Golos, Tireless Pilgrim Lives Happily Ever After

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim offers a flexible, useful commander for five-color Brawl decks. Why not use it to take on the task of winning with Happily Ever After? Dayv Doberne rises to the challenge!


What does it mean to live Happily Ever After? In the stories, it always includes vanquishing a great evil and then settling down in a stable partnership until the end of the characters’ lives. Does that imply, then, that our favorite storybook heroes are the mythical equivalent of one-hit wonders? After slaying the dragon and saving the princess at a young age, Syr What’s-Their-Name lived out the rest of their years as an innkeeper? Or perhaps the experience of the tale leaves our protagonist a demigod, so capable that subsequent great feats were trivial.


What would this mean for Golos? Looking at the art, it looks as though Golos has been questing for a long time: a once-majestic cape worn and tattered through Golos’s trials, rust beginning to corrode its plating. Persistent. Ceaseless. The legendary artifact creature does not succumb to the passage of time, instead solemnly carrying out its timeless mission.

In a way, the flavor of Golos’s card makes it perfect for the Happily Ever After win condition. The banners it carries across its chest are trophies of the many alliances it forged along its journey. Golos has forged bonds with the residents of many lands, and draws upon each of those bonds with its activated ability.

But while this may be the desired ending for many a hero or monarch, what if it is merely the call of duty for Golos? Is Golos’s unending wish to be seen as more than just a tool and to be treated as an equal to whoever it serves? Maybe it merely yearns for a week off from its never-ending quest to rest its joints and enjoy the serene wilderness. Or is Golos even capable of such desires at all, content to serve its mission until it no longer functions?

“Stick to card games!”

Right, Brawl.

Hello everyone, welcome back to The Brawl Project! Congratulations to @ZealotDragon for winning Knight’s Charge in last week’s giveaway, and be sure to check out this week’s giveaway for Wild Bounty, being drawn tonight after publication.

Today we’re going to be looking at Golos, Tireless Pilgrim in Brawl. Golos is distinctive because it is one of only three commanders in the format that allow for five-color decks (the other two being Niv-Mizzet Reborn and Kenrith, the Returned King). While Golos as a maindeck Brawl card is only playable in the 59 cards of other five-color commanders’ decks, when Golos is your commander, you can do pretty much whatever you want. Applications include being used as a commander of a five-color deck, mana acceleration for a ramp deck, a piece in the machinery of an artifact deck, or even just a land tutor for a deck that really needs to find that one land.

(If color identity is a new concept to you, you can read an explanation here.)

Let’s break down Golos’s strengths and weaknesses.


  • Can be played as the commander of any deck
  • Mana acceleration/land tutor
  • Works as a payoff for large amounts of mana
  • Reasonably sized for blocking


  • A bit expensive
  • Doesn’t attack well?

Golos is incredibly flexible and can perform well as the commander for a wide range of strategies, and today we’re going to look at two of those possibilities. As alluded to in the introduction, we’re going to look for a way to win with Happily Ever After, and the second decklist featured today will be an artifact-based Brawl deck.

In order to live Happily Ever After, we’re going to need every color represented in our permanents on the battlefield, and six card types between the battlefield and graveyard. Also, we need to be above our starting life total, so we need to make sure to have some ways of gaining a fair amount of life. When counting card types, land and enchantment will always be accounted for, so that means we need to have four of the following: artifact, creature, enchantment, planeswalker, instant, and sorcery.

The most feasible way I could think of to satisfy the Happily Ever After conditions is to play an enchantment- and planeswalker-based control deck and use sweepers to stay alive. The victory could be as simple as Arcane Signet, Guardian Project, Nicol Bolas, Happily Ever After, Kaya’s Wrath, and Price of Fame! Obviously it won’t be that easy most of the time, but mixing and matching the various tools we have, it’s not impossible to imagine it all coming together at some point.

First step, let’s try to make sure we can stay alive. We’ll accomplish this with sweepers, defensive planeswalkers, and targeted removal. We do get access to whatever cards we might want to play, though I try to stay mostly in the Esper shard for cards that want to be cast early. Hopefully we’ll be able to cast our black removal with the lands we draw naturally, and that will bridge us to when we can cast Golos and fix our mana.

Next, enchantments of each color that will stick around as we sweep. Fires of Invention is pretty hot tech in commander formats, as it allows you to cast your commander for free (provided you have enough lands) regardless of how many times you have cast it before! For example, if I paid five and then seven for Golos and it was countered both times, I only need to have five lands on the battlefield to cast it with Fires, not nine. What is even better is that you can activate Golos if you can cast it for free, though admittedly you only get to cast one spell off the activation.

