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Keep Your Throwing Arm Strong With Brion, Stoutarm


One of the most fun aspects of Commander is getting to play cards which don't really have a home anywhere else. A giant Creature which costs more than its power? No one is playing that in Legacy - but Commander? Heck yeah! Want to run every eight-mana Dragon? Go for it! Angles/Demons Kindred? Yes!

Equally as fun, though, is using cheap Threaten effects to steal those Creatures from our opponents and use them to our own ends. No one does this better than Brion Stoutarm, who enjoys tossing Creatures across the Battlefield and straight at an opponent's face.

Brion Stoutarm

Let's not mince words: just because it says "sacrifice" on the card doesn't change the fact Brion picks a Creature up and yeets it at someone's face. I think that fits in the category of "Commanders that murder things," which is where we are right now.

Brion is a 4/4 for four, so decently priced, and we get a pair of colors to work with. He's also a Giant, a Warrior, and has Lifelink, but let's be honest - it's that activated ability we really want. We payr, we tap Brion, we sac a dude, and we do damage equal to the sac'd dude's power to someone's dome.

We're going to approach this from two directions, but first, as always, we need mana.

Our 40 Lands do several things. They offer mana fixing, of course, but we also have War Room (card draw), Slayers' Stronghold (power buffing), Rogue's Passage (which can be used to sneak something huge through in actual combat), and Arcane Lighthouse (which allows us to target things we otherwise wouldn't be able to target). We shouldn't have any trouble with our color requirements or getting extra use out of our Land cards.

Twisted Fealty
Additionally, we have 10 mana rocks, most of which fix our colors but some of which help us jump forward, like Thran Dynamo and Sol Ring. Cursed Mirror is fun because we can have it enter as a Creature later and be sacrifice fodder for Brion, and Patriar's Seal lets us untap Brion for a second round of tossing.

Solemn Simulacrum is a common card in Commander decks for a reason, and here it does great work; it helps us ramp, it draws us a card when it gets thrown, and if we're lucky enough to stick it on a Mimic Vat we can pull every basic Land out of our deck and draw a bunch of cards with it.

While we're at it, we've got a few spells like Big Score, which require we discard before we draw, so while they normally end up card neutral (we have to discard and use Big Score, and we only draw two, so we wind up with the same number of cards), we often end up with a Treasure or something and it churns us through our deck looking for our next threat or answer or whatever we need. We've also got Seize the Spotlight, which is only not fun if someone has zero Creatures for us to steal but will probably end up drawing us more cards than anything else. And the key piece we have here is Skullclamp, which equips cheap so we'll often be able to stick it on whatever we're about to chuck, plus it gives an extra point of power which means an extra point of damage. 2 mana for two cards is already a great deal, but extra damage on top of it? Excellent.

We have two things we're going to throw in an attempt to defeat our opponents. The first is our opponents' Creatures. In order to do this, we have a number of Threaten effects, though not actually Threaten itself. Consider, however, Twisted Fealty, which steals a thing but also allows us to put a Wicked Role token on something (probably the thing we're stealing) so we gain an extra point of power and do a damage to everyone when we sacrifice the Creature to Brion. We have enough of these effects we should be able to keep the board relatively clear of at least major threats and do a good amount of damage.

Serra Avatar
One thing I've noticed about decks like this, though, is people wise up and stop playing Creatures until they know they can get away with it. Granted, we have a 4/4 Giant with Lifelink we can send into an empty Battlefield, but often these decks completely rely on other people's stuff to do their dirty work, and if we don't have a way to win, we're going to run into trouble. That's where our other group of cards comes in. Serra Avatar is probably the best example, though we have a couple of cards with really high powers in the deck. The Avatar comes down and its power is equal to our life total - which means we'll sac it and do a TON of damage. This is a great way to close out a game if people have simply stopped playing threats in response to your steal-them-and-murder-them-for-fun-and-profit plan.

I'm a fan of running Chained to the Rocks any time I can. Because we're probably not really attacking, I didn't put in Ride Down (my favorite card of all time), but it would likely be fine here. Deflecting Palm and Wear // Tear both do good work, and Realm-Cloaked Giant, Sunfall, and Phyrexian Rebirth are Wrath of God-style effects which work really well for our purposes. Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares are simply good to have in the event someone decides to send a Marit Lage token or something. Mostly, though, we want to steal our opponents' stuff and throw it, not kill it.

The most fun about this deck, though, is the synergy. Mimic Vat is incredible here. Stick anything on it, and for 3 we have a ready-made token just for Brion. Imagine getting Soul of Eternity on there! And it works with our opponents' stuff too, so if one of them has something great that dies, grab it! Urabrask's Forge is also great fun, because every turn it gives Brion an even bigger football, and even if we don't sac it with Brion we can still send it at someone. Sting, the Glinting Dagger is another Patriar's Seal, giving us yet another shot with Brion.

But really it's effects like Solphim, Mayhem Dominus which make this thing tick. We double the damage we cause all over the place with this deck, and it makes things really nasty for our friends. These effects also stack, so if we double the damage and double it again, that's quadruple the damage, which means a stolen 6/6 is hitting someone for 24 damage. City on Fire is an Enchantment which triples damage, too - that gets very silly very quickly. Stick one or two of those effects out there and watch your opponents just die because suddenly you're doing 30 damage with someone's 5/5 you just stole.

Brion Stoutarm | Commander | Mark Wischkaemper

Card Display

This deck is going to be a real wild card at a table. It is super interactive, which means people will have to deal with the fact you keep taking their stuff. But you don't have it on lock - if you don't draw your Threaten effects or you're relying on Captivating Crew and it gets killed, you're not going to be able to steal Creatures. You can even play politics with this - "don't attack me and I won't steal your Creature!" - whether you have it or not. But it'll also be fun because you'll play that Serra Avatar with Mimic Vat out and people are going to wonder who you're going to kill first while you determine who's most likely to be able to destroy your Mimic Vat! It should have a decent shot at winning at a casual table, but it won't be completely dominating and shouldn't be too disruptive. A solid balance.

Who's the last Commander you'd like to see in the "Commanders-that-murder-stuff" run? I'd love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading.

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