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Budget Commander #47: Hua Tuo, Honored Physician


Hello folks!

I hope that your day is going well. Today's deck is inspired by my recent Random Top Ten from last week. In this series, I grab ten cards randomly from Gatherer, in order, and make them my top ten. My #2 card was Muldrotha, the Gravetide. I love Muldrotha. I even built a Budget Commander for you as a part of this series around her. She's my kind of lady. Then my #1 selection was Huo Toa, Honored Physician. I adore him too! And then I reviewed EDHREC.com and saw that fewer than 50 people had registered decks leading with Huo Toa. Really? How is that possible!

And that was my inspiration for this article. Build a cheap budget friendly version of Hua Tuo that slots into my Budget Commander series and clocks in at under $32.73, which was the cost of my last deck. Are you ready? Let's do it!

Let's craft another budget build around Green Volrath's Stronghold.

Volrath's Stronghold

Volrath's Stronghold is one of the best cards in multiplayer ever printed. The effect isn't card advantage, unlike many other power houses. But the card quality you get over time slowly and inexorably pushes you toward a victory. As a land, it's hard to answer, but also harder to abuse.

Hua Tuo, Honored Physician

Enter the Honored Physician! Hua Tuo is both better and worse. By not requiring three mana to activate, you can do other things with the mana each turn. But as a creature? That has to tap pre-attack? That's weaker. But it's abusable.

Lightning Greaves

Consider Lightning Greaves. It's too expensive right now for a budget build in the $30s, but the example suffices to demonstrate how to abuse it. Cast this on turn two. Drop your leader on 3, equip, protect it from targeted removal, and then tap if you have something in your graveyard. (You probably wouldn't, but you get the idea).

Green also has a lot of untapping or double tapping effects.

Instill Energy
Seeker of Skybreak

Instill Energy is a great example. You can tap Hua Tuo to recur something to the top of your library. Then you can untap him and do it again to net two tap triggers for your leader, not one. And that's a lot of untapping, especially if you aren't investing mana to do so. Seeker of Skybreak plays into a similar space.

I want to give myself some options to use and reuse Hua Tuo. Now the best is always going to be Thousand-Year Elixir but it hasn't been reprints in such a long time that it's up to $15. That's not feasible for this article that is trying to come in under $33. Give me a $100 budget and it's in, no question! But here? Nope. Even the uncommon Magewright's Stone has gone un-reprinted long enough that it's a few dollars. Scryb Ranger? 5 bucks. Quirion Ranger? 3 dollars. I add in what I can, but there are a lot of options for you to target for later acquisition.

Why does this matter? Why would you want to load more than one dork at a time anyway? Great question!

Because we are going to abuse this effect!

Call of the Wild

Call of the Wild is a bulk rare that doesn't see a lot of play, as it requires four mana for each iteration, and you may not be sure as what's on top of your deck. But when your leader loads it up with dead dorks from 'your yard for no mana? You should have the mana to activate this and drop it for free onto the battlefield.

Aid from the Cowl

What about Aid from the Cowl? Your stuff will regularly die. Fetch lands? Creatures that die or self-sacrifice? And then you can get a free dork from your library to the battlefield when they do! That's amazing here.

Evolutionary Leap

Evolutionary Leap is amazing in this shell as well! It will sacrifice one of your creatures, which will fill up your graveyard with goodies for you to reload to your deck. It also grabs the first dork you reveal and puts it into your hand, so you can stock the top of the deck with the right dork to sacrifice!


I love Foster so much that I created an entire series of articles for you called Foster and Friends where I bought to you cheap forgotten cards that are amazing. (Such as this one). How could I not run Foster here? It's perfect! Did something die? That's sad! But move on by spending just one mana and getting the first dork you find. Was it something you just reloaded? Of course it was! Foster away!

Beast Hunt
Genesis Storm
See the Unwritten

You could draw a ton of cards with Beast Hunt. And how about Genesis Storm? Your leader is cheap so you could easily cast it a few times and then load up on this nasty lil' thing. See the Unwritten is a strong and bulk mythic rare that fits this shell wonderfully!

