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Budget Commander #62 - Geralf, Visionary Stitcher

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Hello happy people! I hope that you are having an amazing day today! Today I want to unpack yet another Commander that debuted in Crimson Vow and combine it with my Budget Commander series.

This is my sixth build around a legendary dork from Crimson Vow or its Commander set. Here are the first five.

  1. I created a deck around Runo Stromkirk. When I built it, it hadn't been added to EDHREC.com, but in the first week there are already 120 decks built around it! People love him as much as I do! I built around the flavor of copying the Deep Sea tribe and have natural good entries there like Deep-Sea Kraken, flipping him reliably with expensive cycling creatures like Scion of Darkness, adding in creatures that have triggers you'd love to get twice such as Aethersnipe, and then some tribe washing like Conspiracy. You can find this awesome deck here.
  2. Then I took the really interesting Golgari leader Old Rutstein and his Peasant self out for a spin! Since all three of his abilities make tokens, I dug deep in token doubling effects like Doubling Season, Blood-matters cards in Black from the same set like Falkenrath Forebear, Treasure cards like Academy Manufactor and Grim Hireling, and loads of Food, Treasure, Blood and Clue making cards for the win! It's really a fun deck...enjoy it here! This may wind up being my favorite build from the set.
  3. Next, I wrote around the really cool Odric, Blood-Cursed, which was a fun synergy of keywords-matter like Akroma, Vision of Ixidor, as well as artifact matters cards like Nettlecyst and Akiri, Line-Slinger. We also have Blood makers and matters card from the Red half of Rakdos's theme, like Olivia's Attendants and Arterial Alchemy. I even found space to blink Odric a few times with things like Flickerwisp and Teleportation Circle. Check it out here!
  4. Then I created a deck around the popular Umbris, Fear Manifest from the Commander set that debuted with the set. For this Nightmare Horror you need to exile your opponents' stuff, so I have graveyard exiling like Relic of Progenitus and Planar Void, exiling counters like Dissipate, exiling removal like Vraska's Contempt, exiling milling like Tasha's Hideous Laughter, and exile from a library like Sadistic Sacrament. Enjoy this nasty brew here!
  5. After those cool things I created an Orzhov Tokens Build around Edgar, Charmed Groom // Edgar Markov's Coffin, that really wants to flip over Edgar into the token making Coffin. We have loads of ways to make those tokens, from Lingering Souls to Elspeth, Sun's Champion. This is also the biggest number of planeswalkers I have tossed into a deck in months. Enjoy the brew here!

What is my Budget Commander series? It began when I saw "budget articles" for Commander coming in at $500, $250 or even $150 or $100. Sorry, if your "budget deck" is in the triple digits that's not a budget from where I am sitting. I went back to grad school a few years ago and was unemployed for a while and I know what a budget deck really is. My first article in this series came in under $40 for near mint versions here at CoolStuffInc.com and then every article since tries to come in under the previous deck's budget (basic lands don't count, you or your friends already have them for free).

Last deck's budget was $32.60. We are aiming to come in under that!

Who am I building around this time?

Geralf, Visionary Stitcher

My first deck (of 7!) from Midnight Hunt was the latest iteration of Gisa, so it's only fitting that my final Crimson Vow deck is around her brother, Geralf! Also note that I've done 13 decks, which is also pretty cool, around the 13 themed Plane of Innistrad.

Geralf is also good from a budget perspective. As you can see, this three mana 1/4 wants to sacrifice a nontoken dork and then make a Zombie token with a size X/X where X is the sacrificed dork's toughness. That makes a fun toughness matters mono-Blue brew, and he will give the Zombies flying as well. That's a different style of brew. Geralf himself is just $1.49 here at CSI.com, and he is leading just 120 decks over at EDHREC.com. High toughness dorks aren't commonly played in Commander, so they should be pretty cheap to acquire on the secondary market.

Do note that the prices we are looking at change over time, each day. The prices of these cards shift from when I write this the week before publication to the day of publication to when you read this thereafter. But the key idea of a massively budget friendly deck remains!

Ready? Let's do it to it!

Charix, the Raging Isle

First is this bulk rare. $0.49 baby! As you can see, Charix is a nasty, powerful, 0/17 for four mana that becomes a 17/17 after being sacrificed to our new Commander. It also has essentially Ward 2, which is pretty cool, and can spend three mana to drop its toughness and increase its power by the amount of Islands we have out there at a time. That makes this a powerful body in any mono-Blue deck and a way to smash face when Geralf has been answered. Enjoy it!

High toughness bodies are boring and obvious here. I don't expect to spend that much of my (or your) time here around with a Glacial Wall or Secret Passage that are here for obvious and cheap reasons.

