Flight of the Navigator (Brawl)

28 May 2020 - 10 min read

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Welcome to another Brawl Homebrew! Now, I know I said I would do whatever the winner of our poll was but…as of writing, it’s tied. I’ll give that another week to simmer and instead celebrate the release of a new legendary creature to our fair format, courtesy of this month’s Brawl Guildhall! Give it up forrrrrrrrr Hanna, Ship’s Navigator!

image sourced from scryfall.com

Originally appearing in Invasion, Hanna has a long legacy with the game in both lore and Brawl’s big brother Commander. For you more enfranchised players, I can already see your grins widening at the notion of repeatable graveyard recursion. One only needs to glance at her EDHRec Page to see the potential of constantly having access to a Seal of Cleansing , Cataclysmic Gearhulk , or even nastier. Most Hanna builds are controlling, limiting opponents’ resources while you build up a pillow fort. The ability to bring back threats like Wurmcoil Engine over and over again…well that’s generally icing on the cake.

So what happens when you try to port a similar strategy to Brawl?

Hit me Baby One More Time

Hanna’s power is going to come from her flexibility in getting whatever piece of tech you need at the current moment from the yard. Need to make a substantial threat for an easy 5 mana? One activation and an All that Glitters got you covered. Need protection? How about reanimating an Alseid of Life’s Bounty ? Be they your Banishing Light or Staggering Insight , having access to your best pieces over and over again is incredibly powerful. While we will be recurring a few deadly artifacts like Meteor Golem and Crystalline Giant , our main focus will be on enchantments since TBD has such an incredible amount of support for that theme.

So, what enchantments benefit the most coming back from the yard?

An Enchanted Return

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

Ashiok’s Erasure is probably not what comes to anyone’s mind when they think “counter spell”. It’s four mana, doesn’t fully destroy the spell, and feels a little clunky. I mean it’s an Oblivion Ring for spells. However, as we found out in our previous build (see link below), not only are the Oblivion Rings and Heliod’s Punishment of the format better than we gave them credit for, not a lot of people are running artifact or enchantment removal. So now we’re talking about a card that will exile a potential threat and hey if this gets axed, we can do it again! I’m actually not sure if this is worth including over another counterspell, so if you’re looking for things to tweak this is a fair target. However, in honor of our commander I feel there is a significant thematic boost to including this wild card.

Shark Typhoon is really a perfect example of a Hanna target. If Shark Typhoon is played as an enchantment your opponent can relive the terror (cheesy, but terror nonetheless) of Sharknado. If you just need a really big flying shark (and really who doesn’t), cycle it and prepare to bring it back with Hanna. All Sharks all the time.

The Birth of Meletis highlights another key category of cards in our deck: sagas. These enchantments have a limited lifespan, meaning as soon as Hanna is ready we’ll have the ability to start them right over. Coming in at two mana, The Birth of Meletis is certainly the cheapest Saga we have and most likely to be replayed in a consistent fashion. Searching for a land, creating bodies, and gaining a little life is a consistent set of abilities that can’t win on their own…but certainly provide the grease in our recursion machine to keep us in longer games.

Banishing Light has all the same talking points as Ashiok’s Erasure. It removes a threat from the board and can be a potential target for Hanna if it ends up in the graveyard. Brawl is a format of big monsters, and removal always comes at a premium. Not much more to say about this powerhouse besides it’s an effect we’re quadrupling up on between Conclave Tribunal , Heliod’s Punishment , and Prison Realm .

Junk Diving

Moving on to potential artifact targets, we don’t have many but each fills a very necessary slot for any Brawl deck. We have: graveyard hate, removal, and terrifying threats. What more could you ask for?! Nothing. This is perfect and I love them all.

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

Soul-Guide Lantern fills a familiar role to anyone who’s seen our Brawl builds before: hating on those nasty graveyards. All graveyard strategies are bogus unless we’re the ones currently using it and being able to target a sneaky Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath or Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger is an incredible benefit. Get out of here with your shenanigans. Also, in a build like this one we might actually be able to use the Lantern’s second mode and use it to draw the occasional card or two. I doubt you’ll be able to create an endless cycle, but it’s nice to know you have the option.

Meteor Golem will obliterate anything. No questions asked. Best case, your opponent takes out their vengeance on it’s relatively minor 3/3 body or you can chump, putting Meteor Golem right into the graveyard for Hanna to pick up.

