Hey there! It's a strange feeling being asked to look through this deck for suggestions, both a bit intimidating and a bit of an honor, but I'll give it my best.
So first off, the decks I've built over the years are all synergistic machines designed to increase in their (non infinite) combos as the game goes on, so I've had to design a flowchart with regards to which commanders I can recommend to others to try out. I'm not going to bore you with the details unless you're interested, but the relevant part of my flowchart for this conversation is the fact that I discovered that any commander can be the commander of a control deck if the control aspect of the deck itself is good enough. Sure, some of them are a LOT better than others (Damia & Medomai are some examples), but the control archetype is powerful enough in edh that ultimately the commander doesn't matter. So my upper limit for the CMC of a commander to build around is 5, so that the synergy in the deck can be maintained by recasting the commander even if someone targets it over and over. Because the commander is pretty irrelevant in a control deck, this upper limit doesn't count, but a control deck doesn't usually have a center synergy, so I never built those control decks.
That said, I do have opinions on what would be good cards to remove and what would be good cards to include. I haven't kept up with this deck, so my apologies if I suggest cards that have already been attempted.
Cards that I feel could be taken out:
I know that your commander can refill your hand quickly, but there are lots of cards that either always generate card disadvantage or do that every so often in this deck. The main ones I don't like are Dark Ritual (yes, I know it makes for explosive plays, but when you're drawing for an answer/late game/when your commander is been tucked, is it really worth the cost? I'd say not), Flusterstorm & Spell Pierce (being limited both by types of spells it can counter AND only countering spells when people tap out, which happens more in early game, there are better counterspells out there imo), Memory Lapse (again, better counterspells out there since hurting one players draw doesn't do much in multiplayer), and Stifle (I'd rather just counter the spell).
The only issue is that there might not be spells good enough to replace those. I know a few, but not a lot.
I also think that running all 9 fetch lands in your colors is rather risky. Edh is a format about getting lots of mana, so not quite sure why you would want to thin your deck of lands while opening yourself up to being land screwed by possible shuffle hosing (unless you're literally the only one who uses fetches, so no one runs shuffle hosing like Aven Mindcensor, Stranglehold, Leonin Arbiter, Shadow of Doubt, or Mindlock Orb). Sure, you always fix your colors, but is there really a lack of dual lands for your colors? The Theros block temples can actually get you to your answers one turn earlier and Ravnica block karoos can generate card advantage, but if you don't like taplands, you could easily go down to the three fetches in two of your colors and run buddy lands and filterlands for extra color fixing.
Lastly, I know that Mystic Remora CAN generate card advantage, but having to pay 4 mana for noncreatures is such a tax that smart opponents will most likely not cast noncreatures until you can't manage the upkeep of it (unless they can counter something game winning). I've never been afraid of it and I've never been tempted to use it. If anything, it reinforces opponents to not over extend. Then again, I may have just seen my metagame's reaction to it as the rare "ok guys, don't cast noncreatures, let's hurt the control player" response.
Cards that I feel could have a home here:
There are lots of cards that are rather similar to cards you are already running (or just counterspells), and may be worth taking another look at, and these are Disdainful Stroke ("counter target scary spell" for an easier cost than counterspell), Dream Fracture (counterspell plus draw a card and keep politics okay), Exclude (two-for-one counterspell for three mana), Muddle the Mixture (counterspell or tutor for Phantasmal Image, Snapcaster Mage, Cyclonic Rift, etc.), Spell Crumple (another Hinder), Rewind (because a free counterspell is pretty awesome!), Glen Elendra Archmage (card advantage plus synergy with Deadeye Navigator), Rhystic Study (one of the best cards to draw cards from my experience because it's only three mana), Mind Stone (early game it's ramp, late game it's a can trip, and it's cheap enough to simply replace a land), and Scroll Rack (because it's better than Sensei's Divining Top when you have more than three cards in your hand, which I'm guessing happens a lot).
Also, I really want to make an argument for Treachery because of the fact that it's a way to both remove a threat AND get a threat that needs to be answered with a net mana of 0.
Sorry for the excessive use of parentheses, and sorry if I wasn't of much help, but I hope it's evident that I gave my best for the suggestions I made.
