Shower Thoughts: Five Budget Commanders That Pack a Punch - Wilds of Eldraine

Benjamin Levin • August 30, 2023

Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender | Illustrated by Michal Ivan

Hello, everyone! Welcome to another installment of Shower Thoughts, the budget Commander series that proves Magic isn't pay-to-win. In this week's article, I'm going to talk about five commanders from Wilds of Eldraine that can be both powerful and inexpensive. They aren't listed in any particular order, but make sure to vote for the commander you want to see a budget deck tech for. Without further ado, let's get into it!

Eriette of the Charmed Apple

Political control is an archetype that is unique to Commander. Instead of playing Counterspell or Anguished Unmaking to control the board, you control the other players. I don't mean to blackmail or threaten them; simply entice them to do what you'd like. Maybe you remove a problematic permanent for them or give them some card draw. Eriette does just that, but much like The Monkey's Paw, the deal isn't always what it seems.

In a traditional Aura deck, you want to put Auras on your own creatures to buff them. While you could do that with Eriette, she incentivizes you to spread the love and gives you a win condition from the command zone. Even if you enchant another player's creature with an Aura, you still control that Aura and get any of the benefits from it. This works great with an Aura like Light of Promise, which will grow an opponent's creature while you drain the table. What's even better about her ability is that it isn't goad, so even if it becomes a 1v1, your opponent's creatures can't attack you, and all the while you'll slowly be draining their life with your poison Auras.

If you want to try a more unique build for this commander, give Orzhov superfriends a try! Her ability is great at protecting your planeswalkers from big creatures, and you can easily create a token army with the now-budget Elspeth, Sun's Champion. I'm not sure how powerful this theme would be, given the lack of planeswalkers in these colors that care about enchantments, but it could be fun!

Key budget cards to include: Hateful Eidolon, Parasitic Impetus, Martial Impetus, Nurgle's Rot, Spirit Link

Rowan, Scion of War & Will, Scion of Peace

I don't usually discuss two different commanders in the same section; however, I'm making an exception for these two.

We were first introduced to these siblings in Battlebond as the first partner planeswalker commanders: Rowan Kenrith and Will Kenrith. Unfortunately, their high mana cost and rather underwhelming abilities left me wanting more from the new duo. We saw them again a year later as The Royal Scions in Throne of Eldraine, then in Strixhaven as Rowan, Scholar of Sparks, and finally we got the pair we see today. This is the first time that they are appearing as their own standalone cards. Technically Rowan, Fearless Sparkmage was in one of those planeswalker decks, but those don't count. Back on track though, these two are much more powerful and exciting cards than their previous iterations.

Let's Lose Some Life

Rowan's ability wants you to lose as much life as possible to ramp into massive spells. She reminds me of Rakdos, Lord of Riots, only not restricted to only creature spells, and you have to lose the life. There are some great non-budget options for life loss, such as The One Ring, Treasonous Ogre, and Necropotence, but this is a budget series, so we can flush those cards down the drain. Instead, let's play Wall of Blood, Blood Celebrant, and Immolating Souleater to lose a bunch of life. Regardless of how expensive a card is, this deck will win the same way, by casting a giant Exsanguinate or Fireball. If you want to be extra mean, play cards like Soul Conduit or Profane Transfusion to swap life totals with the Will player.

Key budget cards to include for Rowan: Greed, Defiler of Flesh, Defiler of Instinct, Souldrinker, Mischievous Poltergeist

Now, Let's Gain Some Life

On the other hand, Will's ability wants us to gain life to reduce the cost of spells. Because his ability is restricted to our turn, we need ways to gain a chunk of life all at once. The soul sister package is great for slow life gain  throughout the course of the game, but it's not quite what we're looking for. Instead, we'll want to play those awful white spells that just gain us life. You know, the ones you saw when you first started playing Magic and thought they were so powerful. I'm talking about cards like Healing Salve, Revitalize, and Rest for the Weary. Winning with Will will be the same as Rowan, kind of. I'd include Blue Sun's Zenith, Storm Herd, or, if you want to be spicy, Eternal Dominion.

