Welcome to Andrew Jackson Highlander, a biweekly series of articles where I build and share $20 Commander decks. With Commander 2018’s recent release, I am going to share a build for one of the set’s alternate commanders in this article.
This week, we start off with a traditional Izzet strategy: Go-wide tokens…. Wait, wait, wait. That sounds like Selesnya, not Izzet. Well, this week’s commander, Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer, allows all of the Izzet Artificers in the world to live their Selesnya Saproling dreams.
Brudiclad is very interesting for a few reasons, even beyond the fact that it brings the token archetype to Izzet. The first line of text, “Token creatures you control have haste,’ means that you can take advantage of Brudiclad’s main ability the turn that you play it, mostly negating the 6 mana casting cost.
The real draw to Brudiclad is the fact that it can engineer all of your tokens into the best token you control. It even brings along a 2/1 Blue Myr token each turn to add to the swarm. It is noteworthy that Brudiclad does not specify creature token and even more noteworthy that the effect does not stop at end of turn.
Brudiclad is extremely unique and I knew that I had to build it for myself as soon as it was spoiled. There were two clear build paths to me, and I feel that I chose the more obvious build for myself: Spellslinger tokens. With producers like Metallurgic Summonings and Talrand, Sky Summoner and plenty of fantastic spells, I imagine this will be the most common build for Brudiclad. Take what Izzet is best at – casting instants and sorceries – and add some token synergy.
I thought about building a watered down version of that deck to share here, but as I looked into more cards, I realized that that were a much stronger build available on the Andrew Jackson budget. Taking heed of what the Selesnya guild does in their token builds, the deck I am about share is about getting bodies on the board as quickly as possible, playing creatures with Enters-the-Battlefield effects that generate multiple bodies, and then using Brudiclad as a finisher.
Tokens is one of the most popular archetypes in Commander and is the sixth most built theme here on EDHREC. That means that most Commander players are familiar with the basic strategy and how it plays out.
When playing a tokens deck, you want to start producing tokens as quickly as possible and make a wide board. Then you focus on protecting and pumping that board until you can knock your opponents out.
This Brudiclad deck follows that playstyle in a way that I never thought an Izzet deck would be able to do. We spend the early game dropping cards like Aviation Pioneer and Ghirapur Gearcrafter, which give us two bodies at a low cost.
An Izzet token deck actually has an advantage over other color combinations when protecting a board in the midgame. That is because this deck gets a nice little suite of countermagic. Negate and Disdainful Stroke can stop most board wipe options in the format, and Dissipate and Void Shatter give us some great catch-all counter-magic options.
Once we have established and protected a wide board, Brudiclad allows to pump our whole team of tokens in a very unique way: turning them all into the best token we control. That means we need some ways, like Dance of Many or Saheeli’s Artistry, to give us a juicy token target to copy. Once we have that all in place, we drop Brudiclad and the haste clause in its effect should hopefully allow us to start knocking our opponents out.
Confirm Suspicions / Spell Swindle – I love expensive counterspells that generate additional value, but it is always so hard to find a place to actually put them. Luckily, they really fit this deck. Spell Swindle is actually one of the top performers, especially if you play it the turn before you drop Brudiclad.
Emrakul’s Hatcher – Creatures that can generate more than one token when they enter the battlefield are huge for this deck, and this generates three. Honorable mentions to the creatures that generate two tokens: Beetleback Chief, Experimental Aviator, Prosperous Pirates, Whirler Rogue.
Myr Battlesphere – That’s not a moon, it’s a battlesphere! A battlesphere that brings four Myr tokens along with it. The fact that it generates that many bodies would make this card an auto-include anyways, but since Brudiclad makes Myr tokens, this is our best “go tall” finisher if going wide doesn’t work for us. This is one of the best targets to hit with a copy effect as well.
Precursor Golem – For five mana, this card generates nine power and nine toughness spread across three bodies. The 3/3 Golem tokens it creates are among our best natural tokens to copy with Brudiclad’s ability. While we can get blown out with instant-speed removal on this card, let’s live in magical Christmas land and imagine hitting a Precursor Golem with a Saheeli’s Artistry.
Stolen Identiy / Supplant Form – Six mana is a big ask for a Saheeli’s Artisty effect, even in this deck. These two are the best of those effects. Stolen Identity can lead to multiple tokens when placed on an evasive body and Supplant Form is interaction that can lead to some very big swings in a game.
Thopter Spy Netowrk / Sharding Sphinx – We often have a handful of Thopters hanging out in the early game and both of these cards are ways to generate value with them in the midgame. Plus, once we get to the lategame, we can generate a flood of cards or Thopters, which can help us close out a game.
Tilonalli’s Summoner – It is unfortunate that the timing of this ability and Brudiclad’s means we can’t transform the initial tokens this creates. However, we should have no problem getting they City’s Blessing in this deck, so this card can generate a very wide board state.
Mechanized Production – I tend to avoid cards that say “I Win” and did not put this card in my personal Brudiclad brew. However, it is a strong and fair win condition in this deck, so I would not blame anyone who wanted to add it.
Mimic Vat – This is a great value generating card, period, but in this deck, it can guarantee that we are turning all of our tokens into the best creature that has died in any given game.
Phyrexian Processor – I absolutely love this card and have been searching for the best home for it. Brudiclad definitely offers a good home, because even paying a modest amount of life, as little as five or six, can still be a huge payoff.
Rite of Replication – This is the best copy-token effect that blue has. Kicking it has won many Commander games throughout history and even without that option, the efficiency of a four mana cast to copy one target would be more than good enough for this deck.
Storm the Vaults- This Rivals of Ixalan flip-land has struggled to really make a mark in Commander, but that could definitely change with Brudiclad in the format. Generates value off of our early plays and then taps for a ton of mana in the mid-to-late-game.
Treasure Map- This is just a fantastic way to generate card advantage in this deck. Neither side is fantastic but both are just plain good, and two good halves makes a great whole.
Wurmcoil Engine – Wurmcoil is worth playing in any artifact deck and is just one of the best creatures of all time. This deck gets extra mileage out of the awesome tokens it leaves behind, so I think it is a definite include in the more creature-based builds of Brudiclad.
Board Wipes – Like most go-wide and token strategies, this deck really fears board wipes. While the classics like Wrath of God obviously scare us, the fact that we rely on tokens so much makes even Evacuation and similar cards terrifying. If your meta runs a lot of these cards, I would recommend buffing up your countermagic suite, and Swan Song would be my first addition.
Other Aggressive Strategies – While I really like the top end of this token deck and think Brudiclad opens up a whole new archetype for Izzet, other fast strategies still can get in under us and knock us out before we are really rolling. Fortunately, Red gives us plenty of “mini-sweepers” like Pyroclasm, Anger of the Gods, and Mizzium Mortars to help us deal with fast, aggressive decks and they’re all fairly cheap to buy as well.
I have always wanted an Izzet token general, because I love cards like Metallurgic Summonings. Brudiclad more than delivers because the design is wide open enough to give payoff without pigeonholing your deck into a any one specific way to produce tokens, or even the kind of tokens you are producing.
This deck capitalizes on this by getting on board early and creating any type of token possible, whether it be a Clue, Thopter, or Treasure. Once you have your tokens on board, I am sure that Brudiclad can help you engineer a win. Best of all, it’s powerful even on an extremely tight budget.