You'll want Scourglass as well as an instant field clear just in case as well as Myojin of Cleansing Fire. In addition you can set these off when you play Avacyn to gain control of the board state. Angelic Skirmisher and Sublime Archangel can make Avacyn more dangerous as well as set you up for getting lethal damage in.
I'd drop single target removal for mana rocks and field clears. This will allow you to both play Avacyn as early as turn 3-4 if done right and begin a lethal blast of fire and brimstone on your opponents as they try to save themselves from God's hand.
I strongly recommend trying to switch 2-3 lands out for some artifact mana like Mind Stone, Charcoal Diamond, Wayfarer's Bauble, Coldsteel Heart, Solemn Simulacrum and/or Coalition Relic. Decks with few mana ramp opportunities fall behind quickly, so it's best to have an explosive start and stay on top mana-wise.
There's really no reason to run Everglades, it's simply bad. It is very very slow, doesn't give you any real advantages and it's a great target for things like Strip Mine, Tectonic Edge, Wasteland or even Ghost Quarter (and most players are playing at least some of these lands).
Best black card in edh: Demonic Tutor every black deck should have one.
Starting slowly is actually quite an impediment. You'll want to include some ramp spells to really get you going. Waiting until turn 8 to cast Maelstrom Wanderer is going to get you killed quite frequently because of how threatening he actually is. I'd recommend some things like Nature's Lore, Cultivate, Farseek and Rampant Growth. You've included a few mana rocks already, but good ones include Mind Stone and Commander's Sphere, because once you have more than enough mana you can cash them in for a card.
To fit these kinds of cards, I'd recommend taking out some of your big threats. You are only going to need a few of them in any given game, so you can afford to shave a few of them. Notably, swap out anything that costs 8 or more, as you can't actually cast them off of a Cascade trigger. My proposed edit:
These are what I call "win more" cards; You have to be winning by a lot already for them to really mean anything. Besides, they can't be cast off of Cascade.
That one mana difference is huge, and Counterspell only costs $2.00 so you aren't breaking the bank here
-1x Breaking Point
Don't fall into the Browbeat trap! This will never kill creatures if your opponents know what they're doing; if you give your opponent the ability to tell you what your spell does, they will always pick what's best for them. It will only ever be a burn spell for the player to your right.
-1x Nissa Revane
-1x Nissa's Chosen
This package seems really anemic. Your elf density is low enough to make her lifegain almost negligible, and while Nissa's Chosen every turn seems like good protection for a planeswalker, you're not really achieving anything by guarding her. Her ult is also weak due to the low elf density.
+1x Rampant Growth
+1x Nature's Lore
+1x Mind Stone
It's worth noting that some of these ramp spells (like Farseek or Nature's Lore) are capable of grabbing Ravnica Shocks and Revised Duals. I'd invest in Shocklands (Steam Vents, Breeding Pool, Stomping grounds) and Buddylands (Sulfur Falls, Hinterland Harbor, Rootbound Crag) among other cycles (like the Painlands, for example)
All things considered though, I like what you're doing here. Keep up the good work! +1 from me.
I really don't like the damage doublers like Dictate of the Twin Gods and Furnace of Wrath, especially with this few creatures, but I do like Gratuitous Violence.Ya need more creature's y'hear. Like 25. Olivia Voldaren is good. The medallions are pretty lackluster in a non mono deck, try Coldsteel Heart of even Fellwar Stone or Mind Stone or Fire Diamond or Charcoal Diamond. Drana, Kalastria Bloodchief is good. liliana of the veil and liliana of the dark realms are bad. For veil, you need the discard to help you, and for dark realms, she just dies. You need more creatures for living death to be good. How about Mind Twist or cabal interrogator, instead of rakdos's return.
I've got some experience with playing Brago as a commander. I just want to to point out that, a planeswalker-heavy brago deck is the way to go. Jace Beleren, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Karn Liberated and Elspeth, Sun's Champion are all great in this kind of deck. The small jace gives you an insane amount of card advantage, the big jace is.. well incredible. Karn can become vey VERY hard to deal with if you can activate him every turn to exile a card in hand AND a permanent. Elspeth seems underwhelming maybe at first, but she helped me deal with Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite-pumped boards, with a bunch of flying blockers, and then make some chumps after.
