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Budget Commander #11 – Budget Brago

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Welcome back to my increasingly large series of budget-minded Commander decks! For this series, I want to approach Commander deck-building from a different angle. How can we have a deck that’s on the cheap side of Magic? I aim for my deck to clock in at a feasible and reasonable number, and as a special challenge, I want each deck to be cheaper than the one before it. That way, the budget decreases over time!

Brago, King Eternal
I’ve been in an artifact-heavy mood ever since I made my Bosh, Iron Golem Budget Commander deck a few weeks ago. It was a lot of fun, and I was looking for another opportunity to push that artificer button.

And then I began thinking about whom I should rock in my next budget deck. Along came Brago, King Eternal.

There have been a passel of Brago, King Eternal Commander decks out there since he debuted just a short time ago in Conspiracy. Most have revolved around flickering creatures such as Mulldrifter, Karmic Guide, Aether Adept, Mulldrifter, Sphinx of Uthuun, Solemn Simulacrum, and Mulldrifter. In will fly lovely adjuncts to Brago, such as Venser, Shaper Savant, Deadeye Navigator, Venser, the Sojourner, and Conjurer's Closet.

A few decks will add in some other cards—particularly enchantment-oriented tricks. A perfect example is Act of Authority, a 3-mana enchantment that exiles an opposing enchantment or artifact upon arrival. Flicker it a few times, and you have some fun hijinks. Add in Reality Acid, Treachery, and such for more enchanting fun! Shoot, one such deck was one of Carlos Gutierrez's Decks of the Week right here on Gathering Magic!

But there's another way to build a better Brago that appeals to my recent obsession, that explores a different track, and that should prove to be relatively budget-friendly. Let’s take that gander at good ol’ Brago, King of Kings . . .

$35.04 – Two cents fewer. That’s right!

Ichor Wellspring
Now, this deck made a major sacrifice: Reshape and Darksteel Forge (plus, its Commander begins the game at a couple of bucks). I had to cut some quality in order to force in Reshape and Forge. This gave me the ability to tutor up something big (if we have the mana) such as Forge, Colossus, or something else. And if it's early on, you can just bring out something else to suit the table.

This deck began with the quartet of Wellsprings, Elsewhere Flask, and Prism. I can just see flickering these in and out of play and generating more and more triggers. You can draw cards and/or tutor up lands with alacrity! These were the cheap core that made up the deck concept.

What are some other fun flickering artifact-based effects? Well, Spine of Ish Sah is obviously a good choice—flickering Vindicates. We can flicker Shocks with Meteorite. We can flicker Vessel of Endless Rest to either restock our library or fight reanimation junk. (Plus, it’s awesome that key cards of the Bosh deck, such as the Wellsprings and Spine, are great here for different reasons.)

And since we have this core of flickering artifacts, consider the nastiness of Mirrorworks. Spitting out a token of Spine or Meteorite to make another trigger is nasty-good. And Mirrorworks isn't the only card that likes seeing a bunch of artifacts hit the board. You can add in stuff such as Arcbound Crusher, Leonin Elder, and Serum Tank.

Trigon of Thought
Then, I asked what other concepts would work. Well, we could reload counters, from charge counters to +1/+1 counters. So Triskelion and Trigon of Thought headed in. Workhorse and Arcbound Reclaimer joined the team. Grim Poppet seemed strong, too—just pull off the -1/-1s to shrink foes, and then pop it back and returned to do it again.

I also didn't want to keep from adding the "normal" Brago cards, just with a spin to make them work here. Instead of Mulldrifter and crew, we have Faerie Mechanist and Sanctum Gargoyle. We have Myr Battlesphere instead of Cloudgoat Ranger, and we have the various Splicers and Precursor Golem to make a gang of 3/3 tokens over and over again. Instead of the expensive Solemn Simulacrum, we have Pilgrim's Eye. It all works!

A deck like this wants a lot of artifacts in play to work, so we do have the aforementioned Darksteel Forge in addition to some other defensive-minded cards (Faith's Reward, Rootborn Defenses). You can check out Leonin Abunas to keep your artifacts from being targeted—it’s a long-forgotten adjunct to pro-artifact strategies everywhere. (Leonin Abunas was once ubiquitous at the kitchen table). We even have Metallurgeon and Ethersworn Shieldmage to help the team survive.

I quickly added in a few fun cards to round out the theme. In jumped mana rocks like Everflowing Chalice, Mind Stone, and Guardian Idol. Proliferate seemed useful; thus, Contagion Clasp, Steady Progress, and Fuel for the Cause were fun additions. Epochrasite will flicker into a 4/4. Bonehoard can flicker back into a living weapon on a Germ token if that was killed.

And pretty soon, we had ourselves a deck!

Note that Brago does not flicker lands. Halimar Depths is here to set things up, but it's a non-starter with Brago. Hence, we don't have other enters-the-battlefield lands.

I love that we were able to fit so much fun stuff into the deck; and we got a different take on Brago, too!

Opposition
Now, a lot of great directions were obviously not available due to costs. You could also add in Crystal Shard, Erratic Portal, Duplicant, Opposition, Conjurer's Closet, the Vensers, Tezzeret the Seeker, and more! I'd recommend the 'Walkers first since they work with proliferate. Opposition is a subtle but potent choice. (Tap creatures to tap down blockers to enable Brago to hit, and then flicker and untap your creatures!)

Want more synergy? In head Contagion Engine, Indomitable Archangel, March of the Machines, Razor Hippogriff, Energy Chamber, Tempered Steel, and Armory of Iroas. Perhaps you want more proliferate stuff. Thassa, God of the Sea can help with scry and make Brago unblockable. Maybe outside-the-box stuff like Aqueous Form would work for that, too. You could swing unblockably with Brago and scry, too! You could use Veil of Secrecy either as a pseudo-counter for something targeting Brago (or your other stuff) or to make Brago unblockable—whichever worked.

So there are quite a few fun directions to consider when building your Brago deck. And none have to dip into the normal stuff. There’s a whole plethora of fun, Brago-tastic cards waiting for you to unearth them!

So what are you waiting for?

See you next week,

Abe Sargent

Appendix

Bosh, Iron Golem
Here are the first ten budget decks for your enjoyment:


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