Domniaria is The Perfect Time for a Brawl

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The release of Dominaria falls not long after the announcement of a new Magic format — Brawl. In fact, the set itself is loaded with tons of Brawl and Commander playable cards, potential commanders and┬ásome surprises┬áthat have been Commander staples for some time.

Welcome back old friend

So what is Brawl?

Brawl is similar to Commander for anyone familiar with that format.

  • Each player builds a deck of exactly 60 cards.
  • Other than basic lands, no card may appear more than once.
  • Each card must be Standard legal.
  • One legendary creature or planeswalker will act as your Commander.
  • The mana symbols tha tappear on your commander dictate what cards may be in your deck. Cards can’t have any mana symbols on them that are not on your commander.
  • You start with your Commander in the Command zone and you can cast him from there.
  • If your commander is countered or leaves the battlefield, you can put him back in the Command zone.
  • Your commander costs 2 additional mana each time you cast hime.
  • You start with 30 life and get one free mulligan.
  • There’s NO commander damage in Brawl.

Jodah lets you play cards with any color mana on them while Karn would mean you have to run a colorless deck.

So why Brawl when you can Commander?

Commander is a fun, casual format best played with a few friends. It allows you to play almost any card in your collection and you need only one of any card you want to play (unless you decided to run Relentless Rats). With a 100 card deck size and such a huge library of cards to chose from, interactions can get pretty crazy. That’s half of the fun but it’s also a big learning curve.

Brawl takes that edge off. You’re now dealing with a smaller pool of cards which makes the game a lot more accessible to new players. It also means less combo-heavy finishes and a potentially more relaxed game pace. The addition of planeswalkers as Commander options also opens things up a bit to new ideas.

The best part? Brawl is a great way to entice new players! The language on newer cards is usually a bit clearer and there’s less to keep track of. It can act as a gateway to Standard, Commander and other great formats. For more seasoned players, it’s a great use of cards pulled from sealed and draft play.

If you’re not convinced, give it a try. We’ve had a few of our staff try it already — seasoned players — and they found the format to be a lot of fun!

Perhaps you’ll build a decks around the tribes of Ixilan or perhaps you’ll build a deck themed around Nicol Bolas and build a deck around his machinations. You might also start looking at the Dominaria cards and start thinking about the endless possibilities that it — and it’s pool of legendary cards — can bring to this new format!

So many options!

So where can you play Brawl?

We’ll be setting up some regular casual Brawl events over the coming weeks for players to try this new format starting Sunday, May 5th!

While you’re waiting, you can check out the Dominaria prerelease at Heroes’ Beacon April 20-22 and, for the first time ever, you can purchase a booster box on release night and get the Firesong and Sunspeaker buy-a-box promo card! It makes for a great Commander!

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Greg Grondin
Gregory Grondin is a full time Systems Analyst working for Mariner Innovations. He also works as a weight loss consultant for Weight Watchers and is part owner of Heroes' Beacon. You can follow his web comic series at

Greg is a fan of gaming and comics in general and an avid collector of Transformers figures.