Kumagoro42's picture
By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Feb 16 2023 12:00pm


 Winter update to the Brawl series! Phyrexia: All Will Be One adds to the existing pool of legendaries from Innistrad: Midnight HuntInnistrad: Crimson VowKamigawa: Neon Dynasty, Streets of New CapennaDominaria United, and The Brothers' War.

 The 38 new commanders come in all monocolored and dual-colored combinations. Aside from that, we only have one four-colored one and one colorless one. The total number of available commanders is brought up to 204. Pithing Needle is still the only banned card in Brawl.

 The count by color becomes as follows.

  • Monowhite: 19 commanders (+5)
  • Monoblue: 16 commanders (+3)
  • Monoblack: 20 commanders (+6)
  • Monored: 15 commanders (+4)
  • Monogreen: 12 commanders (+3)
  • Azorius: 11 commanders (+1)
  • Dimir: 11 commanders (+2)
  • Rakdos: 11 commanders (+1)
  • Gruul: 9 commanders (+2)
  • Selesnya: 9 commanders (+1)
  • Orzhov: 10 commanders (+2)
  • Izzet: 7 commanders (+1)
  • Golgari: 7 commanders (+2)
  • Boros: 10 commanders (+2)
  • Simic: 8 commanders (+1)
  • Esper: 4 commanders
  • Grixis: 4 commanders
  • Jund: 4 commanders
  • Naya: 4 commanders
  • Bant: 5 commanders
  • Abzan: 0 commanders
  • Jeskai: 1 commander
  • Sultai: 1 commander
  • Mardu: 1 commander
  • Temur: 0 commanders
  • Quadricolor: 1 commander (+1)
  • Pentacolor: 2 commanders
  • Colorless: 3 commanders (+1)

 Now let's see what the beginning of the New Phyrexian Invasion brings to Brawl!

 Jump to: Monowhite, Monoblue, Monoblack, Monored, Monogreen, AzoriusDimir, Rakdos, Gruul, Selesnya, Orzhov, Izzet, Golgari, Boros, SimicQuadricolor, Colorless.



 Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines: The leading Praetor is, appropriately, the last to get a second incarnation during this recent cycle of Phyrexian activity that's culminating in the pair of event sets (All Will Be One and March of the Machine) that will alter the fabric of the Multiverse forever. Compared to Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite, this triumphant Mother of Machines appear almost tame, even if she retains the same body and comba keyword. The impact of the older version on the battlefield was well worth the seven mana of her cost, as she could easily wipe or at least cripple the opponent's side of the board and prevent their smaller creatures from even being played, while boosting our team to potentially lethal proportions. On her part, this one might just not do anything right away; in fact, she's just more subtle, because the combination of Torpor Orb (which was originally Phyrexian tech, after all) and the static ability of Yarok, the Desecrated are nothing to sneeze at. The former, which for the first time is not applied to just creatures, might not be too relevant in Limited, but it's a hosing nightmare in contemporary Constructed, where ETB effects are one of the most common way to accrue advantage. And the latter is clearly the ability we want to build around with Elesh Norn as commander. Undeniably, Yarok decks have always been both fun and powerful. The issue here is not having access to other colors except white, but it might still enough, since some of the effects we can duplicate in white are very aggressive, like Ossification and Annex Sentry. The Phyrexian Mom is definitely a specialized commander, and probably not as good for five mana as Elspeth Resplendent, but still deserves respect. She's conquering the Multiverse, you know?

 Kemba, Kha Enduring: The leader of the Leonins on Mirrodin and Koth's primary ally is another character we meet in her second incarnation. In Scars of Mirrodin, Kemba, Kha Regent made 2/2 Cats for free if she was equipped. Now she has to pay five mana for that, but she also boosts equipped creatures (including herself) and auto-equips on ETB, which is potentially a great tempo gain, especially in formats where Equipment with low casting cost and high equip cost are available – too bad Colossus Hammer is not in Standard anymore. The new Kemba is also cheaper and has some tribal synergy, though not enough to warrant building a Cat deck around her; it's mostly there to have her tokens enter the battlefield already equipped, which is nice. The main problem is, once again, the limited access to synergy cards in Brawl. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of good Equipment with monowhite identity at the moment, with Cloudsteel Kirin possibly the one that best interacts with Kemba's triggered ability. Commander decks will certainly be more welcoming, given that old-school Equipment used to be colorless.

