Brawl - Nicky B's House Party

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Nicol Bolas Has (Super)Friends?

Goddamit, guys! You know how I feel about Nicol Bolas decks in Brawl, and Grixis in general! It tends to be unfun, the games are slow and plodding, and the commander was designed to make players feel suffocated and miserable. A+ 10/10 flavor, but I'm not Spice8Rack, and I really don't want every single one of my wednesdays to be filled with weird Grixis mirrors in Brawl. But I played against no less that SEVEN Nicol Bolas decks in a row today (last week was Korvold, which upon reflection, is so much more interesting to play against than Bolas), so fuck all of you, I'm doing my own!

{{Nicol Bolas, Dragon-God}}

I have some really mixed feelings about Grixis.First and foremost let's get the real reason everyone (including me) loves the color combination: the colors look rad and metal together. Red, black, and blue all play nicely off each other emanating an aura of deep, existential angst, which we can all relate to. When it comes to gameplay, however, the colors are weird. I see a lot of people make the mistake of throwing a bunch of counterspells on a Grixis deck, which I honestly feel is a bit of a miss. I know that Blue is the best color in magic, but you have Black AND Red at your disposal! Those colors give you some of the best proactive plays and removal in the game, and I feel like the best Grixis decks focus a lot more around putting out threat after threat, while efficiently removing or disrupting the opponent's gameplan, to establish an insurmountable advantage in value and board presence. Heck, that's exactly how our commander works! So I set out to do it: a Nicol Bolas commander deck with no countermagic (this might've been a bit too far, but it's been working fine so far), tons of removal, and a superfriends-centric game plan revolving around getting incremental advantages on our opponent until they fold! Let's check it out!


{{Angrath's Rampage}} {{Bedeck}} {{Tyrant's Scorn}} {{Murderous Rider}} {{Bedevil}} {{Ritual of Soot}} {{Price of Fame}}

This deck could stand to run a bit more removal, but I wanted to really go in on the Superfriends theme for this deck, as the idea of Nicol Bolas having any friends is as hilarious as it is sad, when you think about it. But we run what is arguably the best of the best, focusing more on being able to be versatile with our cards as they can hit either planeswalkers or creatures. For that we run [[Angrath's Rampage]], [[Murderous Rider]], and [[Bedevil]], because while this deck runs a stack of planeswalkers, we still hate them! For early creature removal we run a [[Tyrant's Scorn]] and a [[Bedeck]], which can later be used to nuke an annoying castle or a [[Field of the Dead]]. We also run one [[Ritual of Soot]] to deal with an early aggressive board and one [[Price of Fame]] to get that sweet commander removal going.

Early Threats:

{{Dreadhorde Invasion}} {{Improbable Alliance}} {{Irencrag Pyromancer}} {{Chandra, Acolyte of Flame}} {{Thief of Sanity}} {{Saheeli, Sublime Artificer}}

This section is where I usually see people throwing counterspells and other reactive nonsense. Screw that, we ain't afraid! Play these threats at sorcery speed and dare them to have the removal. If they don't, we snowball early on, and if they do, then that's less removal to deal with our big baddy commander! We have the two Standard-legal [[Bitterblossom]]-light enchantments in [[Dreadhorde Invasion]] and [[Improbable Alliance]]. This is exactly the type of early play Nicol Bolas would make in a game on Magic: unassuming at first, these cards can really run away with the game if left unchecked. At 3 mana we have [[Irencrag Pyromancer]] as an incredibly powerful creature that's a decent blocker, a powerful removal engine, and a threat on its own with its free [[Lightning Bolt]] every time we draw 2 in a turn. [[Thief of Sanity]] is present here because it's a super sweet card that can absolutely bury our opponent in value if they don't have the answer for this absolute must-kill threat. Our planeswalkers start with [[Saheeli, Sublime Artificer]], making us tokens to gum up the board anytime we cast any of our many noncreature spells, as well as being able to turn one of them into one of our other threats. Finally, [[Chandra, Acolyte of Flame]] really shines in this deck, with the "make 2 elementals" being the weakest of her abilities in this deck. While if we are ahead we will probably be using lil' Chandra offensively, we mostly want her for her ability to buy back our cheap spells, or to increase the loyalty of our many other red planeswalkers for faster ultimates say, on our commander.


{{Thought Erasure}} {{Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage}} {{Ashiok, Dream Render}} {{Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor}}

You can't call this a true Grixis deck without a little bit of hand disruption. I really wanted to get [[Rankle, Master of Pranks]] in here, and it could probably end up taking the place of Ashiok one day, but once again, Bolas wants friends. And it's because we love friendship that we run cards like [[Thought Erasure]], [[Davrierl, Rogue Shadowmage]], and [[Ashiok, Dream Render]], either forcing our opponent to discard or milling and exiling his graveyard, to shut down any sort of fun our poor opponent may be trying to extract from this game. As card selection and a form of protection for our planeswalkers, we also run [[Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor]], which should tax our opponent's interaction while providing us with some presence on the board.

