First, let me give a shout-out to Studio X of Wizards of the Coast (WotC) for an exceptionally cool and fun design from Wilds of Eldraine Commander in Brenard, Ginger Sculptor:
What I love about this design is just how many different approaches you can take with it. At a basic level, you could simply just play a pile of great Bant creatures with enters-the-battlefield effects, and when they die, Brenard will let you exile and copy them. Sure, they’ll just be 1/1 versions, but as Food Golems, Brenard will pump them up +2/+2 and give them trample. Now, there are way too many awesome Bant creatures you could cram in this deck, so even this basic approach gives each player a wide range of customization.
You could also lean into the Food synergies, and there have been a lot of great Food and Food-matters cards of late that you can round out your deck with. Since Brenard makes the token copies into Food Golem tokens, you can also lean into artifact synergies, and you can also lean into the many token synergies that are available in Bant. Lastly, you could use Brenard to lead a Golem typal deck, along with the various Splicer creatures that, when they die, will be Golems too when copied!
Two people could sit down to each play a Brenard deck and 75% of the nonland cards could be quite different, which is awesome. Bravo, Studio X!
Let’s dig in.
Even if you’re not leaning hard into Food synergies, I’d probably go ahead and run these anyway since they get boosted by Brenard. Tough Cookie animating the Food it creates makes it a 6/6 with trample if Brenard is on the battlefield, which is a smashing good time!
You can go pretty deep on Food synergies these days, but these cards are probably worth running even if you’re not full-on Food. Night of the Sweets’ Revenge is a fun enchantment here since it lets all the Brenard copies be able to tap for green mana. And with extra mana, something like The Goose Mother makes an awesome mana sink and a card-drawing engine.
It’s funny that typically Food is the by-product of Academy Manufactor that most decks don’t really use all that much, but in this deck, Academy Manufactor will create Treasure and Clue tokens whenever your commander creates a Food Golem token. And since Academy Manufactor is a creature, you can even make a copy of it with Brenard when it dies.
Even though Brenard already boosts Food Golem creatures by +2/+2 and gives them trample, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to run Provisions Merchant to push combat damage a bit further.
There are some great Golem creatures around these days, so leaning hard into Golem typal is certainly one angle you can pursue. I love that if Arcbound Reclaimer dies with Brenard on the battlefield, it will actually come back even bigger due to being a base 0/0 modular creature.
If you can pay the full cost for Cradle Clearcutter and you have Brenard on the battlefield, it will be able to tap for five green mana, which can unlock a very big turn. Even if you cast it for prototype, Brenard will let it still tap for three green mana. Rootwire Amalgam is another prototype Golem that really benefits from Brenard’s Golem boost. Assuming you cast the full cost for the Amalgam with Brenard on the battlefield, it’ll be a 7/7, and if you activate the ability, you’ll get a 21/21 Golem token with haste, and Brenard will boost it to a 23/23 and give it trample – now that’s a huge beater!
The Bant color combination covers all the various “Splicers,” creatures that create a Golem token (or more) and provide some sort of bonus or boost to all Golem creatures, which makes for cool synergy with Brenard. When they die, you can copy them, and they themselves will be Golem creatures too. Darksteel Splicer is the biggie here, since it makes a Golem creature for each opponent and gives all Golem creatures indestructible. Ich-Tekik, Salvage Splicer does good work too, especially if you’re running a bunch of other artifact creatures and not just Golems.
Bant also has a bunch of Shapeshifter creatures with changeling that count as Golem creatures, so you might want to round out a Golem typal deck with these critters. I’m especially excited at the idea of Chameleon Colossus gaining +2/+2 and trample from Brenard, and it doesn’t take many activations to make it a lethally huge beatdown machine.
Outside of Golem typal, we could fill out the creature base with cards that have enters-the-battlefield triggers. One that leaped to mind was Mulldrifter, since its evoke ability means it can die immediately. You can make a copy of it with Brenard and draw a whopping four cards for three mana, and still end up with a 3/3 Food Golem with flying and trample. Foundation Breaker is another one to consider. Smaller creatures with bonuses like Spirited Companion and Elvish Visionary are awesome, since they’ll actually be even bigger when they die under Brenard.
Champion of Lambholt can quickly grow from creature cards entering the battlefield, and then when they die and get copied by Brenard, the Champion will grow even bigger. And if Champion dies, it can be copied with Brenard and will be even bigger than normal!
Sacrifice for Profit
Creatures that sacrifice for an effect can give you a second use with Brenard. Boromir, Warden of the Tower is one of my favorite cards of 2023, and it’s going to be awesome here with Brenard. Saffi Eriksdotter, Siren Stormtamer, and Dauntless Escort are other ways that can protect Brenard or other creatures from various removal spells, not once but twice!
I keep looking for places where Magus of the Order can shine and, assuming there are enough good green creatures to cast and to search up, this might be a great place for it. Searching up an Avenger of Zendikar, Hornet Queen, or Craterhoof Behemoth could be sweet! Similarly, Prime Speaker Vannifar can sacrifice a creature that you can copy with Brenard and search up another from your library.
Bant covers a lot of token synergies, and you may want to add that dimension to your Brenard deck and flood the battlefield with more and more copy tokens. Outside of the most obvious, cards with populate like Rootbound Defenses might be worth a few slots. I might even run the Inspiring Leader Background, since it can make the Food Golem copy tokens even more fearsome.
Artifact synergy is another deckbuilding angle to take, and Bronze Guardian is the perfect start for this, since it’s a Golem and will absolutely love the +2/+2 and trample boost from Brenard. I also really like Shimmer Dragon since it can draw you cards, and if it dies and gets copied by Brenard, you can tap itself as an artifact to draw a card.
There are two creatures in Bant that you can cast from exile, so even if they die and get exiled and copied with Brenard, you can still cast them again and again. If you’re playing some cards that sacrifice creatures for a benefit, you might consider Eternal Scourge and Misthollow Griffin. This also had me thinking of Riftsweeper, which can shuffle one of the creatures you’ve exiled with Brenard back into the deck to potentially draw again.
What cards do you think will be awesome with Brenard, Ginger Sculptor that I overlooked? Which deckbuilding approach do you find the most appealing?
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