Shower Thoughts: Five Budget Combos You Should Try Next!

Benjamin Levin • July 28, 2023

Welcome to another installment of Shower Thoughts, the budget Commander series that proves that Magic isn't pay-to-win. Often, when people hear the word "combo," they think of powerhouses such as Thassa's Oracle and Demonic Consultation, or maybe Walking Ballista with Heliod, Sun-Crowned. In this week's installment, I'll tell you about five budget combos, key cards, and key commanders to support those combos. I'll be shortcutting some phrases, so in case you're newer to Magic, "ETB" means enter the battlefield, and "LTB" means leave the battlefield. Without further ado, let's get into it!

Rosie Oak Combo

Scurry Oak is actually part of a similar combo with Ivy Lane Denizen, but I think this version is better. All you'll need for this combo is to have Scurry Oak on the battlefield, then cast Rosie Cotton of South Lane. When she enters, you'll make the Food token and put a counter on Scurry Oak, making a Squirrel, triggering Rosie and repeating the process, getting infinite ETBs, tokens, and a massive Scurry Oak. However, sometimes you'll need more than an infinite number of Squirrels and a massive tree to end the game.


If you're in Naya colors, Impact Tremors, Witty Roastmaster, or Warstorm Surge will let you burn out the table in a flash. Or you could use one of my favorite underutilized combo-enhancers, First Day of Class, giving the tokens haste and a +1/+1 counter. If you'd prefer to stay in Selesnya, why not gain infinite life thanks to Soul Warden, Essence Warden, or Suture Priest? If you want to include redundancy for this combo, Herd Baloth will achieve the same goal but instead of Squirrels, you'll make 4/4 Beasts.

Key Commanders

You have some great options if you want to go with the Naya variant thanks to Jetmir, Nexus of Revels, a great Overrun in the command zone. If you want to tutor out the combo with ease, Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer will let you do just that. Finally, you could include Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second, so instead of making Squirrels, you can make hasty Cat tokens to win on the spot.

If you want to stick with Selesnya, Trostani, Selesnya's Voice is infinite life from the command zone. You also have the underplayed Bess, Soul Nourisher, who will turn your army into a giant threat. My favorite option, however, is Ghalta and Mavren, making your army into a giant Dinosaur or a second army of 1/1 Vampires.

Ratadrabik Boromir Combo

All you need to pull off this combo is Ratadrabik of Urborg and Boromir, Warden of the Tower on the board. When you sacrifice Boromir, his trigger will go onto the stack, then Ratadrabik's trigger goes on top. The token copy of Boromir will enter the battlefield, then you'll select the token copy of Boromir as your ring-bearer, making it legendary. Allowing you to repeat this process for infinite ETBs, LTBs, death triggers, sacrifice triggers and Ring tempts triggers.


Thankfully Orzhov already has great enhancers with Blood Artist, Zulaport Cutthroat and Bastion of Remembrance to drain out the table. If you can get infinite ETBs and have white, the Soul Warden, Soul's Attendant, and Suture Priest package will always be a great inclusion. There are some great ring-tempting payoffs if you have the budget for them, Call of the Ring and Nazgûl are great, but I think Sméagol, Helpful Guide is the best of the bunch and is budge ! You do have to go from Orzhov to Abzan for this; however, you do mill everyone at the table out.

Key Commanders

The great thing about this combo is that, if you pick Ratadrabik as your commander, you have one of the pieces in your command zone, but if you find that to be too easy, Kethis, the Hidden Hand gives you access to green letting you tutor this combo out with ease. Finally, if you want to build a WUBRG legendary deck, Jodah, the Unifier tends to be the go-to commander for that, plus Jodah gives you the ability to Cascade into the combo, which is cute.

There and Back Again Vitu-Ghazi Combo

All we need for infinite Smaugs is to have Smaug and Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage on the battlefield. You pay four mana to pay for the Guildmage's ability to create a token copy of Smaug. The legendary rule will then make you sacrifice one of the copies, giving you 14 Treasure tokens. Use four of those Treasures to pay for the Guildmage's ability again, and now you have infinite ETBs, LTBs, Treasures, sacrifice triggers, and death triggers. Plus if you have any other tokens, you essentially get infinite copies of those too!


Instead of going over the cards I already mentioned in the Rosie Oak combo above, let's discuss some other combo-enhancers. The first few that come to mind are Reckless Fireweaver, Ghirapur Aether Grid, and Hedron Detonator. These are all common artifact combo pieces, but I figured they deserve a mention here. Since you have access to infinite mana, using some massive X spells are an easy way to end the game too. You can throw a giant Fireball at the entire table or put all permanents from your library into play thanks to Genesis Wave.

