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-Brawl Attempt #1-

Commander: Kaya, Intangible Slayer

Theme: Control/Tokens

I've been having a great deal of fun with this deck. It's got a wide variety of answers to most of the popular meta threats, and it's been remarkably consistent in play.

I've not been very keen on Brawl format up to this point. For one, I was (and still am largely) against Alchemy cards & formats in which they are legal. I even stopped playing 60-card Historic for a while on Arena & went exclusively Explorer & Standard because I kept running into Alchemy stuff I didn't like (not even always stuff I'd lose to either).

With that said, this is my first attempt at a Historic Brawl Deck. I pulled out all the stops (also my first crack at really using Alchemy cards), already having a significant number of these picks on-hand just from free packs without having to use up many Wildcards (especially on Alchemy stuff - yuck!).

Orzhov is by FAR my preferred Color Combo in Magic regardless of the format I'm in, so I had at least 1 copy of all the Rare Dual-lands and other key cards starting out too (which probably isn't the case in other colors, and Rare Wildcards are sacred and precious...haha).

So, Kaya, Intangible Slayer encompasses literally EVERY facet of my favorite color combo, Orzhov. She's got Life Drain, Exile-based Creature/Enchantment Control (plus cloning commander abilities!), and Infinitely repeatable Card Draw each turn if wanted (what?!). Plus, a Hexproof Commander seems pretty solid, especially for someone like me looking to break into the Historic Brawl format & who isn't totally sure on common threats for each build type. I just HAD to give this a try as a Commander, and I figured if I'm going in Historic Brawl rotation, I'd give Alchemy a try while I'm at it to try & keep it competitive (but, we'll see how I like them; if the deck leans TOO hard on them to win lots of games I'll probably drop the Alchemy stuff altogether).

The format in Brawl is somewhat limited compared to a lot of the Commander-style builds on this site, but I saw Kaya, Intangible Slayer in play in Explorer quite a few times before building this deck, so I had a general idea of some synergies I wanted to use. That said, I don't claim this build as 100% my own, especially with Brawl being a lot more limited in card selection, I imagine many other people will go the same route as me.

The general idea is massive Mana Ramp to drop Kaya, with lots of cheap Instant-speed interaction, lots of Card Draw to hone consistency, and plenty of Boardwipe effects to just run the table with Kaya. I included a couple of X-cost cards given all the mana I imagine I'll be sitting on, and may include more as I get used to the format & get a better feel for late game.


  • Kaya, Intangible Slayer This seems like she's got everything I love about Orzhov, the challenge (I think) will be having a 7-mana Commander cast reliably. I'm hoping that her Hexproof once on the battlefield will at least prevent me from having to re-cast her TOO many times. Functionally, her (-3) exile control ability seems like it'd be particularly good, since I'm thinking a lot of people will use utility enchantments as well as Enter-the-Battlefield type Commanders since re-casting them isn't a problem usually.

Synergies (to be updated & completed later):

  • Mondrak, Glory Dominus doubles Kaya, Intangible Slayer's (-3) Ability; also great Synergy elsewhere in the Deck, particularly with the Planeswalkers. This is what inspired me to try Brawl in the first place, combo Kaya with Mondrak. Seems like he'd be wicked with Smothering Tithe too for mana ramping into Kaya. I did consider Token Generation in a couple other spots in the deck, but more as an afterthought - his primary use is to amplify Kaya.
  • Sheoldred, the Apocalypse turns Kaya, Intangible Slayer's (0) Ability into great Lifegain, negating some of the need to use her (+2) ability to stay alive each turn. Plus, she's an excellent blocker. I imagine Brawl games will include a lot of opponents Card Draw as well, but primarily I included her so I'm not beholden to Kaya's lifedrain as much.
  • Ominous Traveler seems like he'd be good with all the Boardwipes I plan to use to maintain control, since he can create blockers on his own, plus return to hand as needed (kind of). His Spellbook looks like it has a good number of low-mana drops, which I'm hoping will let me keep him safe in hand at least somewhat reliably. Also, in late game I'm thinking he could even create a small army being re-cast/returned multiple times once most of the powerful control spells have already been played out.
  • The Eternal Wanderer can flicker Key to the Archive repeatedly if need be which should provide some decent options (Demonic Tutor is on the Spellbook list, possible fetch method for my Endgame options).


  • Torment of Hailfire a longtime favorite card of mine, with massive mana ramp I'm betting this could get huge & really fun. It works wonders in my other Explorer builds that focus on Boardwipe control, making its potential extremely harsh. I'm calling this my Primary Finisher & I low-key hope that this deck just turns into a somewhat reliable & massive Hailfire spitter.
  • Kaya, Intangible Slayer with a clean enough board plus Hexproof, she can probably use her (+2) ability to finish games on her own in some matches at least.
  • Grim Tutor and The Cruelty of Gix can Tutor to find Torment of Hailfire, or a Creature-generating Planeswalker to finish out the game (if Torment is milled or already used).


