Fall not prey to the common folk's lies of having "fun" in a test of skill. The only route to enjoyment in any contest is decisive victory. And why stop there? There is no victory more exquisite than one that is absolute. You must not only break your opponent's forces, but their will to fight. Crush them under your boot heel, and watch them grovel for mercy at your feet. They will all learn to show the proper respect to Brago, King Eternal .

Bow Before the King is a deck that focuses on controlling the board by playing permanents with powerful ETB abilities, then overwhelming your opponents' deck by repeatedly reusing these abilities with the help of your commander. The games can be long and slow, and your opponents will often have to pool their resources just to fend off your oppressive value engine. While the deck may struggle to deal enough damage to end games, you will more often win by having a single opponent lose, then focusing your oppression more heavily on the remaining players so that they cannot play at all, giving you all the time you need. In this description I hope to outline the strategies and synergies of the deck for all you would-be kings.

Due to the heavy use of Magic: the Gathering jargon in this deck guide, and the fuzzy nature of many of these terms, I have included this glossary. Players familiar with the terminology of the game can likely skip over this without much worry.

ETB: Shorthand for "Enter the battlefield," a term that appears on many cards in the deck. If something has an "ETB effect," it means it does something when it enters play, such as Peregrine Drake .

LTB: Shorthand for "Leaves the battlefield," this term is not common, but still relevant to a couple cards. If something has a "LTB effect," the effect happens when it leaves play, such as Nevermaker .

Flicker: This can be a broad term for any effect that causes a permanent to leave play, then return to play. In this particular deck, I will be using this as shorthand for the more specific effect of anything that causes a card to leave play, then IMMEDIATELY return to play, such as Cloudshift .

Blink: This can also be a broad term for any effect that causes a permanent to leave play, then return to play. In this context, I will be using this to mean any effect that causes a card to leave play, then return to play AT THE END OF THE TURN, such as Liberate .

Bounce: Any effect that moves a card in play back to its owner's hand, such as AEther Adept .

Card Advantage: A card or combination of cards that let us have more cards in our hand to work with, usually by drawing exta cards, such as Ichor Wellspring

Ramp: A card or combination of cards that give you access to extra mana earlier, such as Azorius Signet .

Tutor: Searching your library for a specific card, and putting it either into play, into your hand, or on top of your library, such as Heliod's Pilgrim .

As with most commander decks, the centerpiece of your deck is... well... your commander! Brago, King Eternal isn't particularly impressive in terms of his power, toughness, and so on, but his primary ability gives you a clear path forward for the deck. Whenever he deals combat damage to a player, you can flicker any number of target nonland permanents you control. This is an ability with near limitless potential. You can pick which permanents you flicker, letting you reuse a variety of abilities every turn. Activate ETB and LTB effects of permanents you control, untap permanents (since permanents that are flickered or blinked come back untapped), remove counters from your permanents, select new targets for auras... the list goes on. This single ability takes this deck from being good, an makes it oppressive.

That is not to say that this ability is without risk, however. You have to not only have your commander in play, but have him successfully combat damage to a player as well. If opponents are able to prevent this in any way (blocking, preventing attacks, preventing damage, removal, etc.), his effect won't trigger, meaning you won't get any of your extra value. The flying keyword native to the card mitigates this issue somewhat, but it does not fix it entirely. Also, because your commander has to attack to trigger this ability, you won't be able to use it the same turn it comes into play. Finally, while you are attacking with your commander a lot, you aren't dealing much damage, making it difficult to close out games without the help of specific cards.

Both the strengths and weaknesses of your commander can inform you about what type of cards you should be using in this deck. However, as long as we're talking about weaknesses...

Brago, King Eternal is by no means unique purely in the ability to abuse ETB triggers. Some commanders, like Roon of the Hidden Realm can also flicker or blink your permanents to similar effect. Others, like Yarok, the Desecrated actively make ETB effects more powerful immediately when they are played. Plenty of others like Muldrotha, the Gravetide can also abuse these triggers by recasting cards over and over again. As you may have noticed from these examples, many also have the added advantage of providing a wider range of colors to work with, and more powerful colors to boot. On top of that, most can interact with an opponent's board far less and still be able to use their abilities. However, there are two key reasons why none of these (admittedly powerful) commanders can take the crown; scale and versatility.

