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Temmet, Vizier of Brawl

Over the past few weeks Brawl has been the topic of conversation amongst many playgroups. Some players are dubious, and that is understandable. Many formats in the past have come and gone, leaving a bad taste in players' mouths. Others see it as an opportunity. Perhaps it is a chance to transition into another format, or enjoy Magic in a new and refreshing way. Despite the differing opinions, players do seem to agree on one thing. Brawl is an amalgamation of Magic's two most polarized formats, Standard and Commander. This is what I consider to be the true spirit of Brawl. That spirit is what I used as the inspiration for my first Brawl deck. The deck is a mash up featuring strategies from the popular U/W God-Pharaoh's Gift Standard deck, along with Commander-esque cards too slow for standard. 

If you are not familiar with the God Pharaoh's Gift deck I will give you a brief overview. The deck essentially wants to fill the graveyard with creatures and reanimate them for free. Typically, the pilot of the deck wants to put God Pharaoh's Gift into the graveyard, then reanimate it with Refurbish. The Brawl version is going to take a slightly different approach. Here is the decklist:

Group 1: Getting God Pharaoh's Gift

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The ultimate goal of the deck is to get God Pharaoh's Gift into play. Tutors are going to be your ticket to do this quickly and consistently. This is a play right out of the Commander playbook. It's more mana efficient to tutor out Gate to the Afterlife, then activate its second ability. However if you find yourself in the late game, and have ten mana to spare, putting it straight on to the battlefield with Whir of Invention is always an option.

Group 2: Getting Your Creatures into the Graveyard

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Getting creatures into your graveyard is step 1.5. Luckily,we have some clever ways to get there. Much like the actual Standard build, milling yourself is the most prominent way. Search for Azcanta is an auto-include here. Not only does it fill up your graveyard, but flipping it gives you a powerful filtering effect. Other self milling cards have inherent benefits stapled onto them. Winds of Rebuke is a good example of this. You get to bounce any NON-LAND permanent, while simultaneously milling yourself. We want to avoid cards that only put cards into our graveyard. This can mill through cards you may need, and possibly two for one yourself. In 60 card formats it is important that all your cards are as versatile as possible. The deck also includes several cycling creatures. Cycling creature serve a dual purpose, drawing cards and saving them for later to bring back. That seems pretty versatile. 

Group 3: The Creature Menu

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In the standard, its all about efficiency when it comes to the creatures. In Brawl however it is about impact. Instead of only a single opponent, now you have three. This means the creatures you reanimate need to be powerful. The cards above are all good examples, but the deck is teeming with creatures just begging to be Eternalized.

Group 4: Token Synergy

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This last group is the smallest, but still important. After the gears of the deck begin to turn these cards will maximize the impact your tokens have on the game. Casting an Anointed Procession before getting started is a good move. It will sit as a target on the board and will draw hate out of your opponents hands. If it doesn't get removed it will be a huge boon to the game plan. Just imagine double Fleet Swallowers.

Building for Brawl is a new challenge I have had a lot of fun taking on. It's surprisingly tricky to build a deck that not only can win, but also represent you as a player. After all, casual formats are all about expression. With a smaller card pool it is more difficult to find cards and strategies that speak to you. Players who choose to opt into Brawl are certainly in for a new deck building experience. With these restraints placed on you, finishing a deck becomes that much more satisfying.  

All in all, the deck is a sweet Standard engine inside a sleek Commander body.



That's all for this week. Are you planning on playing Brawl? What are you playing in Brawl? What are you excited to build? Let me know in the comments below!

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