I’ve really grown to love budget builds. I think they make for a really exciting gameplay experience where cards you might not otherwise see end up getting played. I’m currently organizing a precon upgrade league with some friends, starting in the new year, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they play against each other initially and how things change as we move forward with some improvements bit by bit. That said, today I’m not upgrading a preconstructed deck – I’m building a $50 budget Boros Commander deck from scratch! This deck will look a lot like a preconstructed deck – it might lack some of the extra Commander options, but it’ll have a budget mana base, a few subthemes and some cards you might not have thought to include in the list.
As always, I’d like to remind you of a couple of things regarding my budget articles:
- $50 has a different impact on different people, but given that it’s less than the price of a triple-A console game release, I think it’s a price many will be willing to pay for hours of entertainment, which a Commander deck should provide.
- I’ll be using prices from the ChannelFireball Marketplace to track our costs, specifically the lowest available Near Mint price at the time of this writing. I apologize if listings have changed since then, but that’s just part and parcel of a budget article.
My commander of choice today is Odric, Blood-Cursed!
Coming in at just $0.20, the new Odric was not one of my high picks when I did my set review this time around. In fact, I had this to say about him:
Callbacks are sweet, so Odric caring about all of these different abilities is exciting, but the small number of Blood payoffs makes it hard for me to imagine building around this. Great, I have lots of Blood to go with my wacky creatures. Now what?
Good news, though: I’ve had my eyes opened. After thinking more about Odric and looking at some of the discourse around him, I’ve come to appreciate Odric’s strange interaction between keyword abilities and Blood tokens, and I think the Blood can give a Boros list like this some velocity to counteract the lack of available strong draw options, especially at our budget. With some options to develop this as an artifact-focused deck and a reanimator deck, I’ve taken a little bit of a scattershot approach. That way, if you’re interested in Odric but not sure which way you want to take him, you can try this list as a starting point without breaking the bank, then customize things and move on to a more focused, personalized version!
We’ll definitely want to play some creatures that have tons of Odric-relevant abilities, especially ones we can cast early on, so let’s start with our multiple-ability winners.
|Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh (CMR)||Stonecoil Serpent (ELD)||Akiri, Line-Slinger (CMR)|
Rograkh may not seem too fearsome on the surface, but we’ll have plenty of ways to pump him up. Akiri gets bigger just by virtue of seeing tons of Blood, while Stonecoil Serpent can be dropped early to enable Odric or played later as a huge mana sink.
|Kari Zev, Skyship Raider (AER)||Swiftblade Vindicator (GRN)||Aerial Responder (KLD)|
Just like the above creatures, these are well-costed and wear Equipment quite well. Aerial Responder addresses one of the weaknesses of this style by playing defense while on offense via lifelink.
|Crystalline Giant (IKO)||Danitha Capashen, Paragon (DOM)|
|Adult Gold Dragon (AFR)||Angel of Invention (KLD)|
These might be a bit higher on the curve, but given that we’ll be replaying and even blinking Odric later, having some high-end options is good. Actually, we’ll have some even higher-end options, but those will come into play a little later in a different category.
Speaking of blinking Odric, that’s going to be a big part of the game plan. Adding more Blood to the board will help with artifact synergies, enable more tearing through the deck and set up our reanimator angle even better. How are we going to manage the blinks?
|Flickerwisp (KHC)||Restoration Angel (KHC)|
Both of these creatures add flying to the lineup while also blinking Odric, enabling a huge withdrawal from the Blood bank.
|Teleportation Circle (AFR)|
|Cloudshift (A25)||Ephemerate (MH1)||Justiciar’s Portal (RNA)||Acrobatic Maneuver (KLD)|
These are our direct, targeted blink effects. Ephemerate is an obvious winner, with Cloudshift also coming in at a low cost, so why include the other two? Well, Justiciar’s Portal adding first strike can be a real boon in the form of another Blood token and/or an advantageous block, and Acrobatic Maneuver drawing a card is nothing to scoff at. Don’t be afraid to cast these on non-Odric creatures if you get a huge boost from it!
|Eerie Interlude (KHC)||Cosmic Intervention (KHC)|
Eerie Interlude is a fun mass blink effect, with Cosmic Intervention playing a similar protective role while being mechanically different. I like playing Intervention because it can also help protect noncreature permanents you control from opposing mass destruction!
