The Toolbox - Null Brooch

(Null Brooch | By Tony DiTerlizzi)

The Little Negate that Could

Welcome back to The Toolbox! Here, we take a look at underplayed cards and evaluate where they ought to see more play. Today we’re taking a look at a neglected Negate that can be played in quite literally any deck: Null Brooch!

Don't be surprised if you've never heard of this Exodus card before; it is over 20 years old at this point. For those that weren't playing the game before I was alive, Null Brooch is so interesting because it's a Negate that can just sit on board. The drawback with Brooch is that you also have to discard your hand when countering a spell. This makes it a difficult card to work with, but, as Dark Confidant's flavor text says, "Greatness, at any cost." So, let's take a look at the top commanders from EDHREC to see where Null Brooch is played!

This is going to be one of the most hotly contended articles that I have written just due to the cost of discarding your hand to counter a single spell. The thing is, there are certain decks, like Hazoret the Fervent, that actively want to discard their hand, so having a way to do this and interact at the same time is a huge bonus. There're also decks like Malfegor where the drawback becomes pretty irrelevant after you've cast him, as he clears your hand anyway.

Then there's the final of the top three commanders, Arcum Dagsson. While this may not seem like a great fit with the overall gameplan of the deck, there is some logic for including it. For instance, using Arcum Dagsson to turn a Thopter token into Null Brooch to counter a problematic Merciless Eviction can be a game-winning play. Brooch is definitely more limited in this deck, but I understand why some are choosing to include it.

In Commander, having an empty hand is very dangerous, considering how much a game state can change in just a single turn cycle. I do think that there are some decks that can work around or even benefit off of this 'drawback', though, so let's get into it!


I have not played against many Balthor the Defiled decks, but they are always interesting to play against! For those who haven't seen Balthor in action, he aims to be a repeatable Living Death that doesn't wipe the board. He also gives a buff to Minions, but this is pretty minor compared to the power of his activated ability. Let's take a look at why I think Balthor should be playing Null Brooch!

The main distinguishing factor between Balthor and other options, such as Chainer, Dementia Master, is that Balthor aims to go much wider in his reanimation. The reason I bring this up is because discarding a hand filled with Massacre Wurm, Abhorrent Overlord, and Razaketh, the Foulblooded is way better with Balthor at the helm since he can just reanimate them all at once. Having Null Brooch as a discard outlet also gives the opportunity for the deck to have more play at instant speed through Brooch itself, and reanimating a bunch of threats out of nowhere! Once Hellbent, Brooch can also just be used as a repeatable Negate to counter any pesky Merciless Evictions that would otherwise wipe the board permanently.

To some, this may seem like a bit of a stretch, but I think it’s genuinely worth the inclusion. Having a mass discard outlet that Negates something seems way better than just cycling a card with Necromancer's Stockpile! If you haven't had the pleasure to see a deck like this in action, taking a look at the decklist may be the best place to see all the great value you can get with Null Brooch!

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Graveyard? More like Extended Hand!

If you haven't read Andrew's edition of Ultra Budget Brews that highlights why Null Brooch works so well with Damia, you should definitely take a look! This is actually where I got the inspiration for going with Damia over Muldrotha, the Gravetide, even though I think that Brooch would work well with either of them. For those that haven't seen this Gorgon, she loves drawing cards so much that in your upkeep she refills your hand to a full seven cards! She's also Sultai and has deathtouch, but the draw is the important part. Why would she want a Null Brooch?

Having Damia refill your hand every turn makes discarding actively beneficial to dig even deeper into your deck. The timing on pitching your hand with Null Brooch is very important, though, because Damia getting hit by a removal spell is backbreaking with her mana cost. So viewing it more as an onboard way to always have some piece of interaction to protect Damia, and as a reset button for your hand, makes it much more justifiable.

There are also the synergies available with the aforementioned Muldrotha, the Gravetide, Seedborn Muse, and Ramunap Excavator. This deck is so sweet, and it's open to customization to be tuned to exactly what you want! If you don't believe that this card is worth a slot, take a look at the decklist!

Monster Mash 2

Commander (1)
Creatures (23)
Instants (11)
Sorceries (12)
Artifacts (9)
Enchantments (6)
Planeswalkers (1)
Lands (37)

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Wheels on the Bus

This sweet grandma just wants to make sure that you've had enough cards to draw. Rielle has got to be one of my favorite cards from Ikoria; she just refills your hand as soon as you discard for the first time each turn. You don't mess with her, though: she gets extremely powerful from all the instants and sorceries in the bin.

With Grandma wanting to give you more cards when you discard, discarding your hand to Null Brooch acts as a wheel. Rielle is already commonly running Forbid, Tolarian Winds, and Negate. An activation of Brooch with Rielle out is quite literally just a Tolarian Winds stapled to a Negate, and for half the mana!

This deck is all about constantly just clearing your hand to buff Rielle, and Brooch being a repeatable, colorless source of discard that stays on the field is great for when you just draw a hand of lands. At worst, you can just discard it to something else anyway! If you don't believe me, take a look at how sweet this decklist is!

Have Some Cookies

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Thank you all for your continued support of the series! I hope that you all enjoyed reading this installment, and I hope that you have found a new home for Null Brooch. Do you think these commanders pair well with Null Brooch? Do you think I’m overestimating this card, or do you agree it’s highly underrated? What other cards are you hoping to see get their place in the limelight? Let’s talk about it in the comments below. Everyone please stay safe and have a great week!

Elijah is a mildly obsessive EDH player from Georgia. He started playing during Battle for Zendikar with Green/Black Eldrazi Aristocrats and still pays tribute to the plane with his Omnath, Locus of Rage storm brew. He is always excited to innovate and try new things in Magic and Life. Elijah is currently a full time student looking to go into Computer Engineering but also has a bit of an artistic streak.