Unstable Mutation: Bedecked Brokers

Bedecked Brokers is the BANT precon, in theory, the shard is White with Green and Blue, but I think that distinction is eroding over time.  It’s focused on counters and proliferation, and has a subtheme of shield counters, with a sort of “go wide, and tall” creature combat theme, that in theory means your creatures should be getting bigger over time and eventually just smash through your opponents.  So, it’s basically an Atraxa counters deck, except with no black.

So first let’s go over the new cards in the deck, since that’s always the exciting part of this, then we’ll see how those cards fit into this deck out of the box gameplan.

Denry Klin Editor in Chief

This is a solid triggered type creature if you have a need for counters, especially generic +1/+1s which can be really important in some decks.  You could potentially build whole decks around this ability, but I think it would mostly struggle in Blue White, but a solid “helper legend”; and there is a whole slew of creatures with similar counter duplicating or additive abilities.

Gavel of the Righteous

Double strike is one of the harder, and more dangerous type of abilities, so having another way to get it can be quite nice.  Getting up to 4 counters would take time but for decks that can duplicate or add more counters it shouldn’t be hard.  Plays really nicely with Atraxa.  The equip for a charge counter is an interesting ability.

5 mana is a lot, but proliferate three times is really a lot, enough to pop off with certain kinds of decks, and anything that is potentially a game winner is worth considering.  Using this to power up Sage of Hours or Magistrate’s Scepter to take more turns is definitely worthwhile.  The potential control upsides of phasing and countering abilities means running it isn’t a dead slot, so for Bant decks this to me is a potentially playable card, though not at anything like cEDH levels.

Agent’s Toolkit

This is a really solid card in my opinion, and also marks Wizards move into expanding the idea of fixed tokens that also show up as regular cards from just treasures.  It’s a mechanic that I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of.  I think this card works really well for what it does.  Decent counters that are flexible and useful.  Again, Atraxa type of card.


Family’s Favor

This is a neat draw / protection combo that works pretty well.  Obviously, you get the most value by taking extra attacks or turns, but it also lets you swing with creatures that have to swing and protect them.

Bribe Taker

It’s really too expensive, but it’s neat.  The easiest thing is just a ton of +1/+1s counters except for exactly this sort of deck, but without a way to then move the counters once they are on bribe taker, for 6 mana just doesn’t seem like enough.

Storm of Forms

Potentially a good bounce, but for 4 mana this seems like its upside will occur only occasionally when it really matters, and so not worth running.  Really a “win more” card that won’t help if your have lots of counters decks is struggling anyway.

Shield Broker

This is an interesting card, I like how it plays but there are generally better control magic effects that are not removable with a single ping.  Obviously you could flicker to grab something again, which is interesting but seems too hard to set up.


Aven Courier 

This is interesting and costed decently with a solid evasion ability.  It’s nice to have a way to spread counters around on creatures, for Atraxa that’s often a bit of a struggle so this would do that really easily.  Also can potentially used in some weird loops with Luxior, Giada’s Gift and cards like the Ozolith.

Skyboon Evangalist

Really a really solid counter spread, and the subsequent ability to grant flying makes it probably worth it for a 5 cost 3/3 flying body that is going to grant flying to up to 6 (or more really) creatures.  Kind of a finisher card if you can draw it when you need it, so for counter spreading go-wide decks definitely a strong contendor.

Resourceful Defense

This is the Ozolith reprinted in white with strong secondary ability. A really strong secondary ability, since you can use it most specifically to move counters between Planeswalkers and instantly get an emblem or an ultimate ability off.  Really strong for two different kinds of decks.

Daming Verdict

Wraths are good cards, but there are so many good wraths already and this effect is basically unique, so it’s not as if you can build around having the counters out to save yourself from the wrath consistently.  So it’s probably better to have another way to dodge wraths and run the stronger and cheaper wraths instead.

Contractual Safeguard

This is really solid, a way to get a shield counter on everything if you need it, or another kind of counter, which is often difficult.  The only real problem is its high cost of 3, but it’s an okay protective interaction that is mostly going to be used with addendum.

