Pattern Recognition #326 - Kambrawl

Features Opinion Pattern Recognition


6 June 2024


Hello Everyone! My name is berryjon, and I welcome you all to Pattern Recognition, TappedOut.Net's longest running article series. Also the only one. I am a well deserved Old Fogey having started the game back in 1996. My experience in both Magic and Gaming is quite extensive, and I use this series to try and bring some of that to you. I dabble in deck construction, mechanics design, Magic's story and characters, as well as more abstract concepts. Or whatever happens to catch my fancy that week. Please, feel free to talk about each week's subject in the comments section at the bottom of the page, from corrections to suggested improvements or your own anecdotes. I won't bite. :) Now, on with the show!

So building a Brawl Deck is a White Whale of mine given the only place that supports it is Arena. I've tried to get my LGS to try out the format, but the play group is far too entrenched in their Commander card pool to actually play with these limitations. I, on the other hand, am willing to try.

And as such, today I will be going through and doing my annual "Standard Brawl" deck building, which will then transition into a full Commander deck. For those previous posts where I built decks, I did The Questing Beast Brawl, then the Commander Upgrade. I followed that up with Killian, Ink Brawlist, and then Killian, Commanding Duelist. Two years ago, I made Queza, Brawler of Agonies, which evolved into Queza, Commander of Agonies. Then last year, it was Samut of the Brawl and Samut, Commander of Naktamun

This year... This year is a bit different. I never really had fun with Samut on Arena, and my attempts to play her in paper Commander fell flat. But I'm hoping this year will be fun. But first, I need to pick a Brawl Commander!

Looking at this list of all potential Post-Rotation Brawlers, I realize I don't have any particular colours in mind for my Commander. So let's go down the list and see what catches my eye. First up, Abuelo, Ancestral Echo is a very nice Azorious Blink Commander, and I can see it in a deck I build. But while I can respect it, I don't feel it. I'll save that for later.

Anim Pakal, Thousandth Moon is a deck I want to build in paper, but I don't have a copy yet. I should check my LGS's bulk bin tomorrow. Baral and Kari Zev is an interesting Spellslinger Commander. But I want to see what Bloomburrow is offering with Bria, Riptide Rogue. Bonny Pall, Clearcutter is an absolute beast of a Commander, and I haven't done Simic Landfall. Yet. Bristly Bill, Spine Sower isn't going to be a Commander but is in my GW +1/+1 deck. Both versions of Eriette are appealing, so I'll keep them in mind. Ertha Jo, Frontier Mentor looks to have some fun synergies, especially if I include Zirda, the Dawnwaker as a Companion later on.

Imodane, the Pyrohammer is another card that is interesting to me as I can use damage multipliers and just throw down Lightning Bolt and Shock until the end of the world. Or my opponent as the case may be. I'll put a pin in her as well. Kambal, Profiteering Mayor is another interesting option. Thanks to Ixalan and Murders, making Clues and Maps isn't hard, and I piggyback off my opponent as well. I have Loot, Key to Everything in paper, but I'm not sure how I want to take that deck. Plargg and Nassari... But they work best as a full Commander with four players, and not in Brawl. Maybe I should be future-proofing my deck? Rocco, Street Chef is on my list of future Commanders as well.

Roxanne, Starfall Savant is an interesting choice as she doubles mana rocks, and makes one when she hits the battlefield. I can see myself playing her as well. Definite maybe at this point. Sovereign Okinec Ahau is exactly the sort of Commander I would put Bill into. And Bloomburrow is looking to keep leaning into this aspect of the colours, so more support is coming.

Of these, I'm really looking at Anim Pakal, Kambal, Roxanne and Okinec. , , and . Sorry . Not this year. Definitely counter and token heavy. Okinec is future-proofed with a lot of counter-multipliers, that's for sure. Anim can have a lot of effective synergy going for it. Roxanne feels like she's more at home in a non-Brawl format as a lot of her internal support right now are Powerstones, which while good, leans her pretty hard into Artifacts, which is a hard aspect to build around. Kambal feels very reactive and while he's a punisher for greedy people, he does have some support in both goal formats.

And the RNG says...


Please, give it up for our new Mayor and Brawler!

When I build my decks, I try to keep to a semi-standardized format. Not because it's perfect, but because it helps keep things organized and to help me focus. In this case, I have a deck of 60 cards, one of which is reserved for the Commander - Kambal. I'm going to reserve 24 for Lands, leaving me with 35 cards left over. These, I am going to divide into 5 groups of 7 each. Each grouping will have its own theme and purpose, and I will use those to fill out my deck.

In order, these will be Direct Token Makers, Indirect Token Makers, Interaction, Utility and Flex. Given that Kambal is all about Aristocrating his way through Tokens, having two slots dedicated to that helps ensure that I will always have options. Now, I should take a moment and talk about what I mean and what I mean differently when I say "Direct" and "Indirect" Token makers. In my mind, and for the purposes of this deck building exercise, I will consider the difference to be between the making of tokens as the goal of the card, and the making of tokens as a side effect. So, for example, Archangel Elspeth would be Direct because that's what her +1 does, while Get Lost would be Indirect because the Map tokens aren't the purpose of the card, but an additional effect on top of the removal aspect.

