By promoting Brawl, Wizards of the Coast is also supporting commander. Each Brawl Deck starts with a sixty card framework in which to begin and construct a commander deck. With forty cards of design space the key to converting these decks is deconstructing the framework and then adding cards that will reinforce those themes. Since Brawl uses only standard legal cards there are several cards that would be better replaced when converting to an eternal format. Commanding Brawl will not replace these cards and instead focus on the forty additional cards needed to create a commander deck. Instead these replaceable cards will provide room for upgrades further down the line.
Finally, while Commander Clinic understands if you are purchasing a Brawl preconstructed deck to convert to commander the player is looking to keep the commander deck affordable. Forty $5.00 cards still costs $200 so there will be no budget limit for these decks. In order to keep the decks affordable we will not be bringing a decklist that is as fully optimized and excessively expensive. Sometimes more expensive cards ($20.00 and up) will be included in the build. When chosen it’s because they bring a significant advantage to the build or just flat out win games. These Commanding Brawl builds are not the only build or the best build. They attempt to be competitive with a fun play experience.. Feel free to adjust these lists as it meets your budgetary needs or preferred gameplay experience.
Deconstructing Wild Bounty
The first thing I noticed about this decklist is that Wizards did not in any way optimize their build even in the standard format. With the standard meta, including all three shocklands would go far in giving a solid mana base and Beast Whisperer fits exactly what the deck wants to do while being a notable exclusion for the deck. In their article Inside the Throne of Eldraine Brawl Decks Melissa DeTora wrote “The mana bases are inherently weak.” Then why not include all the dual lands that help fix that problem instead of making cards for the format? I was also surprised not to see a deck that was filled full of adventure cards as they would fit the theme well of Chulane himself being a teller of tales. Without substituting cards this will greatly limited the overall power of any commander deck we build.
Next in looking at Chulane, the commander, although he is Bant colors my first impression is that he is through and through a simic commander. He will ramp you and draws you cards. The only difficulty is that your commander costs five mana which is a little later then what a simic deck wants in order to start up its engine. Consider this deck a Simic deck that adds in some key elements of white to help you win the game.
Ideally you want to play your commander and then play additional cards right away to gain value from the engine. Casting him at five mana and waiting a turn around the table is slow and it feels bad if he is removed before you get to draw or ramp. Despite Chulane having ramp abilities in his text box we will want to have a strong ramp package so that we can start our value engine early.
After these impressions we notice that Chulane bounces your creatures back to hand and this will optimize your card draw and ramp engines. More importantly it puts a priority on adventure cards and creatures who have enter the battlefield effects. Enter the battlefield effects give us instant pay off for the cards we cast on top of the card draw and/or ramp and if we can find ways to return them to hand or blink them we can explode with value.
Finally, with the value engine humming around this deck, the ability to win the game can sometimes get murky. The deck does include End-Raze Forerunners. This deck will want to find other ways to close out the game.
Categorizing Wild Bounty for Commander
With the initial deck having eleven cards that ramp or mana fix we will add one more card to that category. This excludes Flower // Flourish which was placed in the win condition category. Chulane lets us play additional lands, we also want to have a higher land count in our deck so that we will have lands to play when we cast our creatures. With Chulane in our command zone we will have access to card draw and we can wait for the draw until he comes out. If necessary we can cut the card draw down to nine cards over the average ten. Having a card draw spell in our hand at the start of the game is not as critical as having the ramp spells. The other category every deck wants, removal, can be a standard ten cards.
For categories this specific deck wants, we will start conservatively and add from there. We will want a minimum of thirty creatures and twenty enter the battlefield or adventure triggers on them. We will pack these categories where ever we can to try and make it fit. If we can fit more creatures it will add to the efficiency of the deck. Chulane wants creatures in the deck and lots of them.Thirty Three is our real target but can settle for less if we have to.
With a Chulane as a way to abuse enter the battlefield effects we only need a few of them per game and then we will spam the effect over and over. As we draw more cards we will draw into more of them so twenty will be fine as long as they are stronger effects. We will slot five cards for win conditions and an additional nine cards for effects that will improve the deck overall.
- 9 Card Draw/Card Quality
- 12 Mana Ramp/Mana Fixing
- 10 Removal
- 30+ Creatures
- 20+ Enters the Battlefield/Adventure
- 5 Win Conditions
- 9 Miscellaneous
At the end of the article there will be a full list of the forty cards that were added. For now we will cover the highlights of converting the brawl deck into a commander deck. Most people when they give deck lists they break it up into card types. Here at Commander Clinic we believe while separating cards by type is a good thing, it is better to represent the deck into different categories of cards and the functions they provide into the deck. This helps to understand how each card functions in the deck. You can find the deck broken down by card category on Arkidect here.
The Key Three
As with all commander decks there are key cards that will help a deck accomplish its goals. Commander Clinic Decktechs will point out three key cards in each deck.
