Hello everybody and welcome back to another article of Brawl Haul! Unlike pretty much every other week, I do not have anything to say before the deck tech, so let us just jump into it!
The whole point of this deck is to get Krenko on board early and start going to town with him, amassing an army of tokens to further beat down the opponent. Every card in the deck fits under one of three different categories, these being cards that give haste, pump up the team, or let us get value out of our pieces.
Why Krenko, Tin Street Kingpin?
While red does have access to a couple of decent commanders for Brawl, Krenko stands out to me as being not only one of the faster, if not fastest one, but also as a way to build one of the only commanders that can build a proper tribal deck. In previous articles, I have mentioned how I prefer multicolor commanders as it provides a larger card pool, which often leads to decks with a higher average power level of cards and thus, better. However, there are times when a color supports a commander so much that including other colors would mainly hurt consistency instead of strengthening the deck. Of all the cards in standard right now, Krenko is the one that signifies this situation the best as his ability to create a massive amount of tokens can be taken advantage of very easily by red without the help of anything else.
In combination with having a very supportive color, Krenko also fits well in a low-curve deck, which means we are able to cut lands in favor of more action. Most games with this deck I have been able to keep two land hands and not be punished, while other decks would require at least 3, if not more. Fewer lands overall mean more consistency in drawing a card that will allow us to further our gameplan.
In order for us to have a truly explosive start, we need to start beating down the opponent with Krenko early on. Unfortunately red does not have any reliable forms of ramp, but what it does have is a variety of different haste enablers. The ones that we are running in the deck are Samut's Sprint, Maximize velocity, Torch Courier, Crashing Drawbridge, and Crystal Slipper.
While all of these cards serve the exact same purpose, all of them come with some form of upside that makes them better or worse in different circumstances. Starting off with Samut’s Sprint, it pumps up Krenko a decent amount, allowing more goblins to be made faster, as well as scrying allowing us to ensure we hit what we need to close out the game. Maximize Velocity is a recursive haste enabler, which also helps create an additional goblin. Torch Courier and Crashing Drawbridge are personally my favorites as they allow Krenko to attack turn 3 if we are not able to hit Arcane Signet, which is the only form of ramp we have access to. Finally, Crystal Slipper is nice as it is permanent based, which helps other creatures get in for combat after Krenko uses them for a turn.
Pumping up the Team
While normally I am not a fan of combat tricks for finishers, Krenko is able to output enough goblins to take full advantage of pretty much every moderately cost red effect that increases attack. Due to how wide this deck is able to go in the first couple turns of the game, more often than not one card that pumps up our damage is enough to kill the opponent. While we are running almost all of these effects, the ones that stand out to me the most are Burn Bright, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, Ferocity of the Wilds, and Icon of Ancestry.
While overall Torbran is without a doubt stronger than Burn Bright, his effect is worse at it creates fewer goblins. That is not to say it is bad, as making all of our goblins 3/1 creatures are often to take down the opponent fairly quickly. Ferocity of the Wilds works well with all the other pump effects as providing trample makes blocking math significantly harder to deal with, in addition to already making our creatures larger. Finally, Icon of Ancestry is the only pump effect we have that increases toughness, which helps against other tokens a ton. The second ability is rarely useful, given how we have only 4 hits, but if we have nothing else to spend the mana on, the effect is fairly strong when it hits.
Sometimes we need to play a bit of a grindier game before closing it out. While I would not recommend it as this deck is definitely not designed to go into the late game, there still are several cards that can help close out the game should things go south. The cards that do this the best are Tome of Legends, Risk Factor, and Robber of the Rich.
Due to how we want to constantly be swinging with Krenko, Tome of Legends quickly gets a lot of counters, which gives us something to do when we have 1 mana floating. The card is very strong and there have been times when I’ve drawn 6 or so cards off of it. Risk Factor is a card that I have always been hesitant on given the fact its most of the time it might as read “6 mana deal 8 damage to the enemy, discard a card”, but in a deck that is able to apply as much pressure early on such as this one, it will often be able to refuel your hand. Robber of the Rich typically does not live very long, but even two hits with him are often enough to get enough gas to finish the opponent off. It is also very strong in the early game as this deck tends to run out of cards in hand faster than other decks in the format.
Other Notable Cards
Like in all the other past decks, there are cards that do not fit into the previous categories, but I feel deserve a mention for being able to put in a lot of work to support our gameplan. The cards that have put in the most work are Electrodominance, Leyline of Combustion, The Triumph of Anax, and Finale of Promise.
While Electrodominance does not have any strong combos to cheat the mana cost of, it still is fairly strong as it lets us remove a creature or threat without falling too far behind on board. Although not always the most useful card, when Leyline of Combustion is in play against control decks, it essentially wins the game on its own as it provides a massive clock and just makes it an overall struggle for the opponent to shut down our game plan. The Triumph of Anax was a card I was skeptical of at first as sagas are fairly slow, but often enough the damage from the additional goblins and triggers of the saga have been able to close out the game on its own with very little support. Finale of Promise is a bit of a weird one if I am honest. This cycle of cards felt like it was designed with Commander in mind as being a payoff for ramping the game so much, but often just casting this to repeat an instant and sorcery is enough to finish the game.
Strengths and Weaknesses
If it is not obvious yet by the rest of this article, this deck is very fast. While I would not describe it as a glass cannon deck, it certainly plays like one, which is nice as Brawl has devolved into essentially who can make the greediest deck that does not die to the one or two people who play Torbran, or at least that is what it feels like since the banning of Golos, Tireless Pilgrim. This deck is able to come out of left field very quickly and steal a game if the opponent is not prepared for it, which is very nice.
That being said this deck will still lose to control when they are able to interact with us, such as countering Krenko or some kind of board clear. While the deck can recover from this a couple of times (there have been times when Krenko costs 9 mana and I have still been able to close), it becomes significantly slower if Krenko is messed with.
If you are interested in trying out this deck for yourself, here is a link to this week’s deck.
There is not much else to say about this deck that has not been said elsewhere in the article. It is fast, pretty fun, fairly strong, and I would recommend trying it out. One thing I wish I would have been able to do with this deck was to make it more of a goblin tribal deck as aside from Brushwaggs, it is my favorite tribe in the game. However, there are just not enough goblins that are strong to be able to reach a ‘critical mass’ to make it worth running them all.
Anyway, that is all for this week. Like always, or rather like the last two weeks, if there is any commander that interests you, I am always open to suggestions! Thank you for reading and like always, good luck brewing!