Key budget cards to include for Will: Cleric Class, Sphinx's Revelation, Drogskol Reaver, Approach of the Second Sun, Sanguine Sacrament

Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender

Every few sets there is a card that encapsulates an entire set's flavor and theme, and in Wilds of Eldraine, Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender is exactly that. Both the art and mechanics of Syr Ginger make this my favorite colorless commander. While she might not be the strongest colorless commander ever printed, she can still be an absolute powerhouse, even on a budget.

It doesn't take much to turn this small cookie Knight into something fierce enough to slay the biggest of Dragons. Technically a handful of Squirrels can beat a dragon or an Eldrazi god, but that's besides the point. There are tons of artifacts that want to be sacrificed, from Wayfarer's Bauble to the new Lembas, and if you feel so inclined you can add Myr Retriever and Scrap Trawler to bring back your artifacts.

To truly embrace the artifact nature of this commander, I'd highly recommend including all of the creatures you can with modular. While Arcbound Ravager might be out of the budget, there are still 12 creatures you can add to the list. Finally, Syr Ginger doesn't specify nontoken artifacts, so artifacts that produce tokens when sacrificed are great inclusions.

Key budget cards to include: Workshop Assistant, Extruder, Wedding Invitation, Prized Statue, Throne of Geth

Beluna Grandsquall

We're going on an adventure, Charlie! When the first Eldraine set was released back in 2019, we were introduced to the Adventure card type. An Adventure deck took over Standard, but there weren't enough cards to build a dedicated Commander deck with them. Then Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate introduced another 28 unique Adventures along with Gorion, Wise Mentor as the first Adventure commander. Finally, Wilds of Eldraine introduced us to a staggering 51 new Adventures, including multicolored ones, and Beluna as our second Adventure commander.

Now we have to pick the best Adventures of the 61 in Temur colors. The three that should be auto-included are Bonecrusher Giant, Beanstalk Giant, and Monster Manual. Next, I want to look at the bigger Adventure permanents since Beluna reduces their cost by one generic mana. A few notable Adventures I'm excited to play are Tlincalli Hunter, Illithid Harvester, and Sword Coast Serpent.

In the past few years, we've received support for casting cards from exile thanks in part to the Kaldheim and the commanders Prosper, Tome-Bound and Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald. Adventure decks can take advantage of these new toys. We can reduce the cost of spells further with Sage of the Beyond or give our Adventures cascade with Wild-Magic Sorcerer.

Key budget cards to include: Lucky Clover, Lozhan, Dragons' Legacy, Crystal Shard, Nalfeshnee, Storyteller Pixie

Honorable Mentions

And finally, let's talk about some of the honorable mentions. These commanders didn't quite make the list but still deserve attention.

Imodane, the Pyrohammer gave me Zada, Hedron Grinder vibes from the second I saw them. My friend is putting them in his Ink-Treader Nephilim deck and can't wait to see what wild interactions happen.

Hylda of the Icy Crown is being built by someone in my playgroup, and I'm excited to see what this commander can really do. However, I think her abilities are narrow and really dependent on a playgroup's meta.

Agatha of the Vile Cauldron is an interesting Gruul commander, but I wasn't excited to build around her. She seems like a powerful but fragile combo commander who is going to be too weak for high-power tables but too good for low-power tables.

Brenard, Ginger Sculptor is the Golem commander we've all wanted. He also feels like he could be a weird Bant sacrifice deck or a weird Sliver commander. Speaking of Sliver commanders, check out my latest article where I discuss non-Sliver Sliver commanders.

And finally, Korvold, Gleeful Glutton, which feels like a Jund Baba Lysaga, Night Witch. I think this commander is going to be interesting but is too expensive at the time of writing.

This has been another installment of Shower Thoughts; 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.