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Budget Commander #49: Gorm and Virtus

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Hello folks! I hope that you are having a great July. Commander is an interesting format as it's both a format that is flush with bulk rares, mythics, commons, and uncommons from all over the game's history, but due to the popularity of the format, some staples that might otherwise be on the bulkier side of life are super high in price.

Doubling Season

An iconic example of that would be Doubling Season. It was a cheap rare during its Standard run, and it never took off in Legacy, Vintage, Extended, or Standard. It's high price tag came exclusively from casual interest - specifically Commander. Today after multiple reprints, it's still a $60 cost to pick up a Season.

And while Doubling Season is not the only example of this effect out there, it's certainly an iconic one. There are many cards out there that have never done anything in a tournament format nor do they have a Reserve List tax because they cannot ever be reprinted again. Nope. But they are key for Commander.

Cabal Coffers
Greater Auramancy

Cabal Coffers was an uncommon, and even when it was played heavily as a four-of in Standard, it didn't even come close to its current $40+ price tag for any of the various printings it's had. Greater Auramancy has never been anything or done anything in a tournament, but it has a big, giant price.

But, at the same time, we have a huge number of cards out there that Commander staples that are quite cheap. You've seen how many times a card like Sol Ring has been printed, imagine how expensive it'd be now if it wasn't in so many of the Commander decks. Ditto something like Command Tower.

We have a format where folks bring a lot of heat for a number of cool effects!

Firesong and Sunspeaker

Last week I brought you a fun Budget deck built Firesong and Sunspeaker, and it was my 48th budget build for y'all. Now the cool thing about this series is that each deck's budget must come under the previous one's okay? What was that? $32.57.

Today I want to build a deck where all of the cards (save for basics) clock in at under my budget. Then next week, I want to get the 50th Budget Commander out there for you too! Ready for #49? Great!

Who is my leader? Who speaks to me?

Let's do something for #49 that I've yet to do - Battlebond partners. The duo I want to do is cheap, and never seemed to really catch on, and there are around 120 decks registered on EDHREC.com, which tells me that there wasn't a big rush. Also, both halves are very cheap these days, and you can easily play into them:

Gorm the Great
Virtus the Veiled

What do I see for these?

A few things. Gorm is fun as big loud giant who distracts your foes and forces them to block, while your real threat, Virtus slips through.

Assault Formation
Treefolk Umbra

The first place I want to dip is Assault Formation. It will amp up the damage threat level of my Gorm. If you drop the Formation on turn two, Virtus T3, and Gorm on T4, then your swinging of Gorm, with his vigilance, is going to bring a 7/7 heater. It'll be very hard to get in the way of Virtus that early and that's reliably. Now please note that this is not a toughness matters build, but I did add in a few cards like this here and there such as Treefolk Umbra, that loves bigger smashers like Gorm.

Whispersilk Cloak
Rogue's Passage

Then I wanted some cards for Virtus. The Cloak and Passage are both strong and commonly seen. The Cloak is great for Virtus as it will allow him to swing and be un-touched by spot removal. Just equip him, and forget it.

I feel like I want to push into some very old school territory.

One of my previous budget builds was built around the ancient combo of Prodigal Sorcerer and Fungusaur:

Prodigal Sorcerer
Fungusaur

It was BC #35. Each time you tap your Sorcerer or similar card to shoot Fungusaur, then it grows by one, and soon, it gets large and in charge. I was so inspired by my Commander edition of this budget deck that I now have built a copy in real life featuring cards like Ripjaw Raptor and untap effects like Kiora's Follower.

Here's my inspiration for today:

Thicket Basilisk
Lure

Lure and Thicket Basilisk were an old school combo from the earliest days of the game. Swing and force everyone to block, and then after combat, you had likely traded your Lure and Basilisk for all of their creatures. In the same swing, you could attack and get in some fun hits as well. One common addition to this was Regeneration and Venom.

Regeneration
Venom

By tossing this onto your Basilisk, you could keep your powerhouse alive, which great at attacking multiple foes and clearing them out. You could make any critter a Basilisk by tossing Venom onto it.

Verduran Enchantress

One way of keeping your deck going was to draw cards from the three or four enchantments you had. You'd add Wild Growth instead of Llanowar Elves, Sylvan Library, and other cards as well.

Now I am not going to be chasing down the enchantment hill, and some of those auras set you up for unfortunate 1 for 2 trades. But there are some other options available.

