I’ve heard it said several times that M21 left Brawl players in the dust when it comes to new viable Commanders, but today I’d like to present a sweet and powerful deck featuring an M21 Commander! I feel this deck will only improve with age, not only as new cards get spoiled in Zendikar Rising this September, but when Jumpstart goes live and Historic Brawl expands even further.
The aim of this deck is to do what Gruul does best: Smash! With 20 creatures, 26 lands, and 13 spells, this list will do exactly that, time and again crushing the opponents’ boards with style.
The best thing about Radha, Heart of Keld is her casting cost. Green, Red, and a colorless is an easy cost to pay, and she affects the board state immediately. Seeing the next card you draw isn’t an ability we get often on Arena, much less in Gruul. In MTG, knowledge is power; knowing the top card of your library, no matter how often it changes, gives you access to a wealth of additional information and ways to plan around things.
Radha’s second ability lets us play lands off the top of our library, instead of having to draw them first. This keeps our draws relevant and, with the help of Dryad of the Ilysian Grove and Azusa, Lost but Seeking, we quickly play out several lands a turn, ramping through land pockets with ease. This is key to ensuring that we never run out of gas, and have the potential to cast multiple spells in a turn as much and as early as possible, quickly overwhelming our opponents.
Radha’s final ability really shines when every new card equates to a playable spell, with plenty of triggers keep our hands full. The likes of Elder Gargaroth, The Great Henge, and even Bonder’s Enclave, which is easily active early on, ensure raw card advantage. While the spice keeps flowing, Radha gets more threatening with the potential to deal more and more first strike damage.
Classic Gruul strategies live on within this deck. Rhythm of the Wild will generate counters and haste to keep pressure alive and, alongside Shifting Ceratops, we leave our blue opponents with dead cards in their hands and inching closer to a more final end on the board.
Klothys, God of Destiny and Scavenging Ooze show up to alleviate graveyard strategies of any advantage. Both generate value on their own, and even feed off any removal directed our way. This duo has proven especially useful with the popularity of Nethroi in Brawl, negating the Commander’s entire game plan.
With so many counters on our creatures, Karn’s Bastion really shines, allowing us to avoid overextending into sweepers, while increasing our threat levels every turn. Labyrinth of Skophos allows us to prevent a combat interaction that turns unfavorable, even saving our own blocking creature. Blast Zone and Field of Ruin give us a touch of versatility in terms of mana base, while Mobilized District is often cheaply activated to help with alpha strikes, both assisting ours and preventing theirs.
Terror of the Peaks is likely my favorite card in the list since we produce creatures so quickly. This feisty dragon punishes decks for casting Planeswalkers, or clears clogged boards of important threats, allowing us to continue swinging for the face. Garruk, Unleashed even gets extra value with his -2, which produces a 3/3 beast and a free Lightning Bolt with Terror out! If we end up behind in creatures, getting the loyalty counter back is just extra value.
This deck also manages an infinite combo! Three cards and we can create as many 1/1 Saproling tokens and gain as much life as your heart (of the Keld) desires. Terror of the Peaks can target Sporeweb Weaver. When our spider takes damage it makes a saproling. Which triggers the dragon again! If we happen to have our copy of Heroic Intervention in hand, the Weaver gains indestructible until end of turn. Rinse and repeat triggers until you make as many Saprolings as you want.
Radha has won a place in my heart this core set and, with an ensemble to match, she will continue to overwhelm the competition and be a force to reckon with in Brawl going forwards!