But, I have to say, the best way of abusing Brago, King Eternal is through Tezzeret the Seeker . Usually if I can get Tezzeret and a brago trigger, I win the game. This is usually what I do, get Tezzeret to -3 and get a Rings of Brighthearth, then flicker Tezzeret and -3 again, this time copying the activation with rings, tutoring for Basalt Monolith and Sensei's Divining Top. These artifacts get you infinite colorless mana and can get you to draw your enitre deck (by copying top's draw ability and casting top over and over with the infinite mana). OR you can get Strionic Resonator if your board allows you to win like this.
Another big thing Brago does, is something that a blue deck absolutely loves, you can play spells with artifact mana, and he untaps your manarocks after (so you have access to your mana to counter stuff). In my brago deck I usually run Mana Vault, Basalt Monolith, Grim Monolith, Mana Crypt, Azorius Signet, Gilded Lotus, Mind Stone, Sol Ring, Talisman of Progress, Mox Opal and Sculpting Steel. This way, you REALLY really don't need 39 lands, you can go as low as 32 lands if you get the really good artifact ramp. it makes your draws much more interesting and your starts way more explosive. But to be honest, I don't think most decks can even use such a high number of lands (maybe a deck that's land-themed). Another good thing about artifact mana is, that Strionic Resonator becomes a valid win-condition. If you can make at least 2 mana with artifacts, you can copy the Brago trigger, let the copy resolve with the original trigger on the stack, the copied ability blinks the artifact mana and the Strionic Resonator, which makes an infinite loop because you can copy the trigger again before the first trigger resolves. Add a Venser, Shaper Savant to bounce everything your opponents control, or a Spine of Ish Sah, Frost Titan, or Knight-Captain of Eos for infinite tokens.
That's also why Trinket Mage is so powerful in a good Brago deck. Kor Cartographer is cute, but not nearly as cool as Solemn Simulacrum, I suggest you move to more artifact mana than actual land ramping (azorius colors aren't good at this, so stick to better and faster alternatives I'd say).
Aven Riftwatcher doesn't really fit in a edh deck I think, it doesn't really do anything. Even if you're blinking it. Same goes for Auramancer most times. The coolest thing you can do with her is recurring Soul Snare, which is not really that amazing. You don't need 2 Duplicant effects I think, you can cut Phyrexian Ingester imo. I'm also not entirely sold on War Priest of Thune, you should probably cut him in favor of an Enlightened Tutor (grabbing you Act of Authority, which is way better, or anything you might need otherwise), The tutor is also VERY effective if you move to a manabase that is more artifact-based.
Some things you need to have for Brago's sake: Swiftfoot Boots, Thassa, God of the Sea, Rogue's Passage. I've also noticed that you use Sunblast Angel and your only equipments you run grant your Brago shroud, which doesn't allow you to target himself, so you're basically killing your Brago in the process.
Your focus of redundancy is kind of weird to me, you run Stonehorn Dignitary, Magus of the Moat and Knight-Captain of Eos all in the same deck, this seems overly defensive to me. Brago wants to swing in fast and get insane quantities of card advantage fast, not be a grindy control deck, I think. One of those should be fine, and if I'd have to choose, I'd go for the Knight-Captain (because I could sac Elspeth's soldiers if for some reason, Brago isn't swinging).
Gilded Drake is amazing and a must in every blue deck. Yeah you're giving them a blocker, but Venser, the Sojourner is so SO juicy in this scenario (first, you -1 making everyone unblockable, then blink venser and your other stuff, then use venser's +2 to blink Drake and steal something every turn). Also Jace, the Mind Sculptor bounces Drake to your hand and does this to an amazing degree with Brago as your commander.
Palinchron is amazing with Brago, it grants you great flexibility with your mana thanks to the blinking. And he's an infinite combo with Deadeye Navigator, which in turn grants you access to a lot of infinite combos. And this will most likely result in you winning the game.
Spell Crumple is outclassed by Hinder, especially because you're running both Mnemonic Wall and Snapcaster Mage, which don't interact with Spell Crumple at all. I also recommend trying Pact of Negation, Force of Will and Cryptic Command. At some point I even put in Decree of Silence (because of the insane amount of fast artifact mana I was getting) It was a lot of fun watching people reading the Decree they've never seen before, looking at Brago and then scooping up their cards. If you would change to Archaeomancer from Mnemonic Wall, you could include Time Warp. The wall also works with Brago, but Archaeomancer can also work with Riptide Laboratory for infinite turns.
