With Time Spiral Remastered spoilers all over the place, I’ve been excited to build around the legendary creatures that have had the old card frame newly bestowed upon them. Of the ones spoiled so far, my favorite is easily Feldon of the Third Path. That said, I’ve seen a number of Feldon decks in my life, and I wanted to make things a little bit different – as usual with me, that means a $50 budget deck 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 right here on ChannelFireball.com to track our costs. All prices were accurate when I wrote this – apologies if prices have changed or cards have gone out of stock since, but that’s just part and parcel of a budget article.
Let’s take a quick look at the inspiration for this deck: Feldon of the Third Path!
Since we don’t have the old-bordered version available, I plugged in the lowest price version as per how this whole budget article thing usually works. Feldon wants you to put creatures in your graveyard so that you can then make temporary replicas of them, making him sort of an oddball mono-red reanimator commander. That’ll be the focus of this list, but with red having some solid rummage/self-discard themes, discard fits in nicely as a subtheme in this list.
Feldon can also be kind of a scary commander, so I’ve made sure to keep the power level commensurate with the world of budget decks rather than building a machine that crushes other low-cost creations. I’ve made it tough to give Feldon haste and eschewed ways to untap him, but if you decide to bring in Lightning Greaves, Puppet Strings and other wallet-friendly options to compete with your playgroup or punch above your weight class, that’s certainly reasonable.
I also want to note that this deck’s curve appears pretty high – average mana value among nonlands is a whopping 4.2 – but realistically, this deck’s all about Feldon, which means you’re hoping to cast a spell and activate him each turn cycle. With plenty of lower-costed cards, this shouldn’t be too hard as long as Feldon manages to survive.
So what will Feldon be bringing back? Let’s take a look at the suite of reanimation targets.
These three are poised to deal damage as you please, either to creatures or opponents. Bringing back a Spawn of Thraxes in the late game can be absolutely devastating – imagine doming someone for 10 or more off of a simple three-mana Feldon activation!
These two are more about cleaning up opposing creatures, with Spitebellows playing the role of red Doom Blade when evoked and doubling up on that when Feldon brings it back (remember, the tokens die even if left alone!). Tyrant’s Familiar brings destruction in a more evasive package, allowing for some big swings.
These four are dedicated to going to the dome – at least, in principle. Demanding Dragon and Molten Primordial are less direct takes on that concept, while Fanatic of Mogis and Scuttling Doom Engine make no excuses and take no creature-typed prisoners.
Of course, it can’t all be about damage. These four provide some serious card advantage, with Humble Defector being my absolute favorite – create a token copy with haste, give it away, draw two cards and watch it die at the end of the turn. Of course, if you have something like Etali in your graveyard, I’d go for that instead.
Sometimes you need to blow stuff up, and these three are here to help… sort of. Ingot Chewer and Meteor Golem let you control where they’re pointed, but Tyrant of Discord just sort of does whatever it wants. Honestly, the Tyrant is a bit of a comedy option, but it creates enough fun story moments that I decided to leave it in.
Making temporary tokens isn’t always enough. Sometimes you need creatures that leave a legacy behind. These three all manage to do just that, with Myr Battlesphere going wide while Tuktuk goes tall. Best of all though is Phyrexian Triniform, the card that convinced me to revisit Feldon in the first place. Forget casting this for nine or encoring it for a massive 12 – discard it, then bring a token version back with Feldon, swing for nine and net three Golems in the process. Rinse, repeat, reuse, recycle.
Sometimes your graveyard will get blown up at an inopportune time and you’ll be looking for ways to leverage Feldon at a low opportunity cost. That’s where these cyclers come in. Cycling was almost a subtheme before I realized it didn’t work either in budget or in just red, but these were the cards that stuck around after the theme got cut. Quakefoot Cyclops is my absolute favorite of these, as its Falter effect can change combat on its own, to say nothing of what happens when Feldon brings back a copy.
How’s the other stuff getting in the graveyard, though? Well, let’s talk about some of our enablers, starting with the reusable ones.
