Magic: The Gathering Is Bringing a Popular Tabletop Format to Arena

Magic: The Gathering Arena is bringing one of the most-requested tabletop formats to the free-to-play digital version of the collectible card game. Announced during the Magic panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, the Brawl format will debut on Magic Arena later this year. 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.

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).

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

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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"

Wizards did not name a specific release window, but with Brawl being a Standard variant it would make sense for Brawl to debut on Arena after the Standard format rotates with the release of Throne of Eldraine in the fall. The rotation will also bring with the introduction of the Arena-only Historic format, which will allow the use of all cards available in Magic Arena (the game's catalog at this time reaches back as far as Ixalan, the oldest Standard-legal set ahead of the Throne of Eldraine rotation).

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