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5 Homes for Brimaz, King of Oreskos
Feature Article from Craig Wescoe
Craig Wescoe
1/17/2014 10:00:00 AM
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Up until midnight last night I was all set to talk about how Bile Blight and Drown in Sorrow would render White Aggro decks unplayable in Standard. Monoblack was no longer a winnable matchup and I saw no good reason to avoid sleeving up a bunch of Swamps. I felt my days as a pro player were numbered and I was preparing to turn in my uniform and clean out my desk. Then the clock struck midnight and all of a sudden my countenance brightened, my sorrow was turned to joy, and I shouted “Brimaz!”

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 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
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Wow! Really? Just wow. I literally can't wait to play this card! There is a new hope for white decks, a king who would lead us into a new golden age, a kitty to take photos of and post to social networking sites! I since stayed up most of the night searching for homes for this long awaited Nacatl descendent. So far I have found five, and today I'd like to share these five decks with you and how Brimaz, King of Oreskos looks to put each of them over the top.


Born of the Gods Impact on Standard

A few cards that have been spoiled thus far will change Standard in a number of ways.

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Searing Blood is an interesting addition to aggressive red decks, offering a one-time Glacial Ray splicing Lava Spike. I could see this being a big addition to the Ross Red heroic deck I wrote about a few weeks ago. I can also see it in a Gruul Aggro type deck.

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Unravel the AEther is also interesting. Deglamer was an answer to cards like Wurmcoil Engine in Extended and I'm assuming it will see a lot of play, even in main decks, in Standard. It's essentially an instant speed Revoke Existence, and with all the gods, auras, and enchantment creatures, in addition to the usual Detention Spheres and Spear of Heliods, etc., I would be surprised if this did not quickly establish itself as a Standard staple.

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Fated Intervention is another interesting card for green decks. It's a slightly bigger Advent of the Wurm in that it can Ambush attackers or play around Supreme Verdict. It also works great with the populate mechanic, especially Rootborn Defenses. I can see Selesnya Populate making a resurgence.

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Fanatic of Xenagos is a step in the right direction for Gruul Aggro. Neither option is especially palatable for opponents, though I would suspect that more often than not he will be a 4/4 trampler, which is still a pretty good deal for three mana. Elvish Mystic will have some fun times with this guy, as will Domri Rade. He's basically a Loxodon Smiter for Gruul.

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 Kiora, the Crashing Wave
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Kiora, the Crashing Wave could work in some type of ramp deck, but I think Bant Control is the most obvious home. She locks down an opposing creature for a few turns before winning the game with her ultimate. I see her alongside Elspeth, Sun's Champion being the only win conditions in Bant Control. AEtherling is no longer needed, and to an extent, Sphinx's Revelation may not be as important anymore either.

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Drown in Sorrow will likely see play in Esper Control as a compliment to Supreme Verdict, though it will likely have its biggest impact in Monoblack Devotion, alongside Bile Blight, as a way of improving the aggro matchups. Here is what I expect will be the deck to beat as soon as Born of the Gods becomes legal:

Monoblack Devotion by Craig Wescoe
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Desecration Demon
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Nightveil Specter
4 Pack Rat
Creatures [16]
4 Drown in Sorrow
4 Hero's Downfall
4 Thoughtseize
4 Underworld Connections
Spells [16]
4 Mutavault
18 Swamp (238)
4 Temple of Deceit
Lands [26]
Deck Total [58]


3 Dark Betrayal
4 Duress
3 Erebos, God of the Dead
3 Lifebane Zombie
Sideboard [13]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

Now that we have an idea of some of the changes that are likely to occur in Standard, let's take a look at the impact my favorite card from the set ( Brimaz, King of Oreskos) will have.

Orzhov Aggro by Craig Wescoe
Main Deck
Sideboard
3 Banisher Priest
4 Boros Elite
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Daring Skyjek
4 Dryad Militant
2 Imposing Sovereign
4 Precinct Captain
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
Creatures [29]
4 Brave the Elements
3 Orzhov Charm
2 Spear of Heliod
Spells [9]
4 Godless Shrine
4 Mutavault
1 Orzhov Guildgate
8 Plains (230)
1 Swamp (238)
4 Temple of Silence
Lands [22]
Deck Total [60]


1 Banisher Priest
2 Dark Betrayal
3 Doom Blade
2 Glare of Heresy
1 Orzhov Charm
2 Sin Collector
2 Thoughtseize
2 Xathrid Necromancer
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

With black decks adopting Bile Blight and Drown in Sorrow, white aggro decks need a way to adapt. Fortunately Brimaz, King of Oreskos is exactly that, surviving both removal spells. He dies to Hero's Downfall, but we have four copies of Brave the Elements to protect him. In this matchup you'll usually want to wait until you have four mana to cast him since he is basically our Pack Rat and we need to protect our king.

