Hello everyone and welcome back to another article of Brawl Haul! Before jumping into this week's article, I just want to quickly say thanks for all the support the last couple of months! My favorite part of this game is brewing so being able to share them has been a ton of fun. With all that being said, let us jump into this week’s list featuring Mangara, the Diplomat!
The main goal of our deck is to punish our opponents from playing the game through stax effects such as Vryn Wingmare and Hushbringer or through Mangara, letting us build a lead on board to eventually swing in to defeat the opponent.
What does Mangara, the Diplomat do for us?
Before going into what Mangara does, it is more important to go over white as a color in Commander and Brawl. In my opinion, white is one of the best, if not the best support color in the game as it has some of the best removal and protection spells. Something white is not good at is drawing cards, which causes mono-white decks to often fall short in longer matches. There have been more cards created recently that do have some type of trigger to draw, such as Shatter the Sky, these are symmetrical and so our opponents will also benefit a decent amount of the time.
Enter Mangara, the Diplomat, who has two triggers to draw cards that hit two of the main archetypes in the play. While typically only one of the effects is useful against our opponent, it still helps us see considerably more cards than what we would normally see playing mono-white. Combine that with the fact he starts in the command zone makes him a great card.
Since at the end of the day we are playing mono-white, I want to try making sure my opponents are just as miserable as the typical mono-white player. This means loading the board up with a bunch of stax effects. The effects that felt the strongest to me in the deck were Vryn Wingmare, Hushbringer, Archon of Absolution, and Forbidding Spirit.
Even with 18 noncreature spells, Vryn Wingmare is still very strong for our deck because it makes it significantly harder for our cards to be countered. In the late game, it can also be strong at just throwing in front of a flying threat like Niv-Mizzet Reborn. Hushbringer is also in a similar spot with Vryn Wingmare where it is a bit of a nonbo with some of the cards in the deck, but it has the chance of hosing some popular commanders in the format, such as Yarok or pretty much any type of aristocrats deck. Archon of Absolution puts aggro decks in an awkward situation and any decks that go wide struggle hard against it. The same goes for Forbidding Spirit, which although it is a one time effect, having it come down earlier to stonewall aggro decks is huge for letting us stabilize.
Going Wide and Recursion
While slowing down the opponent, we want to start building up our own board or get some recursion pieces ready to make sure we are not blown out by any sweepers. The main tools to go wide are Basri’s Lieutenant, Basri Ket, Luminous Broodmoth, and Idol of Endurance.
I’ve been very impressed by Basri’s Lieutenant and Basri Ket so far. The lieutenant is able to make the board incredibly durable by being able to replace the whole board with knights if it were to be cleared. Basri Ket, on the other hand, has an amazing downtick, similar to that of Najeela, the Blade Blossom. It is undeniably weaker as it does not affect tokens, but it still is a great tool for filling the board. His uptick is decent, and if we can reach his ultimate, it is very strong but ultimately that’s not what the deck is aiming to do. Luminous Broodmoth and Idol of Endurance both just let us double-dip on our creatures, with the Broodmoth being an already very powerful and pushed card. Idol is a fair amount weaker, but the ability to choose which creature we would want to bring back is very nice as some cards, like the aforementioned Vryn Wingmare or Hushbringer, can occasionally hurt us.
Closing Out the Game
Aside from just running over the opponents with a bunch of white weenies, we do have some other ways of helping us close out the game. To help us with beating the opponent senseless, we have Baneslayer Angel, Finale of Glory, Elspeth Conquers Death, and Ravnica at War.
Both Baneslayer Angel and Finale of Glory are fairly straightforward in how they close the game, relying on just swinging in a couple of times to finish the game, not much more to say about them besides the fact they get work done. Elspeth Conquers Death and Ravnica at War, are both pretty much the opposite, removing targets. Elspeth Conquers Death just sucks the fun out of the game first removing a threat, followed by making interacting a pain until finally reviving a threat to further put the nail in the coffin. Ravnica at War has been a bit more hit or miss, but when it hit it demolishes. It probably should not be in the deck given that it has been a dead draw a couple of times, but there is something about spending 4 mana to exile the opponent's board that is so appealing to me.
Other Notable Cards
Like always, there are a few cards that I deserve to be mentioned yet do not really fit in with other parts of the deck. The cards that stuck out to me the most were Nine Lives, Solemn Simulacrum, and Containment Priest.
I have been toying around with Nine Lives a ton in paper using it as a combo piece, but even by itself, it can be a great tool to win the game. Against aggressive decks, being able to stop damage for 1-2 turns before we can start assembling chump blockers can win us the game. It is also great against Voltron decks or most ramp decks, although them having access to Ugin makes Nine Lives a bit sketchier. As for Solemn Simulacrum, this card is a commander staple and is probably going to be shoehorned into every non-green deck I make until it rotates out. Being neutral ramp combined with a chump blocker that replaces itself is crazy good and I cannot recommend it enough. Finally, we have Containment Priest, who a fair amount of times is a 2/2 with flash, but occasionally can win games we should have lost. While testing, I had someone ultimate Ugin, which typically wins the game by itself, but Containment Priest makes the strongest part of the ability worthless, resulting in me being able to flunge and finish them off when it came back to my turn. It is a bit awkward at times and I found myself just throwing her onto the field a decent chunk of the time, but overall it is a very solid silver bullet card.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The biggest strength of this deck is how well-rounded it is. There were never any matchups that felt weak to me. The deck is fairly low to the ground means we can stabilize early and eventually pull through once we get some of our more expensive cards in play.
It is fitting that the biggest weakness I see with this deck is still with card draw. Do not get me wrong, Mangara is great at his job and does a ton of work for the deck. Often enough though it feels like it needed more to ensure we can properly use some of our strong stax pieces effectively as things like Hushbringer and Containment Priest can only hose someone when we can actually draw into them. Ultimately this is due to me trying to make the deck more like a toolbox without any way of getting the needed cards,
If your interested in trying out this week’s decklist, here is a link to it!
Overall I had a pretty good time playing with this deck, which is saying something considering that I try to avoid mono-white like the plague. I have tried on and off to make some form of mono-white deck work in Commander for the last couple of years to only one success. The color as a whole still feels lacking but its nice to see Wizards tackle the problem with cards like Mangara and Shatter the Sky so hopefully, the color will continue getting cards here and there that can make the color more enjoyable.
That is pretty much all I have to say about the deck, to be honest. Its fun, when it works you can guarantee that you have sucked all the fun out of the game for the opponent, although it occasionally just falls short. Mangara definitely is going to make some appearances in the future though as apart of the 59. Anyway, that is all for this week. Like always if there is any card you want me to take a swing at, make sure to let me know in the comments below and until next time, good luck brewing!