[Premodern Brawl]: Rules, Bans, Errata, and Commanders

Many of you know that I love Singleton formats.  I’ve written extensively on the subject of Old School 93/94 Brawl, and I’m still pretty sure nobody else but me has played since Hartfordfestivalen.  However, you may not know that I also wrote a series of primers on Premodern.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had much motivation to play Premodern lately.  That was, of course, until The Hartford Old School Magic Festival was announced.  Oh happy day!  I was pumped for Hartford.  Jason Dorman, Peter Lankering, and I, collectively The Band of the Falcon (our team name at Mobstercon 2019), spent weeks bouncing ideas off of eachother.  Then, something complete unforeseeable occurred: “The Sky split, and the air crackled and rolled.  The Phyrexian invasion of Dominaria had finally begin.”

4f93cf81d63a5b17f7f41ae76b334778
“Planar Portal” by Mark Tedin

In all seriousness, it was something much, much worse: a global pandemic.  Determined to make the best of a bad situation, The Band of the Falcon spent an entire weekend (socially distant, of course) developing a new format that would bring good cheer to our nation and perhaps the entire World.

We present to you:  Premodern Brawl!

phyrexian-arena-pete-venters
“An audience of one with the malice of thousands” “Phyrexian Arena” by Pete Venters

i.  Brawl Rules for Play and Deck Construction:

The Premodern Brawl Rules (click the link!) are unsanctioned amendments to the Wizards of the Coast Magic: the Gathering Comprehensive Rules and are intended for casual play and not-for-profit.

 

ii.  Set Legality:

See Premodern, except that Chronicles is not legal.

This was done in an effort to encourage brewing with the Legendary Creatures that flavor Premodern instead of just a bunch of decks that look like Old School Brawl version 1.2.  Most Chronicles cards were printed in 4th Edition or another Premodern set, anyways.  Those cards are Legal.

tl;dr:

1

This does NOT prevent the use of the Chronicles ART if the card was subsequently reprinted.  Use whatever art you want.

 

iii.  Errata:

ErrataIxidor, Reality Sculptor is errata’d to contain the following text:

“This card’s Color Identity is all colors.”

Pursuant to CR 903.4, this allows you to include lands and Morph creatures of any color in your Ixidor deck.  I wanted to make this errata because it’s flavorful and because it makes Ixidor feel more like a Tribal Lord than a Yu-Gi-Oh! gimmick.

Note that, pursuant to CR 604.3, this does not make Ixidor himself all colors.  He’s still just Blue.  Just like how Daughter of Autumn can Command a White deck without being White.

vma-vintage-masters-null-rod-278
“‘Gerrard: But it doesn’t do anything!’ Hanna: No–it does nothing.” “Null Rod” by Anson Maddocks

Edit: On April 16, 2020, the Apocalypse Volvers were errata’d to be Legendary.

 

BAN LIST

A.  Non-Commanders

For the sake of consistency, this part is easy: if it’s a non-Legendary Creature that is banned in Premodern or banned in Commander/EDH, it’s banned here, too.

222

Edit:  Edited on April 20, 2020 to reflect that Commander banned Flash.

 

B.  Commanders

This review process was more thorough and ultimately we agreed on a unique rule.  First, the members of The Band of the Falcon personally reviewed all 112 of Premodern’s Legendary Creatures.  Then, we brought up specific Commanders and stress-tested them.  A lot of wonky decks were built.  Finally, I looked at the following data:

nem-12-lin-sivvi-defiant-hero

At the conclusion of our review, we determined that the following Legendary Creatures should be Banned from being your Commander.  This is important to distinguish from other types of Ban Lists.  Here’s what that means:

The following Legendary Creatures will be banned only from being your Commander.  They can still be included as a part of the other 59 cards in your deck.  They are being banned so that they do not consistently create non-games.  Non-games make the health of the format harder to monitor.  If you lose to your opponent’s four-drop every few games it doesn’t feel so bad as it does to get consistently locked out every game.

  • Braids, Cabal Minion is banned.  Consistently-early Braids creates non-games for entire tables of players.  I’m concerned about White, Blue, and/or Green’s ability to deal with a turn 3-4 Smokestack every, damn, game.  During the infancy of the format, I think reducing the amount of “non-games” is important so that we can evaluate the rest of the format.  We justified this because, outside of your Command Zone, she’s worse than Smokestack, which is otherwise Legal.
  • Rofellos, Llanowar Emissary is Banned.  Our main concern was to inhibit consistently explosive starts.  Again, we justified this because, outside of your Command Zone, he’s just a really-really good Mana Dork.  Yes, he will win you some games, but you have to draw him to do it.  I highly encourage you to build an Eladamri, Lord of Leaves deck and include Rofellos in the other 59 cards.

ice-297-merieke-ri-berit

  • The only Legendary Creature that will debut Banned, but isn’t already banned in EDH, is Merieke Ri Berit (377 decks on EDHREC)She goes straight to the Banned List because of how many non-games Rubinia Soulsinger caused in Old School Brawl.  However, she also goes straight to the Unban Watch List.  If Empress Galina (discussed next) doesn’t become a problem, then I could be persuaded to unban Merieke.

