On March 22, 2018, Senior Magic Designer Gavin Verhey published the rules to the new Brawl format in an article titled “Join the Brawl.” Gavin describes Brawl as a casual format that has the benefit of being an entry point to the larger Standard Constructed format. Now, I disagree with Gavin that Brawl should be used as an entry point into Standard. That’s what the Challenger Decks are for. Instead, I see Brawl as a way to reuse “draft chaff” (the cards you get to keep after a draft) and otherwise noncompetitive Standard cards. I also see Brawl as a way for a new Commander player to learn to play Magic without being thrown into twenty-five years worth of broken Commander cards. That’s enough of an introduction, let’s check out the deck!
WHY ANGRATH, THE FLAME-CHAINED?
I chose Angrath, the Flame-Chained for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, Commander rules prohibit the use of a planeswalker, instead of a legendary creature, as your commander. I wanted to take advantage of the Brawl format’s exception to this rule!
Second, the article recommends playing Brawl as a multiplayer format. Angrath, the Flame-Chained has two abilities that effect multiple opponents (unlike Angrath, Minotaur Pirate found in the preconstructed deck). Discarding your opponents’ cards and making them lose a lot of life are great strategies! However, feel free to give the other Angrath a spin, too!
Third, Angrath is a fairly inexpensive Mythic Rare (~5$) despite seeing play in Standard Constructed.
Fourth, his colors, black and red, are allied colors and support eachother well. Both colors are represented by the Pirate tribe from the Ixalan Block, so it should be easy to find flavorful cards that interract well with eachother! Speaking of flavor, Angrath himself is loaded with it. He’s an angry dad who wants nothing more than to punch out of work and go back home to his daughters. I think Angrath and I may have a couple things in common!
The fifth and final reason that I (shamelessly) chose Angrath was because I already owned one and I wanted to get some use out of him and any Pirate draft chaff that I had laying around! This may or may not be an optimal Angrath deck, but it is fun, cheap, and quick to build if you’ve entered a couple of draft or sealed events during the Ixalan Block. I urge you to donate your draft chaff to a newer player and teach them how to play a game of Brawl!
We’ve talked about our Brawl commander enough. Let’s talk about the supporting cast of the Brazen Coalition: Deadeye Fleet, Dire Fleet, Fathom Fleet, and Storm Fleet! An image of the decklist is below, but can also be found and exported from here.
Aside from your commander and the Dragonskull Summit (which you could easily just make a Swamp), every card in the deck costs less than a dollar.
Notably absent is Admiral Beckett Brass of the Fathom Fleet. That’s because her mana cost contains Blue, which Angrath does not. Including her in our deck would make our deck illegal per both Commander and Brawl’s deck construction rules! Admiral Beckett Brass has her own deck. If you use her as your commander, you can include blue cards in your Brawl deck! Instead, the captain of Storm Fleet, Captain Lannery Storm, will rally Angrath’s rowdy crew while also digging up some treasure for herself.
I intentionally left out Unclaimed Territory because it is steadily rising in price due to its usefulness in Modern. Obviously, if you have one, get it in there!
Your deck will even look sweet if you managed to collect some of the promotional cards that have been offered during the Ixalan Block!
You have a couple “lords” to pump up your Pirates: Dire Fleet Neckbreaker and Fell Flagship.
You also have some cards which are not great cards, but they are very flavorful and just plain fun to say in a group setting. “Uh oh, Mutiny! I make your Regisaur Alpha ‘heel turn’ and kill his own token baby! XD” Fiery Cannonade doubles as a mass removal spell as well as a fun portmanteau, “Pirateclasm!” (a blend of Pirate and Pyroclasm).
Other cards are quite good specifically in multiplayer Brawl games, such as: attacking one opponent but then triggering Deadeye Tormentor‘s Raid ability on a different opponent, Lightning-Rig Crew dealing damage to every opponent, and Sword-Point Diplomacy starting an argument over who pays how much life to keep you from drawing cards! You can even use Captivating Crew to hijack an opponent’s creature, attack that opponent’s teammate, and then kill the creature by unequipping Captain’s Hook!
Finally, what’s a Commander deck without a bunch of “mana rocks”? This deck includes cards to help you cast your bigger creatures faster such as Orazca Relic, Pillar of Origins, (albeit less flavorful) Hierophant’s Chalice, and Treasure tokens!
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