EDH on a Budget – Overlooked Playables for Commander
I love this format. I can (and do) spend hours searching for cards in the hopes of finding interesting card interactions or sweet cards for Commander/EDH.
Quite often there are cards that were weak and dismissed because they had no limited or constructed value. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in EDH though. I’m going to list the latest pile of cards I have found that I believe could have a place in an EDH deck. I don’t have a large budget, so most of the cards listed are cheap as chips.
Okay, that’s you primed and up to date now. Lets have a look at what we’ve got in my goody bag!
How did Pristine Angel never show up on my radar before?? Ah, maybe it’s because she’s got protection from everything!
An awesome blocker, and when it comes to attacking I love the mechanic of being able to return her protective shield to her (and grant Vigilance) by casting a spell. Makes the card seem really balanced.
Tapping out to cast something like this gives you much better peace of mind than most creatures, as there are far less removal options to deal with it.
Could be worth chucking in a few instant speed cantrip spells like Manamorphose for a free protection. Or a cantrip on colour..
Fathom Trawl – £0.99
Do you like drawing cards? Me too. What I don’t like doing is casting a Harmonize and being rewarded with 3 lands.
Look no further! Fathom Trawl ensures that you hit three legitimate nonlanders! Hurrah!
Make that six if you are copying the spell by use of Riku of two reflections shenanigans.
Digging seven is pretty deep, and the rest going into your graveyard means I’m looking at you Mimeoplasm! Riku, as always, should consider copying this for a 14 card reach into your deck. Disgusting behavior.
I don’t like destroying land generally as it’s bad for the etiquette business. However, I do like having the option stapled on to another ability (*cough* Acidic Slime).
The land enters untapped, and has no restriction at all. Meaning that you can search up super cool lands like Homeward Path! Wait, what?
*[rant]This card trys to put a stop to creature thieving, one of the most fun things to do in magic. Cards like this annoy me. I also dislike cards that hinder interaction, i.e Hexproof, Split-second. These are the fun sponges of magic! [/rant]
How is this an instant? All the rest of these cards with this effect are sorcery’s! This card is a savage beating when entwined, and is still solid when you can’t afford the extra two. The effects work very well together (like Fuse cards).
Once your opponent knows that you play Edict effects its a great position to be in. It often means they will overextend slightly in order to make sure their best creature can’t be Edicted. This card is the black version of Fervent Denial.
It’s a 2 for 1, that is mega cheap on first casting. Once in the graveyard it will then stare at your opponent provocatively daring them to have just one creature on the battlefield.
Late game, its still a fine top deck. Albeit a 9mana one sided Barter in Blood.
Life loss on cards matters less in commander, so if you think you’ll have enough targets in your meta then you should consider Chainer’s Edicts little brother Crippling Fatigue too.
The red one blows up all lands and the green one lets you cheat creatures in – these things do not interest me. I do like the Esper ones though. They are over-costed creatures with a powerful spell attached, however they do become truly bogus once the divinity counter is removed. Sooo, I was thinking is that they should be abused with Proliferate and/or Clockspinning type effects! Once you create a lock of using their divinity ability over and over while them remaining indestructible it should be pretty easy to win.
Much like the Tour de France, when it comes to cycling these cards are on steroids! Being un-counterable is a nice clause when you cycle it. These cards come online early but are mediocre at that point. Late game though, you are drawing a card and double boomeranging or instant speed hymn to Touraching. Resounding silence seems like the best value (as it is also the best when hard cast) and it will get you a nice 3 for 1 on the cycle. I did not mention the Naya or Jund one because they are pants.
Kicker cards are great in commander as they are online for more stages of the game, and have a power level that evolves instead of stagnating.
Humans are greedy animals. When looking at most kicker/overload spells we automatically analyse the card on the assumption that we are getting the most out of it. I.e, that this is not a 5mana spell, because we’d be missing out on all the fun just 2mana later.
I love the fact that you can cast this guy for 5 for some looting if you have to, but once you hit seven mana it’s back to value town!
It would be best used in decks with Flashback/Reanimator tendencies or recursive engines as the 5mana version is stronger when it’s being abused.
Thicket Elemental – £0.95
If you are running a Mayael the Anima or Ruric Thar deck then most of your creatures are probably 6mana + fatties. Based on that logic, casting this essentially pays for the card you hit, but nets you a free 4/4.
With creature returning effects this could be used over and over for card advantage.
Looking for a way to finish? Aren’t we all! A 3 mana lightning bolt will always be able to find a target early on. Late game though, you have an uncounterable, unpreventable 10 damage missile of rage. I like the fact that it is instant as well. Who likes tapping out on their turn to nug someone for 10? Not me that’s for sure.
A sweet mana dump when drawn later.
Sprout Swarm! Saprolings everywhere!
Sunscape Battlemage – £0.35
The other day when I said that I love Ana Battlemage I failed to mention that I love Sunscape Battlemage even more!
The value here is insane. If one classes Nekrataal type effects to be a 2 for 1 (because its a kill spell + a body) then this guy right here can be a straight up 4 for 1!