Brago, King Eternal 's ability work on what is, without a shadow of doubt, the largest scale of any of the other commander options. Others must select just a few targets each turn, or pay in mana for their effect to work, or only trigger once per card. Brago is without such limitations. You flicker everything you want to, every turn, for free. Get all of your effects, every turn, just for hitting someone with your flying commander. While other commanders may be more consistently able to trigger their abilities, a single trigger from Brago is worth several from any of the competition. Additionally, because it is free, using this ability doesn't slow down your ability to build your board, and cannot be limited by your mana supply.

Brago's other key advantage is the versatility of his effect. While it can't be done at instant speed or target things you do not control like some similar commanders, it more than makes up for this in other areas. It is able to target any permanent type other than lands, letting you abuse ETB and LTB effects on artifacts and enchantments better than many. It untaps the permanents it targets, letting you also quickly abuse tap abilities on non-creature cards. It can move your auras to new targets as the need arises, and its ability to target multiple cards in play simultaneously can create a few interactions unique to this commander. It can easily generate mana every turn as well thanks to not having its own mana cost. It may not be the fastest ability for reaction, but it gives the most potential for proactive options.

Like most decks, you want mana, and the best way to get it is lands. Your land package is very basic due to the high cost of fancy lands, relatively easy color requirements, and the deck's heavy use of non-land based ramp, but it is important to talk about nonetheless.

Azorius Chancery : Making us bounce a land and coming into play tapped aren't very fun, but being able to tap for two mana at once (and in both of out colors) is very helpful. Tapping for two mana and bouncing a land is also technically card advantage, though admittedly only useful if we were short on lands already.

Azorius Guildgate / Boreal Shelf / Coastal Tower : These come into play tapped, but makes both colors of mana. Now in Snow and Gate flavor!

Evolving Wilds / Terramorphic Expanse : You can tap and sacrifice these to search for the basic land of our choice, then put it in to play tapped. While this is technically worse than getting a land that makes both of your colors, you'll always choose the color you need most, and pulling lands out of the deck also makes you slightly less likely to draw more, which is useful later in the game when you have mana to spare.

Sejiri Refuge / Tranquil Cove : Another two color land that comes into play tapped, but this time it also gains you a little life. These are just better than your other two color lands.

Island / Plains : They come in untapped, they make colored mana, they're almost a third of your deck, what more do you want?

The most basic element of this deck is cards that control your opponent, mostly with ETB or LTB effects. After all, little is more demoralizing than spending a couple mana to undo someone's entire turn. To that end, you'll run the following cards:

Act of Authority : ETB exile an artifact or enchantment. You can technically give it away on our upkeep to get rid of another thing, but you shouldn't unless absolutely mandatory, since doing so gives the table a tool to fight against your board, and you can usually cause the same effect other ways.

AEther Adept / Man-o'-War : Bounce a creature ETB. Pretty simple, but still effective at stopping someone from ever getting their big threat to stay in play. These also force your opponent to keep wasting mana replaying the same stuff if they don't want you to shrink their board down to nothing.

Reality Acid : LTB sacrifice the enchanted permanent. This card is AMAZING. This targets any permanent. IT makes your opponent sacrifice the target, so it beats indestructible or regenerate. Heck, because of how flickering auras works, it can attach to hexproof or shroud permanents after the initial casting (auras re-entering play attach to permanents without targeting said permanent). The only downsides are that is has to attach, then stay put until you flicker it to move to new things, so if the thing it is attached to dies for any other reason you lose your cool enchantment, and if you lose the ability to flicker the card then it does nothing for a long time before eventually removing itself.

Reflector Mage : Bounce a creature ETB. This one has the added benefit of stopping your opponent from replaying the creature for a turn, keeping things gone for longer and making it almost twice as good as our other single target bounce cards.

