Commander is in a very interesting place recently. With the vast reprinting casual friendly cards in many places, like Eternal Masters, Conspiracy: Take the Crown, as well as Commander 2016 we have a new iteration of reprinting great casual cards. And casual formats like Commander or multiplayer are enhanced considerably, because these cards are newly available, and ready to go. They are available for a new generation, as well as cheaper too boot!
Building a Commander deck is more affordable than ever! And the loads of staples you see in these supplemental products makes getting and playing a Commander deck very simple.
And yet this is a format with really expensive staples and a proclivity to getting fancy tricked out versions of cards. You have people with all foil decks, looking at stuff like Kaladesh Masterpieces and Zendikar Expeditions as key ways to “pimp out” their deck.
This points Commander in an odd direction. For every Sword of Fire and Ice or Volrath's Stronghold we have that costs some serious cash, we have ten Flametongue Kavus, Acidic Slime or Mulldrifter that re powerful, cheap essentials. And yet it seems like expensive cards seen like a barrier to the format.
And that’s where this series steps into the gap. Having been without a job for a long period of time, I know what a budget deck truly looks like. I have more than thirty decks out there, and the goal of each is to come in under the budget of the previous one, according to current prices over at Coolstuffinc.com. The previous article’s deck came it at $33.35. All of the cards (other than basic lands) have to come in under that one. (Of course, understand that prices can change from now, as I finish this article a couple of days before publication, thorough the printing of it. But the basic point remains). And we have the whole series of budget decks linked to below. Feel free to click on some and check them out after you have finished this one!
With the release of Commander 2016, we can now build four color Commander decks for the first time (legally). Given that one of the leaders is a lot cheaper on the others, I felt that a Budget Commander series led by Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis makes perfect sense to flesh out!
So let’s get this thing started!!
Everything but Black ? Commander| Abe Sargent
- Commander (1)
- 1 Kynaios and Tiro of Meletis
- Creatures (39)
- 1 Ainok Survivalist
- 1 Akoum Firebird
- 1 Alexi, Zephyr Mage
- 1 Burnished Hart
- 1 Chromeshell Crab
- 1 Cloudblazer
- 1 Deathmist Raptor
- 1 Den Protector
- 1 Dulcet Sirens
- 1 Dwarven Blastminer
- 1 Etched Oracle
- 1 Hidden Dragonslayer
- 1 Hooded Hydra
- 1 Icefeather Aven
- 1 Iridescent Angel
- 1 Jeering Instigator
- 1 Kami of the Crescent Moon
- 1 Kheru Spellsnatcher
- 1 Krosan Cloudscraper
- 1 Krosan Tusker
- 1 Kumano, Master Yamabushi
- 1 Mindclaw Shaman
- 1 Mischievous Quanar
- 1 Monastery Loremaster
- 1 Nantuko Vigilante
- 1 Pilgrim's Eye
- 1 Rattleclaw Mystic
- 1 Root Elemental
- 1 Sagu Mauler
- 1 Silklash Spider
- 1 Simic Sky Swallower
- 1 Stratus Dancer
- 1 Temur War Shaman
- 1 Thelonite Hermit
- 1 Thousand Winds
- 1 Veteran Explorer
- 1 Viashino Heretic
- 1 Weaver of Lies
- 1 Willbender
- Sorceries (9)
- 1 Aether Mutation
- 1 All Suns' Dawn
- 1 Allied Strategies
- 1 Bring to Light
- 1 Decimate
- 1 Exploding Borders
- 1 Feudkiller's Verdict
- 1 Illicit Auction
- 1 Migratory Route
- Artifacts (6)
- 1 Armillary Sphere
- 1 Darksteel Ingot
- 1 Fellwar Stone
- 1 Manaforce Mace
- 1 Opaline Bracers
- 1 Seer's Sundial
Target - $33.35
Result - $33.32
This deck began with a simple theme. Other than mana, don’t use any cards from the Commander 2016deck Stalwart Unity, the first appearance of our leaders, and run a lot of fun, splashy, cards as well as midrange solid utility. Because Kynaios and Tiro can accelerate your land drops, I was also running some landfall stuff like Omnath, Locos of Rage and cards like Mina and Denn, Wildborn.
