The £20 MTG Commander Challenge – Bargain Hunter Edition
In my previous article I wrote about a £20 Commander (EDH) challenge. My general of choice was Yasova Dragonclaw and, though I have yet to play any games with her, I have finalised the list. For now. One of the best things about EDH is the fact that a deck constantly changes and we will be adding to our decks monthly, within a tiny budget. That is for the future, though. For now, I’m going to discuss some of the best bargains I found for the very first build of Yasova. Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Redundancy is very powerful in a 100-card singleton format. For 30p, Captivating Crew being a potentially superior version of Yasova is a steal. What else is there to say? Having a second copy of your general has to be a good thing.
Polymorph effects aren’t particularly powerful in this deck. We aren’t putting any Eldrazi into play, for example. But sacrifice outlets for stolen creatures are important and Jalira does offer significant upside. She is not at her best here, but I expect her to do some work.
The Primordial cycle was clearly designed with multiplayer games in mind. The green one was so good (or so miserable) that it got banned in EDH. The red one has some applications – I hope. This one will require some setup in terms of combo’ing off, but it does help set-up plan B: bashing people’s faces in.
There’s nothing particularly clever or fancy about this card, but it fulfils a role. Card draw on this budget is at a premium and haste is a helpful bonus, particularly with cards like…
What I realised about a lot of the cards going into this deck for combo reasons is that they also enable alpha strikes pretty well. Granted, Limited bombs like this had an easier time ending games that start with 20 life, but it is nice to have an alternative in case plan A isn’t good enough.
Speaking of beatdown, here is another card which does that pretty well. What it lacks in finesse it makes up for in, er, knuckling. Normally I hate playing cards like this in EDH, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Cyclonic Rift was a little out of my price range for this challenge but Profaner does a pretty good impression. Not many of our own creatures are big enough to make this a proper Rift but we don’t intend to sacrifice many of our own creatures in the first place.
I’m sure most of you already know this, but in case you don’t, flickering a stolen creature makes it yours permanently. I didn’t want to overload on this effect, but this version seemed like the most fun. It might be too cute but time will tell. It’s an easy two for one, but if other people have splashed out for sweepers it could lead to some nasty over-extension.
I love me some value, and this card is oozing with it. It’s not particularly on-theme but every EDH needs ramp and card draw. Having both in one card is a boon, leaving more room for the exciting cards.
And talking of oozing, this one is quite the find. Sacrificing stolen creatures for value is what this deck is all about and this enchantment does a great job of that without over-committing to the board. A real gem.
I had never even seen this card before I started this project. It’s pretty nasty, and, frankly, I might end up cutting it because it looks super un-fun to play against. On the other hand, I don’t expect many non-basics, given the budgetary restraints of the format. I will keep a close eye on this one, but my inner devil couldn’t resist giving a try.
Flexibility is a powerful thing to have on a card. What Temur Charm lacks in raw strength it makes up for in adaptability. Man Leak is pretty poor in EDH, but it’s nice to have access to a counterspell in a pinch. The fight mode is an easy two-for-one with stolen creatures and the third mode fits nicely into the plan B I keep referring to.
I’m not a big fan of counterspells in EDH, but they are a necessary evil. This deck needs to find damage where it can, and having a fireball attached to its counters is a fine way to do that.
Cyclonic Rift this is not, but it’s a reasonable equaliser if one player is getting too big for his boots.
This card may be slow, but it does a lot of what this deck wants to do. It helps with the Yasova plan, pumping her in order to steal bigger creatures. If that isn’t working, drawing cards is the best way to find another option. It also helps that I have plenty of them lying around from recent drafts.
19p. What? A big part of this challenge was finding under-priced, overlooked EDH cards. This card is the jackpot. I guess it having had a promo while being unplayable in competitive formats explains the price tag, but this is easily the best bargain I have found. It doesn’t help with Yasova a great deal, but the ogre loves to help his mates smash faces.
This card absolutely does help with the Yasova plan. Buffing her to improve her ability is the main reason for this card’s inclusion, but the pseudo ramp ability is nothing to be sniffed at.
Not even Luis Scott Vargas would call this card Cryptic Command, but a flexible counterspell is always handy in EDH.
Another card I had never even heard of, this was recommended by a friend. It was a little bit over my per-card budget but the ability to merge plan A and plan B was hard to pass up. Steal your guy, slap you with him, sacrifice him and do it all over again. What’s not to love?
I don’t know how good this creature is, but I wanted some answer to sweepers. This deck isn’t really interested in the ramp or the 1/1 bodies, but perhaps the combination is worthwhile if there are enough of the latter. Keeping an eye on this one.
Speaking of sweepers, this looks like a solid option for the player on a budget. It requires some setup, of course, but not too much. The damage going to face is a nice little bonus too.
Recursive effects are difficult to come by on such a tight budget. Eternal Witness is immune to reprints reducing her price apparently. Still, playing EDH without some way of getting things back out of your graveyard seems like a losing prospect. Deadwood Treefolk, while expensive, is my nod to recursion.
All that’s left now is to play some Magic. Well, sort of. To keep the challenge fresh, we’ve agreed on a tiny additional budget of £2 per month. This should help our decks improve over time but without opening the door to too many absurd combos. I think (hope) this Yasova deck is pretty good, and it’s nice to see that one can build a decent deck without having to break the bank. Better yet, I’m certain there are plenty of budget options I have overlooked in these colours at this price range.
This challenge has definitely rekindled my interest in EDH. I am already starting to come up with potential additions in my head. Do I blow the whole £2 on one powerful bomb? Maybe one of the cheaper planeswalkers? Do I try and shore up the deck’s weaknesses or build on its strengths? The former is difficult without having played any games yet but I do have some ideas. The latter is easier: more cards that do some of the same things. Better sacrifice outlets might be nice, for example. The options, while nowhere near limitless, are at least plentiful. Similarly, ways to buff and protect Yasova would be nice. I only have a couple in the current list, but being able to steal bigger creatures would strengthen the deck a great deal.
Next week, I’ll probably go back to writing about limited for the time being. With Iconic Masters just released, we have something to fill the void left by nobody wanting to draft Ixalan. I’ve already played with the set a bunch and enjoyed it thoroughly. Sitting next to Ixalan, it does look a bit like going out on the pull with your ugly mate, but I do think Iconic Masters is good enough to stand on its own. More on that next week.
Thanks for reading,