Phyrexian Dragon Engine – The Brother’s War
Date Reviewed: November 23, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’m honestly a little surprised how much power they managed to pack into such a simple card. The initial “disappointment” of such a “small” dragon gets completely flipped when double strike turns any kind of minor enhancement into ridiculous amounts of damage, and in aggressive decks he’ll usually result in card advantage when you cast him in the mid-game. Just with those abilities, he’d probably be one of the best red aggro creatures of recent times – and then, occasionally, you’ll be able to use him to create Mishra, Lost to Phyrexia. I don’t even know how to count that as far as card advantage or attrition goes.
Assuming the set is more or less parallel to Jeff Grubb’s novel The Brothers’ War, I was originally inclined to suggest that this card portrayed the first dragon engine Mishra ever encountered. But given its meld capability, and the fact that Mishra was neither claimed by Gix nor lost to Phyrexia until decades later, it’s probably a depiction of one of the dragon engines he used in the Argoth phase of the war. Its long, long list of abilities would also fit with the escalation of the war that had taken place by then.
Commander [EDH]: 4
On its own, Phyrexian Dragon Engine is a double striker with the ability to eke out more advantage when you bring it back. There’s also a bit of text that leads to a bit more if you’re playing another card…but one step at a time. But considering all of the artifact synergies and anthems of the set, it’s not impossible to make this hit extremely hard, and while it lacks protective keywords, you certainly will carve things up nicely in a pinch with this. Late game, you’re paying 5 mana for a hand refill and a double striker for one turn…or enable the aforementioned other card to meld with another card, so there is that. It’s simple, but it gets the job done at a cheap rate early and has a lot of later intrigue if you want it to have it.
Commander [EDH]: 3.5 (not sure if this can go into mono-red decks just yet, but it’s a potent weapon in Rakdos all the same)
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