The Commander’s Chair – Pauper to Prince

It has only been a few weeks since I wrote my first article on how to upgrade the Commander precons. After several discussions I noted that there was one serious flaw with the way I was approaching both building and upgrading Commander decks. I have not been taking the price of cards into account. As a result, I have been giving advice that not everyone could follow. When @mikelinnemann suggested that I write an article covering upgrades of Commander decks at different price levels, I went to work.

Today I will be covering $5, $10, $50, $100 and higher cost upgrades to the Commander precons. By covering this I hope to not only show cheap and easy ways to improve your Commander decks, but also to show what makes up the difference between the Commander precons and Commander decks that are ready to take on all comers. For the purposes of this demonstration I will use the Counterpunch precon.

Commander Ghave, Guru of Spores
Creature (26) Enchantment (10) Land (39)
Aquastrand Spider Attrition Barren Moor
Celestial Force Aura Shards Command Tower
Chorus of the Conclave Awakening Zone Evolving Wilds
Dark Hatchling Fists of Ironwood 10 Forest
Deadly Recluse Necrogenesis Golgari Rot Farm
Fertilid Oblivion Ring Orzhov Basilica
GolgariGuildmage Soul Snare 8 Plains
Hornet Queen Vow of Duty Rupture Spire
Karador, Ghost Chieftain Vow of Malice Secluded Steppe
Monk Realist Vow of Wildness Selesnya Sanctuary
Nantuko Husk   8 Swamp
Penumbra Spider Sorcery (9) Temple of the False God
Sakura-Tribe Elder Alliance of Arms Tranquil Thicket
Scavenging Ooze Bestial Menace Vivid Grove
Selesnya Evangel Cultivate Vivid Marsh
SelesnyaGuildmage Death Mutation 1x Vivid Meadow
Shriekmaw Harmonize  
Sigil Captain Hex  
Spawnwrithe Hour of Reckoning  
Spike Feeder Storm Herd  
Squallmonger Syphon Flesh  
Symbiotic Wurm    
Teneb, the Harvester Instant (7)  
Vampire Nighthawk Afterlife  
VishKal, Blood Arbiter Cobra Trap  
Yavimaya Elder Doom Blade  
  Footbottom Feast  
Artifact (8) Mortify  
Acorn Catapult Nemesis Trap  
Darksteel Ingot Tribute to the Wild
Golgari Signet    
Lightning Greaves    
Orzhov Signet    
Selesnya Signet    
Skullclamp    
Sol Ring    

First things First

As happy as I am with these Commander decks, they do not hold their own against real Commander decks. The decks do not live up to the potential that each of the new Commanders presents. Most of the cards in the decks can be replaced with cards that work better. There are a decent number of cards in each deck that I think can be removed without remorse. When you go to upgrade a deck pull aside any cards you are never happy to see and set them aside. This is your junk pile. At any upgrade level you should have at least enough cards to replace these.

Extra Value Meal

Our first goal is probably the hardest to achieve. We have at least 20 cards to replace and only $5 in which to spend. That leaves us a maximum average cost per card of only .25. Most online deck programs separate the decks into Creatures, Artifacts, Enchantments, Sorceries, Instants, Planeswalkers, and Lands. While this is a simple view of a deck, I prefer to separate decks on an individual basis. For Ghave, I would separate the cards into Tutors, Draw/Dig, Constant Sacrifice, Recursion, WOG Effects, Spot Removal, Mana Ramp, Utility and Land. To keep us under the $5 mark, I won’t consider any cards that cost more than 50 cents or require a card that cost more than 50 cents to be effective. With that in mind I found the following cards that could give the deck some improvement.

