The 5 Most Powerful Brawl Commanders from Jumpstart: Historic Horizons (and Honorable Mentions)

Sarkhan, Wanderer to Shiv Art by Grzegorz Rutkowski

Hello everyone! With Jumpstart: Historic Horizon’s release, both Historic and Historic Brawl are going to see some massive changes. With 19 new Commanders to choose from coming in from Jumpstart, narrowing them down to the best ones was very difficult, but I’m happy with the results.

Source: reddit

For this article, I decided to go with what I believed to be the 5 strongest Commanders coming out of Jumpstart and built decks around them. I’m sure all 19 could have very viable decks so don’t be discouraged if your favorite isn’t on the list. As a final note, these aren’t listed in any particular order.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Ayula, Queen Among Bears Art by Jesper Ejsing
Ayula, Queen Among Bears Art by Jesper Ejsing

SARKHAN, WANDERER TO SHIV

Sarkhan is exactly what I’m looking for when I’m looking for a new Commander. He has great synergy, he has a strong plus effect, and he even protects himself! The issue I have with Sarkhan though, is that the support is not there at all. There were so few Dragons in just Red that his abilities wouldn’t be the most effective most of the time, something that’s just not acceptable for a 4 mana Commander. Maybe when there’s more support for him I can pack a deck full of Dragons and smash opponents.

AYULA, QUEEN AMONG BEARS

We have another Sarkhan situation, but to a much higher degree. Ayula is such a great Tribal leader, but there’s like 3 Bears on Arena. So sad.

AEVE, PROGENITOR OOZE

This card is cool as hell, but I have no idea how you’d get this to work beyond Rosethorn Acolyte and a lot of Ramp. I can’t imagine this is better than any of your other options, but you will win so many cool points if you kill someone with just Ooze.

CHATTERFANG, SQUIRREL GENERAL

Chatterfang is a powerful build around Commander that will reward you for going all in on the token theme. It’s not the most inherently powerful as a board wipe will likely mess you up, but I’m sure it can be a fun challenge to see how large you can make your board.

MY TOP 5 COMMANDERS

Yawgmoth, Thran Physician Art by Mark Winters
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician Art by Mark Winters

FREYALISE, SKYSHROUD PARTISAN

ELVES HISTORIC BRAWL 

Commander
1
Freyalise, Skyshroud Partisan
Planeswalkers (6)
1
Vivien, Champion of the Wilds
1
Garruk, Unleashed
1
Vivien, Arkbow Ranger
1
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
1
Vivien Reid
1
Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
Creatures (40)
1
Allosaurus Shepherd
1
Jaspera Sentinel
1
Llanowar Elves
1
Druid of the Cowl
1
Dwynen's Elite
1
Elfhame Druid
1
Elvish Clancaller
1
Elvish Visionary
1
Elvish Warmaster
1
Fauna Shaman
1
Incubation Druid
1
Leaf Gilder
1
Paradise Druid
1
Skyshroud Lookout
1
Thorn Lieutenant
1
Voracious Hydra
1
Wildborn Preserver
1
Woodland Mystic
1
Circle of Dreams Druid
1
Elvish Archdruid
1
Imperious Perfect
1
Llanowar Visionary
1
Marwyn, the Nurturer
1
Realmwalker
1
Reclamation Sage
1
Rishkar, Peema Renegade
1
Steel Leaf Champion
1
Beast Whisperer
1
Canopy Tactician
1
Gemrazer
1
Lys Alana Huntmaster
1
Toski, Bearer of Secrets
1
Elder Gargaroth
1
God-Eternal Rhonas
1
Thragtusk
1
Kogla, the Titan Ape
1
Soul of the Harvest
1
Hornet Queen
1
Craterhoof Behemoth
1
End-Raze Forerunners
Spells (3)
1
Finale of Devastation
1
Lead the Stampede
1
Harmonize
Artifacts (6)
1
Metallic Mimic
1
Lifecrafter's Bestiary
1
Esika's Chariot
1
Vanquisher's Banner
1
Verdurous Gearhulk
1
The Immortal Sun
Enchantments (6)
1
Shapers' Sanctuary
1
Ranger Class
1
Growing Rites of Itlimoc
1
Guardian Project
1
Leyline of Abundance
1
Nylea, Keen-Eyed
Lands (38)
1
Arch of Orazca
1
Castle Garenbrig
33
Forest
1
Hashep Oasis
1
Lair of the Hydra
1
Tranquil Thicket
Cards (99)

Elves is an insanely powerful tribe, but has lacked a solid Commander so it’s been virtually non-existent in the Historic queues. Freyalise is going to change that and in a big way. Elves is so powerful as it has a powerful and repetitive game plan: flood the board and cast expensive spells. With that, Elves always struggled against a board wipe, but now that you have a Planeswalker on turn 3 every game, just wrathing you is not going to be enough to take you out the game. Freyalise can ramp you, buff your team, draw you an Elf, or ultimate into a free Regal Force which is absolutely nuts at any point in the game.

