There are a lot of different frameworks around which one can build a powerful Commander deck. My personal favorite framework is synergy. On the plus side, it means my decks are often free to run less powerful cards with which I want an opportunity to play. After all, draft uncommons are designed to work well with similarly situated cards. On the minus side, this can lead me to ignore an archetype if it doesn’t seem like there are enough ways to engage with it. I like redundancy!


You should probably know what this card does!

Prior to Theros block, my experience with Bruna, Light of Alabaster was of that anemic sort. I had salivated over the prospect of brewing with her when she was first revealed. Her resurrection theme seemed like it would negate some of the drawbacks that auras have in a format defined by card advantage, and flying/vigilance meant she was a house that could block, which is basically the ideal when you’re looking for Commander beef.


But when I dug down deep into the deck, I found myself… unimpressed. Sure, the deck could put some serious pressure on your opponents by tutoring for Eldrazi Conscription and then dropping it onto a hasty, shrouded Bruna, but that win was boring to play. Heck, the deck was the queen of the one shot, but if I enjoyed playing that aspect of the game, I’d just play Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. And Howl From Beyond.

I know this would probably be a more reasonable card to name-check, but I can’t help it! I wasn’t playing then.


Of course, Theros changed that. Admitedly, it took me a while to figure out that things had changed. See, the main problem with Bruna decks prior to this point was that you wanted to run a ton of auras, so you could pop them all on her and win, and every slot that wasn’t an aura wanted to be some card advantage. Practically, this meant a low creature density deck that could get totally hosed if you ever tucked the general. Not a solid base for your deck.


Heroic was the thing that triggered my revelation, though. I kept looking at all these draft cards and I wanted to play with them, but in most decks heroic was not a strong mechanic. But in draft, heroic worked really well with bestow characters, and when that domino clattered into place, I had figured out how to make a Bruna deck that, if it wasn’t amazing, still worked to some practical degree.


I ended up with something that was roughly 1/3rd new cards, 1/3rd land, and then 1/3rd enablers from past sets. I couldn’t fit every bestow into the deck, and I know that bestow is a non-bo with Bruna in at least two of the three modes her ability takes. But it’s an interesting concept, and it certainly has a bit of play to it. Anyway, without further ado, the list:



Auras: Mortal Obstinacy; Fate Foretold; Ordeal of Heliod; Ordeal of Thassa; Gift of Immortality; Oracle’s Insight

Bestow: Hopeful Eidolon; Hypnotic Siren; Flitterstep Eidolon; Ghostblade Eidolon; Observant Alseid; Nimbus Naiad; Eidolon of Countless Battles; Celestial Archon

Creatures: Favored Hoplite; Artisan of Forms; Meletis Astronomer; Battlewise Hoplite; Phalanx Leader; Harvestguard Alseids; Tethmos High Priest; Riptide Chimera; Fabled Hero; Triton Cavalry; Ephara, God of the Polis; Dawnbringer Charioteers; Perplexing Chimera; Whitewater Naiads; Silent Sentinel

Misc: Banishing Light; Spear of Heliod; Bident of Thassa; Plea for Guidance



Auras: Ethereal Armor; Flickering Ward; Flickerform; Ward of Lights; Forced Worship; Flight of Fancy; Ocular Halo; Angelic Destiny; Righteous Authority; Celestial Mantle

Creatures: Auratog; Kor Spiritdancer; Nomad Mythmaker; Umbra Mystic; Mesa Enchantress; Saprazzan Bailiff; Sovereigns of Lost Alara; Sun Titan

Misc: Oblivion Ring; Detention Sphere; Cleansing Meditation; Retether; Costal Piracy; Three Dreams; Cathar’s Crusade; Sigil of the Empty Throne; Winds of Rath; Open the Vaults; True Conviction


Lands: Adarkar Wastes; Command Tower; Evolving Wilds; Glacial Fortress; Homeward Path; Nimbus Maze; Sejiri Refuge; Terramorphic Expanse; Wandervine Hub; Island x12; Plains x16


