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Ready to Brawl? Part 1—Mono-Colour

Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to my first article for Magic: the Gathering. I've always enjoyed brewing and playing singleton formats such as Brawl, Commander, Arena Singleton, and Oathbreaker, and after sharing some ideas with SaffronOlive, he asked if I would like to put it all together into an article to help people find fun Brawl decks, either to use as-is or as a jumping-off point for their (your) own decks, now that interest in Brawl has reignited.

So today, I'm going to be covering my work in designing a bunch of decks, with a focus on Brawl for Magic Arena. These decks are tuned more for 1v1 settings than multiplayer but should still give you a good base to adapt to the latter. I expect Brawl to thrive on Arena, with one of the greatest aspects being how easily and quickly you can substitute similar cards in your collection, especially as one-ofs.

I personally prefer to keep deck overlap / identical cards to a minimum, and although we currently only have five sets in Standard, there really is so much customization you can do. On the other hand, we’ll be seeing deck ideas evolve and incorporate new powerful options as we add more colours. It didn't explicitly start this way, but I have decks for every colour combination available in Brawl to share, and we're starting today with mono-coloured decks. I have one of each plus an (Arena) budget version for them that has one mythic and three rares, not counting the commander. If you're ready, let's go!


Theme(s): Life-Gain, Tokens, Aggro


We start off with mono-white, which shares some of the same weaknesses in Brawl as in Commander, but this fun little deck should play well. It's not a complicated deck, but White Weenie has always been a viable option in 1v1, as evident as recently as Pro Tour Atlanta 2018. A neat way to help white's ability to ramp is Brought Back with Lotus Field. If you really want to get that extra mana, you can tap two Plains, sacrifice them to Lotus Field, and then return them to your board with Brought Back to jump from two to five mana, and Brought Back is also available to help combat a vulnerability that the deck's aggro nature has to sweepers. A similar ramp trick can be done if you have four lands—two being Evolving Wilds and Fabled Passage.

Theme(s): Life-Gain, Tokens, Aggro, Budget

Honestly, while the deck's power level has obviously come down, Seth's proven many times how Draft Chaff White Weenie just gets the job done. Much like the reasoning behind its inclusion in the Knights' Charge deck, Bond of Discipline is a great uncommon way to close a game out from nowhere, or at least not die easily on the crack back. Deafening Silence is a niche card to include in a Brawl deck, but I don’t expect our deck to want to cast multiple non-creature spells in a turn. As our power level is low, it’s there to keep in check the more powerful 1v1 decks you may face.


Theme(s): Card Draw, Tapping, Control, Alt-Win Con(s)

This was one of the first decks I built when it was announced that Brawl was coming to Arena. You just want to draw all the cards, right? Verity Circle is beautiful with Gadwick, and with Leyline of Anticipation, we can tap down attackers on our opponent's turn. Jace, Wielder of Mysteries is the main win-con; as such, we have Clear the Mind and Midnight Clock to recur him should the worst happen. The former also allows us to reset opposing self-mill / draw decks. Finally, Scuttlemutt and Cerulean Drake allow you to indefinitely block creatures of any colour by making the attacker red.

Theme(s): Card Draw, Tapping, Control, Alt-Win Con, Budget

Jace and Verity Circle are practically essential, with Leyline of Anticipation being very useful, and as such, they are our rare spends. But otherwise, I don't believe the deck loses a lot of functionality from cutting the rares and mythics down. It exists in the non-budget version, but the engine of Scholar of Stars, Unsummon, and any other instant or sorcery you want has the ability to generate lots of value by recurring the spells with the Scholar and bouncing the Scholar to re-use its ETB trigger with Unsummon.


Theme(s): Aristocrats, Grind

The Standard-established power of the Cauldron Familiar + Witch's Oven synergy, along with Ayara's natural tendencies, leans the deck heavily into an Aristocrats shell. The deck is built on two-for-ones that slowly accrue value to grind through an opponent's deck, and being mono-black allows it to be consistent against aggro. The ultimate slow-grind is looping Order of Midnight and Gravedigger through a sac outlet and enters / dies drain triggers. How nice that Ayara is both in one!