Nevermaker : LTB put a permanent on top of your opponent's library. This is one of the best cards in the deck. If you target a single player with this every turn, and they don't have a way to draw extra cards repeatedly, they never get to draw new cards again, making them a non-threat. This also keeps working until your opponent has literally no cards left in play, so it is nearly impossible to get out of unless they already had a way to disrupt your engine in hand or in play.

Stonehorn Dignitary : ETB force a player to skip their next combat step. Because it is skipping steps, not just stopping creatures from attacking, you can even stack this ability on someone for multiple turns if you get the ETB multiple times in a row. Creature damage decks of all shapes and sizes beware!

Lavinia of the Tenth : ETB detain all non-land permanents you don't control with CMC 4 or less. Completely shuts down many token or aggro decks, stops almost all mana generators other than lands from functioning, and randomly hurts most other decks as well, since everyone uses low CMC cards at some point or another. Getting all your opponents with one card is great, and the protection from red is also occasionally helpful.

Riftwing Cloudskate : ETB bounce a permanent. This being able to target any permanent increases its value drastically. Focus fire on a single opponent and their lands, and they'll be stuck with their current number of land drops forever.

Azor, the Lawbringer : ETB prevent sorceries and instants from your opponents' during their next turns. The instant ban is mostly pointless other than disrupting some combos since they can just be played on other people's turns, but stopping sorceries altogether is AMAZING, because it shuts off most board wipes, which tend to be one of the biggest weaknesses for your permanent-heavy deck. 6 power in the air is also nothing to sneeze at, and the second effect is worth mentioning in a later section.

Sunblast Angel : ETB destroy all tapped creatures. Take out all those pesky creatures on the first play, then frighten your opponents into not attacking. Your creatures can still attack willy-nilly, because as long as Brago hits you can flicker all the ones that attacked to make them return untapped. Be mindful when you play this card, though. If you have token creatures, your commander can't protect them from being wiped because they can't be flickered. This also hurts your use of auras on Brago, King Eternal , because he must be flickered to avoid being wiped, which means all the auras on him must be dissipated to other, unflickered creatures, potentially stalling your engine depending on what your auras were doing.

Vedalken Dismisser : ETB putting a creature on top of its owner's library. This is a worse version of Nevermaker due to higher cost and more limited targets, but it can still lock players out of the game if they aren't careful, or at least make them skip several turns while they wait to run out of creatures you can put back.

Luminate Primordial : Giving your opponents extra life is not something you like to do, but this is worth it. Exile one creature ETB for each opponent! That's up to three exiles per turn, and can be a crippling swing play. Just, you know, aim it at the lower toughness things when possible, let your other removal get the bigger targets.

Resolute Archangel : ETB bring your life total up to 40. While not exactly controlling your opponent, this does effectively nullify any non commander damage that they deal to you without killing you each round, so... close enough?

Scourge of Fleets : ETB bounce all of your opponents' creatures with a low toughness. So kill all small tokens, bounce all utility creatures, every turn? Sounds good. This gets stronger as you get more islands, too, until it is eventually just bouncing everything every turn.

Spine of Ish Sah : ETB destroy a permanent. Any permanent. Plus if someone destroys it, it goes back to your hand instead, making it highly resistant to being removed by others.

Since Brago, King Eternal is able to flicker all of our permanents at once, it makes sense to play out multiple permanents as quickly as possible to establish a dominant board state. Of course, to play lot of things at once, you need lots of mana. Luckily, there are plenty of ramp options either created or improved by your commander's ability thanks to flickering causing permanents to untap.

Azorius Signet : Taps for two mana, but costs 1 mana to use. You can flicker it to use it multiple times in one turn, but you'll need other mana open for both uses. This one has the added benefit of costing 2 mana to cast, meaning it can be used to ramp your commander out a turn early.

Cloud of Faeries : ETB untap two lands. This makes the creature free to play the tun it comes in, but more importantly generates you an extra 2 mana if you flicker it for free with your commander. The flying body is also nice, and it can be cycled in a pinch.

