Hello everybody! I’m Echo, and welcome to a new MTG series, Brawl Haul! This series will be all about taking a legendary and finding a way to use it to the fullest extent. Every week a spicy new brew will be going up, with me providing a breakdown of why certain cards are in the list, strengths, and weaknesses and personally if I enjoyed playing the decklist and would recommend it to others.
To start off the series, I will be covering my all-time favorite brawl commander, Niv-Mizzet Reborn, a 5 color control deck bent around taking the game to the late game and either grinding out value and beating the opponent slowly, or winning via drawing the entire deck and playing either Jace, Wielder of Mysteries or Thassa’s Oracle. The deck can be a bit confusing at first due to the sheer amount of pips in every spell’s casting cost, but once you get the hang of the deck it is an absolute powerhouse and a blast to play.
The first issue with Niv-Mizzet Reborn is the mana base is often a mess. Because of this, running a lot of ramp to fix for mana is important, hence why the deck is filled with a ton of ramp and mana accelerants. The notable ones include Risen Reef, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, Faeburrow Elder, Incubation Druid, and Chromatic Lantern.
Each of these ramp spells provides an extra bit of utility that might be glossed over at first glance. Risen Reef, while not the strongest card in the deck due to there not being a ton of elementals, cycles himself as well as provide a very threatening creature. Opponents do not know that there is not much follow up and thus, overestimate how powerful it is and often waste removal or counterspells on it. Next up is Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, which is a Growth Spiral on a stick, that can provide a fairly fast clock as well as keep us safe into the late game. Faeburrow Elder not only can provide a ton of mana early on but when Niv-Mizzet Reborn is on the field he taps for an absurd amount of mana. Incubation Druid can tap for any mana which helps considerably because a 5 color mana base with only 1 fetchland is just asking for trouble. Finally, Chromatic Lantern filters mana incredibly well, in addition to providing ramp.
Next comes our removal spells, which make up a majority of the deck. One of the benefits of being a five-color deck is that we have access to every single premium removal spell. The notable ones are Drown in the Loch, Tyrant’s Scorn, Assassin’s Trophy, Bedevil, and Kaya’s Wrath.
These spells are all incredibly strong as not only are they cheap removal that can be played early to buy more time, but they are also all able to be gotten off of Niv-Mizzet Reborn. There is not much else to say about them aside from the fact they are the bread and butter of the deck and are a big reason why this deck can make it to the late game.
Once you have reached the mid-game, the deck starts to shine. The most important thing to do is to start accruing value to pull ahead and eventually beat down the opponent. The first and foremost way to do this is obviously just by casting and resolving Niv-Mizzet Reborn, who often draws 3-4 cards on average, but there are also several other fun cards to help pull us ahead of the opponents to close out the game. The notable ones are Polukranos, Unchained, The Royal Scions, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and The Magic Mirror.
Polukranos, Unchained, Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and The Royal Scions both excel in different ways, with Polukranos being just a continuous fight stick to help stabilize the board, as well as becoming massive to beat down the opponent while both Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath and The Royal Scions draw cards and put you ahead via card advantage. Finally, The Magic Mirror does the same thing that Uro and The Royal Scions do, but significantly better. Should this card probably be replaced for another card that can be gotten off of Niv-Mizzet Reborn? Probably, but the two things I love most in magic are blue cards and drawing cards, which The Magic Mirror checks off both of those criteria fairly easily. Jokes aside, the card often gets cheap enough to be around 4-5 CMC (Converted Mana Cost) and provides a problem the opponent must answer relatively quickly. It is a slow, insidious killer but there is something about drawing 7 cards at the beginning of the upkeep that makes the card so appealing to me.
Closing Out the Game
By now, the only thing left for this deck to win the game is to either beat down with creatures or draw your entire library and win via Thassa’s Oracle or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. Niv-Mizzet Reborn’s body should not be underestimated as at the end of the day it is still a 6/6 with flying, and when opponents only have 25 life, you only need to connect a few times to close out the game. As for winning with Thassa’s Oracle or Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, this is typically the go-to plan as casting Niv-Mizzet Reborn multiple times draws an absurd amount of cards. Thassa’s Oracle is especially good as both The Magic Mirror and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries provide three blue pips each, letting you win even if you haven’t drawn your entire deck.
Strengths and Weaknesses
After about 30 or so games with this deck, I can say with confidence that the deck excels in most matchups. Due to the deck being on the slower side, with an average CMC, there are times when you can just be rushed down before being able to stabilize, such as against Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. Against slower matchups, especially those which rely on Field of the Dead, the deck excels against them as we can slow them down and eventually beat them down.
I believe this would be a good time to address the elephant in the room, this being that we are not running Field of the Dead ourselves. Don't get me wrong, this card is absurdly strong in a slower format, especially in a deck trying to drag the game out long. However, the mana base is already a bit messy for my liking and given the fact Field of the Dead is not only colorless but also enters tapped, I did not enjoy it much when testing and didn't feel like I was missing much when not running it.
Unfortunately, until an official Magic Arena database is made on Out of Cards, the decklist cannot be posted here. However, if you are still interested in playing the deck for yourself, here is a link to the full list.
Since the first Wednesday Brawl, this has been my favorite deck as despite being rather streamlined, every game always feels unique and I also just absolutely love to draw cards. I cannot recommend this deck enough if you want to play a control deck in Brawl as just the sheer amount of removal gives so much lasting power and can pull wins out of nowhere.
Next week's article is going to focus on one of the 7 Gods introduced from Theros Beyond Death, these being Athreos, Shroud-Veiled, Klothys, God of Destiny, Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded, Nylea, Keen-Eyed, Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Erebos, Bleak-Hearted, and Thassa, Deep-Dwelling. If you are interested in any of these, make sure to let me know in the comments and until then, good luck brewing!