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. It can’t be because we are not using optimized cards or removing weak standard options. 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 Faerie Schemes
As with most precons, Faerie Schemes revolves around it’s commander. My initial take before looking at the deck was that it would be a fairy tribal deck. This turns out to be a wrong assumption. The deck instead is an artifact and enchantment themed deck that utilizes fliers in fairy form to flood the board and overwhelm your opponent. The deck makes a lot of faerie tokens. However, there are only three faerie cards in the deck. There are 21 artifacts and enchantments in the deck. To put this in perspective, a third of the deck has the ability to create a 1/1 faerie token. Instead the deck wants to capitalize and buff the faerie tokens in ways that create more faerie tokens.
Categorizing Faerie Schemes
Every deck wants Card Draw, Mana Ramp Removal and Lands . We will include these categories. The commander rewards you for playing artifacts and enchantments so we need a catch all category for that to make sure we have a high enough count of cards to create faeries. The bulk of our creatures will be faerie tokens. We want to be able to drop cards that create them over and over again and hammer the board.Understanding that our win strategy is fliers the deck will be vulnerable to board wipes. We will want to include more than the average ten cards in the card draw/quality category so that we can rebuild faster. Graveyard recursion is a plus but not a must to help mitigate the downside of board wipes as well.
The deck is closest to being flier tribal so we will need a flier tribal category. It would be easier to fill this category with fliers to pad out our creature count. Instead we want to look at this category as a group of cards that are going to buff up our fliers either in power or in abilities. These are the cards that are going to turn itty-bitty 1/1 creatures into viable threats that can win the game.
Finally we need additional creatures to round out the deck. If we can find worthy faeries or fliers it fits the theme well and is a flavor win. Sometimes a deck’s power will suffer if we stick to flavor as a main criteria for cards. Because of this, we will just look for strong cards that synergize with what we are doing and add them. If they happen to have flying then all the better.
The preconstructed deck gave us a solid mix of cards that every deck needs. They are not the strongest and several can be replaced after you include your initial forty cards to make it a commander deck. They will do for now. Even though they aren’t optimal. The deck wants 15+ cards that draw cards or scry. But many of the cards that do this better fit in other categories and the draw and scry is a nice added bonus. This balance of cards leaves a lot of design space for out forty additional cards giving us the freedom to load up on effects that make the deck work and fun to play.
- 1 Commander
- 15+ Card Draw/Quality
- 10 Mana Ramp/Fixing
- 10 Removal
- 33+ Artifacts and Enchantments
- 8 Faerie/Flier Tribal
- 25+ Creatures
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 in the deck. This helps you to understand how each card functions. You can find the deck broken down by card category on Arkidect here.
The Key Three
Alela, Artful Provocateur
Like Most Commander Decks Alela, Artful Provocateur provides focus for what the deck wants to do. The deck is creature light. This means the ability to create faeries to pad your creature count is very important. These faerie tokens will protect you early as cheap blockers. Late game they will synergize with other cards in your deck to provide an underrated attack force. She also starts buffing that force with a +1/+0 buff. This is excellent synergy on the card. Finally she has lifelink. With fliers you can sometimes attack the open man here and there for small amounts of damage. Not only does incidental damage add up you can incidentally gain life at the same time. An extra six to eight points of life can often help you survive to the end game.
Lightning Greaves, & Swiftfoot Boots
The haste on these cards are good. There may be times that haste is beneficial. What makes these cards key is that they are going to protect your commander from targeted removal. When a commander is absolutely key to winning the game, an aware opponent will try to stop you by taking out your commander. These two cards help prevent that. With this esper deck you really want to defend first and then towards the late game strike. It’s OK to let your opponents do some of the heavy lifting damaging each other and then you dive in like a Peregrine Falcon and snatch the game from the others.
Sphere of Safety
Following the defense first strategy, when Sphere of Safety comes out you are in a good position. I find in many games of commander players know they need to deal with this card but often can not do it in an efficient manner. When this happens it is great for you. There are fourteen enchantments in the deck. There is enough that it should match the benefit of a Ghostly Prison and sometimes exceed it.
This is often enough to deter your opponent as they can not mass swing at you without sacrificing developing their battlefield. You have some fairies you can use to chump block. This encourages your opponents to look at other targets. This is absolutely critical if you have the Bident of Thassa in play. Your opponents have to swing and it is not optimal for them to swing at you. And once one opponent swings then they are open leaving a target for the rest of your opponents. Sphere of Safety is a card of beauty.