Sounds good, right! Landfall, fun stuff or everyone, but most importantly, cards that are events when you play them. What do I mean?
Well take a look at Illicit Auction as a good example. You play it, and begin the bidding in life for a creature. The table takes turns bidding until someone pays enough life, and then gets the creature. Illicit Auction is an event.
Given than Kynaiis and Tiro are designed Group Hug-ish, a card like Illicit Auction seems to fit right in, right?
However, as I was building the deck proper, I was moving toward some cheaper artifacts, that would enable me to have plays before my colored mana all came online. Given that my leaders give you a free card each turn, I expected to draw some extra cards as well, so I had the cheaper artifacts for those as well. In went stuff like Filigree Familiar and Pilgrim's Eye.
As I was including those cards, I realized something important. Having those early drops was key in a budget build like this, where I can’t always emphasize the lands and expensive artifacts that better enable a four color deck. How do we deal with that?
Well what if much of my creature base had morph (or megamorph)? I could use the cards with morph to play for colorless early, and then flip them over when I had the right mana or the right need. I could run Ainok Survivalist instead of Reclamation Sage. My utility suite was set, and I could add in some other stuff as well.
Of course, the obvious question to ask is how much morphing is enough? Morph is a seductive mechanic. Each morph card you add makes you want to include more. After all, the more morph you run, the more unpredictable each morph card becomes.
So I began by pulling utility for morph. I pulled Quirion Explorer for Rattleclaw Mystic. I pulled Zealous Conscripts for Jeering Instigator. Stuff like that. And one of the best things about budget building, is that morph variants of cards tend to be cheaper than their counterparts elsewhere. Eternal Witness has been printed all over God’s Green earth, has been an uncommon to boot, and still costs more than $4 to pick up! But Den Protector was printed twice as a rare, and has the bulk rare price of $0.49 over at CSI right now. You get a 3/2 for that can swing and won’t be blocked by smaller stuff. This deck can’t afford a Witness, but a Protector works very nicely.
And that’s where I moved to. Adding in fun utility morph creatures as my support cards where I could. I wanted a handful of splashy counters. Because it was reprinted in Conspiracy: Take the Crown, Desertion is very cheap right now, so in it went. After all, Desertion is an event counterspell. But prior to its reprint, it was a very expensive counter to pick up. Similarly, fun cards like Spelljack or Draining Whelk have not-inconsiderable pricetags. But do you know what’s cheap as can be? Kheru Spellsnatcher! Morph for 6, and then counter a spell and play it for free anytime you want, just like a Spelljack! For playing havoc with spells, I could have run Forks or Deflection effects. Wild Richochet. Radiate. Fun stuff like that. But I went with Willbender and Mischievous Quanar instead.
I realized just how event-ish morph looked. You have a face down Quanar. Someone plays something good and you flip it up and get your own copy. Surprise! That’s an event.
I kept on mining the deep morph vein. And that’s where we kept on going. In leapt Chromeshell Crab to steal something as a surprise and Deathmist Raptor to head back when you need. Both fit the deck very obviously and nicely. You can pop a creature with Hidden Dragonslayer, and don’t sleep on Dwarven Blastminer. I included it as a valuable brake on someone getting too uppity with lands. Because your leader accelerates the card drawing and land-playing of everyone, things can get a bit fast with mana. I don’t mind some 1-dropping Simic Growth Chamber or Command Tower. But a card like Volrath's Stronghold, Eye of Ugin, or even a jerk using Dust Bowl to kill your Transguild Promenade is something I want an answer for. Enter the Blastminer.
I even began to dip my toes into morph beaters. Check out Sagu Mauler! As you ramp lands from your leader, you can build up a big Hooded Hydra. Or you can drop it with morph to flip it out later as a 5/5, whichever works better for your game. Beaters like the Hydra and Mauler are awesome tricks.
And a few more head in. Yes, it’s expensive, but the flip trigger on Root Elemental can end games and people as well. Pay that 7 mana, and drop any creature from your hand onto the battlefield. And unlike Dermoplasm it has size and stays on the board. People will fear attacking into you as you leave your mana free and a few untapped morph creatures ready to pop over and change things up!