Beyond just Freyalise, this deck just looks very powerful in general. It has a super low curve, a boatload of mana Elves, and a huge amount of late game payoffs between threats, card draw, planeswalkers, and other annoying permanents. Furthermore, the base power level of most of the cards is pretty high so this deck can operate rather well even on fewer resources.

If you’re a fan of Elves, playing this seems like a no branier.

YAWGMOTH, THRAN PHYSICIAN

YAWGMOTH HISTORIC BRAWL 

Commander
1
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician
Planeswalkers (3)
1
Liliana, Waker of the Dead
1
Lolth, Spider Queen
1
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Creatures (39)
1
Cryptbreaker
1
Dread Wanderer
1
Festering Mummy
1
Gutterbones
1
Nested Shambler
1
Serrated Scorpion
1
Shambling Ghast
1
Acquisitions Expert
1
Black Cat
1
Blood Artist
1
Carrier Thrall
1
Dire Fleet Hoarder
1
Discordant Piper
1
Doomed Dissenter
1
Dusk Legion Zealot
1
Elderfang Disciple
1
Lazotep Reaver
1
Orzhov Enforcer
1
Priest of Forgotten Gods
1
Putrid Goblin
1
Skyclave Shade
1
Yarok's Fenlurker
1
Ayara, First of Locthwain
1
Callous Bloodmage
1
Demon's Disciple
1
Liliana's Standard Bearer
1
Midnight Reaper
1
Murderous Rider
1
Plaguecrafter
1
Skullport Merchant
1
Vengeful Rebel
1
Weaponcraft Enthusiast
1
Woe Strider
1
Dread Presence
1
Gonti, Lord of Luxury
1
Rankle, Master of Pranks
1
God-Eternal Bontu
1
Gray Merchant of Asphodel
1
Torgaar, Famine Incarnate
Spells (7)
1
Agadeem's Awakening
1
Malakir Rebirth
1
Village Rites
1
Deadly Dispute
1
Plumb the Forbidden
1
Call of the Death-Dweller
1
Rise of the Dread Marn
Artifacts (8)
1
Malefic Scythe
1
Mind Stone
1
Scrapheap Scrounger
1
Bontu's Monument
1
Gate to the Afterlife
1
Bolas's Citadel
1
The Immortal Sun
1
God-Pharaoh's Gift
Enchantments (7)
1
Phyrexian Reclamation
1
Warlock Class
1
Dreadhorde Invasion
1
Bastion of Remembrance
1
Tymaret Calls the Dead
1
Erebos, Bleak-Hearted
1
The Eldest Reborn
Lands (35)
1
Cabal Stronghold
1
Castle Locthwain
1
Hive of the Eye Tyrant
1
Phyrexian Tower
31
Swamp
Cards (99)

Yawgmoth in terms of power level is just one of the best cards coming into Arena so building a deck around him seemed like a great idea! At it’s heart, this deck is a Sacrifice deck with all the cards more or less working towards that game plan. Generally decks that are that polarized (despite it being my recommendation to do so) will have a fatal weakness of some sort whether it’s wraths as an aggro deck or counterspells as a slower deck, but I don’t think Yawgmoth suffers from this endemic issue.

Wraths against a deck that’s looking to actively sacrifice all of it’s creatures aren’t likely to be terribly effective. Furthermore, counterspells against a deck where the curve is obscenely low will also not be terribly effective. Our biggest worry is decks going over the top of us, but we have so much value generation with Yawgmoth sacrificing a million creatures that it shouldn’t be a common issue. The best part about Yawgmoth is that you don’t even have to put a counter on anything so you can just cast him, draw a bunch of cards, and do it all again if your opponent lets you untap.

Out of all the Commanders coming to Arena, Yawgmoth is definitely the one I’m the most excited for.