Mind Stone : Taps for colorless mana. It can also be used to draw cards once if you have enough mana, and the cost means you can use it to ramp into your commander early.

Mycosynth Wellspring : ETB search for a basic land to put in your hand. This isn't quite ramp per se, but it make sure you never miss a land drop again, which is close enough for me. It also nets you an extra land if someone blows it up.

Prismatic Lens : Taps for colorless. Costing 2 mana also lets it be used to ramp out your commander a turn early, and it can also filter mana colors in a pinch.

Azorius Cluestone : Taps for colored mana. It can also be sacrificed for a single card draw once you have enough mana.

Azorius Keyrune : Taps for colored mana. This also doubles as a small flier if you have mana to burn or need a blocker badly.

Basalt Monolith : Taps for three colorless mana. Normally you have to pay to untap this, but thanks to your commander you can just flicker it instead, meaning it generates tons of mana.

Seashell Cameo : Taps for colored mana. The only ramp cards without other fringe uses or special traits.

Peregrine Drake : ETB untap five lands. This is a huge spike in mana available each turn, so you should have no trouble playing things with this on the board. It also makes an infinite combo with Deadeye Navigator to make infinite mana.

As I said in the last section, playing out a lot of permanents at once lets you get a more commanding handle on the board. And with all that ramp, your next limitation on this front is how many cards you have access to on any given turn. As such, you want plenty of cards that let you draw, or otherwise gain card advantage.

Ichor Wellspring : ETB draw a card. Pretty simple, and it also draws you a card if it gets destroyed.

Muddle the Mixture : Transmute for 3 mana to tutor a 2 drop to your hand. You can use this as a counter if you need to, or to get some specific answer, but this mostly lets you find an infinite combo discussed later, so... yeah...

Prophetic Prism : ETB draw a card. It also lets you fix your mana colors, if you need to.

Cloudform : ETB Manifests the top card of your library with flying and hexproof. This card has one of the more complex interactions with flickering in the deck, but it is worth explaining. You can flicker both this card and the manifested card separately. When you do, if the manifested card was any permanent (not just a creature), it will come back into play face up without having to have paid its mana cost. This card then also comes back into play, manifesting a new card from the top of your library. So... not only draw a card, but cheat it into play. The only downside is that if you manifest an instant, it just gets sent to the graveyard when you flicker it, you don't get its effect.

Heliod's Pilgrim : ETB tutor for an aura. This lets you find all kinds of protection and evasion for your commander, as well as some of your card draw or removal.

Lightform : ETB manifest the top card of your library with flying and lifelink. It's effectively another copy of Cloudform , which you should read to get a feel for how the more complex mechanics relating to this card work.

Pentarch Ward : ETB draw a card. It also does protection and evasion things, so we'll talk about it again later.

Sea Gate Oracle : ETB look at top two cards of library, put one in your hand and one on the bottom of your library. Not only is this drawing you a card, but it's filtering away the less useful cards as well.

Traveler's Cloak : ETB Draw a card. It also does evasion stuff, so we'll talk about it again later.

Unquestioned Authority : ETB Draw a card. It also grants evasion and some protection, so we'll talk about it again later.

Archaeomancer : ETB return an instant to your hand from the graveyard. While you don't use a lot of instants, those you do use are very versatile, so being able to reuse them gives you a lot of options.

Cloudblazer : ETB draw two cards. Straightforward and to the point. The life gain and flying body are helpful as well.

Custodi Squire : ETB lets the entire table vote on an artifact, enchantment, or creature to give you back out of your graveyard to your hand. No matter what is chosen you still get something that someone took the time to blow up earlier, and if you can get one person to vote the same as you (such as if you need to team up against another player), you get your choice of a card back. Sometimes people make mistakes and you get multiple cards back as well by them forcing a tied vote.

Azor, the Lawbringer : While Azor is in the deck for the ETB effect primarily, he does let us pay mana when he attacks to draw cards and gain life. This is very inefficient compared to our other methods of drawing cards, but the fact that it works without our commander or the need for ETB triggers gives us a little versatility.

