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Bloody Silverquills | Breena EDH (Primer!)

Commander / EDH* Aggro Hatebears Multiplayer Primer WB (Orzhov)

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Breena is a very strange commander. On first blush, she is most easily comparable to Tymna the Weaver -- both are cheap, aggressive commanders that give you card advantage as long as you keep attacking. Is Tymna better? Possibly. But Breena is definitely worth consideration. Her ability is tricky to grasp at first glance -- only on the third or fourth readthrough did I understand it, and only upon actually playtesting her did I appreciate what exactly her presence does to a game. Once I did, I came to the simple and humble conclusion that Breena is hands-down the best face Commander for the format that Wizards has ever released in terms of adding to and enriching the format while not invalidating other deck builds.

Let's break her text down:

  • Stats: Flying 1/3 for 3 MV. She'll come down on Turn 3, and can swing on Turn 4. While not offensively powerful, she can attack over a lot of boards thanks to evasion to get a little chip damage, but more important than that, she can get chip attacks in. Why is this relevant? We'll get to that. She's also pretty tanky, and with a little buffing, she can swing into most relevant fliers with no issue.

  • "Whenever a player attacks one of your opponents..." The trigger. Both you and your opponents can leverage this. Symmetric, but we all know how symmetric effects work in MtG. This ability will also trigger multiple times, if you line up your attacks right. This is also an attack trigger, so you don't need to worry about getting through, just attacking will slap it onto the stack.

  • "...if that opponent has more life than another of your opponents..." The condition. Breena wants you to not attack the opponent with the lowest life total. This means that, unlike Dethrone, you can have multiple players be possible targets. However, if all players have equal life totals, there is no person you can attack to trigger it. You have many opponents to select from to make your attacks, and you'll generally have two candidates in a four-player game. Your opponents will generally have one, unless they have the lowest life total, in which case they have two.

  • "...that attacking player draws a card..." The first payoff. The person who attacked? They get one card per trigger. You'll be making the most of it, and you should be able to get one card per turn cycle at least, especially with a few evasive critters or Breena herself. Opponents who can trigger this ability will get a card, but it's much harder for them, as they're not designed to leverage this ability, and they have fewer options to choose from in their attacks.

  • "...and you put two +1/+1 counters on a creature you control." The second payoff, one that is all yours. Two +1/+1 counters is a significant boost, turning a 1/1 into a 3/3, or a 2/2 into a 4/4 with one trigger. Note that this trigger happens whenever any such attack happens. This means that the boost happens mid-combat, before blockers are declared, which means you can swing with a 1/1 into a 2/2 and outsize the defender. It also can disincentivize people swinging at an opponent and at you, stopping people from putting pressure on you while they try to draw an extra card or two. If you can trigger this ability once every turn for a few turns, that'll add six, eight, ten, or more power to your board, without any additional mana investment required.

The interplay of these abilities make Breena a very complex commander to pilot, requiring a great deal of strategic planning. By manipulating life totals with quick jabs from cheap creatures, you can put your opponents in positions where they either cannot take advantage of Breena's ability, or where them taking an extra card for the deal is actually more beneficial to you, as you both get the boost in tempo from the size boost on one of your creatures as well as the relative tempo advantage from having one opponent attack another.

Breena best leverages a relatively compact gameplan, with a little bit of disruption, and a few cheap, evasive creatures, alongside a bunch of warm-body utility creatures and hatebears that you can build up in a pinch. The ability to turn any creature into a significant threat over one or two turns means that you can put pressure on very rapidly while both fueling the card advantage engine and manipulating which opponents have higher or lower life totals.

Whatever build you ultimately go for, your ideal curve will be 1-drop, 2-drop, jab someone, Breena, swing with both creatures and start getting triggers. From there on, the deck's composition and the way the game develops will factor into who and how and when you apply pressure and damage. Who do you want to be attacking? Who will you be able to attack, and with what? Who do you want dead? Threat evaluation is key, but if you keep on your toes, Breena enables insane levels of control over your opponents.

As a few examples, you can:

  • Swing in on the two healthiest opponents with evasive creatures, buff them up, and keep everyone on relatively equal footing while dumping pressure onto them all.

  • Keep everyone at relatively equal life totals, but using evasive creatures, make sure that your opponents would be forced into bad attacks or suicides by virtue of who has how much life.

  • Throw chip attacks at one or two players while focusing the brunt of your power on one opponent to push them out of the game.

  • Swing chip damage in and build up your board for an alpha strike a few turns down the line.

  • Put another aggressive deck at the lowest life total, feeding them cards while also setting your creatures up to outclass theirs when it's one-on-one...as they're incentivized to attack your opponents and not you.

