Commander Flashback: Bruna, Light of Alabaster

Elizabeth Rice • September 19, 2020

It's been two hundred years since COVID-19 began. Like every other human, I have been filled with a tension and boredom. In an effort to satiate my desperate need for paper magic, I was rifling through the thousand count box where all my Magic cards are stored, when I stumbled across Savra, Queen of the Golgari.  After posting my fun find on the bird app,  a user's comment struck me.

It made me realize that since specialized Commander product has been coming out, lots of players of all experience levels have probably been doing the same. With every new product that is released, discussion centers on the new commanders. This led me on an expedition to rediscover old commanders and shed some new light. Speaking of light, Bruna, Light of Alabaster would like your attention.

First printed in 2012, Bruna is one of the most unique Azorius commanders. Out the current 37 commanders, she is one of only two that care specifically about enchantments, the other being Hanna, Ship's Navigator. While Hanna is more versatile in that she cares about any kind of artifact or enchantment that could be in your graveyard, Bruna specifically encourages you to dive deeper into the niche and focus on auras.

What I like the most about Bruna, is that she rewards you for building up your battlefield. Often white centered decks struggle with getting back into the game from board wipes. Playing auras is even more painful because any wrath or kill spell is an immediate 2 for 1. However, Bruna recurs that lost value and immediately creates a terrifying threat your opponents have to deal with.

1 All That Glitters
1 Spectra Ward1 Divine Reckoning
1 Swan Song
1 Umbra Mystic
1 Transcendent Envoy
1 Sol Ring
1 Arcane Signet
1 Idyllic Tutor
1 Three Dreams
1 Sovereigns of Lost Alara
1 Mesa Enchantress
1 Starfield Mystic
1 Sram, Senior Edificer
1 Eldrazi Conscription
1 Weathered Wayfarer
1 Winds of Rath
1 Smothering Tithe
1 Nomad Mythmaker
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Steel of the Godhead
1 Hanna, Ship's Navigator
1 Ethereal Armor
1 Kor Spiritdancer
1 Generous Gift
1 Swords to Plowshares
1 Cyclonic Rift
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Danitha Capashen, Paragon
1 Oreskos Explorer
1 Hero of Iroas
1 Mother of Runes
1 Sigarda's Aid
1 Path to Exile
1 Open the Vaults
1 Flickerform
1 Reality Shift
1 Retether
1 Open the Armory
1 Helm of the Host
1 Austere Command
1 Negate1 Staggering Insight
1 Indestructibility
1 Heliod's Pilgrim
1 Thirst for Meaning
1 Preordain
1 Heavenly Blademaster
1 Sphere of Safety
1 Aqueous Form
1 Plea for Guidance
1 Gift of Immortality
1 Brainstorm
1 Sword of the Animist
1 Sigil of the Empty Throne
1 Celestial Ancient
1 Fact or Fiction
1 Archon of Sun's Grace
1 Unquestioned Authority
1 Curiosity
1 Alexi's Cloak
1 Sage's Reverie
1 Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea
1 Diplomatic Immunity
1 Celestial Mantle
1 Ponder
1 Azorius Chancery
1 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Hall of Heliod's Generosity
1 Fabled Passage
1 Glacial Fortress
1 Command Tower
1 Prairie Stream
1 Seachrome Coast
1 Temple of Enlightenment
1 Castle Vantress
1 Nimbus Maze
1 Field of Ruin
1 Irrigated Farmland
1 Mystic Gate
1 Reliquary Tower
7 Plains
1 Skycloud Expanse
5 Island
1 Secluded Steppe
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Lonely Sandbar
1 Rogue's Passage

1 Bruna, Light of Alabaster

For this article, I focused on building a budget friendly version. No card in the deck is over $20, and the only ones close to hitting even that are Smothering Tithe and Cyclonic Rift. I initially found myself struggling between including generic value cards and cards that actually worked with the strategy. Since commander is about building around a commander and not just playing good cards, synergy won.

The deck can be mostly broken down into the following roles: ramp/cost reduction, draw/tutor, graveyard recursion, auras that strengthen and/or give protection or evasion of some kind, and removal.

Neither blue nor white excel in ramp. Weathered Wayfarer and Oreskos Explorer are its main ways to catch up on lands. Smothering Tithe, and the artifacts will do most of the heavy lifting in terms of trying to get ahead.

That being said, cost reduction plays a crucial role in the deck, especially because of the lack of ramp. Hero of Iroas, Starfield Mystic, Transcendent Envoy, and Danitha Capashen, Paragon all reduce the cost of your enchantments and/or auras. While more than half of the auras in this deck are below 4 cmc, it still creates the possibility of snowballing auras onto the battlefield.  

Another key part of the deck is recursion. Besides Bruna herself, Nomad Mythmaker, Open the Vaults, and Retether help to rebuild your board should things go awry. If you have Archon of Sun's Grace, every enchantment that hits the battlefield gives another creature for Mythmaker to target. If you want to add more recursion than
I have here, finding room for Silent Sentinel is worth it.

The deck also includes key tutors like Sovereigns of Lost Alara, Open the Armory, Three Dreams, and Plea for Guidance to help you find the enchantment you need to protect or strength your creatures. Open the Armory in particular is a must include as it allows you to specifically search up Helm of the Host. If you have Sigarda's Aid on the battlefield, you can attach your helm to Bruna and then end the game quickly.

The overarching goal of the deck is to snowball auras and enchantments onto the battlefield. With cards like Mesa Enchantress, Kor Spiritdancer, and Sram, Senior Edificer on the battlefield, the chances of you running out of gas are slim. Remember, Bruna cares about auras on the battlefield, in the graveyard, and your hand. So the more cards you draw and auras you see, the stronger Bruna becomes.

When building Bruna it's important to consider all the things that could happen to her and use specific auras to prevent that. Auras that make her hexproof and indestructible are most important, followed by evasive abilities that make her hard to block. Spectra Ward, Indestructibility, Diplomatic Immunity, and Aqueous Form are going to be the auras you want the most in order to protect her. After that, auras like Ethereal Armor, All that Glitters, and Sage's Reverie which check for all other auras/enchantments on the battlefield and will be key in Bruna's alpha strike.

I would suggest playing this deck by first building up a bit of a pillow fort and making sure all the tools needed to protect Bruna are in place before going for the kill. If the board state does get out of hand, conditional wraths that potentially spare some of your board will be useful.

If you are less concerned about your budget, I recommend adding cards like  Land Tax, Replenish, and Academy Rector to the deck, as well as improving the mana base.

Despite my general aversion to white/x commander decks, Bruna makes me nostalgic for what EDH used to be about, which was building around a creature with a niche effect.

What's your favorite "old" commander?