Diluvian Primordial : ETB cast free instants or sorceries out of the other players' graveyards. Turn your opponents' flashiest moves against them for free, and make them hesitate to play new instants or sorceries for fear of giving them to you on a later turn.

While all of the control, ramp, and card draw are awesome in theory, none of them work anywhere near as well if you can't do one simple thing: hit people with your commander. As such, here are the tools you'll use to keep Brago, King Eternal alive and unblocked.

Drogskol Captain : The flying body is nice, but it isn't why you're here. Granting all spirits +1/+1 is also a nice bonus, but your real reason for playing this is that it grants hexproof. Your commander can't be targeted by spells or abilities except for your own? Yes please.

Pentarch Ward : Granting protection from a color of your choice, without making auras already attached fall off. This protects against some removal and prevents some blocks. On top of that, it has a card draw ETB effect, and flickering it will let you change what color you are protected against as the board state shifts.

Traveler's Cloak : Grants a basic landwalk of your choice. Flickering not only lets you change the type of landwalk to open up new players, but also nets you some sweet card advantage.

Unquestioned Authority : Protection from creatures is like unblockable but better. The card advantage from flickering this is also nice.

card:Cloudcover: Makes all of your other permanents able to bounce to your hand whenever something targets them. This protects from targeted removal, as well as letting you turn your own targeted abilities into a way to dodge board wipes. Think of it like a slightly worse hexproof, but for all your permanents, even lands!

Whirler Rogue : An interesting card, to say the least. ETB makes tokens that can be tapped to grant unblockable to any creature. Not only is this getting your commander through unblocked, it's also going to come up in a later section.

Card:Spectra Ward: The ultimate in protection and evasion. Protection from all colors without making enchantments fall off, and a nice +2/+2 bonus to boot. Your Commander can now only be blocked, targeted, or damaged by colorless sources, meaning very little short of a board wipe can stop you now, and commander damage is suddenly a much more viable strategy.

The point of running Brago, King Eternal as your commander is to flicker your permanents, but only doing powerful things during your own turn can leave you predictable. While this suite of instant spells and abilities may not have the synergy present in the rest of your deck, it makes up for it by keeping your board in one piece and allowing a few tricky maneuvers. If it helps, just think of this as removal for your opponent's instants and sorceries.

Cloudshift : Flicker a creature you control. Super basic, and super low cost.

Counterspell : Counter target spell. Another no-frills card just doing what it needs to do.

Dovin's Veto : Counter a non-creature, and it can't be countered. This is your ultimate answer to other would-be rulers of the table. You have other ways to deal with creatures anyways.

Liberate : Blink a creature you control. Letting a creature you control (probably your commander) dodge a board wipe can be quite demoralizing for your opponents, and will save you later on casting costs.

Momentary Blink : Flicker a creature you control, and it has flashback. Getting two instant speed uses out of the same card at different times is good, and having it sitting in your graveyard can make opponents hesitate to even attempt removing your commander if you have the mana open.

Muddle the Mixture : Counter an instant or sorcery. You'll usually use this for its transmute ability, but it can stop a board wipe or other such nastiness in a pinch.

Otherworldly Journey : Blink a creature, and when it comes back it's bigger. Most useful in protecting your commander, since it comes back stronger than before for extra commander damage each turn, but it can also be used to get rid of a blocker for a turn if you don't mind giving away counters.

Turn to Mist : Blink a creature. This has the most flexible mana cost of all the blinks you have, as well as the ability to target other people's creatures if you need to get an attacker through.

Eerie Interlude : Blink any number of creatures you control. Use this to let your entire board dodge wipes, or to set up an alpha strike with a bunch of extra ETB triggers.

Forbid : Counter target spell, and buyback by discarding other stuff. Given how much card draw you can generate each turn, this acts as the counter that keeps on giving. Throw away your extra stuff to keep your board safe at almost all times.

