Guild Brawlers

Posted in Ways to Play on February 13, 2019

By Wizards of the Coast

All ten guilds are back in Standard with Ravnica Allegiance, which means players can now bring their favorite guild to life in Brawl!

The guilds of Ravnica are fantastically flavorful representations of each two-color pair in Magic, and everyone here at Wizards has opinions about which guild is best. Ten of us decided to make our cases known and create Brawl decks for our preferred guilds to assert dominance over all others. Some chose sheer power, some chose flavor wins, and some . . . went in different directions. But we think you'll agree each of these decks captures the spirit of its guild and will make devotees happy on the battlefield.

So, without further ado, check out these ten Brawl decks inspired by the guilds of Ravnica!


Azorius Senate

By Associate Communications Manager Steve

There are a few options for guild leaders when it comes to the Azorius in Brawl—but why go with a recent guild leader when you can have the originator of the guild? Azor, the Lawbringer makes for an amazing commander in Brawl, and this deck with him at the helm represents one of my favorite values of the Azorius: bureaucracy. Besides, there's nothing more Azorius than being able to cast Sphinx's Revelation off a creature.

Steve's Azor Azorius

COMMANDER: Azor, the Lawbringer

What I love about this deck is that it feels incredibly Azorius—from the Ghostly Prison effect of Baird, Steward of Argive (which is truly ridiculous if you're able to equip Helm of the Host on him—but let's be clear, every creature is pretty much ridiculous with a Helm of the Host) to the inclusion of Lavinia, Azorius Renegade to make sure everybody's playing fair, this deck is very representative of my favorite guild.

There are a few main bureaucratic win conditions for this Azorius deck. First, you can cast Emergency Powers with Smothering Tithe on the board for a ton of Treasures that lets you empty your hand (a combo that Andrew Brown talked about on Weekly MTG), or get in a major Sphinx's Revelation effect with Azor. Or, you can use that Treasure (or even a Sanctum of the Sun if you've transformed Azor's Gateway) to cast a huge Mass Manipulation. For the most Azorius win of all, you can also use Persistent Petitioners and Arcane Adaptation naming "Advisor" with your creatures to deck your opponents.

Orzhov

By Digital Event Coordinator David

Just like how Teysa drafted a Guildpact herself, let me draft some instructions on how I went about fulfilling this debt:

Step 1: Get tokens
Step 2: Sacrifice creatures
Step 3: ????
Step 4: Profit!

David's Orzhov Teysa

COMMANDER: Teysa Karlov

We want to flood the board with followers for our cause by any means necessary. While Teysa Karlov is in play, our tokens will be better than everybody else's tokens, I guarantee it*. In a multiplayer format such as Brawl where you want to end the game but not leave yourself open to attack, vigilance and lifelink both have irregularly high equity.

When you swear fealty to Teysa, you must be prepared to give her everything and then some. Not only is this deck prepared against removal spells, it welcomes them! Even in death, you generate value and valuable tokens to go forth and conquer. What dies is never truly dead in these colors, and we have a few ways to bring our subjects back to the battlefield where they have the opportunity to die again. How fortunate for them!

This deck doesn't run a lot of removal such as Kaya's Wrath or Crush Contraband, as our board will hopefully be more impressive than our opponents, so no need to remove their threats. And we know how removal works against Orzhov decks (it doesn't).

This deck also eschews singularly powerful cards such as Zetalpa, Primal Dawn and Angel of Grace. While you may want to add them to bump up the power of this deck, when I make a deck, I dedicate myself to the theme. I want to win in Standard or Modern; I want to tell good stories in Brawl.

*I don't actually guarantee anything.

Dimir

By Esports Player Manager Nate

This deck is a little weak to decks that try to rush opponents down, as it takes a little time to craft the plans within plans, but once it gets going, it's hard to stop.

Nate's Dimir Lazav

COMMANDER: Lazav, the Multifarious

The deck needs creatures to provide Lazav with . . . inspiration, and it needs ways to get them into the graveyard. For the latter, I opted to go with a tried-and-true Dimir specialty: surveillance. Leveraging the Guilds of Ravnica Dimir mechanic allows this deck to smooth out its mana and provide all the graveyard-bound creatures that Lazav needs. There are also some gems from other sets that help turbocharge Lazav's nefarious deeds. One of the most noteworthy is Tomb Robber, which serves as a discard outlet for creatures in hand, a way to explore creatures from the library into the graveyard, and as a mechanism to give Lazav +1/+1 counters that persist regardless of whose skin Lazav is currently wearing.

Creatures are the backbone of this deck, though, and there are a lot of good ones to choose from in Standard. I tended to ignore creatures that had abilities upon entering the battlefield, since they don't work with Lazav's ability. Other than that, I wanted to be able to shift around and deal with whatever situation Lazav might be facing. I've got Mist-Cloaked Herald for a bit of unblockability, Slippery Scoundrel for hexproof later in games, and Mistcaller to stop any token shenanigans. Every creature in the deck either furthers getting creatures in the graveyard, serves some useful purpose, or allows Lazav to sort of skirt the rules a bit.

