Cozy Corner: Top Tier Brawl Decks

Welcome everyone! This is a mini-series of articles that I want to try called the Cozy Corner. What I’m hoping these articles can do is take a shift away from the hyper-competitive nature of my normal articles and highlight the more light-hearted things that Magic has to offer!

When I first started playing Magic, what my friends and I would do is scour through this large box of commons my friend got from a garage sale, build whack decks, and jam them against each other incessantly. We even started to develop our own meta, as when one person made a good deck, we would rebuild ours to see if we can find something that can beat it. Honestly, pardon the pun, it was magical. Those moments are really what made me fall in love with the game, and I haven’t turned back since.

A little down the line, around 2012, I was introduced to a new format called EDH (Elder Dragon Highlander). If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a 100 card (99+1 Commander) singleton format where you have a Commander which you can cast as if it’s in your hand. I found that this was the perfect transition to purely casual tabletop play into starting to get in the competitive mindset as my playgroup was predominately all experienced players. I can still remember the days where I would see my friends at 1 PM and we wouldn’t leave until 5 AM. I know I’m associated with the competitive scene now, mostly because of Chris Kvartek, but that’s still the highlight of my Magic career, bar none.

With all that in mind, you could say I’ve been missing the casual side of Magic recently. If you’re unaware or aren’t paying attention, my favorite format, Standard, is in a pretty rough spot. In terms of casual options on Arena, you’re rather limited. You can go into the unranked ladder, but it’s just the same formats with no stakes. However, there’s a shining beacon of hope in these dark times, Brawl.

When Brawl was first introduced to Arena, to say I was skeptical would be putting it lightly. Brawl is extremely similar to EDH, except it’s 60 cards and generally limited to the card pool of a certain format. For Arena, we only have access to Brawl Standard. I figured with such a small card pool, the format would be boring and nothing like how EDH played out. Furthermore, it’s a 1v1 format, most of the fun was doing EDH in small groups! I easily dismissed it before I gave it a chance. However, a month ago, I decided to look up a Brawl deck and give it a go, just to confirm my biased beliefs; I was blown away.

It didn’t exactly capture the same feeling that EDH gave me, but it was way closer than I thought it would be! I felt myself unwind a bit after a day of stressful ladder grinding. If you’re a competitive player, I implore you to unwind from Magic with some Magic at some point. It’s easy to get lost in the thicket of competitive play, and after awhile, instead of being the game we love, we can view it as a source of stress and anxiety. Maybe I’m just projecting, but I feel like that sentiment can resonate with a lot of people. I say let’s recapture some of that allure that drew us to the game many years ago, as most of the players I know started out like me, a tabletop casual, who was enamored by all their options.

Enough of a preamble, let’s get into lists.

Despite it being much more light-hearted, Brawl is still a somewhat competitive format, at least in terms of card quality. If you want to keep up, you’ll likely need a strong list. Now, that’s not to say you can’t have a blast or even win without a refined list, but if it’s your first foray into Brawl, I’d recommend starting from the top and working your way down. Once you know what’s the best things you can be doing, you can scale down and branch out from there until you find your masterpiece. With that in mind, I’ll go over what I believe are the definitive two best Brawl decks currently available: Omnath, Locus of Creation and Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy.

Omnath, Locus of Creation Brawl Deck

Omnath, Locus of Creation

If I learned anything from Brawl, the best thing you can be doing in general is ramping into busted late game threats. With Omnath’s second landfall ability, using him as a ramp commander seems like a strong choice.

THE RAMP

Look at all those ramp cards! The mana dorks are always good in Brawl, but for Omnath’s landfall abilities to constantly trigger, we’re really looking for ramp payoffs that can find you lands. This deck can easily do that in spades. Get your Omnath out early and often and keep ramping up to your threats.

THE INTERACTION

In Brawl, you generally need to have a nice suite of interactive spells in case you ever fall behind. The interaction is a bit sparse, but varied so if your opponent has something you weren’t expecting, it’s not like you have no way to win.

THE PAYOFFS

I’m sure none of these inclusions are particularly shocking as they’re all pretty powerful spells, save two, Thassa’s Oracle and Midnight Clock. You may be confused on why Midnight Clock isn’t under the Ramp category. Although it does ramp, we’re playing Midnight Clock for the refueling ability, which if you manage to tick it up that far, can be game winning in it’s own right. Secondly, Thassa’s Oracle is not our primary way to win, but you’d be surprised how often its the only way you can win a game when you’re running out of cards in your deck. Omnath goes through its deck very quickly so make sure you hold your Thassa’s Oracle to the right moment!

He may be the scourge of Standard, but Omnath is very fun to play in Brawl! Plus, when you’re going nuts with his Landfall triggers, you can feel secure that you’re not ruining someone’s rank doing so. However, I don’t believe Omnath is the best deck in Brawl. I think that title easily goes to the Ramp God, Kinnan.

Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy Brawl Deck

iko-192-kinnan-bonder-prodigy

THE RAMP

Kinnan plays significantly more ramp spells as the deck is extremely reliant on having a lot of mana-producing permanents so Kinnan can double them! It’s a broken ability that truly gets to shine in a Singleton format. Furthermore, unlike Omnath, the Kinnan deck is so powerful you functionally don’t need to play many interactive spells! It’s all Ramp and payoffs, and I’m all for it.

THE INTERACTION

That’s all of it! As you can see, even the interaction are just powerful spells in their own right. We don’t have time to play interaction that’s only interaction, that’s for suckers.

THE PAYOFFS

If this isn’t a Timmy deck, I don’t know what is. Your gameplan is very straightforward, play some Ramp, play a Kinnan, jam a large threat. It’s simple, it’s clean, and above all else, it’s fun! You haven’t truly lived until you have a Kinnan, The Great Henge, and a Nyxbloom Ancient in play. I can’t even remember how many spells I got to cast that one turn, it was unreal.

That’s it for today! I seriously implore you guys to try out Brawl or some of the more casual offerings on Magic Arena, I think you’d be surprised about how fun it could be. With that in mind, when’s Standard Artisan coming back? That format is gas. If you guys like my content, you can follow me on Twitch! Have a great day!

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BuddhaBubba
BuddhaBubba
16 days ago

Why Swiftwater cliffs and Tranquil cove instead of the modal dual-face lands from Zendikar rising?

ViR
ViR
15 days ago

I’ve never realized Kinnan double chin and weird structure until this very post