It has the sweet balance of having a niche kicker (though there are a lot of dragons/angels/demons in EDH to prey on) and a draw two cards kicker for when you don’t need it. Top banana!
There are a surprising amount of good creatures with 2 toughness* to murder with the top kicker, but you can always aim at the face if you have to.
*Riku, Edric, Azusa, Sisay, Gaddock, Jhoira, Kaalia, Kangee, Merieke, Momir, Nin, Rhys, Rofello, Thada, Talrand. Yes, we are on first name terms.
Buyback (legitimate takesies backsies)
- Wurmcalling – Would be sweet in a deck playing Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice! This card gives you a unique effect to brag about; From turn 5 onwards you can never have ‘no plays’. As the game goes on, it only gets better!
- Worthy Cause – A round trip of 3mana is a small cost to prevent people trying to shuffle away your commander. Has a similar role in preventing people from stealing your creatures. When used in response to wraths you are going to wrack up some decent life gain over a game.
- Spell Burst – With significant ramp, this could take over the game.
- Slaughter – So long as you keep an eye on your life total, this could generate a lot of value going on a killing spree.
- Invulnerability – For the controlling EDH player! I don’t think so Urza’s Rage or Red Sun’s Zenith for a million! This will prevent a fair packet of damage as the game goes on, including when you are not attacked/targeted because they know you have it.
- Mystic Speculation – To crystal ball or not to ball? Or both! If you want that effect, then here is another scry generator that can’t be sweeped. Once more mana is at your disposal you can really dig with this card.
- Corpse Dance – This being an instant means you can catch Eldrazi and co. Having haste means it’s sweet with them also, and with Griselbrand. Furthermore, if you sacrifice the creature before the end step then it won’t be exiled (unlike darn Unearth dudes). All in all, it’s a powerful effect to have constant access to!
My favourite section when it comes to EDH! When new cards get printed or old cards discovered the temptation is to try them out and see if any are straight up upgrades to the current deck list. The fear though, is that after multiple tinkering’s your deck loses focus, the mana base gets skewed and you ‘break’ it.
No need to worry with lands though! When you get a dual land to replace one of your basics you know its only got better. Assuming your mana costs aren’t insane, I believe you can safely play at least 4 colourless lands. Furthermore, I believe you can play up to 10 ‘tapped lands’ unless you are playing against/with a super aggressive EDH deck one on one.
Wasting a card on grave hate doesn’t feel good, so don’t! EDH is full of graveyard interaction, so this will be devastating sometimes.
A land that gives you one free spin of Sensei’s Divining Top? Sign me up! An auto include for blue.
Have you got land envy? Then wait no longer! This lets you copy a command tower when feeling colour shy, or copy a legendary land with useful abilities (a factor that just got better and worse with the legendary rules change) or sometimes even copy a bounce land for value.
M13 did us a real favour knocking this baby down in price. Every EDH simply must have one.
It’s a 3mana chump block machine! Assuming you can cope with it entering tapped, I can’t see why you wouldn’t want to play this in all black EDH decks.
The white counterpart of the cycle becomes a 1/5 soldier until end of turn, which could also do some blocking (but would cause you to wince if they followed up with a Wrath).
The rest of the cycle are more aggro orientated, making them far less good for EDH.
Ravnica‘s bounce lands are a proven winner in EDH. Getting extra mana out of your lands and being able to replay a Halimar Depths/Bojuka Bog is great value. Carol Atoll that you see before you is one of the original bounce lands. Theres a cycle of them, i.e one for each colour. They are unfortunately, strictly worse than Ravnica’s. This is because they cannot return any land but it must be untapped, and they do not provide colour fixing.
Bear in mind (in this case) it doesn’t have to be a basic island, so they aren’t quite as fussy as they first appear.
This also is part of a cycle, though the white, green and black ones don’t tap for 2mana. They compensate for that by not requiring an untapped land for sacrifice. You can see them all here. This one has a pretty decent ability in commander, especially if you play any miracles. A cheap scry effect that is harder to remove.
Krosan Verge – £0.45
Before you search, no, there are no other lands exactly like this. It actually ramps you – it nets you card advantage! Sure its slow, but if you are finding an overgrown tomb and a hallowed fountain then it provides epic mana fixing too! Any EDH deck with these colours cannot pass up this juicy mana fixing, deck thinning, grilling…err, ramping machine!
Being able to tap for one is not irrelevant too, for the odd situation that requires mana instead of terramorphing.
Think about it. If your EDH games are even just 4 man’s then it’s not going to be long before somebody gets done in for 7 damage.
Seeing as you are playing red, I’m guessing you could always help if they were shy of a few points of damage.
It’s kind of interesting that the White/Green Hideaway lands are constructed playable, Blue is Limited playable and Red is EDH playable. Black is good in…nothing.
Incidentally, the White (Windbrisk Heights) and Green (Mosswort Bridge) counterparts are very easy to trigger in the right EDH deck, I just felt that Spinerock Knoll will inevitably go off without your help (and so does not need to be built around. You can slam it in every Red EDH you have).
Till next time nerds!