Direct Token makers

It turns out, this is a very hard thing to fill in. There are some cards that are easy includes, but a lot of these cards are conditional or otherwise limited. But even then, Collector's Vault serves as both card draw (and removing dead cards), as well as token making in the form of a Treasure. Actually, no, this one goes into Indirect. Envoy of Okinec Ahau is a straight mana-to-token creator, and has a good body as well. Baron Bertram Graywater is a backup Commander, but synergizes extremely well with Kambal. And he can also do card draw by saccing the tokens I am making. Compleated Huntmaster would seem like a bad choice, but he can in a pinch, sacrifice the Incubator token to create another one. Invasion of Tolvada  Flip is conditional, but I will include it for now. It's an easy remove if I have to. Transmutation Font lets me make a token that I need at the moment, be it life, card or more mana. And depending on what else I put into the deck, I could use the other part of it. Thousand Moons Smithy  Flip is a flip-land, and makes both a token and creature. Finally, Threefold Thunderhulk is something I want to work as while it is expensive, that it enters with three tokens means Kambal does work.

So for summary, here is the list:

A solid set of cards that have the intend of making tokens. I'm a little wary of the higher mana value among them, but that is something I can work with and around. But I have a core of repeatable token makers, so let's move on to the cards that make them incidentally.

Incidental Token Makers

Also, I changed the name of the subject line. Oh well. First of all, Collector's Vault is a card I moved into this section because the primary use of the card is to cycle cards through my hand. But it still makes a token. Emergency Weld is a nifty recursion card in case something dies, and it makes a token soldier. I'll have to check to see if I use this on Kambal, does he see the token enter as well? Fake Your Own Death and Fanatical Offering are both good cards. Note to self - include more Card Draw in Utility and Flex. Greedy Freebooter is a one-drop for the deck that can feed something later on and make a Treasure. Hunted Bonebrute may seem like a bad choice, but it's still a viable 6/2 with Menace. And if for some reason I don't want to give my opponent token-creatures, I can still Disguise it. Hopeful Vigil is another cheap card that gives me a token, and I can crack it to Scry, which is always useful.

Honestly, there's a lot here, and I'm sure there's plenty of overlap to go around. Which is what the Flex space is for~!


These are the cards that screw with the enemy either by making a mess of their plans by ruining something of theirs or by protecting something of mine. Soul Search goes here as tactical hand removal, and it can also make a token if I grab something cheap. In addition, Lavaspur Boots goes here in case I draw it for the slight protection for Kambal. It's not much, but it's something. Get Lost and Stroke of Midnight are both removal spells that also happen to make tokens in , but let's not forget Deadly Derision, Rat Out and finally Bovine Intervention. All of which also make tokens! it's win-win! For me that is. My opponent may not be so agreeable.


Utility is stuff like card draw, random nice things to have, and I would say mana acceleration as well. Again, token generation should not be a consideration here, but something to still watch out for.

To that end, we'll start with Arcane Signet because you can't go wrong with this. And because I want to avoid Powerstones for future-proofing as well as the lack of Artifacts to cast or use, I really only have Magnifying Glass and Phyrexian Atlas as options. Not the best, but better than nothing. When this goes to Commander, I'll do a lot more here.

And I need card draw. Corrupted Conviction will let me use creature tokens that are made. Insatiable Avarice doubles as a tutor and hand-filler. Loran of the Third Path doubles as removal and card draw. No Witnesses is a global removal spell that makes a token and set up further card draw later on. I can go with that.


These are cards that I wanted to put in but didn't have a better place to put them. That's natural. It gives me room to stretch some things out that I felt needed more room than was available in their default categories. And as I was going through these things, there was a lot! So let's start.

Spellbook Vendor is a neat synergy between providing a token each turn and providing protection for creatures. Sure, you can only do it once per combat, but it still is something. Teysa, Opulent Oligarch is an easy include as not only does she Investigate for each opponent on your end Step (as they should be losing a life!) when you sac a clue, she makes a Spirit, which in turn triggers Kambal, causing life loss. Oltec Matterweaver is a neat doubler of artifacts I control, but I'm not sure he's the best fit in this deck as he requires creatures to be cast. I'll give it a play and see how it runs.

Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation  Flip needs no explanation or justification. More tokens is better.

Platoon Dispenser is another good card that could have gone into previous categories, but there was just too much good stuff involved! So here it is for you all.

I wasn't to sure about Kaya, Spirits' Justice, but I'm willing to give this a shot to see how it goes. I'll also add Charge of the Mites as an additional mutli-role card for the deck.

And now this leaves us with my mana. 24 lands. It looks like I have 17 pips and 21 . I'll throw in The Fair Basilica and The Dross Pits for backup card draw. In terms of multi-coloured lands, I would want Command Tower, Concealed Courtyard, Shadowy Backstreet and... You know, I'm not feeling a lot of lands here. I'll just fill out the rest with 10 Plains and 9 Swamp and be done with it.

And so with that out of the way, here is the deck!

Kambrawl, Mayor of Tokens

Standard Brawl* berryjon


What do you guys all think? Next week I'll have a video of me testing this out on Arena, and then week after, it'll be time to upgrade into a full Commander deck!

Until then, please consider donating to my Pattern Recognition Patreon. Yeah, I have a job (now), but more income is always better, and I can use it to buy cards! I still have plans to do a audio Pattern Recognition at some point, or perhaps a Twitch stream. And you can bribe your way to the front of the line to have your questions, comments and observations answered!

This article is a follow-up to Pattern Recognition #325 - Threatened to Act The next article in this series is Pattern Recognition #327 - Kambarawl Gameplay

Please login to comment