MTG Arena Zone Premium
MTG Arena Zone Premium
Urza, Prince of Kroog

Decathlon Event 5: The Brothers’ War Traditional Draft Guide

Decathlon Event 5 features The Brothers’ War Traditional Player Draft! Learn how to draft, build, and play the best decks in our guide.

Hey everyone! We have finally come out the other side of the Decathlon rabbit hole from Dominarian Sealed deck and it was indeed a wild ride. The next stage is bringing us back down to earth a bit with a trip into The Brothers’ War Traditional Draft.

By now almost everyone knows the general concepts of the expected archetypes based off of the signpost uncommons. Instead, I am going to be highlighting some Traditional Draft trophy decks (5 wins) that The Draft Lab have racked up that were a bit different than expected. I’ll also be giving you some tips and tricks because I’d never send you on a dangerous journey empty handed.

Of course, I have to get the normal event info out of the way. Since this is best of three, you will be playing until five wins or two losses. It costs 2000 gold to enter and if you get maximum wins you get to double up your gold and get that ever-important Decathlon token. If you don’t quite get there, you instead get an insignificant number of packs.

While the return isn’t great, this is actually a great way to get in some Traditional Draft practice for a relatively cheap cost.

Event Details

  • Duration: January 7, 2023 @ 8:00 AM PST to January 10, 2023 @ 8:00 AM PST
  • Format: The Brothers’ War Phantom Traditional Player Draft
  • Entry Fee: 2,000 Gold or 400 Gems
  • Ends After: 5 wins or 2 losses, whichever comes first
  • Match Structure: Best-of-three matches (BO3)

Rewards

WinsReward
5 wins4,000 Gold + Decathlon token
4 wins3 packs
2-3 wins2 packs
1 Win1 pack
0 winsNo rewards
Entry RewardBronze Sundering Titan Sleeve
Bronze [card name=
Arena Decathlete Sleeve

Pack Rewards

Packs awarded during Decathlon events can be from sets legal in Standard or Historic:

  • Standard main set: 40%
  • Non-Standard main set pack: 40%
  • Alchemy set – 10%
  • Mythic pack: 10%

You can enter the Decathlon events as many times as you want, but you can only get one decathlon token from each event. You also need to get three different tokens to be able to enter the finals so make plans to play other events if you want to get your hands on some of those sweet finals prizes.

Decks

Azorius Go Wide

UW trad BRO
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $12.14
Limited
best of 3
1 mythic
2 rare
5 uncommon
32 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (1)
1
Scatter Ray
$0.25
Sorceries (1)
Enchantments (5)
1
In the Trenches
$1.49
1
Prison Sentence
$0.25
2
Static Net
$0.50
Lands (17)
7
Island
$1.75
10
Plains
$2.50
40 Cards
$11.82
22 Cards
$5.6

This was an Azorius trophy by my podcast partner Floridamun. As you can see it was more of an aggressive go wide strategy than the traditional soldier build. It really takes advantage of In the Trenches to overwhelm the opponents before they have a chance to setup. That extra removal on a Glorious Anthem went a long way especially when it was backed up by double Static Net.

It even had an artifact package with Urza, Prince of Kroog which allowed him to go over the top of other decks if the game went long.

The most interesting inclusion is Kayla's Reconstruction which is usually a junk rare that you can pick up late. With fourteen hits available, it can actually play a strong role in this deck usually adding two three drops on turn five.

Mono Black Corruption

BRO Trad Mono Black
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $22.69
Limited
best of 3
1 mythic
0 rare
10 uncommon
29 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (2)
1
Disfigure
$0.25
Sorceries (7)
1
Gix’s Caress
$0.25
5
Corrupt
$1.25
Artifacts (2)
Lands (18)
18
Swamp
$4.50
40 Cards
$25.74
23 Cards
$5.95

This was one of the most fun and absurd decks I’ve seen in the format. Yes, that is five…count em…five Corrupts. Many an opponent left a game much more Corrupted than when they started it.

One of the key reasons I choose to highlight this deck was that it was playing eighteen lands. Most people instinctively want to cut a land when they are mono colored, but this deck is a rare example of one that should actually be going up on lands. Similar to the old standard mono black control decks, you really don’t want to be missing land drops when your game plan revolves around Corrupt (and in this case Cityscape Leveler too). It also has mana intensive things like Clay Revenant with Transmogrant Altarand Thraxodemon going on.

It is not playing the normal attrition-based game that other decks are seeking to play where drawing one less land is the difference between winning and losing. In this case, drawing one less land is more likely to prevent you from performing the game actions that you need to win so you add one instead.

Izzet Control?!?

