Intellectual Offering - Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer
Welcome to a surprise installment of Intellectual Offering. This is not only a surprise for you, dear reader, but also for me. Lately I’ve been suffering a some Commander nihilism. I’ve felt like whatever I brewed was unoriginal, uninspired, and ultimately not worth building. Little did I know that Commander 2018 would have the cure to my fever:
Not that, this:
The second I saw this card I jumped on deckbox.org and put a list together. I was so hyped that I started testing the deck that night with friends at our weekly gathering (with their permission to proxy, of course). What have I been doing with this badass Artificer? Let’s stick to the normal format of this series: picking a few cards to recommend and a few cards that I think people should take a cold, hard look at before actually including them in their final list. Finally, I’ll wrap up with my fast and dirty brew of this deck.
We Can be Like They Are
Let’s start with a look at the card, Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer. First off, I know what people are thinking: “Why isn’t this a Myr?” I can’t answer that, but Reddit seems to think it’s because the Myr are not capable of independent thought, meaning that a legendary, named entity like this simply can't be a Myr. Then again, I thought the same was supposed to be true of the Slivers, and they have legendary creatures representing them. My best guess is because it wouldn’t have fit on the type line (although Neheb, the Eternal would beg to differ). Even if Brudiclad isn't a Myr itself, there's no shame in using it for Myr tribal synergies. Myr Galvanizer, for example, still buffs up your impending token army.
Lack of tribal synergies aside, what Brudiclad does do is give all your creature tokens haste. That’s not that impressive on its own, as there are plenty of ways in red to give all your creatures haste without much of an investment. It seems out of character for a red/blue creature to care about tokens, but that’s what attracted me to this card in the first place. It’s out of the ordinary. It’s something new.
Where this card really shines is in its second clause.
Making a 2/1 Myr token is cool. This gives you free fodder to draw cards off Skullclamp, or to use as an artifact in Transmute Artifact, or even just attack if you are beating down. However, if you’re like me, that 2/1 Myr isn’t going to stay a little Myr for long. The second part of this ability is where the gravy’s at, allowing you to turn all your tokens into copies of another token you control. That’s any token, into any other token, forever. On my first pass of this card, I, like many others, mentally inserted “until end of turn” at the end of this clause, but that’s not the case. This card can permanently turn your Treasure tokens into Dragon tokens, it can make your fragile Illusions into valuable Treasure, it can upgrade an army of Goblins into an army of Karn Constructs, and if we get a little fancy we can even make armies of Hellriders, and that’s just a start. This card is bonkers.
Three Thousand Guitars
Before we get into some of the trickier things we can do with Brudiclad, we first need to build an army. The best way to do this is with cards like Siege-Gang Commander, Master of Waves, or Goblin Rabblemaster. All of these give you tokens, either in a steady stream or a huge pile upfront, and are themselves reasonable creatures that can synergize with some other cards I’ll be talking about later. One card I think people may overlook in this category is Krenko, Mob Boss. My guess is that Krenko will be underplayed because he'll be perceived as a purely Goblin tribal card. I have seen this card work and I can tell you that there is no need for other Goblins around. He does just fine producing an army all on his own, and with just one or two other Goblins he’s can completely go off. His biggest drawback is that he doesn’t have haste, but I’ve included some cards to address this in the decklist.
I'm (Not) Burnin' for You
Those of you who skipped ahead to the decklist, well you’re not here anymore are you? Readers who are still here and want a little more detail will probably notice that I haven’t mentioned any spells that represent one-shot piles of tokens. Each one of the cards I suggested above provide some form of lasting body that can be used on its own. There are spells we can use to make one bout of tokens, like Dragon Fodder, Hordeling Outburst, and Goblin Offensive. While these may shine with commanders like Krenko, or Purphoros, God of the Forge, that's because of their special interaction with the commander. In the case of Krenko, they ensure that your first activation of Krenko is generally enough to close out a game. In the case of Purphoros, they all become burn spells in addition to flooding the board because of Purphoros’s triggered ability, so you don’t care what happens to the tokens afterward.
I think that in a Brudiclad deck, where it’s going to take a couple steps to set up our army, these cards will ultimately result in a negative velocity. While they’ll contribute to the board, they will ultimately not provide forward momentum to the deck. The tokens will only serve as speed-bumps for our opponents' early threats and eventually get cleaned up before they can serve a purpose. Attempting to build up an army with cards like this will mean that there are lots of turns where you’ll neither be attacking nor blocking, but will still be expending cards from your hand.
Of note, there is one single-shot token producer that I have included in the final list: Tempt with Vengeance. This card is different for a couple reasons. First, it scales with the game. If you draw this in the early game, it is not too expensive to cast (like Goblin Rally) so you can make a couple quick tokens to feed cards like Skullclamp or Trading Post. If you draw this card late you can dump all your mana into it and make a ton of hasty tokens. The second cool thing about this card is that it allows you to make political deals with opponents in order to take out a major threat at the table.
Go Go Godzilla
Now that we’ve got an army built up, let’s talk upgrades, turning that army into a force to be reckoned with. To start off, I’m offering a duo of Dragon producers that I think are going to be phenomenal in this deck: Day of the Dragons and Descent of the Dragons. These cards both create large flying Dragon tokens, upgrading all our Goblins, Myr, and Elementals. They also serve double-duty as removal (or triple-duty as a flicker effect in the case of Day of the Dragons). If we choose creatures with enter-the-battlefield abilities, say Siege-Gang Commander or Myr Battlesphere, to exile along with our tokens, we’ll immediately be given a new army to start back up with when a player takes out our enchantment. This is especially important with Day of the Dragons, as removing the enchantment will kill all our Dragons, not just the ones it made, so opponents will be very tempted to destroy it.
