Slowly growing in popularity over time, Brawl may be one of the strangest formats in MTG. Sure, it’s no Alchemy, but at the same time, it’s just downright weird. Technically playable on both paper and MTG Arena, this format also exclusively has a cult online following. Alongside this, the format is often collated with Historic Brawl, which is a different thing entirely!
Despite the potential for confusion, both Brawl and Historic Brawl can be an awful lot of fun. Whether played on paper or MTG Arena, both formats offer interesting gameplay and uses for your cards. For better or worse, neither format has any competitive ladder or events to look forward to.
While the lack of competitive events may put off some players, Brawl and Historic Brawl still have a lot to offer. With both fun decks and fiercely fought games aplenty, Brawl matches still offer the best bits of MTG. Thanks to recent promises from Wizards about the format, it should only be getting better, so there’s never been a better time to get into either format!
To help you do just that, throughout this article, we’ll be detailing all the best MTG decks in both Brawl and Historic Brawl. So, whether you’re looking to get into the format or push your deck to the next level, we’ve got you covered! Before that, however, there is one major caveat we have to cover first.
Play What You Want
While Brawl technically does exist as a paper format, as we mentioned before, it’s almost entirely played on MTG Arena. Here, it doesn’t really matter what deck you’re playing. This is thanks to the game’s casual-focused matchmaking system. By putting decks into different brackets before pairing players up, this system typically prevents uneven games.
By evaluating Commander choice and deck construction to determine brackets, Brawl and Historic Brawl decks can’t be too good. If you’re playing an overpowered deck, you’ll simply be placed in a powerful queue with similarly-minded players. Alternatively, if you’ve home-brewed your own niche deck, you should be paired up with players doing the same.
If you’re looking to stomp on some unsuspecting players, you may be rather disappointed by this matchmaking system. Ultimately, however, it is for the better. As many Commander players will know, balancing your deck appropriately is an incredibly difficult feat. Get it wrong, and you either have a terrible time or ruin everyone else’s games. Get it right, however, and Commander is truly amazing.
Through matchmaking, Brawl and Historic Brawl players can simply play what they want to. If you’re after the most powerful decks around, however, then we’ve got you covered. Offering incredible synergy and powerful abilities, the below decks are definitely at the top end of the casual ladder.
So, without any further ado, let’s dive into the best Brawl and Historic Brawl decks in MTG!
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As we’ve mentioned time and time again at this point, Brawl is technically a paper MTG format. Using all the cards from Standard to create a 60-card singleton deck, there’s nothing stopping you from playing it on paper. Well, that’s not entirely true… A lack of other players will definitely stop you from enjoying yourself.
Primarily played on MTG Arena, Brawl gives otherwise enthusiastic Standard players a break from the mono-black dominated midrange soup. If you’re looking for a taste of a different soup with cards you likely already own, Brawl might be the format for you. To entice you in, here are the strongest decks in the format right now!
Kaya, Intangible Slayer
Curiously, compared to Commander, Brawl has a few unique rulings that set itself apart as its own thing. A major one of these differences is highlighted with Kaya, Intangible Slayer. As you can see above, Kaya, Intangible Slayer is a Planeswalker, and not one with the rules text “Can be your Commander.” Despite this, however, this Kaya is a-okay to use in Brawl should you want to!
Beyond being a curious novelty, Kaya, Intangible Slayer is actually a great Brawl deck, so there’s plenty of reason to use them. At its core, this rather unique Brawl deck follows a rather controlling game plan that culminates in massive game-ending threats. Specifically, Breach the Multiverse and Vraska, Betrayal’s Sting are there to end games in a jiffy.
Alongside these massive threats, this Brawl deck also has a fair few powerful creatures to keep you in control. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse is an obvious inclusion, for instance, as is the other Sheoldred in fact. With Sanctuary Warden and Serra Paragon bringing some angelic justice too, this deck is seriously potent.
Toxrill, the Corrosive
As if we didn’t already have enough dominant black decks, Toxrill, the Corrosive is a very similar story. Thankfully, while black creatures and removal are definitely the focus, Toxril does add a little extra spice. This comes in the form of a few major blue threats, as well as a little tipple of counterspells.
While far from moving into pure control territory, Toxrill, the Corrosive decks offer more flexibility than pure mono-black lists. Adding in Ertai Ressurected and Memory Deluge, this splash makes the deck a little more consistent. Alongside this, Toxrill, the Corrosive is also just great fun to play as a massive controlling threat.
