Hello, everyone! In this week's article, I'm going to give you my top five budget commanders from Murders at Karlov Manor, the precons, and the Clue set. I'm excluding the price of the commander here since they are likely to change at release. Instead, I look at how much it would cost to build a powerful 99 around a commander. If you're going to spend $10 on a card, I'd always suggest getting a better commander since you'll see it every game. With all of the explanations out of the way, let's get into it!
- The Budget Bear
This Naya Bear is in the newest precon and is the go-to Bear deck commander thanks to its powerful card draw effect and buff it provides when attacking. Doing a quick Scryfall search, there are over 1,000 2/2 creatures in Naya colors, so you can easily fill out an entire curve with them. Some of the most notable are , , , , and . I could probably write an entire article on the best 2/2s in EDH.
If you're looking to build this commander,is going to be one of the best cards in the deck. This six-mana enchantment is one of the best cards you could add to this deck. It lets you cast literally and tutor up or , and since we have white, we can run some enchantment tutors to find it. Honestly, just talking about this commander is getting the brewing juices going. Also, quick rules note, it does say base power and toughness, so 0/0 that ETBs with counters won't do much. Of course, you could run this as a Naya morph commander, but honestly, I'd rather run it as a Wild Pair deck!
- Rakdos Spellslinger & Imp Mommy
My first thought when looking at this commander was to jam a bunch of one-damage board wipes as a cheeky way to wipe the board, but after brewing a deck for her, which I'll be showcasing in a separate article sometime next week, I don't think you actually want a lot of those effects. I did add cards like, because it only costs two mana to overload and is an instant, , again because it's only one mana, and , because it's also artifact removal. Try to avoid cards like , and ; basically, if a card is bad without Judith in play, I'd avoid it all together and instead run good cards that become great, like and to gain a metric ton of life.
My favorite cards for her areand . Acidic Soil should just be played more, honestly. For three mana, you can deal a bunch of damage to all of those nasty green decks that ramped. A great back-up for Judith would be . Also, she is an odd mana value, so she can be companioned with . Something to keep in mind! Finally, make sure to add some protection for her. , , and for example. These not only protect your commander from your own board wipes, but they keep her alive against most targeted removal.
- The Prime Suspect
Soldiers just got a new commander, and it's Boros this time! Mustard doesn't buff your board; instead, he gives all of your Soldiers keywords that makes them more difficult to block. There are some expensive Soldiers, such asor , but you don't need to play the biggest creatures thanks to Mustard's second ability. Fun fact: this ability stacks, so if you can pay eight mana into it, you can deal two damage per creature, and because the creature is dealing the damage, you get lifelink and any noncombat damage triggers.
Making Soldier tokens is easy, especially on a budget. There 's, , and , and if you decide to go this token route, make sure to include and the new . It's a three-mana Impact Tremors that also buffs your board. I'd also pick up copies of to buff and protect your board. turns your creatures into removal, and prevents all noncombat damage that would be dealt to other creatures you control.
- Big Butts Cannot Lie
Time to build Simic Big Butts! Finally we have an interesting Simic commander. Most Simic commanders feel really samey to me. They either want you to ramp, put counters on things, or draw cards, but Thicc Boi cares about toughness and gives you an actual win condition, hitting face with big butts. Thankfully, Simic has no shortage of creatures with a ton of toughness. Some of the best are, which lets you exchange your life for its toughness. If you can give it vigilance, you could one-shot someone by giving it 40 toughness at instant speed. There's the best Crab, . It has a big butt and is a Crab. Plus, provides protection on your turns.
Similarly to Commander Mustard, Thicc Boi's ability can stack allowing you to draw roughly a million cards. A great support creature you shouldn't forget is. Sadly, Thicc Boi does give creatures +1 power, probably to help avoid this exact interaction. However, this ability isn't restricted to sorcery speed, so you can attack with a low-power creature, then before damage activate this ability. Or you could just give them unblockable with , , or . is a non-bo since it gives the creature shroud.
Generating a metric ton of mana with this commander is incredibly easy. If you're not a Pauper player, there's this deck known as Walls Combo which usesand to generate tons of mana. Then you use to untap your dorks, then generate infinite mana and win with . Notably, the main pieces of the combo are in Simic colors. We can use this mana to activate our commander's ability repeatedly, or we could use and venture into the and to win the game.
- Not Like the Other Dragons
Finally, we have a five-color commander, which might be weird to see on a budget list, but with the release ofand all of the budget lands we have access to, this is much easier than it used to be. Remember, you don't need shocks, fetches, or Triomes to have a good mana base!
I love Niv because he's a win condition and card advantage engine in the command zone, and unlike his War of the Spark or March of the Machines: Aftermath counterparts, we want permanents that are two colors, so we aren't punished for running a bunch of mono green-ramp or mana fixing.
Instead, we can load up on cards like, , and and the Liege cycle with cards like , , and . I'd also add and to turn Niv into a one-shot kill by making him a 11/11 with double strike, plus is great multicolor protection!
One final note on Niv: if you're building him on a budget, I'd suggest focusing on all of the green Guilds first, then splash some of the best nongreen Guild cards. This allows you to play all of the green/X duals and makes it easier to cast ramp spells, and if you want a super budget mana base, I'd suggest running a Guildgate package with
Before we wrap up this article, I wanted to go over some Honorable Mentions. These are commanders I like but I thought were overshadowed by my top five.
: This is an Elfball and Wolf commander. I think the design space is unique and can lead to some weird decks. Heck, you could build two dedicated decks using this commander, or if you want to be super spicy, build a pile deck where you shuffle in 32 random Elves and/or Wolves each game.
: I love her flavor, but I'm not sure how powerful she'll actually be. She does scale with the table, which is great, but people don't like having their cards taken, so there is that.
: Gruul stompy gonna stomp. I'm sure people will make interesting decks with our new Mole overlord, but I have a feeling the pieces of the deck are going to be expensive.
: It's a precon commander, and honestly the precon is going to be your best bet for a budget deck. Nothing I can brew will be better than the value of what you get in the precon. I don't usually do precon upgrades simply because of how many there are, but if you want one, let me know!
: This is probably my favorite Clue commander, even though it was probably pretty weak. I just love Golgari, and I love that this sort of does what my Tormod deck does, but slightly different. 10/10
So, which commanders from the new sets are you looking forward to building? Any deck techs you want to see specifically? Let me know in the comments below!