Brawl is live in Magic tabletop and MTG Arena with weekly events—and several commanders are ready to claim the crown now that Oko, Thief of Crowns has been banned.
Similar to the Commander format in Magic, Brawl decks consist of 59 single copy cards and a commander who’s either a legendary creature or planeswalker. Each card in the deck also has to match the colors of the commander and must be in the Standard format.
The ban on Oko has reopened the metagame in Brawl—and it’s a beautiful sight. Here are the top commanders and strategies to build the best deck in Brawl via MTG Arena.
Alea, Artful Provocateur
Alea is a three-color commander (White, Blue, Black) who supports flying creatures and creates 1/1 faerie tokens anytime an artifact or enchantment spell is cast. Her colors allow players to add a good amount of control-based cards while stacking the battlefield with evasive tokens.
Top Standard cards to include in a Brawl deck commanded by Alea, Artful Provocateur include Arcane Signet, Smothering Tide, Witching Well, Shimmer Dragon, Mortify, and Frogify. And the best planeswalkers to add in for additional power and control are Teferi, Time Raveler, Narset, Parter of Veils, and Dovin, Grand Arbiter.
Other enchantment and artifact cards that fit well into an Alea commanded deck are Prison Realm, Conclave Tribunal, Oath of Kaya, Ethereal Absolution, Midnight Clock, Doom Foretold, Bag of Holding, and Golden Egg.
Creatures are still needed to succeed, so choose wisely when crafting. Some ideal choices include Empyrean Eagle, Massacre Girl, Realm-Cloaked Giant, and Sephara, Sky’s Blade.
Ayara, First of Locthwain
For players who prefer to run a mono-colored Brawl deck, Ayara is the most ideal commander in Black. The deck should include a healthy balance of removal via sacrificial creatures and triggers since Ayara can sacrifice a target to draw a card. She also provides you with one life every time a creature enters the battlefield and removes one point of life from opponents.
Top cards to include in an Ayara build are Heraldic Banner, Liliana, Dreadhorde General, Gutterbones, Priest of Forgotten Gods, and Dreadhorde Invasion.
Sacrificial cards that serve this deck well include Orzhov Enforcer, Piper of the Swarm (able to produce rats), and Order of Midnight. And the power of an Ayara deck comes from Cavalier of Night, God-Eternal Bontu, Spawn of Mayhem, Rankle, Master of Pranks, and Syr Conrad, the Grim.
Korvold, Fae-Cursed King
The dragon Korvold, Fae-Cursed King takes the sacrificial theme one step further. The cursed dragon is able to grow in strength with each permanent sacrificed. It’s expensive to cast but worth it thanks to the havoc it wreaks.
Korvold also produces card draw with every sacrifice, producing more options should the dragon be removed from the battlefield before you can use it as a finisher. Top supporting cards that fit in this Brawl deck include Cauldron Familiar, Piper of the Swarm, Orzhov Enforcer, and Witch’s Oven.
Once Korvold in on the battlefield, Irencrag Pyromancer and Mayhem Devil can either finish off a match or clear the battlefield of threats. Another potential threat remover is Wicked Wolf. Gilded Goose provides mana fixing while also producing Food for Cauldron Familiar if Witch’s Oven isn’t on the battlefield.
And don’t forget about Trail of Breadcrumbs or Giant Opportunity as Food generators that benefit Korvold while providing board status and a chance to dig through the library for a specific card.
Removal that synchronizes the sacrificial and Food themes includes Baked into a Pie, Foreboding Fruit, and Taste of Death. Murderous Rider is also a decent removal to have on hand, along with Angrath’s Rampage and Bedevil.
Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner
With Oko out of the way, it’s time for other Simic decks to shine. And Kihora, Behemoth Beckoner is a commander most often overlooked. As a planeswalker, she’s cheap to cast and has an extremely high starting loyalty count. Kihora produces card draw with each large creature played while also freeing up mana or a blocker with her minus ability.
Ramp is imperative in a Brawl deck commanded by Kihora and Simic has all the best cards, from Gilded Goose and Druids to Circuitous Route and Growth Spiral. And don’t forget about minor ramp creatures like Maraleaf Pixie or Gyre Engineer.
There’s an abundance of large creatures that will work with Kihora, but a few cards shouldn’t be overlooked. God-Eternal Kefnet provides additional value from Instant and Sorcery spells while Sphinx of Foresight lets you scry each turn. Both creatures also have evasion.
Adding proliferate cards helps keep Kihora’s loyalty counters up while using her minus ability. They can also strengthen the board state in combination with creatures like Bioessence Hydra, Voracious Hydra, Hydroid Krasis, and Roalesk, Apex Hydra.
The Royal Scions
One of the fastest-growing decks in Standard is the Izzet burn and draw theme. And it can be used quite efficiently in Brawl with The Royal Scions as the decks’ commander.
The overall theme is to draw cards while producing damage via cards like Irencrag Pyromancer and Niv-Mizzet, Parrun while controlling the board state through Instant and Sorcery spells that strengthen creatures like Crackling Drake.
Other additions that either cause damage or gum up the battlefield include Electrostatic Field, Improbable Alliance, Faerie Formation, and Sahilee, Sublime Artificer. Another must-have card in The Royal Scions brawl deck is Ral, Storm Conduit.