SVYELUN OF SEA AND SKY

MERFOLK HISTORIC BRAWL 

Commander
1
Svyelun of Sea and Sky
Creatures (28)
1
Benthic Biomancer
1
Merfolk Windrobber
1
Mist-Cloaked Herald
1
Mistcaller
1
Shoreline Scout
1
Brineborn Cutthroat
1
Master of the Pearl Trident
1
Merfolk Looter
1
Merfolk Trickster
1
River Sneak
1
Silvergill Adept
1
Tazeem Roilmage
1
Thassa's Oracle
1
Thieving Skydiver
1
Vodalian Arcanist
1
Kira, Great Glass-Spinner
1
Kopala, Warden of Waves
1
Library Larcenist
1
Merrow Reejerey
1
Mistwalker
1
Sea-Dasher Octopus
1
Watertrap Weaver
1
Littjara Kinseekers
1
Orvar, the All-Form
1
Riverwise Augur
1
Seafloor Oracle
1
Spark Double
1
Tempest Caller
Spells (17)
1
Pact of Negation
1
Dive Down
1
Spell Pierce
1
Chart a Course
1
Counterspell
1
Essence Capture
1
Essence Scatter
1
Memory Lapse
1
Negate
1
Tale's End
1
Crashing Tide
1
Mystical Dispute
1
Time Warp
1
Karn's Temporal Sundering
1
River's Rebuke
1
Sublime Epiphany
1
Alrund's Epiphany
Artifacts (11)
1
Arcane Signet
1
Coldsteel Heart
1
Guardian Idol
1
Metallic Mimic
1
Mind Stone
1
Throne of the God-Pharaoh
1
Bloodline Pretender
1
Herald's Horn
1
Heraldic Banner
1
Icon of Ancestry
1
Vanquisher's Banner
Enchantments (6)
1
Curiosity
1
Curious Obsession
1
Deeproot Waters
1
Aquatic Incursion
1
Leyline of Anticipation
1
Shark Typhoon
Lands (37)
1
Castle Vantress
1
Faceless Haven
1
Hall of Storm Giants
34
Snow-Covered Island
Cards (99)

Another tribe that has been absent from Brawl, Merfolk is looking to make a splash with Svyelun coming in!

Unlike Elves, Merfolk is definitely going to be more synergy reliant than pure power. When I first tried my Muxus, Goblin Grandee deck I was concerned that playing bad Goblins was going to make the deck too weak, but I quickly learned that if your Commander is busted and works with weaker cards, there’s no issue. Furthermore, since Merfolk (seemingly) has the most lords out of all the Tribes in Arena and Svyelun inherently wants 2 Merfolk on board, the stock in a random Merfolk is greatly increased.

Overall, we are all in on making Svyelun as good as possible, and that’s not a particularly tall ask. We have a solid amount of Merfolk, and since we’re Blue, we also get access to to the classic counterspell suite on top of all the other very powerful spells available in Blue.

What this deck lacks in total power it makes up with consistency, interaction, and Svyelun being absolutely nuts.

SYTHIS, HARVEST’S HAND

ENCHANTRESS HISTORIC BRAWL 

Commander
1
Sythis, Harvest's Hand
Planeswalkers (4)
1
Calix, Destiny's Hand
1
Grand Master of Flowers
1
Nissa, Who Shakes the World
1
Vivien Reid
Creatures (18)
1
Tangled Florahedron
1
Llanowar Elves
1
Incubation Druid
1
Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse
1
Lotus Cobra
1
Loyal Warhound
1
Nessian Wanderer
1
Overgrown Battlement
1
Paradise Druid
1
Knight of Autumn
1
Reclamation Sage
1
Satyr Enchanter
1
Setessan Champion
1
Archon of Sun's Grace
1
Yasharn, Implacable Earth
1
Angel of Sanctions
1
Elder Gargaroth
1
Kogla, the Titan Ape
Spells (4)
1
Emeria's Call
1
Explore
1
Cultivate
1
Starnheim Unleashed
Enchantments (38)
1
Alseid of Life's Bounty
1
Authority of the Consuls
1
Shapers' Sanctuary
1
Sky Tether
1
Unbridled Growth
1
Baffling End
1
Dawn of Hope
1
Destiny Spinner
1
Eidolon of Obstruction
1
Ranger Class
1
Sanctum Weaver
1
Seal Away
1
Sterling Grove
1
The Birth of Meletis
1
Wolfwillow Haven
1
Banishing Light
1
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
1
Enchantress's Presence
1
Heliod, Sun-Crowned
1
History of Benalia
1
Minimus Containment
1
Nine Lives
1
Omen of the Hunt
1
Omen of the Sun
1
Prison Realm
1
Solemnity
1
The First Iroan Games
1
Thopter Arrest
1
Arasta of the Endless Web
1
Cast Out
1
Conclave Tribunal
1
Faith's Fetters
1
Felidar Retreat
1
Elspeth Conquers Death
1
Mirari's Wake
1
Sigil of the Empty Throne
1
Primeval Bounty
1
Sandwurm Convergence
Lands (35)
1
Branchloft Pathway
14
Forest
16
Plains
1
Scattered Groves
1
Sunpetal Grove
1
Temple Garden
1
Temple of Plenty
Cards (99)

Enchantress has been a staple EDH archetype since the format’s inception so it’s exciting to have access to it in Historic Brawl as well! The issue with Enchantress was always the Commander was either weak or didn’t really work with the theme, but you literally can’t do any better than Sythis, Sythis is absolutely nuts and makes Enchantments that seem middling into extremely powerful options. Sky Tether and Unbridled Growth are not inherently powerful cards in really any sense, but when Sythis turns them into one mana removal draw a card or a one mana Divination, it’s a completely different story.