Out

In

1 Aquastrand Spider   Tutors
1 Celestial Force $ 0.05 Diabolic Tutor
1 Deadly Recluse $ 0.10 Brutalizer Exarch
1 Monk Realist $ 0.10 Congregation at Dawn
1 Nantuko Husk $ 0.50 Altar of Bone
1 Penumbra Spider $ 0.50 Time of Need
1 Spike Feeder   Draw Dig
1 Squallmonger $ 0.25 Fecundity
1 Vampire Nighthawk $ 0.25 Abundance
1 Fists of Ironwood   Constant Sacrifice
1 Soul Snare $ 0.10 World Queller
1 Vow of Duty $ 0.50 Butcher of Malakir
1 Vow of Malice   Recurssion
1 Vow of Wildness $ 0.20 Mortuary
1 Alliance of Arms   WOG Effects
1 Bestial Menace $ 0.50 Life’s Finale
1 Cobra Trap $ 0.50 Phyrexian Rebirth
1 Doom Blade   Spot Removal
1 Nemesis Trap $ 0.10 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Tribute to the Wild $ 0.10 Return to Dust
1 Forest $ 0.50 Oblation
1 Plains   Mana Ramp
1 Swamp $ 0.05 Rampant Growth
  $ 0.05 Growth Spasm
  $ 0.10 Kodama’s Reach
  $ 0.10 Hunting Wilds
    Utility
  $ 0.20 Pentavus
    Land
  $ 0.05 Shimmering Grotto
  $ 0.10 Terramorphic Expanse
    $ 0.10 Elfhame Palace

Tutors: Even at this cheap of an upgrade, we have access to some wonderful tutors. Congregation at Dawn is particularly powerful. Almost every creature in this deck has a utility purpose, so being able to tutor multiple creatures is very powerful.

Draw/Dig:
Abundance is a greatly undervalued Commander card. You are never sad to see this card. It will help you avoid being either mana flooded or mana screwed and it survives all the red mass destruction spells. Fecundity is an auto-include in any deck running Ghave as the Commander, at any price. Being able to pay 2 mana to draw a card each turn is absurd, especially in a deck that doesn’t run any islands.

Constant Sacrifice: Sacrifice based removal ignores almost all protection that creatures have. Butcher of Malakir is another card I would like to see in this deck at all levels. Butcher lets you pay 2 mana a turn to force a sacrifice. Later on we will want more cards like this.

Recursion: We do not get much good recursion at this level, but Mortuary is pretty good. When you combine it with Fecundity, any creature that goes to your graveyard can be put right back into your hand.

WOG Effects: I like Phyrexian Rebirth and Life’s Finale better than Wrath of God in Commander. Having them be so cheap is just a bonus.

Spot Removal: Spot removal does not suffer at all at these levels. All three of these spells are grade A Commander removal. I always hope to get Fleshbag online with both Fecundity + Mortuary

Mana Ramp: This is another spot where cost is not a large factor when it comes to quality. I run both mana heavy and accelerant heavy in most of my Green commander decks.

Utility: Pentavus is not quite as good as Ghave, but it can work similarly with Fecundity and Butcher of Malakir to create a control engine.

With this brand new look at the deck, it now looks like this;

 

