Alternative Outcomes — Bruna, Reanimator
Welcome to the home of Alternative Outcomes, a series of self-expression through the development and brewing of alternative builds, often of popular commanders. The name’s “Dev”, and I will be your guide on these journeys. I have been a proud Magic the Gathering player for over fifteen years and have competitive experience across multiple formats. EDH to me is a brewer's paradise with nigh-unlimited possibilities. Alternative Outcomes seeks to use the power of EDHREC to help identify key cards and unique interactions in existing archetypes to help bring our alternative brews to life.
Today we will break the color pie and show how mono-white with Bruna, the Fading Light at the helm can be a reanimation queen to be feared as low-mid powered tables. At a battle-cruiser cost of seven mana she is not always the fastest to hit the field, but she provides an inevitable reanimation effect in the command zone that we can rely on for our plan to bring the pain. The idea for Bruna reanimation came from my close friend and local level two judge. We worked together to spice up this list into something viable that took a win in its debut match in our local playgroup.
Brick by Brick
Reanimator works by cheating into play the great battle cruisers of our available colors. A search through battle cruiser lists like “angel Bruna” and reanimation lists like Zur, we settled on:
- Adarkar Valkyrie
- Angel of Invention
- Angel of Serenity
- Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
- Emeria Shepherd
- Evangel of Heliod
- Reya Dawnbringer
- Sun Titan
- Twilight Shepherd
With our targets established we move on to the next part of reanimation, getting them into the graveyard. Without the magical looting, rummage, and wheel effects iconic to blue and red we had to dig deep into the toolbox to find:
Filtering through, Enduring Renewal that pitches all creature cards to the yard where we want them and puts the valuable reanimation spells into our hand.
While this provides us a strong endgame solution, our reanimation spells cost a lot and require time to build up to. To make this list work, we needed to get an early game engine going using recursion engine ideas popular in Alesha, Who Smiles at Death. A search for Alesha clues us to the powerful engine of Mentor of the Meek. This combined with token subtheme provides us another incredible path to victory. The token subtheme will synergize with mentor and Skullclamp for card advantage, then can lead us to an alternative victory by going wide with an army of creatures pumped by Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite and Dragon Throne of Tarkir. We take this a step further by including value anthem effect with Spear of Heliod and Caged Sun.
As we are in white, speed is our greatest rival. We will need to rely heavily on ramp to ensure we are hitting all of our land drops to keep pace with our opponents. To do this, we run Weathered Wayfarer, Land Tax, Millikin, Solemn Simulacrum, Darksteel Ingot, Pearl Medallion, Sol Ring, and Thran Dynamo.
The culmination of these cards comes together to give us Bruna Reanimator:
Pilot to Co-Pilot
Piloting Bruna is incredibly fun with multiple lines of play. Like most reanimation lists, we want to quickly land an engine that permits us to dump our creatures into our graveyard. While we are working on that, we also look to establish our token engine. This will provide us everything from card advantage to food for the Phyrexian Altar and self mill for Altar of Dementia.
In the midgame, we look to land one of our reanimation threats and start driving home the damage. At this stage of the game, your opponents may look to exile your threats and we can protect them through the myriad of available options such as, Mother of Runes, Eldrazi Displacer, Selfless Spirit, and Sword of Light and Shadow. If that failed, turn your opponents wish to exile into value by sacrificing your threats in response to the altars. With a wealth of reanimation spells and a token driven draw engine, we can out value their removal.
In the late game, we combine the threat with a Dragon Throne of Tarkir or just dropping the Grand Cenobite herself, we can anthem our way to victory, hammering in damage with a massive army of large tokens. If the token engine didn’t get going, we still have the battle cruiser advantage and the permits us to hammer the damage home with a monster like Brisela, Voice of Nightmares.
In closing, Bruna really surprised me with how powerful of an engine this list can create. The value generated off the tokens and small creatures easily spirals out of control. A value reanimation loop of Emeria Shepherd brought Bruna to victory at my kitchen table and put the other decks quickly on their heels. I feel even if the token engine cannot get going, the card quality combined with such a high level of synergy naturally lets this list value its way to victory.
If you have any questions, comments, feedback, or would just like to chat, feel free to find me on the PlayEDH discord channel where I am active member.