Historic Brawl with Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy – Simic Ramp!

Yesterday, I decided I was going to give Historic Brawl a try. I saw it on Arena and honestly, I never played it before. So, I looked around on Untapped.gg and found a deck that I thought might be interesting. I’ve always liked Simic type decks, and I think Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy is a cool card, so here’s the one I went with:




Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy Historic Brawl by Huey Jensen

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Header - The Commander

Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy

The commander is the key to the deck. This deck is filled with mana rocks, dorks and otherwise to increase the amount of mana you can generate quickly. Kinnan is also a cheap card to play to the board, making it easier to cast with mana up for a counterspell of some sort, and in good hands, can provide explosive draws, providing bonus mana as early as the second turn and deploying massive threats as early as the third.

The activated ability on Kinnan may not be as important as the passive ability, but it’s very strong, and it’s a built-in pay off for all the added mana you get from Kinnan’s first ability. You can find things like creatures that counter spells when they enter the battlefield, cards that destroy and bounce permanents, cards that fight the opponent’s creatures and other miscellaneous, powerful effects.


Header - Mana Rocks and Dorks

Mox AmberJaspera SentinelSaruli Caretaker

The cheap mana producing cards are among the key cards to making the deck work. The best ones are the one-mana ones, or zero mana in the case of Mox Amber. If you play a card like Jaspera Sentinel or Saruli Caretaker, for example, on the first turn, you can play Kinnan on the second turn and then follow up with a two-cost mana accelerant like any of the random green Elves. This is a great hand, of course, but in this scenario, provided you have another land, you’re getting to seven mana on the third turn if your opponent doesn’t kill any of your stuff.


Header - The Counterspells

Spell PierceFrilled MysticSpell Swindle

This deck has a lot of ways to counter your opponent’s spells, ranging from cheap and efficient, like Spell Pierce, to attached to a creature, like Frilled Mystic, to expensive but backbreakingly powerful, like Spell Swindle.

I’ve found that the way the format plays, you want to be doing the most powerful thing possible on a lot of your turns and therefore often want to counter basically anything that furthers your opponent’s game plan or aims to set back your own. Sometimes, you might let Kinnan die if you can just cast it again from your command zone on the next turn, but in general, it’s a high cost to leave mana up turn after turn in this kind of deck or format. Also, players are mostly trying to assemble really powerful things like we are, so you’re happy to counter most of it.


CounterspellMemory Lapse

You do have a lot of two-mana counterspells, which is convenient, because due to Kinnan’s passive ability, it can sometimes be very convenient to leave up two mana the turn you play it. For example, if your final card is a Mox Amber or Arcane Signet, you can easily choose to leave just that card untapped to play something like Counterspell or Memory Lapse.

On turns where I intended to use Kinnan’s activated ability, I’ll often use it in response to a spell my opponent is casting. This might not be the case if it’s a cheap setup spell like Brainstorm or something, but it is for any kind of expensive spell. Against a creature, it can be a bit more complicated because it can be rough if you hit a card that would theoretically fight that creature instead of a counterspell while the threat is on the stack. There are exactly two creatures that counter a spell, Frilled Mystic and Voracious Greatshark, and there are a few more cards that are able to interact with a card once its in play, like Dream Eater, Thorn Mammoth, Kogla, the Titan Ape, Meteor Golem, Wicked Wolf and Agent of Treachery. Agent of Treachery is a Human though, which you can’t grab with Kinnan’s ability, so don’t factor it in.


Header - Interaction

When you untap and you’re in need one of a card that fights, bounces or destroys, I’m more likely to take a spin on my own turn than wait. Part of the advantage of waiting can often be that you also need the mana to leave a counterspell up, which is fine. But there are advantages to not waiting, particularly removing a threat right away, especially while your opponent is tapped out. If you’re able to attack afterwards, that typically makes it more important.


