Why is brawl the only good MTGA format?

Why is Brawl the only format I’ve been enjoying on MTGA recently? I don’t feel motivated to climb the ladder for mythic as I’ve already done that before, and they recently banned every card I’ve enjoyed in standard (RnD what the hell?) So after playing brawl a few times just to do my dailies I actually found myself really enjoying playing Yasharn (and then a few other lists I brewed after that) and I figured there’s a lot of you in that same “Wishing I had something MTG related to do that isn’t stale” feeling. (I mean I still jam games of obscure legacy decks on Cockatrice, but shhh)

Standard is pretty dead

Every time they ban a card, the player base seems to move onto the second best bonkers thing that shows up in a top eight. Uro’s gone? Time to play Elemental Landfall, and when that’s banned probably the next broken thing. It’s tiresome to curate a sexy 75 and then have your star player get put on the bench. The only stuff banned from Brawl is broken cards like Runed Halo which reads: “Gain protection from your opponent’s commander”

Singleton has always been the most rewarding deck building experience

Singleton has always been a great deck building challenge from formats like 8-point Highlander (singleton vintage, basically) to Elder Dragon Highlander, to Commander to the latest: Brawl. You’re forced to try and make your deck consistent by finding as many solutions to problems as possible while banking on big threats. For example, one of my favourite picks to slide in is Rambunctious Mutt.

He’s the good boy you’re always asking your dog about. When you’re building a deck you’re always looking for niche removal options, but also bodies Rambunctious Mutt happened to be in my Wild Card budget for exactly both those things, but it can also be recurrable with other comboing cards, making it pretty powerful.

Also spending hours trying to find the right combo of green ramp cards that cost less than four is an art in itself. Cultivate is in the format but Kodama’s reach isn’t? You can’t just use a bunch of suspiciously identical-but-differently-named cards, like you can in EDH.

The power level is pretty balanced

Weirdly when a format has only one copy of each card it’s hard to abuse busted strategies consistently, but that doesn’t mean that the format doesn’t have a satisfying power level in it. My favourite two-card-combo at the moment is Peer into the Abyss and Underworld Dreams:

Target your opponent and watch them draw 20-ish cards, then lose half their life, then take 20 damage. Pretty consistently a killer on turn 7, and you can even Grim Tutor for either half of the combo!

Literally every deck has access to the colourless eight mana board wipe that is Ugin, and the two mana ramp artifact Arcane Signet, and Command Tower is even available. Which leads me into my next point:

It’s a Wild Card light format

You’ll have most of your standard collection be able to instantly insert into your brawl deck, the main thing you’ll be spending WC on is your commander which is usually at least a rare. You only need one copy of each card, so if you’re stacking a deck with rares you don’t need to grind for that fourth copy. Also there’s only really three or four non-basic lands for colour fixing that are rares (Instead of traditional commander where you save up your pennies for eight weeks to buy that Bazaar of Baghdad, or that Gaea’s Cradle I never did buy for my Gaddock Teeg deck) It’s pretty easy to get to a playable state, and then slowly upgrade your deck with some stronger stuff as you complete your dailies and weeklies.

In summary, because we’re never getting Modern, Legacy or Vintage on MTGA (the good formats), and standard has been hot garbage since Thragtusk rotated out (fight me about it) Brawl is the only format left worth playing on MTGA

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