Commander

1

Ghave, Guru of Spores    
Tutors   Mana Fixer Land
1 Diabolic Tutor

1

Darksteel Ingot

1

Barren Moor
1 Brutalizer Exarch

1

Golgari Signet

1

Command Tower
1 Congregation at Dawn

1

Orzhov Signet

1

Evolving Wilds
1 Altar of Bone

1

Selesnya Signet

9

 Forest
1 Time of Need

1

Sol Ring

1

Golgari Rot Farm
Dig/Draw

1

Fertilid

1

Orzhov Basilica
1 Harmonize

1

Sakura-Tribe Elder

7

Plains
1 Skullclamp

1

Yavimaya Elder

1

Rupture Spire
1 Fecundity

1

Cultivate

1

Secluded Steppe
1 Abundance

1

Rampant Growth

1

Selesnya Sanctuary
Grave Pacts / Constant Sacrifice

1

Growth Spasm

7

Swamp
1 World Queller

1

Kodama’s Reach

1

Temple of the False God
1 Butcher of Malakir

1

Hunting Wilds

1

Tranquil Thicket
Recurssion Utility

1

Vivid Grove
1 Footbottom Feast

1

Syphon Flesh

1

Vivid Marsh
1 Karador, Ghost Chieftain

1

Lightning Greaves

1

Vivid Meadow
1 Teneb, the Harvester

1

Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter

1

Shimmering Grotto
1 Mortuary

1

Sigil Captain

1

Terramorphic Expanse
WOG Effects

1

Spawnwrithe

1

Elfhame Palace
1 Hour of Reckoning

1

Chorus of the Conclave  
1 Life’s Finale

1

Scavenging Ooze  
1 Phyrexian Rebirth

1

Pentavus  
Targeted Destruction Token Generation  
1 Mortify

1

Necrogenesis  
1 Oblivion Ring

1

Awakening Zone  
1 Aura Shards

1

Storm Herd  
1 Afterlife

1

Acorn Catapult  
1 Attrition

1

Symbiotic Wurm  
1 Death Mutation

1

Selesnya Guildmage  
1 Dark Hatchling

1

Golgari Guildmage  
1 Hex

1

Hornet Queen  
1 Shriekmaw

1

Selesnya Evangel  
1 Fleshbag Marauder  
1 Return to Dust  
1 Oblation        

A Taste of Infinity

The difference in cards between $5 and $10 can be pretty small. After all there isn’t much difference between a $1 rare and 50 cent rare. They are both generally considered to be junk. However, the access to a few $1-2 cards can give you the basic to one of the many infinite engines in Magic. I am a proponent of having the ability to go infinite in whatever Commander deck you decide to build. When games last hour upon hour, you will need someone who can pull the trigger and put everyone out of their misery. From the first time I saw Ghave I knew that he was going to be quick friends with many of the cards from the deck featured in The Voltron Matrix. Over time I have grown to respect Ghave as a Commander. Many people who were trying to decide between Teysa, Ghost Council of Orzov, Savra and other sacrifice based strategies have been given the perfect Commander. As we upgrade this deck, it will push further and further into a Creature Control strategy.

Out

In

1 Aquastrand Spider Tutor
1 Celestial Force $ 0.05 Diabolic Tutor
1 Deadly Recluse $ 1.00 Beseech the Queen
1 Monk Realist $ 0.10 Congregation at Dawn
1 Nantuko Husk Draw Dig
1 Penumbra Spider $ 0.25 Fecundity
1 Spike Feeder $ 0.25 Abundance
1 Squallmonger Constant Sacrifice
1 Vampire Nighthawk $ 0.10 World Queller
1 Fists of Ironwood $ 0.50 Butcher of Malakir
1 Soul Snare $ 0.50 Savra, Queen of the Golgari
1 Vow of Duty Recurssion
1 Vow of Malice $ 0.20 Mortuary
1 Vow of Wildness WOG Effects
1 Alliance of Arms $ 0.50 Life’s Finale
1 Bestial Menace $ 0.50 Phyrexian Rebirth
1 Cobra Trap Spot Removal
1 Doom Blade $ 0.10 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Nemesis Trap $ 0.10 Return to Dust
1 Tribute to the Wild $ 0.50 Oblation
1 Hex Utility
1 Spawnwrithe $ 0.20 Pentavus
1 Afterlife $ 0.50 Ashnod’s Altar
1 Dark Hatchling $ 1.00 Juniper Order Ranger
1 Forest $ 1.50 It That Betrays
1 Plains Mana Ramp
1 Swamp $ 0.05 Growth Spasm
    $ 0.05 Rampant Growth
    $ 0.10 Kodama’s Reach
    $ 0.25 Reap and Sow
    $ 0.25 Explosive Vegetation
    $ 0.10 Hunting Wilds
    Land
    $ 0.05 Shimmering Grotto
    $ 0.10 Terramorphic Expanse
    $ 0.10 Elfhame Palace
    $ 0.10 Saltcrusted Steppe
    $ 0.25 Pine Barrens
    $ 0.50 Mirrodin’s Core

