Brawl is a singleton format in Magic: The Gathering that is a variant of the popular Commander (also known as EDH) that uses only Standard-legal cards. It will be officially supported on MTG Arena beginning October 26, 2019. In this guide, we will go into detail on the rules of Brawl, how to play Brawl, where to find Brawl cards and building Brawl decks – specifically for the MTG Arena environment.
How to Play Brawl – The Rules
A Brawl deck consists of the following:
- 1 Commander: Any Legendary Creature or Planeswalker from a set currently in Standard.
- 59 other cards: Only one copy of any card, except for basic lands from sets currently in Standard that share a color identity with your commander.
A card’s color identity is not quite the same as a card’s color: It can come from any part of that card, including its casting cost and any mana symbols in its rules text.
- Every card in your Brawl deck must only use mana symbols that also appear on your commander.
- Colorless cards are allowed in any deck.
- As an example, Kenrith, the Returned King’s color identity is all five colors, and thus you are able to use all five colors in your deck, should you wish to do so.
- In MTG Arena, once you have chosen your commander the deck builder will automatically filter cards based on its color identity and enforce the singleton (one copy of any card) deck building requirement.
This is the special game zone where your commander resides when it is not in play (shown in the bottom right side of the image above):
- Each commander starts the game face up in its controller’s command zone. When a player’s commander is in the Command Zone, it will appear as a ‘near-hand’ castable. You can hover both your and your opponent’s commander card to view a larger version. The commander’s name is also listed below each player’s names; you can click this to view an enlarged version of the card as well.
- A commander can be cast from the command zone, as though it were in your hand, for its normal costs, plus an additional two mana for each previous time it’s been cast from the command zone this game (informally known as the “commander tax”). This will automatically update in-game and you can hover the card to see the final mana cost. When played, the commander will have a distinct border on the battlefield.
- If your commander would change zones (i.e., be put into your library, hand, graveyard, or exile from anywhere), you will receive a prompt to choose which zone to send it to – sending it to the command zone is a may ability!
Starting a Game
- With 3 or more players, start at 30 life; with only 2 players, start at 25 life. MTG Arena currently does not support multiplayer games.
- The first mulligan is to seven cards, then each mulligan afterward results in one fewer card (six, five, four, etc).
The following cards are banned in Brawl and cannot be included in your deck or used as your commander (the regular Standard banned list does not apply to Brawl. If a card from a Standard-legal set isn’t listed here, it’s fine to use):
- Oko, Thief of Crowns (read ban announcement)
- Sorcerous Spyglass
Source: Brawl – Magic: The Gathering
When Can I Play Brawl?
There will be three primary ways to play Brawl in MTG Arena; through special events, weekly queues and direct challenges.
There will be special events held in-game specific for Brawl every once in a while.
- October 24, 2019 – November 1, 2019: Brawl Launch Celebration
- September 4, 2019 – September 9, 2019: Eldraine Courtside Brawl
There will be a Brawl play queue every Wednesday, starting on November 6 at 8 a.m. PT (16:00 UTC) and will be available for 24 hours. There will be no entry fee and no additional rewards, but games will grant Daily Quest progress and contribute toward any Daily Wins or Weekly Wins.
As with any other game mode, Brawl can be enjoyed via direct challenge.
Brawl Specific Cards
- In Throne of Eldraine, there are 20 cards included in the 4 preconstructed Brawl decks, specific to Brawl. You can see the full card list here.
- They cannot be found in normal booster packs, and must be obtained via Wildcards or special events (like the Brawl Launch Celebration event).
- Cards like Command Tower and Arcane Signet refer to the term “commander” specifically, which has no effect outside of Brawl. These will be an integral part of most Brawl decks!
- Some cards such as Embereth Skyblazer, refer to the number of opponents – which will always be one in MTG Arena until it can support multiplayer.
Where to Find Brawl Decks
MTG Arena Zone will have its own Brawl Deck section, and we aim to have an unique, fun deck for each commander and update them regularly as new sets come out and cards rotate!