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Budget Commander #68: Boros Spellslinger with Baird


Hello awesome folks I hope your day is going as well as you are! Let's continue with building Commander decks around newly revealed cards over from the Dominaria United spoiler! I saw this really cool brand-new option in the Boros color identity that can be built out in sooooooo many ways!

Which one? Let's take a look see!

Baird, Argivian Recruiter

It's this low to the ground and fast-casting uncommon 2/2! It only costs a quarter, so I was inspired to cross this with my Budget Commander series. Then you get a dork with this cool etb trigger just on your turn, if one of your dorks has more than its base power, make a 1/1 Solider token, for free. There are tons of ways to build around this that make sense to me.

  • #1A. Auras - Auras that enchant Baird with extra power will trigger every turn, so you can build a Boros Auras brew with the white enchantment loving like Angelic Destiny.
  • #1B. Equipment - There is a lot of equipment-based support in Boros for you to equip Baird with a power-booster and then make all of the tokens.
  • #1C. Voltron - And you could combine those two together to run a Commander Kill. The value of these three with Baird is since he makes tokens for the blocking while you swing and open yourselves to counter attacks you won't have to keep away from Commander Kills while playing defense.
  • #2. Tokens - Another cool way to build around this color combo is to run a bunch of token makers that this plays into and cards like Anointed Procession, and then toss out there powerful mass pumpers like Glorious Anthem to pump your team into threats and trigger Baird.
  • #3. Friends - Running a bunch of planeswalkers and then make tokens to block attacks on them with power pumping planeswalkers like a few Ajanis or Basri Ket.
  • #4. Spellslinger - Run a bunch of cantrips of the instant/sorcery variety that pump your leader's power and then draw cards to make the one free 1/1 token on your turn.
  • #5. +1/+1 Counters Matter - You can toss a +1/+1 counter onto Baird with any number of spells and permanents in white and then get all those triggers over time. But we are not heavy in the synergies that would care about that.
  • #6. Soldiers Matter - Both Baird and the tokens he makes share the "Soldier" tribe so you also use him to create a Boros Solider-matters brew running things like Captain of the Watch.

The one I'll be building around is Spellslinger since those pump cantrips are pretty cheap on the secondary market. As of the writing of this article there are just 15 Baird brews on EDHREC.com and they are all tokens, so we cannot use that canon.

Each of these articles in the secondary market must come in under the previous one's cost, and that was $32.42, so that's my budget! As a reminder, the cost I cite here can change from when I am writing this to when it is edited to when you are reading it, so that the cost of the article can be more or less in some key ways, but the basic point of cheap cards and cheap brews will stand even if it really winds up costing 35 or 40 or whatever on the secondary market as cards rise in price. Also, as a further reminder, basic lands do not count in the overall price of this deck as you, or your friends, likely have them in your card stock already.

Ready for a deep dive into cards?

Cantrip Pumps

Defiant Strike
Ancestral Anger

The Strike is the first card I thought of when I came up with the Spellslinger version of this deck in my mind. For one mana you can give a dork a one-power boost, and then draw a card, so this should also make a dork with Baird once on your turn while replacing itself and then also counting as a trigger of your stuff. The Anger is a 1-drop sorcery that gives it +1 power since this is the only Anger you can cast, trample, and then draws a card, and again, that's a nice card flow, evasion granter, and trigger maker without costing you a card.

Fists of Flame and Guiding Voice will draw a card first, and then pump the power of targeted creature (and give it trample too, by the by) by the number of cards you've drawn, which should be at least two in your main phase when Baird triggers, so that's nifty. The Voice is a one-cost sorcery that puts a +1/+1 counter onto target creature to always trigger Baird in perpetuity, and instead of pure card draw you can discard and then draw. Nice for extra lands after you have enough mana.