 Mondrak, Glory Dominus: Mondrak is one of the five Domini, godlike beings that are parts of the plane that achieved sentience when Mirrodin was transformed into New Phyrexia. All of them have a way to acquire an indestructible counter by paying a combination of mana, life and some sacrifices. In the case of Mondriak, the process requires the sacrifice of two other artifacts and/or creatures. Other than that, she's a 4/4 for four that comes with Parallel Lives as a static ability. So she's the go-to commander for token decks, of course. And monowhite is perfectly capable of supporting that strategy alone.

 Skrelv, Defector Mite: I can't find anything in the lore about Skrelv that explains why he's called a "defector". Did he really switch sides and is now helping the Mirran Resistance? From the sound of it, it seems more like they intended that adjective to be "defective", since Skrelv's story is that he managed to avoid the junkyard and subsequent recycling. At any rate, he's the first creature card with the Mite subtype, and he's legendary at that. He's toxic and can't block, like all the Mite tokens, but more importantly he provides a slightly nerfed version of the Mother of Runes/Giver of Runes activation. It can't be used defensively to block, but it also doesn't cause Auras of the chosen color to fall off. What matters is that it's able to counter targeted removal, and that's one element that immediately makes Skrelv into an extremely effective one-drop commander. Giving toxic is probably not going to have much weight in the proceedings; you just put Skrelv at the head of a "good stuff" white deck, and you're in business. It's rare that a commander of such an extreme low cost proves to be worthy of consideration; but when they do, they add an extra layer of strength, just because of the sheer number of times we're able to call them back from the command zone in any given game.

 The Eternal Wanderer: Now we know she's the Emperor of Kamigawa, whose real name cannot be divulged. But she's still the Wanderer, the endlessly planeswalking master fighter who never lost a duel. This latest form of hers is a very powerful, if expensive, one. For six mana, she's hard to kill and can either nullify a creature, summon double strikers, or wipe the board – all right away from the moment she enters the battlefield. Costly commanders are always tricky to evaluate, because the commander tax might push them beyond the threshold of recastability quickly enough. The Wanderer is resilient, though; if one wants to go for raw power, she's not a bad choice, even if she's currently the most expensive of the monowhite options.



 Tekuthal, Inquiry Dominus: The blue Dominus (who's adorably looking like he's playing with his toys) shares the same cost and total body size with the white one, but doubling proliferate is not as impactful as doubling token productions. It can be built around to explosive results, but not as much if we're only allowed to use monoblue cards from Standard. On the other hand, Tekuthal is a flyer and is the easiest of the Domini to make indestructible. So there's an argument to just consider him a decent beater, although that's far from the description of an exciting commander.

 Unctus, Grand Metatect: Unctus is trying very hard to do a Grand Architect impression (he was in fact one of those before compleation). He can turn all our creatures into blue artifact looters, but he lacks the ability to tap them, so they likely need to attack in order to trigger their looting. The anthem helps with that, but only to a point. Still, he has a good body/cost ratio, and the boost and ability he provides are not without merit, particularly in a build that already contains a number of artifact creatures. In fact, any deck commanded by Unctus is bound to have nonartifact blue creatures or colorless artifact creatures, and Unctus can bridge the gap between the two groups. How crucial is going to be having a bunch of looters is maybe debatable, but it certainly makes the deck run smoothly.

 Jace, the Perfected Mind: Jace has been compleated for the love of Vraska, and is now a ruthless milling machine. I doubt the Perfected Mind makes sense as a commander unless our battleplan is explicitly a mill wincon, which is not the easiest to put together (he also supports a self-mill strategy, but that's difficult to build in blue alone, without black and/or green as a backup). Still, he's a three-mana walker with some defensive and card advantage capabilities. Plus, basically all the current monoblue commanders have to specialize their build in a way or the other.