Crystalline Giant is just a rude card. Slowly building up into an absolute beast or maybe trading as soon as it gets deathtouch. Either way, I’d expect this to be brought back multiple times a game.

Other Notable Set Pieces

Outside of recursion targets, our deck needs a few other powerful payoff cards to build up to. We can’t just rely on our removal and disruption because… well, that’s no fun. We’re playing Brawl, we’re here to fight and take names. So that being said, meet the opponent-might-concede bombs we’re packing.

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

Dance of the Manse is our other big payoff for filling the yard with artifacts and enchantments. Unlike Hanna, Dance brings them all back directly to the battlefield. baBOOM! That’s right, we’ll flood the board with used removal, sagas, and one or two artifacts that have the chance to also become an army of 4/4s. Come at us. It should also be noted that any auras returned with Dance like Heliod’s Punishment or Ichthyomorphosis can get around some pesky punk with hexproof. I don’t see this being a big thing, but it’s worth pointing out! Out-tech your opponents! Anyway, I see Dance as the be-all finisher card that the rest of your deck spends the game preparing to cast.

Cavalier of Dawn serves as another piece of non-conditional removal, maybe giving our opponent a 3/3 golem or…remember a couple turns ago when you used Banishing Light on their commander? Commander’s back in the zone, and your enchantment is just sitting on the battlefield with nothing to do. So target that, get a 3/3 Golem for yourself and the ability to exile something else in a couple turns! The most excellent of value. It’s almost too good with the added death trigger allowing you to bring something back to your hand for free. This is easily one of my favorite cards in the deck when played right.

Kiora Bests the Sea God needs no write-up or speech convincing you why you should include it. 8/8 Hexproof Threat, Tap everything down, and if they’re not dead by then…steal their commander. This will end games, and if it doesn’t, I’m pretty sure your opponent won’t want to stick around for round two.

So that’s it! Let’s see what this deck can get up to!

Hanna, Ship's Navigator Enchantments


For better or worse, the game has evolved since Hanna first came on the scene. What seems like a pretty powerful ability at first glance may not be as strong as you thought it was. For starters, Hanna needs to see untap before she can even get to her recursion shenanigans and most often commanders are either killed on sight, or countered (which is even worse when it’s
Tale’s End ). Then, her ability can only be activated once per turn without significant help and you’ll still need to cast whatever you get back. Compared to the likes of Muldrotha, the Gravetide , this seems incredibly too slow in 1v1.

It also makes everything that does provide immediate value, through ETBs or being a blocker, far more enticing to cast each turn. Why play a 1/2 that can do something next turn when I can drop a Crystalline Giant that will upgrade on the turn I play it?

This deck went 4-1, but on only one of those wins was Hanna even a factor. Most of the time it was the UW shell that beat our opponents down long enough to either draw a threat or until they concede having no more threats to play. In fact, our one loss came from looking down the barrel of a more modern artifact/enchantment commander who was able to provide utility immediately to her growing army: Alela, Artful Provocateur . Losing the ability to bring back a couple enchantments per game is made up for in spades with access to black and generating a flying army of fairies that slowly prick you to death. Hanna just couldn’t keep up.

Two games were won in part by Crystalline Giant with an All That Glitters , either by becoming an 11/11 flyer with first strike and deathtouch or an…11/11 flyer with first strike and a very lucky Kiora bests the sea god tapping all their creatures.

I will give a special highlight to the final game, the one where Hanna actually came out to whoop some ass. It was against Snapdax, Apex of the Hunt and we had set up this beautiful board of Hanna, The Birth of Meletis , and a couple removal spells systematically taking down each potential Snapdax mutate target. Once our Elspeth Conquers Death hit the graveyard and was targeted by a Hanna activation the opponent scooped fearing the constant loop of being conquered ad nauseum. Woohoo! I think Elspeth would be proud of that one.

So overall, this was a good build of UW Enchantment Control that was able to successfully limit the threats of our opponents until we could come up with a win con. While it’s not what I’m typically looking for, it was a lot of fun to play. Hanna kind of served as a nice bonus when she worked, but overall it feels like magic has passed her by. Hopefully she sees a powerful reboot much like the rest of the Weatherlight crew!

So until next time!

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