Card Draw:

{{Stormfist Crusader}} {{Wishclaw Talisman}} {{Soul Diviner}} {{The Royal Scions}} {{Narset, Parter of Veils}} {{Drawn from Dreams}} {{Chemister's Insight}} {{Precognitive Perception}}

Ah, the real reason we all play Magic: drawing cards! We got loads of ways to do that, starting with [[Stormfist Crusader]] for some early gain pain and symmetric draw. [[Soul Diviner]] really does good work in this deck full of planeswalkers, trading off 1 loyalty point for a card in a pinch, as well as synergizing with the all-powerful [[Wishclaw Talisman]] to let us tutor without a downside later on. Most of the time though, we will be tutoring for a [[The Elderspell]] with a buncha planeswalkers in board to get a fast Nicol Bolas ultimate kill to just END THE FUN FOR EVERYONE because that's what Brawl is all about! Further up the curve we have [[The Royal Scions]] and [[Narset, Parter of Veils]] for more card selection, and they pose a decent enough threat/annoyance to our opponent that they will most likely be forced to spend removal on them. Finally, of course, the brilliant blue card advantage spells of [[Drawn from Dreams]], [[Chemister's Insight]], and [[Precognitive Perception]] to help us refuel and stay ahead in the value game.


{{The Elderspell}} {{Spark Double}} {{Ral, Izzet Viceroy}} {{Sarkhan the Masterless}} {{Chandra, Awakened Inferno}} {{Liliana, Dreadhorde General}}

So there's only one problem with these cards: if we win the game, we need to eventually stop drawing cards. While this is a real shame, the game needs to end somehow. [[The Elderspell]] is pretty obvious with all our planeswalkers: a lot of them have very powerful ultimates, and accelerating to that fast can get us a quick 'combo' victory. All our other win-cons are planeswalkers: [[Ral, Izzet Viceroy]] gives us card selection, removal, and a powerful-game ending emblem if used. [[Sarkhan, the Masterless]], lets us turn all our planeswalkers into 4/4 red dragons for surprise damage bursts if the Nicky B ult victory seems too hard to achieve. [[Chandra, Awakened Inferno]] is a way to beat all those control decks by slowly chipping away at their life total, as well as being prime removal, and [[Liliana, Dreadhorde General]] is similarly a powerful win condition on her own, with an ultimate that ends the game on the spot. Finally, we run one [[Spark Double]] to double-up on any of these planeswalkers and get some truly broken stuff happening real soon.


{{Arcane Signet}} {{Midnight Clock}} {{Chromatic Lantern}} {{Blast Zone}} {{Castle Locthwain}} {{Castle Vantress}} {{Field of the Dead}} {{Interplanar Beacon}} {{Karn's Bastion}} {{Mobilized District}} 

Ah, so we've found the number-one problem for Grixis decks: the mana base. For all that Grixis can do, its colors give us absolute jack in terms of mana fixing an ramp. Due to that, we run one [[Arcane Signet]] because it's awesome, one [[Midnight Clock]] because it gives us blue (our secondary color) and is delayed card draw to keep us always ahead on cards. Finally, we run one [[Chromatic Lantern]] in the hopes to fix our goddamned colors and be able to play our ridiculously costed spells. I've mulliganed down to 5 in games just to get these cards in my opening hand and let me tell you, it was better than games in which I kept a 7-card hand with none of them. For lands, it's a massacre. We run 24 lands when we should be running 26, and a we have a few too many colorless utility lands. [[Blast Zone]] can be a powerful sweeper and synergizes with [[Soul Diviner]], letting us sacrifice it with 0 counters to sweep any tokens from the board, or as a later removal. We run two castles in [[Castle Locthwain]] for the card draw and [[Castle Vantress]] for the scry, as well as three Swamps, one Island, and one Mountain. Our greediest land is, as always, [[Field of the Dead]], because Brawl is an arms race of unfun cards. We also run a [[Mobilized District]] as a threat and a blocker, and it should be quite cheap to activate with all our planeswalkers. [[Karn's Bastion]] is super ambitious, but sometimes all we need is one more loyalty to just win the game with a Nicol Bolas ultimate. To close off the lands, we run one [[Interplanar Beacon]] to fix our colors for our walkers and the life gain.

FUCK this planeswalker, FUCK him as a commander, and FUCK anyone who plays it. I hate going against it, and this is the only list I was able to have some fun with while playing. It's a shame, this is a very cool planeswalker, but everyone who plays it can just go play with themselves.


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Cool article (admit not read it all) - So my Brawl deck is a Bolos com - You are right its the colours that make it great.
As it goes I have about 2/3 of the cards in it as you have - its mega aggressive though and not slow or boring - No sir!!!

It's not a terribly good card, but with your planeswalkers with high mana cost it can help.
I'm not crazy about Fires of Invention without a consistent mana sink for it, but we do run a lot of stuff at sorcery speed here... Could absolutely be worth a shot, I'm just not crazy about the card
Maybe run Fires of Invention?
Last Updated: 27 Nov 2019
Created: 27 Nov 2019
550 136 4

Commander - 1 cards (1 distinct)


Mainboard - 59 cards (57 distinct)

Creature (6)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (18)
Land (24)
Planeswalker (11)

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