Other Brawl Budget Upgrades
Hey everyone! It’s time for my final entry in this Budget Upgrade series for Brawl decks. By process of elimination, we’re covering the Faerie Schemes deck featuring Alela, Artful Provocateur.
The idea here is to take the preconstructed Brawl decks and spend up to $25 (since it’s a 60-card deck, I’ve lowered the budget) before tax and shipping to improve them. Obviously, $25 has a different impact on everyone, but the idea is to show you how to take a deck and improve it while still operating on a set budget.
We’re going to throw a wrench in here, though. I’ve been considering how these budget articles could scale to different price points because everyone’s budget is different. This time around, I’m going to upgrade the decks for three price points: $25, $50, and $100. (Yes, just like last time, there’s no Unlimited version – you’ll see why.) That way, you can pick and choose the upgrades you like based on how much you want to invest in a deck. If this ends up being something you like, I’ll incorporate it into more articles.
As we go through the changes, I’ll list the prices (from this very website, ChannelFireball.com) of each card I plan to add. That way, you can see how I keep things in budget. Prices and availability of cards may have changed since I wrote this because time always progresses forward no matter what we do. If you see an inconsistency because of that, I apologize, but it’s inevitable. The overall idea is that Brawl, just like Commander, isn’t a pay-to-win format–instead, it’s about synergies and themes.
Oh, and this is predicated around multiplayer Brawl, just like my Commander articles. I’ve been building for 1v1 Brawl in my Commander newsletter, and as we get further into that format on Arena I’ll continue to do so.
Let’s start, as we always do, by mercilessly cutting some cards from the original decklist. These ones are out right away:
Shinechaser and All That Glitters are on theme flavor-wise, but in a deck like this our goal is to overwhelm opponents with Faerie tokens. These two cards don’t add much in that regard. Shambling Suit is very fragile, and given we’ve got no way to make it unblockable, it’s out. Frogify is pretty low-impact, so it’s out as well. Bloodsoaked Altar asks too much of our resources. Scrabbling Claws is very unimpressive when it doesn’t make a token, and we’re trying to avoid that. Bag of Holding is incredibly fragile, and we’ll be tapping out enough that protecting it will be too hard. Finally, Emergence Zone is pretty woeful–you have to sacrifice it, which means it’s no Winding Canyons or Alchemists’ Refuge.
But what goes in? Well, here’s what I’m adding:
Emry, Lurker of the Loch ($5.25)
Emry is an obvious inclusion in this deck–casting artifacts from the graveyard is huge in terms of getting Alela value. Sure, Emry draws fire, but so does Alela, and at least this means your opponents will have to make decisions.
Divine Visitation ($7.99)
This is one of the cards that really gives Alela the ability to go over the top of other decks. Turning those 2/1 Faeries into 5/4 Angels (here I’m accounting for Alela’s +1/+0) makes every artifact and enchantment much more powerful.
Stonecoil Serpent ($2.99)
A flexible curve-filler that means you can trigger Alela no matter how much mana you have lying around, Stonecoil Serpent is a powerhouse. Making a 7/7 or larger in the late game can put you in a position to take over the board regardless of what’s on there, and with all the multicolored decks out there, it can be hard to remove.
There are plenty of artifacts and enchantments in this deck worth copying–Smothering Tithe obviously comes to mind, as do many others–but don’t forget that you can copy your opponents’ artifacts and enchantments too!
Blast Zone ($3.49)
Replacing Emergence Zone with a better zone wasn’t too hard, now was it?
Dance of the Manse ($0.95)
Getting your artifacts and enchantments back from the graveyard in a massive X-for-1 already seems great, but when you turn them into 4/4s on top of that, the advantage becomes immense. Just be ready to get Wrathed–you will get Wrathed.
Dovin, Grand Arbiter ($1.49)
Using Dovin’s +1 to build up loyalty is made easier by Alela’s swarm of tokens, and the -7 is a great card advantage vehicle to build toward.
Dovin’s Veto ($1.15)
Protecting your board requires some investment in countermagic. Dovin’s Veto is the only one I’ve managed to fit in, but it’s a solid one. Do note that it doesn’t stop Massacre Girl from getting you.
