A Deck Tech for Brokkos Apex of Forever for Magic: The Gathering

Today, I learned an awful trick within Magic: The Gathering's rules, though by "awful," I'm probably more apt to say it's awfully strong. To this end, I built an entire Commander deck geared around it, based on the current rulings as-written. While today we did see all of the new cards to be released in Magic: The Gathering's latest set, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, we do not have any words on the Comprehensive Rules of the game. Hence, as a disclaimer, please take this information with that in mind. The rulings could be different as early as next week. At any rate, this deck tech revolves around the apex predator of the Zagoth region of Ikoria, Brokkos, Apex of Forever.

Brokkos Apex of Forever art mtg
The Showcase variant for Brokkos, Apex of Forever from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, illustrated by Daniel Warren Johnson.

The decklist for this build I'm discussing below can be found here. But back to the secret that I mentioned at the top of this deck tech, which the deck is based on: Did you know that if a permanent card loses its card types, it stays on the battlefield as a permanent? In fact, the Comprehensive Rules say so: "110.4c If a permanent somehow loses all its permanent types, it remains on the battlefield. It's still a permanent."

Knowing this, the implications for the existence of a typeless permanent are rather wild to me. As it stands, permanents can still use their abilities (whether static, activated, or triggered) regardless of type, and effects on permanents that say "this [insert card type here]" are using shorthand for "this permanent." A typeless permanent cannot attack or block as it isn't a creature, but it doesn't die due to state-based effects for having zero or less toughness. It can't be targeted or even affected by anything that doesn't affect "permanent" cards. With that, let's talk about how to achieve this goal.

Here is the Magic Trick:

First of all, we need a Theroan God creature. For this purpose, we can use a creature like Erebos, Bleak-Hearted.

Erebos Bleak-Hearted art mtg
"Constellation" Showcase variant of Erebos, Bleak-Hearted from Theros: Beyond Death, illustrated by Jason A. Engle.

Next, we need enough devotion to its color (in this case, black) to animate it so that it is a creature. Let's use a Carrion Feeder, a Viscera Seer, and a Mindleecher (all creatures in the deck). At this time, Erebos is an Enchantment Creature with the God subtype. As it isn't a Human but still is a Creature, we can mutate onto it. Let's use Brokkos for that, and put Brokkos over Erebos. Now, we have Brokkos with the following abilities:

  • Trample
  • You may cast Brokkos, Apex of Forever from your graveyard using its mutate ability.
  • Indestructible
  • As long as your devotion to black is less than five, Erebos isn't a creature.*
  • Whenever another creature you control dies, you may pay 2 life. If you do, draw a card.
  • 1B, Sacrifice another creature: Target creature gets -2/-1 until end of turn.

*: Because a card's name is shorthand for "this card," this is now Brokkos, rather than Erebos, seeing that Brokkos has Erebos's abilities.

Now that we have this mutated creature with a devotion of black equal to five (plus one green and one blue devotion, however negligible right now), we want to sacrifice something with at least one black mana pip. To that end, we can use any of the following effects to achieve our goal: Carrion Feeder, Viscera Seer, or Brokkos itself. With a total devotion of black sitting at less than five, Brokkos, who is not an enchantment, no longer is a creature. This makes Brokkos's type line, in essence, "Legendary." That's it. No "Creature," no creature-based subtypes as it isn't a creature, and nothing else. Congratulations! You've done the unthinkable. Note that this is an effective trick for evasion reasons, or to use on any other mutating creature (namely those with activated abilities, such as Porcuparrot).

Porcuparrot mtg card
Porcuparrot, a new card from Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths.

Magic: The Gathering Deck Tech Wrap-Up

This trick can do most anything you'd want it to in the context of a Commander game. It can allow you to evade hazardous spells or abilities, lay low for a bit, or even coordinate an attack once your devotion has returned to a high enough number. It's powerful, but it also is likely to be of a higher learning curve. You need to be responsible when using this trick, or it may cost you a game. What do you think of this? Is it powerful? Is it cute? Is it neither? Let us know!

Brokkos Apex of Forever mtg card
Brokkos, Apex of Forever, a new card from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths

About Joshua Nelson

Josh Nelson is a Magic: The Gathering deckbuilding savant, a self-proclaimed scholar of all things Sweeney Todd, and, of course, a writer for Bleeding Cool. In their downtime, Josh can be found painting models, playing Magic, or possibly preaching about the horrors and merits of anthropophagy. You can find them on Twitter at @Burning_Inquiry for all your burning inquiries.

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