Etali, Primal Conqueror
Like most Gruul decks in MTG, Etali, Primal Conqueror helms a big stompy pile of cards. Filled with major threats capable of ending games, this deck has an incredible top end that’ll devastate your opponents. Unfortunately, however, getting there is no mean feat.
Without all the fixing from Historic, Etali, Primal Conqueror decks can’t blitz through the early game nearly as quickly. Thankfully, this is the same for every Brawl deck, so this Gruul list isn’t totally outclassed. In fact, they’re very far from worrying about that. Boasting a 74% win percentage on Aetherhub, this deck is safely the best in the Brawl format on MTG Arena.
Upon reaching the lucrative high end, this Gruul deck can start playing threats like Titan of Industry and Cityscape Leveler. Not needing much more than their strength, these cards can easily beat down an opponent. Sure, they might be removable, but in a world of mono-black domination, this deck is a welcome and powerful treat.
While they’re claiming the top spot in this section all about Brawl, Etali, Primal Conqueror is also the number one choice in Historic Brawl. If you want to see a decklist for that instead, we’ve provided one here. For more about the best Historic Brawl decks on MTG Arena, read on below.
Despite having a very similar name, Historic Brawl is a very different format to just Brawl. For starters, it doesn’t rotate, it has 100 card decks, and it’s not playable on paper. The last major point is thanks to the format using MTG Arena exclusive Alchemy cards. Just like Brawl, Historic Brawl has its own banlist that’s separate from the core Historic format.
Most similar to the Commander format, currently, Historic Brawl can only be played in 1 vs. 1 matches. This, however, may well change in the future, as Wizards is hoping to introduce true multiplayer to MTG Arena. Alongside this, it appears Historic Brawl players may be getting some dedicated content in the future. When or if that appears, however, remains to be seen.
For now, even without added content, the format is still incredibly diverse and interesting. So, if you’re looking to get into it or up your game, you’re in the right place. Here are the best decks in the Historic Brawl format right now on MTG Arena!
Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty
Much to the delight of my inner mono-green player, Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty is all about big spells and creatures. Given that Imoti gives each high-cost spell Cascade, it’s absolutely no wonder they’re quite popular for this role. Potentially doubling the value of each spell you cast, Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty is potentially absolutely devastating.
Utilizing plenty of ramp in the low end, Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty decks quickly scale into utterly massive threats. Between Titan of Industry, Tyrranax Red, and Koma, Cosmos Serpent, this deck has more than enough win conditions. As if it wasn’t enough to get one of these cards out into play, Imoti makes it likely you’ll get two!
Unfortunately, as you might expect, stompy Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty decks are incredibly vulnerable to removal. This can make matchups against Atraxa, Grand Unifier decks incredibly punishing. Despite this major drawback, however, Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty is still incredibly fun to play.
Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin
After taking one look at Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin the rest of the deck should be no surprise at all. Primarily built around the fifteen Shrine cards in MTG, Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin is all about Shrine Typal. While this may sound like a niche game plan, they’re devastatingly powerful as each Shrine gets better the more you have.
Should you manage to get a few Shrines into play, the game is almost instantly yours. Offering a mix of draw, lifegain, damage, and discarding, Shrines can really do it all. Typically, keeping them around is the hard part, but thankfully Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin fixes that problem and then some.
Alongside using all the Shines available on MTG Arena, Go-Shintai of Life’s Origin decks also feature plenty of Enchantments. Offering expanded synergy with themselves, and an avenue to create more Shrines, this deck is ruthlessly efficient. So much so, in fact, that opponents will often concede long before your board is complete.
Atraxa, Grand Unifier
Miraculously, despite the most popular Commander around, Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice being playable, they’re not number one in Historic Brawl. Instead, that honor of top Atraxa goes to the much more recently released Atraxa, Grand Unifier. Synergizing with just about everything, Atraxa, Grand Unifier is perfect for drawing you plenty of gas.
Using a little bit of everything, Atraxa, Grand Unifier Historic Brawl decks are typically control-focused. Keeping the board clear and delaying your opponent’s plans, you’re primarily stalling to hit bombs like Emergent Ultimatum. Once you do, you’re able to tutor and cheat out whatever you need to win.
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