So what are we going to do with all this Blood? Well, let’s start with our one card that specifically makes Blood better.
|Arterial Alchemy (VOC – Extended Art)|
Turning all of our Blood into Equipment seems like a really good way to get value out of it, wouldn’t you say? Frankly, I think this card will be pretty game-breaking when it gets played as long as you have creatures to hold all of these Blood swords.
Let’s turn our focus a little wider and talk about our cards that have artifact-related synergies.
|Reckless Fireweaver (KLD)||Quicksmith Genius (C21)||Bronze Guardian (C21)|
Reckless Fireweaver is one of my favorite cards for any deck that produces artifact tokens in bulk – its effect is so perfect at this low cost. Quicksmith Genius lets us rummage without even sacrificing the Blood, which makes Bronze Guardian quite happy as it gets to benefit from massively increased power.
|Nettlecyst (MH2)||Ghirapur Aether Grid (ORI)|
Author’s note: There were no Near Mint copies of Ghirapur Aether Grid available at the time of this writing, so I extrapolated a price based on the available options. I would not ordinarily do this, but I think Ghirapur Aether Grid is such a fantastic card that I would regret leaving it out. There is also enough wiggle room in the budget for me to be off by a significant percentage.
I also threw in a bit of discard synergy.
|Surly Badgersaur (C20)|
Surly Badgersaur encourages you to use Blood tokens to discard things – adding some solid value to that equation beyond just the velocity from the rummaging is more than just icing on the cake. It’s a big advantage!
Next up in ways we can leverage Blood tokens, let’s talk about the reanimation package! I’ve discussed white reanimation before, and we’ll be going directly back to that well.
|Feldon of the Third Path (C21)||Mila, Crafty Companion // Lukka, Wayward Bonder (STX)||Karmic Guide (MH2)|
Feldon lets you reanimate the same creature over and over again, giving you additional triggers when they enter as well as dies triggers when you sac them, while Karmic Guide just does the more traditional reanimation. Mila doesn’t do any reanimation (though I’m not averse to playing the front face as a deterrent to targeted removal) but Lukka can both help you discard creatures and Sneak Attack them back out of your graveyard.
|Breath of Life (7ED)||Late to Dinner (MH2 Sketch)||Resurrection (Mystery Boosters)||Marshal’s Anthem (KHC)|
And here are some more traditional reanimation options! Mostly these are four-mana cards that get you a creature back, but Marshal’s Anthem is a scaling reanimation spell that lets you do a huge endgame mass rez while leaving an anthem effect behind.
But what are we reanimating? Well, I’ve put together a suite of seven solid creatures at MV 6 or higher, though some of the other creatures in the deck are plenty useful.
|Olivia’s Attendants (VOW)||Combustible Gearhulk (KLD)||Sun Titan (The List)|
These three six-drops offer varied benefits. Olivia’s Attendants is a great mana sink that makes more Blood. Combustible Gearhulk can give you cards or some damage to someone’s dome, while Sun Titan brings back some of your smaller permanents for another go-round. They even all have abilities Odric cares about!
|Akroma, Angel of Fury (TSR)||Akroma, Angel of Wrath (C20)||Zetalpa, Primal Dawn (C20)||Triplicate Titan (C21)|
These four are the real heavy hitters. Each one features a suite of Odric-relevant abilities as well as the power to seriously wreak havoc in the combat step. Triplicate Titan even has the courtesy to leave behind some tokens that work well with Odric, making it a great Feldon target as well.
