Brawl Is the Best Format In MTG Arena

MTG Arena is still one of the best ways to play Magic: The Gathering. In spite of some concerns over the economy of the game and digital-only Alchemy releases leaving some players justifiably disaffected with the digital client, Arena is still home to a number of fun and (surprisingly) budget-friendly ways to enjoy Magic. Of the many ways to play the game digitally, one format stands tall as the best way to play: Brawl.

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Beginner Brews

First and in some ways most importantly, Brawl, the 60-card singleton format that uses the standard card pool, is the most beginner-friendly format. As a singleton format, allowing only a single copy of any card that doesn’t have Shadowborn Apostle rules, players don’t need to stress about filling out sets of cards to play. Instead, they can take cards from their initial starter decks and any cards they pull in drafts or prize packs to craft perfectly playable piles.

With the added variance in singleton decks, all that you need to worry about is establishing a decent mana curve and ensuring that your card quality is as high as it can be. Brawl lets you play with only the best of your collection, letting you pick out the best legendary creature and making highly synergistic decklists without burning a million wildcards. 

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Budget-Friendly Brawling

If you’re looking to play MTG Arena without having to empty your wallet, Brawl is the best way to do it. To start with, you only ever need to burn one wildcard on any given piece of digital cardboard. After that, your singular copy is good to play in any Brawl deck you like for as long as it’s standard legal (and beyond if you branch out into Historic Brawl). On top of that, Brawl is the kindest to your time when it comes to completing quests and building your collection.

Many will tell you, accurately, that drafting is the best way to build out your collection. This can be true, but only if you have a decent winning record and have the time to devote to all those matches. Brawl gives you an easy way to knock out your dailies at a solid pace, with games lasting long enough to complete all your “Play X” quests, but not so long as to overstay its welcome or take away your valuable time. If time is money, Brawl is gold. 

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Refreshed With Rotation

For many, the fact that Brawl rotates is a negative, but instead I consider it all positive. For Standard, rotation can often only change so much- a lot of the best decks end up “rotation proof” and change very little once sets make their way out of the format. This is not at all true for Brawl- while certain staples can persist, singleton deckbuilding means you have a much higher shot of “losing” key cards.

Again, this sounds bad, but when it comes to keeping the format actually feeling fresh and different, rotation has a much greater impact on Brawl. When rotation day rolls around, Brawl comparatively feels like an entirely different landscape, with all kinds of new one-of cards coming in to fill empty slots. Few things are quite as exciting as breaking open a new format, and Brawl does so better than any other.

The Gateway to Historic Brawl

Finally, 60-card Brawl lets you start engineering your collection for the future. If the idea of a 100-card, 1 vs 1 format with a commander sounds good, Historic Brawl is excellent… but has a few caveats. The first, of course, is that it uses the Historic card pool- including Alchemy cards. This can be a deal breaker, but if you’re okay playing with (or at least against) digital-only cards, Historic Brawl has a lot going for it. On top of the Alchemy “problem,” Historic Brawl adds 40 more cards to your decks, so you have to be willing to devote that much more grind (or money) into your card pool to compete. 

That said, once you have a collection that you’re happy with, potentially after your first Brawl decks rotate into Historic, your 60-card decks are an amazing starting point for Historic Brawl decks. It may be just shy of being as great as Commander, but until the day that Commander is integrated into Arena then Brawl and Historic Brawl will help you get that Commander kick in the digital space.

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