Sometimes, a new Magic card just calls to you. Perhaps you are drawn in by the art or what the card can do. Perhaps you see a whole new archetype opening up with the card, and love to get the chance to build something completely new. Perhaps it is the combo potential or raw power that draws you in.
Or perhaps you are simply shallow like me and see a card name that with a slight alteration could be silly ridiculous.
Let's start by breaking down "Bruci, clad in Hawaiian Shirt" to see just what we'll have to do to make this Engineer shine.
First off is the mana cost. It won't be hard to cast Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer, but the six mana cost means that we shouldn't assume that we can recast our commander multiple times. If we have to pay 10 mana for Brudiclad we could be in some serious trouble. Add to difficulty with the fact that it is an artifact creature with no protection. Mass removal and targeted removal can both take him off the battlefield. Any artifact removal will also do the job. This makes our commander rather delicate. If we are going to use the ability, we are going to want to make Brudiclad hard to kill. Whether this includes instant speed bounce or hexproof or other methods, it will need to be a prominent part of the deck.
As a 4/4 creature, Brudiclad does at least have enough toughness to handle some damage, so we have that going for us. The power level is less relevant since I don't think we are going to swing in with it too often, but the option is there.
Giving your creature tokens haste is the first big bonus that makes for an easy build around. Any sorcery-speed ways to put creatures on the battlefield suddenly become far more valuable. If you make a token creature that has an ability that involves tapping, you can use it immediately.
Creating a 2/1 Myr artifact creature token is a great start. In theory, Brudiclad's four power and the two power of the Myr justify the casting cost, but we aren't too concerned about that. Simply put, Brudiclad adds another token creature at the beginning of combat on each of your turns, so you could see a multitude of 2/1 tokens on your side of the battlefield.
The final line is the reason we're all here. Note a couple of key things. The line says "choose," not target. If you have a token creature with protection from blue, you can still choose it. If the token creature has shroud, not a problem. The other thing to note is that your tokens continue to be a copy of that token after the turn ends!
So what are we trying to do with Brudiclad?
- Get a big/cool token creature.
- Get a lot of other token creatures.
- Get Brudiclad onto the battlefield.
- Make a whole bunch of copies of the big/cool token creature.
- Swing for the win!
To bring this plan to fruition, we are going to need at least three cards all at once. One of them is Brudiclad, and I've already talked about being ready to protect him from attacks. We'll need ways to make big/cool dudes and ways to make a lot of little dudes. While Sylvan Offering would give us both options in a single card, Brudiclad says no to green, so we are going to have to do this the hard way.
Initially, I thought the best way to get bigger token creatures would be through embalm or eternalize. My thought was that this will give us big token creatures with one card, while other options that make token copies of big creatures would require a big creature to copy and a way to copy it. Since this is already a combo that is going to be tricky to pull off, adding another card just seemed like a mistake. However…
I don't want the same few creatures every time! I like Earthshaker Khenra and Champion of Wits, but I love some variability in my decks, so I started looking at other options. My favorite is Mimic Vat! When a cool creature dies, just put it under the Vat and go from there. You'll have a token copy quick enough and it really doesn't require much effort!
Faerie Artisans is another option. Not only do you get a token copy of each creature your opponents control as they enter the battlefield, but you'll always have a token creature to copy other than Brudiclad's 2/1 Myr. The Artisans force your opponents to consider whether or not they want you to have a copy of their amazing creature. The obvious downside is that you really have no control over what token you have when Brudiclad does his thing. Your opponents can order their creatures so that they always play the weakest one last. You may have had an Eldrazi Token for a while, but if the opponent before you is playing Elves, getting a 1/1 Llanowar Elf may be what you end up trying to use.
Something to consider at this point with Brudiclad: remember that he converts token creatures that already exist. Choosing a token creature because of an enters-the-battlefield trigger is a little pointless. When you are building Brudiclad, keep in mind that you'll get an ETB trigger when you first make a token copy of a creature, but not when Brudiclad kicks in. So if you are picking Mulldrifter to put under the Mimic Vat, you'll only get to draw when Mimic Vat makes the token. Although creating a bunch of 2/2 flyers sounds like a solid option to me!
Another thing to consider: myriad and other cards that make creature tokens when you attack aren't going to work with Brudiclad. He copies the tokens that are around at the start of combat, so the tokens you'll want to copy won't even exist. Yeah, Blade of Selves is out.
So now we have a big token creature to copy, but we need a whole bunch of tokens to make into our impressive creature. This was a little more difficult than I expected. Without access to white or green, several of my go to cards to make plenty of small token creatures are gone. Red is still there though, and one of my new favorites is Tempt with Vengeance. There is often that one opponent who is willing to give you the extra creatures. This card is pretty metagame dependent though. Keep in mind most players won't give you the creatures, especially when they can see Brudiclad sitting right there, and the ones who do often have a way to sacrifice them for mana or do something else with them that will make your plans go awry.
Master of Waves is another option. While this is rarely going to get you 10 or more token creatures, most of the permanents in the deck are blue, so you'll be getting plenty. I also included Myr Battlesphere. The Battlesphere is that two-for-one card that gives us a big creature to copy, as well as four Myr that will be interesting when that package swings as five Battlespheres!
It was at this point that I was talking with my friend Kyle mentioned that Brudiclad only cares that the items are tokens, not token creatures! This means Treasure tokens can turn into creatures! When looking at Treasure tokens, I realized Brass's Bounty was going to be my friend. It was going to be a rare situation when I didn't get at least six Treasure tokens with the card. Six Treasure tokens becoming six 2/2 flying Mulldrifters seems like a powerful army. If you had an even better option than Mulldrifter, things could get very interesting!
Another interesting option was Meloku the Clouded Mirror. While you don't want to make a copy of this legend, the 1/1 tokens she creates fly, and as the game progresses, putting a few lands back in your hand is often not even a negative! Sharding Sphinx is probably just a "win more" option. Since I'm only getting the Thopters when artifact creatures I control deal combat damage, I probably won't get too many initially. However, once it hits a couple of times, suddenly the Thopters can grow exponentially. And if you make a copy of Sharding Sphinx, things could get interesting right away. If only three copies of Sharding Sphinx swing and hit, each makes three Thopters. Assuming Brudiclad is around for the next combat, there will be 13 Sharding Sphinxes each looking for combat damage!
Finally, I included Mechanized Production. If you don't see a way to get creatures through for damage, Brudiclad can help you get eight copies of an artifact onto the battlefield. I like to picture winning with eight Treasure tokens for style points, but eight myr creatures will do the trick just fine.
"Bruciclad" offers up all sorts of options. For a while, I was looking at winning games by creating nonlegendary copies of Brudiclad and killing opponents with a legion of Brudiclad creatures! I'd love to see your suggestions for taking this deck beyond the jank I have here and into a more threatening deck!
Also note, I'll be attending Gen Con this weekend! If you are looking for a game of Commander, send me a message on Twitter or follow me to see when and where I'll be! I hope to see many of you there!