Brago, King Eternal | Illustration by Karla Ortiz
Brago, King Eternal doesn’t have a ton of effects, but the one effect it does have can be very impactful. It can make any card with an ETB effect much more powerful, which gives you the option to buy some cheaper cards that’ll actually be more competitive when their effects can be repeated. This also means you can build a pretty unique deck, thinking creatively about how to combine ETB effects for powerful combos.
This deck is for you if you’re a fan of control decks that don’t run a lot of counterspells. My first few Commander playgroups had a soft ban on them, so I occasionally like to build a control deck that looks for alternative ways to shut down threats on the board. If you’re in a similar situation, this could be a good work around. This deck is also fun for coming up with cool synergies or making combos.
Let’s jump right in!
Reflector Mage | Illustration by Willian Murai
The Eternal Wanderer
Venser, the Sojourner
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines
Agent of Treachery
Wall of Omens
Preston, the Vanisher
Yorion, Sky Nomad
Lavinia of the Tenth
Urza, Lord Protector
Watcher for Tomorrow
Hero of Bretagard
Loran of the Third Path
Venser, Shaper Savant
Swords to Plowshares
Disorder in the Court
Vanquish the Horde
Approach of the Second Sun
Elspeth Conquers Death
The Mightstone and Weakstone
Portal to Phyrexia
Folio of Fancies
Otawara, Soaring City
Sea of Clouds
This build is a bit more combo-heavy than some players might usually enjoy. It wasn’t my intention when initially putting it together, but I kept realizing just how many cards could interact in ways that would go infinite since Brago’s effect creates some unique scenarios. My solution to keep the deck from getting too overpowered was to limit the number of win conditions. But there are definitely ways you can increase this deck’s power level if you want to be more competitive.
This deck was built to capitalize on Brago, King Eternal’s triggered ability. The best way to do that was to build in a lot of creatures with ETB effects that could be triggered repeatedly by flickering them. I also included a good number of ways besides Brago to get more value out of their effects and support these creatures.
Cards like Panharmonicon or Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines will double up ETB effects, giving you a lot more value out of each flicker than you’d normally get. I also included a lot of cards that can flicker creatures on their own, that way you can still be doing what you want if you can’t have Brago on the field for whatever reason.
What makes Brago, King Eternal an interesting commander is the way it changes how you look at your cards. A card with an ETB effect is usually a one- or two-time activation in most decks, but Brago lets you look at ETB effects as something that can potentially happen each turn. This adds a ton of value to cards that may otherwise get overlooked.
Brago itself makes it somewhat easier to trigger its ability thanks to having flying. That said, you’ll likely want a few other ways to make it more evasive just in case you’re playing at a table with a good number of fliers.
When choosing creatures for this deck I looked for ones with useful ETB effects.
One type of ETB effect I wanted to include a lot of was card draw, so there are creatures like Wall of Omens and Mulldrifter.
Aether Channeler was a good choice because it has a few modes to choose from if you’ve already got a handful of resources and don’t need more cards.
Ethereal Valkyrie won’t just draw you a card when it enters the battlefield, it’ll also foretell a card for free. This not only reduces the cost of that card for a future turn, it also protects it from being discarded. This can be great in a deck that’s also running Approach of the Second Sun.
Another powerful type of ETB effect is one that serves as removal. Loran of the Third Path can help you remove enchantments and artifacts, which can be some of the more powerful cards that get played in a game of Commander.
Meteor Golem can remove just about anything, making it a very powerful card to flicker each turn.
While Skyclave Apparition will give your opponents tokens to replace what you exile, it’s still a very strong source of removal since the original cards stays in exile.
Sunblast Angel can be a particularly strong bit of removal. It won’t affect any of your own creatures but will take out any tapped creatures on your opponents’ side of the board after you flicker all your creatures with Brago’s ability.
Some other good ETB effects include Stonehorn Dignitary’s ability to keep you safe from a single opponent’s attacks until your next turn, and Reflector Mage to keep a particular creature off the board for a little while. These help slow down your opponent’s game while you look for one of your wincons.
You also have some cards in this deck that help support your ETB effects.
Panharmonicon and Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines both double up your ETB effects while they’re on the field.
Both Strionic Resonator and Lithoform Engine allow you to copy ETB effects as they fall under the category of triggered abilities. These cards can also both copy Brago’s triggered ability when it deals combat damage, making them very useful tools in this deck.
There are other cards in this deck that can help with removal apart from your creatures.
One type of removal I included a good amount of is board wipes like Supreme Verdict and Vanquish the Horde. Coupling these with your cards like Eerie Interlude will allow you to keep your creatures while taking out the rest on the board.
