Best Brawl Commanders From Phyrexia: All Will Be One

Brawl News 
Genoslugcs · January 21, 2023 · 16 min
Best Brawl Commanders From Phyrexia: All Will Be One

We recently got a look at more spoilers from Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Amongst these spoilers, we have several new Legendary creatures and Planeswalkers. Each of these can of course be used as a general for Brawl decks - So, let's have a look at them and break down how they look in the current Brawl meta.

We don't have all the spoilers yet but the ones we do have are quite interesting. Let's kick things off with number 21.

21. Jace, the Perfected Mind

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As a Mill player, I'm always excited to see new pieces get printed for the archetype. That said, I think this new Jace is cool but I don't really know where it would see play. Each mode is ok in its own right but I think the middle ability is probably the best - After all, Visions of Beyondimage is a Mill staple. Furthermore, the "ultimate" is interesting when compared to the zero ability of Jace, Memory Adeptimage for some formats.

But let's get down to the inescapable fact here - There isn't enough support in Standard right now to make a 60-card Mono-Blue deck; Much less a good one. If there were a ton of effective Mill cards I would say this could helm a controlling Mill build in Brawl. However, unfortunately, that isn't the case. Maybe if we get some pieces in the next few set this will see play before rotation.

20. Koth, Fire of Resistance

Brawl isn't seeing a ton of Mono-Red at the moment and I don't know if Koth, Fire of Resistanceimage will be changing that with the current card pool in Standard. However, maybe when the full set is released it'll have a bit more support.

Considering the lands are trapped in your hand, the plus two here doesn't get you too far ahead unless you have a way to play extra lands each turn. While the minus three could represent a lot of damage in the later game I really wish it could hit any target instead of just creatures.

As of now, I just don't see it having enough resources to justify building your Brawl deck around.

19. Migloz, Maze Crusher

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I'm willing to admit that I may be wrong with this one. So, if this turns out to be awesome, I stand corrected. With that said, I think this card does a lot and none of it is very good. Overall, I find it mediocre at best and bad at worst. Let me elaborate.

For three mana, you get a vanilla 4/4 with five oil counters. Not bad, but not great on turn three either. For an extra mana, (putting you at four total) and an oil counter you get a 4/4 with Vigilance and Menace. Again, this isn't terrible but considering both of these abilities only help when attacking and he doesn't have Haste, you'll have to wait for a whole rotation of the table to make this worth activating.

The same thing applies to the next ability. For two extra mana and two oil counters, you can give him a +2/+2 boost. But again, he can't attack the turn he's played. So, unless you wait a rotation, this won't be very useful at all. The last ability is a good effect but not when it costs a total of six mana to get.

If this had or could gain Haste, it could be good. Without it, I can't imagine a way this would be playable. Even if you wait until the late game when you have mana to activate every ability, you'll still have to hope you untap with him on your next turn.

18. Melira, the Living Cure

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I like this card a lot - Just not for Brawl. Well, her ability to reduce the number of poison counters you get could be somewhat useful in the coming Standard. Aside from that, she had an Saffi Eriksdotterimage type ability. Which is good in Commander. With that said, I don't know that this card/ability has the support it needs to succeed with the current card pool in Standard.

If that changes or poison becomes a big problem, this may see some play. However, until one of those things happens, I think there will be plenty of more powerful commanders to sleeve up.

17. Malcator, Purity Overseer

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As someone who has built Golem tribal in Commander, I think this card is cool. There are a few things to consider here: First, you get some immediate value every time you play this. Given that it only costs three mana, this is good. Each time you cast Malcator, you get 4/4 worth of power and toughness for your three-mana investment. Then as soon as the turn ends you stand to get even more value for the turn he's cast.

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Speaking of his end-of-turn ability - The token he creates on ETB is an artifact itself. This means that with only two more artifacts, you get the trigger. I think this has the potential to be good. Fingers crossed we see some combination of Blade Splicerimage, Master Splicerimage, Semsor Splicer, and Wing Splicerimage see reprints in ONE.

16. Kaya, Intangible Slayer

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There is a lot to like about Kaya and some things to dislike as well. Let's start with the good. First, she has Hexproof. Built-in protection for your commander is huge. Next, she draws cards. Protection and card advantage are both awesome things to have in the command zone. Lastly, she can help stabilize by gaining some life, while also draining opponents.

