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Ready to Brawl? Final Part—Five-Colour

Good afternoon, everybody. I’m back for the final time (for now?) with decks for the five-colour commanders in Standard: Niv-Mizzet Reborn, Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, and Kenrith, the Returned King. Many of the previous deck ideas come to full fruition here with the hilarity that having access to all five colours can provide, and there are combos and interactions out of the wazoo. Wazoo with you!

Five Colour


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Theme(s): Activated Abilities, Combo, Alt-Win Con(s)

Let's kick off with a banger and secret Against the Odds inclusion: Kenrith Combo! Just about every alternate win-con in Standard is included in this Bant shell inspired by Off-Meta For-Fun's Fish Tank submission for Standard. The original combo featured having Kenrith, two of either Biomancer's Familiar or Smothering Tithe, one of the other, and your opponent being tapped out. We've gone from one combo / win-the-game victory to seven! It's a challenging deck to pilot, and comboing on Arena is more tedious than in tabletop, but the deck is a blast. A run-down on each combo is included in the notes below the decklist here.

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Theme(s): +1/+1 Counters, Alt-Win Con

Back to a modicum of reason with this build for Kenrith, which, funnily enough, also features an alternate win condition with Simic Ascendancy—and we have a lot of ways to generate those growth counters even without infinite-mana combos. The deck features Bioessence Hydra and a few planeswalkers to enable it, such as The Royal Scions to bump its power and give it first strike—very nice with the trample they also needlessly provide—and Samut, Tyrant Smasher for hasty beats. Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter, in addition to beefing up the Hydra, also enables us to colour fix and ramp to a great extent with his passive—and you just know the goodest boy Mowu, Loyal Companion is here and ready to receive +1/+1 counter treats!

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Theme(s): ALL-IN CAT

Prepare the kitchens with Witch’s Oven. Have Saheeli, Sublime Artificer to instruct you on how to make crude oven-like shapes from all those Sorcerer’s Brooms and Servo(nt)s. Give them the finishing touch to get production levels high with Masterful Replication. Don’t have that Cat yet? Get Cauldron Familiar for only three mana (bargain!) with Finale of Devastation. Cat in the Shadow Realm? Back up beat-down with Rampage of the Clans. If all else fails, have Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge channel the power of all those ovens and wannabe ovens into some zip-zapping!

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Theme(s): Planeswalkers, Gates

I’ve dipped my toe a little into the overwhelming power that a board of planeswalkers can supply but that was in one- or two-colour shells. We’re going all-out with it this time, and we’ll be supported by a Gates sub-theme. The beacons are lit (Ignite the Beacon), and the Gatewatch calls for aid! Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God shows up, as well as a few other unlikely alliances, but Vorthos concerns—while normally a big influence on me as a deckbuilder—took a back seat to including the best of the best. Once again, Fires of Invention is ideally suited to enabling the deck. It not only fixes for us but also doesn’t hamper us with either the "your turn only" clause, as we are primarily playing sorcery-speed planeswalkers, or the "two spells a turn" clause, as that is probably going to feel like one planeswalker too many a turn for our opponents. Niv-Mizzet Reborn makes an early cameo, and here’s why: he’s 96% or so to find at least one spell when he triggers.

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Theme(s): Enters-the-Battlefield, Cavaliers

In what has become a running trend, five-colour enables us to take the best elements of disparate colours and decks and marry them into more powerful—if less consistent—unions. The deck's core started around the interplay among Chulane, Teller of Tales, Yarok, the Desecrated, and Mirror March—one of only two red cards including Cavalier of Flame to join their brethren—in the deck. I just didn’t feel that any of the other red creatures with ETBs came even close to making it worth further compromising our mana—which is of course why I did include the triple-red Cavalier. All jokes aside, three of the best crafts you can make for Brawl are Arcane Signet, Command Tower, and, for any deck running three to five colours, Chromatic Lantern. Two of them are even common!

