Last updated on November 2, 2022
Braids, Arisen Nightmare | Illustration by Heonhwa Choe
More legendary creatures are released with every set to be used as new commanders to get brewed around. Some are just underwhelming, some may be funny to play, and some are just straight-powerful.
Braids, Arisen Nightmare from Dominaria United is one of the strong bunch and has a tendency to keep the board small. It also rewards you for a small tax and punishes all opponents who refuse to pay the toll.
Just in time for spooky season, it’s finally time to brew around Braids. Its older version, Braids, Cabal Minion, is banned from the format, but this one seems to be more balanced and fun to play with.
Follow me to the land of bad dreams and find out how to give your opponents a bad time!
Solemn Simulacrum | Illustration by Dan Scott
Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia
Ayara, First of Locthwain
Tergrid, God of Fright
The Meathook Massacre
Bastion of Remembrance
Revel in Riches
Dictate of Erebos
Black Market Connections
The Underworld Cookbook
Crucible of Worlds
Spine of Ish Sah
To maximize its commander’s potential this deck runs multiple creatures, enchantments, and artifacts that can create more than one “body” on the field. You can later sacrifice the extras while hoping that your opponents let you get cards for free.
Braids, Arisen Nightmare doesn’t have an ETB effect, but its ability triggers at the end of your turn. It synergizes exceptionally well with the multiple sacrifice fodders this deck runs.
Its effect is simple but impacts all opponents. If you sacrifice a permanent type they don’t have then you get the total value.
You’ll rarely win by attacking. Your best option is to pair multiple drain effects and sacrifice engines to end the game and potentially kill your opponents in one swing.
This can be done in many ways, but Revel in Riches is a one-card win condition. Being an enchantment is hard to deal with, but there are several ways to make it so that your opponents can’t interact with it much.
There are lots of cards in the deck and each fills a role for a go-wide plan.
Some are part of the drain package. They mostly make your opponents lose a life and gain you a life whenever creatures die on either side of the field. Blood Artist and Zulaport Cutthroat are the main creatures followed by Bastion of Remembrance.
Other cards play the role of creating bodies for sacrifice fodder for other cards, mainly by your commander.
The sacrifice outlets are cards that provide you with a way to send your permanents to the graveyard when Braids, Arisen Nightmare isn’t around.
Fodders are all the cards that are played just to be sent to the graveyard at any time. These cards provide different effects depending on what you need at that moment.
Card Advantage and Value Spells
Card advantage and value spells can be represented in multiple ways. Some provide you with extra cards for cheap mana like Sign in Blood and Night’s Whisper, while others provide you with different options on types of value that you can get out of them like Black Market Connections or Demonic Pact.
Tergrid, God of Fright can punish opponents that aren’t willing to give you more cards.
This deck relies on multiple ways to tutor for its key cards to assemble your plans and synergies.
Black has access to the best removal package among other colors without a doubt.
Some other cards are pseudo-removals, like Grave Pact and Dictate of Erebos. They punish your opponents that aim to kill your creatures or when you sacrifice your creatures with your sacrifice outlets or Braids, Arisen Nightmare.
For a mono-black deck, one may think that it’s just enough running Swamps on it and call it a day. This may be true, but there’s no harm in getting value from your lands one way or another.
Phyrexian Tower is the one I like the most for being a card that can act as a sacrifice outlet and a ramp spell when paired with your spawners.
There are also sacrifice outlets like Phyrexian Altar that help you to ramp further into the game.
The primary strategy is to run cards like Mycosynth Wellspring and Chromatic Star. They may seem offensive at first glance, but they’re turned into Ancestral Recall most of the time when paired with Braids, Arisen Nightmare.
The plan is to sacrifice some permanents your opponents may not have or aren’t willing to sacrifice, like artifacts, planeswalkers, or enchantments. You can also opt to sacrifice creatures, but it’s more likely that opponents have one or two already on the board. I don’t think they’ll enjoy sacrificing their mana rocks for your Treasure tokens.
Combos and Interactions
There are lots of fun combinations you can do with this deck. Some are just value synergies, and some are annoying ways to win the game. Whatever it may be, here are the ones you need to know about.
Bitterblossom with Skullclamp provides you with two more cards per turn for just one mana. You can also swap Ophiomancer instead of the enchantment. If you have both, you get to draw four cards in addition to your natural draw step per turn.
Ideally you need another sacrifice outlet like Krark-Clan Ironworks if you don’t have Braids, Arisen Nightmare out with Karn, the Great Creator with Ugin’s Nexus. The idea is to sacrifice Nexus and use Karn’s ability to play it back from exile on your upcoming turn to get at least three in a row.
You can swap Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia for any other spawner, but the idea is to turn your creatures into Food tokens with Witch’s Oven. You then make everyone else sacrifice an artifact with Braids, Arisen Nightmare’s ability because artifacts are a less prevalent card type than creatures.
Scrap Trawler with Myr Retriever and Krark-Clan Ironworks and any other 1-mana artifact can theoretically get you infinite mana and death triggers. You’re likely to win the game next turn if you pair it with Pitiless Plunderer and Revel in Riches. Pulling all this together is difficult, but the key is to ensure that your playgroup is okay with the infinite mana and death triggers deal.
The main idea is to play Ugin’s Nexus and Revel in Riches the same turn while having more than 10 Treasures and an artifact sacrifice outlet to win during your next extra turn and bypass the waiting time.
If you want to add more drain effects, Falkenrath Noble is a suitable option. Beseech the Queen is a good replacement for the most expensive tutors that the deck can run. If you want to add more mana rocks to your deck, Mind Stone can be useful as it synergizes with the artifact theme.
The other way I’ve seen Braids, Arisen Nightmare decks built is by running a discard package theme that impacts the whole board. It includes cards like Elderfang Disciple, Virus Beetle, and Burglar Rat that make your opponents discard a card. You can add more of these effects to your deck and include the likes of Waste Not for maximum value.
From there you can add more synergy cards like Liliana’s Caress and more tools to get your creatures back from the graveyard, like Animate Dead, to keep punishing the table by making them discard cards.
Bitterblossom | Illustration by Jesper Ejsing
Braids, Arisen Nightmare is the kind of commander I like. I tend to gravitate towards sacrifice strategies. Braids taxes your opponents in the process, so it’s the perfect fit for me.
There are a couple of ways to build this deck, but I decided to go towards a more artifact/Treasure theme because it’s less likely that your opponents would have artifacts they want to sacrifice.
Is this sacrifice version of the deck meeting your play style, or would you instead build it with more of a discard theme? What cards would you like to try in your Braids, Arisen Nightmare deck? Let me know in the comments below or over on the Draftsim Twitter.
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