Variable board wipes like Cleansing Nova and Farewell are also very helpful because they can hit permanents that aren’t creatures, allowing you to keep your most important cards on the board while taking out some big threats.
Swords to Plowshares is good for one-off targeted removal and is very cheap for what it does.
Elspeth Conquers Death can also exile a single target, with the added bonus of giving you other powerful effects later on. This saga is a great candidate for flicker effects.
Brago, King Eternal isn’t your only method to flicker creatures in this deck.
Spells like Cloudshift and Ephemerate can do this as well. Because these spells are instants, they can be used to keep your creatures safe from targeted removal.
Disorder in the Court is another good option because it not only gets you extra value out of ETB effects, it also gives you some Clue tokens to use as well. This means the spell itself is producing resources as well as your creatures.
Both of your planeswalkers in this deck, The Eternal Wanderer and Venser, the Sojourner, have flicker effects on them. They can be activated each turn since these abilities are both positive loyalty abilities.
Protection and Evasion
Though flicker effects can be helpful to keep Brago and your other creatures on the board, there are also a few other ways to do this.
Teferi’s Protection doesn’t just keep all your permanents safe, it also stops you from taking damage or being interacted with for a while.
Though not as powerful, Cosmic Intervention can be used in response to a removal or board wipe spell and help you get your permanents back right away.
Whispersilk Cloak is a nice tool in this deck. Not only does it keep Brago safe, it also allows you to trigger its ability each combat since it can’t be blocked.
Rogue’s Passage is another great source of evasion so you don’t have to worry about Brago being killed by blockers when you swing with it.
The Mana Base
You don’t have to worry too much about having enough mana fixing with a 2-color deck. There are plenty of dual lands like Sea of Clouds and Deserted Beach that can get you the two colors you need and frequently come in untapped.
There are also good dual lands with basic land typing like Prairie Stream, Irrigated Farmland, and Hallowed Fountain which you can find with your Flooded Strand.
You also have Command Tower which can tap for any color you need.
A good bulk of your lands for this deck are going to be basics. It helps cut down on cost and you’ll likely have the colors you need most of the time. I’ve also included Hengegate Pathway. While it can only produce one of two colors, it’s helpful because you can see what color you need when it comes time to play it.
Mystic Gate is also very helpful when it comes to mana fixing, especially if you only have access to one color of mana before it comes down.
This deck also runs a few utility lands. Academy Ruins is one of your few sources of recursion and can be used to get back some of your powerful artifacts that you may need to win. Otawara, Soaring City has several good uses. It can return one of your opponent’s big threats to their hand, or you can return one of your own creatures with a good ETB effect and use it again.
Reliquary Tower is helpful because this deck can draw you a lot of cards. It’s nice to be able to keep a large hand instead of having to pick and choose which you need to discard at the end of your turn.
Rogue’s Passage is good to make sure you get Brago past your opponents’ blockers. This way you can make sure you’re getting its effect off, which is key for your strategy.
The deck also runs a few mana rocks. Arcane Signet is a solid source of ramp and fixing.
Both Sol Ring and The Mightstone and Weakstone are important, not just for the mana they produce but also for what combos they enable in this deck.
This deck is very much a control build. You aren’t looking to win the game quickly; you’re looking to outlast your opponents while systematically removing their best cards. That’s why there are a lot of removal effects in this deck, as well as effects meant to keep you safe.
In the early game you’ll want to drop some of your cheaper creatures with helpful ETB effects like Inspiring Overseer and Spirited Companion. Again, you don’t have to worry about using any ETB effects prematurely since Brago will help you use them again. This means you can also drop an early Loran of the Third Path to blow up one of your opponents’ early rocks and still be able to remove more later in the game.
Once Brago, King Eternal is on the field, your goal is trigger its ability each turn. This gets you drawing extra cards thanks to creatures like Cloudblazer and can also give you extra mana for your second main phase thanks to Peregrine Drake. This extra value helps you keep answers in your hands while also removing your opponents’ threats with cards like Meteor Golem. Your flicker cards like Cloudshift can help you keep your important permanents safe while also getting extra ETB activations.
While you can potentially win just by whittling away your opponents’ health and staying alive while they take each other out, Approach of the Second Sun is likely your best chance at winning the game. You’ll have an easier time finding Approach of the Second Sun and then playing it a second time since you’ll be drawing a lot of cards with ETB effects and cards like Folio of Fancies.
You can also get the card back with Archaeomancer if it gets milled out. You can increase your chances of getting Approach of the Second Sun if add a Mystical Tutor to the deck.
