Conditions Allow - Brisela, Voice of Nightmares
Give Voice to the Nightmares
Hello, and welcome back to Conditions Allow, the article series where I choose a legendary creature with a downside and try to build a deck to turn it into a strength. This week, we're delving into the horrors of Innistrad to build around one of the plane's most powerful protectors.may not be as strong as her younger self, , but she continues to battle resolutely against the darkness to protect the humans who rely on her.
is a four-mana Angel with flying, first strike, and lifelink. With four power, she can either fly over or kill most of the creatures you're likely to encounter in a game of Commander. Paired with Equipment that grant haste, hexproof, and/or indestructible, Gisela is a perfectly viable Voltron commander. For us, however, Gisela is simply a means to an end. An end with too many arms, an unfortunate number of tentacles, and a truly nightmarish voice. The real commander of this deck is going to be .
Much like Gisela, Brisela is a force to be reckoned with, picking up vigilance fromand gaining a significant boost in power and toughness. Brisela also stops your opponents from casting spells that cost three mana or less, which covers all of the most popular removal spells in Commander. No here, and Brisela has certainly already found a . This deck is going to aim to get onto the field consistently and quickly, and then win through combat damage before our opponents can find an answer.
As you may have guessed from the introduction, I've chosen to useas the commander for this deck. is almost certainly a better, more powerful commander in her own right, as well as being a more reliable method to Meld into Brisela by pulling Gisela out of the graveyard when cast. This is why I've chosen to stick with , though. I actually considered quite a few possible commanders for this article, including many from 's EDHREC page. lets you easily tutor for our two key creatures, while is a great engine for taking advantage of 's reanimator ability. was also a contender. Ultimately, though, I felt sticking to mono-white kept the deck more on-theme, as adding colors and playing other commanders lessened the difficulty of finding the Meld pair and inevitably changed the focus of the deck away from Brisela and towards Niambi or Nethroi.
When researching cards for, I looked to to see how best I could take advantage of the many keywords on our commander. I also looked for the best creature tutors that white can play. Finally, I included a reanimator subtheme, since we're already playing .
Tasty Tasty Keyword Soup
The combination of flying and first strike makesdifficult to block. With the right ramp, we can reliably be attacking for four damage from turn four onward. also has flying, first strike, and lifelink, so the core of our deck is going to be built around those abilities.
There are a few ways to search for creatures that this deck has access to, but we're still going to need plenty of card draw to make this deck work.is a card that I keep trying to make work, and I think that this might be the deck for it. For two mana, this enchantment will let us draw a card every time we gain life, which should be every turn thanks to . If you prefer to draw multiple cards at once, can draw a card for each life you gain, although it will cost the same amount of mana to do so. This is a better rate than , which makes up for the Well costing more mana up front. If you're worried about your opponents having large, flying blockers, we can abuse to ensure that we can still gain life and draw cards. Simply attack with and let her deal first strike damage, gain four life, and draw some cards. Then, before moving to normal damage, activate to remove Gisela from combat and safely cast our newly drawn spells.
If attacking with our commander is the engine of our card draw machine, we also need to includeand . is really good in aggressive decks, especially in mono-white. Another classic staple of Voltron decks is , which pulls double duty here as a way to discard some big creatures for the reanimation effects this deck is going to play. I'm also including in this section because he indirectly rewards us for being aggressive. and the threat of are going to put a lot of pressure on our opponents to find answers for our nonsense. These could be pinpoint removal spells or straight-up player removal, both of which require casting a lot of spells or attacking with a lot of creatures. In either case, will be drawing us closer and closer to our own win conditions.
Attacking and gaining life can do more than just draw cards. Mono-white lifegain is a theme all to itself on EDHREC, drawing on the power of cards like. This deck won't ever have the field of tokens that loves best, but it can still significantly shorten the number of turns it takes us to win. Lifegain can even give us some tokens to better take advantage of the Archangel. will need us to have at least 47 life, but once we do, it can make a 4/4 Angel with flying every turn. will also create a 4/4 Angel every turn that Gisela attacks. This isn't a tribal deck, so I'm going to throw in and as well. Every token that we make increases the power of and adds to the pressure on our opponents.
Bound at the Hip
Drawing cards and making tokens is great, but all of that is just in service of findingto Meld into . Without green or black, our tutor options aren't great, but there are a couple still worth considering.
will take a couple of turns before we can use its search effect, but it is the only card we can use to search our library without paying extra mana. The Clues created each turn can also be a source of card advantage if we need to see some extra cards right now. There are four other artifacts that let us search our library for a card; of those, I considered , , and . and will both put into our hand, which is where we really want her, since her reanimation effect is a cast trigger, not an enters-the-battlefield trigger. Both are also very expensive, however, costing seven and five mana to find Bruna, respectively. That makes it a total of fourteen or twelve mana to reanimate one creature.
Putting Bruna directly into play will skip over the graveyard synergy, but lets us get toin a single turn. does that for eight mana, just one more than Bruna's casting cost. We could also put all three cards in the deck, but I'm going to sit with just and . We can find either with , and drawing more than one of these tutor effects isn't great. Finding space for one more might be fine if you find the deck doesn't find Bruna as reliably as you'd like.
Drawing from the Graveyard
is probably going to die, so we're going to need one or two ways to get her back from the graveyard. can get our two Meld creatures back into play immediately. can do the same thing, targeting Brisela in response to a board wipe to bring back and immediately after. If you want to revive a third creature, puts our creatures back into our hand, so we can re-cast Bruna on the following turn. I also like , even though it costs a hefty seven mana and only brings back our creatures one at a time. Rebound makes it very flexible, and it sits at a perfectly fine cost since we are going to need to ramp up to eight or nine mana before we can get anyway. In a similar vein, is a staple of reanimator decks that offers us the flexibility to put whatever creature we bring back into play or into our hand. Late in the game this can put into our hand, then we can cast her to revive right away.
We can also benefit from getting the small cards back as well.can bring back extra lands fetched by , or one of the cycling lands we pitched, and keep our smaller utility creatures around if we need them, like , which destroys pesky artifacts and enchantments while fueling our graveyard for later. also fuels the graveyard, but makes extra tokens to block, or grow with .
can only target Angels or Humans with her reanimation effect, so the deck skews slightly towards Angel and Human tribal. The deck is also not a devoted reanimation deck, so it's missing some of the haymakers you may be familiar with in Angel Tribal decks. The focus is instead on recurring our two Meld creatures, as well as the synergy creatures that keep the deck ticking. We do have some pretty big beaters, though. is fantastic, giving us additional lifegain triggers during combat and pumping any other Angels in play. can be cast for cheap, and she helps protect and when we do get them into play. is also in the deck to make our whole board much scarier than it should be. Even with just our commander in play, Odric will give every creature we control flying, first strike, and lifelink during combat.
Rounding out the deck, I've included a fairly standard set of ramp and removal cards.is the best way in the deck to start eliminating players quickly, although I'm also interested in testing out the new .
Gisela to Brisela
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
Overall, I feel like this deck is pretty solid. There is a strong aggro plan built around, and the deck can usually find to close the game with . shortens our clock considerably, and there is enough flexibility to customize the list to if you wanted more Equipment, more Angels, or more tutors to make Meld happen more often. Personally, I think this list needs more ramp, but I'm not sure what I'd take out for it.
What do you think? Have you playedor before? Or have you played any other deck that tried to Meld two creatures together? What were your favorite cards, and what worked best?