In other matchups he will provide a win-the-game-by-himself role, topping off our curve with a three-mana monster. He works especially well in conjunction with Spear of Heliod, netting six points of damage on the first attack and eight on the second! I am not hesitant to run the full four copies, even though he is legendary, because if he is not dealt with you are probably winning and don't mind having more copies stranded in hand.

Another important feature of Brimaz, King of Oreskos is being able to turn on battalion. The token won't count for battalion on the first attack since battalion triggers upon declaring attackers and only sees creatures that were declared as attackers, but producing tokens alongside Precinct Captain will ensure that your battalion creatures continue to get their bonuses, even in the face of creatures dying in combat and/or to removal spells.

Boros Aggro by Craig Wescoe
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Boros Elite
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Daring Skyjek
4 Dryad Militant
2 Frontline Medic
4 Precinct Captain
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
Creatures [26]
1 Ajani, Caller of the Pride
Planeswalkers [1]
4 Boros Charm
4 Brave the Elements
3 Spear of Heliod
Spells [11]
4 Mutavault
10 Plains (230)
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Temple of Triumph
Lands [22]
Deck Total [60]


4 Banisher Priest
4 Fiendslayer Paladin
4 Glare of Heresy
3 Mizzium Mortars
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

A slightly different variation of Orzhov Aggro is Boros Aggro. This version is a bit weaker to creature decks since it lacks Orzhov Charm, but it is stronger against control decks since you have Boros Charm to counter Supreme Verdict and you have Mizzium Mortars to handle Blood Baron of Vizkopa.

Most of what was said about Orzhov Aggro concerning Brimaz, King of Oreskos applies here as well. One of the biggest weaknesses of white aggro decks in standard has been getting stuck with a handful of not-so-powerful cards and trying to somehow MacGyver a victory. Brimaz will make things a lot easier in that department.

Heroic White by Craig Wescoe
Main Deck
Sideboard
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
4 Fabled Hero
2 Favored Hoplite
4 Hero of Iroas
4 Hopeful Eidolon
2 Nyxborn Shieldmate
4 Phalanx Leader
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
Creatures [28]
4 Ethereal Armor
3 Gods Willing
2 Holy Mantle
Spells [9]
4 Mutavault
19 Plains (230)
Lands [23]
Deck Total [60]


3 Arrest
2 Brave the Elements
4 Fiendslayer Paladin
3 Glare of Heresy
1 Gods Willing
2 Pacifism
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

This one is a bit less established and admittedly needs a few more cards to really put it over the top. The pieces are starting to come together and I expect this deck to be a real thing at some point. Hero of Iroas is very interesting and likely serves the role of bridging heroic with bestow in constructed.

Phalanx Leader works especially well with Brimaz, King of Oreskos by making all the cats bigger. This deck is less of a Brimaz deck and more of a heroic aura deck with Brimaz thrown in simply because it is the strongest white creature in the format. The next best option is Wingsteed Rider, which is not bad, but not as strong as Brimaz, mostly because Brimaz will help make our aura-light draws better.

Gods Willing can protect whatever heroic creature we put all our auras on, while triggering heroic in the process. It can also serve to protect Brimaz if we go on that route. The best protection for Brimaz, however, is simply having another copy of Brimaz in hand.

Another neat thing about this deck is putting, well, anything on Fabled Hero. I especially like Holy Mantle since it immediately represents a two-turn unblockable clock by itself. Hopeful Eidolon and Fiendslayer Paladin help to ensure races are won against other aggressive decks while Brave the Elements and Gods Willing protect our key creature from point removal spells. The bestow auras act as Supreme Verdict protection by becoming creatures post-wrath, leaving us new targets for our next round of auras. You can also just play a Brimaz, King of Oreskos and/or start attacking with Mutavaults post-wrath.

