Historic Brawl Festival Event Guide and Best Decklists
Table of Contents
Hey everyone! We’re heading into the next step of the festival and it will be Historic Brawl. It’s as close as we’re ever going to get to commander on Arena which means that it carries many of the same implications. Basically, people either think it is the greatest thing ever invented or they would rather (whatever the most unpleasant thing you can imagine) than play it.
The interesting thing to see is whether or not the Hell queue exists in this event. In normal historic brawl, they have it set up so that the spikey commanders get separated out to play against each other. It’s the equivalent of separating CEDH from EDH in real life.
If they don’t have the Hell queue for the event, then anyone trying to play a rogue deck is going to have a very bad time. If they do, you even have a good chance with the budget deck I have included below. That’s right an entire brawl deck made up of just commons and uncommons ready to try to steal some wins.
As always, our event guide features background info and rewards, alongside a whole bunch of decklists, to give you all the tools you need to conquer your foes! MTG Arena Zone does decks for every single event, so check the event schedule for the next one.
- Duration: May 6, 2023 at 8:00 AM PST – May 10, 2023 at 8:00 AM PST
- Format: Historic Brawl
- Entry Fee: 2500 Gold or 500 Gems
- Ends After: When event ends
- Match Structure: Best-of-one matches (BO1)
|1 Win||Kogla and Yidaro Card Style|
|2 Wins||Errant and Giada Card Style|
|3 Wins||Drana and Linvala Card Style|
|4 Wins||Djeru and Hazoret Crad Style|
|5 Wins||Inga and Esika Card Style|
Banned Card List
The following cards are banned in Historic Brawl:
- Agent of Treachery
- Chalice of the Void
- Demonic Tutor
- Drannith Magistrate
- Field of the Dead
- Gideon's Intervention
- Lutri, the Spellchaser
- Meddling Mage
- Natural Order
- Nexus of Fate
- Oko, Thief of Crowns
- Phyrexian Revoker
- Pithing Needle
- Runed Halo
- Sorcerous Spyglass
- Tainted Pact
- Ugin, the Spirit Dragon
The vast majority of the banned list is based around preventing you from cheaply locking out your opponent’s commander. Lutri, the Spellchaser was banned because it automatically can be companioned in any deck without any real cost. Most of the rest are either power concerns or for the health of the format because people hated to play against them. I fully expect Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer to be added to this list soon.
Best Historic Brawl Decklists
Below are 7 recommended Historic Brawl decks for the event, including one budget deck for completing your win requirements. For more deck ideas and inspiration, check out our deck database or if you want to start out with decks without spending your mythic and rare Wildcards, check out our budget decks:
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
We’re going to be starting off with the scariest thing you can do in the format which is Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer. Everyone’s favorite monkey was prebanned in historic, but for some reason they thought it was totally fine to allow in historic brawl where you always have access to it turn one. While most of these other decks are still tier one, I can assure you that this is tier zero. I’d recommend playing this over any other deck.
If you’ve spent any time in the historic brawl queue, then you know that you’ll need to be prepared to play against this because everyone, their brother, their dog, and their long lost second cousin twice removed is playing this.
While your deck is very aggressive, knowing that you are going to start out with Ragavan means that you can play a few pricier cards than expected because of the treasures. You also get the benefit of Mox Amber since you have a cheap always available legend.
It’s a very fair and balanced experience for everyone involved. Instead of no cap, picture whatever the largest cap you can possibly imagine.
If your opponent doesn’t have early interaction, then this will end the game right away. That’s why you see a lot of cheap ways to deal with opposing Ragavan’s in this deck. You’ll probably get some concessions during the mulligan phase from people who don’t want to be playing on the backfoot the whole time.
You could spend forever tinkering with this deck and still keep coming up with different combinations that are better in different matchups.
Sythis, Harvest’s Hand
This is an ultra-fun alternative to spending your day playing oops, all Ragavans. It plays like a combo deck that grinds right through cards while gaining a bunch of life. It also has a ton of cheap ways to deal with a certain very annoying cheap commander on the other side of the table. This was the only deck that I had consistent success against Ragavan with.
I would recommend playing this if you don’t want to be playing mono red mirrors all day, but still want a fighting chance against everything else. It also has some real game against the control decks because Sythis draws the card on cast instead of when an enchantment enters play.
Tick-Tock, make a clock but the party don’t stop, no. Oh, whoa, whoa-oh. I am so old that my back started hurting while writing that.
Do you enjoy making your opponent’s life miserable with counter spells, discard, and removal followed up by personal draw sevens? Well then, I have just the deck for you. This is another archetype that has some serious game against everything. It can be a lot less straight forward then some of the other decks since you have to figure out some complicated lines to maximize your pile of clocks, but the rewards are worth it.
Baral, Chief of Compliance
The next one we’re going to be looking at is Baral, Chief of Compliance This is another one that is extremely annoying to play against and is a great choice if you prefer your opponent to quit as opposed to actually playing the game out. All you do is drop Baral and cast counterspells (even the OG Counterspell makes an appearance) until they flip the table.
If you elicit joy from exerting complete and utter control over the game, then this is the commander for you. Its main problem is that it has an atrocious matchup against Ragavan.
Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy
While not quite as miserable to play against as the previous examples, this one can also put your opponents in an uncomfortable position (like the back of a Volkswagen) very quickly. Typically, you play a mana dork or rock on turn two, then drop Kinnan to make sure you can tap for double right away. You can usually start dropping ridiculous monsters by turn four either though casting them or just activating Kinnan’s ability.
This archetype lets you mess around with Timmy creatures, but powers them out fast enough to hang with almost anything. The top end is a bit of a toolbox for different matchups, but feel free to mess around with it if you have any preferences.
This combines the fun of playing a rainbow deck full of crazy spells with a ridiculously powerful commander. Being able to replay a monstrous dragon that draws a pile of cards when it ETBs can get pretty disgusting. The cheap one mana interaction is mostly a nod to ensuring you have a chance against Ragavan because you usually need to either draw one of them, Lightning Helix, Deafening Clarion, or Culling Ritual to not get run over.
For another take on the Niv-Mizzet Reborn deck, check out the dedicated deck guide below:
Budget Anax, Hardened in the Forge
Here is your ticket for a rare free adventure into Historic Brawl land. As discussed earlier, if the Hell queue exists, then this is going to be just fine being paired up against lower power commanders. If it doesn’t you are kind of just hoping to go under some decks that stumble.
While I kept this as budget as possible, feel free to add cards like Embercleave into here if you have them.
Thanks for reading! I hope you have a great time jamming these in the Historic Brawl festival. I’ll be back in a few days with my limited review of March of the Machine: The Aftermath. Until then, stay classy people!
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