Ah yes. Commander. Cheaply. It is possible. In fact you can easily build a Commander deck for a little over $30. Don’t believe me? Well that’s okay, that’s where this deck project comes in.
The goal of this series is to show you don’t need to include serious financial commitments in the form of Sword of Fire and Ice, Taiga, and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. The challenge of each of these decks is to come in under the budget of the previous article. That deck was a fun Gruul X-themed deck centered around Rosheen Meanderer for $33.63.
The rules are simple. I can only use near mint cards from Coolstuffinc. You can use lesser quality copies if you like. Basic Lands are not included in the price.
I was looking over potential leaders for the deck when I found my guy. Did you know Boris is only a few bucks over at coolstuffinc.com? That’s pretty strong stuff!
In Boris we trust . . .
Budget Boris ? EDH | Abe Sargent
- Commander (1)
- 1 Boris Devilboon
- Creatures (27)
- 1 Anathemancer
- 1 Archfiend of Depravity
- 1 Beetleback Chief
- 1 Blood Speaker
- 1 Bloodgift Demon
- 1 Burnished Hart
- 1 Deepfire Elemental
- 1 Demon of Wailing Agonies
- 1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
- 1 Harvester of Souls
- 1 Havoc Demon
- 1 Hellrider
- 1 Igneous Pouncer
- 1 Kindly Stranger
- 1 Kothophed, Soul Hoarder
- 1 Overseer of the Damned
- 1 Pestilence Demon
- 1 Priest of the Blood Rite
- 1 Rakka Mar
- 1 Reaper from the Abyss
- 1 Shadowborn Demon
- 1 Skirsdag High Priest
- 1 Smothering Abomination
- 1 Tymaret, the Murder King
- 1 Wild-Field Scarecrow
- 1 Woebringer Demon
- 1 Wrecking Ogre
- Spells (33)
- 1 Cauldron Dance
- 1 Dissension in the Ranks
- 1 Grim Return
- 1 Rakdos Charm
- 1 Rescue from the Underworld
- 1 Scour from Existence
- 1 Urborg Justice
- 1 Wrecking Ball
- 1 Bitter Revelation
- 1 Damnable Pact
- 1 Demonfire
- 1 Devil's Play
- 1 Devils' Playground
- 1 Diabolic Tutor
- 1 Dread Return
- 1 Infernal Offering
- 1 Promise of Power
- 1 Reign of the Pit
- 1 Syphon Mind
- 1 Torrent of Souls
- 1 Demonic Torment
- 1 Diabolic Servitude
- 1 Dictate of Erebos
- 1 Mark of the Oni
- 1 Underworld Connections
- 1 Carnage Altar
- 1 Darksteel Ingot
- 1 Demonspine Whip
- 1 Kolaghan Monument
- 1 Rakdos Riteknife
- 1 Rakdos Signet
- 1 Hammer of Purphoros
- 1 Vampiric Rites
Target — $33.63
Result — $33.58
There are some great signals you’ll send when you flip over Boris Devilboon as your Commander at your next Magic night. First, you’ll be telling folks you prefer a fun, old-school, flavorful leader, rather than the latest iteration of some broken Commander deck led by something like Kaalia of the Vast or Oloro, Ageless Ascetic. Instead you are playing something cool. It’s not like there is anything broken you can do with Boris Devilboon.
Now how do you flesh out a Boris deck? One way is to break out the various accoutrements and blast out token making machines. From Goblins to Zombies, you have a bunch of ways of making some tokens in Rakdos, so just have an odd Rakdos version of the typical Tokenspew deck. Go wide, not big. That works.
Another way to use Boris is as a leader of a fun Demon themed deck loaded with flavorful and mechanical ties to Demons and Devils. Hey, if you are running Boris as your leader in a format formally named Elder Dragon Highlander after the cycle from the original Legends set, then running another leader from that set who summons some Minor Demons is pretty cool, in an old Lord of the Pit sort of way.
So I chose to do both. We have cards with both mechanical ties to Boris and flavorful ones.
Let’s start with the boring mechanics. Tokens and sacrifices and such.
Now, we know that tapping four mana and a Boris will get you a Minor Demon token, so we have a guaranteed bit of fodder being produced every turn. A card like Vampiric Rites will sacrifice it for some life and a card. You’ll note Carnage Altar is filling a similar role with card drawing fun times.
