Grave Tidings for Brawl

I just can’t help myself; I have to brew for Brawl. But I have a condition:

$50 or less. I wouldn’t play Standard for more money than that, and I won’t play Brawl for more than that either.

With Dominaria still on the horizon at the time of this writing, let’s see what sort of deck we can build with a $50 bill, as we look at Brawl-ing with Muldrotha, the Gravetide.

Muldrotha, the Gravetide - Matt Plays Magic

One of the accidentally leaked Dominaria legends, Muldrotha interests me because its ability provides some cross-Standard synergy. Being able to re-buy any permanent allows us to make use of multiple cycles and themes from throughout Brawl’s current card pool, including:

  • Kaladesh‘s one-use artifacts (Implements and Puzzleknots)
  • Amonkhet‘s cycling, sacrifice, and graveyard themes
  • Ixalan (or more specifically, Rivals of Ixalan)‘s Ascend mechanic
  • Dominaria‘s Sagas

And of course, Muldrotha’s ability also allows us to make good use of “enters the battlefield” and sacrifice effects, letting us loop our cards (not just creatures, but also artifacts, lands, and enchantments) to gain incremental value.

While I don’t yet have an exact decklist nailed down, I can show you the direction I’m headed in and provide some commentary on what cards I think are good enough, as well as whether I think they’ll fit within the deck’s strict budget. Below, I’ll break down the cards and synergies I’m most excited about, fittingly separated out by permanent type:

Lands

Being able to re-buy lands, specifically, is what made me so excited to build a Muldrotha deck. I’m a big sucker for Amonkhet block’s Deserts, and Muldrotha allows us to easily cycle or sacrifice them and then re-play them, effectively turning our lands into real spells. And if you’re a dreamer, like me, you can imagine a world where Muldrotha turns Ipnu Rivulet into a repeatable draw-four.

Ipnu Rivulet - Matt Plays Magic

Desert of the Indomitable - Matt Plays Magic

Late in the game, Muldrotha also turns Evolving Wilds and Field of Ruin into repeatable mana fixers (just make sure the rest of your opponents thank you when you Ruin someone’s land). And because we’re working really hard to put permanents onto the battlefield, we should also try to play Arch of Orazca, provided our mana will allow it.

Arch of Orazca - Matt Plays Magic

The big asks here, as far as my budget’s concerned, are Field of Ruin and Fetid Pools. At $4 and $6 respectively, either or both might end up not making the finished version of the deck. Both, however, are viable outside Brawl, and that might be enough to tip the tide in their favor versus other potentially “expensive” additions.

Creatures

For Muldrotha’s creatures, we’re looking for a few things:

  • Creatures that sacrifice themselves or allow us to sacrifice other creatures
  • Creatures that otherwise fuel or use our graveyard
  • Creatures with powerful “enters the battlefield” abilities
  • Powerful Ascend creatures that take advantage of the many permanents we hope to have in play

On the first front, I’m most excited about a few cards: Banewhip PunisherOashra Cultivator, Thrashing Brontodon, and Yahenni, Undying Partisan.

Banewhip Punisher - Matt Plays Magic

Oashra Cultivator - Matt Plays Magic

These cards have fairly powerful abilities that we can use to easily re-buy removal (creature, artifact, and enchantment) and land ramp.

As far as creatures that otherwise fuel or use the graveyard, I’m looking at a couple of Green boys:

World Shaper - Matt Plays Magic

Ramunap Excavator - Matt Plays Magic

And due to budget concerns, I’m looking far away from one particular Blue-Black boy:

The Scarab God - Matt Plays Magic

There’s no shortage of powerful “enters the battlefield” effects currently in Standard, and you can bet that we’re going to get some Chupacabras, Gearhulks, Nagas, Zombies, and Pirates up in here:

Ravenous Chupacabra - Matt Plays Magic

Noxious Gearhulk - Matt Plays Magic

And to round things off, we’re going to include a couple of Magic: Arena‘s greatest Ascend hits (though Twilight Prophet may bump into our budget), one of which looks to be scary good in Brawl particularly:

Tendershoot Dryad - Matt Plays Magic

My current draft includes many more creatures, but the ones listed here are the ones I wouldn’t do without. And again, while you might be able to upgrade to The Scarab God and other expensive creatures, I’m looking pull this thing off without breaking the bank.

Artifacts and Enchantments

We’re looking for largely the same things in our artifacts and enchantments as we did in our creatures: The ability to reuse them as much as possible. With that said, on the artifact side of things, Kaladesh block’s Implements and Puzzleknots offer a few winners (with Renegade Map also entering the conversation), and Rivals of Ixalan offers the nigh-abusable Orazca Relic and the less-exciting-but-still-likely-good Traveler’s Amulet:

Metalspinner's Puzzleknot - Matt Plays Magic

Orazca Relic - Matt Plays Magic

We’ll likely also play God-Pharaoh’s Gift, because I mean, c’mon.

Over in enchantment-land, there’s not quite as much to take advantage of, though Unbridled Growth and Durable Handicraft seem decent. Path of Discovery and Kumena’s Awakening also seem like good additions to our permanent-focused deck. Not all of Dominaria‘s Sagas, which sacrifice themselves after firing off large effects, have been spoiled yet at the time of this writing, and there are likely some additions to find within that set of cards as well.

Durable Handicraft - Matt Plays Magic

Planeswalkers

We round out the permanent types with planeswalkers. Good ‘ol, expensive planeswalkers. Liliana, Death’s Majesty seems non-negotiable, even on our budget, since the Black mage synergizes so well with our deck.

Liliana, Death's Majesty - Matt Plays Magic

From there, I’d be looking at Vraska, Relic Seeker to destroy troublesome permanents and crank out tokens, and then Tezzeret the Schemer to help fix our mana. Tezzeret’s more likely to make it in, as he’s currently only a couple dollars.

Other

There are a few instants and sorceries that likely need to find their way into the deck. In particular, the Blue, Black, and Green “Hours” from Hour of Devastation seem right at home here, as does Vona’s Hunger.

Hour of Promise - Matt Plays Magic

I’m sure there are additions to make from Dominaria (including, y’know, the deck’s Commander), so I haven’t settled on a final decklist yet. But it seems like building a reasonable deck for $50 or less is possible, as the 1 cent and 25 cent cards should balance out some of the budget-busters, like Liliana and Twilight Prophet.

Overall, this list of cards seems sweet, and the deck itself seems like a trip to value-town. The one concern I have is that our Commander costs a lot of mana, so we’ll likely need to include more ramp and mana rocks than I’ve laid out here. And in order to get at least some value out of our first Muldrotha casting, we’ll likely want to wait to play it until we can make a land drop or replay something directly afterward.

If I can find a Brawl event near me, this is the start of what I’ll be shuffling up. Let me know who you’re excited to Brawl with, as the release of Dominaria approaches!

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