Lightning Blow

This pair of two-cost instants from way back in Ice Age are slow-trips, they draw you a card on the next turn (your foe's if this was cast on yours) and then they give an ability, banding and first strike. The latter has obvious value and simple, while the former is very complex but a great combat trick, and lets you place damage on your stuff by your choice rather than your foes. For example, if you gang block an attacking 5/3 with three 1/1 Soldier tokens, cast this on one and then you can assign all five damage to one dork and save the other two. If you attack with one dork with banding you can band one non-bander and they count as just one attacker, and you can be solo-blocked, but any damage can be also assigned, so if you attack with a 4/2 leader and a 1/1 token, you can be blocked by your foe's 5/5 dork, but then you'll only lose the 1/1 token. You can only gang up with one non-bander in attacking, but just one bander is needed in a block group to split things around. It's very complex stuff.

Balduvian Rage is also a slow-trip. It's a one Red, X, instant that pumps the targeted by X, and then draws you a card later so it replaces itself. For two mana this triggers Baird, and replaces itself, but you can easily pump this fun thing up a ton and then attack with a much faster game winning Commander Damage clock or just a normal kill out of nowhere with your 1/1 token. It's very strong here!

Synergies and Win Cons

Electrostatic Infantry
Charmbreaker Devils

This 2-drop 1/2 rocks trample and has a trigger for when you cast instants and sorceries. One cast will toss a +1/+1 counter on it to always trigger Baird moving forward, and the permanent boost to power also plays nicely with trample. The Devils is a 4/4 that will boost their power by four each time you cast the spell, so if you cast something that doesn't boost power like the Blow or Formation above, you will still net a cool token from Baird. You can also return a key instant or sorcery in your upkeep of a random variety and given the cheap-ness of most of them that's a nice way to keep up your triggers over time. This only costs 50 cents.

Zada, Hedron Grinder
Mavinda, Students' Advocate

Zada is a 4-drop 3/3 and when you target her with a spell you can copy said spell and target all of your things. That means that your Defiant Strike will target all of your things and draw you a ton of cards. She costs 0.49. Mavinda is a 2/3 with flying and once a turn you can cast, for free, an instant/sorcery from your graveyard for just it's mana cost if you self target one of your dudes. If not spend a tax of 8 mana. Again, getting more and more Defiant Strike effects can really draw you all the cards, but you can just do this once per card since it exiles on resolution. This Bird costs under a buck as well.

Phalanx Leader
Akroan Crusader

Check out this pair of cheap 1/1 Soldiers. The former will put a +1/+1 counter on each dork you control, so that should trigger Baird on multiple turns moving forward, which should get pretty powerful over time as you self-target more and more. The latter will make a 1/1 each time you target it with your spells (there is another in here as well). That can combine to go wide quite quickly. Ideally, this is what I'd like to have out at the same time...

  1. Baird
  2. A target to cast like this pair or Zada above.
  3. A damage dealing synergy like Guttersnipe.
  4. Cast a spell, target your target, get the Baird trigger the target trigger and the win-con trigger, all at once.

Then as you draw other targets and triggers, don't cast them. Keep them for mass removal and then play them again afterwards.

Backdraft Hellkite
Rosnakht, Heir of Rohgahh

The Hellkite is a 5-drop 4/4 with flying and is a bulk rare, and when it attacks your sorceries and instants in your graveyard gain flashback for the turn equal to their mana cost. Your Guided Strike can be recast for two mana and another trigger, Baird, card draw, and more, and then you can load up the good stuff over time. Then the 0/1 is another self-target option. When you target it, you can make a 0/1 Kobold token, and then when it attacks, it pumps the power of all your things for a Baird trigger without casting a spell. It costs about 10% of my budget in one card, but it's worth it! That thing may rise and increase the budget, just as an FYI...

Next up, Fabled Hero is a 2/2 with double strike that has another self-target option to place a +1/+1 counter onto it for the turn. This costs just $0.49 on the secondary market. The double strike with power pumping from the instants and the +1/+1 counter can deal a lot of damage quickly and kill players. The counter also helps to trigger Baird when you don't have a way to pump them in your hands moving forward.