Angelic Sleuth

Very solid cheapo angel for angel tribal and decks that focus on random counters.

Kros, Defense Contractor

Okay, so Bedecked Brokers is a counter-focused deck.

There are a ton of mechanics mashed into this deck, and in that sense, I think it’s probably a bit frustrating for a new player.  Shield counters, proliferate, hideway, investigate, dethrone, goad, support, phasing, addendum, modal spells, phyrexian mana, and charge counters.  That’s a lot of things going on, for a new player to master, in a 3-color deck, with a mediocre manabase, (they refused to print an Azorious talisman, talisman of dominance so it’s now a ludicrous price)

What are Shield counters?  Shield counters are a new kind of counter that was revealed in New Capenna that work essentially like totem armor, except worse, since totem armor prevents a destruction effect, whereas shield counters prevent destruction or a single instance of damage.  So if you have totem armor on a creature with 2 toughness, and someone hits it with 1 damage, nothing happens.  But if they have a shield counter, it goes away.  Okay, now they do 1 more damage.  The totem armor prevents the destruction effect, and removes all damage.  The shield counter is already gone.  If they now do 1 more damage, the creature with the shield counter will die, but the totem armored creature will just have 1 damage marked.

From the Comprehensive Rules (April 29, 2022—Streets of New Capenna)
  • 702.89. Totem Armor

    • 702.89a Totem armor is a static ability that appears on some Auras. “Totem armor” means “If enchanted permanent would be destroyed, instead remove all damage marked on it and destroy this Aura.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (April 29, 2022—Streets of New Capenna)
  • 122.1c A shield counter on a permanent creates one replacement effect and one prevention effect that protect the permanent. These effects are “If this permanent would be destroyed as the result of an effect, instead remove a shield counter from it” and “If damage would be dealt to this permanent, prevent that damage and remove a shield counter from it.” See rule 614, “Replacement Effects,” and rule 615, “Prevention Effects.”

Basically, it seems like the brain trust at R&D has decided that regeneration was too strong and totem armor was too strong and came up with shield counters.  Totem counters would’ve been fine IMO, and even regeneration counters would be fine.  Granted it seems like part of this is to protect Black and Red’s ability to deal points of damage.

Okay, so out of the box how do you play this deck?  Slowly and ponderously.  It’s not entirely shocking that a Rhino commander builds up slowly and then rams into you, possibly killing you.  The decks total mana value is 194, and it’s average is 3.18 without lands.  It dips down with lands, because of course it runs so many lands.  With little card draw and no ability to filter, you can expect lots of frustrating mid-game exercises where you don’t have enough lands or get mana flooded for a few turns and simply can’t play.  This is okay because it has so many enters play tapped lands your early game will consist of playing them and doing nothing.  On turn 5 or so you might actually be able to start playing the game, unless you get some kind of truly turbo early game involving one of your 6 mana “rocks” and the right land drops to get out your 2 and 3 drops and then get your commander into play.  Assuming it’s the right combination of cards you’ll have 2-3 kinds of counters, you can start swinging with Perrie, the Pulverizer and he can buff himself each time, giving him +x/+x and trample and you can start dealing commander damage.  If you can get enough sources of counters and maybe a +1/+1 source and a proliferation your deck will snowball pretty badly and Perrie will get huge and just kill your opponents one by with commander damage.  As long as nobody bothers to remove him, or make him a moon, or a bug, or an elk, or exile him, or steal him, or you know, interact with you.  There are some other decent sources of damage in the deck, other creatures that can get big, like Jenara, Asura of War.

Rebuilding this deck is challenging since what it does is sort of inherently bad, and it really reeks of being a deck for one of the most popular commanders in the game – Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice.  Just turning it into an Atraxa deck feels like a bit of a cheat to me though – one of my rules for the unstable mutation series is to use a commander from the deck, and in that case it’s either

Perrie, the Plunderer vs  Kros, Defense Contractor

Kros ability is a little more interesting, and sneaky, and political, but winning games with it seems challenging.  Yes, you can use it to force your opponents creatures to attack each other, assuming that they have useful attacking creatures and they can be forced to trade them that might be really good, but even then you might end up facing someone with big creatures in the end you can’t do much about and they can no longer be forced to attack your opponents.