Ghostly Flicker : Flicker two targets you control. The ability to target artifacts gives this more versatility than most of your other flicker effects, and targeting lands is useful in some fringe cases.

Deadeye Navigator : ETB soulbond, granting a 2 mana flicker ability to itself and the bonded creature. Not only is this repeatable blinking on a single creature to trigger it multiple times, flickering this creature with its own ability lets it soulbond to a new creature. With enough open mana, you can use this to protect your entire board from spot removal, or use it for rapid-fire activation of your other ETB and LTB effects.

As we've said before, Brago, King Eternal alone isn't very good at closing out games. While it is fun to occasionally toy with your opponents, winning by locking them all out of the game, most good decks will eventually find ways out of your soft locks, especially if they play against you often enough to be editing their decks for the matchup. As such, it pays to have win conditions in the deck as well to close out games faster once things are all tied up.

Strionic Resonator : So... let's talk about this card. Under normal circumstances, this a pretty basic "pay 2 mana, copy an ability" card, but not here. Have it copy Brago's triggered ability, and we use that ability to untap the resonator. Now whenever Brago hits an opponent, we get to activate him an extra time for every 2 mana we spend. Have Brago also target a number of permanents that generate at least 2 mana when flickered, and we now have infinite Brago triggers on a hit. Now add any other permanent that Brago can target, and we have infinite ETB or LTB triggers of that target. This card does broken things even without going infinite, and if you do go infinite you should find yourself with some combination of unlimited mana, unlimited draw, and unlimited removal.

Nevermaker : I said it before and I'll say it again, this card is amazing. One opponent never gets to draw cards on their draw step again, unless they let you wipe their entire board first. In a deck where you're good at removing permanents (and thus good at stopping repeatable card draw), this ends games once you have only one opponent left.

Whirler Rogue : While you mostly want this for the unblockable, an army of thopter tokens is good too. Also, because it can dole out unblockable to other creatures it makes all of our other win conditions better as well.

Call for Unity : Gains a counter almost every turn thanks to your blinking, and boosts all your creatures by how many counters it has. After just a couple turns you'll becomes a real threat with commander damage, and all your other creatures are getting scary as well. Extra good with one of your token generators.

Geist-Honored Monk : ETB make 2 spirit tokens, and has power / toughness equal to the number of creatures you control. The tokens alone are tough to deal with since they all fly, and once you have enough it's a simple matter of putting an evasion ability on this and swinging for the fences.

Deadeye Navigator : While this card won't normally win you games, it will sometimes. When paired with either Peregrine Drake or a combination of Cloud of Faeries and Azorius Chancery , it makes infinite mana, and by extension infinite flicker effects. Just think of it as a more difficult to assemble but more powerful and harder to interact with Strionic Resonator combo.

Medomai the Ageless : When he hits your opponent, you get to take an extra turn, but he can't attack on extra turns. Flying makes him harder to block, and while he doesn't get you infinite turns, he does double the turns you are taking, meaning double the Brago triggers, double the removal, double the draw, and double the mana.

Myr Battlesphere : ETB makes 4 tokens and can tap said tokens to get +1/+0 and deal 1 damage directly. This is probably the single best damage dealer you have, since each turn it pumps your damage output by 8 points. This can take an opponent from full health to dead in three swings, provided you can guarantee a clean hit.

And that's the deck! As with all of my decks, this will forever be a work in progress, and any feedback is welcome! Any taken suggestions will be credited at the end of the description in all future updates, and rules for card consideration are as follows:

  • For now, this will be a budget deck. Please keep all suggestions under $2.00 (once a card has been added to the deck, it will not be removed due purely to price changes)
  • When suggesting a card, it is preferable if you also include what you would remove, and why. This helps me to see the rationale behind adding the card, so it makes the suggestions more likely to be taken.

In any case, I look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions, and if you like the deck, be sure to give it an upvote to help more people see it!

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Date added 1 year
Last updated 3 months
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.72
Tokens 1/1 Thopter, 1/1 Spirit, 1/1 Myr, 2/2 Manifest
Folders Uncategorized, Budget, edh
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