I didn’t go all-in on the wheels theme, but Chandra, Flamecaller is here to play into that on some level while also acting as an emergency wrath effect. Gate to the Afterlife won’t trigger off our tokens, but with 39 creatures in the list, it’s bound to get some looting in – and besides, there is a God-Pharaoh’s Gift in the deck. Glint-Horn Buccaneer plays double duty as discard outlet and synergy piece while Hazoret lets you leverage your inevitably low hand size and bash your enemies.
Hazoret’s Monument acts as both mana relief and repeat rummaging, with Key to the City and Magmatic Channeler providing similar levels of churn. Don’t worry about making Magmatic Channeler big in this list – it’s not likely. Jaya Ballard, Task Mage does a great job of dealing with pesky blue permanents as her main focus, but sometimes you just need an Inferno.
Quicksmith Genius is my favorite of these, as it triggers on Feldon activations. With 15 artifacts in the deck overall, you’ll get a few additional freebies. Neheb, Dreadhorde Champion is a solid midgame threat that enables discard synergies as well as double-spell turns and Merchant of the Vale is useful in both adventure and creature form.
Trading Post is one of the Commander-iest cards of all time, so it’s no surprise to see it worked into a list that involves both artifacts and discarding. You can even attack with a Feldon-created token and then sac it to draw a card, and if it’s one of the creatures with a “dies” effect, it’s so much the better. Wolf of Devil’s Breach is a cool card that often gets overlooked, and in a top-heavy list like this, it’ll have plenty of opportunities to breathe fire all over opposing creatures and walkers.
Some cheaper, limited-use options are also available – let’s look at those.
Cathartic Reunion and Faithless Looting are both classics of the genre, with Collective Defiance being quite useful as a 2RR self-Windfall with removal upside. Cavalier of Flame is a powerful haste provider that lets you dump a hand of high-cost cards for more castable options, and bringing it back with Feldon is just crazy.
There are more ways to get value out of discarding than just using Feldon, though. I’ve put in a few cards with madness in order to take advantage of all the rummaging and looting.
Avacyn’s Judgment can clear the way for a big attack when cast with madness and the two Vampires, while they’re not hugely discounted, are great ways to get some extra card advantage out of a discard effect.
Reckless Wurm also fits into the “card advantage” madness bucket, as Arrogant Wurm isn’t what it was back in its day. The discount is meaningful, but not game-breaking. Stromkirk Occultist though provides card advantage not only by turning a discard into an on-board permanent but also by getting you some extra plays once in a while.
Brallin resembles the Buccaneer while also growing with each trigger – sadly, there are no Sharks to be found in this list. Surly Badgersaur provides different benefits depending on the type of card discarded, so expect to get a lot of counters on it as well. Skyfire Phoenix just wants to be discarded so it can come back along with Feldon, while God-Pharaoh’s Gift focuses on bringing other creatures back in eternalized form.
In addition to these synergistic cards, I’ve got a few other cards that defied categorization – here those are.
Abrade and Starstorm are nice role players, while Tectonic Reformation can turn lategame land draws into something slightly more useful. Warstorm Surge is a classic inclusion in Feldon decks – just imagine it with a Phyrexian Triniform token. Yikes.
I couldn’t get away with avoiding mana rocks, though with a constrained budget and just one color, options were limited.
Along with a plethora of Mountains, I included six nonbasics. Cycling lands were at the forefront of my mind, and while Blasted Landscape got cut late, these three made the roster.
There’s some anti-nonbasic tech cards here along with Myriad Landscape, which I like putting in non-green budget decks as a ramp option.
That’s the rundown – I’ve spent a total of $49.65 on this deck, which is pretty good in terms of using most of the available resource. That said, there’s plenty of room to upgrade and tinker here if you’re interested in going further down the Third Path with Feldon (a position I can understand, as it represents neutrality in the Brothers’ War, though if we assume war was inevitable and have the knowledge of Mishra becoming corrupted by the Phyrexians, that position becomes less morally tenable.) Regardless, here’s the full list – see you next time, when I continue to say out with the new and in with the old-border!