From the card text alone, I think it’s pretty obvious that you’ll be winning games by getting a lot of quality auras on Bruna and sending her in the general direction of your opponents like a very, very pretty freight train, Voltron-style. I’m sure there are other builds out there, but I’ll be discussing the most obvious build.
Having white/blue as her color identity provides you with the means to protect her (shroud auras, totem armor, countermagic) and yourself (defensive auras, …countermagic), which a lot of other Voltron Commanders are short on. More importantly, white and blue have a few cards that prevent your opponents from meddling during your turn.
Oh, and did I mention that the art is absolutely gorgeous?
You’d enjoy this deck if:
-You like putting the fear of God into your opponents because you can eliminate a player out of nowhere without resorting to some infinite loop that wipes the entire table.
-You like how aura effects interact apart from making your dudes bigger.
-You like to play with auras, generally, and would like for them to be more appreciated instead of being considered one of the worst card types (if not the worst outright).
-You used to enjoy Uril, but you can’t get over how easily he gets Hinder
-You thought you’d like Zur, but then your friends complained about how annoying he is.
This deck might not be for you if:
-You’re looking for lots of those single-minded combo wins. (This deck has a combo, but it’s pretty hard to pull off and mostly, I just draw into it.)
-You just can’t get over how using lots of auras can feel like shooting your own foot.
-You can’t get over using Read the Runes
instead of Stroke of Genius
and Rhystic Study
She’s new and pretty. Bruna has the crazy ability to take all the auras in play, in your hand, and in your graveyard. No need to pay for them. No three CMC limit. Just turn her sidew—OH RIGHT, she has vigilance. Bruna’s ability extends to your graveyard, so the main weakness of auras—that they die along with the creatures they enchant and risk massive card disadvantage—is mitigated.
What I would give to trade Bruna’s vigilance and flying for hexproof and haste! A good part of my efforts goes into getting Bruna attacking as soon as possible and protecting her from Doomblade
and its ilk. Her cost is also somewhat problematic (she’s one of the more expensive Voltron Commanders), but six isn’t that big of a number in this format, right? There’s also the issue of needing to have a lot of auras, which are considered by many to be the worst cards in Magic because of the card disadvantage thing I mentioned. Thankfully, Bruna gets around this rather well.
Mass land destruction could be a kick in the gut, but when has it never been so? The deck tries to prepare for this with mana rocks, land tutoring, and countermagic, but that can only do so much.
My personal reasons for playing Bruna are relatively shallow: I already have a relatively-developed W/U card pool and I love the art.
Bruna hails from a prestigious line of enchantment-based Commanders, which in turn hails from a broader line of Commanders who want to have stuff attached to them and charge into the red zone. We’ll just discuss the enchantment-based ones. I also already mentioned that Bruna is not exactly better than either Zur or Uril. Picking her is all a matter of preference.
Zur the Enchanter
– Zur is considered by many to be one of the most insufferably broken Commanders in the format. Being in the notorious Esper colors is bad enough, but Zur is able to tutor a Necropotence
directly into play, which fills your hand with answers. Forever.
In my opinion, Zur’s only weakness is he’s TOO powerful. The person running him can easily find himself the target of the entire table the moment he declares him to be his Commander. Still, a good Zur player fending off three opponents isn’t exactly unheard-of.
Uril, the Miststalker
– Uril is the Timmy player’s dream. He has inherent protection against those mean control players and their targeted removal, grows bigger with each aura you put on him, and is conveniently in the colors of Runes of the Deus
and Shield of the Oversoul
: two of the most un-subtly awesome auras available. His weakness: mass removal, especially of the Hallowed Burial
Typical Game Plan
As you draw your opening hand, be on the lookout for ways to draw and ramp. Starting with a few lands and only auras might not be a good idea because they’d just end up doing nothing. That said, the deck contains a lot of card draw so I rarely find myself in a situation where I’d really need to mulligan--the deck naturally operates as though almost each card in it has cycling.
The plan for the first few turns is to establish a mana base. Ideally, this would involve playing some mana rocks, or pushing a few land drops ahead with Terrain Generator
and/or Walking Atlas
. It’s very important to not miss any land drops, so if you have any looting spells, don’t hesitate to cycle auras so you can draw into lands. Bruna can get those back later, anyway.
