Preorder MTG Commander Collection Black today!
   Sign In
Create Account

The Belligerent's Greatest Crewmen: Malcom and Breeches


Once upon a time on a distant plane, the gorgon Vraska came to helm the pirate ship known as The Belligerent on a quest given to her by the mighty dragon planeswalker Nicol Bolas. Tasked with finding a mighty relic known as The Immortal Sun, she and her crew sailed the plane's seas to the continent of Ixalan. There rested the golden city of Orazca, and in its hallowed halls laid the treasure numerous civilizations desired and squabbled over. Along the way, Vraska and her crew encountered Jace, the telepath who had lost his memory during a battle with the aforementioned Nicol Bolas.

While the escapades of the pair of planeswalkers was the obvious spotlight of the Ixalan block's incredible story (which I highly recommend you read and can be found here and here), it wouldn't have been half as good without the story's fantastic supporting cast. The warring between factions, the surprise appearance of the sphinx Azor, and the day-to-day antics of those on The Belligerent were full of charm. Case in point, two of Vraska's crew: Malcolm and Breeches.

Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator
Breeches, Brazen Plunderer

Malcolm was The Belligerent's siren navigator and helped guide the vessel through the treacherous waters surrounding Ixalan in search of the lost city of Orazca. With his ever eager and loud-mouthed goblin pal Breeches in tow, the pair quested alongside their crewmates in search of a promising treasure to return home with. Their quest to bring back the Immortal Sun may have been a failure, with the artifact falling to Bolas instead of any of the many warring factions, yet they still left with plenty of gold, jewels, and more by the end of their journey.

Now with the pair immortalized in two appropriately in truly flavorful cards courtesy of Commander Legends, I couldn't help but dive into building a deck or two around them. So, it's time to sing "yarr harr fiddly dee!" and become a pirate!

Budget Malcolm and Breeches | Commander

When I started building a deck around Malcolm and Breeches, I just knew it had to be pirates. I mean, how could it be anything else? I hit a slight snag as I got ready to build the deck, though, and that was I knew that the majority of pirate cards were from the Ixalan block. Not only was the block notoriously powered down, but the pirates of the block were also split into Black and not just Blue and Red, making it that much harder to fuel the deck. Thankfully, Jumpstart, Commander Legends itself, and even the new Modern Horizons 2 helped fill in some of the gaps a little.

Departed Deckhand
Jace, Cunning Castaway
Captain Ripley Vance

What I ended up with was a pool of cards that was cheap in cost and highly aggressive in nature, which is fitting of the two Commanders. As I started to make cuts, I realized that there were only a handful of real expensive essentials for a pirate themed deck and opted to split it into a budget option and a pricier one to build up into. Creatures like Spectral Sailor, Departed Deckhand, Captivating Crew, and Zara, Renegade Recruiter won't break the bank, but they each bring tons of value to the table. Even when you have the most budget of budget versions, there's still just enough support to make this deck feel like a powerhouse. What's more, it's not difficult to cut some of the more expensive (read: $5-6) cards to swap in for some super cheap commons and uncommons and still pack a wallop.

The deck's focus is simple: attack and attack hard. Well, that and maybe steal a few things along the way. In an effort to keep this nice and budget friendly, I also kept the land base fairly simple and basic, while still being easy to upgrade with what you may have. The deck as a whole can be built for $175 - fairly reasonable as Commander decks go, and many of the cards you likely already have sitting around in a box somewhere too.

But I couldn't just go with the budget version only, not when there's some really strong pirates that could work tremendously well alongside Malcolm and Breeches! Check out this second list:

Enhanced Malcolm and Breeches | Commander

Timestream Navigator? Hullbreacher? Dockside Extortionist? They're all in here! We also get some stronger tribal support with the likes of Herald's Horn, added treasure love from Goldspan Dragon, and a pricey finisher in Insurrection. We even get the classic Cyclonic Rift to do Cyclonic Rift things in a pinch. The best part, though, is a sneaky little monkey that's running all over tons of different formats right now. That's right, I'm talking about Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer.

Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Cyclonic Rift

This innocuous little card might just go down as one of the best 1-drops of all time, and it's not hard to see why. As it happens, though, he basically has parts of both Malcolm and Breeches abilities all in one little card. It's not too hard to get in a couple points of damage every turn, as there's usually that one opponent at a table who's open. Give them a couple good hits and play with their goodies for a bit instead!

These lists are only sure to get better in the coming years, too, as Wizards appears to be showing no signs of slowing the pirate support. Since Ixalan, it's clear that they've been trying to give the tribe the help it needs given both its popularity and how mediocre they largely were on their initial showing. For now, I leave you with these two decks. Take a trip on The Belligerent, enjoy the adventures on the high seas, and go on a hunt for treasure at your next Commander game with Malcolm and Breeches!

Kendra Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: Kendra Smith

Limited time 35% buy trade in bonus buylist