As you can see, most of the cards are the same. The biggest improvements we get here are in utility cards. It that Betrays lets us gain an enormous advantage from our sacrifice control cards. Juniper Order Ranger and Ashnod’s Altar together give us the possibility of having infinite tokens, infinite mana,have our creatures be infinitely large, and have infinite “enters the battlefield” and “sacrifice” triggers. With that, we have gained possibilities that were not available in the original deck. After all the changes the deck is now;

 

Commander

1

Ghave, Guru of Spores    
Tutors   Mana Fixer Land
1 Beseech the Queen

1

Cultivate

1

Barren Moor
1 Congregation at Dawn

1

Darksteel Ingot

1

Command Tower
1 Diabolic Tutor

1

Explosive Vegetation

1

Evolving Wilds
Dig/Draw

1

Fertilid

8

 Forest
1 Abundance

1

Golgari Signet

1

Golgari Rot Farm
1 Fecundity

1

Growth Spasm

1

Orzhov Basilica
1 Harmonize

1

Hunting Wilds

6

Plains
1 Skullclamp

1

Kodama’s Reach

1

Rupture Spire
Grave Pacts / Constant Sacrifice

1

Orzhov Signet

1

Secluded Steppe
1 Butcher of Malakir

1

Rampant Growth

1

Selesnya Sanctuary
1 Savra, Queen of the Golgari

1

Reap and Sow

6

Swamp
1 World Queller

1

Sakura-Tribe Elder

1

Temple of the False God
Recurssion

1

Selesnya Signet

1

Tranquil Thicket
1 Footbottom Feast

1

Sol Ring

1

Vivid Grove
1 Karador, Ghost Chieftain

1

Yavimaya Elder

1

Vivid Marsh
1 Mortuary Utility

1

Vivid Meadow
1 Teneb, the Harvester

1

Ashnod’s Altar

1

Shimmering Grotto
WOG Effects

1

Chorus of the Conclave

1

Terramorphic Expanse
1 Hour of Reckoning

1

It That Betrays

1

Elfhame Palace
1 Life’s Finale

1

Juniper Order Ranger

1

Saltcrusted Steppe
1 Phyrexian Rebirth

1

Lightning Greaves

1

Pine Barrens
Targeted Destruction

1

Pentavus

1

Mirrodin’s Core
1 Attrition

1

Scavenging Ooze  
1 Aura Shards

1

Sigil Captain  
1 Death Mutation

1

Syphon Flesh  
1 Fleshbag Marauder

1

Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter  
1 Mortify Token Generation  
1 Oblation

1

Necrogenesis  
1 Oblivion Ring

1

Awakening Zone  
1 Return to Dust

1

Storm Herd  
1 Shriekmaw

1

Acorn Catapult  
 

1

Symbiotic Wurm  
 

1

Selesnya Guildmage  
 

1

Golgari Guildmage  
 

1

Hornet Queen  
   

1

Selesnya Evangel    

It’s ALIVE!

At a $50 upgrade level we finally get to start seeing what a deck should really be looking like. As you invest more and more money into a deck, less and less of the original cards make the cut. As a result, you still will not be able to include a ton of the signature commander staples into your deck at $50. You can a few $3-7 cards and that can really help the deck out. It is important to use those slots wisely. While cards like Solemn Simulacrum are good in almost every Commander deck, they take up a disproportionate amount of your budget for their power. There is no point in stacking your deck with cards that let you win faster if you do not have cards that let you win. The deck at this point will be mostly cards you add to it, rather than cards that came with it.