BRO Trad UR
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $14.41
Limited
best of 3
1 mythic
0 rare
5 uncommon
34 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Creatures (9)
1
Combat Courier
$0.25
1
Zephyr Sentinel
$0.25
1
Wing Commando
$0.25
1
Koilos Roc
$0.25
Instants (10)
2
Scatter Ray
$0.50
2
Stern Lesson
$0.50
2
Urza’s Rebuff
$0.50
1
Desynchronize
$0.25
2
Unleash Shell
$0.50
Sorceries (1)
Artifacts (1)
Enchantments (2)
1
Bitter Reunion
$0.35
Lands (17)
9
Island
$2.25
8
Mountain
$2.00
40 Cards
$14.12
22 Cards
$7.04

I dare you to name a more iconic duo than Third Path Iconoclastand spells. Seriously don’t underrate how insane that card can be. Dropping it on turn two has probably caused more expletives than any other card in the format.

You’re probably wondering why I am highlighting this when Izzet spells is one of the classic things to be doing. It’s because there weren’t a lot of the typical cantrips available so this version played as more of an Iconoclast control deck with four counterspells. With a whopping ten instants, it made it very difficult for the opponent to successfully attack in when an army of 1/1s could suddenly appear.

Boros Explosion

BRO Trad WR
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $10.98
Limited
best of 3
0 mythic
4 rare
6 uncommon
30 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (4)
1
Deadly Riposte
$0.25
Sorceries (4)
1
Lay Down Arms
$0.29
2
Mass Production
$0.50
Enchantments (1)
Lands (17)
5
Mountain
$1.25
7
Plains
$1.75
1
Brushland
$1.99
1
Evolving Wilds
$0.25
40 Cards
$13.6
17 Cards
$4.25

While the normal Boros decks like to overwhelm the opponent quickly, this version preferred to build up to a crescendo before avalanching the opponent into oblivion. Dropping a Mass Production with Fallaji Vanguard out added a ridiculous eight damage while also providing a huge board to take advantage of the much-maligned Mishra's Onslaught. This is a great example of building your deck to take advantage of synergies instead of sticking to tier lists or the expected builds.

Five Color Shenanigans

Bro Trad Stalwarts
by j2sjosh
Buy on TCGplayer $13.26
Limited
best of 3
1 mythic
2 rare
5 uncommon
32 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
Instants (2)
1
Disenchant
$0.25
Sorceries (2)
Artifacts (4)
1
Chromatic Star
$0.25
Lands (15)
7
Forest
$1.75
6
Plains
$1.50
1
Swamp
$0.25
1
Evolving Wilds
$0.25
40 Cards
$11.92
19 Cards
$6.89

I know you all just looked at this and were like what in the what just happened here and how did it trophy. Don’t underestimate the power of Citanul Stalwart as it can lead to crazy piles like this where you just grab whatever power cards are available to you and go to town on your opponent. Honestly this is one of the most fun decks to play in the format and it puts up good results when it comes together.

Tips and Tricks

Sideboarding is very important in best of three so don’t forget to pick up relevant cards like Disenchant or Shoot Down.

Sideboarding means a lot more than just bringing in obvious answer cards. It’s an opportunity to trim a land on the draw or sculpt your deck to match up better with your opponent. For example, if you are in a mirror match you can make your curve just a little bit bigger than your opponent so that you can have a slight advantage at every turn.

Do not underestimate fixing effects like Energy Refractor as the data fails to do them justice. They can do a lot including triggering Third Path Iconoclastand enabling off color unearths. This includes all the Cantrifacts from the retro artifact slot.

Speaking of off color unearth, this is a scrapwork format and we’re just living in it. Scrapwork Cohort and Scrapwork Mutt should make the cut in almost any deck you build especially if you have 1-2 ways to enable the unearth.

As we discussed earlier, formulating a plan and sticking to it is going to get you a lot farther than taking generic good cards in your colors.

If this is your first event since 1994, do I have some news for you about Ivory Tower…Seriously just don’t play that card..literally ever.

One of the most common mistakes I’ve seen people make is targeting their opponent with Gnawing Vermin. There is unearth and recursion in this format, you are just fueling their deck for them. In general, self-mill good, slow mill opponent bad.

Be careful about attacking on an empty board with any cheap valuable creatures against white when they could have Deadly Riposte or Ambush Paratrooper. In most cases, you don’t want to give up the potential value in exchange for a point of damage.

While less common to run into because it is a mythic, for some reason everyone forgets about the text on Myrel, Shield of Argive. The other rare thing that people forget about is that Liberator, Urza's Battlethopter lets you play other things at instant speed.

The pile of Goblin Blast-Runners deck is still a real thing when it comes together. With a lot of people doing their first draft of the format, you might be able to take advantage of this.

Don’t be the person who uses Gix's Caress on Obstinate Baloth. I’m not naming names, but if you listen to the next episode of the podcast, you’ll find out who did that.

