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Brawling on a Budget: Zero Rare Decks from Theros Beyond Death

Back in November, I highlighted three zero-rare Brawl decks to provide an entry point for those looking to explore this under-supported format without burning through those precious rare and mythic rare wildcards. Today, I’m back with three more decks, this time built around some of the legendary uncommons you’ll find in Theros Beyond Death. Let’s get stuck in!

Siona, Captain of the Pyleas

Siona, Captain of the Pyleas

The first time I saw Siona, I was thoroughly underwhelmed. Given the power of some recent gold uncommons, I was hoping for a bit more from a legend like this (but then again, green-white always gets the short end of the stick in that regard). After experimenting with building around her, however, I was pleasantly surprised. Siona is actually a very tidy little package, offering both card selection and meaningful board presence. There is a higher number of decent auras than you might realize!

Green-White Auras

Commander: Siona, Captain of the Pyleas

1 Beloved Princess
1 Chainweb Aracnir
1 Charmed Stray
1 Faerie Guidemother/Gift of the Fae
1 Flaxen Intruder/Welcome Home
1 Healer’s Hawk
1 Nessian Wanderer
1 Destiny Spinner
1 Fencing Ace
1 Hero of the Pride
1 Dawn Evangel
1 Favored of Iroas
1 Heliod’s Pilgrim
1 Nyx Herald
1 Gnarlback Rhino—Planeswalker Deck Exclusive
1 Lagonna-Band Storyteller
1 Hero of the Winds
1 Archon of Falling Stars
1 Sunblade Angel
1 Beanstalk Giant/Fertile Footsteps
1 Glaring Aegis
1 All That Glitters
1 Angelic Gift
1 Kenrith’s Transformation
1 Sentinel’s Mark
1 Feral Invocation
1 Hydra’s Growth
1 Oakenform
1 Commanding Presence
1 Wolfkin Bond
1 Pacifism
1 Trapped in the Tower
1 Luminous Bonds
1 Gift of Paradise
1 New Horizons
1 Arcane Signet—Brawl Deck Exclusive
1 Blossoming Sands
1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Field of Ruin
1 Idyllic Grange
1 Selesnya Guildgate
9 Plains (331)
8 Forest (347)

In this deck, with 15 auras, Siona is over 90% to hit when played on turn three. She doesn’t just draw a card, however—she gives you the best aura from your top seven, and this can include removal! Pacifism, Trapped in the Tower, and Luminous Bonds aren’t best-in-show when going up against removal like Murderous Rider, but they’ll still do the job in a lot of cases. Apart from the removal, there’s ramp in New Horizons and Gift of Paradise, and then regular creature enchantments like Feral Invocation and friends.

The creature suite is designed to make the most of picking up auras, with relevant and powerful keyword abilities. Whacking a big buff on a Beloved Princess or Healer’s Hawk will put you ahead nice and early—and that’s in addition to the little 1/1 you get from Siona! Fencing Ace is probably the best target for auras in the entire deck, as even the +1/+2 from Sentinel’s Mark will turn him into a respectable brawler.

Even though heroic isn’t a named mechanic in this version of Theros as it was years ago, there are still a few creatures with “hidden” heroic. Hero of the Pride and Hero of the Winds support the go-wide theme supported by Siona’s tokens, but they’re not the only heroic cards. Ever heard of Gnarlback Rhino? It’s from an M20 planeswalker deck, and it’s perfect for this list!

Anax, Hardened in the Forge

Anax, Hardened in the Forge

Anax offers an Aristocrats-style reward for sacrificing your own creatures, and that’s the first place to look when trying to get the most out of him as a commander. Initially, I attempted to get something going with the “power 4 or greater” clause, but that meant playing draft chaff like Skullknocker Ogre and Fire Elemental. We can do better—not much better, sure, but definitely better—if we go small and wide.

Mono-Red Fun Police

Commander: Anax, Hardened in the Forge

1 Goblin Banneret
1 Grim Initiate
1 Scorch Spitter
1 Tin Street Dodger
1 Gingerbrute
1 Torch Courier
1 Weaselback Redcap
1 Blood Aspirant
1 Careless Celebrant
1 Smelt-Ward Ignus
1 Embereth Shieldbreaker/Battle Display
1 Ember Hauler
1 Goblin Cratermaker
1 Rimrock Knight/Boulder Rush
1 Underworld Rage-Hound
1 Ahn-Crop Invader
1 Devouring Hellion
1 Chandra’s Spitfire
1 Merchant of the Vale/Haggle
1 Syr Carah, the Bold
1 Dreamshaper Shaman
1 Escape Velocity
1 Witch’s Oven
1 Claim the Firstborn
1 Shock
1 Omen of the Forge
1 Lava Coil
1 Scorching Dragonfire
1 Cavalcade of Calamity
1 Heartfire
1 Mask of Immolation
1 Crystal Slipper
1 Fling
1 Ferocity of the Wilds
1 Light Up the Stage
1 The Triumph of Anax
1 Dwarven Mine
1 Field of Ruin
21 Mountain (343)