Having real cards under the Day of the Dragons will help to prevent opponents from trying to blow us out. While Day does have a high risk involved, its flexibility still provides enough utility to the deck that I think it’s worth taking a chance. I also think that, in general, we’re not going to want to go too wide in this deck. As with all token decks, we run the risk of getting Wrathed if we get too out of hand. I think Day provides enough pressure with its 5/5 flyers that we won’t need to overextend into the board with it. Descent of the Dragons provides the opposite kind of utility to Day; instead of allowing us to reuse our creatures, it’s unconditional removal for our opponents' threats. In red! That’s pretty cool. Sure, giving them a 4/4 flyer may mean that we’re getting attacked more than we otherwise would, but I would happily trade some life to remove my opponent’s Oracle of Mul Daya, Blood Artist, or even their Argothian Elder before they get out of control. We don’t always need to trade for their Zacama, Primal Calamity or their Sheoldred, the Whispering One to want to target their creatures. Plus, it's a way to upgrade any of our tokens for free without having Brudiclad in play. Sweet! In a similar vein, I’ve included cards like Pongify, Rapid Hybridization, and Hour of Need for the instant speed option to remove creatures.
Young Enough to Look At, and Far Too Old to See
Since these new commanders are still new to EDHREC, it’s difficult to discuss what cards people are overplaying. Having to go through all the lists individually one site at a time really highlights just how useful EDHREC is. In lieu of collective data, I would like to discuss some cards that will be getting hit hard by the Precon Effect in this deck. As a refresher, the Precon Effect is where a card is overused in a decklist due to its inclusion in the original preconstructed deck that comes from WotC. As players put their slightly modified or initial lists online, they are incorporated into EDHREC. When players come to the site looking for recommendations, they see cards from the precon with high percentages, and therefore include it themselves, increasing the percentage even further and creating a positive feedback loop. Players who do this are not taking a critical look at these cards, and are often mistaken as to why it was included in the original preconstructed list.
For this deck, the first card I see suffering from Precon Effect is Thopter Assembly. A seemingly perfect card for this deck, it turns into an army of flying tokens, and is even an artifact for additional synergies with cards like Daretti, Scrap Savant. But in truth, this card is hot garbage. For every one time it gives you a (very slow) army of Thopters, it will let you down ten times as a slow, vulnerable creature. Its useful typing as an artifact creature also means it’s exposed to double the number of removal spells. The other issue with this card is that it only unleashes its Thopter army if you have no other Thopters. If there are no other Thopter tokens in play, this deck is going to need more than a delayed deployment of them. Unfortunately I think this card will show up in a fair number of Brudiclad decks purely because of Precon Effect. Hopefully I can get out ahead of the crowd on this one and prevent it.
Another card that I think will be overplayed due to the Precon Effect in this deck is Worn Powerstone. This card is a very solid mana rock for most Izzet decks, since they lack access to common land-based ramp spells like Cultivate. The issue I have with it is that entering the battlefield tapped means that any copies we make of it will also ETB tapped. Using cards like Saheeli Rai or Echo Storm to copy a mana rock and then continue to cast more spells that turn is really powerful. With Worn Powerstone, you can’t do that. There are many other mana rocks that weren’t included in the preconstructed deck, and not necessarily due to their price or Reserved List status. Cards like Thran Dynamo, or a very cool recent addition to the long list of mana rocks: Powerstone Shard. Yes, the Shard is less mana alone in the long-term, but it does play very nicely with copies of itself, which is the entire goal of the deck.
Now the decklist. I’ve put some tweaks into it in the last couple weeks of testing, but this is still very much a work in progress:
I Have this Feeling that My Luck is None Too Good
A couple cards that I’m trying out but have yet to decide if they’re good enough: Feldon of the Third Path. On the surface, this seems really powerful as it will create token copies of dead creatures, which we can then turn all our other tokens into. The major issue that I foresee with this card is just how slow it is. At least with a card like Krenko, its speed is only tied to summoning sickness, but Feldon also has a high mana investment that needs to be taken into account. Additionally, there are few creatures in the deck, and a majority of them are valuable for their ETB abilities, leaving only a few that we care about turning our tokens into copies of. It’s possible that the ability to reanimate cards like Myr Battlesphere and Whirler Rogue for their ETB effects is worth the investment.
Another card still in testing is Genesis Chamber. This card has yet to prove its effectiveness. There are enough creatures that triggering it isn’t too hard, but the question is whether it’s just less effective than playing something like Beetleback Chief and getting the bodies upfront, then having an actual body for later shenanigans. The potential for opponents to take advantage of Chamber makes me think it’ll get cut in the long run.
In terms of notable exclusions, I’ve decided that the risk/reward of something like Desolation Twin is too high. It certainly gives you the best cost-to-token power+toughness ratio, but I’ve found that the deck would much rather cast spells that make tons of tokens rather than a single, easy to kill token. I haven’t drawn Phyrexian Processor yet, but I expect I will be cutting it eventually for the same reason. I’ve also left out Blade of Selves because, as some people will likely point out if they haven’t already, this doesn’t actually work with Brudiclad’s ability. Myriad triggers when the equipped creature attacks, and kills the tokens at the end of combat, leaving nothing around for later (assuming you aren’t using something like Sundial of the Infinite, which is just too much nonsense for this deck). Brudiclad needs the token in play at the beginning of combat to Mirrorweave your tokens into it, making these two a nonbo.
That’s it for this time! Let me know your thoughts on C18. Are you as excited as I am for this commander? Got any sick suggestions for this one? I’m always looking for sweet tech. Until next time!