Hello folks and welcome to another entry in my growing Budget Commander series. Today, I want to take a long look askance at budgets for Commander. Due to the popularity of the format, a lot of casual cards that are huge hits are worth a ton of money. Take Eternal Witness as a good example. It was an uncommon in its first printing, and has been reprinted six more times for a total of seven (legal) printings out there for this card. And yet despite that, no version is cheaper than $6.49 over at CoolStuffInc right now. And that's just one example of the Commander Effect on the secondary market. That's why Doubling Season is $60.
And yet, many cards that are awesome in Commander are pretty cheap. For example, due to its ability to be cast as an instant, one of the best mass removal variants of Wrath of God is Rout. Rout is just a bulk rare these days. Stroke of Genius? Decree of Justice? Bulk rares that dominate!
So one way to approach the Commander Effect is to snag the cheaper cards for your deck. The big ticket items certainly get a lot of press, but the vast majority of great cards for Commander are bulk level stuff.
And that's where this series comes in! In each entry, my goal is to come in under the budget of the previous article. In the 40th entry, I invested $32.98 into the deck for cards near mint over at CoolStuffInc. Who would I want to build around and why?
Let's take a look!
This is Shattergang Brothers. These days you can get your Shattergang on pretty cheaply. So, how would I approach this deck?
Budgetary Brothers -- Commander | Abe Sargent
- Commander (1)
- 1 Shattergang Brothers
- Creatures (39)
- 1 Acidic Slime
- 1 Archetype of Aggression
- 1 Archetype of Endurance
- 1 Blazing Hellhound
- 1 Bloodfire Colossus
- 1 Broodmate Dragon
- 1 Butcher of Malakir
- 1 Cultivator of Blades
- 1 Goblin Marshal
- 1 Harvester of Souls
- 1 Hooded Hydra
- 1 Krovikan Horror
- 1 Madrush Cyclops
- 1 Magmaw
- 1 Nighthowler
- 1 Reassembling Skeleton
- 1 Ruthless Knave
- 1 Skullmulcher
- 1 Smothering Abomination
- 1 Sprouting Thrinax
- 1 Stalking Vengeance
- 1 Symbiotic Wurm
- 1 Veteran Explorer
- 1 Viridian Emissary
- 1 Zulaport Cutthroat
- 1 Burnished Hart
- 1 Filigree Familiar
- 1 Myr Sire
- 1 Pilgrim's Eye
- 1 Steel Hellkite
- 1 Treasure Keeper
- 1 Wild-Field Scarecrow
- 1 Captain Lannery Storm
- 1 Homura, Human Ascendant
- 1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
- 1 Sek'Kuar, Deathkeeper
- 1 Tuktuk the Explorer
- 1 Tymaret, the Murder King
- 1 Bosh, Iron Golem
- Instants (1)
- 1 Putrefy
- Sorceries (7)
- 1 Brass's Bounty
- 1 Diabolic Tutor
- 1 Growth Spasm
- 1 Morbid Curiosity
- 1 Primal Growth
- 1 Seek the Horizon
- 1 Wildest Dreams
- Enchantments (11)
- 1 Aid from the Cowl
- 1 Aspect of Mongoose
- 1 Barrage of Expendables
- 1 Evolutionary Leap
- 1 Font of Fertility
- 1 Font of Return
- 1 Furnace Celebration
- 1 Gaea's Anthem
- 1 Infernal Tribute
- 1 Rancor
- 1 Ulvenwald Mysteries
- Artifacts (7)
- 1 Commander's Sphere
- 1 Darksteel Ingot
- 1 Hammer of Purphoros
- 1 Ichor Wellspring
- 1 Mind Stone
- 1 Servo Schematic
- 1 Trading Post
And there you are!
Target -- $32.98
Result? $32.94. There we are!
After I choose my theme on a budgetary project like this, the first place I go is mana. It may not be sexy, but I want to ensure that my deck and cards are playable. In a three-color deck like this, I'll spend more money and cards on mana. From lands like Savage Lands and Jund Panorama to artifacts like Darksteel Ingot and Pilgrim's Eye and more, you can expect to see a certain amount of cards dedicated to this deck's craft. I also added in some on-theme land searching as I was in Green. Cards like Cultivate and Kodama's Reach are too pricey for a project like this, but a card like Seek the Horizon and an on-theme sacrifice of Primal Growth or the dork making of Growth Spasm fit the deck perfectly, and they headed in. As normal for a budget project, I spent around $5 on my mana.