 Drivnod, Carnage Dominus: The black Dominus is the second most expensive of the cycle and has the largest body, one that's however dangerously skewed towards power. Turning on the much-needed indestructibility is relatively low-cost, if nearly impossible early on. What's most damning, though, is that Drivnod's passive ability is kind of weak, at least compared to those of the other Domini. Death triggers certainly exist, but are much less frequent than ETB triggers. They mostly reside in black, which helps, but not every rotation contains something like Midnight Reaper. It's more likely the death triggers will take small-potatoes forms like in Doomed Dissenter or Phyrexian Vivisector – which is exactly what current Standard has to offer in that regard. And if we move to Commander proper, we'd be better off building around Teysa Karlov instead.

 Geth, Thane of Contracts: The lich Geth has a very convoluted and tragic story that spans all moden expansions set on Mirrodin and New Phyrexia. At the time of this incarnation, he was a rebellious Thane (i.e. one of Sheoldred's lieutenants) who sided with Urabrask against Elesh Norn's tyranny. And what his card does is casting a three-mana recursion spell again and again. The price is twofold: we can't do it more than once per each creature, because they get exiled after their second death; and all our creatures get a negative modifier that will prevent the smallest of them to enter the battlefield in the first place. Therefore a deck properly built around Geth has to ignore the early curve entirely, and instead focus on discarding and reanimating very big, very impactful finishers. Can it be done in Brawl? More or less. For targets, we have Phyrexian Fleshgorger, Dreadfeast Demon, Cemetery Desecrator, maybe Dusk Mangler, maybe Terror Ballista. It's not a lot. And monoblack is not good at discarding cards either, since in modern Magic its discard spells are mostly targeted on the opponent. The best way to pitch cards are currently Bloodsworn Squire, Heirloom Mirror, Dokuchi Silencer, a couple connivers, and of course Liliana of the Veil. So the whole Geth project feels only barely feasible in Brawl. But I'm sure he'll be brilliant in Commander, where he can reanimate Archon of Cruelty and whatnot.

 Karumonix, the Rat King: There are only seven other Rats in Standard right now – eight if we count Okiba Reckoner Raid. Definitely too few to make a tribal lord work. Sorry, Karumonix. You back story remains cool – and creepy as hell.


 Kinzu of the Bleak Coven: This is one of the two Jumpstart-exclusive legendaries (the other being Rhuk, Hexgold Nabber). They don't appear in Draft Boosters but are still legal to brew Brawl decks. Kinzu is a more expensive Nightmare Shepherd that also forces us to pay life for the effect, which could add up. The creature tokens have toxic, but it's very possibly a meaningless keyword if we're not going for a poison victory. And if we do, then most of our creatures will already have toxic. The ability is still powerful as semi-free recursion, but on a five-drop commander it seems harder to fully exploit.

 Vraan, Executioner Thane: Another one of Sheoldred's Seven Steel Thanes (yeah, they do sound like a heavy metal band, probably on purpose). He's another Vampire and Kinzu's boss. Like Geth, he helped Urabrask in his rebellion against Elesh Norn. He's a simple, cheap commander that effectively mimics his mistress's lifedrain ability, except in his case it's triggered by death rather than card draw. It's clearly not a minor difference, and it's also limited to one instance per turn, but it's functional and doesn't ask much of us. For the most part, Vraan works quite well as a generic commander in monoblack aggro lists. For the same cost, Jadar offers more utility, though.

 Vraska, Betrayal's Sting: Alas, the proud Gorgon Vraska has been compleated. As a result, she's lost her green component (it had only happened before in the odd Planeswalker Deck version) in exchange for efficiency. Her ultimate might not matter at all, if our deck doesn't have any way to inflict the last poison counter; but her plus (it's marked as a zero, but it proliferates into a plus) is card advantage with benefits, and her minus is a creature killer. Using the Phyrexian mana, she drops at four loyalty, which is an adequate number. She's still on the expensive side for a commander, but she fits any "good stuff" decks perfectly, with a slight preference for builds that include more planeswalkers and other permanents with counters. Poison in monoblack Brawl doesn't look viable – but it might become so after March of the Machine.



