Enter The Guildhall
Siona and the Argonauts (Brawl)
14 May 2020 - 10 min read
Hey guys, it’s Chev. Prooooobably better known as…Chev. Anyway, welcome to the first ever Brawl Homebrew at Hexdrinkers! The focus here will not be on top tier Brawl decks. Right now the meta is choc full of degenerates running Niv-Mizzet Reborn and Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy , decks that are quite linear in design and absolutely bonkers in execution… Editor’s note: Chev is one of those degenerates. Don’t let him fool you Instead of those we’re going to focus on brews that are relatively easy to put together with either some time in standard or a fair number of drafts under your belt. Let’s get right into it!
Belle of the Brawl
Today we’re going to start by going back in time three months. Before companions ruled the Earth…before Godzilla became an actual card. Before…Corona (and not the beer). It was a simpler time, my friend Oakley and I were getting our butts handed to us by a father and his nine year old son in a 2HG prerelease. (Actually come to think of it, I feel like a lot of my Brawl memories come from being trounced at prereleases…) Anyway the event was a bust, but I had opened a Siona, Captain of the Pyleas and had started imagining what a Selesnya commander deck would look like with her at the helm, leading an army of heavily auraed forces to victory against legions of foes.
Pretty neat right? Not only are you getting value as soon as Siona hits the battlefield, being able to “tutor” for a useful aura but also enabling a token sub strategy is not a bad plan B. The cost of throwing an Intangible Virtue or an Anointed Procession into a 99-card deck isn’t too high and considering they’d also enable more enchantment shenanigans…anyway. Right now you’re probably thinking “Chev, come on. Everyone does commander deck techs. Give me that good good BRAWWWL!” And I’d say, “Hold on, eager reader, we’re getting there.”
So I started scheming, and a plan started to form…way too quickly. You see, I couldn’t get my mind out of this rut that after needing to throw in the package of the most powerful auras ( Eldrazi Conscription , Darksteel Mutation , Gift of Immortality ), and the ramp package to be able to play the bigger auras and the consistency of a turn-two Siona… I found much less room for creativity than I would have liked. Some of this could be an amount of creative burnout being fresh off a stint of upgrading most of my other commander decks - maybe Siona was just schemed at the wrong time - but it gave me the glimmer of an idea that you’re about to see the results of.
What about putting together a Selesnya aura brawl deck? The restricted cardpool could really be a boon to the creativity required, and enable us to have a more unique experience with oh captain our captain. Enough talk though, let’s tech.
We’ve got a pretty impressive lineup available thanks to Theros’s heavy enchantment theme, and a couple powerful standouts from Ikoria and Eldraine. Let’s see the heaviest hitters:
All that Glitters reminds me of my only foray into pauper using a build that centered around Slippery Bogle and Ethereal Armor . Unfortunately, trading first strike for growing off of artifacts is not really helpful for us here but being able to directly benefit from every aura and other enchantment we play is reason enough to include this. With any luck, the high number of other auras and enchantment creatures will let this serve as a cheaper copy of our next highlight…
Colossification I mean damn, there’s not really much to be said for an aura that hands out +20/+20 besides I hope we can get it on something with trample. It’ll be interesting to see how often this is actually allowed to come down or put in work since the rest of our curve is relatively low. But in the event of a long game, having this big a finisher in your corner ain’t bad.
Hydra’s Growth trades Colossification’s significant mana cost for a time investment, being able to easily reach and surpass +20/+20 in the more durable form of +1/+1 counters, but taking a few turns to get there. Hydra’s growth has been an absolute powerhouse in every limited deck I made during the THB season and it’ll be interesting to see how this shapes up in Brawl. I personally think it’ll become a kill on-sight card which is certainly nice to draw attention if we’ve got anything else we need a distraction from.
