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Budget Commander 18: Yeva and You


Welcome back to all things budget-friendly here on the Budget Commander series. Want to build a whole Commander deck for less than a Sword of Fire and Ice? That right; there’s no rule that states that Commander has to be expensive!

This is the next entry in my ever-dwindling budget series, wherein each deck tries to come under the budget of the previous entry. It’s a lot of fun to live on the cheaper side of life.

After my recent Mono-Black Cube project and the mono-colored Commander decks from 2014, I feel challenged to do a mono-colored project. Twice in the budget series I’ve rocked mono-blue, and once mono-red. Plus, I just did mono-black for my Cube. So let’s dip into either green or white.

Our target to beat is $34.47. We can do it! I have faith in you.

Are you feeling a little Yeva today?

That’s $34.39, baby!

Yeva, Nature's Herald
Because our legendary leader is pro-creature, I want to dip deeply into the opportunities that green offers. And you know what? We don’t have to run a bunch of mana rocks or nonbasic lands or any of that. So we can run a bunch of Forests, cards that like interacting with them, and cheaper spells and creatures that accelerate your green mana-making.

As I realized I would be unable to run any major Equipment, mana rocks were redundant, and typical mono-colored cards liked Caged Sun were out of budget, I therefore realized this deck really didn’t need to run any artifacts at all! That was a huge revelation to me. If I could sever our tie to artifacts, I could attack them relentlessly.

Now that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to turn around and embrace Creeping Corrosion. But instead, I can build my deck without having to worry about getting too much pushback from destroying my own stuff with effects like Bane of Progress or Wave of Vitriol.

So Yeva gives the green dorks flash. What works with that? Well, to start, let’s include a lot of creatures with enters-the-battlefield (ETB) triggers that you can use as psuedo-instant spells.

Take a classic Commander card Acidic Slime. It’s been reprinted so many times that it has a mega-cheap price. In this deck, Acidic Slime is even better than normal since you can flash it out to destroy an opposing card and/or flash it out to chump-block (and kill with deathtouch) an attacker that dares to come your way.

In fact, when you have Yeva, untapped lands, and a grip of cards, people have to fear your defense.

So let’s look for great ETB triggers. Now cards like Eternal Witness are often outside of a budget-friendly deck like this one. The cheapest option is $2.99 near mint, and $3 dollars is almost 10% of my budget. You may have some lying around for a deck like this, but without it, no worries! There are loads of great ETB cards out there.

Stingerfling Spider
For example, would you like to kill something? Are you in an Acidic Slime state of mind? Then take a look at Stingerfling Spider to kill a flying creature. Acid Web Spider kills Equipment. And don’t forget Reclamation Sage either! Even recently released Foe-Razer Regent can fight and kill something with its draconic goodness. We can kill stuff.

Want to gain card advantage in other ways? How about through grabbing a Forest; why not run Wood Elves or Yavimaya Dryad? You can also toss in Nessian Game Warden to drop and grab a creature from your deck or Masked Admirers to draw a card (and bring them back post-death). Feel free to grab something like Wall of Blossoms or Elvish Visionary from your card stock as well.

One of the ways to abuse this Yeva’ing is to run cards that have triggers when another creature arrives. Take a serious look at Primal Forcemage. Anytime a creature arrives, it gets +3/+3 until the end of the turn. Even a humble Llanowar Elves becomes a 4/4 for a moment. You turn blocking into a deadly exchange of fire. You can even flash out the Primal Forcemage so opponents won’t play around it.

Think about Soul of the Harvest. You draw a card each time a creature arrives. So you can flash and draw at the same time. That’s a really useful way to push your deck since it appears you might be inclined to smash creatures down with alacrity. Yeva demands more options, and that demands more creatures. Maybe you can pick up stuff like Cream of the Crop later.

Bellowing Tanglewurm
Since we have a lot of green creatures, we might as well toss in Bellowing Tanglewurm to give yours intimidate. In that vein, why not add in Roughshod Mentor for trampling fun? Because really, every green creature should trample, you know? We can add in a Paragon of Eternal Wilds– or a Beastmaster Ascension–style card.

Don’t forget that we can throw in some pro-creature cards. Green has historically been the pro-creature color, and there are lot of options we can toss in for pennies on the dollar. Gaea's Herald keeps your creatures from being countered, so no worries there. Meanwhile, Garruk's Horde can reveal the top card of your library, and if it’s a creature, you can play it for free. Well, more than forty cards in this deck are creatures! Plus, you can flash it if it’s a green creature and Yeva is on the block. So that’s a nice little synergy right there.