 Rhuk, Hexgold Nabber: The second Jumpstart exclusive (along with Kinzu of the Bleak Coven). There were Goblins on Mirrodin, and some of them managed to avoid compleation and started fighting the Phyrexians as Rebels. Rhuk is one of those, and his defining trait is being an Equipment stealer. You can move Equipment onto Rhuk for free when another equipped creature attacks or dies. The tactical value of the first part of this move is questionable, since you already paid the equip cost on the attacking creature, but not having to re-equip after death is good tempo. Also, Rhuk is a natural trampler, and seems designed to work with the For Mirrodin! keyword, essentially giving over those weapons to a better 2/2, never having to worry about equip costs. The result might be going increasingly Voltron on Rhuk, which is risky and hardly something Brawl supports well. Also, the number of Equipment in monored is not huge, and the theme is always better served by Boros cards anyway – for instance, Astor, Bearer of Blades as well as this set's Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden.

 Slobad, Iron Goblin: The return of Slobad as a buffed Phyrexian maintains his affinity towards artifacts. But now, instead of sacrificing one of them to save another, the way Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer used to do, the Iron Goblin recycles their mana value into fresh red mana, in order to cast new, better trinkets. There are some strong applications of this ramp ability, especially with self-replacing artifacts like Circuit Mender, Energy Refractor and Prophetic Prism, but it's doubtful we can gather enough of those to fuel an entire artifact-themed monored deck in Brawl. In Commander, now, that might be another story.

 Solphim, Mayhem Dominus: The red Phyrexian pseudo-God doubles our burn spells and pingers, so here's a cool theme for a deck right there. Solphim is also rather aggressively costed and can turn into an indestructible 5/4 in the mid-game by just discarding a couple of excess lands. She might just be the best currently available monored commander that's not a planeswalker. Not quite a new Torbran, but close enough.

 Koth, Fire of Resistance: The face of the Mirran Resistance, Koth is back with a second four-mana incarnation, this time with a name that's not a recursive acronym. His abilities are reminiscent of the original, although the play patter is slightly different. Instead of animating Mountains with his plus, Koth now tutors them up, then uses them to power up his removal minus rather than to boost our mana production. The ultimate emblem still uses the Mountains as a source of damage, but now through landfall, which ties back to his first ability. He's still a very solid planeswalker and a flawless "good stuff" commander for monored, possibly the number one option at the moment for that style in Brawl.



 Thrun, Breaker of Silence: Melira's adoptive dad is still one of the last Trolls on the plane (not the only one anymore, though), and still incredibly hard to kill. This is the type of commander that doesn't offer any real synergy, it's just a good beater. There's nothing inherently wrong in picking Thrun as the legendary leader of your deck, but nothing particularly exciting, either. Even in the most generic monogreen build, he'd be just one extra thread, which is especially weak considering the color has now two different five-mana planeswalkers that are token factories. One thing's for sure, though: Thrun won't have us pay the commander tax on his behalf too often.

 Zopandrel, Hunger Dominus: The most bombastic of the five Domini is a seven-mana monstrosity with built-in Unnatural Growth. Zopandrel's immediate impact on the board is out of the question, and she's also the only Dominus aside from Drivnod that doesn't require any mana to become indestructible, so she can activate in response of removal – provided we have four life left and two other creatures to sacrifice. Now, the issue is her cost, of course. Does a commander that expensive ever make sense? It does when it's essentially used strictly as an endgame. Zopandrel is not a commander that's meant to engage with the game too much; only there at the end, after we have an optimal board state and she can drop as a giant-sized Overrun. The team doesn't get any form of evasion, though, but under Zopandrel's supervision our critters can safely attack once or twice (and defend equally well in the meantime), until the opponent collapses under the sheer amount of power and toughness we throw at them. If everything goes according to plan, we'll never have to cast Zopandrel a second time. It's not a perfect strategy, but it's usually a conceivable one in monogreen.