Beyond just Sythis, there’s a whole host of payoffs for being Enchantress in Brawl including Nessian Wanderer, Sanctum Weaver, Setessan Champion, Archon of Sun’s Grace, Enchantress’s Presence, and Sigil of the Empty Throne! That’s generally not a huge amount of payoffs compared to something like a Tribal deck, but considering their effects are significantly more powerful, you would only need 1 to gain significant advantages over the opponent.

Although this deck is neither particularly fast nor interactive, it has such a powerful self contained game plan and a strong engine built around Sythis that I’d be very surprised if it wasn’t a great Brawl deck.

THE FIRST SLIVER

SLIVER HISTORIC BRAWL 

Commander
1
The First Sliver
Creatures (37)
1
Esika, God of the Tree
1
Striking Sliver
1
Bladeback Sliver
1
Cloudshredder Sliver
1
Diffusion Sliver
1
Dregscape Sliver
1
Enduring Sliver
1
Guardian Gladewalker
1
Humble Naturalist
1
Ilysian Caryatid
1
Impostor of the Sixth Pride
1
Incubation Druid
1
Leeching Sliver
1
Lotus Cobra
1
Manaweft Sliver
1
Masked Vandal
1
Paradise Druid
1
Predatory Sliver
1
Sentinel Sliver
1
Belligerent Sliver
1
Blur Sliver
1
Faceless Agent
1
Hollowhead Sliver
1
Lancer Sliver
1
Lavabelly Sliver
1
Mistwalker
1
Realmwalker
1
Scuttling Sliver
1
Spiteful Sliver
1
Steelform Sliver
1
Tempered Sliver
1
Bonescythe Sliver
1
Cleaving Sliver
1
Graveshifter
1
Orvar, the All-Form
1
First Sliver's Chosen
1
Kenrith, the Returned King
Spells (4)
1
Cultivate
1
Hive Stirrings
1
Escape to the Wilds
1
Genesis Ultimatum
Artifacts (14)
1
Arcane Signet
1
Coldsteel Heart
1
Metallic Mimic
1
Pillar of Origins
1
Bloodline Pretender
1
Chromatic Lantern
1
Cultivator's Caravan
1
Gate to the Afterlife
1
Herald's Horn
1
Icon of Ancestry
1
Skyclave Relic
1
Vanquisher's Banner
1
The Immortal Sun
1
God-Pharaoh's Gift
Enchantments (4)
1
Unbridled Growth
1
Song of Freyalise
1
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
1
The Bears of Littjara
Lands (40)
1
Barkchannel Pathway
1
Blood Crypt
1
Branchloft Pathway
1
Breeding Pool
1
Clearwater Pathway
1
Clifftop Retreat
1
Command Tower
1
Cragcrown Pathway
1
Darkbore Pathway
1
Field of the Dead
4
Forest
1
Godless Shrine
1
Hallowed Fountain
1
Hengegate Pathway
1
Hinterland Harbor
1
Indatha Triome
1
Island
1
Isolated Chapel
1
Ketria Triome
1
Mountain
1
Needleverge Pathway
1
Overgrown Tomb
1
Plains
1
Raugrin Triome
1
Riverglide Pathway
1
Sacred Foundry
1
Savai Triome
1
Sliver Hive
1
Steam Vents
1
Stomping Ground
1
Sulfur Falls
1
Swamp
1
Temple Garden
1
The World Tree
1
Watery Grave
1
Woodland Cemetery
1
Zagoth Triome
Cards (99)

I’ll be the first to admit, The First Sliver isn’t the best thing you can be doing in 5 color. Honestly, it’s probably not even the second best thing you could be doing either, but Slivers holds a special place in my heart and The First Sliver itself is so strong, I couldn’t help but build around it.

A 5 mana 7/7 Cascade that gives half your deck Cascade is nothing short of busted. Sure, you do have to play a lot more suspect cards than other tribes to make it work, but having it live for even a turn can let you build a massive board very easily. Furthermore, each Sliver does make your board exponentially better since every Sliver is a functinoal lord, so I very well could be underestimating the strength of this deck.

Despite being 5 color, the mana should still work most of the time as we have access to a large slew of dual lands as well as mana fixers. Furthermore, beyond the inherent synergies between the creatures, we get to play the powerful tribal artifacts like Pillar of Origins, Icon of Ancestry, Herald’s Horn, and Vanquisher’s Banner.

Even if you can be doing something more powerful with Golos, Tireless Pilgrim or Niv-Mizzet Reborn, Slivers should still be quite the fast and powerful option.

What Brawl deck are you most excited to play? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading!

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.