Craterhoof Behemoth

You do also have a fair number of cards that are significantly better when you put them into play on your own turn compared to your opponent’s. The most notable examples of this are Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger and Craterhoof Behemoth. Both are very good cards, but Craterhoof Behemoth is particularly useless, other than being a 5/5 on the opponent’s turn. I would be lying if I didn’t say that when I get in particular situations that Craterhoof Behemoth is good, I tend to YOLO activate Kinnan on my own turn more than I would otherwise. I figure I’m luckier than average, so it’s fine.


Header - Big Not-Always Game-Enders

Cavalier of ThornsCavalier of GalesBiogenic OozeElder GargarothCarnage Tyrant

There are a few cards in the deck that are really strong and provide a big threat, but mostly the value you’re getting from them is just that: a big and high-power/toughness creature, often undercosted, that will be tough for the opponent to deal with. I think of cards like Cavalier of Thorns, Cavalier of Gales, Biogenic Ooze, Elder Gargaroth and Carnage Tyrant to be in this vein. The Cavaliers do a little more, but they aren’t typically having effects so strong that they’re ending the game. That being said, these are sort of bread and butter cards that bridge the gap from the midgame into the endgame in some cases, but in all cases provide a board presence and require an answer before too long.


Header - Typical Game-Enders

Nyxbloom AncientVorinclex, Voice of HungerKoma, Cosmos Serpent

In my experience, with Nyxbloom Ancient, Vorinclex and Koma, Cosmos Serpent, you’re pretty safe, particularly if any of those cards survive until the end of a turn cycle. Nyxbloom Ancient and Vorinclex basically allow you to play your whole hand and/or activate Kinnan three times, which is big. Vorinclex and Koma can start shutting down your opponent’s mana, which is very powerful in the format.


Nezahal, Primal TideTishana, Voice of Thunder

Nezahal, Primal Tide and Tishana, Voice of Thunder are both card advantage engines, Nezahal being tough to deal with and Tishana drawing you a fistful of cards immediately. Specifically in the case of Tishana, you’re often drawing so many cards that one of them being a counterspell can be enough to put the game out of reach.


Header - Good Luck Opponent!

Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur

I think the single card that my opponent’s have conceded to the most in Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur. If that card enters play in the opponent’s end step, they have to discard their entire hand to hand size, which is basically impossible to come back from considering you’ll then draw seven on your next end step. The fact that Jin-Gitaxis has flash makes it such that unless you find it off a random Kinnan activation on our own turn, you should be able to set up pretty well.


Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is a little tricky. It’s somewhat possible to beat if the opponent has an exile effect, and it’s a lot worse to hit off of Kinnan, but it’s still good. Getting to 10 mana isn’t particularly hard in this deck though, and getting to 10 mana quickly is totally reasonable too. Ulamog usually does the trick in those spots.


Mass Manipulation

Mass Manipulation is a card that often takes control of the opponent’s entire board. I cast it for five once in a game I was playing yesterday and naturally, without a sweeper or a counter, there’s just no coming back from that.


Header - Cool Plays

A couple particularly cool things that have happened to me so far.


Kogla, the Titan Ape

I was on the play with a really good draw against someone who was playing a Selvala, Heart of the Wilds deck. I went first and had a good draw with a mana creature on turn two plus Kinnan and a mana creature on turn three. My opponent played turn three Selvala, untapped and played Doubling Season after I had passed my fourth turn. I responded with Kinnan’s activate, hit Kogla, killed the Selvala and then attacked and killed the Doubling Season and my opponent conceded.


Spell Swindle

I was playing against a Rhys the Redeemed deck. Since I’m Simic and the opponent was Selesnya, we were both mostly doing our things. I had a lot of big creatures, but my opponent was amassing quite an army of tokens. Luckily, they hadn’t been able to get Rhys online to start doubling them. At some point, while I had some mana up and Kinnan in play, my opponent went for a March of the Multitudes for X=9, which I was able to Spell Swindle and get 12 Treasures. Unfortunately, my opponent conceded before I had time to activate Kinnan over and over.

I enjoyed playing with this deck and the format was pretty fun too. The games tend to be pretty fast and there’s a lost of powerful stuff going on, so if that’s your preferred way to play Magic, give it a try!


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