Chulane, Teller of Tales
Like many commander decks the commander in Wild Bounty is one of the key cards in the deck. You will be able to cast Chulane Teller of Tales every game and it does exactly what simic decks want to do, which is to draw cards and ramp. This card draw and ramp will allow you to power through your deck to acquire your win conditions and then cast them. The faster you can do this the more likely you are to win.
His ability seems to be spinning its wheels but in reality it is a cost effective way to build your battlefield. With his return a creature ability you will be able to abuse adventure and enters the battlefield effects which will let you pull ahead with a strong board state.
Just like Chulane, Deadeye Navigator allows you to abuse enters the battlefield effects. The blink ability costs only two mana which is inexpensive and will allow you to spam enters the battlefield effects over and over again. Some cards will be fair uses of this card Like Eternal Witness. It will recycle many cards from your graveyard but you still have to cast the card. Some will be broken like blinking Avenger of Zendikar where you can make an army of 0/1 plant tokens.Others will be outright vicious like Acidic Slime where you can attack an opponent’s land base. Deadeye Navigator also allow you to generate infinite mana. You may read about it here.
Once soulbonded the Deadeye Navigator is very difficult to remove as long as you leave mana open. It protects itself from targeted removal. Players must choose a target on cast. Once it is targeted blink the Navigator. When it enters the battlefield it becomes a new copy of the card and the targeted spell fizzles. Because you want to save open mana to protect your Navigator it will enable a draw go strategy where you can hold up mana and then activate it on the end step right before your turn. If there’s open mana on the battlefield be careful of tapping out, even on right before your turn. This is when Deadeye Navigator is vulnerable and wily opponents will use this moment to get rid of your spam engine.
Training Grounds is a wonderful utility card. It is an enchantment that reduces the cost of activated abilities. Chulane now activates for one mana and leaves more mana to cast the card you bounce. Deadeye Navigator will also activate for one blue mana. Allowing you to spam enters the battlefield effects more effectively. Spectral Sailor becomes reasonably payable as it now costs two mana to draw a card on a mana sink. It is slightly over cost as the target cost to draw a card is 1.5 mana per card. It is a mana sink and can be used at the end step right before your turn allowing you to take advantage of unspent mana even if it is at a slightly higher than optimal rate.
Three Extra Win Conditions
The plan for the deck is to include five win conditions. The brawl preconstructed deck already comes with two in End-Raze Forerunners and very weak win condition in Flower // Flourish. From a critical standpoint Flower // Flourish should be removed from the deck. That is a cut for another time. This is because we are adding forty cards and not removing any of the preconstructed deck in this exercise.
Our deck plan calls for another three cards that finishes games. For this build we will stick with combat although with the amount of cards that can be drawn in a turn with Chulane, Approach of the Second Sun is a viable alternate win condition. This is extra effective if we can draw into infinite mana. We kept to the combat theme because there are many cards that destroy artifacts and enchantments in our deck list. If you can draw enough cards you should be able to remove the cards that will shut you down from winning by combat. This simplifies the game plan and while one alternate win condition will not clog up your hand, it will be a dead card on many occasions and it will benefit the deck less than it synergizes with it.
The following are the three win conditions I chose to include in the commander upgrade.
This is the classic overrun effect. With Chulane you should have many creatures that can attack on board and Craterhoof Behemoth can buff them more than other effects while providing trample. One Craterhoof can win the game and whether you can blink him or use Chulane to bring him to hand to cast again he is reusable to clean up on another turn or possible double up on the same turn if you have enough mana. While expensive this card is worth including in the deck because his effect is so much stronger than other overrun effects.
This card has two different uses. First it clears the way for a board state so that an opponent is open to attack. It often is surprise player removal as you clear the way of blockers allowing you to swing out and remove a player from the game. It also has a second use that will not win the game outright but help put you in position to close out a game.
Sudden Disappearance can also target your permanents allowing you to gain multiple enters the battlefield triggers all at once. If your ETB triggers are mostly card draw and ramp you probably do not want to use this option as taking a player out is much stronger. However, there will be situations where you will have several removal ETB triggers and activating them again all at once will be worth the six mana that is spent on the card.
Archetype of Imagination
The other two win conditions come out of nowhere and you want to take out a player that turn or you lose the opportunity. Archetype of Imagination is the opposite. It is a win condition where you can win the game on the spot but by denying your opponent fliers it allows you to take a measured approach to attacking allowing you to defend yourself. You can take several turns to eliminate your opponents if you have to.
The deck includes an expensive card that at first glance doesn’t belong there. That card is Azusa, Lost but Seeking. She is primarily included for redundancy to play lands. Chulane costs five mana. Azusa costs three. She will allow you to play extra lands early game to allow you to ramp into Chulane faster.
Also one way to combat this deck is to deny it Chulane, Teller of Tales. If this happens there are still ways to blink cards and even draw cards. It does not have a way to play extra lands. Azuza will allow you to play extra lands you draw if Chulane gets too expensive to cast. If you have Azusa early it also enables you to hold off on playing Chulaine immediately at five mana. If you can wait to seven or eight mana then you can assure yourself that you will use his draw and ramp ability at least once.
