Brawl is an interesting format, standard singleton with a commander. It tends to play more like Canadian Highlander than EDH, especially with the 1v1 format offered on Magic Arena.
Arena has it’s own format, Historic, Ixalan forward plus two sets of 25 card Anthologies, and three unique commanders, Rhys the Redeemed, The Gitrog Monster, and Talrand, Sky Summoner. In a fast, aggro dominated format, I decided Talrand is the best potential option of these three (for me).
How should one build a Talrand, Sky Summoner deck? It’s looks simple, and there is probably two builds possible, a tempo/flash version using cards like Tempest Djinn, Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer and Brineborn Cutthroat, or a strong spellslinger/control shell. I chose the spellslinger shell and this is, to me, the ideal way to play Mono-Blue Brawl.
Let’s look at the deck, and what kinds of cards are in it, along with the notables included.
We are running 21 lands, including Castle Vantress, Blast Zone, Mystic Sanctuary and the newly added, Lonely Sandbar. Despite our low land count, we are running some beefy spells at the top end, Karn’s Temporal Sundering, Mass Manipulation, Flood of Tears, and Omniscience.
There are only two creatures in the deck, God-Eternal Kefnet and Naiad of Hidden Coves, Kefnet allows us to cast spells twice (Hello extra turns) and Naiad makes our spells cheaper on the opponents turn, we want to be able to play everything at instant speed, so Leyline of Anticipation was an obvious inclusion, and is generally a good card to Mulligan for.
As far as the instants and sorceries we want to cast to make 2/2 Drakes, we are running 9 draw spells, 11 counterspells, including my favorite, Spell Swindle, and 5 bounce spells.
In the utility slot, we have a little bit of ramp in Arcane Signet and Mind Stone. We have included Clear the Mind, Mission Briefing, Bond of Insight and Flood of Recollection in order to buyback vital spells, or to counter certain strategies (Mill)
According to my play stats on untapped.gg, this deck really wants to be on the draw, which seems counter-intuitive. We played 15 games, and won 12, with losses against Mono-Red Torbran, Jund Darigaaz, Reincarnated, and fellow Mono-Blue Sai, Master Thopterist.
The deck easily handles Mid-Range strategies like Nissa, Vraska or Kenrith. Some of the best games came against other semi-control decks.
I played one match, which according to untapped, took 27 minutes. A grindfest against a all flyers, Rakdos, the Showstopper deck. There was a lot of back and forth. I cast Flood of Tears 4 times that game and eventually won with an Overflowing Insight, forcing him to deck out. I believe I played over half the game under 5 life, thanks to a slow start and a Shock killing a turn 4 Talrand. NEVER play a Talrand without cover against Red.
Anyways. I guess the point of the article is that even a deck that realistically shouldn’t be very good can be good, and can be fun to play with. I would recommend to my fellow Blue Mages out there to give this a try.
I will be back again with more Magic content, and am currently looking for story ideas.
You can follow me on Twitter @60plus15 or on reddit at u/x5ofspadez