Hello everyone and welcome back to another article of Brawl Haul! To celebrate the launch of Jumpstart on Arena, I decided it might be fun to take a break from the regular brawl and explore what Historic Brawl has to offer. Without further ado, let us jump into this week's deck featuring Sethron, Hurloon General!
The main goal of this deck is to build up a board of minotaurs and inevitably overrun them with Sethron’s ability, making them all a hassle to block as well as pumping them up to deal more damage. With the help of Ixalan and JumpStart, we have access to several strong value generators for when we reach the end game to help give us the final push.
What does Sethron, Hurloon General do for us?
Aside from the obvious fact that Sethron is the only proper minotaur commander and this is a minotaur tribal deck, he is an incredibly strong tool and helps patch up several issues the tribe has. The main issue and this might be a bit of a cop-out, is just that there are so few good minotaurs and they just are not worth their casting cost. I have played more minotaur tribal decks than I would like to admit and ultimately every game always feels like I have been casting overcosted garbage. However, with Sethron on the field, he makes casting minotaurs feel significantly better since they come with an additional 2/3 body. This ability works great with Sethron’s other ability, letting us make our army of minotaurs even harder to deal with as each of them needs to be blocked by an additional creature, resulting in more often than not a lot of damage being able to slip through the opponent's blockers. In addition to that, it giving haste as well means we can have a surprising amount of burst. While he can make things somewhat awkward for having a high converted mana cost, he is still well worth it.
As mentioned briefly earlier, there are not a lot of good minotaurs. There are, however, a couple that did pull their own weight, if not a little extra. These minotaurs were Rageblood Shaman, Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion, and Fanatic of Mogis.
Rageblood Shaman is just a standard lord effect for our deck. Due to our minotaurs having the ability to have menace from Sethron and Trample from Rageblood, it makes it very difficult for our opponents to avoid taking damage as even if they have enough chump blockers, we can often overrun them. He does rely on us having other minotaurs to be strong, but unless our board gets cleared the turn before, I never ran into this issue while testing. Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion is easily the strongest standalone minotaur we have. Being able to replace portions of our hand is amazing and getting mana in addition to that helps us cast some of our more expensive cards with ease. Finally, we have Fanatic of Mogis, which normally serves as a solid removal tool, but has the possibility to just nuke the opponent's life total, serving as a great finisher. There is not much else to say about it aside from that it is typically always a great draw.
One of the reasons this deck is able to work is due to the support of our tribe-matters cards. These provide not only make our minotaurs stronger but also give us some way of generating value, allowing the deck to function much better in longer matches. The strongest support cards are Herald’s Horn, Icon of Ancestry, and Vanquisher’s Banner.
Herald’s Horn is up there in terms of being my favorite tribal card in the game. Making everything cheaper is essentially ramp for a majority of the deck and its secondary ability, while it does whiff more than I would like it to for this deck, is still a solid source of card draw, netting 2-3 cards per game if we get it down early enough. Icon of Ancestry is a lord effect that is always welcomed and the second ability is another decent form of card advantage. Vanquisher’s Banner is for the most part a stronger version of Icon of Ancestry, as more often than not drawing a card is just better at looking at the top 3 for a minotaur.
To round up the deck, there are just a few other cards to support the deck and make it more well rounded. Most of these are removal spells, but there are a few additional cards focused on giving us card advantage as well. The best support cards in the deck are Theater of Horrors, Phyrexian Reclamation, Angrath’s Rampage, and Bedevil.
I was somewhat skeptical about Theater of Horrors at first since I have never played around with it before nor have I ever seen anyone else play it, but it proved to be a very solid form of card advantage. It was sometimes awkward as typically we want to play minotaurs in our pre-combat main phase so we can use Sethron’s second ability to get in for more damage, but this was heavily shadowed by the fact the card essentially draws a card every turn. Phyrexian Reclamation is up there with my favorite black cards of all time as it is such a great value tool. Unfortunately, we do not have any form of notable combos with it, but even without them, the card still is incredibly powerful. Finally, there’s Angrath’s Rampage and Bedevil, which are effectively the same effect, just one is a stronger early game and the other is one of the best single target removal spells in the late game. There is not much to say aside from the fact they are efficient and get the job done very well.
Other Notable Cards
Like always there are a few cards that do not fit in with the other themes of the deck but carry their own weight and then some extra. The cards that stuck out to me the most this time around are Deathbellow War Cry, Dreadhorde Invasion, and Carnival / Carnage.
I would be lying if I said that Deathbellow War Cry is not one of the reasons why I made this deck. When it was spoiled I laughed at it since it is an incredibly strong effect, but ultimately is a bad card because it can only fetch minotaurs. I stand by the fact it is a bad card, but it is easily one of the funniest cards I have gotten to mess around with, not to mention it is genuinely strong when Sethron is on the board. While hard to do since it costs a total of 11 mana, playing Deathbellow War Cry into Sethron’s secondary ability will pretty much always close out the game. Dreadhorde Invasion is a bit strange in the deck at first, but not only is it a decent standalone card and works well with some of our early game creatures, but it also gives us sacrifice fodder, something a couple of our early game minotaurs care about. The final notable card was Carnival / Carnage, and like with most split cards, it is somewhat overcosted for both of its effects, but the flexibility it brings to the table is great, with Carnage being the stronger mode as being able to clear out the opponent's hand can close out the game fairly quickly.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The strength of this deck lies solely on Sethron and the other tribal support cards. If we can get them to resolve and stick for a bit, the deck performs great and is incredibly fun to pilot, if anything just for the fact you can say you won a game of Magic with a minotaur tribal deck.
On the flip side, if we cannot get either Sethron or the other support cards to stick, the deck feels awful and unfortunately, we do not have any good ways of protecting these pieces as it is a Rakdos deck. As a result of this, when playtesting I was hosed several times and it felt like there was very little I could do to prevent it from happening.
If you are interested in trying out this week’s deck, here is a link to it! Unfortunately due to this being a historic deck, there is no dedicated queue for it, meaning you either have to wait for a historic brawl FNM or through a direct challenge with a friend.
As mentioned briefly in the beginning, I have a bit of a history with Minotaur decks and I can safely say it is both my favorite and least favorite tribe in the game. There are times when minotaurs just goldfish the opponent and it feels great but there are also so many times when the hand is just a 4 mana 2/3, 5 mana 4/2, and a 4 mana 3/3, and it is those moments that make me hate this tribe so much. All that aside though, Sethron is easily the strongest minotaur for tribal decks and he makes the tribe feel so much more playable and despite my opinions on Minotaurs, I had a blast playing this deck. Due to how Jumpstart is designed, you also just open a lot of these cards if you pick a Minotaur pack which is fairly nice since you do not feel like you have sunk wildcards on something completely pointless.
That is all I have to say about the deck for the most part. It has some highs and some lows and feels like it balances itself out. Hopefully, Wizards of the Coast can implement a Historic Brawl Queue eventually, or just have a better schedule than once per month since the format is pretty fun. If you want to see more historic brawl content, make sure to let me know as it was a nice change of pace, as well as letting me know if there are any commanders that interest you! Thanks for reading this week’s article and like always, until next week, good luck brewing!