Monowhite Devotion by Craig Wescoe
Main Deck
Sideboard
2 Angel of Serenity
3 Archangel of Thune
4 Banisher Priest
4 Boros Reckoner
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
4 Precinct Captain
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
Creatures [26]
3 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
Planeswalkers [3]
2 Brave the Elements
3 Last Breath
2 Spear of Heliod
Spells [7]
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
20 Plains (230)
Lands [24]
Deck Total [60]


1 Brave the Elements
4 Fiendslayer Paladin
3 Glare of Heresy
2 Pacifism
2 Pithing Needle
3 Renounce the Guilds
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

Super aggressive decks are not the only ones that will welcome the addition of Brimaz, King of Oreskos. His kingdom spreads all across the Plains of Nykthos, even to white devotion decks.

Having double white in his cost is a huge advantage for this deck, adding two devotion worth of mana when we tap Nykythos, Shrine to Nix. This mana will allow us to cast Elspeth, Sun's Champion, Archangel of Thune, and Angel of Serenity, or it will simply allow us to pump out tokens with Heliod, God of the Sun.

White Devotion is essentially a midrange deck. It can curve out like an aggro deck with Soldier of the Pantheon into Precinct Captain into Boros Reckoner or Brimaz, King of Oreskos. The difference is that when it does, its follow up play is not just Spear of Heliod or Brave the Elements. Rather, it can also be a fourth turn Elspeth, Sun's Champion or even Angel of Serenity!

Archangel of Thune is a card that works really well with Brimaz, King of Oreskos, much like Spear of Heliod. Both also work with Precinct Captain and Heliod, God of the Sun, generating tokens and anthem effects for those tokens.

One of the things I like about this build is that Boros Reckoner is its only multicolor permanent, a card that comes out against decks you would most want Renounce the Guilds for. So Blood Baron of Vizkopa and Detention Sphere have a readymade answer in Renounce the Guilds.


BW Devotion by Craig Wescoe
Main Deck
Sideboard
2 Angel of Serenity
3 Banisher Priest
3 Blood Baron of Vizkopa
4 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
1 Heliod, God of the Sun
2 Imposing Sovereign
4 Precinct Captain
4 Soldier of the Pantheon
Creatures [23]
1 Elspeth, Sun's Champion
1 Gideon, Champion of Justice
Planeswalkers [2]
2 Brave the Elements
3 Orzhov Charm
2 Spear of Heliod
4 Thoughtseize
Spells [11]
4 Godless Shrine
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Orzhov Guildgate
10 Plains (230)
1 Swamp (238)
4 Temple of Silence
Lands [24]
Deck Total [60]


1 Brave the Elements
2 Celestial Flare
3 Dark Betrayal
3 Doom Blade
3 Glare of Heresy
1 Pithing Needle
2 Sin Collector
Sideboard [15]





Click for full deck stats & notes!

A slightly different take on White Devotion involves splashing black, mostly for Thoughtseize and Blood Baron of Vizkopa, though also for some additional removal spells. The biggest advantage of the black build is its ability to take out a problem card on a key turn with Thoughtseize.

Against control decks you can nab their Supreme Verdict just in time, or later on you can take their Sphinx's Revelation. You can also hit Esper or Orzhov Control's Blood Baron of Vizkopa.

Against midrange decks you can take out their Planeswalker, their large creature, or their Mizzium Mortars or Cyclonic Rift before they can Overload them. The price is having lands that enter the battlefield tapped and hence you're slowed down a bit, but the payoff is not having to fight through these aforementioned cards.


Conclusion

It's unclear at this point which of these five decks will be the best home for Brimaz, King of Oreskos, but each of them has promise and each benefits from and certainly want Brimaz.

The first two decks are established aggro strategies that gain a huge centerpiece to their strategy in the form of Brimaz, King of Oreskos. The third is a less polished list that likely needs a couple more cards to really put it into the competitive ranks. The last two lists are on the verge of being competitive and Brimaz may be enough to put them over the top.

So whether you love you some white aggro or you prefer a more midrange devotion strategy, Brimaz, King of Oreskos will likely become your new best friend. As far as I'm concerned, my bromance began the moment I laid eyes on that kitty. He and his cat Soldier Tokens are my Nacatls for life!

Craig Wescoe
@Nacatls4Life on twitter




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