If you’ve played 1v1 Brawl on Magic Online for any amount of time, you’ve probably seen the mono-blue Baral deck. This article is not about Baral. While Blue has become the most feared color in the Brawl format, I’m here today to share some fun, casual Brawl decks that embody what Blue does best.
First up, we have a Mono-Blue deck featuring Tetsuko Umezawa. Her ability to make your creatures unblockable lets you play a different game while the board is clogged up. The deck tries to get in a few points of damage every turn while drawing cards, disrupting your opponent’s plans, and basically being a nuisance.
We play four creatures that are already unblockable, so Tetsuko doesn’t need to be on the battlefield for them to do their thing. Slither Blade, Mist-Cloaked Herald, and River Sneak don’t need any help, but Slippery Scoundrel will be your best friend once you have the city’s blessing.
Our other creatures have either power or toughness 1 or less to utilize Tetsuko‘s ability as much as possible, with most aiming for the low toughness so their power can be boosted by other means. Stand-outs include Ovalchase Dragster (the only 6/1 currently in Standard, and with haste, to boot!), Graven Abomination (accidental graveyard hate is nice), and Daring Saboteur (for the looting ability and activated unblockability if needed).
Oh yeah, did I mention that the deck has an artifact subtheme? We’re running Glint-Nest Crane, Sage of Lat-Nam, Artificer’s Assistant, Padeem, Consul of Innovation, and Merchant’s Dockhand as our synergy cards, to go with our five pieces of equipment. Yes, we are using every legal equipment that gives a +X/+0 boost, except for Jousting Lance.
In addition, we are running a Crook of Condemnation to make those who enjoy messing with their graveyards sad, plus two very specific counterspells: Hornswoggle and Spell Swindle. This deck uses treasure as a resource for card drawing (with Sage of Lat-Nam) and mana, and both spells fit that theme. (Also, Hornswoggle is the best card name ever.)
Rounding out the deck is the “tap-down” suite (Icy Manipulator, Time of Ice, Edifice of Authority) and other removal spells. We just don’t want people attacking us, and these cards really help out in that regard. In Bolas’s Clutches is probably the best single target removal spell in Brawl.
Tatyova, Benthic Druid
The other deck I brewed up is helmed by Tatyova, Benthic Druid. This deck is fairly straightforward in that all it wants to do is ramp until it can cast a big spell. The goal is to get Tatyova out and get her to stick while you draw extra cards and gain some life from your many, many land drops.
We have fifteen ways to ramp in this deck, as you will want to get to five mana as quickly as possible, and the extra land that these cards put onto the battlefield is what makes the deck work. We’re running the blue and green cycling deserts, as well as the blue and green Memorials and Evolving Wilds because of Quarry Beetle. Its ability to bring a land back from the graveyard is a nice upside that this deck can really take advantage of.
Our payoffs for having a ton of mana are myriad. We have eleven cards in the deck that cost six mana or more, including Slinn Voda, Grunn, Verdant Force, and my favorite, Sandwurm Convergence. We’re also running format great In Bolas’s Clutches along with Lay Claim and Universal Solvent for spot removal.
There is a small Dinosaur subtheme, with Thunderherd Migration, Commune with Dinosaurs, and Savage Stomp backing up our Colossal Dreadmaw and Thundering Spineback while supporting the main deck themes of ramp and creature-based removal. As for the other dinos, Ranging Raptors is just a good ramp spell, and Snapping Sailback is a great counter to an unwelcome attack.
Rounding out this deck are the support cards of Crook of Condemnation and Wildest Dreams. I’ve mentioned the Crook earlier, and I believe it to be a fair inclusion in most Brawl decks. Wildest Dreams shines here in the late game when you have run out of resources and have a ton of mana.
Since this deck is ultra-budget, there are quite a few upgrades available. Multani, Yavimaya’s Avatar, Ramunap Excavator, Thaumatic Compass, Wayward Swordtooth, Hour of Promise, The Mending of Dominaria, and Blackblade Reforged could all be included.
You can tweet at me at @madolaf to let me know which Brawl decks you are excited to play. If you see me at GP Vegas in June, give me a holler and we’ll play some Magic.
Header design: Justin Treadway
Header images: “Tatyova, Benthic Druid” by Mathias Kollros and “Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive” by Randy Vargas