IT’S TIME TO LAYETH THE SMACKETH DOWN IN MAGIC BRAWL

There’s only one way to start this article about Magic Brawl.

… alright, that’s enough of that. Our deck today (spoiler!) is going to be a Dovin Baan deck, so let’s settle in with something more his speed.

Good? Good. Let’s get started.

SO WHAT IS BRAWL?

I’m glad I rhetorically asked in my own header you asked!

Magic Brawl is a new format recently announced by Wizards of the Coast. In short, it’s the love-child of Standard and Commander—you build a Commander deck as normal, except it’s only 60 cards and can only use Standard-legal cards. The plus side is, you can also use Standard-legal planeswalkers as your commanders (!). Then you shuffle up in either 1v1 or multiplayer games, set your life total to 30, and start asking each other what the Rock is cooking playing!

Magic Brawl officially launches with Dominaria in a few weeks, and there’s still a few questions to iron out—among them, whether or not the commander damage rule is still present. But it looks exciting and fun and fairly easy to build decks for (finally, a home for all those Limited bombs!), so I’m excited to brew for it!

Speaking of which…

magic brawl admiral beckett brass

FINDING LEGAL COMMANDERS FOR BRAWL

Until the format appears in Gatherer as an official format, you can use the following URL: http://gatherer.wizards.com/Pages/Search/Default.aspx?action=advanced&type=+[“Legendary”]|[“Planeswalker”]|[“Creature”]&format=+[“Standard”]

This will pull up a nice visual list of all the creatures and Planeswalkers legal for use as Brawl Commanders.

magic brawl dovin baan

BUILDING BRAWL—BAANHAMMER CONTROL

Regular readers of the Mana Dork know that I’m an enormous fan of Dovin Baan—last year, I did an entire series built around him! Wizards has released a couple of neat new tools for Baan since then, so he was where my mind first went when I started thinking about Magic Brawl.

Dovin Baan wants to slow the game down and not be interfered with. He’s great at neutering threats, padding your life total, and giving you options. So he dovetails nicely with two of the alt-win-condition cards that are currently legal in Standard: Approach of the Second Sun and Mechanized Production.

Can we build a deck that uses both? I think we can!

magic brawl baanhammer

Luckily for us, both Approach and Production ask us to keep the game going long, so they can have time to win the game. Unluckily for us, Production also asks that we have a critical mass of artifacts, so that it’s not a total blank when we draw it.

This pushes us towards more of a permanent-heavy brew than we might like for traditional White-Blue control decks. As you can see, we’ve got a few boardwipes and a few big creatures that help us extend the game (ilu Azor <3), but most of the cards simply prevent people from interacting with you, your life total, or Baan’s loyalty counters in unfavorable ways.

This control deck is a rough draft, but I’m definitely going to build it and tune it over the coming weeks. We’ve accomplished a few goals of good multiplayer deck design with it (be able to win without your commander; have a healthy mix of player-specific and player-agnostic interaction; include readily-available card draw and ramp spells), and I think it’ll be a blast to play once we shake the rust off.

Are you building for Brawl? Let us know in the Facebook comments for this post!

magic brawl rix store championship

PLEASE DO NOT PHYSICALLY BRAWL IN THE STORE

Your gaming friends who are there for the Legend of the Five Rings Conflict Tournament, Star Wars Destiny Legacies draft, or X-Wing Epic Teams Tournament might not approve!

See you there!

Jesse Mackenzie is a regular contributor to A Muse N Games. Tune in every two weeks for the Mana Dork, his column about all things Magic—including another exciting Brawl brew next week!