This deck is an out-and-out aggro deck—not a strategy you’d want to bring to a multiplayer game of Brawl, but perfect for the one-on-one queues on MTGA. Playing small red creatures synergizes nicely with Anax for a couple of reasons—first of all, when your little 1/1’s for one finally have to chump attack, they get replaced immediately by his triggered ability; secondly, you’ll quickly assemble a huge amount of devotion to red.

The Aristocrats-style gameplay of this deck is enabled surprisingly well with a good number of sacrifice outlets. Ahn-Crop-Invader, Mask of Immolation, and of course Fling are joined by newcomers such as Blood Aspirant in giving you ways to trigger Anax and keep the value train rolling. Additionally, Fling plus a huge Anax will quickly end games through a board stall.

Most people want to do something silly or over-the-top when sitting down to play Brawl, and this deck stands ready to punish them for it. If you want to be the fun police and make your opponents feel silly for basically starting their mana curve at four or five, Anax is here to help you do it.

Eutropia the Twice-Favored

Eutropia the Twice-Favored

I love it when a commander gives you unambiguous instructions as to how to build a deck around them. Eutropia is one such commander—she cares about enchantments, and rewards you with +1/+1 counters. That’s a clear blueprint (or, rather, green-blueprint, athankyou) we can start to build around, and happily there are plenty of decent enablers and payoffs for this kind of strategy at both common and uncommon.

Green-Blue Constellation/Proliferate

Commander: Eutropia the Twice-Favored 

1 Eidolon of Philosophy
1 Merfolk Skydiver
1 Pollenbright Druid
1 Combine Guildmage
1 Leafkin Druid
1 Paradise Druid
1 Syr Faren, the Hengehammer
1 Evolution Sage
1 Flux Channeler
1 Guildpact Informant—Planeswalker Deck Exclusive
1 Destiny Spinner
1 Nyx Herald
1 Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea
1 Risen Reef
1 Thrashing Brontodon
1 District Guide
1 Mowu, Loyal Companion
1 Bloom Hulk
1 Frilled Mystic
1 Sharktocrab
1 Shimmerwing Chimera
1 Renata, Called to the Hunt
1 Galloping Lizrog
1 Brine Giant
1 So Tiny
1 Titanic Brawl
1 Rabid Bite
1 Frogify
1 Kasmina’s Transmutation
1 Omen of the Sea
1 Season of Growth
1 Gift of Paradise
1 New Horizons
1 Inspire Awe
1 Wolfkin Bond
1 Thornwood Falls
1 Simic Guildgate
1 Command Tower
1 Evolving Wilds
1 Field of Ruin
8 Island (335)
11 Forest (347)

In order to reflect the two sides of Eutropia’s ability, the deck is split into two halves—enchantments, and cards that care about +1/+1 counters. There’s even a little bit of overlap, with cards like Renata, Called to the Hunt and New Horizons, but for the most part there are enchantments as enablers, and proliferate cards as payoffs.

There is no shortage of enchantments we can play in this deck to trigger Eutropia, from creatures such as Eidolon of Philosophy to (bad) removal such as Frogify. Having enchantment creatures like Nyx Herald and Destiny Spinner is really, really important in a deck like this. Not only do they pick up counters from Eutropia, they also allow us to have to maintain a critical mass of creatures while keeping the enchantment count high.

The other half of the deck is all about maximizing the impact of those +1/+1 counters, principally using the proliferate mechanic. Eutropia creates the counters, and everything from Merfolk Skydiver to Bloom Hulk increases their number. There are also other cards that benefit from counters being thrown around—Galloping Lizrog and Mowu, for example, are always grateful recipients of extra counters.

However, we’ve had to pad things out a bit with Syr Faren, Thrashing Brontodon, and District Guide. As the final cards from the new set are revealed, take note of potential upgrades to replace these less synergistic cards.

I’m hoping Brawl starts receiving the support it deserves as a format, namely, regular queues that aren’t stuck behind a paywall. Until then, I understand the hesitation to invest in the format more heavily, and so I hope these low-investment decks allow people to sample Brawl properly without incinerating wildcards!

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