Out

In

1 Aquastrand Spider   Tutor
1 Celestial Force $ 0.05 Diabolic Tutor
1 Deadly Recluse $ 0.10 Congregation at Dawn
1 Monk Realist $ 1.00 Beseech the Queen
1 Nantuko Husk $ 3.00 Diabolic Intent
1 Penumbra Spider Draw / Dig
1 Spike Feeder $ 0.25 Fecundity
1 Squallmonger $ 0.25 Abundance
1 Vampire Nighthawk $ 1.00 Greater Good
1 Fists of Ironwood Constant Sacrifice
1 Soul Snare $ 0.10 World Queller
1 Vow of Duty $ 0.50 Butcher of Malakir
1 Vow of Malice $ 0.50 Anowon, the Ruin Sage
1 Vow of Wildness $ 0.50 Savra, Queen of the Golgari
1 Alliance of Arms $ 1.00 Braids, Cabal Minion
1 Bestial Menace $ 1.00 Kuon, Ogre Ascendant
1 Cobra Trap $ 2.00 Sheoldred, Whispering One
1 Doom Blade $ 3.00 Grave Pact
1 Nemesis Trap $ 5.00 Martyr’s Bond
1 Tribute to the Wild Recurssion
1 Hex $ 0.20 Mortuary
1 Spawnwrithe $ 0.50 Enduring Renewal
1 Afterlife $ 2.00 Reveillark
1 Dark Hatchling $ 3.00 Eternal Witness
1 Forest $ 0.25 Saffi Eriksdotter
1 Plains Spot Removal
1 Swamp $ 0.10 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Golgari Rot Farm $ 0.10 Return to Dust
1 Orzhov Basilica $ 0.50 Oblation
1 Selesnya Sanctuary $ 6.00 Woodfall Primus
1 Symbiotic Wurm Utility
1 Selesnya Guildmage $ 0.50 Ashnod’s Altar
1 Golgari Guildmage $ 1.00 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
1 Selesnya Evangel $ 1.00 Juniper Order Ranger
1 Storm Herd $ 1.50 It That Betrays
1 Acorn Catapult $ 3.00 Kitchen Finks
1 Footbottom Feast $ 2.00 Mirror Entity
1 Chorus of the Conclave Token Generation
1 Scavenging Ooze $ 0.10 Golgari Germination
1 Syphon Flesh $ 0.50 Ant Queen
1 Death Mutation $ 0.50 Genesis Chamber
1 Shriekmaw Mana Ramp
1 Oblivion Ring $ 0.05 Growth Spasm
1 Mortify $ 0.05 Rampant Growth
1 Hour of Reckoning $ 0.10 Kodama’s Reach
1 Teneb, the Harvester $ 0.25 Reap and Sow
  $ 0.25 Explosive Vegetation
  $ 0.10 Hunting Wilds
  Lands
  $ 0.10 Terramorphic Expanse
  $ 0.50 Mirrodin’s Core
  $ 0.10 Elfhame Palace
  $ 0.10 Saltcrusted Steppe
  $ 0.25 Pine Barrens
  $ 0.50 Mirrodin’s Core
  $ 1.00 Grand Coliseum
  $ 0.50 Tainted Wood
  $ 0.50 Salt Flats
    $ 0.80 Tainted Field

At this level you have to start making difficult decisions about what you are keeping and what you do not have room for. At this point, I feel confident going all in on a theme or strategy. This means cutting cards that do not directly help, or can only help in a limited fashion. By using 3-4 Gravepact effects and 5 Braids-like sacrifice effects, I feel confident that I can keep the board clear even without a WOG effect. At the same time, I know that I will need to be generating much more creatures than I was before. The $50 range finally gives us the freedom to include one or two of the cheaper packages available. In this case, it will be Melira/Juniper Order Ranger + Persist + Sac Outlet, In Addition to the Revilark + Eternal Witness package. The Eternal Witness package includes Mirror Entity and Saffi to create an infinite loop. Here is a deck I would be happy to run at a local store;