I’ve been singing Guardian Project’s praises in this column for its potency in Brawl, though I’ll admit it’s not ludicrously good here. I really wanted enchantments of every color in order to fuel up a pet card of mine, Dance of the Manse. If somebody happened to cast a Planar Cleansing at some point during the game, we can potentially cast Dance for four, getting back Disinformation Campaign, Fires of Invention, Guardian Project, and Happily Ever After, leaving us with a permanent of each color!

SaffronOlive had some nice tech for his Happily Ever After Against the Odds over on MTG Goldfish, and a card that I definitely overlooked. Planewide Celebration can count as both a sorcery in the graveyard and a creature on the battlefield, all while gaining a large amount of life and creating a permanent with all colors. Obviously we can’t count on this happening every time, but it’s a nice tool to have available to us!

I’m actually more concerned with making sure we can recoup our life loss than having a permanent of each color for the Happily Ever After victory condition. We have two great ways of repeatedly gaining life in this list, with Kenrith, the Returned King’s white activation and Oko, Thief of Crowns making a Food token each turn. Sure, we have some incidental lifegain with cards like Golden Egg and Hydroid Krasis, but what if we drop below ten life at some point in the game? Kenrith and Oko both provide the potential of gaining large amounts of life, and I think it will be necessary in order to live Happily Ever After.

It wouldn’t be a Golos deck without Field of the Dead, right? I expect most of Golos’s usage in this deck will be to ramp and fix mana with the occasional activation, but a miniature Zombie horde is available if you’re set on all your colors.

Here’s the full list:

Let’s do a quick permanent count by color:

As you can see, a pretty solid color distribution. Red has the fewest options available, which definitely influenced the inclusion of Improbable Alliance.

Overall I don’t expect a ton of games to come down to living Happily Ever After, as there are plenty of other ways to close out games with this deck. Still, it’s fun to have the option, and it will be quite the achievement each time it happens!

Those Who Don’t Wish for a Happy Ending

… or who just want to durdle with some artifact synergies. Who is in for cheating on mana and drawing tons of cards?

There’s some fun stuff going on here! This deck gets to play a ton of artifact mana to power out those expensive spells quickly and then capitalize on the artifacts on the battlefield down the line. Ugin, the Ineffable and Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge allow for significant cost reduction; a curve of Witching Well, Arcane Signet, and Midnight Clock can allow for a Tezzeret on Turn 4, and if you manage to have five artifacts on the battlefield when you cast Tezzeret, you can immediately cast Golos into Ugin for free!

God-Pharaoh’s Statue is another nice one to cast ahead of curve. While it doesn’t impact the battlefield immediately, the tax on all spells any opponent might cast slows them down a ton, giving you an opportunity to catch back up.

If you haven’t had the chance to pay with Shimmer Dragon yet, I highly recommend it! Having four artifacts in play to protect the Shimmer Dragon isn’t too tough in this deck, and then turning two artifacts that don’t normally tap, such as Glass Casket and Witching Well, into a card every turn feels great. More often than not you will be able to draw a card with Shimmer Dragon immediately, and then again immediately once you untap. At some point, you’ll draw into more artifacts to draw more cards with, and pull far ahead in resources. So many cards!

Of course, since we spend so much time playing permanents that don’t attack or block, it’s nice to have access to several sweepers.

I’m not sure if Chamber Sentry is fantastic here, though it is only legal for five-color commanders and I can’t really imagine wanting it for a Kenrith or Niv-Mizzet Reborn deck. The recursive ability is nifty, and the ability to block early is something this deck might need, so I figured, if this was my only opportunity to include Chamber Sentry in a list, I might as well take it.

One final note about this Golos deck before we wrap up for the day. There are several commanders that lend themselves well to artifact-centric decks, and most of the builds will end up looking very similar. You can swap out Golos for commanders like Alela, Artful Provocateur; Emry, Lurker of the Loch; Tezzeret, Master of the Bridge; or Dovin, Grand Arbiter and only replace a couple of cards in this list (and several of the lands!). I am up for the challenge of building a truly colorless Brawl deck with a commander like Ugin in the future, though options will be quite limited, as no cards with colored mana can be used anywhere in that decklist.

On Deck

Next week, we will be discussing budget options to Brawl with! I’ll be working on builds at noon Pacific on my stream this week, so if you’re interested be sure to check it out. Also, if you’re hungry for more Brawl content, I was able to flag down Gaby Spartz and Brawl with her this past weekend!

Submissions for anybody who wants their deck featured on The Brawl Project are open! At some point I’ll probably dedicate an entire column to tinkering with lists people have sent in.

That’s all! See you next week!