spells.
The tokens enter the battlefield tapped to slow you down and are either created on ETB or as an additional effect of a spell, similar to the way Clues, Food, decayed Zombies, and Treasures are created by other cards.
No, Powerstone tokens can only pay for artifact spells. Mostly.
Yes, triggered abilities are another type of ability you can pay for with Powerstones. For example, if you have Powerstone cards and Durable Handicraft in your Commander deck, you can use Powerstone mana to pay the one mana in response to creature ETBs.
Yes, you can copy Powerstones with copy spells and effects. But keep in mind that when you copy tokens you copy the token itself, not the way it was initially created, which is what had it come into play tapped. This means that copied Powerstones come into play untapped.
Powerstones are excellent in Limited. They’ll be worse than Treasures but better than decayed Zombies in Constructed, sort of like Clues and Food. How good will Powerstone decks be in the meta? We’ll see!
But let’s focus on Limited for a moment.
There’s no way Powerstones can be as good as we think they are, right?Ethan Saks, Lords of Limited
Well, maybe they are!
Powerstones are extra resources tacked on to spells you might cast anyway, and they become mana sources you can use for artifacts and activated abilities, or as sacrifice fodder. There are a lot more artifacts in the set than usual, which means the mana will often find uses.
There is also a lot of mana sinks in the format, including many that cost quite a bit. Goblin Firebomb which might actually be playable, as shocking as that seems, is one of them. All of this in a Powerstone-heavy format.
And there are an unusual number of creatures that get bonuses from sacrificing permanents, like Gixian Infiltrator and Goblin Blast-Runner. Then there’s the fact that two signpost uncommons, Arbalest Engineers and Junkyard Genius, as well as two excellent blue cards, Stern Lesson and Urza, Powerstone Prodigy, have good Powerstone synergies.
- Arbalest Engineers
- Argothian Opportunist
- Ashnod, Flesh Mechanist
- Cityscape Leveler
- Excavation Explosion
- Fallaji Excavation
- Geology Enthusiast
- Gix's Caress
- Great Desert Prospector
- Hall of Tagsin
- Horned Stoneseeker
- Junkyard Genius
- Karn, Living Legacy
- Koilos Roc
- Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia
- Powerstone Engineer
- Repair and Recharge
- Sarinth Greatwurm
- Sibling Rivalry
- Slagstone Refinery
- Splitting the Powerstone
- Static Net
- Stern Lesson
- Stone Retrieval Unit
- Terisiare's Devastation
- The Brothers' War
- The Mana Rig
- Thran Spider
- Urza, Powerstone Prodigy
- Urza's Command
- Visions of Phyrexia
- Wreck Hunter
Best Powerstone Cards
This joins a growing list of mono-white reanimator cards for Commander players, which feels like a more viable archetype with each set release.
Stern Lesson is Divination but you discard a card and make a tapped Powerstone. This is going to be one of the top blue commons in Limited if the format is as slow as it seems it will be. the looting may be better than a straight card draw in a set with unearth.
A broken card with the name Urza in it? I’m shocked. Well, maybe only broken in Limited and just a good card outside of that, but still.
Urza, Powerstone Prodigy may very well be good enough for Constructed play if the pieces to an artifact unearth deck come together. And this is a great addition to EDH decks that want to bin and recur artifacts.
Terisiare's Devastation is good in a deck that’s already packing a lot of Powerstones or other black ramps. Would you cast Languish for eight if you got four Powerstones afterward? I mean, sure, if eight was easy mana.
An answer for indestructible creatures is always nice. This is a bit of a niche card, but it will wreck when it fits.
The Brothers' War is just mean. If you can survive the turn you cast it then you’re in a great spot.
I’d say this wants to be cast late in the game, but you’re ramping and then doing at least four total damage even if it’s early and chapter two whiffs.
Panned by the MTG community when it dropped in Dominaria United, Karn, Living Legacy is a lot better than players thought. There are various superfriends decks on the fringes of Standard fueled by board wipes and Urza Assembles the Titans. Those decks can finish with Karn, Living Legacy.
This becomes a decent control finisher in a deck that can make other Powerstones to fuel Karn’s second and third abilities.
Urza's Command is an extremely strong Command in the right deck. The Powerstone option on it is the weakest option, but you only need one of the mass power nerf or to flash in a construct creature to wreck an opponent on their attack.
It won’t do much against token armies since it needs the destroyed cards to be in the graveyard, but this is going to be one of those groan-inducers in other contexts.
If you meld Mishra, Claimed by Gix and Phyrexian Dragon Engine into the supersized Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia you might no longer care about those two Powerstone tokens. You’ll be too busy high fiving someone.
But if this melds when both players have an empty board then you may very well just make six(!) Powerstone tokens. Or you’ll only make four as you clean out someone’s saved removal from their hand.
The Mana Rig would be nuts even without that second ability.
Koilos Roc | Illustration by Antonio Jose Manzanedo
Mana-generating permanents that allow for the ramp you need to power out a bunch of 7-drops in Standard while also not breaking Commander in half are great. Didn’t we all remember the dark days of the Mirrodin block Standard when we heard about this set (or listen to a boomer who was there to tell you about it)?
The designers threaded the needle nicely here to be able to give us big insane Timmy/Tammy things that we might actually cast in a Standard game without tossing balance off another Throne of Eldraine level cliff.
Do you think we’ll see Powerstones again? It’s tough, because when will we be going back to Dominaria after 2023? Maybe Teferi, Temporal Pilgrim will bring a sack of these back from the past and leave them all over the multiverse. Anyway, let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Draftsim’s Twitter.