Nurturing Licid
Tempting Licid

Such as these. They are dorks that you can turn into an aura, and then hop off and be a dork again. Nurturing Licid is a great Regeneration effect. If you want to swing at someone with Gorm and Virtus, but your Gorm is likely to be gang blocked, what do you do? Toss a Nurturing Licid on him! Swing, and then regenerate him as the big damage smashing arrives. Tempting Licid will turn any of your dorks into a quasi-Gorm and give you a fun Lure option.

Gift of the Deity
Sylvan Basilisk

Gift of the Deity plays into the same theme. And while we are adding in Lures, we might as well toss in the best Basilisk of all time. All you have to do is force them to block your Sylvan Basilisk, and then all of their dorks die prior to damage being dealt, and it won't even be killed! Note that unlike Thicket Basilisk, it won't work on defense, but it will slay those Walls.

Noble Quarry
Destined // Lead

Noble Quarry also isn't immediately card disadvantage. Bestow it to make something Lured, and then after that thing was killed, you get this to linger, which is a nice little bonus. Also, don't sleep on a powerful effect like Destined // Lead here either. Give a dork +1/+0 and indestructible is a cool modern way to "regenerate" your dork. Then you can also give it Lure too, so it gives you both halves in one effect. That's fun!

Archetype of Finality
Fireshrieker

Speaking of Deathtouch abuse, both of these are fun. One gives your whole team a deathtouch kiss of death while the other can give them double death touches in combat. Virtus really wants double strike, because he can get his combat trigger twice. Even a fat Gorm will love it if you have out something like the Archetype or Assault Formation. (I also gave you Archetype of Endurance to help protect your team as well, by the by).

Dauthi Embrace

Take a gander at Dauthi Embrace for a moment. Most people you encounter at the kitchen table aren't running shadow in their decks anymore, which means, that this card basically makes your dorks unblockable. Spending some mana to embrace them into unblockability here and there can really push your deck. And if Gorm is punching for seven? Dang. Also, if you are swinging but your foe has a dork that will kill your attackers, you can shadow it so it cannot block!

I'm sure that it did not escape you that Virtus is a card you want to get in a hit with unlocked.

Why not play harder into that theme?

Throat Slitter
Okiba-Gang Shinobi

Again, I have already built an infrastructure into my deck for Virtus to punch face, so I might as well add in some more stuff that plays into that sneaky theme, right?

One with Nature
Rogue's Gloves

One with Nature is awesome on Virtus! If he has double strike then you are grabbing double lands a turn while carving life off of your foes! And the gloves are strong as well, giving you are large number of cards.

Banshee of the Dread Choir
Geode Golem

I also have some dorks that want to swing as well. Both of these are going to really like it when they start connecting with faces, as they have some sweet combat-damage triggers, and I have others from Hypnotic Specter to Avenging Druid and Ohran Viper.

Vraska, Swarm's Eminence
Vraska the Unseen

We also have some fun planewalkers for this build as well. Every time Virtus punches face, you get a +1/+1 counter if you control the Swarm's Eminence. She can also make some planeswalker killing Assassins. Meanwhile, Vraska the Unseen may be four dollars, but she was worth it here! If you can get her ultimate, then you have a nice route to victory, and her +1 ad -3 are valuable additions to the deck as well. Most of the cards in this build are very cheap, and I had the space for The Unseen.

I also just enjoy the idea of a Medusa in this deck too, right? I also put in Reaper of the Wilds and Hythonia the Cruel for you for the same reason.

Ready for my deck?

Gorm and Virtus | Commander | Abe Sargent


And there were are! Now last week I came in at $32.57. That was my target - how did I do?

$32.51

One note on price - the prices in these builds can fluctuate from when I write it to when it's edited to when it published to when you read it. That delay means that none of these prices may be stable, and that's fine, because to point of a deck like this that's truly budget-based is still there.

Not bad. I fleshed out my deck with removal like Acidic Slime and Reclamation Sage, some land fetching, card drawing from Ohran Viper to Harvester of Souls, and many more cool cards.

Cards I thought of, but were pricier than my budget included Yavimaya Hollow, Vraska, Golgari Queen, Raving Dead, Grim Flayer, Hunting Cheetah, Ashling, the Extinguisher, Bloodforged Battle-Axe, Hydra Omnivore, and Bow of Nylea that has surprisingly risen in price since its initial printing.

Take a look at the deck and let me know what you think! Did I miss anything or were you surprised? Just let me know!

I really enjoy these decks where I combine some older ideas and cards in the first few years of the game with several cards that are Standard legal for you. Enjoy it!

APPENDIX

If you enjoyed today's Golgari themed deck, great! Here are the first 48 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. [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.
  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 [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!
  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. [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
  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?

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