 

Commander

1

Ghave, Guru of Spores    
Tutors Mana Fixer Land
1 Beseech the Queen

1

Cultivate

1

Barren Moor
1 Congregation at Dawn

1

Darksteel Ingot

1

Command Tower
1 Diabolic Intent

1

Explosive Vegetation

1

Evolving Wilds
1 Diabolic Tutor

1

Fertilid

8

 Forest
Dig/Draw

1

Golgari Signet

5

Plains
1 Abundance

1

Growth Spasm

1

Rupture Spire
1 Fecundity

1

Hunting Wilds

1

Secluded Steppe
1 Greater Good

1

Kodama’s Reach

6

Swamp
1 Harmonize

1

Orzhov Signet

1

Temple of the False God
1 Skullclamp

1

Rampant Growth

1

Tranquil Thicket
Grave Pacts / Constant Sacrifice

1

Reap and Sow

1

Vivid Grove
1 Anowon, the Ruin Sage

1

Sakura-Tribe Elder

1

Vivid Marsh
1 Braids, Cabal Minion

1

Selesnya Signet

1

Vivid Meadow
1 Butcher of Malakir

1

Sol Ring

1

Terramorphic Expanse
1 Grave Pact

1

Yavimaya Elder

1

Mirrodin’s Core
1 Kuon, Ogre Ascendant Utility

1

Elfhame Palace
1 Martyr’s Bond

1

Ashnod’s Altar

1

Saltcrusted Steppe
1 Savra, Queen of the Golgari

1

It That Betrays

1

Pine Barrens
1 Sheoldred, Whispering One

1

Juniper Order Ranger

1

Mirrodin’s Core
1 World Queller

1

Kitchen Finks

1

Grand Coliseum
Recurssion

1

Lightning Greaves

1

Tainted Wood
1 Karador, Ghost Chieftain

1

Melira, Sylvok Outcast

1

Salt Flats
1 Enduring Renewal

1

Mirror Entity

1

Tainted Field
1 Eternal Witness

1

Sigil Captain  
1 Mortuary

1

Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter  
1 Reveillark Token Generation  
1 Saffi Eriksdotter

1

Ant Queen  
Targeted Destruction

1

Awakening Zone  
1 Attrition

1

Genesis Chamber  
1 Aura Shards

1

Golgari Germination  
1 Fleshbag Marauder

1

Hornet Queen  
1 Oblation

1

Necrogenesis  
1 Return to Dust  
1 Woodfall Primus        

Mini-Pimp

A $50 upgrade gives you a basic Commander deck. A $100 upgrade is just a $50 upgrade that you throw in a few staples. When you start running cards in your deck that everyone wants to run, $50 adds up fast. This is also when you start getting slightly better lands. Land bases for decks can add up quick, so we get less for this $50 than the last $50.