I haven't gotten the chance to test this guy in Brago, but Clever Impersonator seems like he could do some insane stuff. Consecrated Sphinx is kind of amazing in every blue deck. Stoneforge Mystic is also very good in this kind of deck. You can grab Lightning Greaves, Swiftfoot Boots, Sword of Feast and Famine and if you have the space for it, Sword of Fire and Ice (fire and ice also protects you from Chaos Warp, Gilded Drake, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and any blue flying blockers like a Swan Song token)
But really, this deck could use an Intuition and an Entomb to help you get creatures like Gravecrawler, Bloodghast and possibly Reassembling Skeleton into your graveyard, to make Grimgrin more reliable, and to support a sacrifice theme in the deck.
Divination isn't exactly an edh staple. If a one-shot draw spell is going to give you your card advantage, it should be something incredible, like for instance Fact or Fiction or Skeletal Scrying. But there are lots of ways to draw a bunch of cards in these colors, like Consecrated Sphinx, Rhystic Study, Phyrexian Arena, Disciple of Bolas, Necropotence, Jace, the Mind Sculptor to name a few.
In my opinion, dimir has one VERY insteresting card: Notion Thief. The amount of strategies that get shut down by this guy is incredible. Flash this in as a response to a JtMS activation, it's brutal. Also if someone casts Wheel of Fortune or Whispering Madness, this is insane. Works against Mind Stone/Sensei's Divining Top/Staff of Nin/Sphinx's Revelation/Disciple of Bolas/Momentous Fall/Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, all kinds of crazy shit gets shut down...
In a deck with a mill-subtheme, you should really put more graveyard hate in your deck. Often by milling opponents, you're actually helping them by giving them more options.
And if you're truly serious about milling, play Mesmeric Orb (it also makes it harder to cast a favorably timed Enlightened Tutor or Vampiric Tutor for your opponents, and activating Sensei's Divining Top just got a little harder).
Lim-Dul the Necromancer seems really out of place here (not that I usually see a use for him anyway, but...) You should replace him with something you could actually use, like something to make your combo strategy more consistent, or something that otherwise helps you in your strategies (like make tokens, Grave Titan comes to mind)
Ashes of the Fallen as far as I can see has synergy only with Zombie Apocalypse. If this is the case, you should probably cut it, it's really not worth a slot as it's going to matter only once per game, at best. And even then the results may vary in efficacy. Actually, I also don't really think that Zombie Apocalypse itself is all that amazing (you're running 16 zombies in a 99-card deck, how many of those are usually in your graveyard?). If it's not part of a game-winning combo, there really no point in having specific 2-card strategies. (This not always the case, like: if both cards are useful on their own without the other part, or if the produced combo is not necessarily game-winning but certainly altering the gamestate to a great extent, making it hard for your opponents to win after).
Having more tutors means getting more consistency: Demonic Tutor is a basic must in every black deck. After that, you can always employ Vampiric Tutor, Diabolic Intent, Beseech the Queen to further your combo wins.
Your lands could also include Unholy Grotto (which is very useful in some cases like getting back a Fleshbag Marauder, Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to match your Zombie Master and Sheoldred, Whispering One to ensure that swampwalk is useful (while fixing your own mana), Cavern of Souls, to get your best zombies into play uncountered (while fixing your mana), Strip Mine because there is always a land that deserves to be destroyed. Other than utility lands, your manabase could use some fixing, but these kind of fixes can cost a lot of money (fetches, duals, shocklands...)
The mana rocks are based on preference, but I wanted duplicate effects that ramp to 6 mana on turn 4. I was considering one of the Mind Stones or a Gilded Lotus but desided to go with a more midrange mana rock costed at 3 mana. It migut get changed after I play with it a bit bUT I'm keeping it for now
|0.5 TIX||0.5 TIX|
|Avg. draft pick||2.96|
|Avg. cube pick||8.9|
|Commander / EDH||Legal|
|Duel Decks: Jace vs. Chandra||Uncommon|