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Budget Commander #44: Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle

Hello folks!

I hope your day is going well!

Commander finance is in an odd place right now. Some cards are great, and have been reprinted enough times to qualify as bulk now, despite how good or iconic they are. Decree of Justice is a good example:

Decree of Justice

This is a great card that has been printed so many times that it's just a bulk rare despite being really good for casual tables and Commander. On the other side, a card which is good for Commander but has only been printed once will have skyrocketed up the Daisy Chain, even if it was just recently printed.

For example, from last year's Commander product, we have:

Teferi's Protection

Teferi's Protection. Right now here at coolstuffinc.com, you'd probably pay $24.99 for a near mint copy. But there are similar effects that are cheap out there financially that are almost as good (and in some shells, they are even better than this).

And this is true of Commander finance. It's an odd duck. Some cards are mega-cheap while others are very pricey.

The goal is this series is to be a brake on Commander finance and to help you find great ideas for Commander decks that are cheap, and won't break your wallet. Each deck is designed to come in under the price tag of the previous one. The last deck was a Slimefoot, the Stowaway build that was $32.80. Prices are determined over here at coolstuffinc.com, and I use the cheapest near mint copy that I can find. Of course, prices may differ from when I built the deck to your reading this article, but it still shows how to build a budget minded deck ably and cheaply. If you like this concept and deck, check out the rest of my series! I have an appendix of the rest below.

All right. It is Commander time!

I've never been a big fan of “Build Me” Commanders at the table. I already know how to build a Sliver Overlord deck. Boring. Cards like Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle or Xantcha, Sleeper Agent are more my style. They have multiple paths and can be played differently.

Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle

This is the awesomeness that is Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle. This is a great card that's doing something new and different. I love it!

So what are we waiting for? Let's get our deck on!


Target — $32.80

Result? $32.77

Just three cents fewer! Excellent!

Doesn't Arixmethes just make you happy? I know that I adore the idea of it. I really want to add a lot that would make sense, and get my Arixmethes flipping more quickly?

The key concept for this Commander is simple. It wants you to cast stuff to pull off counters. The key word there is “Cast,” so I drilled down into that and unpacked it hard. Let's take a look!

Distortion Strike
Sight Beyond Sight
Taigam's Strike
Recurring Insight

The first place I dug into was rebound. I really like rebound here, as you get two spells for Arixmethes instead of one. In particular, the Strikes count as two spells, and can also make your 12/12 Commander unblockable. That's what I call a “Holy Fast Commander Kill Batman!” Two hits and that's a dead player, and the unlockable, twice, is solid.

Now, before I get into the rest of the article, I do want to point out something that every player of Arixmethes has likely already noticed.

Pemmin's Aura
Freed from the Real

Here it is. You put this on your leader. Tap it for ug. Use the u to untap it and repeat until you have a ton of g mana, as much as you want. Use that Green mana to flow up your leader to a 23/1. Give it flying. Smash. Kill in one hit. Protect it from removal with the Aura itself. It's a one card smash-kill-infinite mana combo. The same is true for other cards like Freed from the Real.

I would not be surprised to see the Aura jump in price from the buck near mint it is here on coolstuffinc.com when I write this, to its publication, to when you read it. Due to the budget (and nice) nature of this build, I don't really have a lot of quick kill mana sinks running around. If you broke budgets, then Staff of Domination comes to mind as a good card as it can untap critters too.

Back to our normal deck already in progress!

Kiora's Follower
Vizier of Tumbling Sands
Fatestitcher

I like the untapping of Arixmethes for two reasons. The first is the obvious “tap your leader for mana, then untap, and then tap again” That works well and will get the mana rolling! The other is less obvious. Swing with your big, giant, 12/12 beater, and then untap to keep back your awesome threat. That works as well!

Note that these three effects all untap a permanent, not just a creature. The reason I wanted to focus on that was so that you could untap and use your leader while he's asleep for 4 mana to push your spells. The turn after you cast Arixmethes, you'll have seven mana, assuming you made the land drop. With one of these it's nine mana. That's going to let you cast enough stuff that you might get a flip very quickly indeed!

I'm running two lands that tap for two mana as well in case you want to abuse Simic Growth Chamber or Temple of the False God.

Weaver of Currents

Or you could untap Weaver of Currents if you wanted. And after your budget is over and you add in Sol Ring, you can untap it as well for two mana. After all, the most “budget” build is building a deck with cards you already own, and most of us now have like 25 extra Sol Rings sitting around in my unused deck-stock.

Kiora, Master of the Depths

She's very cheap these days. The +1 of her can both untap a land for more mana and a dork. Like your leader. With a dork and a land that each tap for two mana, that's four mana she'll give you! The ability to grab lands and/or creatures from your decks is also pretty powerful and she can bring a lot to the table in this build!

I think Isochron Scepter is a perfect card for this deck.

Isochron Scepter

Note that the exiled card is cast, so it would trigger your Arixmethes. Now it's not normally something you'd associate with “budget” but the cheapest near mint version was just $5.49. Then I added these cheap cards which should work well on it:

Emerald Charm
Impulse
Dramatic Reversal
Evolution Charm
Simic Charm
Clockspinning
Reclaim
Verdant Rebirth
Refocus

Several of these cards are cheap effects that replace themselves. My budget is too budgety to run everything like Opt or Brainstorm, though you could toss them in as well! But Refocus gives you an untap effect and a free card while working perfectly . And it's a super cheap bulk common. Impulse is great at digging four cards down and getting grabbing something good, and it's also a great Stick-option (Isochron Scepter). Like Refocus, Verdant Rebirth also will draw a card while protecting something key. Reclaim can be used to put a key card on top of that library for reuse.

Both Dramatic Reversal and Emerald Charm add to the untapping effects your deck is running, and the Stick (Isochron Scepter) and a Reversal can be a mass mana-making opportunity as well.

Don't forget Clockspinning! Cast it, remove a counter from Arixmethes, and then remove a counter from Arixmethes. If you bought it back, or it's on your Stick, you can repeat and get a 12/12 face-smashing Commander quite quickly!

Given this deck's enjoyment of instants for the Scepter, you might also see why we are running Kaho:

Kaho, Minamo Historian

Kaho is a great card I've extolled often. It can fetch the perfect trio of instants and then let you cast each once. That's 3 powerful options to use and abuse with your Kaho!

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter
Shardless Agent

Did you note the power of Rashmi in this build? She's awesome! Cast one spell, and have the potential to get another for free, and you get two options to pull counters when it works. You'll always draw the card too, so you can draw lots of cards! Wait and use that Isochron Scepter on another turn because you can get two effects each turn, not just two on your turn!

In a similar vein, Shardless Agent nets you two casts for 3 mana and has dropped in price after a few reprints.

Magus of the Mind

If you are okay busting that budget later on, you could run Minamo, School at Water's Edge. I also like Noxious Revival and Gitaxian Probe, but they are too pricey due to play in tournaments. I've toss the Revival in for Reclaim all day long as a free spell to help get Arixmethes to flip all the more quickly! Spellseeker would be awesome here too. I adore Magus of the Mind but it's too expensive for my build of Arixmethes. It's just $1.49, and if you allowed me a $40 budget, it's would be the first thing I'd toss in!

Did you like this article? Anything in here inspire you? Anything you want to take away? Something cheap I might have missed or a direction with Arixmethes you want to explore? Great! Let me know your comments in the fields below!

APPENDIX

Here are the first 30+Discount Commander Options for your wallet-friendly needs:

  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[/card][/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[/card] 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[/card] 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!