Why We Should Embrace Brawl

by Felix Capule on 22 May 2018, Tuesday

Felix Capule

Why We Should Embrace Brawl

Brawl is a new format that was introduced last March 22, 2018 via the article of Garvin Verhey on the Magic: the Gathering website. The format was initiated by Gerrit Turner, a senior brand narrative designer for the game and he is credited for the casual variant for the Commander format.



The Basics


First off, the format utilizes Standard-legal cards only.


Yup, this is not the same as to what we're all used to, but this change brings an interesting twist to the singleton format we all enjoy. The deck must contain 59 cards and your Commander can either be a legendary creature or a Planeswalker. Unlike EDH, there is no Commander damage and starting life points is 30.


Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh


The omission of the Commander damage makes a lot of sense here, since a player can opt to sleeve up a Planeswalker like Nicol Bolas, God-Pharaoh from Hour of Devastation as their Commander.


This was not possible unless you're playing with Freyalise, Llanowar's Fury and the rest of the Commander 2014 Planeswalker Commanders. But what caught almost everyone's attention is the fact that as a format, Brawl may seem like Standard's version of Commander, which means set rotation is going to be a factor to the format.




Reasons To Embrace The Format

  • Ease of Access


It is straightforward to get into – Let's admit it, traditional Commander can be hard for a new player or any player to get into. I understand that WOTC produces a Commander set every year and the Pre-Constructed decks have been improving every year. 


Eventually, you'll be tweaking your deck, and in a traditional Commander, that is not a very easy task. While for Brawl, we're talking about Standard here. Chances are you've cracked a few packs, played some limited and you've got a lot of cards that you're not using until now. Plus, Standards cards are almost everywhere. You can certainly grab a copy of the cards a lot easier.


  • Brewers Gotta Brew


Since Brawl utilizes Standard format card pool, we're very much limited as to what cards we can use and trust me, that is not a bad thing. Brewers will try to brew a deck that would surely impress a lot of people. Some will go with whatever it is that they have lying around. I know this because I'm guilty of it.


Gishath, Sun's Avatar


My first Brawl deck was Naya Dinosaurs featuring Gishath, Sun's Avatar, which was initially made up of cards that I had just lying around. The deck I brewed with the cards I have was close to 85% to the actual list I have in mind before I slowly upgraded it.


  • The Format Is Explosive


Jodah, Archmage Eternal


Some would say that there is no way that the format can be explosive, but that is not the case. Jodah, Archmage Eternal is as real as it could get, paying WUBRG to cast a spell that would usually cost an arm and a leg. Jodah's ability is exciting. If you got your mana fixed by turn four and have WUBRG by turn five, who knows what you can do? 



  • It Is A Variant Of Commander


Yup, I said it. And it's true.


Brawl as a variant still provides the fun side of the multiplayer Commander. The politics involved and the crazy interactions that come with playing a game of Commander are still highlights of the games I've played so far.


I brewed a deck for the format almost immediately as it was announced. Some players at our local game store, Madcap Gaming Philippines, did the same and we had loads of fun playing. Dominaria introduced us to 44 Legendary Creatures and 5 Planeswalkers, while for the entire format there are 89 Legendary Creatures and 33 Planeswalkers!



Signing Off With Naya Dinosaurs


There you go, fellow fans of the game! Pick your favorite Commander, brew your decks, and let's play Brawl! This is my first column, and I would like to thank you for taking the time to read it. Please feel free to comment, share your thoughts about the format, and share your stories as well. Let's have some conversation and remember #BrawlIsLife!


By the way, here is my Naya Dinosaurs Brawl decklist at the moment. It's a lot of fun, and I encourage you to build a Brawl deck yourself! Shoutout to my fellow judge L2 Ian Mervin Go, who I had a chat with regarding my deck when I first posted it on social media!

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