Budget Commander #35: Superior Posterior

Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper
Money matters. And while we don’t mind spending money on projects that we care about, such as building a car or games, there is still a limit that we can spend for non-critical funds. Real life issues like food, family, and health care cost, and everyone has a limit on their expenditure.

For casual players who play a format like Commander or multiplayer, the large number of cards that exist in the game allows you to run what you already own. You’ll be fine financially. And you can pick up some cards for a given deck that are cheap too. You don’t have to invest a lot, and yet, there is the temptation to spend a lot, especially for some of your format’s pricey staples. Cards like Sword of Light and Shadow, Phyrexian Arena, and Grave Pact are suitably pricey due to Commander and multiplayer.

And even some tools are expensive. Cultivate has been basically in-print nonstop for years, and every copy is at least $1.50. The same is true of cards like Eternal Witness, which is a $6 uncommon. But there are a lot of cheap and high-quality cards from various places that are just as powerful. Cards like Decree of Justice and Stroke of Genius that are under a buck each and are amazing for the format too.

Finding the right cards for a budget-minded brew becomes pretty important. But they’re there if you look hard at the numbers and the math.

Sapling of Colfenor
Today’s deck is a Golgari toughness-matters theme. It was initially built around Ikra Shidiqi, the Usurper since I’ve been wanting to build around her for a awhile. There are a few directions to go with toughness matters. The obvious direction is Doran, the Siege Tower. But he’s a pricey $11 right now. (Note that all prices in this article are true as of its writing, which was concluded last Wednesday, July 26th. It is possible they may have shifted from then until now on the morning of Monday, July 31st, and from then until you read it.)

So, Doran is pricey, but great for toughness matters. Another good entry for that is Sapling of Colfenor, a strong indestructible body with a fun attack trigger that encourages you to run creatures with higher toughness than power. Colfenor’s Sapling would work all day long, but again, price. We’re looking at $7 as it’s never been printed outside of the low print run of Eventide.

The goal of each article in my Budget Commander series is to come in under the budget of the previous entry. I hit $33.26 in Budget Commander #34, a Simic deck featuring Prodigal Sorcerer and other creatures that deal 1 damage alongside Fungusaur, Hornet Nest, Saber Ants and other cards that want to take damage. It’s a fun deck, but a low price, and a $7 or $11 dollar Commander is clearly too much of an entry price . . . 

Or is it?

Normally, at this stage I would show you the deck in its entirety, and then we’d look at the budget and the card choices involved, and then call it an article. But this time, something happened that I did not expect. Take a look and see if you can see what happened?

Here is the deck, minus basic lands, all done . . .  maybe . . .  with 61 nonlands.

First Draft

Do you see what I saw? Check again!

The target for this deck was to come under $33.26. But instead, I hit . . . 


What I normally do first when I build a budget deck is grab cards I know I want to run, and then check their price at coolstuffinc.com. I make sure I have enough mana enablers and tools too, so I grab cheap lands like the common fetch lands, Guildgates, and similar cards. I grabbed cards like Assault Formation and Grim Contest that appeared in my head as soon as I had my theme locked down. They are all cheap and ready to go.

Then I set aside any cards I thought would be good, but have a price that’s in what I call the Danger Zone. Something useful, but pricey. For example, with this deck, Momentous Fall was in my Danger Zone, with a $2 price tag. It suits the deck, is quite valuable, but it’s not essential. Then at the end I’ll spend any budget I have left on these synergetic cards.

But you can see it. Most of the synergetic cards are here and already in. There are a few cards we could add to the deck, but we are at the max cards space already, or they push the deck too hard financially, like Garruk, Apex Predator, Tree of Perdition, Tree of Redemption, Courser of Kruphix, Sylvan Caryatid, Vizier of the Menagerie, Ishkanah, Grafwidow,Sidisi, Undead Vizier, Arachnogenesis, and Duplicant all are in my Danger Zone. They have strong value here, but are pricier.

Now, what do I want to do?

I could add in a couple of those. Here are their current prices.

Now I could toss in the Vizier, Ishkanah, and Sidisi and get close. And then call it a project and make it a deck. But do you see what I could also do that’s not on this list?

Add a partner. Reyhan, Last of the Abzan, $3. Then, add in Sapling of Colfenor to put myself at $10, and then toss in Ishkanah, and we are $0.11 under my budget. That would change the deck a bit, but I think it’s pretty compelling.

Abzan Beastmaster
Result $33.15

That’s a slightly different take with the partner out there, but it’s fun, and I’m sure you can figure it out.

Now let’s look at a few fun cards I grabbed for this deck.

Khans of Tarkir Block has a toughness matters theme in Black and Green, which clearly this ties into. I wanted to include the few triggers we had for that. Take a look at Abzan Beastmaster for a good example of the toughness-matters criteria here. Have the most toughness? Then draw a card! You’ve earned it after all. Kheru Bloodsucker is another, as you can drain the table with a Syphon Soul effect each time one of your bigger toughness guys bites it, and you can get a sacrifice outlet with it as well. You’ve got some support. Even Doomgape is here, which is like a toughness-friendly Lord of the Pit.

Korozda Guildmage? Sultai Flayer and Ulvenwald Observer? You can see what we’re doing.

Now I have a small sub set of sacrificial cards too, so I wanted to have some graveyard options that played into that. So, in leapt Victimize, Ever After, and similar effects, along with Restock, Disturbed Burial, and others in that vein. Good stuff!

Arashi, the Sky Asunder
Once I had the core engines and support of the deck I looked for some big-toughness creatures. The first I thought of was Silklash Spider, which is an amazing card. That led me down two routes. First, sweeping flyers. None of our key cards fly, not even Doomgape. So, I also tossed in Arashi, the Sky Asunder and Whirlwind as ways to take out a bunch of creatures at once. The second route suggested was Spiders, which tend to have higher toughnesses. In went a few Spiders with cool abilities like Acid Web Spider, Ishkanah, Grafwidow and Stingerfling Spider. Oh, and while I’d adding in creatures with cool removal effects, let’s also include stuff like Indrik Stomphowler and Conclave Naturalists. Or even Wild-Field Scarecrow as a selfsac’able land-fetcher that triggers my stuff for having a big enough toughness.

Beefy butts followed. Deadwood Treefolk! Carven Caryatid! Baloth Null! You can see where we are going I’m sure.

I was conscious of card drawing needs as well. So, I looked at stuff like Underworld Connections, Momentous Fall, Lifecrafter’s Bestiary, and more. Card drawing for the win!

A few surprise cards in here are Utopia Tree (not a card with defender, so it can swing for 2 with Assault Formation out), Slagwurm Armor, Tower Defense, and Ensouled Scimitar. Enjoy!

So what did you think of our cheap option? Did you like our partnered Commander with the big toughness matters-jams? I hope so!


Here are the first 30+Discount Commander Options for your wallet-friendly needs:

  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. [card]Tolsimir Wolfblood[/card]? $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[/card] 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[/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
  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.

The Hour of Devastation is upon us! Gets singles and sealed at CoolStuffInc.com!