I have my commander deck with Zacama, Primal Calamity, check out the link in my signature, so I feel obligated to release this bad boy..um..girl..um..them..onto the Brawl scene.
Mass removal has always been a great way to get card advantage and in a slower mutiplayer format, anything that clears the board is going to be super powerful.
With 10 different types of mass removal, the plan is to simply ramp as much as possible, clear the board a few times, then land Zacama, Primal Calamity, and devour everything else with their abilities. Will be oppressive in this format, if not constantly dealt with.
This deck is priced at around $83 if you were to buy them as singles.
Ramp, ramp, ramp.
We want to put as many lands into play through the course of the game, so that casting Zacama, and having a multitude of activation's at the ready is possible.
With a limited number of ways to get extra lands into play in Brawl, Thaumatic Compass and Treasure Map are perfect for casting Zacama, but do provide value along the way. As a hint you should really always look at the cards that transform into lands in Brawl. Ramping is an important part of casting more powerful spells, which you need to overpower opponents in multiplayer.
Red and white has some of the best mass board removal in standard, so we are looking to utilize this by clearing the board, probably several times during the course of a game. The follow up is of course with Zacama, Primal Calamity to finish off anything relevant.
Glorybringer, might be the best card in Brawl to handle opposing commanders. If opponents are not removing this, then it's almost impossible for them to play out their commander into it's wrath. Look for this card to be quite a dominating feature of Brawl in general. Because Zacama cannot target planewalkers with his ability Glorybringer can help to remove them with the flying and haste, clearing potential flying blockers.
Prowling Serpopard is a key card against counterspell heavy decks, as they often will hold up a counter for Zacama.
It's also worth noting that if you suspect that your opponent are holding up their mana for a counter, then often you can delay casting Zacama, and this punishes them as they fall behind what the rest of the opponents are doing, as they didn't use their mana efficiently. You can actually be patient with this deck, as you have a lot of removal, so often are not under a lot of pressure. I'll often only cast Zacama when I have 11-12 mana available, so that removal while the untap lands is on the stack is pointless, as you can just cast it again. This way you get to use Zacama ability at least 3-4 times.
Atzocan Seer is mainly used to get Zacama back from the graveyard, if a lot of removal has occurred, if Zacama tax is beyond what you can afford. You really should hold onto Atzocan Seer in hand, unless you are really in need of extra mana, or possibly desperate to get Ranging Raptors or Ripjaw Raptor back. But don't be tempted to use it like this unless you are under a lot of pressure.
Please use protection kids!
There is some protection for Zacama with Blossoming Defense and Heroic Intervention providing hexproof, which stops removal, especially stealing, where Zacama is of course a popular target. It must be noted that if you're playing against a blue control deck, then you might have to make sure that you have the 9 mana available to do 9 damage to Zacama itself, just in case your opponent is looking to do a steal tactic.
However I went through Dominaria and one cards stood out to me as an included and that is The Mending of Dominaria. It has a triple purpose in the deck, as you can get some of the ramp creatures or your power creatures back from graveyard, fill your graveyard with some more lands, for either it's 3rd Saga, or World Shaper fuel, and then the shuffling cards back into library, means that you can recycle some of your mass removal again, and it's just incredible hard for opponents to grind through you. Also means you are more inclined to do a huge Kamahl's Druidic Vow, if you have it in hand.
On that note, I've added lands that you can sacrifice, as you have a few means to get them back, so a little bit of value can be gained.
I was a card too high in list, so had to remove another card.
Getting lands into graveyard JUST to get some more value from The Mending of Dominaria doesn't seem that practical. We're already playing too many tap lands imo, they still enter the battlefield tapped after III and the more important part of mending is the shuffling the graveyard into your library. Out of the 3 Memorial to Unity seems the one that is actually worth playing. Its a cool idea but not the purpose of the deck I think. Haven't played it yet tho, still missing a few cards maybe you can prove me wrong.
You're right. Spending mana to do medium to mediocre abilities on the lands doesn't get you ahead.
I'm still going to try out The Mending of Dominaria. Returning creatures is unlikely, but I do like the ability to shuffle graveyard back into library, and even if it's only 1 or 2 lands put into play.
So I came second with this deck at my local LGS 1v1 brawl tournament with 9 people. I ran a list just a few cards different tho. I cut out the whole graveyard recursion theme and still ran with Chandra, Torch of Defiance. It was a real bomb when played turn 4.
Ultimately I lost to a Jhoira deck that countered all my removal and killed me with karns temporal sundering and some beefy creatures.
Cards that under performed were: Heaven // Earth, Rishkar's Expertise, Field of Ruin and Kamahl's Druidic Vow couldn't be cast reliably and only ever really brought out some lands or totally missed.
I've found planeswalker are so situational, when you get the right timing, they can do good work, but a lot of the time you just can't deploy them properly.
Primal Amulet can help to navigate around counterspells if you get it to transform, as you can copy the spells, which makes it hard to counter both.
I wanted to up the instant and sorcery count a little to make sure that you can consistently transform it into Primal Wellspring.
- Aegis Automaton - never even cast it.
- Settle the Wreckage - very disappointing, just too situational and you'd prefer to let your opponents not get the advantage of lands anyway. This card should really only be played if you have your own token strategy in my opinion.
- Primal Amulet - too slow, was worth a try.
- Abrade - with Sorcerous Spyglass being banned, much less need for this card.
- New Horizons - lands are just much safer
- Gift of Paradise - same as above
I've found it's not about just casting Zacama when you reach 9 mana. You can use your mass removal to grind things out even further. This trips opponents up thinking you are going to cast it on time, and usually wastes their own turn getting ready for it. Even better waiting till you have 11 mana, as they figure out that even if they remove it while untap land effect is on the stack, is pointless as you can just cast it again. This tend to make sure you get at least 3 activation's off Zacama.
Cards I've also tried are: Vance's Blasting Cannons - this card has been ok actually, but the fact it doesn't put lands into play, means a lot of disappointing turns. Shalai, Voice of Plenty - with the Hexproof, and was thinking with infinite mana is a finisher, but never got the infinite going, and you're going to have to play mass creature removal a few times during the game, so a dead draw most of the time.
My last game I cast Zacama 7 times, with a final commander tax of 12. Literally every round it was being removed, but I had the mana to cast it out each time. I had run out of basic lands to fetch by the end, so my Field of Ruin and Evolving Wilds were looking pretty bad with Ramunap Excavator, so one more removal and it would have been done I think, but I eventually ran them all out of relevant cards.
So I'm adding Atzocan Seer, as I feel that sometimes just letting Zacama goto graveyard so that you can return it to hand is a plan sometimes. Almost tempting to put The Mending of Dominaria back in for this reason, however timing it I'm sure would not really work out.
Also the Gilded Lotus really saved my butt, keeping me on curve to keep casting it out, so I'm not going look a gift horse in the mouth, and adding Pyramid of the Pantheon.