Budget Commander #40: Grusilda, Monster Masher

Hello folks! Welcome to another edition of Cheap Commander Fun-Times. As we all know, Commander is a game of budget-friendly cards that are surprisingly cheap, and a world of expensive and pricey staples that are pushing a ton of cash each week. Some Commander staples, like Doubling Season, are near mint over at CoolStuffInc.com right now for an incredibly shocking price total of $60.

This is the uncomfortable world of Commander. Many players are price-conscious. They are in High School or College on a limited budget, they have a family now and priorities have changed, and so forth. The money some have available for your hobby isn’t there for a lot of people to lean on, and often cards that were picked up that gained some value at the kitchen table or elsewhere dropped as they were reprinted in Commander decks or Conspiracy sets that they have dropped to the point where they have lost permanent value. Examples of cards that are likely to be bulk-ish for a long time moving forward include Adarkar Valkyrie, which used to be around $10 near mint, Verdant Force, and Decree of Justice. A lot of folks love that these great cards are available near mint, but for those who thought about selling their collection when they needed the money, or trading for new cards, the value of many old classics dropped. Verdant Force, for example, has been printed in Tempest, Duels of the Planeswalkers, Premium Decks: Graveborn, Commander: 2015, Commander Anthology, Ninth Edition, Tenth Edition, and Planechase. It’s no wonder that you can get a playset for around a dollar in most places.

And I know some folks that used to drop around a hundred on the game a month that are now married with kids and the money they spent isn’t able to be used for trading for new stuff or selling for some of that investment back as Wizards reprints popular cards. That is a driving factor in allowing people to acquire and play fun cards. We know that a number of cards are reprinted in the latest Masters set because of their price, not always how they fit. I remember an article about Damnation finally being reprinted this year. And they mentioned that Supreme Verdict actually fit the draft a lot better, but they knew they needed to go with the worse card for the draft environment because that was its time.

This is the Magic world we live in today. And when people who are trying to acquire newer cards for Commander or kitchen table play are increasingly finding that they don’t have as much of the equity they thought they had in their cards, they have to be pretty budget-conscience as a result. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a good Commander deck work.

Enter my Budget Commander series. The goal of each article in this series is to come under the budget of the previous one. We are down to $33.04 as this is the 40th edition of this series, so the deck today needs to clock under it near mint over at coolstuffinc.com. And as this is the 40th Edition, I wanted to do a little something fun and crazy . . . 

How about a legendary creature from Unstable? The various cards from that set are all on the cheaper side of life and available for a pretty cheap price. The cost of a pack is stable, and the popularity of the lands and tokens is going to lead to a small price for other singles from the set, and that is driving costs incredibly low. I should be able to make this deck for a very cheap entry price . . . 

So who do I want to run? Great question!

Grusilda, Monster Masher


My target is $33.04. So what did I hit? $32.98!

The goal of this deck was to initially run a bunch of Host and Augment stuff that’s pretty good already, and then to adjunct them with other cards that work well with Grusilda.

For example, take Dirty Rat

Dirty Rat
Ravenous Rats

This is a common that is $0.09 right now at coolstuffinc.com. It’s an easy addition to your deck. Now it’s a reprint of a commonly seen card at the Kitchen Table, Ravenous Rats. Now Ravenous Rats is a quarter and is the same card. So there is no reason not to swap out the Ravenous Rats in your decks for Dirty Rats. Not Dirty Wererat, mind you, from Odyssey mind you, but Dirty Rat. You don’t have to Augment Dirty Rat for it to already be good!

Now let’s look at some in color augment options from Grusilda’s Rakdos colors.

Ninja
Half-Orc, Half-

These are two options in your colors. Now we don’t have as many Augment options in these colors and that’s fine. The hosts are still pretty useful. But I am sure you can see a Ninja Rat or Half-Orc, Half-Rat pretty easily. The first would be a 2/1 that forces your opponent to discard a card when you hit them like a Hypnotic Specter, and you could augment on the 3rd turn when you swing, and it’ll curve very nicely indeed. Or you could attack with your augmented 4/2 trample Orc Warrior Rat and at the end of the turn when you dealt damage with it, you would again force another discard. Both are very powerful options, and note they would get Menace with Grusilda on the battlefield making them harder to stop.

