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Budget Commander #57: Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn


Hello folks! I hope that you are having a fantastically awesome day today! Or as I like to call it, fantasome!

Today I want to continue to combine two of my series of articles. On every previous Tuesday I've been creating a Commander deck around a given new leader from Commander Legends. I've done a full TEN such decks and articles now. For the last two articles I've combined this with my Budget Commander series where I am forced to build under the build of the previous budget. What is that amount? In last week's deck it was $32.29 so this week's build needs to come in under that amount!

These are my previous decks in the Commander Legends series.

  1. A few weeks ago, I built a fun Jund midrange deck around Yurlok of Scorch Thrash that plays a little pillow forty, a little nice to everyone, with some fun dragon win cons. Check it out here.
  2. Then I built an enchantment-based Mardu deck around Ghen, Arcanum Weaver that combines the enchantment loving of White with the graveyard filling of Black. You can find it here.
  3. The following week I built a deck around Blim, Comedic Genius that gave away things like Rogue Skycaptain, Rainbow Vale, Sleeper Agent, and other Rakdos cards to help give away so you can ratchet up that life loss and card discard. You can grab it here.
  4. The next week built a deck around Amareth, the Lustrous. This awesome dragon wants you to build around one permanent type. Which did I choose? Probably the hardest: planeswalkers! Want to check out this Bant Buddies Build? It's here.
  5. Then I turned to Tuya Bearclaw and I built a nasty power matters decks in Gruul around Phyrexian Dreadnought and Illusionary Mask. It's pretty powerful. Wanna check it out? You can find it here!
  6. After I build the nasty Vintage combo around Tuya Bearclaw, I turned to the infamous Lich and his Disk, Nevinyrral, Urborg Tyrant. I built this control Zombie deck that wants to sweep the board over and over again, save for your stuff, and then win the game. You can check it out here.
  7. Then I turned to Golgari and Belbe, Corrupted Observer. I created a life-draining deck that has some synergies with the Group Slug archetype in Rakdos in order to trigger Ms. Belbe many times for that sweet mana. You can find it here.
  8. After Golgari's Belbe, I moved to Simic and Gor Muldrak, Amphinologist. I am running a number of ways of turning my foes' stuff into Salamanders so you can be protected, such as Imagecrafter and Unnatural Selection. Want to see it? It's here!
  9. Then I turned to Budget Commander and built a mono-blue scry and flying matters deck around the partners Eligeth, Crossroads Augur and Siani, Eye of the Storm. It was fun! You can find it here!
  10. After that I decided to stay with my Budget Commander and turn to Hans Eriksson and build a fun, budget-minded version of everyone's favorite character introduced way back in Ice Age. You can check it out here!

Please note that for budget purposes card values change from the time I write this article to when it's edited to when it's published to when you read it, but the overall point stands. You can get super cheap Commander decks that work and play nicely for any budget!

Now what card has inspired me this week?

Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn

It's this one!

Building Lathiel on a Budget

This is Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn. Is it just me, or does Lathiel sound like a Hebrew name of an Angel like Rafael, Michael, Gabriel and Uriel. It's weird not to see that name on a Selesnya angel but a Unicorn. Who's a good Unicorn? That's right....you are!!! At the end of every turn (not just yours) you'll toss +1/+1 counter(s) onto all, some or one of your dorks (not named Lathiel) equal to the amount of life you gained that turn! Awesome! This is a pretty powerful build around. And it's only $0.49 cents here so it won't set me back! Now what would I build around?