So that leaves us wanting to lean into spreading around counters, and beating people down with Perrie the Pulverizer, looking to hit 21 commander damage.

This calls for a lot of cuts.  As per Wizards usual gameplan, most of the mana base is bad, and features too little acceleration, as well as a lot, I mean A LOT of enters the battlefield tapped lands.  Some of these are cutesy, I could see the vivid lands since they use charge counters, but charge counters are just about the most common kind of counter in the game (okay I’m pretty sure aside from +1/+1 counters they are) so you probably won’t need that counter type.  There are also some annoying lacks, like powerful lands with counters such as Gemstone Caverns (luck) and Tyrite Sanctum (+1/+1s and Indestructible) and the shockland duals are reasonably priced and allow the deck to mana fix more effectively than all these bad supposed mana fixing lands.

There’s a lot of cutesy pet-card counter generators listed here, and cuts need to be made.

I’d definitely cut the following cards:

1 Declaration in Stone
1 Planar Outburst
1 Tezzeret’s Gambit
1 Rishkar’s Expertise
1 Steelbane Hydra
1 Ajani Unyielding
1 Aven Mimeomancer
1 Fathom Mage
1 Vorel of the Hull Clade
1 Oblivion Stone
1 Flooded Grove
1 Port Town
1 Skycloud Expanse
1 Temple of Mystery
1 Urban Evolution
1 Commander’s Sphere
1 Ash Barrens
1 Bant Panorama
1 Littjara Mirrorlake
1 Path of Ancestry
1 Seaside Citadel
1 Vivid Creek
1 Vivid Grove
1 Vivid Meadow
1 Roalesk, Apex Hybrid
1 Exotic Pets
1 Bribe Taker
1 Shield Broker
1 Storm of Forms
1 Damning Verdict

That will leave the deck a little short on lands, but a lot of the sort of non-bo cards like Planar Outburst, that will only really help prolong a loss, are gone.  The focus is on getting enough resources and counters out to make Perrie really dangerous and to start swinging.  One basic problem with a deck like this is some of the abilities are way stronger than others.  Hexproof, Trample, Doublestrike are all amazing counters.  Getting a +1/+1 so you can start proliferating is key, but then flight, while nice is less of a big deal, and if you need deathtouch you’re in trouble, lifelink may be valuable, but you don’t really need it it’s just going to occasionally keep you in the game.  But most games you wont be worried about getting low, you’ll be worried about swinging hard enough to kill your opponents, and protecting Perrie.

The cards that should be added are in the sideboard:

1 Titanoth Rex
1 Flycatcher Giraffid
1 Avian Oddity
1 Luminous Broodmoth
1 Splendor Mare
1 The Ozolith
1 Gemstone Caverns
1 Replicating Ring
1 Legacy’s Allure
1 Intrepid Adversary
1 Tyrite Sanctum
1 Elspeth Resplendent
1 Joraga Treespeaker
1 Ominous Seas
1 Everflowing Chalice
1 Banshee’s Blade
1 Mana Bloom
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
1 Luxior, Giada’s Gift
1 Noble Hierarch
1 Finest Hour
1 Skycloud Expanse
1 Nature’s Lore
1 Three Visits
1 Breeding Pool
1 Temple Garden
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Lighthouse Chronologist
1 Kodama’s Reach
1 Cultivate

You’ll see a lot of core cards that show up a lot, the basic mana tutors suite, a planeswalker swap, several creatures that cycle and also drop counters, better lands, and a couple of equipment cards that are really solid for control land or getting there when you need a bit more damage.

That’s a good way to rebuild this, first of five commander precons for Streets of New Cappena. Next week will be another deck, and another.. and another, we’re also planning to start running a “best in show” for each set so that you get a list of cards to focus on grabbing a copy of to have in your arsenal for later deck building. We’ve also piled up some deck articles, and Commander Legends, 2, comes out in only about 6 weeks so there’s a lot going on, and it’s always preview season.

Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.