So, what's the bad? Well, first off she is seven mana. Granted, the Hexproof does mitigate some of this downside since she'll be more likely to stick around. But still, B/W aren't the best colors for ramp and I think casting Kaya once is doable - After that, she'll probably take most of your mana each turn and she isn't super impactful to the board all by herself.

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I do think her -3 ability could be powerful with spells like The Restoration of Eiganjo // Architect of Restorationimage, Sigarda's Splendorimage, Prayer of Bindingimage, and Intrepid Adversaryimage but just how good remains to be seen. Overall, I think she would be a lot better in the 99 of a deck than the Command Zone since she seems to be more of a support card than a stand-alone threat.

15. Nahiri, the Unforgiving

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Nahiri and the Kaya above are very similar cards when you look at them. The - abilities are almost identical, and each one can draw cards with its middle ability. What makes Nahiri better than Kaya? First, the mana cost - Nahiri cost four mana naturally but can be cast for three mana and two life. This makes her much easier to get involved in the game.

Next, her first ability is able to affect the board at least a little. Whereas Kaya is only able to change life totals. Her 0 ability lets you reanimate a creature or equipment that can attack the turn it enters the battlefield. This could work quite well with cards like Extraction Specialistimage, Sungold Sentinelimage, Squee, Dubious Monarchimage, and Professional Face-Breakerimage.

14. Ovika, Enigma Goliath

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Izzet isn't seeing much play in Brawl at the moment. However, I think this can change that. It does cost seven mana to cast but I think the effect is worth the mana in this case. Especially, since it has ward 3 to help deflect removal. Furthermore, it has a good stat line and evasion that makes it a pretty big threat all by itself. On top of that, it has a great ability.

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Whenever you cast a non-creature spell, you'll create a number of Goblin tokens equal to that spell's mana value. This could be very interesting in U/R. Take Burn Down the Houseimage as an example. It's a versatile card that you'd likely play if you're in Red, regardless of your commander. With Ovika, Enigma Goliathimage out, if you choose to make the devil tokens, you'd have a total of eight 1/1's with Haste.

It'll also trigger for any control cards like Wash Awayimage or Disdainful Strokeimage too. As well as, Planeswalkers like Teferi, Temporal Pilgram, enchantments, and mana rocks. Once you get up to casting this, I think you'll generate massive value pretty quickly if it stays on board.

13. Nissa, Ascended Animist

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There is nothing great here but there are a few things that I think aren't bad. If you pay a full seven mana for Nissa, it's quite expensive. If you use the phyrexian mana to reduce the cost, the tokens you can create are going to be a lot smaller. For example, if you cast this for five mana and four life you could create a 4/4 token. This is great for protecting your walker but without evasion, a five mana 4/4 that you paid four life for isn't great.

I think the best-case scenario here is ramp out a bunch of basic Forests and get to seven mana as fast as possible. Then hard cast this thing and +1 it to make an 8/8 token. At the very least it'll have to be chumped or will be a wall to hide behind. On your next turn, if she hasn't been hit or removed, you can -7, and assuming you're running Forests, get a big pump.

The -1 is good but there are a plethora of other cards that could give you a similar effect. So, what about the ultimate? Well, I think it's great at best and worthless if you have an empty board or a small number of Forests. Overall, I think this one could have stood to be a little more powerful and it wouldn't have broken any formats.

That said, I have been wrong before and perhaps I am wrong here - Only time will tell.

12. Slobad, Iron Golem

Slobad, Iron Golem gives me more hope for Mono-Red than the previous Mono-Red card mentioned. He taps to allow you to sacrifice an artifact and generate red mana equal to its mana value. There are two things that put this high on my list.

First, is the number of artifacts with Unearth in Standard right now that makes for great sacrifice fodder. Cards like Phyrexian Dragon Engineimage, Scrapwork Muttimage, and Artificer's Dragonimage come to mind. Next, and more importantly, are the prototype cards.

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Cards like Blitz Automatonimage and Skitterbeam Battalionimage are things that can be played early for their prototype cost and sac'd or powered out for full value using Slobad's ability. There is already some support for this card and I see it getting more as time goes on.

11. Ezuri, Stalker of Spheres

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I think exactly how good this will be will depend on how much proliferation is printed into Standard in the coming sets. If there are enough ways to trigger Ezuri without paying the extra three mana, I think this could be downright busted. Without the right support, I think it will still be very good, considering Ezuri can support itself if need be. Being able to proliferate twice for an additional three mana is solid. However, when you take into consideration you'll draw cards on top of the counters you get things get pretty crazy.