Theme(s): Aristocrats, Grind, Budget

As is becoming a trend, these mono-colour decks don't tend to lose much by taking out their rares and mythics, which speaks well to their core game plan. The state of black's lower-rarity removal has actually gotten better in recent years (which is nice for Draft, another format I greatly enjoy), so while we lose Murderous Rider, we do get Murder, and we retain Spark Harvest as a way to answer a planeswalker. The aforementioned cat oven combo alongside Ayara-like cards in Vindictive Vampire and Syr Konrad, the Grim give the deck a lot of redundancy. Mephitic Vapors is a poor sweeper, but the only other option is very bad for our deck—Cry of the Carnarium with its exile clause.


Theme(s): Planeswalkers, Burn, Control

This is another personal deck I created early on and adapted from an attempt to see if Mono-Red Control was reasonable in Arena Singleton. The deck was decent and leaned on the Chandra tribal synergies, including Chandra's Regulator. A late change fuelled by Syr Carah, the Bold was the other pingers in Standard, namely Spear Spewer and Brimstone Trebuchet, along with some card advantage and damage with amplifiers like Torbran, Thane of Red Fell and Jaya, Venerated Firemage. Certain concessions are made by opting for actual card draw instead of red's impulsive card draw (exile the top card of your library, play it that turn) to support Irencrag Pyromancer.

Theme(s): Burn, Aggro, Budget

Unfortunately, the plan of playing a bunch of planeswalkers and big, impactful spells does not lend itself to being budget. On the other hand, the archetypes of Red Deck Wins and Burn always have, so we pivot away from Sarkhan to Torbran. I'm personally a little biased to wanting these mono-colour decks to line up symmetrically with the rare Noble cycle of the Eldraine Courts' leaders, but Torbran is everything this deck wants as a centrepiece. Experimental Frenzy, a card I did not like in the non-budget build, serves as our card-advantage anchor and is well worth being one of our rares.


Theme(s): Ramp, Stompy

To be honest, the commander of this deck is very interchangeable as you will want to ramp hard and play big creatures regardless. I settled on Nissa as she has incredible ramp potential in mono-green, is one of Standard's best planeswalkers with regards to making creatures to defend her, and can meaningfully thin our deck to increase the odds of drawing spells with her ultimate. Green has recently been second only behind blue for card advantage, so with cards like Beast Whisperer, Vivien, Champion of the Wilds, and The Great Henge, you can keep the deck chugging along nicely.

Theme(s): Stompy, Ramp, Budget

Mother Nature becomes Father Nurture with Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig and, again, a shift away from wildcard-intense planeswalkers. I think Mono-Green loses the most utility by becoming budget, so we've changed into a more creature beatdown–focused build. I chose to keep the combo between the rares of Wakeroot Elemental and Castle Garenbrig as a way to have an explosive, over-the-top play to win any game. Activate the Castle, use its mana to have Wakeroot Elemental untap it, and net one mana. Repeat until you have enough to animate all your lands, and swing in.


Theme(s): Artifacts, Colourless, Proof of Concept

This deck is a little bonus of what a truly colourless Brawl deck could look like at the moment. I don't think it's at an acceptable level to be playable, but I was curious to see how far off we currently are. I may try it in some games just to see how it fares, but I wouldn't actually recommend building it. If you have all the cards already and want to try it out, I’d recommend naming Golem or Construct with Icon of Ancestry.


Thanks very much for joining me today so I can share some of my excitement for Brawl with you. I'm grateful to MTGGoldfish and Seth for allowing me to get these decklists out to people through these articles. Speaking of—next time will be the guilds featured in Guilds of Ravnica! From there, we will cover the guilds in Ravnica Allegiance, then to the shards, the wedges, and finally, five-colour decks.

Until I see you again,

Erengard (@Erengard_PG on Twitter)

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