While the deck is heavy on card draw and card quality, we also wanted to build into it ways to recur the cards we do have. Cast triggers are preferred as it will net us faerie tokens. Hanna, Ship’s Navigator will bring an artifact or enchantment back to our hand. This will allow us to get another faerie trigger.
Emeria Shepherd will get us a permanent but no faerie. It’s the only way to recur a creature from the graveyard in the deck. It also synergizes well with Evolving Wilds. Emeria Shepherd can bring the Wilds back from our graveyard then we can use it to fetch a plains and bring the wilds back from our graveyard again to ramp us. Finally Sharuum, the Hegemon allows you to return an artifact from the graveyard. Most of our artifacts are utility but using them again after they are destroyed is not a bad thing.
Having Sharuum to help recur artifacts opens up a lot of avenues for the design of this deck. Sometimes I think if light reflects off of the card it can go infinite right there and then. There are so many possibilities. We could lean heavily into the infinite combos and synergies of this card and make it a hidden commander in this deck. It would be strong but the game play would be repetitive. If you’re in a commander meta of Spikes then it is worth building this way, although using Sharuum itself is probably the better choice. For this build, we included one infinite combo with Blasting Station as an alternate win condition when our faeries are shut down or we happen to draw into it. If you want to know more about the Sharuum Blasting Station combo you may read about it here.
Out of Control Mischievousness
What makes this deck fun to play is that these little 1/1 faeries that you can create begin to multiply and then get out of control. This is much like the cornish pixies Gilderoy Lockhart released in his classroom. Unlike Gilderoy, you can control your faeries.
Anointed Procession is expensive but it is a token doubler in your commanders colors and it is a necessity for your faeries to get out of hand. Next they need to grow in power and one of the best ways to do this is with Cathars’ Crusade. It’s an ETB effect and every time you make a faerie or cast a creature you get to put a +1/+1 counter on all your creatures. Double faerie tokens gets them stronger faster. Finally, True Conviction grants them double strike for survivability and insane damage. If that is not enough it also grants lifelink to buff your life total. This helps defend against crack back when you attack.
Faerie Death is Overrated
If you can not protect your faeries they can not get out of control. Dragons is a popular tribe and they can block your fliers and often are larger than your faeries. Board wipes are a way to reset your battlefield so having options that protect from them is wise. The way around these potential pitfalls is indestructible. Sephara, Sky’s Blade can be cheap to cast when you have 4 or more fliers on the battlefield.
Kindred Boon is an enchantment that makes a faerie when paired with your commander. It will allow you to use your unspent mana to make a faerie tokens indestructible. Yes you want to target your faerie tokens early and often. Indestructible is a pain and while decks often have a couple of exile cards in them they normally only have one (if any) mass exile effects. If a player is going to use a one of exile effect on a creature they are less likely to use it on one of multiple 1/1 indestructible faeries and target something that poses a more immediate threat.
Opponent’s Flights Grounded
Your faeries are fliers and one of the easiest ways to push damage through is by removing flying from your opponents. There are few creatures used in commander that have reach over flying. We want to take both away. This makes Vedalken Humiliater an excellent choice for this deck. There are enough artifacts in your deck to trigger his attack trigger and when he does attack all opponents creatures become 1/1 creatures and lose all abilities. Those abilities include keywords leaving each opponent vulnerable to your faeries.
The humiliator is a 3/4 and if he is the only thing they can block then he is probably going to die. Thassa, God of the Sea can make him unblockable to keep him alive, but there is a more nefarious way to deal with this problem. Gravitational Shift gives your fliers +2/+0 which buffs your faeries but it also reduces nonfliers power. Giving them -2/-0. When the Humiliater attacks not only do they become 1/1 but they suffer the -2/-0 penalty if they did not before effectively making all your opponents creatures 0/1.
Barely enough creatures
Our packages calls for 25 total creatures or more. This is difficult to do when our commander wants artifacts or enchantments to fuel token generation. If we have our commander out every artifact and enchantment effectively becomes a creature. Our commander is relatively fast at four mana but if players decide to remove her again and again we will lose that ability to make creatures. For these purposes we need the 25 creature count. While actual creatures are preferred, if a card could generate a token and wasn’t a creature we added it to the count and it does double duty for the deck. When we count up all these cards we have exactly 25 creatures. It is not pretty but it is what must be done to make the packages work.
