When it comes to Commander, I consider myself a casual player all though I am sure some of the people in my playgroup would disagree. I pride myself on my ability to create decks that operate like a machine. But there’s a difference between having a highly synergistic and interactive deck and having one that makes your opponents second guess playing you. Having a deck like this seems to be a necessary evil. There are times when someone will show up to a game with a really powerful deck and not care about the social contracts that are held in the group. These are the times I reach for Brago, King Eternal.
The deck was not crafted to make friends. I think it’s safe to assume that aside from a group hug deck, most decks do not make in-game friends. But I am not talking about in-game friends. I am talking about this friendship transcending outside of the game.
The deck plays like a devious machine created to induce anger and pain. But I assure you, I did not make the deck with the intention of upsetting people. Instead, it’s made to bring a level of competition and synergy to games where people are playing to be powerful and oppressive. I knew when building the deck that it was going to be something that could easily lock people down and control the board, which made a lot of the card choices non-typical for me. For example, Winter Orb is something I am not usually fond of but I am running it in the deck.
The interesting thing about the deck is how fast my board can get out of hand for my opponents. It’s designed to be rather quick and to thin itself of mana, but each permanent that hits the field is something that is both impactful and threatening.
I have separated the deck list out by how I categorize the cards in my deck. There are some cards that can fit in multiple categories, but I placed them into the ones that I use them for the most. Take a look at the deck and see if you can think of all the possibilities for interactions and synergy between cards.
Brago, King Eternal
Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Jace, Architect of Thought
Tamiyo, the Moon Sage
Tezzeret the Seeker
Venser, the Sojourner
Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
Teferi, Temporal Archmage
Temple of Enlightenment
Seat of the Synod
One theme of the deck is to exploit the fact that Brago allows me to use planeswalkers’ abilities twice: Activate the planeswalker, swing with Brago, blink the planeswalker, use it again on the second main phase. The Chain Veil allows me to use their ability four times in a turn: Active the planeswalker, activate the Chain Veil, activate the planeswalker again, swing with Brago, blink the planeswalker and the Chain Veil, us them both again. Easy squeezy.
Since Brago is very efficient at providing extra use from mana rocks and ETB effects, I discovered that having a lockdown strategy allows me to continue to have use out of my resources while my opponents struggle to maintain their ever decreasing board value. If I have Brago out, I can drop a Winter Orb, swing in with Brago, untap some mana rocks and/or a creature with a land untapping ETB, then continue to play things. Once I pass the turn, my opponents are now only untapping one land a turn, which creates a huge handicap for them.
All of the above lock-down components are able to be fetched with Tezzeret the Seeker. So on turns when I resolve old Tezz, -X him to search for one of the above, swing with Brago, blink Tezz and -X him to search for another piece, my opponents are probably not sitting in a good spot. But like I said, I didn’t create the deck to make friends.
Having a deck that is built around locking down my opponents means I have to get Brago out as soon as I can and start the lockdown sequence. This means I need to have some efficient mana acceleration, which can be untapped when Brago connects, further adding to the deck’s efficiency. And Brago takes cards that do not normally untap like Mana Vault and Grim Monolith and gives them the ability to untap, which further increase their effectiveness.
In addition to the efficient mana rocks, it is very nice to get some extra use out of the deck’s lands, especially when they are restricted by the deck’s lockdown mechanic. Having the ability to get full use out of my resources while my opponents are slowly widdled down on theirs is one reason the deck functions so incredibly well.
Okay, we all have our little pet cards or secret tech we like to run. This is an interesting combination that I stumbled upon when I was doing some preliminary research for the deck. I’ve ran the Decree before in a deck years back when playing good ol’ Kitchen Table Magic with my buddy Cody. When I realised the card went incredibly well with Brago, I decided to run it. It’s another lockdown component in addition to being an awesome control card. If I need to, I can cycle the card to counter a spell and then recur it later with Auramancer. I love synergy.
Well, it seems like we’ve reached the end… for now. Don’t worry, I have more Commander decks and access to lists of decks that I’ve had over the years! So be prepared to take a journey through the land of Boggsimus Builds!