Hello everybody and welcome back to Brawl Haul! Before we dive into this week’s article, I would like to thank everybody for all the support this series has gotten! I’ve had a blast sharing my lists and experiences with playing them.
The main game plan for this deck is to abuse Yarok the Desecrated as much as possible. Getting an extra enter the battlefield (ETB) trigger for every card often lets us outvalue our opponents until we reach a point where we can just blow our opponents out of the water.
Why Yarok the Desecrated?
Sultai (the name for the colors blue, black, and green) has access to the three most important tools a brawl deck needs, at least in my opinion. This being access to some form of ramp, which is included in green, some form of card draw or card selection, which we get from blue, and then some form for removal, which comes with black. Unfortunately in brawl, there is not a Sultai commander aside from Yarok.
This is not to say that Yarok is only worth running for his colors. Sultai is known to be able to outvalue most people in the format Commander, and Yarok is one of the stronger value-focused commanders out there. It is mainly the combination of not only being one of the strongest color pairings but then also having a commander able to utilize the colors greatest strengths lead to a rather dominant deck.
As mentioned earlier, one of the greatest strengths of our colors is being able to ramp in the early game to reach the late game earlier. We take full advantage of this, running a variety of permanent-based ramp. It is very relevant for us to run permanent-based cards because they become stronger when we have Yarok on the field and thus, relevant in the late game. The best cards we run for this are Arboreal Grazer, Omen of the Hunt, Gilded Goose and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath
Due to how the mana base is set up, having the ability to put multiple land drops in a turn is very strong as most of them enter the battlefield tapped. Arboreal Grazer does this very early as well as becoming a good early game blocker. Omen of the hunt is strong as it lets us bluff a counterspell or removal as well as ramping us one or two lands. Gilded Goose is good as it fixes our mana early as well as providing us ramp. Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is Arboreal Grazer on steroids, ramping us, letting us draw cards and healing us a bit. He doubles up as being a strong threat later on when we escape him.
Once we ramp a bit, we can focus more on getting more value. While these cards are strong on their own, they become incredibly strong when Yarok is on the field. The main ways we plan on doing this are by cards like Gadwick the Wizened, The Great Henge, Spark Double and Agent of Treachery.
In the later turns of the game, we often find ourselves with a lot of excess mana, which is when Gadwick the Wizened shines. While his tap ability is nice, his ETB trigger is often able to draw 10 or more cards which give the following turn the ability to close out the game fairly easily. The Great Henge also does a lot of cards in this deck, as when Yarok is on the field, every creature played lets us draw two cards. While Spark Double’s ETB effect does not double up, if he copies a creature with an ETB trigger then we can double up on it. The final sentence on the card lets us also target Yarok, allowing us to get three ETB triggers for every card. The final value-focused card is Agent of Treachery, which lets us steal whichever card is best for our opponent. Being able to steal the opponent’s commander is often enough to win the game.
After we develop a lead, all we need to do is to find a finisher. Due to the amount of draw in our deck, we only run three main finishers. One important thing to note is that while we have three dedicated to winning the game on the spot, we can often just beat down the opponents without them due to all the extra value we get from our cards. These are Field of the Dead, End-Raze Forerunners, and God-Eternal Rhonas.
Yarok is able to take advantage of Field of the Dead better than most other decks, able to produce two zombies per land instead of the usual two. This often lets us go wider than our opponents and beat down them. Field of the Dead also works incredibly well when combined with our two other finishers. Both End-Raze Forerunners and God-Eternal Rhonas serve the same purpose of going tall instead. Both of these also give our creatures vigilance, which helps make attacking math significantly easier.
Other Notable Card
Like always, there were several cards that were overperforming that did not fit into any of the earlier categories. The ones that performed the best were Casualties of War, Voracious Hydra, and Thorn Mammoth.
Due to the nature of the format, pretty much all decks run every type of permanent. This means that Casualties of War is often a one for five. Even if we only hit three permanents, it is still very strong. Voracious Hydra is very flexible, either providing a very large trample minion, the ability to fight multiple minions or a combination of both. Combine this with the fact he is a great mana sink, and it makes sense why the hydra performs so well. Finally, we have Thorn Mammoth, which turns every creature into some form of removal as well. Once again there is not much else to really say about Thorn Mammoth aside from the fact it is strong removal.
Strengths and Weaknesses
The largest strength of this deck is the inevitability of it. The main win conditions we are relying on are hard for the opponents to interact with and the combination of these two factors makes the deck a late-game powerhouse. Another strength the deck has is the ability to outvalue pretty much any of our opponents with relevant ease.
The largest issue that this deck suffers from is that it is on the slower side. Very rarely does it finish off the opponent at a decent pace which while this is not a that detrimental, does mean that other slow decks have a chance to possibly out greed us. In addition, our deck is also fairly reliant on Yarok staying on board for at least a turn to pick up the speed of the deck.
If you are interested in trying out this week’s list, here is a link to the decklist!
Similar to the Niv-Mizzet Reborn deck featured in the article, this deck has been a pet project of mine since Brawl first launched. Yarok’s effect is such a joy to play around with and so I hope you all get the chance to try out either the deck provided or one of your own brews using him.
On that note, there is not much else I can really say about Yarok at all. He is fun, in a strong color identity, and there is a whole bunch of cool ways to build the deck. If you have any suggestions for what you want next week’s article to be based on, make sure to let me know in the comments below and until then, good luck brewing!