Many of the host creatures here play into this pattern of strong-on-their-own. I did not run a host creature if it was in my colors but not feasible with a 40 life start (Big Boa Constrictor or Voracious Vacuum). Here are some great hosts out there that we are running:

Angelic Rocket
Labro Bot
Bumbling Pangolin
Common Iguana

All of these are great options for just playing. The Pangolin helps to destroy stuff, the Iguana is a nice early drop to filter your deck and get good stuff to your ‘yard to build up for Grusilda options, and more. Angelic Rocket is basically a colorless Angel of Despair that you can abuse and Labro Bot is solid with these cards already built in.

Now these aren’t the only combined cards that are in our colors, right?

Midnight Scavengers
Graf Rats
Hanweir Garrison
Hanweir Battlements

These four cards are all in the deck as well. Three of them are pretty powerful. Hanweir Battlements is strong on its own as a haste enabling land. Hanweir Garrison is a fine 3-drop that mugs up the ground with a lot of creatures as it swings, and Midnight Scavengers provides a card advantage option along the lines of Labro Bot by returning anything three or fewer to your hand. By the way, that includes all of the augment creatures. Only Graf Rats is not strong, but given the theme of the deck, I didn’t figure that you’d mind.

I also added in other interesting cards such as Gravedigger and Flametongue Kavu that are cheap hits for their price and have a strong cachet in decks like this that want to keep the cards and value flowing.

Now Grusilda also works on equipped creatures . . . 

Bonehoard
Scytheclaw

I thought that a living weapon equipment would be valuable as it would immediately qualify for being an equipped creature for Grusilda without needing to spend additional mana to qualify. Batterskull is obviously too expensive for a project like this, but these aren’t. Bonehoard should be pretty big and the creature Scytheclaw will be equipped to will have menace to help drop down those life totals with alacrity. If you have enough Swamps, the Lashwrithe might make an interesting addition as well.

Godo, Bandit Warlord
Tenza, Godo's Maul

Luckily, Godo has been reprinted enough times that he’s just a dollar near mint for the cheapest version at coolstuffinc.com. He’s an obvious addition to this deck. But an even cooler addition is Tenza! Don’t snooze on the value of this cheap uncommon at a quarter a copy. On Grusilda, it gives +3/+3 and trample for mega cheap. All of your Godo and other legendaries get +3/+3 and your Red stuff trample. The combination of menace and trample with big ol’ booty here is a pretty cool one and Grusilda can Voltron solidly in some cool ways.

Sire of Insanity

I’m not normally a Sire of Insanity sort of player. You will rarely see me running in any of my decks. But Grusilda seems like a valuable home. Since everyone is discarding their hand from then on, the ability to turn the discarded creatures into combined threats is pretty powerful. Plus, you can still make threats beyond the top-deck war that results with a Sire resolved and active on the battlefield.

Pyre Zombie
Akoum Firebird
Repeating Barrage
Pyrewild Shaman

This is a deck that wants some good long-term value. So, I added in cards that should play well with the core concept of the graveyard feeding. These cards are examples of ones that can self-recur and keep on coming. Yes, they can be a little mana hungry at times. That’s fine. It gives you options for the long game without sacrificing the short. Akoum Firebird is a bulk mythic that you can get for $0.49 right now. Even before you bring it back, it’s a 3/3 flyer with haste that has to bring the heat every turn for four mana. Not bad. And after it dies, you can pop it back onto the battlefield for six mana as a landfall trigger. You can kill something early with Repeating Barrage and still have it later. Pyrewild Shaman can be used pre-block to hit hard and then after you smash a player recur it to your hand and you invested {4}{R} for hitting harder and bringing it back (or you can just recurit later). These are all great examples of long term value that can get your deck to be successful in the long game.

Finally, you might note a few big names in here. When I finished building most of my deck, I was around $20. I usually begin by doing the key card and lands and mana artifacts. I don’t want to cheat on mana and key cards for your deck. Because of the cheapness of Unstable singles, I was able to put in pretty much anything I needed as long as it wasn’t too bad. Then I was able to add in a few pricer cards that are awesome in a deck such as this one, like Nim Deathmantle, Chandra, Flamecaller, and Sword of the Animist.

So what did you think of my Grusilda run? Anything in here you’d want to consider? Anything I missed? I hope you enjoyed the article!

APPENDIX

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. [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. [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.
  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.

Unstable is Now Available!

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