Are you ready to BRAWL?! Well, are you?
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, Wizards recently announced a brand-new format called Brawl. You build a 60-card singleton deck from only Standard-legal cards, and then you choose any Legendary Creature OR Planeswalker to be your Commander. The format is meant to be casual, and I intend to keep it that way.
As soon as I heard the news about Brawl, my brain started churnin’ and I started a-brewin’. My first instinct was to take a competitive Standard deck and transpose it into the new format, which is probably where a lot of players’ minds will go. After some thought, I decided that going that route wasn’t really my style, so I brewed some fun decks instead.
I present to you, my first two Brawl decks…
Huatli, Radiant Champion
Huatli wants to tick up as few times as possible before ultimating, and the deck is skewed so that most of the utility is creature-based. I started with several token-producers:
Angel of Invention
Martyr of Dusk
Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter
I also added three “facilitators” to make my token-producing creatures even stronger. Anointed Procession doubles the number of tokens my creatures create, and Panharmonicon copies ETB triggers. We can also use Angel of Condemnation’s first ability to get even more token-generating ETB effects. The Angel’s exert ability doubles as removal, as well.
I chose to use white removal spells in this deck because they are usually linked to a permanent, and there are three cards in the deck that have the Ascend mechanic. Green removal often requires us to have large creatures on the board, and although we have a lot of creatures in the deck, they are quite small on average. Bonus upside: Fairgrounds Warden and Angel of Sanctions are brutal with Panharmonicon, and embalming the Angel is double brutal with Anointed Procession.
Many reasonably experienced Magic players like doing two things: drawing additional cards, and playing spells ahead of the curve. The explore mechanic in the Ixalan block provides a little bit of both, as it lets you draw more lands or beef up a creature. I’ve also included some creature-based mana advantage in the form of Druid of the Cowl, Ranging Raptors, Wayward Swordtooth, and Wild Wanderer. (The Druid will be replaced by Llanowar Elves once Dominaria is available.)
Here is the ramp/card draw package I’m running:
Beneath the Sands
Druid of the Cowl
Growing Rites of Itlimoc
Hour of Promise
Path of Discovery
Rishkar, Peema Renegade
Vizier of the Menagerie
Rounding out the list are the lands. I assume that most 59-card decks will want about 24 lands, so that’s what I’ve done. I am playing a few non-basics here, including Arch of Orazca and Field of Ruin, as well as all the available green and white non-basic lands.
Kambal, Consul of Allocation
The second deck I built has more of a tribal bent. It focuses on vampires and makes use of Kambal, Consul of Allocation to gain an incremental life advantage and punish opponents for casting non-creature spells. Let’s take a look!
First off, we have the vampires. These guys are the lifeblood of the deck (pun intended). We’re running 24 spells that give us at least one vampire each. If you’re familiar with Standard Vampires, you know that they all have synergy with one another in some way. Mavren Fein makes more vampire tokens every time one of your non-token vampires attacks (might I suggest Adanto Vanguard or Bishop of Rebirth?), while Sanctum Seeker drains all your opponents for each attacking vampire. You want to be attacking every turn if possible, and a four-player Brawl match seems like a good place to do that. There is usually at least one person open to attack in the early game, so use your advantage!
Here are the fanged friends we are utilizing in this list:
Bishop of Binding
Bishop of Rebirth
Call to the Feast
Champion of Dusk
Dusk Legion Zealot
Elenda, the Dusk Rose
Forerunner of the Legion
Martyr of Dusk
Mavren Fein, Dusk Apostle
Paladin of Atonement
Vona, Butcher of Magan
Yahenni, Undying Partisan
We also have four cards to use as facilitators. Bontu’s Monument drains each opponent each time you cast a creature, and it makes all your black creatures cost 1 less. Radiant Destiny and Vanquisher’s Banner pump your team and give you a secondary advantage in vigilance and card draw, respectively. The Immortal Sun is also a great card for Brawl, as it stops Planeswalker Brawl-manders from doing their thing. These cards really make the deck sing.
We don’t have too much removal, so use it in emergencies only. Decommission is our only way to get rid of artifacts and enchantments, and Vraska’s Contempt is for flexibility and one of our few ways to deal with pesky Planeswalkers. Limited all-star Profane Procession can take care of three creatures for good, and Vona’s Hunger, Golden Demise and Settle the Wreckage can really turn the tables when necessary.
There are two other non-land cards in the deck, and they’re both incredibly useful. Arguel’s Blood Fast is your card draw engine. The deck can gain a lot of life, so paying two life to draw a card is a great deal in an otherwise card-draw-light deck. Authority of the Consuls slows down all your opponents while gaining you some extra life to spend on cards or Adanto Vanguard’s indestructibility.
Finally, here are the lands. Soon-to-be format staples Arch of Orazca, Evolving Wilds and Field of Ruin are all here, along with Unclaimed Territory and all of the black/white lands available in the format.
Although I haven’t been able to play this format yet, I’m very excited to give it a whirl. Come look for me at GP Seattle and challenge me if you have a Brawl deck of your own! You can find me on Twitter at @madolaf, and you can send me an email at email@example.com to tell me what kind of Brawl deck you’re brewin’ up next.
Header design: Justin Treadway
Header image: “Kambal, Consul of Allocation” by Vincent Proce
Adam is an Overstock Lead at Card Kingdom. He’s been playing Magic since 1994 and is always looking for new ways to enjoy his favorite game. Adam is an amateur game designer and has been creating original Magic card and mechanic designs since 2012, including Card Kingdom’s Lumeria: The Infinite City. You can find him on Twitter at @madolaf, and listen to his Magic design podcast, Beacon of Creation.