Don't be afraid to play Bruna early if you can sense that your opponents are lacking in removal (a good indication of this is if a 'must answer creature' like Primeval Titan
gets played and nobody does anything about it) or if you have countermagic in spades. Otherwise, don't rush her in because cards like Hinder
and Spin into Myth
exist. Instead, play one of the other creatures in the deck and enchant it with an aura or two. Most of the time, even something as innocent as Nomad Mythmaker
or Iridescent Drake
can grow into a juggernaut after recurring the Eldrazi Conscription
or Empyrial Armor
you discarded to Read the Runes
If Bruna DOES get tucked, you're going to have to rely on your other guys to win. Thankfully, as stated in the previous paragraph, each one of your creatures can become a legitimate threat. Additionally, the deck contains enough aggressive card drawing to stand a good chance of drawing into Bruna herself or into a continuous supply of threats. Take care to use your other creatures sparingly as well. One Nomad Mythmaker
or Academy Researchers
is enough to start eliminating players while it protects you and itself with a combination of defensive and offensive auras.
Sometimes, you’ll get insane ramp, Force of Will
, and Intuition
. If you want to win more games, you may consider holding off until you can safely wipe everyone out. Sometimes you may just feel like putting the fear of god into the table and eliminate a player early. Even if the table panics into dogpiling you, maybe it’s worth it. And maybe you can still manage to wipe them all out. Depends on how gung-ho you feel.
Another thing: graveyard hate exists. The deck doesn't have any direct answers to cards like Tormod's Crypt
aside from countermagic, and they can put a real dent on your plans. Discard key auras sparingly if you can help it, but I've determined by playing the deck over and over that the best solution to graveyard hate is to be continuously aware that there's always a possibility of getting your graveyard exiled.
In short, never overextend. Each one of your creatures has the potential to force a board wipe and that's one less spell to worry about when Bruna comes in later on, hopefully with haste and shroud. Never overextend the auras in your graveyard, either. Play carefully, but always be alert for a chance to play Bruna and knock out that guy holding all the removal while he's tapped out from playing Time Stop on some other dude. Then, take out that other dude.
If you haven’t wiped everyone out yet, you probably won’t reach the late game because you’re likely to eat some sort of infect dude. If you do reach the late game, it’s probably because Bruna got neutered somehow, or you took the route good players (unlike myself) take and waited things out as your opponents spend their answers on each other while you gather enough mana and countermagic to play an utterly unanswerable Bruna. With haste.
into Parallax Tide
, Parallax Wave
, and Opalescence
, then cast Replenish
Draw and Discard
The deck includes a wide array of blue cards that let you draw cards at the expense of discarding some. While this is seen to be inferior to straightforward card draw (something that blue does well already), Bruna’s ability makes your graveyard an extension of your hand. In this regard, Bruna is more similar to The Mimeoplasm
or Karador, Ghost Chieftain
than the other aura-based Commanders.
Notable cards: Thirst for Knowledge
, Compulsive Research
, Fact or Fiction
, Read the Runes
, Tunnel Vision
, Memory Jar
, Frantic Search
, Cephalid Coliseum
And then there are the tutors. This deck has the dubious honor of being the only deck I know of that actually uses Tunnel Vision
to tutor for something. There are also some land-specific tutors because Hall of the Bandit Lord gives Bruna much-needed haste.
Notable cards: Three Dreams
, Enlightened Tutor
, Academy Rector
, Totem-Guide Hartebeast
, Tunnel Vision
A lot of the cards serve to protect Bruna until she can attack or giving her haste so she can attack immediately (or both!). Alternatively, you can wait for your opponents to tap out and sneak Bruna in via Scout’s Warning
Notable cards: Lightning Greaves
, Swiftfoot Boots
, Hall of the Bandit Lord
, Scout’s Warning
Ramp and Other Lands
Bruna can get pretty mana-intensive because it would be foolish not to answer her, so her mana cost does tend to go up. More important is the ability to ramp into being able to cast Bruna (hopefully with some to spare for countermeasures). It’s not always necessary to hurry into getting Bruna out, but there’s always something to do with a lot of early mana, like dropping Academy Researchers
with Eldrazi Conscription
I actually want to prioritize basic Islands and Plains over mana fixing duals because accelerating via Terrain Generator
is more important and the deck has enough card draw to smoothen out the colors--and not everyone can afford the more expensive duals. Speaking of expensive cards, the deck would greatly benefit from Mana Crypt
, and I do urge anyone who has it to include it (although I hate you forever and ever).