There are a few ways to churn out extra creatures, such as Zoologist and Call of the Wild. And they work well with your Horde! Meanwhile, you can draw some cards with Primitive Etchings. Note that if you draw a card on an opponent’s turn, you can still gain a card from Etchings if it’s a creature. So I can flash out Masked Admirers or play a creature with Soul of the Harvest out and then reveal the card I draw—and if it’s a creature, I draw another card for free. Yay for card-draw! See also: Shamanic Revelation, Nature's Resurgence.

We have a few oddball creatures running around. I want to live the dream of flashing out Saber Ants, chump some 7-damage-doling creature, and then make seven Insect tokens. That’s my dream. Don’t sleep on Gigapede since it can come back in case a 6/1 shroud creature is of use to you. If you can splash serious cash, consider stuff like Genesis and other self-recursive folk. See also: Timbermare. You can flash it out to tap everything on another turn.

Lost in the Woods
Don’t ignore the potential for pro-Forest cards either since we are running a lot of Forests. A card like Lost in the Woods is great protection against attacks since most of your noncreatures are, in fact, Forests. Did you forget about Gaea's Touch? (I mentioned it in last week’s article.) It’s a common 2-drop from way back in The Dark days (literally) of Magic. It’s an Exploration for basic Forests, and you can sac it for 2 mana as an accelerant. From Blanchwood Armor and Nessian Game Warden to Kalonian Twingrove and Baru, Fist of Krosa, we have a ton of great Foresty options!

Meanwhile, we can cast stuff like Howl of the Night Pack or the highly janky Waiting in the Weeds to make some tokens en masse. (And if you want to push aside budget, how about Beacon of Creation?)

Now, because we can use mana accelerants that find Forests rather than any basic lands, we can have cheaper options. This isn’t the place for pricy stuff like Cultivate or some such. Nope! Instead, we can run Mwonvuli Acid-Moss, Hunting Wilds, and Ranger's Path. And with many casual markets taken up by Commander stuff, great mono-green accelerants like Llanowar Elves, Arbor Elf, Elvish Mystic, and Werebear are all on the cheaper side of life. In fact, because of the cheap cost of these cards, I have never had a budget build with as few lands as this one before—I was able to afford so many business cards! No worries; we have plenty of 1-drop mana bodies and accelerants in green to go around, so we don’t need my typical sixty-forty split.

So yay to mono-green without spending green.

Patron of the Orochi
Now, my normal caveat applies. All prices here are as of the writing of this article, for near mint copies, over at CoolStuffInc.com. It is not only possible, but probable, that some cards may drop in increase in price from the submission of this article to its publication and from then to when you read. But the points stand quite nicely.

I wish I could have tossed in Arboria (listed in last week’s budget-priced cards from the old aether of Magic).

Check out some non-budget cards for your Yeva build, such as Patron of the Orochi or Kamahl, Fist of Krosa. Want to run Scavenging Ooze? Kaysa? Dauntless Dourbark? Battlewand Oak? Dungrove Elder? Timber Protector? Regal Force? Emerald Medallion? Primeval Bounty? Loaming Shaman? Lifeblood Hydra? Vernal Equinox? Gaea's Anthem? Surrak, the Hunt Caller? There’s a lot of opportunity in a Yeva deck, next to you!

What did you think? Did you find a great card in here? Some useful ideas? Let me know!

P.S. Next week, we’ll be wrapping up the Hardcore Highlander challenge. If you are interested in being mentioned, or making the cut, for the article, you’ll need to get in results by Wednesday, June 10 at 12:00 P.M. EST so I can finish my article by deadline. Thanks!

Appendix of Budget Commander Fun Time!

Here are the first seventeen el-cheapo decks for your perusement:

Dragonlord Kolaghan

  1. Brion Stoutarm came in at $37.71.
  2. 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 it due to the nature of the challenge, and it’s the only entry in the series for which the cost is increased rather than decreased.
  4. Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius is the next in the list, rocking that $36.37 price tag.
  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 Edition) dorks in a $35.29 shell.
  7. Vhati il-Dal runs the table for just $35.17.
  8. With all of the expected draconic lovin’, Bladewing the Risen comes just a few cents fewer at $35.13.
  9. Lu Xun, Scholar General may not be a powerhouse, but there’s enough utility under here to spark a very interesting Commander 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.
  11. Brago, King Eternal is featured with a different artifact theme and a $35.04 budget.
  12. Let’s finally drop below that $35 mark with Lin Sivvi, Defiant Hero and her Rebel horde! It’s $34.98 for the witness.
  13. 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 have it in spades!
  16. Alesha, Who Smiles at Profit 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.

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