  • Go Wide. To maximize the power of Lathiel's trigger, I need to maximize my dorks. The more dorks I have, the more powerful Lathiel becomes as this deck likely wants to wide with the counters rather than tall on a few creatures to avoid targeted removal on a key creature. I want to run a high number of dorks and a high number of tokens as well.
  • Life Gain. Don't forget to gain that life! It won't matter if it's something like Stream of Life that gains you a ton of life in one go or something that gains you a little life over multiple turns. Why not? Lathiel puts counters equal to the total amount gained. However, you don't want to run too many life gain effects and not enough creatures. You don't want to draw life gain on a mostly empty board.
  • Life Gain Matters. Although they tend to be expensive, there are several lifegain-matters cards in White that are half of the White/Black lifegain archetype. If we can fit them into the budget, then I want to do so.
  • +1/+1 Counter Matters. Since we'll be getting a lot of counters out there quite easily, it's fine to lean on some powerful +1/+1 counters matters cards on the green side of life.
  • Token Matters. Since we'll be making tokens at a few places running effects like populate or token matters cards should prove pretty useful!

Now, I am really looking forward to building around Lathiel in a budget matters build like this one... why? Because the budget of some obvious staples is probably a bit too high.

Take, as one great example, the trinity of Soul Warden, Essence Warden and Soul's Attendant. Now I mentioned before that I want to go wide, so these three one-drops would be amazing in this deck, right? But here is the cheapest version at CSI.com... $0.49, $1.25, and $1.99. Just running this triumvirate of cards would cost me $3.73 out of a $32.29 budget, which is a pretty big hit to my price. We'll have to find other cards.

Spike Feeder
Spike Breeder

I love the Spike Cycle from the Rath Cycle Block! All of them will move counters around and most have a second ability for the counter removal as well. Not all do, some are just vanilla Spikes. Look at stud Spike Feeder, who fits Lathiel perfectly. Remove a counter and gain two life. Put two counters on Spike Feeder at the end of your turn, it has 3. Remove 2 counters and gain four life on Player A's turn. At the end, it gains four counters and has five. Remove 4 counters on Player B's turn and gain 8 life, and it'll have 9 counters, and remove 8 on Player C's turn and gain 16 life. By the time you've done one cycle of turns in a four-player game, you'll have a 17/17 Spike Feeder and you'll have gained 32 life. Nasty! Want to go wide? Spike Breeder can pull off counters to make Spike tokens. Sure, it costs 2 mana to use so it's not as abusable as Feeder, but the Spike Breeder has great value here. The Breeder is a bulk rare at $0.49. Good stuff!

Regna, the Redeemer

Just $1.25 for Regna, the Redeemer, who is perfect. She triggers as the same time as Lathiel, at the end of each end step, not just yours. If you have a Spike Feeder then you'll have 8 1/1 tokens while comboing out. The ability to turn life into two tokens per turn is pretty rocking. There's something else she does as well...she flies, rare in this deck. She's an evasive winner of +1/+1 tokens from Lathiel, as you may want to add those counters to her.

Heroes' Reunion

These two cards were among the first to head in. Congregate can win the game when you've gone wide with Lathiel on the battlefield. Cast it and your team gets, let's say, 18 +1/+1 counters, which is easy from your stuff and your foes. Now you can swing with dorks that are getting 18/18 power of tokens divided up. You can win that game. Heroes' Reunion is a more reliable but less powerful version of Congregate.

I heard that you liked that populating fun times! Sure thing! I got you covered. One of my favorites is Rootborn Defenses. A deck that goes wide like this one needs that protection from getting mass removed and this is great at that role. Have a token? Great, here's another one! Don't? The spell is still good. Growing Ranks is a bulk rare at $0.49! It'll net you a free dork every upkeep as long as you control a token, and it's a fun option too!

Radiant Fountain
Blighted Steppe
Kabira Crossroads

I am not just running life gain at big levels like Congregate, but in my lands and my mana rocks as well! Pristine Talisman is awesome as you can tap it for mana and life on other turns and net Regna's trigger for tokens. They are all strong additions to the build, but my favorite? Blighted Steppe, which can sacrifice for a Congregate that's just your stuff, but in a deck that goes wide? That could be a lot of stuff, right? Right!

