Hello everybody, and welcome back to Brawl Haul! Before going into this week's article, I would like to thank all of you for the continued support over the last seven weeks; it truly means a lot to me. Without further ado, let us dive into this week's deck article!


The whole point of this deck is to drain all the fun the opponents can ever have by countering every good card they have and slowly milling them out. In typical control deck fashion, this deck does not win by killing the opponents. It wins by making the opponent want to give up.

Why Ashiok, Nightmare Muse?

Initially, I was hoping to make a control deck based around Etrata, the Silencer, but the deck turned out to be too sluggish and rough around the edges. However, I was in the mood to play some Dimir, which meant there were five other commanders I could pick from. These were Lazav, the Multifarious,  Ashiok, Dream Render, Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths, Ashiok, Nightmare Muse, and Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears. Out of all of these, Lazav, Ashiok, Dream Render and Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears were all knocked out because they were either not very interesting or just did not have the support to make them attractive. This left Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths and Ashiok, Nightmare Muse, in which I went with Ashiok because I would rather have a win condition be in the commander spot as opposed to a value engine.


On top of being one of the only Dimir commanders that is a win condition, they are just a strong planeswalker overall as being able to have an uptick that creates blockers and a downtick to remove a permanent is pretty much all I want in a planeswalker for the most part. In addition to that, the way they win the game is a slow and painful process for the opponent, which is perfect for what I wanted this deck to do.

Controlling the Board

One of the most important tools for making a deck like this work is to control what the opponents get into play and what they get to attack with. Unfortunately, blue and black do not have the board wipes in standard that they have in older formats, resulting in the deck being filled with a lot more single target removal. Out of all the removal in the deck, the ones that stand out the most are Price of Fame, Cry of the Carnarium, Massacre Girl, Brazen Borrower, and Murderous Rider.


Price of Fame is, without a doubt, one of my favorite cards you can run in Brawl as being able to pay 1B to remove the opponent's commander and manipulate your draws a bit is the perfect card for a deck like this. Cry of the Carnarium is one of our board clears, albeit not being able to clear taller boards. What it does do though is shut downswing turns caused by Field of the Dead, which is usually a considerable issue for decks like this one. On top of this, it can shut down early aggression as well as mana dorks, which is pretty good for three mana. Massacre Girl is an actual board clear, as it is very easy to fully clear a massive board simply by playing her and giving everything -1/-1. She also leaves behind a relevant body, but that is just a bonus for the most part. Finally, Brazen Borrower and Murderous Rider both are strong single target removal, which then doubles up with a relevant creature, with Brazen Borrower being a decent clock and Murderous Rider being a decent blocker against aggressive decks.

Keeping the Opponent in Check

The other way we are able to control the board is by just not letting our opponent cast spells through the use of counterspells. While there are some counterspells that stick out compared to the rest, all of them are essentially as strong as each other because the upside some of them come with is not very important. The ones that do stand out as being stronger are Tale's End, Drown in the Loch, Didn't say Please, and Thought Collapse.


Tale's End is probably my least favorite card in the format as it is unfun to play against. Being able to prevent an opponent from playing their commander on curve is backbreaking for pretty most decks. Drown in the Loch is the second strongest counterspell as more often than not it is just another 2 mana counterspell that can also be used as a kill spell. It can be a bit awkward, though, when combined with some of our other cards, but it has always felt decent to me. Finally, the last two notable counterspells are Didn't say Please and Thought Collapse, which are both essentially the same thing. The upside of these counterspells is just that it helps brings us closer to our eventual win condition of milling the opponent.

Closing out the Game

As much fun as it is to counter and destroy everything our opponent's play, we do still need a win condition, which is where all of the milling comes into play. The two reasons why I went with this win condition is that it is very much in Dimir's color pairing, as well as being something that Ashiok as a commander excels at. I also really love mill decks, but that's beside the point. The cards that help us mill our opponents the best are Drowned Secrets, Ashiok, Dream Render, and Bond of Insight.


To anyone who has not played with the card before, Drowned Secrets is somewhat underwhelming as milling 2 for every blue spell is not a whole lot. However, the effect adds up fairly quickly and becomes a threat on its own as it turns cards like Merfolk Secretkeeper into a UU 0/4 that mills 8. Ashiok, Dream Render is another fairly strong mill card as it not only mills a decent chunk every time it gets activated but it also makes sure the opponent cannot abuse the graveyard at all. The "your opponents cannot search their libraries"  part of the card does not do much most the time, but occasionally it is able to hose people if they forget about it. Bond of Insight is a bit of a strange mill card as it does not do a great job milling. What it does do though, is power up our other mill options such as Drowned Secrets by returning blue instants/sorceries or returning any form of counterspells.

Other Notable Cards

Like all my other lists, there tend to be a few cards that are outliers from the rest of the strategies. While these cards do help with the main theme of the deck, they often let us establish another form of threat. These cards are Vantress Gargoyle, Thief of Sanity, and Mnemonic Betrayal.


There are two creatures that are useful to attack with, these being Vantress Gargoyle and Thief of Sanity. Vantress Gargoyle is a large blocker that can become a rather fast clock if left unchecked. Its own ability to mill can often mess up scry effects very quickly and can lead to some fun mind games. As for Thief of Sanity, its mills and get a ton of value, and while the whole mill aspect of the card is okay, it gives us a fair amount of value as well. It also is a reasonably strong lightning rod as despite being a strong card, I have seen people severely overrate how scary the card is by burning all sorts of removal to kill it. Finally, Mnemonic Betrayal is weird as it turns our mill into value, which in some cases is just overkill. However, it is a super fun card to use, and against certain matchups, being able to take a card out of the opponent's graveyard and use them for our own doing is enough to close out the game. It is also pretty strong against decks that put their commanders into the graveyard, such as Uro or Kroxa. In many cases, when we can cast the card, it will be overkill, but it is so much fun to use.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Hard control is always a fun deck to pilot, and this deck is no different. There's lots of thought that go into every turn, and because of that, the deck feels rewarding to pilot and win. In addition to just being an overall fun list to pilot, it also is incredibly unfun to play against because the deck does not really kill people so you can see the fun slowly drain from the opponent and they will most likely concede after the last three cards they have played have been countered, and there are only 20 cards left in the library. 

As for what this deck struggles with, it is the overall lack of board clears in UB. The main way a control deck gets back into the game is by using a board clear to three for one the opponent, which is something the color pairing cannot do right now as all board clears need some form of red or white right now. This hurts the consistency of the deck a lot; having some form of catch up mechanic is always desired in a control deck.

The Decklist

If you are interested in checking out this week's featured deck, here is a link to it.

Wrap Up

Despite what my repertoire of Brawl Articles have shown, I am a fairly large fan of playing control decks. The issue with bringing this playstyle into Brawl, at least for me, is that it does not lead to exciting decklists. It does not take a genius to realize that throwing every board clear, counterspell and a Dream Trawler into a T3feri deck will make it a strong deck. I prefer to highlight decks that I feel are either niche, such as Eutropia the Twice-Favored, or can lead to a wide variety of interesting decks, such as Niv-Mizzet Reborn or Yarok the Desecrated, and I feel like this deck lands in the niche side of things.

Anyway, that is all I have to say about this week's deck. If you are interested in any of the commanders on Arena and want to see my take on them, make sure to let me know as I am always open to suggestions. Thank you for reading this week's article and until next week, good luck brewing!