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Budget Commander #10 – Who's the Bosh?

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When you want to get your Commander on, but you either don't have a lot of money for it or your cards are used up elsewhere, what do you do? How do you go about building your deck? For those with limited budgets, card stock, or just too many Commander decks already built, there is a real need for budget-oriented decks that often use different sets of cards.

In order to reflect, we have today's tenth entrant in my increasingly common Budget Commander series. Each deck I build has to come in under the budget of the previous one, and that's the rule. The last budget, for my Lu Xun, Scholar General deck, was $35.07. Using just prices for near-mint cards from CoolStuffInc.com, I have to both be budget-conscious and try to find the right cards so that my deck can work.

Bosh, Iron Golem
Today, I really want to push myself. I chose to build around Bosh, Iron Golem. This should prove to be a real challenge!

Why?

Well, artifact decks are a very popular genre that you'll see unfurled at the kitchen table and in tournaments. Many of the great cards for this sort of project are already going to be pricey. Here's an example:

These cards are all worth some serious bank, but they would all be great entrants to a Bosh, Iron Golem deck. And this list ignores the nasty cards in the $5 to $7 range, such as Skullclamp, Sol Ring, and Scarecrone. People like their artifacts, and they are often willing to spend some gold pieces for them!

Therefore, finding the right cards for the Bosh deck should prove quite interesting. Can I build a legitimate Bosh deck with a budget that clocks in at $35.07 or less? What would it even look like?

Let's see!

It’s $35.06! I was originally at $35.16, which was $0.09 over my price. So I pulled out the $0.35 Ghitu Encampment for the $0.25 Urza's Factory, which also works fine in the deck, and I called it, coming in precisely $0.01 beneath the previous budget! Just one cent, baby!

But there is the deck in all of its majesty and cheapness. There are quite a few tricks under the hood.

Darksteel Forge
After adding the cheap Bosh to the deck, where should I begin? I decided to look for synergies with Bosh first, and then I could flesh it out with utilities and other things. I knew that I had to run Darksteel Forge, no matter how much that thing cost. It was an essential way to prevent an Akroma's Vengeance or overloaded Vandalblast from being game over. The only other card that was vital was Kuldotha Forgemaster.

Once I had included that duo, I began to look for the synergies. Ah yes, Metallic Mastery: I can steal an artifact, perhaps even tap it or swing with it, and then sacrifice it to my Iron Golem for fun and profit. I can do the same with Zealous Conscripts. I considered running other Act of Treason effects for basic creatures in the hopes of nailing artifact critters, but I decided to skip that. Still, these are two great tricks for the fire since I can steal and sacrifice an indestructible card, such as Blightsteel Colossus or an opponent’s own Darksteel Forge.

Red has a real love–hate relationship with artifacts. Sure, it normally wants to Smash to Smithereens the darn things. But then you come across enablers like Goblin Welder (and its spell Trash for Treasure), Slobad, Goblin Tinkerer, or Embersmith. It was an easy thing to toss in these guys along with things like Blade-Tribe Berserkers.

Hellkite Igniter
We also have a fun dollop of Dragons. Hellkite Igniter is perfect in an artifact-heavy deck like this one. You can pump it up to lethal levels quite easily and swing for a massive smash of face-bashing fun! Hoarding Dragon is kind of an artifact tutor you can use to fetch that required shiny trinket in order to better your position when it dies. Hoard-Smelter Dragon is not here to blow up your own stuff (usually), but to feed opposing objet d'art to the flame in order to increase the smashing. But the best of the lot is Hellkite Tyrant, who will emerge victorious when you have acquired enough accumulated wealth to win via a draconic goldgasm.

I felt the deck could use a few more sacrifice engines. Since they require a simple tap, without the need for mana, the first engines were Orcish Mechanics and Barrage Ogre. So, if your Bosh isn't in play, or if your don't have the mana to use him after Zealous Conscripts, or if you are sacrificing something with a tiny (or 0) casting cost and you want to extract more damage, these guys can prove useful adjuncts to the Bosh strategy of throwing artifacts at people. A few others made the cut, like Claws of Gix and such.

Notice that Bosh causes some sacrifices. Know what would work well with that? Furnace Celebration! Celebrate your Bosh by spending some mana to squeeze out some more damage from each sacrifice.

Another way to celebrate your Bosh is to run artifacts that have abilities both when they arrive and when they leave play—such as, say, Ichor Wellspring, Mycosynth Wellspring, and the Spine of Ish Sah. With Bosh out, even the worst of the lot, Ichor Wellspring, morphs into two cards and a Shock for playing it. You basically spend 5r for what would probably be a 3ur sorcery. The other two are even better than that, and they help to give the deck the needed push to raises its synergy levels.

Foriysian Totem
After these early additions, I decided to pull back and make sure that I had all of the important utilities. Sure, Mycosynth Wellspring could find me some lands, but that was just one card. I made sure to also run Armillary Sphere and Pilgrim's Eye. In went Guardian Idol, Foriysian Totem, Iron Myr, and Dreamstone Hedron. We included mana and fetching that was necessary to have a functional hundred-card Highlander deck.

I also needed some strong card-draw, so cards like Jayemdae Tome, Serum Tank, and Seer's Sundial made their appearances. Even some cycling lands were included for when you have enough lands and you want to dig a little deeper. After card-draw, a little bit more removal was able to slide in (Eye of Doom, Grab the Reins, etc.).

I found that the deck still had a lot of opportunity for strong cards and enough space in the budget to kicks things up a notch. Cards like Junk Diver and Myr Retriever, as well as some of the Arcbound gang, made it in. These are exactly the sorts of things this deck requires to go the long road, and they are cheap enough to fit into the budget.

Other similar cards included Voltaic Key, Voltaic Construct, and Clock of Omens. This stuff gives the deck some fun untapping tricks. Sure, it’s not built around breaking some combo with them, but they still give the deck an added level of power.

In went other cards, such as Mirrorworks or Myr Incubator and Hammer of Purphoros or Trading Post. All that added to the utility of the deck.

Shimmer Myr
And very quickly, I was running out of space. In went Shimmer Myr. In climbed Thopter Assembly, Kuldotha Phoenix, Aladdin, Slag Fiend, and Megatog. I fleshed it out with a few more cards, such as Buried Ruin, Tormod's Crypt, and Elixir of Immortality, and the deck was complete.

The result is a fun deck with a lot of highly synergetic elements and without the budget-breaking aspect of the list that began this article. There are a lot of ways you can take a Bosh deck. But you don’t have to have Metalworker and company for it to work. You can have the above deck instead.

Feel encouraged to have your own red artifact deck go in a lot of different directions as your metagame, card collection, and personal taste see fit. Some other cards I heavily considered included Steel Hellkite, Palladium Myr, Atog, Vandalblast, Devastation, Argentum Armor, Blinkmoth Urn, Mind's Eye, Sculpting Steel, Everflowing Chalice, Duplicant, Etched Champion, Karn, Silver Golem, Lightning Greaves, Manriki-Gusari, Myr Matrix, Myr Turbine, Myr Sire, Perilous Myr, Rings of Brighthearth, Skullclamp, Magmaw, Wurmcoil Engine, Soul of New Phyrexia, Darksteel Citadel, Darksteel Reactor, Ogre Geargrabber, and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle.

What did you think? What would you have included? Is there anything I missed? Was there any card that sparked your own deck-building juices? Let me know!

See you next week,

Abe Sargent

Appendix

Lu Xun, Scholar General
Here are the first eight budget decks:


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