Hamza, Guardian of Arashin
Conclave Mentor

I wish Lathiel and Hamza both had partner! They would be an awesome tag team! I love Hamza here as it won't cast much as your Lathiel spreads those counters around rather than piling them on one or two key dorks, which is the best way to avoid targeted removal. You can also drop the cost of other creatures very cheaply. And I have a ton of creatures here! Also look at Conclave Mentor! As you are doling out counters to your stuff, you'll also net another counter, which also works for going wide not tall as you'll get more value from your Lathiel'ing. Which is now a verb, I suppose.

Behemoth Sledge
Loxodon Warhammer

Don't you love lifelink in a build like this? I do! I thought about cheap auras like Armadillo Cloak but at the end of the day, this equipment duo was it, as both are on the cheaper side of life. It's easy to load up a dork that's now 5/5 from counters with one of these and then swing and gain 7 or 8 life and trample over and gain a lot of counters for the team as well as dealing some trample damage to the attacked target. I also love the idea of swinging into planeswalkers with this duet as well!

Most life gain engines are too expensive for consideration, but Cradle of Vitality is just $0.75 for the cheapest copy. Did you gain some life? Awesome, spend 2 mana and you can layer a ton of +1/+1 counters on something equal to the life gained. Congregate with this bad boy? Nasty! Now it's more of a go tall not wide, but it doubles your counter making and that's pretty good from where I'm sitting!

Look at Abzan Falconer. You are going wide with your counters, right? And now the whole team is going to fly away. Into the wild blue yonder! It gives you a key amount of evasiveness and you can tap it for a counter if it's not doing anything else. Tuskguard Captain is here giving the team trample, which is powerful as well. These are key cards for the build!

Mindless Automaton

What's the cost for this key duo? $0.75 for Triskelion, $0.20 for Mindless Automaton. That's less than a buck for these key powerhouses. Triskelion can win the game by itself without bothering to attack. Congregate for 16? Put those counters on Trisk and pull them off for 16 damage doled out among various places! Or just to one player's face and then kill them. I'm shocked that Triskelion is not on the EDHrec.com page either. Mindless Automaton's cost dropped after it's recent reprinting. Pull two counters off for cards. Congregate for 16? Draw 8 cards! The card flow is nasty with this Automaton. This duo is another powerhouse.

$1.99 for Forgotten Ancient and it's the most expensive card in the deck! It's amazing though. As folks, including you, cast those spells it loads up with counters of the +1/+1 variety. During your upkeep you can dole them out to all sorts of places from Spike Feeder to Triskelion to everyone for an Abzan Falconer. It's an amazing addition to the deck's counter-age.

Look at Angel of Vitality, an uncommon from Core Set 2020, it's pretty sexy, keen, and cool. And likely forgotten! Did you gain life? Great, gain another one, and net another counter from Lathiel! It's very likely to be a 4/4 for 3 mana, and it flies, so it's great for the loading up of counters to swing over defenses as well.

Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter
Ajani, the Greathearted

I am running two planeswalkers in my brew. The first is the mega-cheap Jiang Yanggu, Wildcrafter, who turns your encountered dorks into tappers of mana. You have a few affects you can use these on like Spike Breeder and Cradle of Vitality. You can also -1 him to toss a counter on a key dork to get things started for the tappery. Then we are running Ajani, the Greathearted, which is $1.25 for its bad self. Your stuff gets vigilance so you can swing en masse and keep the team back to block any potential swingers. You can +1 him to gain three life for three Lathiel counters. And you can -2 him to place a counter on your whole team, which should be pretty big. All three of his abilities work quite well here! If all you do is drop Ajani, -2 him to give out 7 counters, swing, keep your dorks up, and then he dies on a light counterattack or to removal, then Ajani did a great job!

Because creatures are needed en masse I am running a bunch of dorks with enters-the-battlefield triggers like Rambunctious Mutt and Acidic Slime. Once they've destroyed something on arrival, then you can load them up with those sweet, sweet counters!

