April 4, 2018

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Brawl Deck Tech – Depala, Pilot Exemplar

It’s week two of the new Brawl format, and I’m already on deck tech number two!

I wanted to play a Boros Brawl deck, and currently there are five options to choose when it comes to what Commander you want to play for those colours. There are the two planeswalkers, Huatli, Dinosaur Knight and Huatli, Warrior Poet, plus two new Legendary creatures in Dominaria, Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker and Firesong and Sunspeaker. And finally, there's the dwarf lord that is Depala, Pilot Exemplar.

I don’t really want to build a deck around either of the planeswalkers, so they’re out. I’m going to pass on using Tiana, Ship’s Caretaker because I don’t really want to build an Aura and Equipment deck right now. Firesong and Sunspeaker seems like an interesting choice, but I don’t really want to build the spell-centric deck that would best suited for that commander. What I do want to play with is Vehicles and quick creatures in an aggressive type of deck. That's where Depala, Pilot Exemplar fits in perfectly.


Now that I’ve chosen a Commander, I want to go through some subsets of cards in Standard that could be a good fit for the deck. Since our commander is focused around Dwarves and Vehicles, that seems like a good place to start. Here are some of the Vehicles we could use in the deck:




That is a lot of Vehicles to put in one deck. I’ll probably have to cut some of those out. But before I do, there are also a few spells that benefit from having Vehicles which could be useful in the deck. Here is a list of those cards.


Siege Modification and Speedway Fanatic seem like the best out of those cards, but Start Your Engines could be useful as a one turn kill if you have a battlefield full of Vehicles. Now that we have looked at Vehicles and some of their associated spells, it’s time to turn our attention to those pesky Dwarves. Here is a list of Dwarves in Standard that could be used for the deck.




As you can see, there are plenty of Dwarves willing to pilot all your Vehicles. The key will be in finding the right mix between Vehicles and pilots for this deck.

Now I just need a good mix of other cards to choose from to bulk up the deck. There are plenty of good targets when it comes to red and white, especially when trying to make a more aggressive deck. It’s also good to find some more creatures that might have high power to help crew all those Vehicles you will have on the battlefield. Here are some other cards to consider for the deck.











Now, it’s time to break down each subgroup into cards that I want in the deck.

First things first, I want to make sure I have a fair number of Vehicles in the deck to take advantage of Depala, Pilot Exemplar’s ability to search for them. I would like to have eight to nine Vehicles, so I won’t be cutting very many cards from this list. In the end I decided to cut two Vehicles from the list. Conqueror’s Galleon just seemed to have too much of a crew cost for what I’m looking to do with this deck. Having to use two creatures to crew in most occasions is just too much to ask. The other Vehicle I decided to cut was Untethered Express. There wasn’t a specific reason, I just thought the other Vehicles were better than this one.

One Vehicle I wanted to make sure was in the deck was Peacewalker Colossus. Being able to turn your Vehicles into creatures at any time will be valuable in this deck when you run out of creatures on the battlefield. For the cards that help Vehicles, I went with my original prediction of just keeping Siege Modification and Speedway Fanatic. Two cards that can help get those Vehicles attacking as soon as possible.

Next, I looked at which Dwarves I wanted to have in my deck. Straight away I’m going to pass on Aethergeode Miner. I don’t really have any Energy synergy in the deck and there are other 3/1 creatures that I can put in this slot. Aviary Mechanic might be good to bounce and reuse some card, but at only two power I’ll hold off on including this Dwarf. Solemn Recruit has the possibility of getting larger, but as a 2/2 right off the bat, there are other creatures I’d rather have in the deck.

That leaves eight Dwarves that make the cut. So, in total I have 17 out of 59 cards that you get from Depala, Pilot Exemplar’s ability. Those are some pretty good odds of getting at least one card when the amount of mana you spend is three or more.

For the rest, I wanted to make sure I had a good mix of removal and other cards.

I’ll start with removal. Abrade and Lightning Strike seem like obvious choices to get rid of early threats. Fumigate and Settle the Wreckage will help you with some mass removal if needed. Cast Out and Ixalan’s Binding will help in dealing with non-creature threats. Most of the rest are creatures that will work well with crewing Vehicles and which have an aggressive casting cost as well.

Bomat Courier and Inventor’s Apprentice are additional turn one threats that you can deploy. For turn two, you can cast Glory-Bound Initiate or Relentless Raptor. Relentless Raptor is a great two-way threat and you can force it into not attacking by having it a crew a Vehicle when needed.

On turn three, you can cast Pia Nalaar to get multiple creatures on the battlefield. Ahn-Crop Crasher can be used to crew any Vehicle when cast or attack to make sure one of your Vehicles can get through. Combat Celebrant can help you achieve additional attacks during a turn or can crew any Vehicle in the fleet. Finally, Rekindling Phoenix and Hazoret the Fervent are creatures that just won’t die.

To top off the remaining cards, Mirage Mirror is great for targeting Vehicles that have already been crewed, allowing you to attack with two Vehicles. Wouldn’t feel right without adding a few planeswalkers as well. Gideon of the Trials and Chandra, Torch of Defiance are great by themselves, while also helping to crew Heart of Kiran.

Now that we’ve decided what to put in the deck, let's take a look at the final decklist!

Another week, another fun brew for a Brawl deck. I’m excited to now have a second deck to play Brawl with. This will allow me to test with some players who haven’t had a chance to put a deck together for the new format yet.

Thanks for joining me this week for another Brawl Deck Tech. I’ll have a new one ready to go next week, so get out there and enjoy playing some Brawl!