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Budget-Friendly Pioneer Cards to Consider

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Welcome back to another week of budget talk! Today we are going to talk about cards new and old from across Pioneer. Some of these can be utilized in Commander of course, and we will touch on how to use them there. I am hoping to get back on a regular article schedule soon!

Starting off with a newer uncommon that is very budget-friendly for card advantage is Dockside Chef. This would be more optimal in Commander as cheap card draw, but it can be utilized in decks utilize enchantment synergy in Pioneer. The price right now is $0.25 for the non-foil and $0.50 for the foil. When a card is this cheap, just go with the foil.

Dockside Chef
This is like another pet card of mine in Arguel's Blood Fast. The thing that I like about Dockside Chef is the ability to hit death and sacrifice triggers with its activation cost. In Commander, Mayhem Devil loves cards like Dockside Chef. Utilize Dockside Chef's ability on creatures with recursion, and your opponents will start to get annoyed. Other cards that trigger on creature removal would just add an additional blow to such a simple thing as paying two mana. Of course, adding in K'rrik's ability to make the cost be one mana is very enticing. We can also sacrifice artifacts instead of creatures if we are playing a deck utilizing artifacts or artifact tokens! The last thing of note is that it is an enchantment in addition to its creature type. Anything that utilizes "enter the battlefield" triggers on enchantments or cards that say things such as "creature gets +x/+x where x is the number of enchantments you control" can use Dockside Chef.

Next is a straightforward budget option in Pioneer format in Lone Rider. I have always loved this card, as it is very powerful for a two-drop. Lone Rider's current price is at $0.40 for the non-foils and $2.59 for the foil copies. Anyone who plays life gain decks should have this in their trade binders, as it can quickly change the pace of a game. Not one I would consider playing on turn two since it is squishy with its power and toughness being one. However, once we know we know we have gained three life in a turn, drop it on main phase two, and let it transform on the end step. Since we do have to make it through the end step to have it transform, try to have a counter measure in place like Gods Willing to protect it from removal. As long as it stays alive we now have a 4/4 creature with first strike, trample, and lifelink! Depend on your opponents' life, you could potentially win using two cards on Lone Rider in Temur Battle Rage and Unleash Fury!

Desecration Demon

Desecration Demon is a very underappreciated card in Pioneer and can be utilized in any Black deck! The current price for the Return to Ravnica copies are $0.75 for the non-foils and $1.76 for the foils! For only four mana we have a 6/6 flying Demon at our disposal.

Everyone dogs on it due to that fact "it gets tapped down every turn." My answer to that is simple "untap it!" There are so many ways we can untap it after it is triggered. There are cheap instants like Burst of Strength, Djeru's Resolve, Stony Strength, Crypsis, and Refocus. As an Orzhov player, using Augusta, Dean of Order would work perfectly with Desecration Demon! Entering combat Desecration Demons' trigger activates, and if our opponent decides to tap it down we use Augusta, Dean of Orders' triggers next to untap it! Granted, we couldn't attack, but we would still have a now 7/7 flier as a blocker!

Not to mention it helps slow our opponent down by making them sacrifice a creature. In the event they sacrifice a creature and we untap Desecration Demon with a spell or ability, it's a bonus! Any time we can utilize cards to slow our opponent down, it needs to be considered. A card like Desecration Demon has nothing but upside, even if it gets tapped down and we have no way to untap it. At the end of the day, we make our opponents sacrifice creatures each turn until they can't! It is also a non-legendary creature, so we can have more than one on the board at one time! Having two on the board would be more than a headache for our opponent. As mentioned earlier, a card like Mayhem Devil synergizes perfectly with Desecration Demon!

Stoneforge Masterwork
Stoneforge Masterwork is next on our list coming in at $2.76 for the non-foil and $3.99 for the foil, and it is trending upwards! This was a card I thought would almost immediately spike on the announcement of Pioneer for all tribal decks. Shockingly it is still quite affordable, but for how long remains to be seen. This was one that I originally thought would be in mono-Green Elves. Equipping this to Steel Leaf Champion was going to be the go-to in Elves. Having three Elves in addition to Steel Leaf Champion and making it an 8/7 creature would not be something our opponents would want to see on turn four. It has been trending up in price on the non-foils and considering how close in price it is with the foils right now those will follow suit soon!

Citywide Bust is not fancy, but it should be in everyone's collections. The price is currently $0.39 for the non-foil, $0.74 for the foils, and 0.69 for the prerelease foils. White Weenie decks and Selesnya decks is where my brain goes for this. The weaknesses to these decks are big creatures and walls. Bust takes care of those threats for you while leaving your creature base intact! At the very least this should be in consideration for the sideboard for decks that may be weak against bigger creature threats with limited resources.

Immortal Servitude I brought up a while ago but needs to be brought up again due to its increase in foil price. Since last August the foil has gone up about 100% sitting at $3.84 on average, and the non-foil is $0.53. This was brought up initially brought up because I felt it could be used in both Commander and Pioneer, but Pioneer being the stronger suitor. In Commander we could use this in decks that need something to recur some of our smaller creatures in a later stage of the match. Its not going to be a groundbreaking card to play but will supplement for anything you might need back.

Pioneer is where this will thrive the most. Touching back on what was brought up in weenie decks, this can change the course of a game in one turn. If we are playing a deck that utilizes mainly one- and two-drop creatures, Immortal Servitude should be a no-brainer to add to your deck. This would allow us to not only keep playing creatures fast, but also baits our opponents into using removals early and often. Why is this a good thing? Late game is why, as we can recur all or most of what was removed. What I like to do is synergize this with Corpse Knight, so it brings everything back and deals damage as the enter the battlefield. Outside of those decks, this can still be supplemented as a one or two slotted card.

That is it for todays read, and I hope to be back next week with another article of budget Magic!

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