After that, I thought of a card that would really work with my theme. I love artifact creatures in this deck because they have the flexibility to be sacrificed either as an artifact or as a creature to your Commander. Either sacrifice will force your foes to sacrifice a like permanent, so if I sacrifice Pilgrim's Eye as a creature, then everyone else sacrifice a creature. If as an artifact, then the same. That's a powerful weapon.
So the first card I added was Pia and Kiran Nalaar. They are cheap, they bring some artifact creature tokens to the battlefield with them, and they even add in a self-sacrifice for artifacts that's cool. I already had three artifact dorks in my deck with Burnished Hart, Wild-Field Scarecrow, and the Eye, so that seemed like a good play.
Therefore, the first rabbit hole I dug into was cheap cards that worked perfectly with Pia and Kiran and the Shattergang Brothers. Take, as a quick example, Servo Schematic. It's a two-mana investment for an artifact that brings an artifact token to the battlefield. And, if you kill that Schematic, then another dork arrives as well. So you can get three different artifacts across one card, which is a lot of fuel for your deck! Other examples included Myr Sire or Ichor Wellspring.
But this is not a Jund version of Glissa, the Traitor. I didn't want to add every single card that played well here with artifacts and then call it a deck. I didn't see a Shattergang led artifact deck. What I saw instead was a Shattergang deck that would control the board and crack open any defense. Thus flexibility.
Then, to match that, I looked for enchantment creatures. Most of the ones I liked were too expensive, like Courser of Kruphix and Xenagos, God of Revels. There were a few that were cheap enough, but didn't fit my deck, like Boon Satyr. The only one I added was Nighthowler, as it was a good fit and cheap to purchase. I also added in Hammer of Purphoros which has remained surprisingly cheap compared to most of the other weapons.
What else? What happens if I want to sacrifice something for an effect, but I don't have Shattergang Brothers out? Or what happens if I do control them, but there's nothing I want to kill? I tossed in a few engines here and there that will sacrifice. Need cards? Take a look at Grim Backwoods, Morbid Curiosity, or Infernal Tribute. Need damage dealt? Take a look at Magmaw, Barrage of Expendables, or Krovikan Horror.
A few unusual choices here include Evolutionary Leap to trade an in-play creature for one from my deck.
While adding in more engines, I also wanted some death-triggers. When stuff dies, I want to get benefits. Most of the good cards out there in this vein are cards that care about the death of creatures, not anything else. We certainly have a number of triggers that are cheap in this limelight, like Zulaport Cutthroat and Ulvenwald Mysteries. Some of them are too pricey, and I can't slide grave Grave Pact or Dictate of Erebos in here, but I'm sure that's fine.
Take a gander at Furnace Celebration and Stalking Vengeance that can deal some serious damage to people or their stuff as you ratchet up those sacrifices. The two major permanents that Shattergang can't deal with are lands and planeswalkers. Well, the damage dealing fun of sacrificing to Blazing Hellhound or your Celebration can be redirected to a 'walker and help you slay them with damage. So, there's more versatility here than you might at first expect. I thought about adding in Shivan Harvest to help with lands, but ultimately decided to leave that mostly alone.
Did you notice a few cards that can self-recur in here? Reassembling Skeleton is fun to put through into the meat grinder of a Shattergang effect and then bring back. It will also work well with Magmaw and others. Rancor and Aspect of Mongoose are sacrifice options for taking out other enchantments, or can be sacrificed to an Infernal Tribute and recurred over and over again. Fun stuff!
The last major synergy I wanted are cards like Myr Sire or Servo Schematic that have cool abilities when they die. This would be a perfect home for Solemn Simulacrum, but what Commander deck can't say that? But I have a budget for cards that are on-theme like Sprouting Thrinax and its three 1/1 dorks it leaves behind after it dies, or Symbiotic Wurm that leaves an entire army of dorks, and Hooded Hydra. Check out Tuktuk the Explorer! Check out Viridian Emissary or Veteran Explorer!
I also have some effects that'll make more fodder for the fire with treasure like Brass's Bounty. So awesome!