Finally, there is redundancy with card draw in Beast Whisperer and Guardian Project. While it is Statistical Fairy Tale Land to think you can get all three out in play at once, two is possible and if you draw double lands you can play the second extra land with Azusa in play possibly fueling an additional creature you can play from your hand.
And Then Oko?
Oko, Thief of Crowns costs $25.99 at the time of this writing but it also a prerelease price. I expect this price to drop after release and packs are opened. It somehow finds its way into a modern deck all bets are off though. Oko was chosen as a way to deal with indestructible creatures or commanders with game breaking effects. By turning them into an elk they will lose their abilities and not trouble the table anymore. Then it is up to you to convince the table to not block the 3/3 elk when it attacks.
It feels bad when you spend a card like Imprisoned in the Moon to neutralize such a creature and then have the opponent sacrifice it or destroy his own creature quickly. In these exchanges you lose a card. Luckily, Oko is a planeswalker and his transforming effect is repeatable. This will allow you to target the offending commander over and over again as necessary while increasing the commander tax each time he sacrifices his own creature.
With this deck there are several cards that could be included but are not Here is a quick Summary as to why they are not included.
This is an expensive card. Still at first glance it seems worth the cost to the include. Your permanants will phase out and back in allowing all your ETB triggers to go off while saving you in a bad situation. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Phasing does not trigger either leaves the battlefield or enters the battlefield triggers. Without this extra synergy Teferi’s Protection is as good as in any other deck. We want to keep the cost down. Look to add Teferi’s Protection after the deck is built and are looking to upgrade some of the precon cards.
Roon of the Hidden Realm
Roon of the Hidden Realm is redundancy to Chulaine for ETB effects. He is definitely worth a spot as he can blink a creature outright you do not need to recast the card like Chulane does. You can blink an ETB creature for free if Biomancer’s Familiar or Training Grounds are in play. Roon is very strong, synergizes well and does deserve to be in the deck.
We need to be careful we don’t remove too many ETB effects otherwise we will have too few targets when Roon is played. Without cutting a weaker card in the deck I would rather on a first pass have the extra ETB trigger. And then remove a weaker card for Roon. The closest card to being cut is Champion of Lambholt for this ability. With any creature entering the battlefield triggering the Champion he can grow quite big making your creatures unblockable which does not only play into our ETB triggers but helps move our board closer to being able to win the game. When it becomes time to upgrade the deck Roon will be an easy include for Run Away Together or Risen Reef.
Farhaven Elf is a cheap creature with a solid ramp ETB effect that ramps you. Our deck build only allowed us to add one ramp card and not switch any others out. More expensive Mirari’s Wake doubles mana and allows for an explosive card draw turn by casting more creatures. The Wake is the better first include and then when you sub out some ramp cards for more effective cards Farhaven Elf becomes a first include option for District Guide upgrading the ETB trigger. Farhaven elf could have been included in the extra enters the battlefield effects. We chose to pass it over to include a larger variety of cards in the deck.
Tempest Caller is a strong ETB ability that shuts players down. There seems to be a theme with most of the rest of the notable excludes there are some slightly stronger options to include before this card. In the win condition category, which Tempest Caller is, Craterhoof Behemoth and Sudden Disappearance are stronger as surprise cards and Archetype of Imagination provides another way to win that is slower and does not rely on the ETB effect. When Brawl cuts are made Flower // Flourish is an easy cut to include this card.
These are the highlights of the WIld Bounty Commander upgrade. We were able to build a deck with 43 creatures and 23 enters the battlefield effects. The Adventure Mechanic is weak and only three of those cards made the decklist. As a deck we far exceeded our goals for creatures. As long as we can keep Chulane out we will be drawing many cards playing lands as the game progresses.
There are other builds where Chulane capitalizes with playing lots of low CMC creatures and drawing a lot of cards and turns that card draw into a weapon or the answers needed to win the game. There is also a build where you can turn Chulane into a lands matter deck with the ability to play additional lands or even include several X spells to win the game. Our build sticks more to the original theme of Chulane with Adventure and ETB triggers. It is strong and will provide a fun play experience. As always if you have any questions please feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 40 includes with cost at the time of this writing. You can find the full deck list on archiidect here.
- Mirari’s Wake ($17.99)
- Peregrine Drake ($0.29)
- Brutilizer Exarch ($0.25)
- Luminate Primordial ($0.35)
- Avenger of Zendikar ($7.99)
- Champion of Lambholt ($1.79)
- Elvish Visionary ($0.25)
- Knight of Autumn ($2.49)
- Manglehorn ($0.25)
- Reclaimation Sage ($0.59)
- Charming Prince ($3.49)
- Training Grounds ($27.99)
- Deadeye Navigator ($6.99)
- Oko, Thief of Crowns ($6.99)
- Vivien, Champion of the Wilds ($2.79)
- Defense of the Heart ($19.99)