Cleaver Skaab
Hordewing Skaab

Check out these two reasonably priced Zombie caring rares in mono-Blue. The first is priced at $1.25 and the second at $0.99. As you can see, the first Skaab is a 4-mana 2/4 Zombie Horror that can spend 3 mana and sacrifice another Zombie to make two copies of said Zombie. That is nasty here, as you can sacrifice a Glacial Wall for a 7/7 Zombie and then sacrifice that for two 7/7 Zombies. Nice synergy here. The second Skaab costs another mana for a 3/3 body, and it flies and gives your entire Zombie horde flying, which acts as a backup Geralf if he is answered. Also, not that when your Zombies punch a foe you can draw cards equal to that damage and then discard them. A 7/7 flying Zombie that deals 7 combat damage to a foe will let you draw (it's a "may" clause) a full seven cards and then discard them. In a deck with fat Zombies that is a massive amount of card flow.

Floodgate
Scourge of Fleets
Spectral Deluge

I am running 28 Islands in my deck for Charix and company. That also has Myriad Landscape and Armillary Sphere for two Islands each (as well as Wild-Field Scarecrow and Burnished Hart that sacrifice for two basics each). I tossed in the quarter costing Flow of Ideas that can draw a ton of cards, and then this trio of Island-mattering things.

The Wall is a powerful sacrifice tool for Geralf that will make a 5/5 Zombie and then will trigger to damage to non-flyers, and with Geralf (or Wonder) here that will hopefully not be anything you care about. I also tossed in the cheap Kraken that has been reprinted enough that's it's a bulk rare. It's a nice sized 6/6 with a powerful enters the battlefield that will bounce opposing dorks with a toughness X or less where that is your Island count. Nasty! The sorcery will do the same thing and can also be foretold across multiple turns in case you want to power out some stuff. I also tossed in cheap mass bounce stuff like Aetherize that adds to your answers.

Clay Golem
Myriad Construct

Check out these very different 4/4s for four mana Artifact Creatures! The former is here to serve as a budget-friendly colorless Vindicate that you can monstrous and cast over two turns to thump any (including a land) removal. You will get anything from a 5/5 to a 12/12, and I have really enjoyed it in my Type Four Stack as well. It can serve for serious beats, and when targeted for removal you can sacrifice it for an equal sized Zombie threat with Geralf.

The latter one is here to be a nasty threat. Its kicker is just three extra and it's worth it. This bulk rare in a Standard-legal set arrives to the party with a number of counters of the +1/+1 variety equal to your foe's nonbasic lands. In Commander? Against multiple players? That can be quite the nasty 7-drop. When it's targeted by spells from anyone it'll get sacrificed into its power of 1/1 tokens, which is pretty good for the team. It'll win with size and then can go wide as well.

Dragon Turtle
Draining Whelk

Here are some more answers in creature form! The Turtle will arrive for just three mana and flash and then it's a 3/5 body. On arrival it will tap down an opposing creature, and then neither will untap for a turn. Ideally, you'll do this on your foe's turn, before they attack with a big beater or Commander and then lock them down, and then you'll skip your untap first and then you'll be the first to untap the Turtle. You can then block and swing with the best of them. You can also cast it, tap lock something, and then immediately sacrifice it for a 5/5 and then untap and swing with your new 5/5. I also love the Whelk here as well. As you can see, it's a powerful bulk rare that will counter a spell, and it sports flash and flying and grows, and then can win the game with it's bad 5/5 or 7/7 self. Nasty duo!

I leaned into a bunch of cheap counters for playing keep away from someone trying to annoy you with things like mass removal and Cyclonic Rifts that really hurt a token deck like this one. Especially one like this that is sacrificing its creatures to make the threats. That's why I have backup threats as well as many counters. In addition to the Whelk, I have 8 other hard counters and Jwari Disruption. Note that many of the good rares are worth less than a buck each.

Ensouled Scimitar
Slagwurm Armor

I don't have many pieces of equipment for this brew, but I do have this pair. Each will equip to give our equipped sacrifice target a big toughness boost to give you a much bigger Zombie. Note that the first card can also animate to make a 1/5 flying creature that can block out of nowhere and it can be sacrificed to make a 5/5 Zombie as well, although you probably just want to keep it as a +5/+5 granting piece of equipment. The Armor makes a powerful +6/+6 boost to your sacrificed dork and is very powerful in this brew. Both are pretty cool here!

Belbe's Armor
Crenellated Wall

Here's another pair of toughness pumpers. I love the call back to the Armor of Belbe, which is a bulk uncommon despite being only printed once and long ago in the pre-Modern era. It's perfect for a Geralf build! As you can see, you can tap this for X mana and then modify a targeted dork by -X/+X. This will work on opposing dorks to turn off their power for a turn when they swing your way. I love doing it on someone you are about to send to the bin with Geralf's sacrificing as you could really get a nice boost. The Wall is a nice option as well. You can tap this 0/4 with defender and then use no mana to grow an about-to-be sacrificed butt by 4 to give the Zombie token a boost of +4/+4 permanently. Nice pair!

Reconnaissance Mission
Grazilaxx, Illithid Scholar

Most Coastal Piracy effects are too pricy for this series, but not this duo. The Mission is just a quarter, and it's better than Piracy since you can cycle it if you need the card. As your stuff smashes face, you'll draw that card. We also have the rare and $0.99 card from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. As you can see, this duo is worth $1.24 for both. The Horror will draw cards as faces are torn, but you can also (it's a "may" effect) self-bounce when blocked, which isn't likely for your tokens but could be pretty useful for cards like Pilgrim's Eye and Scourge of Fleets. Enjoy it here.

