Back when I wrote about Throne of Eldraine Brawl a couple months ago, I said I was really excited to try out a Niv-Mizzet Reborn deck … but was worried I might not have enough wildcards to build the deck on Magic Arena.
Well, it turns out that I worried for naught! Random booster pulls had already provided nearly every card I needed for a glorious, all-gold Niv Mizzet Reborn Brawl deck. (Turns out, you really can play Brawl with your Draft chaff.) Keep reading for a rundown on Brawl’s second best, but most fun, five-color Commander.
If you’re just looking for a link to my Niv-Mizzet Reborn Brawl decklist, here it is. I chose to play as many gold cards as possible (notwithstanding Brawl auto-include Arcane Signet) in my Niv deck, as I wanted to maximize Niv’s “Enters the Battlefield” trigger. I’ve hit as many as seven cards off of Niv-Mizet’s ETB effect, and as few as two. Usually, I end up grabbing about four cards out of my top ten, with an additional option or two among those four color pairs.
How to Color Balance a Niv-Mizzet Reborn Brawl Deck
To maximize my Niv-Mizzet hits, I chose to include roughly three cards from each color pair in my Niv Brawl deck. Selesnya and Gruul were the hardest color pair to select three cards for (and the easiest to cut cards from when adding lands), and the blue guilds were all full of cards that I wanted to keep, but ended up cutting.
Some gold cards that you might consider auto-includes, such as Casualties of War, also did not make the cut – simply because they’re too color intensive. As you can see, our Niv-Mizzet Reborn mana base is kind of a mess. So playing anything that requires more than one mana of any specific color is actually risky. You can see that the three basic lands that made it into the deck are Forest, Island, and Plains. Forest helps cast spells that generate extra mana, Island helps cast Enter the God-Eternals and Expansion, and Plains helps cast Niv-Mizzet’s best friend, Time Wipe.
How to Win with Niv-Mizzet Reborn in Brawl
Despite the shaky mana base, this deck does work. It is a solid Brawl control deck, designed to do three things:
- Ramp, draw cards, and disrupt aggressive opponents in the early game. If necessary, don’t be afraid to “waste” cards answering your opponent’s early threats (though you should hang on to Planeswalker-specific removal as long as possible – it’s often more important to answer an opponent’s ‘Walker later than their creature now). Remember, you’re going to draw A LOT of cards when Niv-Mizzet Reborn hits the battlefield – as long as you survive to do so.
- Cast Niv-Mizzet Reborn and draw roughly four awesome new cards. I usually can do this by turn 6 at the latest – though again, I sometimes wait to make sure I won’t be discarding a bunch of extra cards to handsize.
- Clean up the opponent’s board and cast an additional game-ending threat, such as Garruk, Cursed Huntsman or Ral Zarek, Izzet Viceroy.
When I lose with Niv-Mizzet Reborn, it’s often because an aggressive opponent got under me (the deck’s weakness to aggro is the reason I chose to play the “gain 1 life” tapped lands, instead of Temples), or I didn’t draw out of early game color screw. The color screw, however, is usually avoidable – I’m new enough to Brawl that I often just plain forget to take my free mulligan. When I remember to get rid of shaky first hands that can’t quite cast spells, I’m usually fine on either my free mulligan or a mulligan to six cards.
In my experience, the only deck that Niv-Mizzet Reborn consistently loses to is Golos, Tirless Pilgrim. Golos is, honestly, likely a better five-color Commander than Niv, and possibly just the Brawl Commander that everyone should be playing currently. With easy access to any spell, a colorless-yet-still-somehow-five-colors-thanks-Wizards Commander, and of course, Field of the Dead, Golos is likely just the best Brawler going, period.
But I haven’t played enough games to make that case definitively, and I’m willing to let those who are more familiar with the format determine what the “best” deck is. For me, it’s enough to cast the Living Guildpact and play color pair roulette each Wednesday. And if you’re looking to have fun with Niv-Mizzet Reborn in Brawl, I hope the preceding decklist and advice will carry you to victory.