  • Blood on the Snow a Boardwipe that's also useful against Superfriends (even if it kills my own Kaya) seems decent. Running 16x Snow Land basics plus a Coldsteel Heart for the sole reason of potentially reanimating with this (since why not).
  • Bontu's Last Reckoning one of two possible 'Turn 3' Boardwipes against opponent Dream Hand situations, plus later on with so many mana rock artifacts to use instead of lands, the downside of this card won't matter much at all.
  • Day of Judgment is one of the three '4-mana' boardwipes in this deck. No brainer.
  • Doomskar is the second of two possible 'Turn 3' Boardwipes, but it requires using up 'Turn 2' paying Foretell (plus it has to be in-hand off the draw to set up basically). Still, it's a boardwipe that can sit in Exile until needed, safe from hand hate.
  • Farewell is a bread-and-butter card on Arena in many builds. Powerful control, importantly misses Planeswalkers (Kaya Commander).
  • Kaya's Wrath is the second of three '4-mana' boardwipes in this deck. Plus, it's Kaya theme and has an occasional upside benefit.
  • Sunfall printed, I guess, because a '6-mana' global Creature Exile wasn't already harsh enough in Standard (LOL). Awesome new card, plus a very nice upside benefit with Incubate, which can sit idly by and survive multiple boardwipes before transforming if need be.
  • Wrath of God is the third of three '4-mana' boardwipes in this deck. A Legacy classic.
  • The Eternal Wanderer isn't strictly a boardwipe, but she can Ultimate the same turn she enters play (like Kaya) and against quite a few builds I can see this being a boardwipe equivalent.

Alchemy and/or Revamp Card Picks (to be updated & completed later):

  • Black Market Connections I've seen this in action too many times in Historic to pass it up if I'm giving the Brawl format a try.
  • Ominous Traveler mentioned above, I'm curious to see how this guy plays. Will be my first intro to Conjure mechanic.
  • Lantern of Revealing another mana rock, plus a way to filter lands off the top in late-game to speed things along. Seems good. EDIT It's not. Too slow. Replaced with Honored Heirloom to add more Graveyard hate to the deck.
  • Key to the Archive another way to try Conjure mechanic, the Spellbook is full of classic powerhouse cards, plus it doubles as an any-color mana rock to cast them.
  • Gate of the Black Dragon and Gate to the Citadel wanted to try Seek mechanic & these were some of the only ones that'd fit.

Cards I'm Unsure On (to be updated & completed later):

  • Heliod's Intervention Decided to keep this. Extremely Useful Card (update added about this below).
  • Esper Sentinel with no way to pump him up reliably, I think his Card Draw will be easily dealt with & not all that beneficial to me. Plus as one of my only creatures I think he'll find himself the target of early creature control pretty quickly. Not sure how much early-game Draw this will provide, but I was also low on Turn 1 plays & in theory he can chump block for Kaya even if drawn late-game, so here we are.

The Maybeboard (to be updated & completed later):

So far this list is just comprised of possible sub-in's for Esper Sentinel, as such, I'm only really considering 1-mana spells (with one exception so far).

  • Declaration in Stone Sorcery speed unlike most removal, but exile-based & also highly effective against generated tokens.
  • Fragment Reality The only Alchemy card being considered currently for replacement. Powerful effect, but I've never been a huge fan of randomized results as I tend to regret them as often as I appreciate them. Still, exile-based control against multiple card types for 1 mana seems solid, and against a deck similar to my own I can see hitting a 1-drop with this and it netting nothing in return.
  • Innocent Blood Since I run so few creatures, this is potentially quite powerful & the 1-mana cost helps offset it being a Sorcery. Still, I can see this putting me in a pickle with a low creature count since any creature I cast I tend to want to have stay around. Will have to gauge token generation reliability with this deck more before I'll be 100% sure on this one.
  • Shire Terrace and Great Hall of the Citadel will both be in the Main Deck as soon as the TappedOut site here updates their legality in the format. Right now they list as invalid and that bothers me, so here they sit for now. Will likely drop to x7 on each Basic land to make room for them as the only real downside will be less snow lands for Blood on the Snow, but that mechanic is an afterthought at best (plus, usually 4-5 snow lands is good enough for most targets in my deck that this would hit).


Updates Add

It took a couple dozen test games, but ultimately Sheoldred  Flip wasn't as great an asset to the deck as I'd hoped. With all my boardwipe focus for control in this deck, it often felt like an underwhelming Elspeth Conquers Death (even worse since the opponent gets to pick) and the Enchantment side isn't nearly as hard to deal with in a Commander-style setting. There were a couple of games where she proved quite useful, but for each of those instances there are probably 2 or 3 games where she's cast and is destroyed in the same turn.

To that end, I opted to include Increasing Ambition since despite being a lousy hand-cast tutor ratio, it IS still a tutor, and the Flashback cost isn't out of range at all for this deck, so this is a possible 3 tutors in 1 card. I've already got plenty of options for dealing with a wide array of threats, so being able to just fish out my better picks more often is turning out to be preferable to just 1 more control spell.


Revision 7 See all

(2 months ago)

-1 Authority of the Consuls maybe
-1 Forsworn Paladin maybe
+1 Great Hall of the Citadel maybe
-1 Inquisition of Kozilek maybe
+1 Shire Terrace maybe
Date added 4 months
Last updated 2 months
Exclude colors URG

This deck is Arena legal.

Rarity (main - side)

7 - 0 Mythic Rares

51 - 0 Rares

15 - 0 Uncommons

10 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 3.05
Tokens Clue, Copy Clone, Emblem Kaya the Inexorable, Human 1/1 W, Incubator, Phyrexian 0/0 C, Pilot 1/1 C, Samurai 2/2 W w/ Double strike, Samurai 2/2 W, Shapeshifter 3/2 C, Spirit 1/1 C, Spirit 1/1 W, Treasure
Folders Uncategorized
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