 Nissa, Ascended Animist: As heartbreaking as it is to see her compleated (not just for the loss of her body and corruption of her soul, but also for the implication of having been defeated by a bunch of Hellraiser cosplayers after having been instrumental in the destruction of two Eldrazi titans), one has to admit Phyrexian Nissa is one striking incarnation of the animist – certainly a bomb in Limited, and to a large extent for the Brawl formats as well. Generating increasingly large creatures while improving a planeswalker's loyalty is a mostly unprecedented feat, although it loses efficiency if we fully exploited the Phyrexian mana cost, as the starting token would just be a 4/4 in that case. But the low-cost Naturalize minus is particularly useful in a singleton format, where it's bound to never lack juicy targets. And since her game-ending ultimate is readily available for the full casting cost, it's completely fair to see Nissa as a seven-mana Overrun we keep stored in the command zone until the time is right. In this sense, she's clearly even more effective than Zopandrel, because she gives us several strategic options rather than just the one.



 Malcator, Purity Overseer: Malcator is one of the last Loxodons on New Phyrexia and was captured and compleated by Jin-Gitaxias. His card is simple enough, constituting a couple of vanilla bodies, a 3/3 and a 1/1 (evidently, Malcator's original Elephant body was greatly weakened by the transformation). Which is far from something we'd ever want in our command zone, but then there's that extra text that allows us to create more 3/3s for free, during turns when we deployed three artifacts. It could be relatively easy to accomplish the turn we drop Malcator, by just following him up with a spell that makes two artifact creatures, like Charge of the Mites. In following turn, it's trickier. All in all, it doesn't look like worthy commander material. Even in formats where producing three artifacts during one turn is a more frequent occurrence, the payoff is nothing to write home about.



 Venser, Corpse Puppet: You thought the good Venser was gone after he sacrificed himself to show tin man Karn he had a heart all along? Well, his soul was indeed consumed in the process, but his body was still useful material for some Phyrexianization. So Sheoldred put him back together and combined with a giant Memnite, turning him into the mecha-monster he is today. For some reason, we have to proliferate to summon his exoskeleton, which is a separate 3/3 body. But then we can proliferate again and ignite the systems that give the Hollow Sentinel flying and lifelink. This Venser is suitably cheap, but pretty much everything he does is dependent on what the rest of the deck is doing or trying to do. The sum of his parts don't coaelesce into a very good excuse for a Dimir commander.

 Kaito, Dancing Shadow: Cyber-ninja Kaito Shizuki is back and upped his game of one full mana value. Now he draws cards unconditionally, his tokens are larger and more lethal, and he can activate his abilities twice per turn, as long as we agree to ninjutsu back a creature that connected during the combat phase. If we use one of Kaito's Drones for that purpose, we lose it, but we also drain the opponent for two, which can double as a source of inevitable damage. Also, Kaito's plus nullifies one creature (or two), so he can defend himself in two different ways. Easily the most well-rounded commander Dimir has in stock right now.



 Kethek, Crucible Goliath: The alliance between Urabrask and Sheoldred (yes, they're both fighting against Elesh Norn now, it's Rakdos vs. Bant on New Phyrexia!) required a general to lead their united armies. Together the two rebellious Praetors created this magnificent warbeast that, for some reason, identifies as female (it must be Sheoldred's touch). Kethek is ready and willing to sacrifice her own troops in order to make them... weaker? That end step trigger is one odd duck. It requires no mana, but it essentially works as a reverse Birthing Pod with cascade-like randomness grafted onto it. The effect is not mandatory, and there might be cases where it's clearly beneficial, like recycling a creature that was affected by a Pacifism type of Aura. But it doesn't seem like something we'd want to do on a regular basis, so it's hard to imagine a deck where we build around that specific ability for our commander.



 Migloz, Maze Crusher: Even in a deck without proliferate or oil synergies, Migloz comes equipped with enough counters to fuel his various abilities once or twice. At the end of the day, though, he boils down to just a good beater with a body/cost ratio above the curve. Compared to Thrun, he packs a bit more tactical value due to his Naturalize option, but it's not much, and for the rest Thrun is more threatening and infinitely more resilient. However, Migloz could confidently lead a red-green oil-themed deck.