Warbriar Blessing is one of our few forms of removal. White certainly doesn’t have the suite of cheap removal available to it in eternal formats, and besides a couple higher cost instants this might be one of the best chances to stay on theme and pop one of our opponent’s creatures. We’ll see if the benefits outweigh the costs though…
But of course, what good are all-star auras without all-star targets to enchant? We need a strong creature base to support our theme and I think these guys have what it takes to go pro:
Archon of Sun’s Grace could stand on its own as a 3/4 flyer with lifelink for 4 as a potential target to drop a Colossification on, but add on the Constellation trigger to create MORE flyers with lifelink? What?! It’s like…that’s our strategy or something! Anyway you’ll never be disappointed by drawing this card, at any point in the game.
Paradise Druid is a great example of what I consider a long-term investment. Upfront, it can give you a lil mana, get you dropping threats early, but later….you’ve got a creature with conditional hexproof. While you still need to navigate around its loss of hexproof on tap, there’s a lot to be said for equipping Paradise Druid with Sentinel’s Eyes and any other enchantment in your deck to build your own hexproof threat. Just be careful and remember Colossification taps your creature, which would render Paradise Druid vulnerable for a turn.
Lavabrink Venturer takes what makes Paradise Druid good and turns it to 11… conditionally. Remember that Protection also protects Lavabrink from your stuff so be incredibly careful about choosing Odd, since that’ll prevent it from being a target of either Colossification, Hydra’s Growth, or Sentinel’s Eyes. Just something to consider. Either way, still incredibly powerful if you have the wildcard to spend.
Setessan Champion is what I’d call an undeniable team player. Regardless of who gets the aura you’re playing, Setessan Champion still gets a +1/+1 counter AND draws you a card. That’s some incredible value on a 3-drop, especially considering they’ll also trigger on any enchantment creature or other enchantment you’re playing. Green and White are not known for their card draw, so a repeatable draw engine that also plays along with our deck theme is something I’d even consider in a Siona commander build.
As much as I’d love to wage an all-out assault of auras, we do need to be prepared for the inevitable: our opponent will want to play creatures and stuff as much as we do. This is where the second type of aura in our deck comes in.
Trapped in the Tower, while conditional, is really worth the two mana. It won’t be able to hit any form of Niv-Mizzet, but clamping down on an indestructible God or any other beast without wings is of incredible benefit. It also has the clause negating activated abilities which puts this over Pacifism in my book.
Kenrith’s Transformation is the latest in a long line of such transformations that I had thought were supposed to be in Blue’s part of the color pie. It’s not as powerful as Song of the Dryads or Imprisoned in the Moon , but is still incredibly useful at stopping a threat. It even replaces itself! While testing the deck I did manage to cast this on Kenrith himself, so, that was a huge flavor win.
Heliod’s Punishment sneaks in over Dreadful Apathy for a similar reason of Trapped in the Tower over pacifism: the stifling of annoying abilities. Does it have a four turn clock? Sure, but hopefully you’ll get something else by then. While Dreadful Apathy can deal with the threat more permanently at six mana, I’ll gladly take this trade. Especially when targeting a commander who they’d potentially be able to replay if it weren’t stuck on the battlefield.
We have several powerful reasons to utilize auras (mainly Siona), but sometimes we need to rid ourselves of a threat more permanently. That’s when we bring in the closers.
Banishing Light is incredibly potent and the effect of triggering all the Constellation abilities as well as boosting All that glitters makes this a no brainer. For when trapping Chulane, teller of tales in a tower isn’t enough, try banishing it to the shadow realm.
Calix, Destiny’s Hand works as a great enchantment engine, serving as a relatively repeatable mini Siona trigger. This is mostly upside though as his inclusion is frankly due to the power of his minus. Being able to repeatedly Oblivion Ring is no small feat, and having a second copy of Banishing light really helps with consistency. Also, if you’re playing any of the Theros Gods - putting a card underneath Heliod, Sun-Crowned is nigh unbreakable…unless you’re that one jerk I found running Barrier Breach .