Card Draw and Answers

Mentor of the Meek
Rumor Gatherer

Most of my card draw is obvious cantripping, but I wanted this pair of three-cost, two-power mono-White uncommons. The first has an ETB trigger whenever anything with a 2 or fewer power arrives to the battlefield - spend a mana, draw a card. Then the latter will turn any dork arriving of any size into scry 1 the first time, and a card drawn the second time it triggers, quite easily with the token of Baird after dropping a dork in your main phase or making two tokens with a self-trigger and Baird trigger. Or a Young Pyromancer as your cast trigger instead of Guttersnipes. This pair is quite synergetic here, and they are 60 cents total combined.

Answers and Removal

Mizzium Mortars
Explosive Entry

The Entry is a two-cost sorcery that can Shatter and destroy any targeted artifact and then put a +1/+1 counter on your dork. It can trigger your heroic stuff as well as counting as an instant or sorcery for your Guttersnipes as well pumping for Baird, as well as counting as a permanent bump moving forward as well as counting as removal. Love it loads here! I am running some bulk mass removals like Martial Coup and Cleansing Nova. Then we have the Mortars, a two-cost sorcery that shoots for 4 damage to one dork unless you overload it for six mana and then you can shoot all opposing dorks for 4 damage each, quite the little cleanup.

Lorehold Command

Check out these bulk rares that cost $0.49 each. The first is a Generous Gift wannabe that shuffles the targeted card and let's them draw two, it's a universal removal spell. Note that if you just want to draw some cards, you can target one of your tokens and then lose nothing. It used to get played everywhere since it could hit a commander, and it still has fans. The Command is a 5-cost instant that has four abilities - make a 3/2 Spirit token (nice synergy here), pump your stuff by one power and give it haste and indestructible for the turn (nice trigger of Baird and save from mass removal spells), Lightning Helix (good removal), sacrifice to draw two (sacrifice a token to draw two). All four make sense here, and thus this should have massive value as removal, two token making options, pumping and saving, and haste giving, and then drawing all in one card.

Not all answers are removal, some just save your Baird. Survive the Night is a three-cost instant that pumps power of self-target (Baird and heroic trigger) and then gives it indestructible to save it for a turn from targeted or mass removal. Plus, it investigates so you can crack it for two to draw a card. Labyrinth Champion is my only heroic trigger that doesn't pump or make tokens, and here it can Shock any target when you self-target it. That can remove anything from Esper Sentinel to Mulldrifter to Birds of Paradise. If there nothing to end or any planeswalkers with low loyalty to finish off, then you can just aim it at a foe and thus win faster.

Response // Resurgence

Check out this versatile bulk rare. Damage early or you can cast it later on your turn for five mana and then give your stuff first strike, vigilance, and then another attack step this turn, making this a Relentless Assault variant. Vigilance on a deck like this is great since you can attack an open player and keep up your defenses for blocking later. Getting a free Relentless Assault into a deck that wants to swing to win in the removal section is pretty cool and worth the price of entry.

Ramp and Lands

Jaya Ballard
Slayers' Stronghold

Ramp times! Jaya is a five-loyalty 'walker with two +1 abilities to make that loyalty grow while also costing less than a buck. She is here for that +1 to make three mana, but then only use it for instant and sorcery spells, which should be pretty likely here. You can also +1 her to discard and draw up to three cards, a nice way to trade extra lands you draw. The land can tap for two mana and then give haste, vigilance and a double power boost to targeted creature. Note that this won't trigger heroic, since it needs a spell, not an ability, but this will trigger Baird, and it's a very bulk rare having been printed into oblivion.

Ready for the decklist?

And there we go! Result? $32.37, five cents cheaper! What did you think of my brew? Wanna add some fun cards? Goldspan Dragon? Pyromancer's Goggles? War Room? Storm-Kiln Artist? Monastery Mentor? Skullclamp? Sure thing!

How would you build your Baird deck? Which of my archetypes do you like the best?