 Lukka, Bound to Ruin: The new Phyrexian Lukka only needs us to pay his full five-mana cost if we want to use his -4 removal right away. Otherwise, 3 loyalty gives us a solid combination of mana boost and Garruk-like token generation. Of course for five mana, Lukka can even decimate the opponent's board right from the start, as long as we happen to have a very big dude lying around. If we're not into Werewolves, Lukka is the top contender of Halana and Alena for the title of best Gruul commander of the season.



 Melira, the Living Cure: The key to solve the Multiverse's Phyrexian predicament, this time around Melira is not as effective against poison as she was when we first met her. But now she has cut her hair, put on some pants, and hit the gym, so she has the body of a Watchwolf and the courage and selflessness of Saffi Eriksdotter (a veritable Selesnya's greatest hits compendium!). A commander that sacs itself in order to save a different creature could make sense, since we can later get it back and do it again. The commander tax prevents us from abusing such a deal too much, but a two-mana casting cost is a good start to make it work.



 Ria Ivor, Bane of Bladehold: This Phyrexian Knight finally gives a name to classic Hero of Bladehold – although, sadly, it's only to tell us that she has ultimately fallen to the phyresis and, as a consequence, stopped wearing a bikini. She keeps an isolated instance of battle cry, but now in order to make tokens, one of her fellow attackers must surrender all connecting damage. It can result in much more than just two tokens per attack, but the process is more complicated, and the impact of the first attack is reduced. In fact, on her own, Ria Ivor operates as just a vanilla 3/4, which is very far from the sheer threatening power of her non-legendary incarnation. This said, Hero of Bladehold couldn't be fielded as a commander, while Ria Ivor can, and she even supplies a secondary color at that. She has multiple flaws (the tokens she makes are Mites, so they can't block; and pumping the power of toxic creatures doesn't really accelerate a poison gameplan), but she's still fairly suitable as a commander of a go-wide Orzhov deck.

 Kaya, Intangible Slayer: We don't even have to bother analyzing what this new Kaya does. She's a seven-mana planeswalker, no discount. Historically, when a planeswalker card not coming from a beginner-level Planeswalker Deck has reached that kind of mana value, the power level was through the roof. Precedents include two Nicol Bolases, Garruk, Apex Predator, Karn Liberated, and Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. The Multiverse's greatest assassin Kaya has just joined that club, and her "A-game" incarnation does deliver the goods. Is it wise to build a deck with a seven-mana commander, though? Probably not, even if Kaya is at least immune to spot removal, so her first iteration might endure on the battlefield more than most. Orzhov is not really a ramp-friendly color pair, though, and there's a big difference between even six mana and whopping seven.



 Ovika, Enigma Goliath: Another entity that arose, like the Domini, from the transformation of Mirrodin into New Phyrexia – and another powerful commander that's however too costly to be really advisable. Red can ramp and Izzet is known to sometimes incorporate big spells at the end of its curve; but the plan of getting to seven mana, cast a 6/6 flyer, and then untap with it still alive so we can start making tokens? It seems sketchy at best. And ward 3 doesn't guarantee much at that point in the curve.



 Glissa Sunslayer: At her third incarnation, the second since she joined the Phyrexians, Glissa is at the top of her game. Befitting her new role of Vorinclex's second-in-command, this Glissa is a direct improvement over Glissa, the Traitor from Mirrodin Besieged. Her casting cost has been made easier, while still retaining her sizeable body and the killer combo of first strike and deathtouch that makes her pretty much impossible to beat in combat. And her trigger is now a saboteur ability, rather than a highly situational circumstance (older Glissa would be waiting for an opposing creature to die while we had an artifact to retrieve from our graveyard). If that wasn't enough, we even get to choose between three modes, with the baseline being the always crucial card drawing. Killing enchantments is also excellent, if not constantly useful, while removing counters is the less frequent option, but can occasionally have its value. Can we say Glissa is the best Golgari commander of this rotation so far? In fact, it's not even close. Even if less powerful cards like Old Rutstein and Uurg, Spawn of Turg might inspire deckbuilders more due to their specificity, compared to the very no-nonsense Glissa.