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Theme(s): Artifacts, Colourless, Gates

Remember how a long time ago, I included a barely-worth-mentioning, completely colourless Brawl deck with Ugin, the Ineffable? Golos remembers. This is how I think I’d build that very deck but better, by having access to non-basic colour-producing lands in the Gates and a very cheeky one or two not strictly colourless cards. Parhelion II might ordinarily be challenging to crew in this deck, but you can give it legs (wings?) by using Karn, the Great Creator’s animate ability to turn the flying battleship into a creature—you’ll get the angel tokens when it attacks regardless of how it is attacking. The second card is sorely needed, and that’s Emry, Lurker of the Loch. The recursion she provides the deck helps to combat what is still its main weakness: having only colourless to answer threats and combat strategies. If I could have done these things and have Ugin be the commander, I would have, as he deals with almost any troublesome permanent, draws cards which make creatures and makes nearly our entire deck cheaper to cast. But the tradeoff to Golos is that we get to run some colourless Gate pay-offs not featured or supported in the Ugin build: Gatekeeper Gargoyle, Gate Colossus, and something I’ve been meaning to try—Glaive of the Guildpact.

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Theme(s): Flying, Flying Matters, Guild Pairs

Flock together. Alela, Artful Provocateur and Kykar, Wind’s Fury combine together with some artifacts (Golden Egg / Glass Casket) and enchantments (Frogify / Divine Visitation) to kick the deck into overdrive. Kaalia is about 67% to hit at least one of the Angels or Dragons in the deck—no Demons survived the cuts—while our commander, Niv-Mizzet Reborn, is around 87% to hit one or more guild-pair-only multicolour cards, thanks to seeing a whopping 10 at a time. Arcanist’s Owl pulls double duty in the deck, being a flyer to benefit from lords like Empyrean Eagle and Windstorm Drake as well as providing a means to find fuel for Alela and Kykar 42% of the time, which is not great but not nothing either. There are so many ways you can build and tune this deck to your liking and the meta, so don’t be afraid to experiment with changes—I certainly will be revising things as I play the deck.

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Theme(s): Guild Pairs, Alt-Win Con

The most consistently successful Arena Singleton deck I made was this list built around Niv-Mizzet Reborn. Over 17 matches (a not unreasonable number, given how many decks I fit into playing during the event windows), I had a 71% win rate, and the great news for Brawl is that not only did the deck lose very little at rotation but we actually gained some very powerful tools. Both Fires of Invention and Faeburrow Elder can enable very powerful combos, but we’ll settle for them being turbo-charged ramp and fixing. I didn’t know at first how many decks I would include Happily Ever After in—not many, as it turns out (the same way to win every time is more fun to design and less fun to play, for me personally), but it seems like an acceptable free-roll here. Rienne, Angel of Rebirth might not be what an optimal deck wants to do—partially because she cannot be drawn with Niv-Mizzet—but the synergy otherwise was too cute not to include, as was the already established absurdity that is Garruk, Cursed Huntsman with Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves. The hardest felt part of the rotation was losing the check lands, which will slow us down until we get some of our dual ramp + fixing. I found that I rarely used Guildmage’s Forum in Singleton, but it didn’t screw me over often either, and it should work well when you can find the time to use it.


It has been an absolute pleasure and delight to have had the opportunity to write for a site I’ve used, enjoyed, and respected a lot over the years by bringing over 50 decks to your attention. Thanks again to Seth, Richard, and of course all of you for reading, commenting, and—most importantly, I hope—brewing your own decks because of the ideas I’ve presented here. Before I go, unironically one of my favourite parts of brewing is naming my decks, which draws from a wide variety of inspirations but especially pop culture and using puns. How many did you recognise?

Next time: We'll see what happens in the future as far as Brawl content from me goes. Good luck, and good games!

Until I see you again?

Erengard (@Erengard_PG on Twitter)

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