Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Brago, King Eternal as Commander
In Magic's commander format, you pick a legendary creature to lead a 100-card deck of unique spells, and you can only include colors that your general possesses. Despite mediocre 2/4 stats (two power and four toughness), blue/white commander "Brago, King Eternal" wields flying (letting him soar over ground blockers), and whenever he inflicts combat damage to a player, you can exile any nonland permanents you control, then return them to the field.
As the units arrive untapped, this lets you refresh artifacts and creatures, and it reactivates field entrance effects, letting you repeatedly spam your arrival abilities. Brago remains a personal favorite who bears an affordable price tag under five dollars; to see just how competitive he can be, here are 10 awesome cards to combo with Brago, King Eternal!
10. Unquestioned Authority
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 3
As an aura enchantment spell, Unquestioned Authority adheres to a creature, granting that unit protection from all creatures. It also lets you draw a card when it enters the field.
These effects both work great with Brago; you can exile and return Authority to draw more cards, and protection from all creatures essentially renders a unit unblockable, ensuring Brago can land his direct damage and activate his effect.
9. Static Orb
Static Orb is today's riskiest card, but when played at the right time, it forms a brutal net. This artifact allows players (including you) to only untap up to two permanents during their untap step. This drastically stalls enemies, forcing them to suffer exhausted lands, artifacts, and creatures.
Of course, you're under the same snare, but as long as Brago can land his combat damage and apply his effect, you can exile-return any of your tapped nonland permanents to the field untapped and primed for action.
Whenever an artifact or creature entering the field would trigger an ability on a permanent you control, Panharmonicon resolves that ability an additional time. Of course, Brago decks are stocked with field entrance effects to combo with his banish-return trait, and with Panharmonicon in play, you'll be able to further chain the abilities, quickly overwhelming foes with your continuous plays.
These two cards are near-identical, with each harboring a slight advantage over the other. For a substantial fee of five mana, both are weak 2/2 creatures, but they have flying and let you draw twice when they enter the field.
Mulldrifter also has an alternate evoke cost (letting you spend only three mana but sacrificing him on entrance) while Cloudblazer gains you two life in addition to the draws, so pick whichever bonus you prefer (or simply use both).
6. Solemn Simulacrum
Solemn's versatile effects make him a strong colorless force in any structure, but he's particularly handy with Brago. While he's weak at 2/2, he plays a basic land from your deck tapped onto the field whenever he enters. This saves you the trouble of both drawing and fielding the land (it doesn't count towards your once-per-turn limit), letting you rapidly swarm terrain by exploiting Brago's ability.
Plus, if Solemn dies, you get to draw, letting you nab a final card even if your chain gets disrupted.
5. Sun Titan
One of the best giants in the game, Sun Titan works well in any white theme, especially with Brago. He's a sturdy 6/6 with vigilance, letting him attack without tapping, and whenever he enters the field or swings, you can return a permanent with a CMC of three or less from your graveyard to the field!
This offers an excellent revival for not just creatures, but also lands and low-cost artifacts or enchantments, helping recover your vanquished spells. Remember, if you swing with Sun and exile-return him with Brago, you'll get to activate the effect twice per turn!
4. Peregrine Drake
Despite weak 2/3 stats, Peregrine is one of the strongest drakes in the game (not to be confused with dragons), especially when paired with Brago. He compensates for his frailty with flying and the ability to untap up to five lands when he enters the field.
You can see where this is going—not only does this essentially make Peregrine's casting free, it lets you refresh five lands each turn through Brago's combo.
3. Strionic Resonator
An alternative or supplement to Panharmonicon, Strionic needs two mana to initially cast. Then, it taps and requires two more whenever you use its effect, which lets you copy a triggered ability you control. Triggered abilities are ones that happen automatically (they don't need mana or tapping), like the field entrances Brago supports; use Strionic whenever you have leftover mana to resolve entrance effects twice.
A versatile card you can swap in and out of many decks, I've used Strionic in several commander builds; fortunately, despite its powers, it costs less than two dollars!
2. Reality Acid
Unlike most auras, Reality Acid can attach to any permanent, not just creatures. You'll want to place it on an opponent's unit, as Acid enters with three time counters. You remove one at your upkeep, and when the last disappears, you sacrifice Acid; when it leaves play, the permanent it enchanted is sacrificed.
Thus, attach Acid to an opposing unit (I recommend lands or planeswalkers), then use Brago to exile Acid. Your opponent has to sacrifice their card, Brago returns Acid to the field, and you can attach it to a different unit. Rinse and repeat to remove a permanent every turn.
1. Mana Vault (And Other Mana-Tapping Artifacts)
CMC: 1 (Mana Vault)
The artifacts Mana Vault, Grim Monolith, and Basalt Monolith are strong in any deck, but absolutely lethal with Brago. They tap for insane amounts of colorless mana, but can't untap during your untap step unless you pay mana—Brago can refresh them for free.
Thus, you can steal an insane mana lead while avoiding the penalties of these formidable relics. Remember, artifacts (unlike creatures) don't need haste to tap immediately, so you can begin your combos as soon as your treasures hit the field.
Finishing Your Brago Deck in Magic
In addition to today's specialized cards, staples like "Sol Ring", "Mana Drain", and "Counterspell" serve Brago as well as any other leader. Artifact equipments "Swiftfoot Boots" and "Lightning Greaves" both work well for granting Brago haste and letting him attack immediately, while "Treasure Mage" and "Trinket Mage" can search out your artifacts. Also consider that Brago can exile planeswalkers to refresh their loyalty (letting you repeatedly employ their minus effects).
I consider Brago one of the most underrated commanders, as his combos offer brutal mana ramp and triggered abilities that will serve you well. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of Brago-supporting spells, vote for your favorite card and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2018 Jeremy Gill