Out

In

1 Aquastrand Spider   Tutor
1 Celestial Force $ 0.05 Diabolic Tutor
1 Deadly Recluse $ 0.10 Congregation at Dawn
1 Monk Realist $ 1.00 Beseech the Queen
1 Nantuko Husk $ 3.00 Diabolic Intent
1 Penumbra Spider Draw / Dig
1 Spike Feeder $ 0.25 Fecundity
1 Squallmonger $ 0.25 Abundance
1 Vampire Nighthawk $ 1.00 Greater Good
1 Fists of Ironwood $ 8.00 Sylvan Library
1 Soul Snare $ 15.00 Sensei’s Divining Top
1 Vow of Duty Constant Sacrifice
1 Vow of Malice $ 0.10 World Queller
1 Vow of Wildness $ 0.50 Butcher of Malakir
1 Alliance of Arms $ 0.50 Anowon, the Ruin Sage
1 Bestial Menace $ 0.50 Savra, Queen of the Golgari
1 Cobra Trap $ 1.00 Braids, Cabal Minion
1 Doom Blade $ 1.00 Kuon, Ogre Ascendant
1 Nemesis Trap $ 2.00 Sheoldred, Whispering One
1 Tribute to the Wild $ 3.00 Grave Pact
1 Forest $ 3.00 Karmic Justice
1 Plains $ 5.00 Martyr’s Bond
1 Swamp $ 11.00 Smokestack
1 Hex Recurssion
1 Spawnwrithe $ 0.20 Mortuary
1 Afterlife $ 0.25 Saffi Eriksdotter
1 Dark Hatchling $ 0.50 Enduring Renewal
1 Forest $ 2.00 Reveillark
1 Plains $ 3.00 Eternal Witness
1 Swamp $ 0.25 Saffi Eriksdotter
1 Golgari Rot Farm Spot Removal
1 Orzhov Basilica $ 0.10 Fleshbag Marauder
1 Selesnya Sanctuary $ 0.10 Return to Dust
1 Symbiotic Wurm $ 0.50 Oblation
1 Selesnya Guildmage $ 6.00 Woodfall Primus
1 Golgari Guildmage Utility
1 Selesnya Evangel $ 1.00 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
1 Storm Herd $ 1.00 Juniper Order Ranger
1 Acorn Catapult $ 1.50 It That Betrays
1 Footbottom Feast $ 3.00 Kitchen Finks
1 Chorus of the Conclave $ 2.00 Mirror Entity
1 Scavenging Ooze Token Generation
1 Syphon Flesh $ 0.50 Ant Queen
1 Death Mutation $ 0.50 Genesis Chamber
1 Shriekmaw Mana Ramp
1 Oblivion Ring $ 0.05 Growth Spasm
1 Mortify $ 0.05 Rampant Growth
1 Hour of Reckoning $ 0.10 Kodama’s Reach
1 Teneb, the Harvester $ 0.25 Reap and Sow
1 Hornet Queen $ 0.25 Explosive Vegetation
1 Karador, Ghost Chieftain $ 5.00 Solemn Simulacrum
  Lands
  $ 0.10 Terramorphic Expanse
  $ 0.50 Mirrodin’s Core
  $ 1.00 Grand Coliseum
  $ 3.00 Murmuring Bosk
  $ 4.00 City of Brass
  $ 1.00 Sunpetal Grove
  $ 1.50 Brushland
  $ 2.00 Llanowar Wastes
    $ 2.00 Caves of Koilos

Aside from some better lands and staples, Smokestack is the big addition here. This is the kind of card you can’t afford on a $50 budget, but you keep your eye out for when trading. Smokestack and Braids along with token generation let people know you are taking winning seriously. This is the kind of build that doesn’t make a lot of friends but wins a lot of games.

Endgame

$100 is not an expensive Commander deck. In reality it is far from it. Even before getting into foil, foreign, misprinted and altered cards, most Commander Decks are worth hundreds of US dollars. It is not uncommon for a Commander deck to be worth as much as a legacy deck. Getting a deck that is that valuable can take months of buying and trading to get each and every card you are looking for. On the upside, commander decks that are planned out and properly built wreak havoc on decks that are thrown together. When you stop taking cost into account and just build the best deck you can, the deck can look pretty outrageous.

When you upgrade without a budget, you are not looking for cards to put in as much as you are looking for which cards you might want to keep. You are not upgrading as much as you are rebuilding. For me, I was only truly attached to 10 non-land cards from the Counterpunch precon. If I were to upgrade Ghave with any card I wanted, it would look something like this;

 