 Tyvar, Jubilant Brawler: The new three-mana Tyvar is one of the worst rares of the set in Limited, but is booming in Constructed, and it's easy to see why. The second incarnation of our planeswalking elven prince from Kaldheim is all about hasting, untapping and reviving mana dorks – for Standard, he also has great interactions with Bloodtithe Harvester and Shigeki, Jukai Visionary in Jund. Several formats have already taken to him, including Commander. Is going to be the same in Brawl? Well, Harvester is not accessible in Golgari, but Shigeki is, and so are many mana creatures that All Will Be One doesn't include. It's a feasible build with several possible route. I'd say Tyvar is also going to fulfill the promise of his name and be a Jubilant Brawler indeed.



 Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden: Boros has been increasingly associated with the Equipment theme for the past few years. It's no surprise that we find the best commanders for that strategy in this color pair. The previous incarnation of the Mirran Resistance general Jor Kadeen was a curve-topper, a big first striker for five mana with a killer metalcraft-based anthem. This time he goes low to the ground instead, starting as a humble 2/2 bear, and then boosting up based on the number of Equipped creatures we control (apparently, the Resistance puts great stock in the "be prepared" motto). The best thing about this design is that we don't really need a ton of Equipment around to get to the real prize, which is the card-drawing triggered by Jor Kadeen attacking as a 4-powered creature. Just attaching a single Equipment to the Goldwarden is probably enough, provided it increases his power by at least one point – the attack trigger will do the rest. Of course, a deck where Jor Kadeen is the commander is bound to have a fair number of Equipment cards in it, especially the For Mirrodin! ones that basically count as creatures. It's a simple theme, but not a bad one, and Jor Kadeen excels at leading it because this time around he isn't just about beating down, he's about card advantage.

 Nahiri, the Unforgiving: Even the oldwalker Nahiri fell prey of the Phyrexian menace, and she doesn't look amazing in her new form. The idea here is that she doesn't have minus abilities, and she's building toward the zero activation, which still doesn't cost anything but is based on her current loyalty. The problem is that her pluses are kind of mediocre, if functional, even for a potentially three-mana planeswalker. And making temporary copies of a creature or Equipment, and not more than once apiece? Not exactly an amazing payoff, and we can't even count on it reanimating crazy expensive finishers for one-hit kills, especially if we deployed Nahiri at 3 loyalty for her Phyrexian mana cost. Also annoying, being in Boros, is the lack of synergy with the For Mirrodin! Equipment cards, which, sure, generate a 2/2 token we'll get to keep around, but can't attack because it's the Equipment that's given haste. To be honest, this whole design is kind of a miss.



 Ezuri, Stalker of Spheres: Famous Elf lord Ezuri is yet another Mirran character that's become a Phyrexian – although, to be fair, we already knew that since Commander 2015, so this is not news. His latest incarnation is all about proliferate, which is a theme of the set but has not other occurrences in Standard so far (March of the Machine might or might not bring it back). Linking it to card draw is juicy enough to make us consider running Ezuri as the commander of a proliferate-heavy list where every instance of the keyword replaces itself. Ezuri himself provides a double serving of it for three mana on ETB, but that would make him a seven-drop, so it's unlikely he'd get to use that kicker much from the command zone. Otherwise, there are 21 other cards that proliferate in Simic colors. It might be enough for Brawl, but the average quality and gameplan don't exactly look spectacular.



 Atraxas, Grand Unifier: Behold the return of a quadricolor Brawl commander since Omnath, Locus of Creation left Standard! Atraxa is redless rather than blackless, because she was made by all Praetors except for Urabrask (though currently she mostly serves Elesh Norn). She's a larger-than-life finisher that in all likelihood shouldn't be used as a commander. Except, she does give access to almost everything, and she draws a number of cards on ETB (including, coming soon, battles!), so it's possible the battleplan of an Atraxa deck is just: be a "good stuff" deck of whatever color we want but red, and at some point cast Atraxa once, replenishing our hand, and challenging the opponent to kill her or die. Certainly unique in the Brawl meta, where even the available pentacolor commanders (the generic Kyodai and the specialized Jodah) are tame by comparison.



 Graaz, Unstoppable Juggernaut: Do we really want to turn all our creatures into OG Juggernaut for eight mana? In a colorless deck? It sounds like fun, but it's probably too damn silly for its own good.

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