  • Suddenly turn the corner on one opponent with a two or three turn Commander Clock with Breena herself.

I won't claim I've found an optimal build for Breena, but I do think that that this little treatise on her will be essential to keep in mind, whatever build you go for. I've opted for a more small-ball route, focused on removal and snowballing a few creatures into powerful threats, with a dabbling of a lifegain subtheme and equipment. I also run Armageddon and Ravages of War , because I'm a monster.

To break down card choice:

Breena is a heavily built-around commander in this deck. The deck capitalizes and relies on both her buffing ability, to make your cheap, evasive creatures into significant threats that require removal on their own, and the card-draw she generates to function. Almost always, you will want to play Breena if and only if you can immediately get at least one trigger out of her. Recasting her is a priority when she dies. There are a few ways to recur her from the graveyard, but not a ton, so be watchful and mindful of when and where you deploy her.
Breena runs an extremely aggressively low land-count. This is because the build I opted for runs an extremely tight ship, as well as Breena herself drawing so many cards over the first few turns. Once you hit the third land, you're good for a few turns. More lands can still be leveraged as time goes on, but you can get away with missing land drops a few times. Extreme emphasis is placed on untapped lands, the tempo-loss from a tapped land is very noticeable in this deck.

White mana is more important than black, but dual-producing lands are high priority as well. Fetching a Godless and/or Scrubland in the first few turns can easily fix all your mana troubles, but be careful -- you also play a lot of Armageddon effects, so keeping a few lands in hand is a reasonable line.

This is the block for the fodder, the (mostly) cheap creatures that will do the heavy lifting. Raw power of these creatures is not an issue, the priority is disruption, either through removal or through hatebear effects, evasion of any sort, and various utility creatures. Don't be afraid to throw any or all of these creatures into the red zone. Breena will see them through all right. One-drops should be able to stay relevant either through evasion or other late-game abilities. If you cannot curve at least one creature into Breena, you're gonna have a bad time.
Unlike a lot of Commander decks, I've opted for almost no ramp. This is due to the extremely low-to-the-ground nature of Breena. Ramp that is here is either creature-based or extremely cheap and powerful. Powering out an early Breena is not as effective as other commanders, because she really needs one or two extra creatures to be swinging alongside her.

Mana efficiency is at a premium in this deck, so things that cost one or no mana to really make work are the best options. Creatures can do whatever, because you want to be getting into the red zone anyway, so even if you can't ramp, you can start the value train going with Breena.

I like removal and disruption. Again, as always, creature-based removal is highly regarded, as you can use them to draw cards and threaten life totals. I've opted out of hand-attack creatures, but they could have a place in some metas, preferring instead to focus on flexible and cheap removal.

Especial notice goes to creatures that can turn +1/+1 counters into removal, as they both enable you to put on pressure and blow blockers out of the way if necessary. Ballista and Triskelion also loop with Mikaeus to win instantly. I run no tutors, but it is an interaction worth keeping an eye on as the game progresses.

Breena is fragile. Board wipes are your foe. Thus, you need to run ways of countering them. This is the section that will change the most, depending on your meta, as what protection you choose heavily depends on what you are trying to dodge.

Running too many is a bad plan, because you always need creatures, so Selfless Spirit is probably one of the best cards for this role. While emphasis is always placed on low costs, the protection we need is generally pretty expensive. This is the section I'm keeping an eye on the most.

Breena, unlike other aggro commanders, doesn't want to kill opponents quickly. While you may be forced to as other players come online, your priority is making sure you can keep swinging, and that all the players remain on equal-ish footing for as long as possible.

Threat evaluation is incredibly important, and being self-reflective with it as well is essential to pilot Breena. You want to be powerful right out of the gate, but becoming the archenemy if you're not prepared to close out the game quickly is a problem, as the deck really can't take the heat. Instead, you want to chip in, keep up a steady amount of pressure, but let other players start to take the lead.

Of course, it's equally important to capitalize on weakness. After a boardwipe, a counterspell war, or someone dropping the shields for a turn, you can still gut a player and force them onto the back foot. Plus, if everyone is recovering or still developing, Breena can develop enough early aggression to set up a later win off of some resilient creatures and a quick second burst.

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Top Ranked
Date added 7 months
Last updated 4 months
Legality

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

11 - 0 Mythic Rares

62 - 0 Rares

14 - 0 Uncommons

5 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.06
Tokens */* Illusion, Emblem Companion, 4/4 Angel, 1/1 Human, 1/1 W Token Creature Vampire
Folders EDH, EDH, Commander, EDH Decks, Favorites EDH decks, Future Decks, decks
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