Though it feels too quick to have come already, we are in Spoiler Season 2019 for Throne of Eldraine, and I wanted to give a few first impressions about how it’s going since the new Brawl update dropped.
Impression Number One:
Adventure Is A Sweet But Problematic Mechanic
When I first saw it, I thought this ability worked like an activated ability and then worried it was just another version of Kicker—but that’s not it. For those that are still confused, you can cast it for the adventure cost, and it will resolve that ability, then, you can cast the actual card for its mana cost from exile. The exact ruling and fiddly bits will be coming out soon, but that’s the gist.
And that’s cool. It lets cards remain useful early and late in the game and allows sweet strategies to happen, even with abilities already shown. Also, flavor with this is amazing, as it allows for even more allusions to the fairy tales that inspire the cards.
The downside, though?
It’s yet another mechanic that involves cards moving around from zones and remembering what cards you can cast. As a Phoenix player, I can tell you that keeping track of your graveyard and spell count is an aspect that gets exhausting mentally. Adventure cards have all of that, plus timing restrictions, but in a totally different, usually unused zone. I’m not suggesting dumbing down Magic, but I can’t imagine new players even trying to parse what’s happening in even Standard games. MTGA players don’t have this problem, and it’s a lot of fun there, but paper magic is always getting denser to play.
Impression Number Two:
There’s A Best Brawl Commander, And It’s Not Close
So, in a very informal test, I played all four decks for the new Brawl Event until I got a win with all of them, Here’s the quick breakdown.
Alela, Artful Provocateur is so hard to play, and her deck is not well optimized. Once she’s available, though, someone is going to break her wide open with an absurd commander (normal) build.
Chulane is the best one, by far. The only time I lost with it was when I played against another Chulane deck. Along with ramp cards, he allows for absurd board states to flourish and kill people before turn ten. If you want the quests done easily, just pick him.
The second best is the Korvold deck, you just have to get into the right mindset of what’s worth letting die.
Syr Gwyn is just a middle of the road build. It can obliterate people, but only if you get a really good hand—and manage to let your commander stick for more than ten seconds.
Impression Number Three:
MTGA Brawl Is The First Time I’ve Liked The Format
Brawl has never appealed to me, in the slightest. Another format I need to consider? Yeah, no. But, since MTGA doesn’t require me to sleeve and find cards and carry them with me, it’s a lot better. The interface for it is great, and even when I had Jumpstart cards, Adventure cards, a hand, and a commander in the Command Zone, it was clear and easy to use. And that might be enough for me to care about it since I’m sure to have a playgroup when I play online.
And those are my first impressions. Like with War of The Spark, I might do a card breakdown, once we have a full list of them. But, in the meantime, I’m excited to behold what this new bombshell of a set does to Standard.
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