C.  Watchlist

inv-54-empress-galina

I’m going to keep an eye on the following Commanders:

  • Empress Galina.  If Empress Galina becomes a problem, I won’t hesitate to ban her like I should have (and am still meaning to do) to Rubinia Soulsinger in Old School Brawl.
  • Ixidor, Reality Sculptor.  The errata is flavorful, but if it becomes too confusing or is way better than I expect it to be, then I’ll strike the errata and you can all enjoy your Mono Blue Morph decks.
  • Obviously, Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero is on a very tight leash, but I don’t expect this to be a problem.  In fact, I think it would be really cool to see her thrive as a strong, but fair, option.  She’s been in your trade binder for far too long.
  • This might seem like a weird one, but Llawan, Cephalid Empress is a self-hating Blue creature that also creates non-games against other Blue mages.  However, it only hoses Blue’s creatures and not their non-creature countermagic and/or bounce spells.  I expect that Blue will be able to remove troublesome Commanders from the Battlefield without too much trouble
  • Tsabo Tavoc. I don’t expect this to be a problem.
  • Volrath the Fallen has potential, but isn’t causing too many waves in EDH right now.
5798.hq
“‘General?’ Tahngarth roared. ‘General nuisance, maybe.'” “Squee, Goblin Nabob” by David Monette

SO, WHO DO I CHOOSE?

I tend to look at it two different ways:

  • By Color Combination (I want to build an Aggressive White/Blue Deck); or
  • By The Commander’s Theme (I want to build a Bird Deck).

i.  By Color

If you start with the idea to build an Aggressive White/Blue deck, you might end up with:

  • a Bird Deck full of Aven and Commanded by Kangee, Aerie Keeper; or
  • a Hanna, Ship’s Navigator Tempo Deck filled with Auras Enchant Creatures and the “Sleeping” Enchantment Cycle from the Urza’s Block.

Either way, the common theme is the color combination: “W/U Aggro.”

You may have to be a little flexible with this option.  Some color identities do not have a dedicated Commander.  Otherwise, you’ll just end up with a R/G/U Singleton Deck Commanded by a nearly-impossible-to-cast Cromat.

ii.  By Commander Theme

However, if you instead started with the idea to build a Bird Deck, you might end up with:

  • Kangee; or
  • Soraya the Falconer (she was errata’d to “Birds”) !

Here, the common theme is the Commander: “Birds.”

Monocolored

There are 84 Legal monocolored Commanders:

  • White has the most, with 21;
  • Black has 19 (it would be 20 if Braids were legal);
  • Red has 16;
  • Blue has 15;
  • Green has 12 (it would be 13 if Rofellos were legal); and
  • Colorless has 1: Karn, Silver Golem (Draco isn’t Legendary).

Allied and Enemy Pairs (or Guilds)

  • WU (Azor) only has 2, as discussed earlier (the aforementioned Kangee and Hanna);
  • WB (Orzhov) has 1: Selenia, Dark Angel;
  • WG (Selesnya) has 3: Daughter of Autumn, Asmira, Holy Avenger, and Captain Sisay;
  • UB (Dimir) has 1: Skeleton Ship;
  • BG (Golgari “The Rock”) has 1: Vhati il-Dal; and
  • BR (Rakdos) has 2: Tsavo Tavoc and Bladewing, the Risen.

The combinations of UR (or Izzet), WR (or Boros), UG (or Simic), and GR (or Gruul) do not have a Commander. However, I’m sure we could find some flavorful creatures to errata to Legendary and don’t forget that you can use Ixidor to fill these gaps for now.

