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Brewing with Brudiclad

Brewing with Brudiclad

Two months ago if I said the words “Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer”, the vast majority of people would have no idea what I’m talking about. Only featured on the flavour text of Sarcomite Myr, Brudiclad was pretty much lost to time until he was announced he would be making his card debut in Commander 2018. As part of the Exquisite Invention deck, Brudiclad synergizes with artifact and token strategies as both an artifact creature and a generator of artifact tokens. However, what sets him apart from other Commander token decks is that last ability. Every combat you can turn all of your tokens into a copy of a token you control. On the surface this seems fairly tame. After all, what’s the big deal about turning myr tokens into slightly bigger tokens? Fortunately, Blue and Red are particularly adept at creating token copies of actual creatures, and that’s where the fun begins.

 

There are several means of creating token copies of existing creatures in Brudiclad’s colours, so right off the bat we have to weed out the list and find the most powerful ones. Rite of Replication, Mimic Vat, and Feldon of the Third Path are easily three of the best examples of “clone” token makers. Feldon has the ability to make tokens of any creature in your graveyard, so you can dump a creature with Faithless Looting, then make a token that Brudiclad can turn all of your other tokens into. Rite of Replication, on the other hand, is best used to make copies of your opponent’s creatures. As well, Mimic Vat does wonders for Brudiclad decks since it can make copies of any creature that dies by imprinting it under the Vat. Another fun option that, while a little mana intensive, I’m also partial to is Back from the Brink. In this type of deck as it allows us to effectively cast creature tokens from our graveyard, so it gives us a repeatable way to create tokens in case the opponents (rightfully) pick off Feldon on sight. Finally, Arcane Artisan is a unique way to create token copies of creatures in our hand, and while the original creature we copy gets exiled in the process, it’s a fairly mana-efficient way to get tokens of a creature without having to cast it.

The next thing we have to do when building Brudiclad is generate massive amounts of tokens to convert into other creatures. The interesting thing about Brudiclad’s ability is that he can transform *any* token into a copy of another token, so we don’t even have to generate creature tokens until we copy a game-ending monster. With this in mind, I’ve elected to include a package of Treasure-makers in Brass’s Bounty, Spell Swindle, and Treasure Map which can create large amounts of tokens at once, as well as Curse of Opulence which steadily provides Gold tokens that we can use as early acceleration as well as accumulate for our big attack turns. Mechanized Production also works for this plan as it can enchant an artifact and churn out token copies each turn. It also has the bonus of being a secondary win condition when we play Brudiclad by turning all of our tokens into a copy of the artifact it’s enchanting.

We also need to include ways of creating mass amounts of creature tokens, so cards like Tempt with Vengeance, Firecat Blitz, and Myr Incubator are at a premium. Another personal favourite for creating multiple tokens is Precursor Golem which, while it only creates two tokens on its own, when combined with a kicked Rite of Replication creates five Precursor Golem tokens and twenty regular golem tokens. Additionally, if you opt to kick Rite a second time on Precursor Golem you net over four million golems, so that’s a thing. Factor in Brudiclad giving all these tokens haste and you would have to try very hard to lose from that position.

Finally, with all this talk of making tokens into creatures, we need some powerful creatures for our tokens to copy. The core issue with finding creatures to copy is that some of the more powerful options are either legendary, like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, or can’t be put into the graveyard and thus make it considerably harder to copy with Feldon or Mimic Vat, such as Blightsteel Colossus. Fortunately, there are a multitude of other options that we can use to hammer our opponents.

The biggest and baddest creature I’ve opted to run is It That Betrays. Because your tokens copy It That Betrays before the declare attackers step, for every token you control you’ll trigger annihilator 2 and steal nearly your opponent’s entire board. For some raw power that can finish off and entire table as well as prevent you from dying on the swingback, Stormtide Leviathan does tremendous work as both an effectively unblockable creature and a way to keep your opponents from attacking you. But for sheer craziness, I can’t stress how much fun Utvara Hellkite has been for me in testing. Each token of Utvara Hellkite sees the others attacking, and in turn will trigger to make 6/6 dragon tokens. This allows you to exponentially increase the number of creatures you have in play and effectively blot out the sun with dragons, and if that doesn’t sound awesome I don’t know what does.

In all honesty, the hardest part about building a Brudiclad deck is resisting the urge to do a broken infinite combo. Running Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker and Helm of the Host are a necessary evil since they make tokens so easily, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of including Pestermite, Deceiver Exarch, Combat Celebrant, and Godo, Bandit Warlord as well for the infinite token combo. The problem with running these I’ve found is that once the combo is in there, it feels hard to justify running Brudiclad at all as it just becomes another dumb Kiki-Jiki/Helm deck, and that’s been done to death. Naturally, if you’re inclined to take Brudiclad in a more “spike” direction and include these combos, all power to you, but at its core I’ve found it to not be as fun.  

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer is one of those commanders that’s just full of potential. With so many different ways to make tokens and so many creatures to make tokens of, there’s a ton of flexibility to how you build the deck. While not as combo-oriented as say, Tawnos, Urza’s Apprentice or Aminatou, the Fateshifter, Brudiclad is one of the most talked about commanders in this set, and I wouldn’t be surprised if new innovations continue to happen as people continue to build around this card.