Drawn from Dreams is a top 10 blue card in a color that is strong on card draw. I like digging seven cards deep to find what you need but unfortunately the card was cut from this build because it is a sorcery. The deck as it stands is very intensive for permanents and really wants our forty cards to be them. When removing weaker standard cards this would be an immediate include for Chemister’s Insight.
At $18.99 Consecrated Sphinx is expensive. It is a creature which we need for the deck but it also costs six mana which makes it a little slower to get our deck into extra cards. It is a great include but for our first pass of the deck it is better to bypass this top ten blue card for faster card draw instead of the sheer power of drawing a lot of cards later in the game. I would substitute The Sphinx for Winged Words without hesitation when it is time to remove weaker standard cards.
Imprison in the Moon is a strong way to deal with an opponent’s commander. There are fewer cards that destroy lands than creatures and it can leave your opponent without his commander for several turns or possibly the game. Unfortunately, the precon gave a large suite of removal cards most of the single target removal. This means the two card slots we have to upgrade the removal package need to be mass removal spells. I would use this card instead of Conclave Tribunal.
Much like Imprisoned in the Moon, Darksteel Mutation is a strong single target removal on an enchantment. Use it on a commander neutralize it and make it indestructable to make it more difficult to get rid of. Just like Imprisoned in the Mood there is no more space for single target removal. If upgrading the deck I would remove Lawmages’ Binding for it.
Nevinyrral’s (Nev’s) Disk is mass removal and it is on an artifact which this deck wants. First the faerie does us little good if it gets destroyed. Then unlike Austere Command it hits everything but planeswalkers and that will wipe our board too. We want an uneven mass board wipe that benefits us. Decree of Pain draws us cards and the card draw is an advantage built into the deck. Nev’s Disk as a tempo play does not concern me as much as once it hits the table players have a tendency to just not play into the board wipe. When it is time to upgrade sub it in for Prison Realm.
Fae of Wishes seems like a great card. Unfortunately “outside the game” has evolved into “your side board” and the commander governing body has ruled no side boards in commander so this ability does not work. Still EDH is a casual format and though this may be the rule often times if you ask players at the table, then they will not mind if you play this card. For these reasons I could not add the card to the build. If your playgroup will allow it I would take out Hushbringer for its ability and keep a couple of toolbox cards at the ready to use so that it does not slow down the game.
Three cards were excluded from the build for cost reasons. They are Baleful Strix ($5.99) Bitterblossom ($47.99) and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite ($23.99) Elesh Norn really needs to be in this list if you can afford it. It buffs so well and synergizes excellently with Vedalken Humiliator leaving you as the only player with creatures on the board. On a second pass to upgrade the deck I would spend the money on Elesh Norn and remove Workshop Elders or if you don’t use Fey of Wishes take out Hushbringer.
Mischievousness on a Second Pass
There are many ways to upgrade this deck with adding just forty cards I went for value but did not include many artifacts that synergize for mischievousness. One set of cards that was not included was Unwinding Clock and Mycosynth Lattice. The lattice makes all permanents artifact and unwinding clock untaps everything like Seedborn Muse. Giving your cards flash creates great value and there are some mana sinks in the deck that could use the extra mana too. It also effectively gives your faeries vigilance. The Lattice with Darksteel Forge also makes all your permanents indestructible and if you have the mana you can steal anything on the battlefield with Memnarch. When upgrading this decklist consider some of these synergies and season them to the flavor of the deck you want. There is a lot of room for creativity in this build.
If you have any questions would like to discuss anything commander feel free to contact me at email@example.com and I will be happy to get back to you as quickly as possible.
The 40 card inclusions with cost at the time of this writing are listed below. You can find the full deck list on Arkidect here.
- Emeria Shepherd ($0.69)
- Faerie Formation ($3.49)
- Hanna, Ship’s Navigator ($1.99)
- Oona, Queen of the Fae ($10.99)
- Phyrexian Metamorph ($8.99)
- Sharuum the Hegemon ($0.79)
- Solemn SImulacrum ($4.99)
- Thassa, God of the Sea ($12.99)
- Vedalken Humiliator ($0.49)
- Anointed Procession ($19.99)
- Gravitational Shift ($1.99)
- Hushbringer ($0.99)
- Kindred Boon ($1.99)
- Stolen by the Fae ($0.25)
- True Conviction ($0.79)
Artifacts & Enchantments
- Blasting Station ($8.99)
- Cathars’ Crusade ($4.49)
- Etherium Sculptor ($0.35)
- Lightning Greaves ($6.49)
- Sphere of Safety ($1.99)
- Swiftfoot Boots ($1.99)