Izzet

By Game Designer Melissa

I built this deck initially to play at our annual Extra-Life Charity stream. I ended up doing commentary and not even playing, but luckily, I still got the chance to play in between rounds. I wanted to play something that could kill all opponents in one fell swoop, and Niv looked like the perfect Dragon for that job.

Melissa's Izzet Niv-Mizzet

COMMANDER: Niv-Mizzet, Parun

One of the reasons I like Brawl (and Singleton on MTG Arena) is that it lets me play janky Standard cards that I wouldn't play in a normal four-of or 1v1 Standard setting. Brawl is a lower-powered format due to its limited card pool and being Singleton, which I am a huge fan of. It lets me be a little more creative than usual, because the number of options you have drastically goes up. The first Brawl deck I built when Guilds of Ravnica was released was Niv-Mizzet, Parun.

In Brawl, you always have access to your commander, so my first course of action was to play cards that get him out a little earlier, like Sarkhan, Fireblood and Dragon's Hoard. You won't draw these early every game, but since there's a non-zero chance you will be casting your commander more than once, these cards are always relevant.

My next step was deciding on win conditions. Niv can win by himself, by dealing small amounts of damage while generating enough cards to always have lots to do, but my other main win condition is Thousand-Year Storm. If you can untap with this in play, you can usually cast enough spells to win that turn with a burn spell copied many times. Other important cards to help win are Guttersnipe and Electrostatic Field. It can be tough to kill in multiplayer sometimes, but these cards ensure that all opponents will die at an equal rate!

Lastly are my support cards which are mostly draw spells and burn. The actual cards don't matter too much, as long as you have a high density of these spells to keep your hand full and keep the board clear. Casting lots of spells is one of my favorite things to do in Magic! Having cards that incentivize me to do so makes Niv-Mizzet the perfect commander for me. I even wore my Niv-Mizzet shirt today to honor our Dragon overlord.

Rakdos

By Copywriter Katie

Despite the power of Rakdos, the Showstopper, I decided to build my deck around Judith, the Scourge Diva—because I like her abilities, but I love her fabulous metalhead drag queen aesthetic. So I set to work assembling a cast of appropriately talented (and reckless) backup dancers for her.

Katie's Rakdos Judith Priest

COMMANDER: Judith, the Scourge Diva

I looked for a few different things to bring my aggressive strategy together:

I've got some demonic finishers like Spawn of Mayhem and Demon of Catastrophes to help me close things out, but Rakdos himself is missing from the list. I went back and forth on it a lot, but keeping Judith around is important enough to my game plan that it doesn't seem worth the risk of losing her to a coin flip. I've only played the deck in a one-on-one game so far, and it ran over my opponent before I even cast one of my big finishers, so I'm feeling good about my choices.

Welcome to the show!

Golgari

By Senior Product Designer Gavin

Like any multiplayer format, Brawl games can go on for a while. Fortunately, Golgari is a guild poised to play well in the long game. So I chose the commander who was the best for a long game: Izoni, Thousand-Eyed!

Gavin's Golgari Izoni

COMMANDER: Izoni, Thousand-Eyed

Boards may get swept. Creatures will trade off and die. And that just makes Izoni all the sweeter: you always have a way to recover from a sweeper and rebuild a board presence.

Creatures need to die (or otherwise end up in your graveyard) to make that a reality, so this deck is full of creatures. The noncreatures left tend to be pretty high impact, so you'll want to use removal spells like Assassin's Trophy sparingly. If you can land one of your four-mana enchantments in Guardian Project or Path of Discovery, that will really help your engine fire on all cylinders!

Play creatures. Trade them off when needed. Use your removal spells on those that target you. All you have to do is survive, and you should be in great shape.

Gruul

By Associate Community Manager Lexie

Tl;dr GRUUL SMASH!

Lexie's Gruul Domri

COMMANDER: Domri, Chaos Bringer

A Gruul deck should only have one rule: no frills, no fuss, just SMASH. It's time to bring out the biggest creatures in Standard. Domri, Chaos Bringer gets these big stompy boys out of your hand and onto the board easily with his +1 ability, plus gives them riot. Quite a few of these creatures already have riot, so what is better than one +1/+1 counter? TWO +1/+1 COUNTERS! A turn-four Rampaging Brontodon with riot sounds like the ideal Gruul situation.

Boros

By Social Media & Community Manager Trick

I am a proud member of the Boros Legion. I knew that way back with original Ravnica. With Guilds of Ravnica, I decided to build a Boros Brawl deck. It does exactly what I want to do—play creatures and swing sideways. Ravnica Allegiance held two cards to be added: Unbreakable Formation and Electrodominance. Otherwise, this deck is unchanged from the Guilds of Ravnica iteration. Enjoy! #Boros4Lyfe

Trick's Boros Aurelia

COMMANDER: Aurelia, Exemplar of Justice

Selesnya

By Creative Lead Matt

Here it is in all its glory. Behold, the Huatli, Radiant Champion Selesnya Brawl deck! This deck is all about going wide, casting Huatli, and overwhelming your opponent with the impending creature swarm. This deck is going to require a horde of tokens, and you'll want to bring some dice with you to keep track of all the +1/+1 counters floating around. There is also a life-gain subtheme, 'cuz we are in green-white and it just felt right.

Matt's Selesnya Huatli

COMMANDER: Huatli, Radiant Champion