So far, Walking Atlas
has been great. He functions as the Exploration
that doesn’t care about color identity. He can wear auras, chump block, and lots of other fun stuff small, unassuming creatures do. A neat trick is to slip Hall of the Bandit Lord
in at the end of an opponent’s turn for some hasty Bruna action. On a similar vein, you can use Frantic Search
to untap the Halls and get a surprise attack, as well.
and High Market
get their slots because it would be very, very bad for you if Bruna gets stolen.
Notable cards: Gilded Lotus
, Fellwar Stone
, Azorius Signet
, Wayfarer’s Bauble
, Terrain Generator
, Sol Ring
, Expedition Map
, Walking Atlas
, Temple of the False Gods
, Mana Vault
, Hall of the Bandit Lord
, Homeward Path
, High Market
, Ancient Tomb
, Thawing Glaciers
Here are the specific aura choices I made, and the notable interactions among them:
, Corrupted Conscience
, Battle Mastery
– These three are the main kill auras. More often than not, if Bruna slams into someone with any of these on along with some others, that guy’s not getting up. Never forget that you can use Corrupted Conscience
to steal an opponent’s dude.
, Unquestioned Authority
– Renders you immune to creature-based damage. Pariah
can double as creature removal in a pinch--just slap it onto someone else's creature and it'll be dead in a few turns. If it survives, that probably means nobody attacked you. Unquestioned Authority
makes Bruna unblockable, too. And draws you a card, which I value over the +1/+1 that Spirit Mantle
, Eel Umbra
– Flash makes these auras invaluable in keeping Bruna alive. They serve as limited counters. It’s usually a good idea to keep these in your hand instead of discarding them because they can act as emergency “counterspells” if somebody tries to off Bruna before she gets all the auras.
– Also along the lines of keeping Bruna alive, this time against mass removal and similar kinds of nastiness. You can attach these to enemy creatures too, as somewhat expensive removal. Flickerform
on Totem-Guide Hartebeast
, Academy Researchers
, or Auratouched Mage
is pretty awesome, too, because you get to recycle their enter-the-battlefield abilities.
Vow of Duty
, Vow of Flight
– Aim your opponent’s guys at other players! Bruna can absorb these later for a damage boost. It kinda irks me that the two vows that are available to Bruna provide abilities she already has, but the +2/+2 has been relevant at times. A Vow of Hexproof would be nice for the next Commander product, but I'm happy with the ones we have now.
, Steel of the Godhead
, Empyrial Armor
– These are generic good auras that provide a pump bonus, lifelink, or unblockabilty. Fliers are common enough in Commander that Bruna can benefit from being unblockable reasonably often (although not often enough to warrant Robe of Mirrors
– Drawing cards is good, last I checked.
While the deck does mainly rely on Bruna, I’ve included some creatures that can function as smaller versions of her in case she gets tucked (or I just need a blocker). Note that a reasonable amount of pump auras plus Corrupted Conscience
can still kill anyone out of nowhere. Pariah
and Unquestioned Authority
can turn any of your creatures into a little forcefield against attackers.
Notable cards: Totem-Guide Hartebeast
, Academy Researchers
, Auratouched Mage
, Iridescent Drake
, Sovereigns of Lost Alara
Ideally, I would like to limit Bruna’s counterspells to ones that can be cast for free, since I want to be able to cast Bruna, and then attack with her. Foil
is exceptionally good in the deck, though, because you can just pitch an aura and expect Bruna to get it back. Forbid
is also good for the same reason—too good that I’m willing to pay actual mana!
Notable cards: Misdirection
, Force of Will
– Because why the hell not? Seriously though, there's simply no reason not to run it. Drawing tons of cards gets you more of the auras you need. The ability is strong enough that I doesn't really feel wrong to protect him if you can.
, Kor Spiritdancer
– These seemed to be obvious inclusions, and they actually were part of the deck when I put it together for the first time. However, I quickly realized that I almost never cast my auras. They also pale in comparison to the card drawing that blue already provides.
