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A New Batch of Budget Gems


Welcome back for more budget Magic! 2023 is here and this means another year to add to our trade binders and build up our collection! Today we are going to pick up where we left off on the last article. We are going to look into the past and present to see what budget gems might be lying around! Before we discuss our spotlighted cards, here are some gems to consider acquiring!

  1. Infernal Reckoning - A great 1-drop instant spell to sideboard in the event your opponent utilizes colorless creatures. Also synergizes with life gain/loss decks! Foils are under $1.00 currently!
  2. Detention Vortex - Great budget option to slow down our opponent for one White mana, and also tax them to remove the enchantment on their turn! Foils are only $0.25!
  3. Spidersilk Net - A 0-drop artifact that we can use on our creatures to counter an aerial attack our opponents might have without having flying creatures of our own! $0.47 foils for the Dragons of Tarkir variant!
  4. Rona's Vortex - A flexible 1-drop control spell with a mid to late game option of kicking it to put the target on the bottom of its owner's library! Foils are $0.44!
  5. Immortal Servitude - I've brought this one up before, but it is a solid card for both Pioneer and Commander! Foils are currently $3.79!
  6. Hall of Triumph - A colorless way to boost up creatures in any build! Foils are currently $0.79!
  7. Ready // Willing - An option to give your creatures indestructible until end of turn and/or give them deathtouch and lifelink until end of turn if the mana is available. Foils are currently $0.75!
  8. Battle at the Bridge - A late-game play in life gain/loss decks to not only remove a threat, but possibly win the game if a source deals damage upon life being gained. Foils are currently $0.75!
  9. High Priest of Penance - An underappreciated board control card in both Pioneer and Commander. Buff it to be able to ping it for one and remove a nonland permanent your opponent controls. Or you could block with it to remove another threat you might not be able to remove otherwise.
  10. Dusk // Dawn - A must have board wipe for all weenie styled decks. Not only wipe a board of threats but being able to recur your lost creatures is huge mid to late game!

Sanctum Seeker
First up on our list today is Sanctum Seeker. It is currently $2.00 for non-foils and $4.80 for foils. I have mentioned this before in previous articles, but strategies focused on specific creature-types are not something to ignore when looking to acquire budget gems. Sanctum Seeker is no exception and has a possible home in not only Commander but Pioneer as well! Pioneer vampire decks are underappreciated and can definitely surprise opponents. There is plenty of both speed and control that can make Sanctum Seeker a late game bomb!

Looking at speed, we have Corpse Knight to ping whenever a creature or token creature enters the battlefield. We then use Cruel Celebrant to ping our opponent any time they decide to remove our creatures with targeted removal or board wipes. The monument cards are some of the best uncommon artifacts in Pioneer format, and add not only speed but potential token production for sacrifice fodder as well. Looking at the mid to late game when we can slap Sanctum Seeker down, we do not need to many creatures out to deal lethal damage from activating the trigger. Four mana seems like a lot, but if we are playing Bontu's Monument it is only three. Outside of Pioneer, the Seeker can be played in any vampire deck in Commander format. For just those reasons alone it is worth picking up a playset for your trade binder.

Next up is Corrupted Graftstone. The current price is $0.44 for the non-foils and $0.68 for foil copies. I am not sure how this one is so cheap considering it can be used in any build for extra ramp. The only downside is we need to have cards in our graveyard to use the ability. Of course, a color scheme that comes to mind is Golgari (bg), as it embodies both ramp and graveyard play. It seems like a no brainer to add a couple copies of Corrupted Graftstone to the mainboard. It is only two mana to cast, so the risk is not that high.

Even something like Mono-Red could make use of this card. Not only can we use it for mana, but we can use it as a damage source, so long as we are running Shrapnel Blast in our deck. We can use it for mana early on, and then toward the later stages of the game we can sacrifice it to deal five damage with Shrapnel Blast. To me that sounds like a solid play! Looking into the Commander format side of things, this can be substituted for a budget mana source if you do not have the means of acquiring a more expensive artifact that produces mana. Over time I could see the foils creeping up, so now is just as good a time as ever to acquire a playset of foils!

Plumb the Forbidden
Last on our list today is a 2-drop that embodies speed and synergy in Plumb the Forbidden. The current price is $2.00 for non-foils and $2.71 for foils. With no other printings I would not be surprised if we see the foils start going up from here. I love this card for being instant speed as we can utilize this on our opponents to either deal lethal damage off creature death triggers, or we can bolster our hand with plays on our next turn!

Two cards that synergize very well with this are Grim Haruspex and Dark Prophecy. Depending on the build one might be a better than the other. With Grim Haruspex we would need to sacrifice only non-token creatures to trigger the ability, but we would not take life loss from it. With Dark Prophecy we can sacrifice tokens in addition to normal creatures, but we will lose one life per creature. I bring this up since we're already going to lose one life from Plumb the Forbidden for each creature we sacrifice. We need to make sure before we decide to dump a bunch of creatures into the graveyard we will not accidentally deal lethal damage to ourselves. Trust me I have seen it happen many times.

With that being said, the main goal is to double dip on card advantage during our opponent's end step. The other advantage, if it is available, is to use creature triggers to deal damage. Even if we do not necessarily need card advantage but our opponent has low enough life, this could be a potential win con for us by sacrificing creatures. Keep in mind that this is only a 2-drop spell, so it is not like we need to spend much. The only thing you need to do is make sure you can either play the card without it being countered or play it on a gamble and make sure you can afford the creature loss if you need card advantage. Overall, I feel it has a lot of opportunity to be utilized in both Pioneer (primarily) and Commander.

That is all for today, I hope you come back for the next read!

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