Did you know: Auratog is Modern-legal

Let’s drill down into some of these choices, shall we? Let’s start with Bruna’s ability. Whenever I am building around a general, and there is a synergistic way to turn that theme into a draw engine, I do so. Here, it’s through cards like Fate Foretold, Flight of Fancy, Ocular Halo, Oracle’s Insight, and Ordeal of Thassa. In case one of my strategies gets cut off through enemy engagement (say, via Rest in Peace), I have a diverse set of ways these cards turn into draw. Ocular Halo and Oracle’s Insight both turn into personal Howling Mines (to say nothing about Righteous Authority, which may as well read “personal Howling Mine“), while Flight of Fancy and Fate Foretold pay off as soon as they enter the field, but don’t offer any continuing bonus. This lead me to my favorite synergy in the deck: Auratog and Ordeal of Thassa (or Ordeal of Heliod). With Auratog on the battlefield and the Ordeals in the graveyard, any Bruna trigger gains me ten life and two cards, plus a +4/+4 boost to the helpful ‘tog. I experimented with broadening this specific subset, and expanding it to include Hatching Plans, but the support ended up taking too many slots. It’s a shame; I’ve always wanted to break Hatching Plans. But there’s only one Auratog, and Hatching Plans is useless without a sacrifice effect, so alas. Still, Auratog’s broadly useful, and I imagine it will be fun to enchant!


Phalanx Leader solved one of my problems quite neatly. My fear, when I was building this deck, is that the base bodies of most of my Bestow creatures was going to, quite frankly, suck. But Phalanx Leader was a relevant heroic creature, and once it was in it wasn’t long until I added in Cathar’s Crusade as well. The trade-off between these cards and traditional anthems is obvious, but I’d definitely rather get some delayed power when I’m playing the synergy game.


This just doesn’t look fun to me!

Constellation added some players as well. The generally unassuming Harvest Alseids make Bruna almost impossible to damage in combat, while Whitewater Naiads means that she can swing through even the most rigid defense. And unlike some of the other cards that can give unblockable or make Bruna always win combat (looking at you, Protective Bubble!), the creature-based nature projects vulnerability. If you CAN’T kill Bruna’s unstoppable aura, you’re going to try to kill Bruna as quickly as possible. Which is annoying, because then I have to get all those aura’s back on her again, and generally this means I’m shields down for a turn or two. But if they have to choose between destroying Bruna or destroying the thing that’s letting Bruna get through, and I’ve got the mana to recast Bruna, then they’re more likely to kill the harder-to-replace part of my little combo. Which is fine, because either way any offensive is disrupted, but in this case they can disrupt it without dropping my shields.


Now, getting them to make that decision, that’s just the political part of the game.


I really wish this card was better; it’s letting down its amazing name!

Anyway, the deck basically fell together from there. Once I’m playing in Theros, I had to try out the Perplexing Chimera/Homeward Path combo, and Winds of Rath is a no-brainer. Cleansing Meditation is probably the best Tranquility out there for a deck like this, and Riptide Chimera and Triton Cavalry gave me interactive ways to rebuy my enchantments. I’m particularly proud of the inclusion of Forced Worship. I wanted a Pacifism effect I could get back from the graveyard with Bruna, and I had two real options: Forced Worship and Cage of Hands. I chose Forced Worship for a couple of reasons. First, I was worried about getting the aura stuck on Bruna. If that ever happened, I definitely wanted to be able to block. Second, I find that people are more receptive to the political side of the game if you don’t put them shields down. This way I can defend myself from problematic aggression, but do it without drawing too much aggro. The point is, it’s a very me card. Even though I probably should just play them both.


Finally, let me sing the praises of Flickering Ward. Paying WW for a heroic trigger seems fairly brutal, and the card has a huge amount of play even beyond that. If you want to get some enchantments off your creatures and back into the ‘yard to dig back up with Nomad Mythmaker, Flickering Ward is for you! If you need to keep a key creature alive against the deck that Flame Waves ever turn, Flickering Ward is for you! And so forth. Point it, it’s a good card. I would recommend playing it in any Enchantress Commander deck, it’s really a key player.

True story: I first became aware of this card in an SCG Legacy Open, when a WW/Cataclysm player hosed me with it.


My point, though, is that there are holes in what you can do in Commander. This deck is a weird and fun heroic deck, but it would get torn to pieces by any combo deck in the format. And a year ago, it wouldn’t have even been weird and fun. It was just bad. So I guess I am thankful for the heavy themes of each block. As we open up more design space in the future, so too shall we open up new and interesting deck archetypes as well.

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