Decree of Justice is one of the best bulk rares around. It's just $0.49 due to it's heavy reprintings, but its value is nasty. In this deck you'll likely want to cycle it and make a ton of 1/1s to build up with life gain into counters. You'll draw a card and its hard to counter in cycle mode. However there are times when you may prefer the flyers if you have a big ground pounding force you need to fly over, and you can make 2 or 3 4/4 flyers instead and then go tall not wide and swing over them.

Oracle of Nectars

Don't forget Oracle of Nectars! It's just $0.75! You can tap it or a ton of mana and gain a ton of life and net a ton of tokens. It's a great way to win that game with that life into +1/+1 counter theme of Lathiel!

Temple Acolyte. Nicknamed "Taco" due to it's name. (T.emple Aco.lyte). It was tested in Standard and was too powerful to reprint. It was heavily played in casual lands. And....I own the art! Yup, I have that beautiful art handing on my wall. How could I not run it here? You'll notice a good number of dorks that gain you life on arrival to the battlefield. The best is likely Thragtusk. It's 5 life on arrival for 5 +1/+1 counters, and a 5/3 body for 5 mana, and when it dies? You'll get a solid token! It dominated Standard but it's now a bulk rare.

Trostani, Selesnya's Voice

Hello fans of Trostani, Selesnya's Voice! It's just a buck here on CSI.com. When something arrives to the battlefield? Gain that life and trigger that Lathiel. And if you have a token? You can tap it to populate, and trigger its own ability. It's mainly here for the first ability, although don't sleep on the latter.

Jaddi Offshoot will net you a life every time you drop that land, and over time, that's a lot of +1/+1 counters! I also love Impassioned Orator, as it's a cheap on the budget version of Soul Warden. It won't work on your opponents' stuff arriving, but it's good enough for me to run here as you are going wide.


Did you forget that this bulk rare existed? Take another look at it! How many dorks do you control? Great! Draw that many cards, gain that much life, and pump your team by +1/+1 this turn. That life will turn into counters and then you'll draw a ton of cards as well. Note that effects that draw cards equal to your creature count tend to be pretty pricey, but Camaraderie isn't and that's good to know! Enjoy it!

Harmonious Archon

Let's look at one more dork and call it. Just $0.75 for Harmonious Archon! It's getting some play in Standard as a four-of in a budget build where this is run alongside of other token generators and ways to get it like Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast. It's role here is simple. Most of my deck is smaller than 3/3, so they will get pumped, and it brings two tokens to the party as well. However, it'll likely drop the size of your foe's creatures so that you'll be bigger with the counters. I'm shocked it's not on Lathiel's EDHREC.com page.

Want to see the deck in its full majesty? Sure thing!

Budget Lathiel EDH | Commander | Abe Sargent

Result? $32.27, just 2 cents fewer!

You could also add in Walking Ballista, Well of Lost Dreams, Hardened Scales, Heliod, Sun-Crowned, Archangel of Thune, Castle Ardenvale, Spike Weaver, Rhox Faithmender, Boon Reflection, Test of Endurance, Knight of Autumn, Courser of Kruphix, Scute Swarm, and Cathars' Crusade.

And there you have it! What did you think of my build? Did you enjoy it? I hope so, I truly do! Let me know what you thought in the comments!


If you enjoyed today's deck, great! Here are the first 56 Budget Commander options for your wallet-friendly happiness and joy:

