In what is quickly becoming my tradition for each new set, I have decided to brew a Historic Brawl deck with my favourite new commander from Crimson Vow! There are many exciting new legendary creatures and planeswalkers in the set but I have specific criteria I like to use when choosing one. For one, I tend to choose multicolour commanders that provide for a lot more card selection when deck building. While Jacob Hauken, Inspector and Geralf, Visionary Stitcher are fun and unique cards, being locked into just one colour really restricts your options. When choosing new commanders I also look for ones that support a very specific theme or goal. For example in Midnight Hunt I built a Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer deck because he provides the clear theme of burn spells. Lastly, I always choose a new commander that doesn’t match a colour combination or theme that I have tried in the past. Since there is a smaller card pool in Brawl, decks of the same colour will almost always have a handful of the same staples regardless of their strategy, and so in order to keep the format fresh I like to jump from colour to colour.

In Crimson Vow the commander that matched all these criteria and spoke to me the most was Torens, Fist of the Angels. In the lore, Torens is a reformed thief, who has crossed the law in the past but is now fighting to protect his community. In his past he has been a pickpocket, a quack, and at one point he served in the army, before deserting when he saw that the leadership was corrupt. Torens is a classic case of a reformed criminal, who has become a champion of the little guy on Innistrad.

Torens, Fist of the Angels is an efficient and aggressive commander who offers a simple challenge: how many creature spells can you cast once he is in play? With the growing Historic card pool, there is now a large selection of green and white one-drops, and that’s where I began my deck-building. Once I had a list full of cheap creatures the next step was adding other ways to capitalize on that, including “anthem” effects, support cards like Welcoming Vampire, and other ways to buff a battlefield full of creatures. Next, I sprinkled in some of the best Selesnya removal (which of course includes Swords to Plowshares). To top it all off, I decided to add a few token creating spells like Verdant Command because although they don’t trigger Torens, they do synergize with the other parts of the deck that reward going wide.

Without further ado, here is the decklist:

MTG Arena decklist

1 Torens, Fist of the Angels (VOW) 249

1 Archpriest of Iona (ZNR) 5
13 Forest (VOW) 402
1 Healer’s Hawk (GRN) 14
1 Charge (DAR) 10
1 Dauntless Bodyguard (DAR) 14
1 Codespell Cleric (KHM) 7
1 Esper Sentinel (MH2) 12
1 Giant Killer (ELD) 14
1 Haazda Marshal (GRN) 13
1 Hopeful Initiate (VOW) 20
1 Legion’s Landing (XLN) 22
1 Leonin Vanguard (M19) 22
1 Thraben Inspector (SOI) 44
1 Skymarcher Aspirant (RIX) 21
1 Usher of the Fallen (KHM) 35
1 Adanto Vanguard (XLN) 1
1 Bounty Agent (GRN) 2
1 Clarion Spirit (KHM) 6
1 Captured by Lagacs (MH2) 188
1 Hanweir Militia Captain (J21) 14
1 Kabira Takedown (ZNR) 19
1 Luminarch Aspirant (ZNR) 24
1 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben (DKA) 24
1 Benalish Marshal (DAR) 6
1 Glorious Anthem (M21) 21
1 Make a Stand (M19) 26
1 Skyclave Apparition (ZNR) 39
1 Unbreakable Formation (RNA) 29
1 Welcoming Vampire (VOW) 46
1 Inspired Charge (KLR) 24
1 Luminous Broodmoth (IKO) 21
1 Makindi Stampede (ZNR) 26
1 Venerated Loxodon (GRN) 30
1 Jaspera Sentinel (KHM) 178
17 Plains (VOW) 398
1 Llanowar Elves (DAR) 168
1 Pelt Collector (GRN) 141
1 Doomed Traveler (J21) 13
1 Wildwood Tracker (ELD) 183
1 Leafkin Druid (M20) 178
1 Verdant Command (MH2) 182
1 Flower // Flourish (GRN) 226
1 Emmara, Soul of the Accord (GRN) 168
1 Oath of Ajani (KLR) 200
1 Shanna, Sisay’s Legacy (DAR) 204
1 Selfless Cathar (J21) 22
1 Knight of Autumn (GRN) 183
1 Pledge of Unity (WAR) 210
1 Ajani, the Greathearted (WAR) 184
1 Engineered Might (KLR) 195
1 Maja, Bretagard Protector (KHM) 222
1 Trostani Discordant (GRN) 208
1 March of the Multitudes (GRN) 188
1 Camaraderie (GRN) 157
1 Gingerbrute (ELD) 219
1 Alseid of Life’s Bounty (THB) 1
1 Isamaru, Hound of Konda (JMP) 113
1 Longtusk Stalker (J21) 27
1 Selfless Savior (M21) 36
1 Boros Elite (J21) 10
1 Venerable Knight (ELD) 35
1 Raise the Alarm (M20) 34
1 Pride of Conquerors (RIX) 17
1 Shefet Dunes (AKR) 329
1 Hashep Oasis (AKR) 301
1 Temple Garden (GRN) 258
1 Sunpetal Grove (XLN) 257
1 Branchloft Pathway (ZNR) 258
1 Scattered Groves (AKR) 327
1 Swords to Plowshares (STA) 10
1 Ascendant Packleader (VOW) 186


When I was first testing my Torens, Fist of the Angels deck I noticed that it had two main routes to victory. Option one was to quickly build a board and attack aggressively, getting under opponent’s defenses. The second way was to win by going over the top, creating large swathes of tokens with Torens and building a huge board that could be pumped by the likes of Inspired Charge. However, option one seemed to be much more effective because in the late game it was too easy to be overwhelmed by opponents. Even when the deck was going off, it wasn’t usually matching up to the crazy late games of other Brawl decks. For this reason I began to tune the deck to be more aggressive, only keeping some of the more expensive cards meant for the late game. Now, the ideal games usually involve playing a few creatures in the early turns, getting Torens, Fist of the Angels out as soon as possible, flooding the board with creatures, and attacking for lethal as quickly as possible (sometimes as early as turn five).

Some of the one-drop creatures that make up the core of this deck are also the most powerful cards in it. Hopeful Initiate, a card hot off the presses, has been very impressive so far. Esper Sentinel has already drawn me countless cards. Giant Killer has acted as a solid one-drop but also as some of the best removal in the deck. Meanwhile Longtusk Stalker has been a very interesting addition, as one of the first digital-only cards from Historic Horizons that I have played with. One aspect of brewing this deck I have really enjoyed is trying out a variety of new cards that have come into Historic. The last time I played a Selesnya “zoo” style deck on Arena was in Standard circa 2019, and getting to play cards like Verdant Command alongside cards like March of the Multitudes has been equal parts nostalgic and thrilling.

In my games with the deck since I’ve finished tuning it I have had a great time. I think it is incredible how great Historic Brawl is for deckbuilders like myself. Although opponents are generally challenging, a bit of creativity and tuning can be super rewarding. You can almost always end up with a deck capable of winning some matches in the queue, regardless of where you started. If you’re a fan of Selesnya, or “white weenie”, or Torens himself, give this deck a spin! I’m looking forward to the evolution of this deck as the meta shifts, new cards become available, and new insights are made. So far, I’ve just been enjoying the moments where I get to pump 15 or so creatures and swing at opponents for lethal damage before they even know what hit them.

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