Commander

1

Ghave, Guru of Spores    
Tutors Mana Fixer   Land
1 Grim Tutor

1

Azusa, Lost but Seeking

2

Plains
1 Diabolic Intent

1

Coalition Relic

3

Swamp
1 Academy Rector

1

Cultivate

5

Forest
1 Tooth and Nail

1

Earthcraft

1

Cabal Coffers
1 Defense of the Heart

1

Exploration

1

Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
1 Enlightened Tutor

1

Mana Crypt

1

Gaea’s Cradle
1 Demonic Tutor

1

Mirari’s Wake

1

Scrubland
1 Vampiric Tutor

1

Primeval Titan

1

Savannah
1 Survival of the Fittest

1

Sakura-Tribe Elder

1

Bayou
1 Imperial Seal

1

Skyshroud Claim

1

Overgrown Tomb
 

1

Sol Ring

1

Temple Garden
 

1

Solemn Simulacrum

1

Godless Shrine
 

1

Yavimaya Elder

1

Bloodstained Mire
Dig/Draw

1

Flooded Strand
1 Skullclamp Utility

1

Polluted Delta
1 Fecundity

1

Melira, Sylvok Outcast

1

Windswept Heath
1 Greater Good

1

Juniper Order Ranger

1

Wooded Foothills
1 Sylvan Library

1

Mindslaver

1

Arid Mesa
1 Scroll Rack

1

Kitchen Finks

1

Marsh Flats
1 Sensei’s Divining Top

1

Ashnod’s Altar

1

Misty Rainforest
1 Garruk, Primal Hunter

1

Altar of Dementia

1

Verdant Catacombs
 

1

Doubling Season

1

Flagstones of Trokair
 

1

Lightning Greaves

1

Murmuring Bosk
Grave Pacts / Constant Sacrifice

1

Sigil Captain

1

Reflecting Pool
1 Butcher of Malakir

1

Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter

1

Vesuva
1 Braids, Cabal Minion

1

Ghost Quarter
1 Grave Pact Token Generation

1

Tectonic Edge
1 Martyr’s Bond

1

Necrogenesis

1

Strip Mine
1 Smokestack

1

Luminarch Ascension

1

Wasteland
 

1

Squirrel Nest

1

Buried Ruin
Recurssion

1

Bitterblossom

1

Volrath’s Stronghold
1 Mortuary

1

Phyrexian Tower
1 Reveillark Targeted Destruction  
1 Eternal Witness

1

Attrition  
1 Life from the Loam

1

Aura Shards  
1 Genesis

1

Fleshbag Marauder  
1 Crucible of Worlds

1

Woodfall Primus
   

1

Pernicious Deed  

I would like to thank @mikelinnemann. If you are not following him on twitter you should go ahead and start. If anyone would like to read about a specific Commander topic I would be more than happy to accommodate you. You can email me for deck advice or any comments you would prefer not to post on the page – seanpatch@hotmail.com. I have heard rumors of a new Commander author who will be joining me here on Red Site Wins. I hope everyone gives him, or her, a great welcome. Take some time to look around the site. We have had a lot of new authors join up and now have a little something for everyone. This took way to much time to write, so I need to go play some Commander to unwind.

Until next week,

-STP

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About SwordsToPlow

I like building and tuning decks to make them more fun and more effective.

Posted on July 19, 2011, in The Commander's Chair and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the great read, well thought out and definitely didn’t alienate any players of different affluence, cheers mate!

    Appreciate the effort

    Sly

  2. Can you review my Treefolk Commander deck? It’s here http://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/sapling-of-colfenor-4/.
    Thanks!

    • Not a problem. Would you like me to send you something to your email or post a review here?

      • Yeah sure – post it on the site. One note – there are some really obvious treefolk that I’m still trying to acquire (Dauntless Doerbark, Timber Protector, Treefolk Harbringer) so skip those when you review my deck.

  3. great guide! im using the 50 dollar range specifically to ramp up my ghave. I do have a suggestion though for your lists: sadistic glee and blade of the blood chief. both will trigger with lose of creatures, granting +1/+1′ tokens that you can transform into a instant army.

  1. Pingback: Accumulated Knowledge 09 – Budget Inferno « CommanderCast

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