Moving on, we also have some Equipment and other augmentation cards to help Odric make more Blood and give our multitalented creatures some extra punch in the combat step.
|Angelfire Ignition (MID)||Swiftfoot Boots (C14)||Loxodon Warhammer (C21)|
Angelfire Ignition doesn’t set your old mid-90s webhosting service on fire – it pumps up your Rograkh or Swiftblade Vindicator (or whatever) and adds a bunch of abilities for Odric to appreciate temporarily. I love the flashback on this card – you can discard it to Blood and not feel bad. Swiftfoot Boots is mostly here to speed up reanimated creatures, while Loxodon Warhammer invites your creatures to simply come on and slam.
|Maul of the Skyclaves (ZNR)||Sword of Vengeance (CMR)||Sunforger (CMR)|
Maul of the Skyclaves and Sword of Vengeance add more abilities and stats, supporting both Odric and combat, but Sunforger is the real sweet one here. I love Sunforger, and with some great blink spells in the deck to power up Odric as well as other goodies, it’s a great choice here. I think the Sunforger package could easily be expanded with some focus and a higher budget.
And yes, I did include a card you’re probably expecting that loves our extra abilities:
|Path of Mettle / Metzali, Tower of Triumph (RIX)|
Sure, it’s not the most powerful card in the world, but it’s on theme and fun, and the abilities on the land are honestly totally fine.
Beyond that, we’re down to some utility cards and lands. Let’s take a look at what remains to be discussed.
|Knight of the White Orchid (MIC)||Loyal Warhound (AFR)|
They both have abilities in addition to their counter-ramp. Sold!
|Cleansing Nova (KHC)||Blasphemous Act (VOC)|
Some solid wrath effects are always nice.
|Dispatch (MM2)||Crush Contraband (VOC)||Boros Charm (C21)|
A little interaction goes a long way, especially with Sunforger.
|Sol Ring (C14)||Ornithopter of Paradise (MH2)||Arcane Signet (ZNC)||Boros Signet (C20)|
|Fire Diamond (CMR)||Marble Diamond (CMR)||Mind Stone (ZNC)|
More sweet mana rocks, which is good because this deck is going to want to spend a lot of mana on Blood tokens later in the game. Plus, you can always discard them if you draw them but don’t need them!
|Ancient Den (Mystery Boosters)||Great Furnace (C21)||Rustvale Bridge (MH2)|
Artifact lands help out some of our artifact synergy cards.
|Arch of Orazca (Mystery Boosters)||Bonders’ Enclave (IKO)||Slayers’ Stronghold (CMR)|
Arch and Enclave add some extra draw power, while Slayers’ Stronghold does a great job of powering up Odric and speeding up reanimated creatures.
|Battlefield Forge (C21)||Boros Garrison (CMR)||Command Tower (ELD)||Evolving Wilds (IKO)|
|Furycalm Snarl (STX)||Lorehold Campus (STX)||Temple of Triumph (C21)||Terramorphic Expanse (CMR)|
Dual lands help smooth things out and make it easier to cast Odric at the right time along with some of our sweeter multi-pip cards.
Throw in nine Mountains and 15 Plains and we’re done, having spent $49.56 in total – and that even includes Odric! I sometimes don’t count the Commander, but when you’re totally under budget, why not, right?
At this point we have a deck with a 3.41 average mana value ignoring lands that features 38 lands as well as seven mana rocks. That’s totally in line with preconstructed decks that I like as well as some upgrades I’ve done, so I feel good about this – in fact, we might even be able to drop a land thanks to the Blood. I’d have to play it to find out, though!
If I had more room in the budget, what would I add? Well, I might look for some powerful flashback spells or cards that work well from the graveyard, additional powerful pieces of Equipment and potentially some strong madness cards. There are a surprising number of direction to go with Odric, and I’m really excited to see how lists of this type develop over time. This deck also doesn’t deal well with opposing graveyards, so finding room for Angel of Finality or Soul-Guide Lantern could be good.
Here’s the final deck list – enjoy!
$50 Budget Odric EDH by Eric Levine