  1. We kicked things off with Brion Stoutarm came in at $37.71
  2. Next up was Ghave, Guru of Spores, with a budget of $36.48, is a lot of fun!
  3. Talrand, Sky Summoner - $49.37. I increased the budget for this project due to the nature of the challenge, and it's the only entry in the series where the cost is increased rather than decreased.
  4. Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius is the next for our list rocking that $36.37 pricetag.
  5. Princess Lucrezia and Riven Turnbull feature in this fun throwback Commander deck that is just $35.68.
  6. Roon of the Hidden Realm demonstrates one of the Commander 2013 dorks in a $35.29 shell.
  7. Vhati il-Dal runs the table for just $35.17. It's also one of the more unique entries in this project.
  8. With all of the latest draconic lovin', Bladewing the Risen comes just a few cents less at $35.13. http://www.gatheringmagic.com/abesargent-042114-budget-commander-8-budget-bladewing/
  9. Lu Xun, Scholar General may not be a powerhouse, but there's enough utility under here to spark a very interesting EDH deck for just $35.07.
  10. Bosh, Iron Golem was a fun mono-red artifact centric deck that hits $35.06. That's right, one cent cheaper! It's a fun and different take on artifacts than good ol' Brago will be next.
  11. Brago, King Eternal is featured with a different artifact theme and a $35.04 budget.
  12. Let's finally get below that $35 mark with Lin Sivvi and her rebel horde! $34.98 for the witness.
  13. Wedges are cool. So is Teneb, the Harvester! $34.94 gets us a deck that wins and has fun.
  14. Who likes Surrak Dragonclaw? Who likes making a face-smashing deck for just $34.83? This guy!
  15. Tolsimir Wolfblood? $34.73? Selesnya aggro? We've got it in spades!
  16. Alesha, Who Smiles at Death is ready to bring some serious recursion, beats, and a modest budget to boot at $34.62.
  17. Want to Dragon up your deck? Why not roll with Dragonlord Kolaghan for $34.47.
  18. Who's thumping those mono-green beats with the Yeva, Nature's Herald stylings? Who clocks in at just $34.39? This article!
  19. Want to donate some stuff, play some politics, and draw a ton of cards? Then check out this Zedruu the Greathearted deck that came in at $34.29.
  20. I have a notion that a Five Color deck would be a fun budget challenge. Horde of Notions is a blast of Elemental fun that clocks in at $34.17. Check it out!
  21. Five color doesn't have to end with tribes. There are so many options that this Five Color Cromat deck with a bit of a smash-y board presence is ready to introduce itself to the red zone, and to winning. It also is just $34.20.
  22. Sometimes it's really nice to see how far we can push a popular commander with a cheaper budget. That's where this Nekusar, the Mindrazer deck comes in, clocking in at $34.03
  23. With a budget of just $33.98, this Daxos of Meletis deck is pretty cool without being too expensive. Check it out!
  24. We have a Snake flavored Kaseto, Orochi Archmage deck with a lot of fun, Snakes, and budget goodness at $33.91.
  25. Nahiri, the Lithomancer is calling for an equipment and Solider focused mono-white build that's just $33.85.
  26. Who's Born to be Wild? Mina and Denn are! Check out this Gruul Smash deck with lands and fun for just $33.75.
  27. Gods are cool, especially when they make you berries, fruits, and tasty veggies. Karametra, God of Harvests might fetch you a lot of lands and good times, but she won't set back your wallet. Check out her budget build, clocking in at $33.74
  28. She beats with auras and fun, sailing over her foes. It's Bruna, Light of Alabaster! She's bringing a strong game at a cheap $33.69.
  29. Rosheen Meanderer at $33.63 clocks in with a bunch of X spells and activations with a different take on the classic Elf-Ball deck.
  30. We take a look at a very old school sort of guy, Boris Devilboon, from the original Legends set, and then build a $33.58 deck around our good demonic friends.
  31. It's time for a bit of an Orzhov Control loving, built around Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts and featuring a ton of removal, control, and more, all for the low, low price of $33.56.
  32. Captain Sisay leads a fun, legendary infused deck that has a lot of great cards and synergy, but a light price, checking in at $33.46.
  33. Ertai, the Corrupted sacrifices creatures and enchantments to counter spells. For $33.35, we have a great control-esque deck with some groovy sacrificing love.
