Hello everybody and welcome back to Brawl Haul! Let’s just jump into this week’s deck, featuring Bladewing the Risen.
The whole point of this deck is to put dragons into the graveyard in order to reanimate them with Bladewing the Risen or some other form of reanimation spell. Once we reanimate them, we have an assortment of tools to help give what we reanimated haste to close out the game faster.
Why Bladewing the Risen?
The simplest reason as to why Bladewing the Risen is the commander is because there’s no other reanimator-focused commander in the format. While certain cards can lead reanimation decks just as well, there is just something about having an expensive commander that brings another expensive card that is just so enticing to me. In addition to that, It is one of the special cards introduced to brawl by Wizards of the Coast and given that there are now 4 of them, it was only a matter of time before I would finally get around to showcasing one of them.
The most important part of a reanimator deck is the things we are reanimating. While Bladewing the Risen cares specifically about dragons, there are other tools at our disposal that let us reanimate any of our creatures. That being said the best reanimation targets we have are Drakuseth, Maw of Flames, Dragon Mage, Shivan Dragon, and Cavalier of Flames.
Drakuseth is without a doubt the best thing to reanimate. Not only is he the biggest bomb stat-wise but being able to attack with him will often result in either lethal or the removal of most of the opponent’s threats. The next good dragon reanimation target is Dragon Mage, which lets us not only refuel our hand but also fill our graveyard with other things to reanimate. The fact the opponent also wheels can be concerning, but often since we get to take advantage of what we draw into, we can get more value out of it. The next strong target is Shivan Dragon which, while not as strong as the other two, always makes me feel nostalgic for when I used to mainly play kitchen table and it was an absolute monster. That being said, its still a large body that can easily go to town on the opponent’s life total. The final piece is Cavalier of Flame, which is the best non-dragon reanimation target in the deck. The enter the battlefield trigger is able to wheel away the cards we do not need anymore, the firebreathing ability giving haste is great for providing haste to all our reanimated dragons, and the on death trigger is able to dome people for a ton. Overall it is a great reanimation target and is able to close out the game by either itself or a small bit of help from the other big reanimated dragons.
As mentioned earlier, the deck features a whole variety of reanimation effects in order to help Bladewing get dragons into play faster. The cards that I have had the most success with that do this sort of effect are Cauldron of Eternity, Bond of Revival, and Blood for Bones.
At first, I was skeptical of The Cauldron of Eternity due to the fact it does not let creatures enter the graveyard from dying on the battlefield. However, I believe this deck has hit a form of a critical mass of discard outlets to turn the Cauldron of Eternity into a solid source of reanimation, as well as the casting cost being reduced to 4-6 mana fairly easily.the fact we can only reanimate at sorcery speed hurts, but it does a great job at constantly applying pressure by reanimating bombs. Bond of Revival is another powerhouse as despite costing 5 mana to reanimate once, the creature having haste means it can put on a bunch of pressure immediately, whether it be Drakuseth connecting for a ton or wheeling the hand with Dragon Mage. The final main piece of reanimation is Blood for Bones, which is a bit clunky at first but can not only reanimate the earliest but also recur a creature to our hand.
The first important thing for us to do is to get one of our beefy dragons into the graveyard in order to reanimate. Because o this a lot of the cards in the deck are there to either cycle, draw more cards or just let us see more of our deck. The ones that do this whole process the best are Merchant of the Vale, Thrill of Possibility, and Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion.
Merchant of the Vale was surprisingly better than I initially took it for being. The ability to Haggle at instant speed means that we are able to bluff removal, as well as being able to give us something to cast turn 1. The creature part of Merchant of the Vale is less good, but providing a reusable discard outlet is still fairly decent. Thrill of Possibility is strong for the same reason Haggle is good, being able to bluff removal for the opponent’s turn only to then progress our game plan is invaluable as our deck is slow and the more we can slow the opponent down, the better. Finally Neheb Dreadhorde Champion is a slower discard outlet, but given the ramp it provides and the fact it lets us cycle through cards, it is one of the best outlets as a turn 4 Neheb can often lead to a turn 5 Bladewing, which forces the opponent to have interaction and if they do not, we most likely just win.
The final bit of our gameplan is to give one of our bombs haste to be able to enter the red zone the turn they hit the field. The best haste providers in the deck are Maximize Velocity, Escape Velocity, and Purphoros, Bronze Blooded.
The biggest issue with haste enablers is that they are worthless until we can reanimate a fatty, which helps make Maximize Velocity and Escape Velocity significantly better as in the early game they can be discarded, yet they still do their job once we get around to reanimating a dragon or two. This helps make the early game much less awkward as having more good options to discard makes the deck more consistent. Finally Purphoros, Bronze Blooded serves another purpose as he not only gives everything haste but he also just lets us cheat large minions into the battlefield then into the graveyard as well.
Other Notable Cards
Like always, there is always a couple of cards that stand out for being strong but do not fit in with the main goals of the deck. The cards that stick out the most in this list are Rotting Regisaur, Sarkhan the Masterless, and all the forms of ramp we have in the deck.
Rotting Regisaur is probably one of my favorite cards in the deck as it fuels the graveyard and comes with a massive body. There have been times when I can just finish off the opponent by constantly clearing the board and just going to town with it. Sarkhan the Masterless is a decent value piece that also helps protect ourselves by preventing the opponents from attacking us without possibly killing their creatures. In addition to that, the 4/4 dragon is nothing to scoff at. Finally, we have our ramp cards, which are probably the most important pieces of the deck. Bladewing the Risen is a very expensive card, as well as all our reanimation effects all costing 4-5 and so ramping early is incredibly strong. I often found myself mulliganning for the ramp just because it was all so strong.
Strengths and Weaknesses
This deck can have a very explosive at times and due to the amount of board clears in it, it can often slow down the game to the point where we can blow up onto the board in a single turn. The deck can also be surprisingly fast depending on some of the openers, I often found myself getting lethal on turn 6 due to Rotting Regisaur putting in work.
The biggest weakness this deck has is that it can be very slow at times, as without ramp the deck just does not do anything for the first several turns. This also means that we are rather weak towards counterspells as by the time we can start casting things, most control decks will be able to float enough mana to counter our cards.
If you are interested in taking a look at this week’s deck, here’s a link to it!
Despite all the fun I have had playing this deck, the deck just feels off. It is a similar case to the Eutropia deck I covered about a month ago, where either it wins super easily or it just loses to itself due to poor draws. However, the tools to make this not happen just are not available to us in Brawl. All that said I have had an absolute blast playing this deck and I would recommend trying it out if you are interested in trying to play reanimator.
That is all to say about this week’s deck, its fun can be strong, but can sometimes fall short once in a while. Like always, if there’s any commander that interests you, make sure to let me know. I have been very interested in Ikoria spoilers so get ready for some wild decks coming soon. Until then, thanks for reading this week’s article and good luck brewing!