Top 8 Totally Serious Commanders for Brawl
8. Firesong and Sunspeaker*
*sponsored by Wizards of the Coast
Take in that glorious foil watermark. The cool thing about Firesong and Sunspeaker is that, since it’s the only version, you don’t have to pay extra for the foil! Instead, you just have to pay ~$100+ for a box of Dominaria (support your LGS!) Now, we – I mean, Wizards of the Coast – has heard complaints about the warping of foils. But another great thing about Firesong and Sunspeaker is that, while we can’t guarantee that it won’t warp, we can guarantee that it won’t matter if it does. After all, these minotaur pals will be spending their time in the Command Zone or on the battlefield, where it doesn’t matter whether a card is parallel to the table or forms a parabola over it!
7. Kwende, Pride of Femeref
Let’s jump into the best tribal options for Brawl! Sure, there are Merfolk (totally real, ask Discovery Channel), sparkly Vampires, and even Constructs (thanks, Karn!), but we’re going to look at some of the more underappreciated options, such as first strike Tribal. Is it a little weird to have a lord for creatures who have nothing in common aside from first strike? Maybe. But don’t forget, with Brawl’s rules, they have one other thing in common: they all have to be white! Two things in common is more than enough to build a tribal deck. And let me tell you, there are some real gems in Standard with first strike. Among the 9 White creatures in the format that have or can gain first strike, we have Limited all-star Serra Disciple, which also has flying! We’ve got Gearshift Ace, another two-drop that doesn’t only have first strike, but also gives it to vehicles that it crews! Now that’s just good deck-building. Just imagine having Kwende out at the same time and granting these 1/1’s and 2/1’s double strike. I have a hard time imagining how you could lose.
6. Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign
Since Brawl is a singleton format, we can afford to play a couple of suboptimal cards here and there. This commander pushes that philosophy to the extreme by seeing if we can play a suboptimal tribe! With a curve that starts at 4, we’re definitely packing a lot of power into this deck with the five non-Unesh creatures that we have access to. (I’ll be generous; Metallic Mimic can be an honorary Sphinx, bringing our grand total to six.) Of course, you usually won’t want to play these creatures until Turn 7 at the earliest, since you want to maximize the benefit that you get from Unesh. Man, six-mana lords really are the best lords. Just be sure to pick up the Blue Intro Pack at your LGS; it’s the only way to get the mighty Sphinx of Magosi! As to what to do with the remaining ~30 slots in your deck, sleeve up whatever you want, and just alter the art to have sphinxes. I’ve included an example below.
5. Dovin Baan
From the day that you and Dovin Baan made eye contact across the room at prerelease, the ritual has been the same. Maybe a new set has just been released. Maybe you’ve broken up with an old deck and want to go back to that old comfort you found in Dovin’s arms. Or maybe you’re drunk, lonely, and just randomly remember that Dovin Baan exists. Regardless of the exact circumstances, you’re only too eager to sleeve him up and give him another shot. “Maybe he’s good now,” you lie to yourself. “Maybe he’s changed.” You try to forget all the times that Dovin hurt you in the past. Betrayed you. Lured you with promises of a beautiful partnership only to find that he does absolutely nothing around the battlefield, refusing to put even a little bit of effort into your relationship. But wait. Brawl is a new format. And you haven’t really given Dovin a chance now that circumstances have changed. Maybe before, the time just wasn’t right. But now… now you and Dovin might just have found home. And besides, you know that blue skin is HAWT.
4. Samut, the Tested
But perhaps you’re in the mood for someone more direct than Dovin, someone who doesn’t play games with your heart. While Dovin pretends to be good, Samut is honest about who they are: unplayable trash. Sure, Samut likes to talk about the glory days when she popped in to give Electrostatic Pummeler double strike that one time, but other than that, she knows that she’s a four-mana Forked Bolt – and she’s cool with it. Samut will chill in your command zone, eat Doritos, and spill some Red Bull on your nice new playmat, but you don’t get with Samut for the good conversation. You get with Samut because you can pick her up for under a dollar, and you get what you pay for: someone to occupy space and hang out with while you do all the real work.
3. Saheeli Rai
Saheeli was so powerful that she basically broke Standard in half. With her mighty cat as an ally, she was terrorized WOTC’s flagship format for what felt like years. Coupled with cards that were already overpowered, such as Attune with Aether (later banned), Rogue Refiner (later banned), and Aether Hub (almost banned), she brought out the worst in everyone around her. Can she do it again in Brawl? If she’s going to serve as your commander, you won’t be able to run her alongside her famed pet (banned) due to color identity, but you can still run her with Whirler Virtuoso and Glorybringer! Push her to her limits as she aggressively scries through your deck, looking for something playable, gently pinging your opponent all the while. Of course, what you’re really hoping is that your opponent concedes when you reveal Saheeli as your commander, as the trauma experienced in that Standard format was very, very real. There are more than a couple Magic players who still wake up in the middle of the night screaming in horror at an army of cats rampaging toward them in their dreams.
2. The Scarab God
The Standard God has ruled the format since he was printed, warping which threats, answers, and even which decks were playable. Our Scarabian King was splashed in Temur and traded back and forth between players with Confiscation Coup like… well… a trading card. Part of what made Scarab Boi so powerful was his resilience, thus the need for answers like Vraska’s Contempt and Ixalan’s Binding. But in Brawl, not only are your opponents only able to run a single copy of each of these cards, but even if exiled, our bug-headed bug simply returns to the Command Zone. The Scarab God will come back over and over again, warping the entire game around himself, just as WOTC intended.
1. Yargle, Glutton of Urborg
For the other commanders, I provided in-depth analysis of how they might be used to optimize their unique strengths. But for Yargle, I shall simply provide a decklist.
Enjoy the free wins.
Ryan is a grinder from Boston with SCG & GP Top 8’s and a PT Day 2. His fragile self-esteem is built on approval from others, so be sure to tell him what you think of his articles on Twitter @RyanNormandin and in his Twitch chat at twitch.tv/norm_the_ryno.
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