As more and more cards were added in, space began to cramp, and there were still a few directions I wanted to go. I'd like a few more enchantments that could be sacrificed if needed, so I'm including Font of Fertility for early mana, if needed, or late game sacrificing if you don't, and Font of Return can get you three dorks back so it's a (admittedly expensive) Ancestral Recall effect. If that doesn't work, you can just send it up the river by Shattergang Boat. I've also included the powerful Trading Post to make dorks, sacrifice artifacts, and have some other effects that play nicely with the deck. I also love Bosh, Iron Golem here as a swinging beast of death and a game-winning artifact sacrifice engine. Bosh can throw himself for eight damage, so you always have something to do with him, which makes him incredibly reliable.
And slowly and steadily, I completed this project! I had some awesome cards to rock and drop, with Shattergang madness all up in this space.
There were some cards I thought of, but were too pricey. Other possibilities include Xenagos, God of Revels, Daretti, Ingenious Iconoclast, and Courser of Kruphix. Glissa, the Traitor is fine if you wanted to lean that way.Siege-Gang Commander makes tokens in small numbers and Army of the Damned in big numbers. What about Heroic Intervention, Goblin Sharpshooter, Mastermind's Acquisition, or Thromok the Insatiable? For land control, how about Wasteland, Strip Mine, or Dust Bowl?
And that's a deck!
What did you think? Anything cheap I missed? Anything you want to try out? Just let me know!
Here are the first 30+Discount Commander Options for your wallet-friendly needs:
- We kicked things off with Brion Stoutarm came in at $37.71
- Next up was Ghave, Guru of Spores, with a budget of $36.48, is a lot of fun!
- 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.
- Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius is the next for our list rocking that $36.37 pricetag.
- Princess Lucrezia and Riven Turnbull feature in this fun throwback Commander deck that is just $35.68.
- Roon of the Hidden Realm demonstrates one of the Commander 2013 dorks in a $35.29 shell.
- Vhati il-Dal runs the table for just $35.17. It's also one of the more unique entries in this project.
- 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/
- 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.
- [card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Bosh, Iron Golem" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem">[card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem">[card]Bosh, Iron Golem" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem">[card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem[/card] 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.
- Brago, King Eternal is featured with a different artifact theme and a $35.04 budget.
- Let's finally get below that $35 mark with Lin Sivvi and her rebel horde! $34.98 for the witness.
- Wedges are cool. So is Teneb, the Harvester! $34.94 gets us a deck that wins and has fun.
- Who likes Surrak Dragonclaw? Who likes making a face-smashing deck for just $34.83? This guy!
- [card]Tolsimir Wolfblood" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/Tolsimir Wolfblood" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Tolsimir Wolfblood">[card]Tolsimir Wolfblood">Tolsimir Wolfblood" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Tolsimir Wolfblood">[card]Tolsimir Wolfblood? $34.73? Selesnya aggro? We've got it in spades!
- Alesha, Who Smiles at Death is ready to bring some serious recursion, beats, and a modest budget to boot at $34.62.
- Want to Dragon up your deck? Why not roll with Dragonlord Kolaghan for $34.47.
- Who's thumping those mono-green beats with the [card]Yeva, Nature's Herald" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/Yeva, Nature's Herald" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Yeva, Nature's Herald">[card]Yeva, Nature's Herald">Yeva, Nature's Herald" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Yeva, Nature's Herald">[card]Yeva, Nature's Herald stylings? Who clocks in at just $34.39? This article!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
- With a budget of just $33.98, this Daxos of Meletis deck is pretty cool without being too expensive. Check it out!
- We have a Snake flavored Kaseto, Orochi Archmage deck with a lot of fun, Snakes, and budget goodness at $33.91.
- Nahiri, the Lithomancer is calling for an equipment and Solider focused mono-white build that's just $33.85.
- Who's Born to be Wild? Mina and Denn are! Check out this Gruul Smash deck with lands and fun for just $33.75.
- Gods are cool, especially when they make you berries, fruits, and tasty veggies. [card]Karametra, God of Harvests" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/Karametra, God of Harvests" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Karametra, God of Harvests">[card]Karametra, God of Harvests">Karametra, God of Harvests" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Karametra, God of Harvests">[card]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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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