So far we’ve spent $24.80, so we’re going to stop there and take a look at the list so far:
Faerie Schemes – $25 Budget Upgrade
Commander: Alela, Artful Provocateur
1 Azorius Guildgate 1 Blast Zone 1 Command Tower 1 Dimir Guildgate 1 Dismal Backwater 1 Evolving Wilds 5 Island (335) 1 Orzhov Guildgate 6 Plains (331) 1 Scoured Barrens 4 Swamp (339) 1 Temple of Silence 1 Tranquil Cove 1 Watery Grave 1 Animating Faerie/Bring to Life 1 Arcanist's Owl 1 Corridor Monitor 1 Empyrean Eagle 1 Emry, Lurker of the Loch 1 Massacre Girl 1 Sephara, Sky's Blade 1 Shimmer Dragon - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Stonecoil Serpent 1 Workshop Elders - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Ancestral Blade 1 Angelic Exaltation 1 Arcane Signet - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Banish into Fable - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Chemister's Insight 1 Conclave Tribunal 1 Dance of the Manse 1 Divine Visitation 1 Dovin, Grand Arbiter 1 Dovin's Veto 1 Golden Egg 1 Guild Globe 1 Heraldic Banner 1 Kaya's Wrath 1 Lawmage's Binding 1 Mace of the Valiant - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Mana Geode 1 Mirrormade 1 Mortify 1 Prison Realm 1 Smothering Tithe 1 Winged Words 1 Witching Well
Okay! That’s a great start. But what if you wanted to go further? Well, that’s not too hard to do. Let’s move on toward the $50 threshold.
Upgrading the manabase is, as always, a big deal. You’ll want these lands in your collection if you don’t already own them.
Out: Ancestral Blade
In: Ethereal Absolution ($0.49)
I’m benching this low-impact artifact in favor of this game-winning enchantment. It pumps our team and makes more tokens while also shrinking opposing forces. This card is a blockbuster in Brawl and you should expect your opponents to have a few ways to make it go the way of Blockbuster Video.
Out: Corridor Monitor
In: Despark ($0.49)
Corridor Monitor is nice for untapping Emry and not a ton else. Despark, on the other hand, is an impressive way to handle opposing threats. It misses some key things like Oko and T3feri, but it hits enough problem permanents that I forgive it.
Just like that, we’re up to a total spend of $49.76. That means it’s time to check back in on the decklist!
Faerie Schemes – $50 Budget Upgrade
Commander: Alela, Artful Provocateur
1 Blast Zone 1 Command Tower 1 Dimir Guildgate 1 Dismal Backwater 1 Evolving Wilds 1 Godless Shrine 1 Hallowed Fountain 5 Island (335) 6 Plains (331) 1 Scoured Barrens 4 Swamp (339) 1 Temple of Silence 1 Tranquil Cove 1 Watery Grave 1 Animating Faerie/Bring to Life 1 Arcanist's Owl 1 Empyrean Eagle 1 Emry, Lurker of the Loch 1 Massacre Girl 1 Sephara, Sky's Blade 1 Shimmer Dragon - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Stonecoil Serpent 1 Workshop Elders - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Angelic Exaltation 1 Arcane Signet - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Banish into Fable - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Chemister's Insight 1 Conclave Tribunal 1 Dance of the Manse 1 Despark 1 Divine Visitation 1 Dovin, Grand Arbiter 1 Dovin's Veto 1 Ethereal Absolution 1 Golden Egg 1 Guild Globe 1 Heraldic Banner 1 Kaya's Wrath 1 Lawmage's Binding 1 Mace of the Valiant - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Mana Geode 1 Mirrormade 1 Mortify 1 Prison Realm 1 Smothering Tithe 1 Winged Words 1 Witching Well
Okay! You could stop there, or anywhere you like, but I’m going to soldier on to the $100 mark. That’ll be my last upgrade for this article–just like last time, I don’t have any good faith upgrades to make past it, and I’m not interested in upgrades simply for the sake of article structure. So, let’s start the final lap.