Aeronaut's Wings has been an overperforming card 23 for me multiple times.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to slap Mightstone's Animation on a Levitating Statue, I’d highly recommend giving it a whirl.

Don’t be the three color Tocasia's Dig Site player.

Phyrexian Processor sure isn’t what it used to be. There will be rare times it outright wins the game for you, but there will be a lot more times when you pay four mana to let your opponent’s Disenchant double Fireblast your face.

Howling Mine is great with Citanul Stalwart since you’ll be the only one partaking in the extra cards.

Wrap Up

Thanks for stopping by for another dose of some J2SJosh ramblings about limited. Now just come off the top rope like Randy Savage on your opponents and get that Decathlon token on the first try. Check back in a few days for the next step when we’ll be talking about Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty bot draft. Until then, stay classy!

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

You can also find me at:

Past Events

Hey everyone! Wizards has thrown down the gauntlet for us to test our skills in the MTG Arena Decathlon. It’s a series of events that culminate in a finals where you can win a pile of goodies including a full set of Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty and an exclusive Jace, the Mind Sculptor avatar. The opening leg of the Decathlon is the first time on MTG Arena that we get to try a combined Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow sealed event.


Event Details

  • Duration: December 18, 2021 @ 8:00 AM PST to December 20, 2021 @ 8:00 AM PST
  • Format: Phantom Sealed: Three packs each of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow
  • Entry Fee: 2,000 Gold or 400 Gems
  • Ends After: 7 wins or 3 losses, whichever comes first
  • Match Structure: Best-of-one matches (BO1)

Rewards

WinsReward
7 wins3,000 Gold + Decathlon token
6 wins3 packs
5 wins2 packs
3–4 wins1 pack
0–2 winsNo rewards
Entry RewardArena Decathlete Sleeve
Decathlete sleeve with armored gladiator leaping into a fight
Arena Decathlete Sleeve

Packs awarded during Decathlon events can be from sets legal in Historic, Standard, and can even include the new Alchemy: Innistrad packs:

  • Alchemy: Innistrad pack: 20%
  • Standard set pack: 40%
  • Historic set pack: 40%

You can enter the Decathlon events as many times as you want, but you can only get one decathlon token from each event. You also need to get three different tokens to be able to enter the finals so make plans to play other events if you want to get your hands on some of those sweet finals prizes.

While it is relatively cheap to enter these events, you don’t get any currency back until you get to 7 wins so it can turn into a bit of a cash sink. On the other hand, if you just enjoy the Sealed experience, this is a bargain compared to the normal events (with the caveat that you don’t get to keep any cards from your sealed pool).


Building Your Sealed

Dreadfeast Demon Art by Andrew Mar
Dreadfeast Demon Art by Andrew Mar

No matter what advice I give you, obviously the first thing you’re going to do when you open your sealed is to check if you won the rare lottery. So we’ll start after you’ve done the victory lap around the room for your triple Mythic Rare open.

Now that you’ve settled down, the first thing I like to do is to add all the cards that I actively want to play so I have a better idea of how deep each color really is. This prevents you from thinking “my Black is really awesome” when you actually have a lot of undesirable cards with a few that really stand out. 

The next thing I want to look at is what mana fixing you have available. This can let you know whether you can splash your power cards or if you need to try to build a more aggressive deck.

Unless your sealed was insane, it’s usually pretty easy to eliminate two colors that just don’t get there. Now look over the remaining colors and make combinations of two color decks to compare which have the best mix of curve and power level. You can also see if any of the combinations are missing something like removal or a way to finish the game. 

When you’re comparing the two color versions, you are probably going to be a few cards short so try to fill in the gaps with splashed single pip removal or power cards. Once you make your final choice, you’re just a mana base away from running the table.


Tips and Tricks

  • Set specific payoffs tend to be worse in combined formats since the cards are split between both sets.
  • Black was a top two color in both sets so it should be the top color in this event.
  • Sealed is slower than draft so you will have more time to draw cards and play out your splashed cards.
  • Evolving Wilds is always making the cut in your deck. Don’t overthink this, just put it in.
  • Think about which cards are going to perform better with cards from the other set for example Necroduality with all of Midnight Hunts Zombies.
  • Individual exploit cards will be better than they were in VOW because of the addition of decayed tokens. Being able to sacrifice an incidental token instead of an actual card is a huge difference.
  • While it’s going to be tempting to try to build the Festival Crasher and Kessig Flamebreather deck, it’s going to be very unlikely that you get a combination of enough of each along with a density of spells to make it worth it.

Top 5 Commons of Each Color

White

Traveling Minister gets the nod for me as the top white common as it changes the entire flow of the game for one mana. Incidental life gain while pushing extra damage is a huge payoff for such a small investment and should play just as well in a mixed format.