  34. With a modest budget of $33.32, Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis have a fun event and morph focused theme, without running a bunch of cards from their Commander 2016 Appearance. Check them out!
  35. Built around the Old-School combo of Prodigal Sorcerer and Fungusaur, this Commander deck features a number of cards that deal damage to your own creatures so they get better. It clocks in at a humble $33.26.
  36. With a Golgari Toughness-Matters theme, this Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper deck won't hurt your budget, but will do some damage for $33.15.
  37. Grenzo, Dungeon Warden goes all crazy with graveyard and deck restocking shenanigans for a cheap $33.12. We even have an infinite combo in here!
  38. Commander 2017 brings some powerful new options for Commander players everywhere. I put together a multiplayer-friendly control deck around Mathas, Fiend Seeker for just $33.10.
  39. Don't you love the Izzet madness of Arjun, the Shifting Flame? No deck has more card drawing, or card drawing triggers, than this one! It clocks in at $33.04.
  40. It doesn't have to be Halloween for you to enjoy the Monster Mash. Here we have a Grusilda, Monster Mash deck that enjoys mashing your dorks together, but not mashing your budget. It clocks in at $32.98
  41. Don't Shatter your Budget with this build of the Shattergang Brothers, who's sacrificial ways won't sacrifice wallet, and just cost $32.94.
  42. I saw Muldrotha, the Gravetide and I just fell in love with that face. Who wouldn't? Here's a graveyard abuse deck that won't break your bank, just your battlefield. And maybe some friendships. It was $32.89.
  43. Who likes some Saprolings and having Fungal Fun? I do! Slimefoot, the Stowaway leads this cheap, flavorful deck that clocks in at $32.80. Every addition to the deck has to support the flavor of the Fungal concepts!
  44. Who wants to untap and en-creature Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle? Who wants a fun budget build that's just $32.77? ME!
  45. Next up is a budget build of Emmara, Soul of the Accord which is cheap and clocks in at $32.77. Check out it's token majesty!
  46. I randomly selected Kefnet the Mindful for a random Commander challenge, and was inspired to combine my two series and build a Budget Commander deck around card-drawing and fun times with Kefnet! Check it out and it's $32.73 glory.
  47. Let's build a fun graveyard and Mono-Green build around my second Portal: Three Kingdoms leader - Hua Tuo, Honored Physician. I really like this build, and for just $32.65, I hope you will too!
  48. I built a fun budget Burn and Life gain deck around Firesong and Sunspeaker for a price tag of only $32.57! Want to check it out?
  49. I built a fun deck around the partners Gorm the Great and Virtus the Veiled. This deck ran some cool cards, including the old school Basilisk and Lure combos. But it only cost $32.51. Don't you wanna check it out? Of course ya do!
  50. For my 50th Budget Commander article, I decide to do something crazy! Let's build a Warrior themed deck around a very expensive Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, rather than my normal way of a budget leader. We come in at $42.45. You know you want to read it...
  51. Want a Naya Gold deck? Literally? Built around the multicolored loving Rienne, Angel of Rebirth. It clocks it at $32.39. I know you want to find out how I ever could do that! Check it out!
  52. I built a fun +1/+1 counter and enchantment-matters build around Eutropia the Twice-Favored for $32.33. Don't you wanna check it out?
  53. I took the Skirmish deck I designed, Defy Death, and turned it into a Commander deck featuring Tariel, Reckoner of Souls for $32.28. Take a look and see what you think!
  54. I created a fun token creature deck around Akim, the Soaring Wind from Commander 2020. It came in at $32.27! Enjoy it here!
  55. I built a Mono-Blue scry and flying matters deck around the partners Eligeth, Crossroads Augur and Siani, Eye of the Storm, that came in under $32.23. It was fun! You can find it here!
  56. I love a good crazy Commander to build around, like Hans Eriksson. My version of him ran cards like enrage led Dinosaurs, and mid-range cards you'd want to drop onto the battlefield with aplomb. The deck came in at $32.29. Want to check it out?
  57. That's this article, you crazy goof!

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