7102.hq
“Rule through fear, Darigaaz. Only if the dragons feel terror will they truly be your servants.” -Tevesh Szat “Malicious Advice” by Glen Angus

Tri-Color (or Shards/Wedges)

There are only thirteen (13) tri-colored Commanders, and you can thank the Planeswalker Tevesh Szat for five of them:

  • WUB (Esper) has 2: Dromar, the Banisher and Ertai, the Corrupted (it would be 3 if Merieki Ri Berit were legal);
  • WRG (Naya) has 1: Rith, the Awakener;
  • UBR (Grixis) has 2: Crosis, the Purger and Lord of Tresserhorn;
  • WUG (Bant) has 2: Phelddagrif and Treva, the Renewer;
  • BRG (Jund) has 1: Darigaaz, the Igniter;
  • UBG (Sultai “Ana”) has 1: Anavolver;
  • WUR (Jeskai “Team America” or “Raka”) has 1: Rakavolver;
  • URG (Temur “Ceta”) has 1: Cetavolver;
  • WBR (Mardu “Dega”) has 1: Degavolver; and
  • WBG (Abzan “Junk” or “Necra”) has 1: Necravolver.

Lightning Angel also seems like a reasonable choice to errata to Legendary and address one of these combinations.  Hang tight, we’ll get there.

Edit: On April 16, 2020, the Apocalypse Volvers were errata’d to be Legendary.

WUBRG:

Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, there are more WUBRG Commanders than any other color combination:

  • Atogatog;
  • Cromat;
  • Sliver Overlord;
  • Sliver Queen; and…
  • …as discussed early: Ixidor, Reality Sculptor.
10.Miracola.Donate
“Campus pranksters initiate students with the old ‘beeble bomb’ routine.” “Donate” by Jeff Miracola

SAMPLE IDEAS

The following Commanders each have more than 130 decks on EDHREC:

    • Arcanis the Omnipotent (159)
    • Atogatog (166)
    • Bladewing the Risen (131)
    • Captain Sisay (441)
    • Chainer, Dementia Master (367)
    • Cromat (202)
    • Crosis, the Purger (133)
    • Ertai, the Corrupted (182)
    • Hanna, Ship’s Navigator (245)
    • Kamahl, Fist of Krosa (135)
    • Kangee, Aerie Keeper (216)
    • Karn, Silver Golem (232)
    • Karona, False God (488)
    • Meriek Ri Berit (374)
    • Mistform Ultimus (162)
    • Phage the Untouchable (140)
    • Phelddagrif (552)
    • Rith, the Awakener (182)
    • Selenia, Dark Angel (226)
    • Seton, Krosan Protector (227)
    • Sliver Overlord (1,341)
    • Sliver Queen (232)
    • Zirilian of the Claw (140)

Additionally, here are some other ideas that I came up with in like five minutes:

  • Asmira, Holy Avenger – Mirari’s “Wake” with Mystic Enforcer, Nantuko Monastery, Anurid Brushhopper, Armadillo Cloak, Altar of Bone, Eladamri’s Call, etc.
  • Darigaaz, the Igniter – Fires of Yavimaya with Flametongue Kavu and a splash of Black for Terminate, etc.
  • Eladamri, Lord of Leaves – Elves
  • Treva, the Renewer – Control with Quirion Dryad, Dueling Grounds, Teferi’s Moat, Absorb, Meddling Mage, etc.
  • Vhati il-Dal – “Junk” – Phyrexian Plaguelord, Hermit Druid, Spiritmonger, Pernicious Deed, etc.
dryad
“Never underestimate the ability of natural forces to adapt to unnatural influences” -Molimo, maro-sorceror  “Quirion Dryad” by Don Hazeltine

WRAP UP

Hopefully this article has excited and motivated you to take a spin through the card list or your trade binders to find something new to build.  This is something that I have been developing for months.  Hours and hours of my time went into this for the benefit of the community, so please provide any positive or constructive feedback.  I would very much appreciate it.  I’d also love to see some Premodern Brawl decks on Instagram.  Please use the hashtag #premodernbrawl and tag @readytorole in your deck lists, photos, mail days, etc.!

Knuckle up;

Let’s Brawl!

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If you play any nostalgic formats, or are considering it, then you may enjoy my other articles:

Premodern

Premodern Brawl

  • Rules, Bans, Errata, and Commanders

Old School 93/94 Brawl

 

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3 Comments on “[Premodern Brawl]: Rules, Bans, Errata, and Commanders

  1. Pingback: Parallel Thoughts: Premodern Brawl Q&A (and debut of Rules v.1.1) – 04.16.2020 – Ready To Role

  2. I don’t see any problems with Lin Sivvi here. If you’re using her as your commander for your rebels, then you’re holding yourself back. Much better to use a black/white or blue/white commander for better cards.

    Like

    • Hi Sammz, thanks for the comment. Although there is something to be said about consistent turn 3 Lin Sivvis, I tend to agree with you. Even G/W would offer you tutoring and pump spells for your go-wide Rebels!

      Like

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