Out: Animating Faerie
In: Teferi, Time Raveler ($21.99)
Animating Faerie doesn’t pack the punch it has in Limited or in 1v1 Brawl–an early-game 4/4 will only draw the ire of the table, and Alela needs time to set up. Instead, I recommend slowing things down with Teferi. Bounce something and draw a card, or just plus and hold on to your open mana for the very few sorceries we have.
Out: Dimir Guildgate
In: Fabled Passage ($19.99)
Our only fetchland! I understand the price tag can be prohibitive, but you’ll want these for Standard and Pioneer if you play these formats, and it’s good in Commander too.
Out: Chemister’s Insight
In: Narset, Parter of Veils ($2.59)
Narset is going to generate cards of a much higher quality than Chemister’s Insight. Between that and the draw-stopping ability, she should also out-value it in terms of raw cards.
Out: Lawmage’s Binding
In: Oath of Kaya ($0.55)
With all these planeswalkers wandering into our decklist, adding a way to protect them seems prudent. Oath of Kaya is the classic “rattlesnake” card with a Lightning Helix layered on top. Lawmage’s Binding, despite its flashiness, is the worst of our enchantment-based removal.
Out: Mana Geode
In: Midnight Clock ($0.49)
A new hand of seven cards isn’t too far off when you cast Large Benjamin here (it’s a sweet card nickname, please help me make this one happen) and shuffling your graveyard into your library can be very helpful in this deck that draws a decent number of cards already. You lose the ability to generate colors of mana besides blue that Mana Geode provides, but that’s not a huge cost.
Out: Massacre Girl
In: Doom Foretold ($0.59)
This deck doesn’t usually want to wrath the board, so cutting one for Doom Foretold–a card that fits in well with our horde of tokens and artifacts like Guild Globe and Golden Egg–seems like a no-brainer.
Out: Kaya’s Wrath
In: Time Wipe ($0.59)
This is a wrath upgrade. Kaya’s Wrath won’t usually be destroying lots of our Faeries and giving us a big life upgrade, so we’ll use Time Wipe instead. Usually the bounced creature’s name is Alela, but if she’s not around, we have some other good choices (Emry, Arcanist’s Owl).
Out: Swamp, Plains
On balance, we’re in need of some more blue sources, and it’s hard to beat these two. Castle Vantress provides some sweet card selection, while Mystic Sanctuary allows us to cast something like Dovin’s Veto or Dance of the Manse a second time.
Okay! That’s it for revisions, as we’re up to $99.39. Here’s the final decklist:
Faerie Schemes – $100 Budget Upgrade
Commander: Alela, Artful Provocateur
1 Blast Zone 1 Castle Vantress 1 Command Tower 1 Dismal Backwater 1 Evolving Wilds 1 Fabled Passage 1 Godless Shrine 1 Hallowed Fountain 5 Island (335) 1 Mystic Sanctuary 5 Plains (331) 1 Scoured Barrens 3 Swamp (339) 1 Temple of Silence 1 Tranquil Cove 1 Watery Grave 1 Arcanist's Owl 1 Empyrean Eagle 1 Emry, Lurker of the Loch 1 Sephara, Sky's Blade 1 Shimmer Dragon - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Stonecoil Serpent 1 Workshop Elders - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Angelic Exaltation 1 Arcane Signet - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Banish into Fable - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Conclave Tribunal 1 Dance of the Manse 1 Despark 1 Divine Visitation 1 Doom Foretold 1 Dovin, Grand Arbiter 1 Dovin's Veto 1 Ethereal Absolution 1 Golden Egg 1 Guild Globe 1 Heraldic Banner 1 Mace of the Valiant - Brawl Deck Exclusive 1 Midnight Clock 1 Mirrormade 1 Mortify 1 Narset, Parter of Veils 1 Oath of Kaya 1 Prison Realm 1 Smothering Tithe 1 Teferi, Time Raveler 1 Time Wipe 1 Winged Words 1 Witching Well
If you’re looking to play a fun Brawl deck and you’re not a fan of casting actual creature spells, this is an amazing place to be. I’ll probably adapt these decks for 1v1 and record them in the Brawl queue when I get a chance, but for now, we’re going to take a break from Brawl and head back to Commander for a while. See you next time!