Guardian Idol
Fountain of Ichor
Ebony Fly

Let's turn to some mana rocks and lands! Can you see why I am running this trinity of mana rocks? Each of them are fine (two tap for a colorless, one is a 3-drop that taps for anything on-curve options for mana rocks. Each can become a creature for a turn to swing, attack, and block. They are mega cheap options for your budget, and they make nice mana rocks. You can activate them, sacrifice them to Geralf for an equally sized Zombie token which won't need mana to activate and is now flying. I also like them as creatures that hide from mass removal like Wrath of God.

Have you seen the bulk rare mana sink Crawling Barrens? I love it a lot! As you can see, you can, anytime, spend 4 mana to pump out two +1/+1 counters and you can (you don't have to) turn this into a dork for the swinging and blocking. I love using it at the end of a turn with your extra mana and turn it into a house of player killing fun times.

Heraldic Banner

Can you see why this mana rock is here? I love the Banner in creature heavy mono-colored builds like this one. Now your stuff gets +1 power (we have a surprising number of colorless options like Steel Wall here, but they'll get sacrificed to Geralf and then those are Zombie tokens.) And then you'll get a Sky Diamond. Good card for the team!

Reef Worm
Aethersphere Harvester

Bulk rare attack! I have the Worm here as a nice rare that can be sacrificed into a 1/1 and a 3/3 that can be sacrificed into a 3/3 and a 6/6 that can be sacrificed into a 6/6 and a 9/9! Pretty cool, right? And then I tossed in a few Vehicles. Even the best is pretty cheap since they aren't run in Commander much, and they often have valuable things to add to a deck like this. As you can see, the Harvester is a nice 3/5 flying that only needs a crew of 1 to swing with, such as Silver Myr or a newly made Zombie token, and then, twice, you can give it lifelink. It's nice here!

Raiders' Karve
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

The Karve is super cheap and the Flagship is basically a bulk mythic at $1.49. I like the Karve's attack trigger and you can ramp a land from the top of your library to the battlefield tapped, another great way to get those Islands out! It does have a worse crew at 3 but that could easily be done by a midsized 4/4 Zombie Token you just made. The Flagship is a powerful 6/5 flying that Lightning Bolts on arrival any opposing dork or planeswalker. You can also get that Bolt trigger when it swings. Flying and 6/5 is nice with just three crew and it adds to your removal suite.

Buried Ruin

Check out this nonbasic land! As you can see, you can sacrifice this to bring back a lost artifact for another round of the song. We have a surprising number of artifacts like 13 non-dorks and loads of dorks to recur. You could sacrifice a big Wall for a Zombie token and then sacrifice this and drop it again. It's also good land flow with Burnished Hart, Armillary Sphere, and Wild-Field Scarecrow.

Three cards left, and they are all transform cards!

Conqueror's Galleon // Conqueror's Foothold

Check out the Galleon! Ten toughness could turn into a nasty 10/10 Zombie. However, you can just swing, survive combat (likely), and then transform unto the Foothold. It's a powerful land with three options I enjoy here - 2 mana to draw and discard like a Jalum Tome, 4 mana to draw a card like a Jayemdae Tome, and then 6 mana to Regrowth any card from your graveyard to your hand for recasting, like a sacrificed Wall of Frost. I really like the Foothold's synergy in this brew.

Cosima, God of the Voyage // The Omenkeel

This fun rare clocks in at just $0.49! Pretty nice, right! It can self-exile in your upkeep and then has landfall. You can also return it on a landfall trigger for free and draw voyage counter cards and it gets voyage counter +1/+1s. Nice! And hey, that's an option. But it's really here for the Vehicle, that whenever your Vee (any of them) smashes face you exile a ton of cards and can cast them as long as they are exiled (although you'll need the right colors of mana to cast them, there is no colorwashing here).

Biolume Egg // Biolume Serpent

Our last transform card is the only other card from Crimson Vow that is making the cut! You get an 0/4 for three mana with defender and scry 2 on arrival. Then you can sacrifice it to Geralf for a 4/4 Zombie token, plus it will flip over into a 4/4 Serpent on your next end step. Good card advantage for the win!

And there we go! Let's look at the Budget Commander 100!

Cards to potentially add include Hullbreaker Horror, Overcharged Amalgam, Mutavault, Faceless Haven, Cyclonic Rift, Commander's Plate, War Room, Academy Ruins, Maze of Ith, Spellskite, Sea Gate Restoration // Sea Gate, Reborn, or Inundate.

What did you think of my brew? Anything you want to add or that I missed? Are you inspired to build your own?

APPENDIX

If you enjoyed today's Mono-Blue toughness-matters budget brew, great! Here are the first 61 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!


Commander HQ: Decklists and Strategy for Innistrad Crimson Vow's Legendary Creatures!

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