– I noticed that protecting Bruna from being targeted or countering spells is usually more effective than just protecting her from being destroyed at the ‘cost’ of having a marginally useless creature, but I cut the Mystic out mainly because a lot of the effects that remove Bruna don’t go through the “destroy” route. She’s still a very good card, though. I might test with her in place of one of the redundant auras from time to time.
and Protective Bubble
– Speaking of redundant auras. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of flak for excluding Diplomatic Immunity
, but at the moment, I’m not impressed that it has shroud itself, compared to flashing in Alexi’s Cloak
to intercept a removal spell.
, along with every other draw X then discard X card ever – There are lots. I can make an entire deck with ONLY these cards. I’d like to believe I narrowed out the best (I did play with Ancestral Memories, though). Any suggestions would be welcome.
Sigil of the Empty Throne
– This was one of the cards I originally wanted for the deck. As I already mentioned, I find myself actually casting enchantments very rarely, so I never pursued this card.
- I've seen this being used as a life engine, taking advantage of Bruna resurrecting boatloads of enchantments with each combat step. While I think the interaction is cute, by the time Bruna's doing that, your opponents should already be dropping like flies.
Bruna does really well on single player matchups, although I don’t think I’ve fought a deck that’s specifically tuned for 1v1. I suspect to have trouble with faster, even more aggressive decks, but I’m sorry to say that I really don’t know and can give very little input other than try to ramp Bruna out and hope to have counters for their counters.
There always is the chance of getting hit with Bojuka Bog
, Relic of Progenitus
, or whatnot. Most of the time, it doesn’t really cripple you because there are always more auras in your deck. It may be a good idea to take it easy on discarding key auras if there’s a chance of a graveyard nuke.
, Mana Crypt
– Absurdy expensive cards that I would include if they weren’t so.
– Anyone who has gone through labyrinths of old crap cards looking for Rhystic Study
back then should know my pain. DAMMIT, PROPHESY. Somewhat a redundancy of Pariah
. The worst part is that I don’t even expect it’ll be that good, but I really want to test it out. Imagine having this on Academy Rector
with a board full of tokens, though.
Sensei's Divining Top
– Was suggested, then I despaired that I don't have one. Again.
- This shouldn't be too hard to find. I hope.
Replaced Hanna, Ship's Navigator
with Nomad Mythmaker
- Hanna seemed like a good choice, but I noticed that she was too slow for the pace the deck aims to cheat auras in. The Nomad just goes in there and slaps a discarded Eel Umbra
on himself and blocks forever, or Eldrazi Conscription
and start beating face.
Replaced Swords to Plowshares
with False Demise
- It's one removal spell and it's almost never around when it would have been relevant. Besides, I have a thing for shaving off generically good cards for narrower cards that serve my theme.
Replaced Copy Artifact
with Greater Auramancy
- Copy Artifact was more of a filler card, actually.
Replaced False Demise
- They do the same thing, more or less, and Abduction can potentially steal something wicked.
with Reliquary Tower
with Strip Mine
- Got myself some utility lands.
Replaced Winds of Rath
- Just testing it out.
Achieved primer status! \o/
Replaced Consecrated Sphinx
with Righteous Authority
and Ethereal Armor
- Both of the cards I replaced are very strong cards in their own right, but they didn't really help the deck do what it wants to do outside of being ridiculously powerful. Cataclysm did win games, but those are always games I would have won anyway (most of the time, all you really need is for Bruna to get into one COMBAT, and not necessarily attack). Consecrated Sphinx is always awesome, but when is it /not/? Whenever I win off its back, I feel the deck didn't really do it's thing, but rather just won with the sheer impossibility to lose with the amount of card draw Consecrated Sphinx gives you. Meanwhile, Ethereal Armor and Righteous Authority are great, flavorful auras that easily give the smaller creatures a punch for the early game, and boost Bruna by a lot when it's time to punch face.
Maybe do away with Parallax Tide
, Parallax Wave
, Consecrated Sphinx
Possible replacements: Fool's Demise
, False Demise
, Three Wishes
, Angelic Destiny
, Careful Consideration
Well, there you have it. I hope you enjoy reading through my rambling and I would love to get some suggestions to make the deck better.