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With the inclusion of poison counters in Phyrexia: All Will Be One this has the potential to be a game-ending commander. Even aside from bolstering poison counters, there are plenty of other threats to go in the 99 here. For example, Kodama of the West Treeimage, Generous Visitorimage, Quirion Beastcallerimage, Wrenn and Sevenimage, Fight Riggingimage, and Blast Zoneimage are all going to be very strong with Ezuri.

10. Jor Kadeen, First Goldwarden

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There is a lot to like about Jor Kadeen, First Goldwardenimage. First, its two mana value means it will hit the battlefield early and often. Secondly, it has Trample, which allows it to make great use of pumping itself up when it attacks. This is the kinda "payoff & enabler" style I like to see in the command zone. Last but certainly not least it has some built-in card draw.

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It also has a ton of support in the format right now with cards like Astor, Bearer of Bladesimage, Danitha, Benalia's Hopeimage, Thundering Raijuimage and quite a bit of equipment in its color identity. So, as of now, this Boros equipment Commander is a  powerhouse.

9. Venser, Corpse Puppet

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I think Verser, Corpse Puppet will be the go-to commander if you're looking to win via poison counters in the upcoming Brawl meta. Here's why. He's low to the ground, he has Toxic himself and he can synergize with proliferation. Each time you do he can either legendary 3/3 colorless Phyrexian Golem artifact creature token or give target artifact creature flying and lifelink until end of turn. I love the self-sufficiency of creating the exact type of permanent that he pumps.

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That said, I think he's efficient enough to be at the helm of a non-infect-based artifact aggro strategy thanks to his second ability. I'm excited to see what direction people take this commander as there are quite a few options and I think they are all solid.

8. Glissa Sunslayer

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There is nothing not to like about Glissa here. Here three mana 3/3 stat line is great when you consider that she has two great keyword abilities as well. First Strike and Deathtouch are a great combination. This is because it'll deal lethal damage to anything without First Strike (or Double Strike) in the First Strike combo step before it ever damages her in return. In other words, she's hard to block and come out on top of.

That said, disincentivizing blocks is exactly what she wants to be doing. Because whenever she deals combat damage to an opponent you get your choice of three great options - There's card advantage, removal, and some disruption all present and accounted for here. Glissa may not be a commander whose abilities every other card in the deck revolves around but she sets herself up to be a solid attacker, blocker, and value generator.

7. Kethek, Crucible Goliath

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There are so many good sacrifice synergies in the format right now. With things like Dockside Chefimage, Morbid Opportunistimage, The Meathook Massacreimage, and Reckoner's Bargainimage there are plenty of cards to generate some massive value out of Kethek's abilities.

I think this commander will be one of the stronger ones right now, especially if it gets some very nice sackable creatures moving into the next set.

6. Lukka, Bound to Ruin

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I think the best ability for Lukka here is the +1. Gruul is the perfect color combination to benefit from extra mana that can be used for creature spells. Lukka also doesn't have any abilities that get worse if you chose to pay life vs mana for his phyrexian mana blip. The only downside to doing so is that you won't be able to activate the -4 ability the turn he's cast.

Moving on, I like Planeswalkers that can create creatures to protect themselves. That said, a 3/3 body for a single loyalty counter is quite efficient. Considering that this will 100% be at the helm of a creature-based deck, it's good that it produces a respectable body.

Considering that you'll be using this as a support card for casting out your creatures, I like the fact that the "Ultimate" here is a support role as well. Given that your creatures will probably be coming out well ahead of curve, this will probably be a fairly decent removal spell at times.

5. Vraska, Betrayal's Sting

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There is a lot to unpack with this one but overall I think it's great. First, you're either getting a six-mana six-loyalty Vraska, or a five-mana four-loyalty Vraska. Both are pretty good rates that give this some true versatility as to how it can be cast. However, the zero ability says "You draw a card and you lose 1 life. Proliferate." So, considering loyalty counters are, well, counters... Whenever you activate this first ability you'll gain a counter. Not to mention you'll also proliferate all your other counters as well.

Next comes the -2, which again is quite versatile. You can target your own creature and ramp yourself or you can turn an opposing Sheoldred, the Apocolypse into a treasure. I like this ability quite a bit. So far we have card draw, some proliferation, ramp, and/or removal and we still have one ability left.