Another beater and trick is Thousand Winds. Don’t be afraid to play it for its normal price if you want a Mahamoti Djinn. But if you flip it, you get a 5/5 flyer than bounces all tapped stuff to people’s hand. Did someone tap out to attack you? Send them back! Did they tap out a bunch of creatures in order use their abilities? Send them back! Did someone tap their stuff at the end of your turn to use them briefly, before untapping and having a wall again? Send them back!
Speaking of beaters, check out Krosan Cloudscraper! ‘nuff said!
And morph is not all!
I also added in Mages' Contest, because playing it makes that event. And most people don’t know that Red has a generic counter spell. Well you do now! And yes, I’m running Mages' Contest and Illicit in a deck with Blue. I don’t care!
And as always, I try to toss in a few interesting cards that might be in the current limelight. Alexi, Zephyr Mage is a good example of that. Given your drawing of cards, the discard to bounce is very strong, especially when you have the mana needed to put a lot into that X. You can bounce your team to save it, reload some morphs, and bounce opposing stuff. Kumano, Master Yamabushi can shoot down stuff, and exile them. Ping a creature about to die anyway, and it will be exiled. Even Viashino Heretic can tap to take our artifacts and smash their user’s face for damage at the same time.
I also added in cards with the domain mechanic, sunburst, converge. And I pulled some of the landfall and land bump stuff to go in a different direction. But I like this deck the direction settled on above. You could add in more events, like Liar's Pendulum or Goblin Charbelcher. You can see the power of Opaline Bracers and Manaforce Mace to make creatures pretty powerful.
There are a lot of other cards we are looking at! Cool cards might include Draco, Collective Restraint, Lotus Cobra, Joiner Adept, Rampaging Baloths, Knowledge Exploitation, Radiate, Vedalken Orrery, Norn's Annex, Wargate, Exalted Angel, Akroma, Angel of Fury, Vesuvan Shapeshifter, Mikokoro, Center of the Sea, Mirari's Wake, and Draco!
There are a lot of great manifest, morph, and megamorph stuff I didn’t use, but was considering. These are all cheap.
And there we all! Another section of fun Budget Friendly Fun Times!
I hope you enjoyed the deck. Any thoughts or suggestions? Anything you liked that you want to run yourself?
Here are the first 30+Discount Commander Options for your wallet-friendly needs:
- We kicked things off with Brion Stoutarm came in at $37.71
- Next up was Ghave, Guru of Spores, with a budget of $36.48, is a lot of fun!
- 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.
- Niv-Mizzet, Dracogenius is the next for our list rocking that $36.37 pricetag.
- Princess Lucrezia and Riven Turnbull feature in this fun throwback Commander deck that is just $35.68.
- Roon of the Hidden Realm demonstrates one of the Commander 2013 dorks in a $35.29 shell.
- Vhati il-Dal runs the table for just $35.17. It’s also one of the more unique entries in this project.
- 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/
- 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.
- 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.
- Brago, King Eternal is featured with a different artifact theme and a $35.04 budget.
- Let’s finally get below that $35 mark with Lin Sivvi and her rebel horde! $34.98 for the witness.
- Wedges are cool. So is Teneb, the Harvester! $34.94 gets us a deck that wins and has fun.
- Who likes Surrak Dragonclaw? Who likes making a face-smashing deck for just $34.83? This guy!
- [card]Tolsimir Wolfblood[/card]? $34.73? Selesnya aggro? We’ve got it in spades!
- Alesha, Who Smiles at Death is ready to bring some serious recursion, beats, and a modest budget to boot at $34.62.
- Want to Dragon up your deck? Why not roll with Dragonlord Kolaghan for $34.47.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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
- With a budget of just $33.98, this Daxos of Meletis deck is pretty cool without being too expensive. Check it out!
- We have a Snake flavored Kaseto, Orochi Archmage deck with a lot of fun, Snakes, and budget goodness at $33.91.
- Nahiri, the Lithomancer is calling for an equipment and Solider focused mono-white build that’s just $33.85.
- Who’s Born to be Wild? Mina and Denn are! Check out this Gruul Smash deck with lands and fun for just $33.75.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.