Swallow Whole might be the closest we get to a straight up Swords to Plowshares in Standard and I believe it should be recognized as such. There are hoops to go through, and it won’t be able to kill everything but having that ability at one mana and a creature will come in handy more often than not.
Going Tall and Wide
While we don’t plan to spend too much energy on Siona’s secondary ability, I do believe a few cards make their inclusion well justified, and help serve as a potential backup plan when all else fails.
Commanding Presence doubles as a pretty powerful aura granting a boost and first strike, this can easily make a dent in defenses, but really shines when paired with the next highlighted card.
Divine Visitation is one powerful card. Not only could you be getting an angel for every aura you play with Siona on the field, but even if they’re removed you still reap the benefits from both Commanding Presence, and the previously mentioned Archon of Sun’s Grace . Plenty of opportunities to fill the board with 4/4 angels by doing what you already planned on doing.
Everything else included serves mostly to support these bigger themes or protect our investments. Things like Veil of Summer and Unbreakable Formation keep our creatures alive, while Starfield Mystic and Transcendent Envoy make our enchantments cheaper. There are also a couple more high power creatures like Questing Beast but these can really be substituted with whatever bonkers aura-targets you have lying around in a pinch.
Here’s the final list!
Siona, Captain of the Pyleas Auras
Alseid of Life's Bounty
1x Archon of Sun's Grace
1x Destiny Spinner
1x Faeburrow Elder
1x Gilded Goose
1x Heliod, Sun-Crowned
1x Ilysian Caryatid
1x Knight of Autumn
1x Lavabrink Venturer
1x Luminous Broodmoth
1x Paradise Druid
1x Questing Beast
1x Setessan Champion
1x Starfield Mystic
1x Transcendent Envoy
1x Command Tower
1x Fabled Passage
1x Temple Garden
1x Temple of Plenty
All that Glitters
1x Angelic Gift
1x Banishing Light
1x Commanding Presence
1x Divine Visitation
1x Elspeth Conquers Death
1x Heliod's Punishment
1x Hydra's Growth
1x Kenrith's Transformation
1x New Horizons
1x Omen of the Hunt
1x Sentinel's Eyes
1x Trapped in the Tower
1x Warbriar Blessing
1x Wolfwillow Haven
1x Unbreakable Formation
1x Veil of Summer
Out of the 7 matches we played with Siona, we went 5 and 2. Siona was able to successfully ramp and limit the threat of Niv Mizzet, Reborn and Kenrith, the Returned King quite easily with those defensive enchantments while also turning Paradise Druid into an absolute wrecking ball of All that Glitters and Sentinel’s Eyes in both games!! Others against Brokkos, Apex of Forever , Niv-Mizzet, Parun , and Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath followed similar trajectories being able to render an entire stack of mutated creatures inert while Brokkos was in the pile, or keeping Niv-MIzzet stuck to pinging as opposed to also being a flying 6/6.
The two games lost partly involved Dreadful Apathy in place of Heliod’s Punishment . In the earlier build of this deck, I favored the more costly total removal over simply rendering a commander unuseable which proved useless against Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy . The second game we just got beat, the Winota, Joiner of Forces deck we were up against played fast and hard - in fact the player was so confident in their ability, they said good game as soon as they played Winota. What a champ.
Overall, I think the deck has a lot of potential and is definitely something to play if you’re looking for a unique Brawl experience in the current meta. For a total of 12 Rares and 5 Mythics, you’re looking at a pretty consistent construction. Comparatively, That would get you half a manabase and one set of Uros in Standard! (also 2 of those rares are for Faeburrow Elder and Gilded Goose which could easily be swapped with Incubation Druid and Leafkin Druid if you’re on a budget)
More Entries in Enter The Guildhall:
- 18 Aug 2020: Whole Lotta Lands (Brawl)
- 13 Jul 2020: The Godfather (Brawl)
- 12 Jun 2020: Call it What You Want (Brawl)
- 28 May 2020: Flight of the Navigator (Brawl)
- 28 May 2020: An Introduction to Brawl