Shefet Monitor
Krosan Tusker

We also have some dorks with value in reloading them and using them anew. You can cycle these early and then they can be restored to your library to draw again and cycle once more, or to put a fat 6/5 onto the battlefield with your various effects.

For this reason, I also tossed in a few other beaters with cycling, such as Greater Sandwurm. Enjoy!

Skalla Wolf

Skalla Wolf is strong here too!

Because this deck also has a number of enchantment cards that are key engines, I also added some enchantment-grabbing cards too.

Fa'adiyah Seer
Dryad Greenseeker

I also want to add in some other tapping cards that have value here. After all, since I have built this shell around untapping Hua Tuo, I might as well have some other tapping creatures too, right? Both of these are great 2-drops that can tap and net you lands, and if you know you have a land on top of your deck, then it's even nicer. I am running some effects like Mul Daya Channelers and Garruk's Horde that will tell you so. Too bad Dryad Arbor is too expensive for this project, or else you could restock it and the draw it with these. The Seer will load your graveyard with non-lands, which you can recur. Both are strong!

Thrashing Brontodon
Viridian Zealot
Yavimaya Elder
Sakura-Tribe Elder

I also wanted to toss in some dorks that can sacrifice for effects. Normally Green would run dorks with enters-the-battlefield triggers like Acidic Slime, Woodfall Primus, or Eternal Witness. Instead, we are doing the reverse. Here we are sacrificing stuff for various effects, and you'll note more in the deck. Sacrifice Sakura-Tribe Elder for a land and then put it back on top for another go around the bin!

Perilous Forays

Want another sacrifice option that's amazing with Hua Tuo? How about Perilous Forays? Sacrifice any creature you desire for a single mana and grab a greatland named Forest. Toss it onto the battlefield. Tap you leader, and put the sacrificed body on top, and then draw it anew! Or trigger something like Zoologist or Call of the Wild to put it onto the battlefield for free and keep on going!

Guardian Project
Soul of the Harvest

I adore the massive card drawing that will ensue with Guardian Project; don't you? Ditto Soul of the Harvest. Note that, unlike some other card drawing options for creatures arriving at the table, these are not cast triggers, so you can use them with your ways of cheating bigger threats onto the battlefield. Smash away my friends, smash away!

This was the first time that I ran out of space and was vastly under budget (like 6 dollars under after I hit 65 non-land cards). I added a few bigger name cards to the deck to spend up to my budget! (Cough, Illusionist's Bracers, cough).

And there we go!

My target was $32.73. So where did I wind up? $32.65; Eight cents cheaper!

I hope you enjoyed this cheap lil' build around mono-Green's recursion engine. Anything in here you want to use? Inspired to build your own build? Just let me know?

Other options with some cost that I considered included Descendant's Path, Sensei's Divining Top, Sylvan Library, Mirri's Guile, and Scroll Rack. Don't sleep on Garruk, Caller of Beasts. How about Vizier of the Menagerie, Oracle of Mul Daya, or Courser of Kruphix? Growing Rites of Itlimoc? Lurking Predators? Worldly Tutor? Vivien Reid? Genesis? Duskwatch Recruiter? Seedborn Muse? Rings of Brighthearth? There are loads of goods here, and many other I didn't think of.

I hope you are inspired to pick up a deck that won't cost you much to pursue. Thanks for your time!


If you enjoyed today's Honored Physician deck, great! Here are the first 46 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. [card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Bosh, Iron Golem" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem">[card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem">[card]Bosh, Iron Golem" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem">[card][card]Bosh, Iron Golem[/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" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/Yeva, Nature's Herald" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Yeva, Nature's Herald">[card]Yeva, Nature's Herald">Yeva, Nature's Herald" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Yeva, Nature's Herald">[card]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. [card]Karametra, God of Harvests" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/Karametra, God of Harvests" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Karametra, God of Harvests">[card]Karametra, God of Harvests">Karametra, God of Harvests" href="/p/Magic+The+Gathering/[card]Karametra, God of Harvests">[card]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.

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