Budget Commander Appendix

If you enjoyed today's cheap Selesnya Rabit making build, great! Here are the first 65 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. 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 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 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. 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?
  49. I built a fun deck around the partners Gorm the Great and Virtus the Veiled. This deck ran some cool cards, including the old school Basilisk and Lure combos. But it only cost $32.51. Don't you wanna check it out? Of course ya do!
  50. For my 50th Budget Commander article, I decide to do something crazy! Let's build a Warrior themed deck around a very expensive Najeela, the Blade-Blossom, rather than my normal way of a budget leader. We come in at $42.45. You know you want to read it...
  51. Want a Naya Gold deck? Literally? Built around the multicolored loving Rienne, Angel of Rebirth. It clocks it at $32.39. I know you want to find out how I ever could do that! Check it out!
  52. I built a fun +1/+1 counter and enchantment-matters build around Eutropia the Twice-Favored for $32.33. Don't you wanna check it out?
  53. I took the Skirmish deck I designed, Defy Death, and turned it into a Commander deck featuring Tariel, Reckoner of Souls for $32.28. Take a look and see what you think!
  54. I created a fun token creature deck around Akim, the Soaring Wind from Commander 2020. It came in at $32.27! Enjoy it here!
  55. I built a Mono-Blue scry and flying matters deck around the partners Eligeth, Crossroads Augur and Siani, Eye of the Storm, that came in under $32.23. It was fun! You can find it here!
  56. I love a good crazy Commander to build around, like Hans Eriksson. My version of him ran cards like enrage led Dinosaurs, and mid-range cards you'd want to drop onto the battlefield with aplomb. The deck came in at $32.29. Want to check it out?
  57. For my Selensya fans I built this crazy life gain and going wide build around Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn! It came in at $32.27 just two cents fewer than #56! Enjoy it here!
  58. I built a big spells matter and ramp Simic deck around partners from Commander Legends Brinelin, the Moon Kraken and Gilanra, Caller of Wirewood. It features X spells like Hydras and big spells a go go! The budget? Just $32.73! Check it out here.
  59. If you want to check out a cheap Orzhov +1/+1 Counters Matter brew, great! I've got you covered! I built around Shaile, Dean of Radiance and Embrose, Dean of Shadow. The total for this awesome build is $32.68. You can view it here.
  60. This deck came in at $32.65 and it's a Peasant version Axelrod Gunnsaron from the first set that introduced legendary stuff. This one lets you use the version from Legends instead of Chronicles and it's a powerful Rakdos deck that uses ways to trigger Axelrod's ability like giving him ping effects like Fire Whip, deathtouch ones like Bladebrand, and I built the rest of the deck around deathtouchers and pingers. You can check it out here.
  61. Coming in at $32.60 was this mono-Black Jerren, Corrupted Bishop deck that cared about the Human tribe and going aggro. You can find it here!
  62. I was excited to write a mono-Blue toughness-matters brew around Geralf, Visionary Stitcher. It came in at $32.56.
  63. Then I created a deck around the incredibly popular Zaxara, the Exemplary and built and budget view of this powerful leader that came in at $32.54. Find it here!
  64. I built a Sphinx matters mono-Blue build around Unesh, Criosphinx Sovereign that came in at $32.51! You can check out this bad boy here.
  65. I built a Mono-Black, 1-power creature matters theme around Shirei, Shizo's Caretaker. This is a fun unique deck Budget Commander: Hurray Shirei! | Article by Abe Sargent (coolstuffinc.com) with a budget of $32.46.
  66. I have a fun Rabbit-y deck led by Cadira, Caller of the Small that frumps around at $32.42- ready? Budget Commander: All the Rabbits with Cadira | Article by Abe Sargent (coolstuffinc.com)
  67. For $32.42 I built an Izzet deck around the Kenrith Planeswalker Twins that you can find here - Budget Commander #67: Befriending the Kenrith Twins | Article by Abe Sargent (coolstuffinc.com)
  68. That's this article you silly goof!

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