Combos and Interactions
There are a couple opportunities for combos in this deck. Some produce you infinite mana while others allow you to continuously flicker your creatures to cash in on their ETB effects. When it comes to infinite mana combos, they usually involve Peregrine Drake.
Peregrine Drake can produce infinite mana for you any time you have a way to continuously flicker a creature for less than five mana. For example, if Deadeye Navigator is soulbounded with Peregrine Drake then you can pay two mana to flicker the Drake and untap five lands. This nets you three total mana. You can produce infinite mana as long as this isn’t interrupted.
Another way to produce infinite mana is by continuously copying Brago, King Eternal’s ability. To do this you need to have Brago deal combat damage to a player and then copy its ability with Strionic Resonator or Lithoform Engine. When you do this you’ll get a second Brago trigger on the stack. Your artifacts will be back in untapped when it resolves.
You can copy Brago’s original trigger again with your newly untapped Strionic Resonator/Lithoform Engine if you have Peregrine Drake to untap lands, Sol Ring, or The Mightstone and Weakstone. This will produce infinite mana if you have an extra mana rock or Peregrine Drake. Even if you can’t produce infinite mana it’ll allow you to trigger your ETB effects as many times as you want.
You can also produce infinite mana if you have Archaeomancer and Peregrine Drake on the battlefield and then cast Ghostly Flicker. Target both creatures with Ghostly Flicker and make sure to tap the extra two lands for their mana. Peregrine Drake will untap your lands when they return while Archaeomancer will get Ghostly Flicker out of your graveyard so you can do it again.
Once you have infinite mana, you can use it to force every player to draw their deck out with Folio of Fancies, and if you have more cards in your deck when you activate it, you’ll win. Alternatively, if you’re both blinking all of your nonland permanents and also producing infinite mana, you can activate Folio of Fancies’ mill ability enough times to guarantee you have the most cards in your deck, then force your opponents to draw their decks.
While not a combo, combining Venser, Shaper Savant’s ETB ability with Approach of the Second Sun can speed up your ability to cast the card a second time. You can do it all in one turn if you have one of your infinite mana combos going, allowing you to win that turn. Otherwise you can still have Approach of the Second Sun in your hand ready to go next turn.
There are only a handful of cards in this deck that cost over $20, but there are definitely some easy options for replacements if you want to cut some of the more expensive cards.
One of the easiest cards to replace is Urza, Lord Protector. I only really included it in this deck because I really enjoy melding into Urza, Planeswalker. That said, neither card necessarily fits this deck super well. You can easily replace it with a more synergistic card like Mystical Tutor, which can also be much cheaper.
Flooded Strand is one of the more expensive fetch lands. If you feel like you need a fetch that can find you dual lands, Arid Mesa is a cheaper option. You can also probably get away with not having it and just using a dual land like Port Town.
Elesh Norn, Mother of Machines is a great card, and you probably want to buy one now that it’s been more recently printed if you want a copy. But if you can’t justify buying a $40 card, you can look for other ways to get extra value out of your ETB effects. Phyrexian Metamorph can copy Panharmonicon, acting like half an Elesh Norn, and can also be used to copy a big threat on the board. Alternatively, Spark Double can copy Brago, giving you an extra chance to flicker all your permanents on any given turn.
You can choose a lot of different wincons from the one I went with here thanks to the potential to generate infinite mana that Brago decks present. An easy choice would be Thassa’s Oracle, Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, and Laboratory Maniac. You can use your infinite mana to draw all your cards with Folio of Fancies or Blue Sun’s Zenith.
Brago is also a good choice for one of my favorite niche decks, Persistent Petitioners. Because you can activate the Petitioners’ second ability right when they enter the battlefield, you can mill a player for a lot of cards and then flicker your Petitioners to do it again. Your strategy with this deck would be to mill out your opponents. You’d want to include some other good mill cards like Bruvac the Grandiloquent as well as cards like Sun Titan that can help support the many Persistent Petitioners you’ll want. This can be a nice budget-friendly deck since Persistent Petitioners is only around $1.
Venser, Shaper Savant | Illustration by Eric Deschamps
Brago, King Eternal is a commander that can really get the most out of the other cards in your deck. A lot of ETB effects are more powerful than repeatable effects since they’re only intended to go off once. Thanks to Brago you can trigger them once a turn or possibly even more, making this a very strong type of deck to play.
How would you build your own Brago deck? What wincon would you like to use? Would you prefer a build that doesn’t use combos? Let me know in the comments below or over on Draftsim’s Twitter.
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