Key Commanders

The first commander that came to mind was Ghired, Conclave Exile thanks to his ability to populate tokens and is in Naya. If you're trying to combo, Rocco, Cabaretti Caterer will never be a bad choice, letting you tutor creatures for an extra three mana from the command zone. Finally, Tom Bombadil is the last idea I had for this combo, mostly because There and Back Again is a Saga and you have access to all five colors. Thankfully, Sagas can make some big tokens, so Vitu-Ghazi Guildmage might not be an awful addition to a Tom deck.

Dualcaster Shimmer Combo

This combo might be a bit old-school, but it's still winning games even in 2023, so don't count it out yet. All you need for this combo is both Dualcaster Mage and Heat Shimmer in hand with at least one creature on board. You cast Heat Shimmer, then hold priority, casting Dualcaster Mage, Dualcaster will ETB, copying Heat Shimmer, and you resolve the copy of Heat Shimmer targeting Dualcaster Mage. Now repeat this process for an infinite hasty army of mages, infinite ETBs, and infinite Magecraft triggers.


Again, aside from the usual suspects for infinite ETBs, I love this combo in conjunction with Magecraft cards, such as Storm-Kiln Artist, for infinite mana, Sedgemoor Witch, for a second massive army of pests, or Witherbloom Apprentice to drain out the table on the spot. Of course, for two of these enhancers, you'll have to go from mono-red to Rakdos or Jund, but I think they're worth the inclusion. Or if you'd prefer to stay in mono-red, Goblin Bombardment will let you toss all of these tokens into someone's face, just in case you need to get around Ghostly Prison effects.

Key Commanders

Despite my love for Magecraft, I do think this combo is best in mono-red decks, such as Zada, Hedron Grinder and Birgi, God of Storytelling, thanks to the amount of mana each of these commanders can produce out of nowhere. But if you really want to try a Jund commander for this deck, give Yurlok of Scorch Thrash a try. He is my favorite Jund spellslinger commander thanks to his ability to ramp, even though it gives everyone at the table mana.

Out of Zur Combo...or Lock?

This last combo won't win you the game on the spot or make you any friends, but I had to include it on my list. For this combo, all you need is Zur, Eternal Schemer on the battlefield, cast Out of Time, hold priority in response to Out of Time's ETB triggerm, and use Zur's ability to turn Out of Time into a creature before the trigger resolves, once it resolves all creatures, including Out of Time will phase out for the rest of the game. Yes, this includes any commanders that happen to be on board when this resolves, including Zur unless you can blink him into safety.

This is thanks to the rulings for Out of Time: "If Out of Time happens to be a creature when its enter the battlefield trigger resolves, it will phase out along with all other creatures. You'll never remove the last counter since it's phased out, so all creatures will remain phased out indefinitely. " And because phasing doesn't cause a permanent to actually leave the battlefield, players can't put their commanders into the command zone.


To prevent Zur from being in limbo for the rest of the game you'll need to include ways to protect him. The easiest ways are using cards like Teferi's Time Twist to exile him until your end-step or Blink of an Eye to return him to your hand. I'd even consider using my own removal on him to put him back into the command zone if need be.

Key Commanders

The obvious choice of a commander is going to be Zur, Eternal Schemer since you need his effect for this combo to work. But if you want to include this lock in other decks, original Zur the Enchanter seems like a no-brainer since he'll tutor Out of Time right onto the battlefield for you. Although my favorite alternate commander is Aminatou, the Fateshifter. She isn't a creature, so you won't lose her to the combo, and if you don't have Zur, Eternal Schemer out you can flicker Out of Time for repeated value.

This has been another installment of Shower Thoughts; be sure to check out my YouTube channel, BathroomBrewsMTG, for weekly MTG content and the accompanying video. Also, make sure to check out my Patreon if you want to take your support further.

This has been Ben, from BathroomBrewsMTG, and remember, always wash your hands!

Ben has been playing Magic since 2012 and started creating Magic the Gathering content in October of 2022 on YouTube under the name BathroomBrewsMTG ( Primarily focusing on budget EDH content. When he isn't thinking or talking about MTG, he is usually playing video games, spending time with his wife or playing with his two cats. You can find him on Twitter @BathroomMTG.