And it’s not just card drawing either. Take a gander at stuff like Dread Return’s flashback or Rakdos Riteknife for other options out there. Check out the sweet sacrifice stylings of Tymaret, the Murder King though. You’ll see others here and there if you delve into the decklist more fully.
We also make tokens! I have a few obvious pieces to show off, like Beetleback Chief and Rakka Mar. These are cards I’ve loved and appreciated for a long time. Rakka Mar has been one of the underappreciated forces at the kitchen table for a long time. And everyone likes the Chief. (If you like this and you have the budget, you could look at stuff like Grave Titan, Siege-Gang Commander, or Pia and Kiran Nalaar).
Now there are a few flavor-empowered cards which also fit the deck’s mechanical theme. Devils' Playground is perfect. It makes four 1/1 Devil Tokens that seriously want to die. It’s a perfect fit for the deck, and a good place to try the card out from Shadows over Innistrad to see if it has the value needed to make the cut in future Commander decks.
The next place I dug was actual, proper Demons. The first Demons to make the cut for my deck where those which also provided some useful creature and board control. Lots of Demons kill things. The best thing about Demonkind is that they tend to hit at creatures from different angles. Take Woebringer Demon as an example. It’s a useful variant on The Abyss, until you sacrifice the Woebringer Demon to itself to end the effect. That’s one route of control. Then you can kill something when Overseer of the Damned hits the battlefield. (Or Shadowborn Demon). Pestilence Demon? Havoc Demon? You get the point.
With my strong Demonic creature control, I move on to other elements of Demon-ry. Demons have a lot of flexibility so I looked at more card drawing next. Cards like Kothophed, Soul Hoarder and Harvester of Souls is suitably nasty here. (There is some fun synergy with a lot of the cards in here, like Harvester, Overseer, and a sacrifice outlet. Sacrifice a creature to trigger the Overseer and make a Zombie. Sacrifice that Zombie for another effect, and draw two net cards).
There are some Demon helpers too. I chose to run Blood Speaker — it’s downright essential in a deck like mine. There’s a number of Clerics and such capable of bringing out a Demon using various means.
And then we have Demon-y support stuff.
We all know what Demons do. So having a fun, old school card like Demonic Torment is one of the perfect caps to the deck’s core concept. It’s a wonky variant of Pacifism from way back. It gives you a few options — you can drop it on a nasty Commander who can’t be stopped the normal way, and just needs to be Tormented.
A card like Demonic Tutor might be out of my financial reach, but Diabolic Tutor certainly isn’t. I also have Demon versions of things like removal (Demonfire, Devil's Play) and reanimation (Diabolic Servitude) or Infernal Offering.
There’s another pair of cards I want to unpack:
Urborg Justice. This old school card (on the Reserve List) is often an awesome one-shot Grave Pact. I like using it when someone killed my stuff, but was left with some creatures of their own. (Wrath of God variants like Plague Wind, Mass Calcify, and such are pretty common where I play). Urborg Justice can also be used after you sacrificed much of your team or tokens to add a coup de grace on top that’ll decimate their board. It’s a fun card.
Grim Return. This is another fun trick which seems to provide good value, especially in a deck with this much packed creature removal and sacrificing. You can use it to revive your foe’s best dying creature or your own. From getting another use out of Wild-Field Scarecrow to returning your Havoc Demon after you sac’d it and dropped much of the board, you’ll find a lot of tricks here.
And that’s a pretty solid, cheap, version of Boris Devilboon!
There are lots of others places to explore too. Are Angels bothering you? How about Halo Hunter? What about Ravenous Demon? Other options could include Damnation, Rune-Scarred Demon, Reiver Demon, Dread Cacodemon, Tomb of Urami, Elbrus, the Binding Blade, Westvale Abbey, all four iterations of Ob Nixilis, Hellfire, Hell's Caretaker, Kher Keep, and maybe Ritual of the Machine or Reprocess.
That’s a lot of stuff!
Anyways, there’s your budget deck! Now, of course, card values can shift from the writing of this article to you reading it, but the concept of a fun deck that layers in Demons, Devils, Tokens, Sacrifices, and Support while also dialing it back a bit is pretty strong. The point stands. So what’s the obstacle that’s stopping you from grabbing Boris or other cards in here and using them wholeheartedly for your next deck project?
Boris for the win!
Here are the first 28 Happy Time Budget Decks (29 actually) for your budget 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- Tolsimir Wolfblood? $34.73? Selesnya aggro? We’ve got it in spades!
- Alesha, Who Smiles at Profit 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 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 TWO Five Color decks next:
- 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. 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