The ultimate allows you to set any one opponent to nine poison counters. Given that there are a ton of toxic/proliferation cards in Standard right now, I think this does a lot for a midrange poison strategy in Brawl. This allows you to point all your poison counters at the strongest players and then set the player you've ignored all the way up to nine.

4. Ria Ivor, Bane of Bladehold

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I love go-wide Orzhov decks and this Commander is just that. First, I want to mention that, this can generate value the turn it enters the battlefield as long as you've cast it prior to combat. This is a great start. Creatures like Graveyard Trespasser // Graveyard Gluttonimage, Scuttling Butlerimage, and Bereaved Survivor // Dauntless Avengerimage that have good attack triggers can come down the turn before Ria Ivor, then attack the combat he enters, generate value on the attack trigger, and get a number of tokens equal to their power.

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Considering that the tokens produced this way have Toxic 1, I think this commander will be a token-producing machine that can threaten to close out games quickly while generating a lot of value in the process. I'm excited to see the deck lists for this one.

3. Kaito, Dancing Shadow

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I love this card. I think it's unique and would be a blast to play. I also think it's extremely powerful. The only reason it's not higher on the list is that I think it needs a fair amount of support to be at its best. That said, I think it has enough in Standard right now to be good. There is a ton to unpack here.

Let's start with the static ability. It cares about creatures dealing combat. Whenever one or more of your creatures do, you can return one of them to your hand. If you do, you can activate Kaito's abilities a second time. This is huge. So, overall, he cares about evasiveness and good ETB abilities. This is going to see play until the end of time in Ninjutsu decks in Commander by the way.

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His +1 directly fuels his static ability. You can cast him and use his plus to make an opposing creature unable to block. Then, you're likely to get through for damage and assuming you return a card, you now get another activation. If you didn't need to + him to connect with an attack you could activate the zero ability to draw two cards. There is so much value here.

The value doesn't stop there though. His -2 ability grants you a 2/2 with deathtouch that drains an opponent for two life and gains you two whenever it leaves the battlefield. Notice it doesn't say die. This means that you can return it to your hand with the static ability and drain/gain. And of course, the token can always block your opponent's biggest threat, trade with it, and cause a four-point life swing on the way out.

With cards like Nashi, Moon Sage's Scionimage, Network Disruptorimage, and a plethora of Menace creatures in Standard right now, I think this can be very good moving forward. Even aside from in the Command Zone, this is going to be best friends with Kaito Shizukiimage, which is seeing a ton of Brawl play right now.

2. Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines

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Elesh Norn, Mother of Machinesimage is a very powerful card and one I expected to get a printing in this set, as all the other Praetors have seen printings in the last few sets. Elesh Norn acts like a Panharmoniconimage effect for permanents that enter the battlefield under your control and a one-sided Torpor Orbimage all at the same time.

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So, what is there in Brawl to double up on at the moment? Cards like Light-Paws, Emperor's Voiceimage, Loran, Disciple of Historyimage, Serra Redeemerimage, Wingmantle Chaplainimage can all generate a ton of value with Elesh Norn on the battlefield. With that said, I don't know if it has enough support to see a ton of play right this second. However, depending on what the future holds I think it could see quite a bit of play.

1. Atraxa, Grand Unifier

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Atraxa is, in my opinion, the best Brawl commander from Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Where to start for this beast of a card? Let's start with the body. For seven mana, you get a 7/7 creature Flying, Vigilance, Deathtouch, and Lifelink. This is the same tried and true combination of abilities on Atraxa, Praetors' Voiceimage and they are just as good here.

Now onto the enter the battlefield trigger. This. Is. A. Massive. Ability. Whenever it enters the battlefield, you reveal the top 10 cards of your library and put a card of each card type from amongst them into your hand. To be clear, this means you could get one artifact, creature, enchantment, instant, land, planeswalker, and sorcery spell if they're in the top 10.

Now, considering that you can whiff on this and they go to your hand if you do hit, I wouldn't consider this as great as it is if it wasn't coming on such a great creature. That said, you're going to generate a ton of card advantage off of this if you build your deck correctly - Especially when you take into consideration that things like Phyrexian Fleshgorgerimage are creatures and artifacts.

In closing, I'm going to say that Atraxa, Grand Unifierimage and Elesh Norn, Mother of Machinesimage being in the format together is insane.

Conclusion

We've still not seen the entire set yet so it's definitely early to know for sure if these will stay the best Brawl commanders the set will yield. That said, I'm very excited to see what else it will bring to the format and MTG in general.

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