Fierce Retribution is unconditional removal for six mana while providing the out of being able to Doom Blade an attacker. The expensive side isn’t as big of a drawback in sealed as it is in draft so that bumps this up and makes it a splash candidate.

Lunarch Veteran provides both incidental life gain and card advantage by coming back as a flyer. This was a huge overperformer in MID and I don’t see that changing here.

Search Party Captain isn’t hard to play for two or three mana providing card advantage and a bear. This type of “free” creature plays very well in sealed and gets better in multiples.

Sigarda's Imprisonment is a fine card as long as your opponent isn’t playing exploit or ways to gain a benefit off of the imprisoned creature. While there are only half as many packs of exploit available there are new cards like Ecstatic Awakener that will still gladly munch them up. This should still be great against any non-Dimir deck.


Blue

Organ Hoarder was the “mythic common” of Midnight Hunt and it is going to be just as nuts alongside VOW. This is another card that I would happily splash into almost any deck that can support it. 

Revenge of the Drowned acts as an instant speed removal plus a free zombie. This would be a very playable card without the bonus 2/2, but now that decayed tokens can be exploited it has even more value.

Flip the Switch is one of the best limited tempo counters we’ve seen in awhile. Even in the late game, it’s never fully dead because you still get that zombie.

Falcon Abomination provides an evasive creature along with an extra body on the ground for the low cost of three mana. This can lead to great starts like turn two Olivia's Midnight Ambush, turn three Falcon Abomination, turn 4 Repository Skaab sac your free zombie to get back Olivia's Midnight Ambush.

Syncopate might seem controversial here, but you have to remember that sealed is slower and more likely to revolve around who has more powerful cards. Removal is at a premium and the ability to answer anything is much stronger when you don’t have to worry about getting run over as quickly.


Black

Bleed Dry is the no restrictions removal spell of choice out of these sets. Instant speed, hits everything, gets around indestructible, and exiles in a format full of disturb. The only knock on this is the difficulty in splashing it.

Diregraf Horde is a total beast bringing seven power down while wrecking your opponent’s graveyard. While there are only half the flashback spells, there are still plenty of disturb and recurrence in VOW to hit. Diregraf Horde was responsible for an insane amount of bad beat stories from Midnight Hunt.

Ecstatic Awakener might be a little worse than it was in MID with less decayed tokens floating around, but still plays great with some of the VOW exploit fodder like Doomed Dissenter and Wretched Throng.

Diregraf Scavenger is just a miniature Diregraf Horde which means it’s still a great card and the life drain with a deathtoucher can make life miserable for your opponent.

Defenestrate and Eaten Alive are kind of lumped together as great removal with a drawback. They are still very good and always going to make your deck if you are playing black, but the drawbacks are real.


Red

Abrade is just a great efficient removal spell that provides coverage for troublesome artifacts. It’s always been awesome in limited and I don’t see that changing here. 

Flame-Blessed Bolt might be even better with MID in the mix with even more disturb creatures floating around. There are times when this card singlehandedly wins tempo battles making it an easy inclusion in any red deck.

Burn the Accursed blows Lacerate Flesh out of the water in the five mana red removal competition. This is pretty close to unconditional removal, but unfortunately misses some of the bombs like Dreadfeast Demon.

Falkenrath Celebrants should play out better in sealed than draft as you have more time and less blood production turning this into a draw two. Just a great top end card that I would consider a solid splash in a deck that needs the card selection.

Moonrager's Slash is still just an efficient removal spell whether or not you can flip it to night.


Green

Shadowbeast Sighting will actually give the VOW UG self mill cards a relevant payoff to hit. Just a solid creature that comes back for seconds. I think this will play better in this combo since VOW has much better green cards than MID.  

Weaver of Blossoms value goes up in sealed because it provides an easy way to splash powerful cards. I’ll happily play as many of these as I get in any green deck. 

Flourishing Hunter is easier to play in the slower sealed formats and provides a huge body with some game stabilizing lifegain thrown into the deal.  

Eccentric Farmer is still a great card, but goes down a bit as VOW lacks payoffs to hit. It’s still an acceptable body that almost always replaces itself. 

Wolf Strike is the bite spell of the set and as long as you have some decent creatures this is almost three mana instant speed removal. Just be very careful when you play this as a blowout can be devastating.


Wrap Up

This should be a really fun experience since it’s almost a pseudo prerelease of this set combination. Hopefully this guide will get you a head start in that race for the first Decathlon medal.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

You can find me at:

Enjoy our content? Wish to support our work? Join our Premium community, get access to exclusive content, remove all advertisements, and more!

MTG Arena Zone Premium
j2sjosh
j2sjosh

Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

Articles: 142

Leave a Reply