Ikoria is … an interesting set. By now, you’ve no doubt read countless opinions about companions, cycling, and what Ikoria‘s design means for Magic as a whole.
But that’s not what we’re here to discuss today. Today, we’re here to discuss how rad Daniel Warren Johnson’s alternate art for Brokkos, Apex of Forever is – and build a suitably rad Brawl deck to match it.
Now, for those who aren’t as into comic books as I am, Daniel Warren Johnson is a fantastic comic artist whose work you can check out in Murder Falcon, Wonder Woman: Dead Earth, and his other metal-as-heck books. His style suits kaiju and mecha illustrations incredibly well, so it’s no wonder that a) Wizards of the Coast tapped Johnson to illustrate some Ikoria cards and b) they turned out as kick-ass as they did.
While exploring Ikoria‘s Brawl commanders, I found Johnson’s alternate art Brokkos and never looked back. I knew immediately that I was going to build my next Brawl deck around it and cast this version of Brokkos as many times as possible.
Now, Magic Arena hasn’t released Johnson’s Brokkos art quite yet, but I’ve gone ahead and built my deck anyway. It’s designed to go all-in on Brokkos’s mutate ability, as well as one of Ikoria‘s less-broken companions:
All Non-Human Creatures, All the Time
The first drafts of my Brawl decks tend to overemphasize their theme. When building my Niv-Mizzet Reborn deck, for example, I chose to play as many guild-colored cards as possible. For Brokkos, I decided I wanted every creature that I played to be a potential mutate target. That meant playing only non-human creatures, ruling out great additions like Skull Prophet and Agent of Treachery.
Still, the list of non-human creatures I did want to include in my deck was quite long – long enough that I figured I could play an all-creatures deck and try out Ikoria‘s companion mechanic alongside mutate.
The “all non-human creatures” limitation constrained my deck building a bit, but probably not as much as you’d think. I tend to fill all my Brawl decks with a combination of ramp, card draw, removal, recursion, and finishers. This Brokkos deck still gets to include all those effects – because creatures do all those things.
Now, there are some situations that creatures alone can’t get you out of. For example, unless you’ve managed to draw exactly Murderous Rider, this deck will never beat an opponent who resolves a good planeswalker on an empty board. But Brokkos and Umori can beat controlling opponents by attempting an aggressive start (I tend to mulligan any hand that doesn’t have a two-cost or less mana dork, because I want to cast Umori and Brokkos as soon as possible), and it can beat aggressive opponents by summoning large creatures that stabilize the board quickly.
It is, in fact, a reasonable Zagoth midrange deck. It’s not broken, and it’s not the most competitive Ikoria season Brawl deck, but you can score wins with it. And you can create some of the zaniest mutate creatures that you’ve likely ever seen (Brokkos on top of Sea-Dasher Octopus on top of Gemrazer on top of Crystalline Giant is one of the best chains I’ve accomplished).
Mutation Is Imminent
If you’re looking for a way to go all-in on Ikoria‘s new mechanics and play the set’s best-illustrated card, this Brokkos and Umori Brawl deck might be for you. Be warned, though: Once you begin mutating creatures into Brokkos, you might find yourself unable to stop! I’ve had a ton of fun seeing what kinds of weird combo-kaiju I can assemble over the past couple months, and I’m sure I’ll have even more fun after my favorite version of Brokkos releases on Arena.