Do you ever miss dual decks? What about preconstructed decks for anything other than Commander? I know I do, and if Wizards of the Coast isn’t going to feed my love for thematic decks with distinct restrictions, I’ll just have to fill the void. Standard Brawl is one of my favorite ways to play the game, and is among the most budget-friendly ways to grind out rewards in Arena, so I’ll start with some of the most enjoyable tribes in the format.
These two decks are roughly designed to play against each other, but function perfectly fine as a budget way to play Commander-lite. Each deck is built around the same restrictions that you can see in previous preconstructed dual decks: they are only allowed a certain number of any given rarity, and focus on fun splashy cards. The numbers are based roughly on the last official Brawl preconstructed decks, with each deck built with the following rarity restrictions:
1 Mythic, 11 Rares, 20 Uncommons, 28 Commons
First, let’s look at my chosen commanders who would also function as the “face” cards for the deck. The newest tribal payoff for vampires features an exciting form of card advantage: Evelyn the Covetous. She helps you build up an extra “hand” of exiled cards while you commit to a steadily spookier board of vampires.
Werewolves, on the other hand, have a more traditional form of card advantage in the command zone. Tovolar, Dire Overlord helps your creatures flip and represents a finisher all by his lonesome. Together we already have plenty of tribal payoffs, so let’s see what other spicy cards we can look forward to casting.
Choosing the coolest mythic option in the tribes is really hard, especially with the added potential option of several wickedly cool planeswalkers among vampires and werewolves. However, it seems more interesting to include large, scary creatures that top each tribe’s curve.
For Standard Vampires, there is no creature scarier than Lord Xander, the Collector, who is completely back breaking if he can hit the board. Similarly, Avabruck Caretaker can take over a game with ease, all while protecting herself (and potentially the rest of your board) with hexproof.
The majority of the rare picks for vampires are about what you expect: flashy, powerful vampires that have additional recursive abilities or survivability. The vampire deck starts to add in some sacrificial synergies while aiming to maximize the number of triggers that can be gained off of Evelyn.
The rare selection for werewolves includes additional tribal payoffs, including some stellar enchantments that smooth out the early and mid game for the wolves. The werewolf deck begins to bend more towards aggression, wanting effective early plays that let Tovolar build up card advantage.
The uncommon cards for both decks are where you really start to see the bread and butter of both tribes. With flashy rare slots largely eaten by creatures, we can also start to see the spells that will help guide your plan. The vampiric uncommons are packed with tribal payoff creatures and beatdown options, plus some solid removal and card advantage.
The werewolf uncommons bring the beat down, including some stellar early drops and removal to help break through in the early game. Things are rounded out with combat tricks that can prove exceptional against many of the smaller vampires.
Interestingly, though perhaps unsurprisingly, the majority of common slots are actually being used for lands. Nevertheless, both decks see a few surprisingly solid utility creatures at common, as well as a few extra pieces of removal. The vampires start with some cards that further lean into artifact and tribal synergies:
The common werewolf picks help round out the curve while adding still more removal and tricks, helping the combat step go their way whenever possible.
If you’ve been doing the math, you may have noticed that we have a couple of rare slots remaining, some uncommons, and a veritable stack of commons. These are spent filling out our mana base so it runs fairly smoothly for budget pieces. First, the vampires trying to get to all three colors with some consistency:
The werewolves have a little more room in their mana base since they’re only two colors, including a fun utility land option in the form of Access Tunnel:
With the land base fleshed out, we officially have two fully complete decks. As befits the Brawl format, both decks are essentially midrange value piles, but they both succeed in leaning into the sundry strengths of their respective tribes. There are plenty of ways to upgrade both decks, but if you’re looking for a fun pair of decks to jam with a friend or a stellar budget start to Standard Brawl in Arena, you’ll find nothing better!
Brawl Duel Deck - Vampires
Brawl Duel Deck - Werewolves