Commander nights with Brion

I wanted to discusbrionstoutarm.hqs for a while my new favorite general in EDH: Brion Stoutarm. The deck I’ve built with him is currently in construction, so I won’t present a list just yet, but the deck is built around the general himself and contains a few elements: things that grant my creatures haste (Lightning Greaves, Fervor, Hammer of Purphoros, Anger), things that steal creatures from my opponent (Flash Conscription, Zealous Conscripts, Act of Treason etc.), and some strong control elements like board sweepers, Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, topped off with some pin-point catch-alls like Oblivion Ring. The idea is that the control elements will allow me to play a diplomatic game in the early turns, and once people start ramping into big things, the deck allows me to steal them, swing back and toss them with Brion. It’s really straightforward as far as an EDH-strategy goes, and though I don’t like how it’s easy to disrupt through tucking Brion with Spin into Myth, Spell Crumple and so on, the deck is clearly leaned towards more casual games and groups.

EDH is such an inherently broken format, and even if it’s singleton, the format is so slow and full of tutors, it’s quite easy to construct linear decks with more or less the exact same path to victory every game it wins. I see two issues with this. One, it’s easier for people to adapt and counter your strategy should you always do the same things over and over, and two, it makes for a more boring deck to play. Variance means fun in all formats, and in a casual format such as EDH, where winning means less than in a competitive environment, variance is alright. This means I’m not worried about how there are so few playable tutors in Brion’s colours, I play just the single Enlightened Tutor. In other decks, I play a lot more because I like how it allows me to fetch silver bullets out of my deck, but I can’t say it brings more “fun” to my games.

I spent friday night with my old gaming group and Brion, and I also brought Sharuum in case people were doing too many unfair things, but I ran mostly Brion. We played a couple of free-for-all on three players, and I was up against Keranos, God of Storms and Varolz, the Scar Striped.

Flavour-wise, I regard Brion as an honest giant. He likes his beer cold and his steak red. He doesn’t meddle in strange things like tutoring, and prefers to throw goats on his problems. In this game, he was up against the Golgari maze runner and the freaking God of Storms! The games were all quite similar, Brion and Keranos worked together to make sure they weren’t two-shotted by a 14/14 Varolz and then Keranos took over the long-games at single-digit life. I won neither game, but they were great fun.

Later on, we played a three-headed giant game and randomized the teams. The enemy consisted of Varolz (combo), Keranos (control) and Marath, Will of the Wild (aggro). Our team was Brion (aggro), Radha, Heir to Keld (aggro) and Cromat (toolbox control). Three-headed giant works just like it’s two-headed counterpart, but each giant start with 60 life. Usually, the games are very chaotic, but a lot of fun and a sort-of fast way to play 6-man EDH games.

kalonianhydra.fullRadha and Brion worked well together, as our team was able to deal very large amounts of damage in just a few short turns. Cromat was a great team-player and offered up solutions to various problematic permanents. Our team won both games on equally awesome ways. In the first game, Marath cast Kalonian Hydra and cast Reckless Charge on it (7/4) and activated Xenagos, God of Revels on it (14/11). Keranos cast Dack’s Duplicate, copying the hydra and giving it Haste and Dethrone. The original hydra swung for 18, and the Dack’s Duplicated one for 9, but we just soaked up the damage. In our following turn, Radha cast Molten Primordial and stole both hydras, swinging for about a million.

In the second game, Obsidian Fireheart set fire to a couple of lands which kept their life total ticking down. Our opponents stabilized late in the game, but a flash-backed Devil’s Play from Radha took them to two, leaving them to burn out in their upkeep to their lands. I had a couple of creatures and an active Brion in play and a few creatures to fling at them if I needed to, but winning through the burning lands was way more fun.

All in all, even though I didn’t win a single non-team game all night, Brion was a blast to play and I’m looking forward to continuing working on the deck. I’ll post a work-in-progress list here once I’ve gotten most of the cards together.

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