Magic: The Gathering Arena Bans New Planeswalker Oko in Brawl

Magic: The Gathering has banned Oko, Thief of Crown from the Brawl format. That means Oko can neither be a player's Commander nor a part of a player's Brawl deck in Magic: The Gathering Arena. Oko, Thief of Crowns is Oko's introduction to Magic: The Gathering, released as part of the Throne of Eldraine set. The card has dominated Magic's Standard metagame, enabling ramp strategies, synergizing with other cards that use Food, and breeding countless Elks. As tough as he is to deal with as Standard, the ability to continually recast the three-cost Planeswalker from the Command Zone in Brawl led Oko decks to dominate the format during the week-long launch event that took place in Arena in October. Wizards has decided to take action to prevent Oko from continuing to dominate the format, though he can still be played in direct challenge Brawl matches.

The Brawl format came to Magic Arena with a special Brawl event that ran from October 24th through November 1st. Brawl play queues are now available every Wednesday beginning at 8 a.m. PT and lasting for 24 hours. While that's the only time you'll be able to find a random opponent to Brawl with, the Brawl format will always be available to play via direct challenge.

Brawl is a format similar to the popular Commander format that can be played in one-on-one or group games. The most significant difference from Commander is that Brawl is limited to Standard-legal cards and uses 60-card decks instead of Commander’s 100-card decks. The format will be one-on-one only when it comes to Arena.

Oko Thief of Crowns
(Photo: Wizards of the Coast)

The official Magic: The Gathering website describes Brawl as, “a little like Standard, a little like Commander, and a uniquely exciting deck-brewing challenge. Build a deck around a specific legendary creature or planeswalker from the Standard card pool, and battle against friends in one-on-one or multiplayer free-for-all games.”

Here are the Brawl rules from the site:

“You deck:

  • 1 commander card (any legendary creature or planeswalker from a set currently in Standard)
  • 59 other cards (also from sets currently in Standard)
  • Only one copy of any card, except for basic lands

The color identity of all cards in your deck must fall within the color identity of your commander (color identity encompasses colored mana symbols in both the card's cost and its rules text—for example, Shalai, Voice of Plenty's color identity is green-white).

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Exception: if your commander is colorless, you can play unlimited copies of any one type of basic land.

The game:

  • 2–6 players
  • With 3 or more players, start at 30 life; with only 2 players, start at 25 life
  • The first mulligan is to seven cards, then each mulligan afterward results in one fewer card (six, five, four etc.)
  • All commanders start in their command zone
  • Commanders can be cast for their mana cost, plus 2 mana more for each time they've been put back in the command zone
  • Last player standing wins”

Are you excited about Brawl coming to Magic: The Gathering Arena? Let us know in the comments.