By Rob G
I freaking love playing Commander. With the diverse variety of cards available and the super casual (usually) fun provided by my playgroup always ends up being all sorts of good times. But when I jumped into the format after years of Magic hibernation, I found that kids these days wield some powerful stuff and aren’t afraid to spend the scratch go get the goods. Not only that, but it seemed like everyone played the same pool of EDH staples.
With a mortgage, a kid, and the general responsibilities that come along with those things, I’ve got a limited budget for cards. Not only that, but I’m a huge fan of finding “hidden value” that other players may not have heard about or aren’t utilizing in their decks. I’ve found these gems to be great for the player on the budget that is looking for some interesting strategies to get across the board.
Below are some hits across the color pie that I enjoy, each listed for under $2 on the Mox Boarding House (my local shop of choice) website.
At a whopping $.59 as of right now, Sphere of Safety is a great white card. One protip that floats around my playgroup is the importance of enchantments. Players love hitting the board with creature removal and creature board wipes, but enchantment removal just isn’t enough of a priority to most deck builders. So Sphere capitalizes on that by throwing out not only a one mana toll for attackers, but it grows with each other enchantment you have on the board. It’s great against token hordes and if beefy enough with more enchantments on the board, forces your opponents to commit to playing spells or paying to attack.
This sharkwhalemonsterthing does work. By the time you can bring this beater out, you’ll probably have 45 islands in play, which gives you some great bounce effects to knock out tokens and kick beefedup creatures back to opponent’s hands. Pairs great with Brago and flickering effects. At only $.25, it makes a great addition to almost any deck running blue.
A freaking great enchantment at just $.49 that provides some much needed evasion. Shadow doesn’t see a lot of love in our meta (or at all), so why not give your creatures a way to temporarily utilize the ability. What’s great about this card is that while Shadow normally has its drawbacks (can only block creatures with shadow), by giving the ability until the end of the turn means your creatures aren’t locked into limited blocking availability. Toss this enchantment out and give it to creatures with “when does damage to player” effects, and enjoy the carnage.
Playing red? Like bombing all your opponents with damage? If you’re playing heavy red with some dragons or other big costed things with multiple red mana symbols, Fanatic can be a nice damage bomb late game. At $.49, it is a cheap add to a collection and hails from the recent Theros block. Personally I tend to shy away from doing damage against a single player when playing red, as I prefer to get everyone mad at me at once. Combine this effect with other colors that like to flicker or bounce and you can repeat said shenanigans.
This gem allows you to skip your draw if needed in order to snag a basic land from your deck, which is awfully nice to cards with landfall cards like Rampaging Baloths. Costing only two mana to bring out, it can secure you an early board presence and a consistent mana base if your hand demands it. Also, it’s only $.35 as of right now!
I love this $.59 card as it fits in almost any deck and is great topdecking insurance. That is all.
Boom. $2.76 (before taxes) is the total damage for all these cards. Hopefully you have found some of this underground budget tech useful and they’ll soon find home in your collection. If you’re in the Seattle area, come show off what cool things you can do with these cards at the Eastside EDH playgroup, which meets every Saturday at Mox Boarding House in Bellevue.
Any questions or comments? Send me a tweet (@robogles).