Sunday, 11:30 a.m.

Posted in NEWS on February 9, 2014

By Marc Calderaro

Sunday, 11:30 a.m. – Brimaz, King of White

by Marc Calderaro

 

There are only 39 players here at the Sunday Super Series, and Born of the Gods has been legal for less than a weekend, and already its effect on the format has been felt. Though there are a variety of cards that have shown up here (including Meletis Astronomer, my favorite), the one with the biggest impact has been Brimaz, King of Oreskos. There are a total of 30 copies of the legendary soldier, and the biggest story is the variety of decks it appears in. From Azorius Control decks, to Orzhov Midrange, all the way down to Boros Burn, the cat has been playing different roles this weekend.

As far as control is concerned, the cat is exactly what the sideboard needed. At different times in Theros Standard, various creatures have filled the role of "creature to beat down with after all the removal is sided out." Sometimes it was Fiendslayer Paladin, sometimes it was Archangel of Thune, but the consensus here appears to be Brimaz is a straight upgrade.

"It's just like what Hero of Bladehold did," said Grand Prix winner Dave Shiels. He and currently 5-1 player, Chi Hoi Yim, sat down with me to talk about the big ol' cat. Both players were playing variants of Azorius Control and Shiels feels not playing the cat was his "biggest mistake" of the weekend.


Dave Shiels

 

"I flipped a coin," Yim said on whether he played the cat this weekend. "I won." The two hadn't been able to test enough to truly know, but just after a few rounds this weekend, both players now know better. On how large it can be after the removal is moved into the board, "sometimes in mirror matches I even side out Detention Sphere." And if even that stellar enchantment is sided out, there's literally nothing to stop the 3/4 win condition from getting in there.


Chi Hoi Yim

 

"Even though [the 1/1 tokens] are a bit awkward versus Jace, Architect of Thought; Brimaz is still more than worth it." Shiels talked about how he thought in control was the true role for the cat. "Don't get me wrong, I'll still play it in [Selesnya], but it really stands out in control mirror matches."

Chi Hoi Yim – Sunday Super Series – Azorius Control

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But control is just one flavor of the card. Both André Girard and Kin Leong Chong are playing copies of the card in their Orzhov decks. Chong's is more of a traditional midrange deck, while Girard's is more controlling, but the card shines in both versions. Girard went so far as to say, "he will eventually replace Desecration Demon." The Calgary native doesn't think he's going out on a limb to say that because, "he's faster than the Demon, and he's basically a hard counter when your opponent has one." Because Brimaz continually creates tokens to sacrifice to the Demon, the 3/4 will lock down the 6/6 as long as it wants to.

André Girard – Sunday Super Series – Orzhov Mid-Control

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"I remember getting excited when Anurid Brushhopper was printed," Girard said. How far three-drop creatures have come.


André Girard

 

So the cat goes in midrange and control, but what about aggro? Colin Miller just played one copy of Brimaz over Boros Reckoner, untested, because he thought that the Reckoner "just isn't good enough." But now he realizes one copy wasn't enough. Miller continued, "At most times, he's just better than Reckoner. I just haven't figured out the land base yet." Miller even stressed, "I haven't even figured out how best to use him." And that, I believe, is the best part of Brimaz. More so than just jamming him into existing archetypes, this guy can create things we haven't even seen yet.

Colin Miller Sunday Super Series – Boros Burn

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I talked to R&D developer, Sam Stoddard, who talked about how Brimaz's true presence is likely to be felt even harder. "His four toughness dodges so much of the existing removal ... we'll find decks that couldn't have existed before him." Though Stoddard was hush-hush about exactly what he thought might happen in the future, he did single out another Born of the Gods card that was likely to pair well with Brimaz.


Sam Stoddard

 

"Eidolon of Countless Battles counts every creature in play; Brimaz is a token producer," Sam commented.

Another R&D member, designer Gavin Verhey told me yesterday, and No. 3 Reid Duke echoed, that Brimaz, "gives players a reason to play white." Who knows what white aggressive decks will appear that play both those Born of the Gods standouts? The format is in its infancy, but Brimaz has already proved l'enfant terrible.

What's to come? We'll have to wait and see.