Brothers Yamazaki – Set
Date Reviewed: March 31, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 1.42
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
The flavor of Brothers Yamazaki is pretty neat, and they even had a set of mirrored artwork in Champions of Kamigawa. Unfortunately, “neat” doesn’t mean “good”, and even the best-case scenario in most cases is a 4/3 with haste…which is fine for three mana, but it’s a conditional payoff that relies on a second copy to be out, and a 2/1 without haste is quite poor for three mana (even if it blocks or gets blocked as a 3/2). It’s more flavorful and cute than it is good, but I suppose that you can have a lot of fun with this if you’re keen on building around their talents.
One last thing to note is that, while the legendary limitation kicks in if you have too many copies, Mirror Gallery and Mirror Box do let you ignore this, and multiple copies of Brothers Yamazaki do stack. They also stack with opponents’ copies, so that’s fun, though when would you face another red Samurai deck with them in it?
Casual: 3 (definitely fun to play with)
Limited: 3 (at uncommon, it’s not impossible to see multiple copies of Brothers Yamazaki in triple Champions of Kamigawa draft environments, and Samurais do have support)
Commander [EDH]: 1.25 (unfortunately, the singleton rule is in full effect for them)
I don’t think this is a good card, it’s cute but not great. If you can have several of these out on the battlefield I could see this being much better but at best you’re getting a 4/3 with Bushido 1. Not worth the build around, also unusable in commander. In limited you’re unlikely to see two since the rarity is at uncommon, if you are and you get passed one then great but even still there must be a better option out there than picking this…
Commander [EDH]: 1/5
Brothers Yamazaki was the first card to play with the legend rule on its own, and the first black-bordered card since Alliances to have two different paintings in the boosters it came from. That second point may not sound like much, but it was anathema for many years, sort of used in Unstable (along with the similar practice of the six different Garbage Elementals and such), and only really made a full comeback in the age of set boosters.
It’s thus unfortunate, in a sense, that the card doesn’t really do very much. There is some value in the potential to become a super-undercosted combat machine, but there are other options in red which are less situational. It’s still a fun casual card at tables where flavor is on a more even footing with power. Another thing that you might notice is that it uses the old-style “lord” effect where it’s not only creatures you control. While this complicates the Brothers Yamazaki mirror match, you can take advantage of this in Two-Headed Giant constructed: if you have two Brothers Yamazaki, and your teammate does too, each of them will be 8/7 with Bushido 1 and haste. There’s something kind of cool about the power of brotherhood allowing them to take down Eldrazi.
Commander [EDH]: 2/5 (you’d need some kind of Clone effect or red token copy effect, and if you’re doing that, you might prefer to copy other things instead)
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