A while back, I built a Juri, Master of the Revue deck themed around sacrificing Juri to deal massive damage. It was all based around an idealized sequence of plays, as follows:
Sacrifice a few things to pump up Juri, getting him up to 10/10. Then, sacrifice Juri via an outlet like Viscera Seer. Point the triggered ability at a Stuffy Doll (or Brash Taunter, Mogg Maniac, Spiteful Sliver, etc) and have Furnace of Rath (or a variant thereof) double the damage so that you’re dealing 20 to Stuffy Doll. Point the Stuffy Doll trigger at an opponent, letting Furnace of Rath double it to a full 40 damage, which should usually be enough to defeat an opponent.
Unfortunately, with so many moving parts and cards that only operated as parts of the combo, the deck was kind of a mess. It was too easy to get a clunky hand with a couple combo pieces, a piece of interaction, and a few lands that just didn’t have the capability to grow Juri – and if this deck can’t do that, it really can’t do anything.
With that in mind, I retooled my Juri deck the other day. I changed over 20 cards – with the help of some of the new Treasure synergies in Forgotten Realms, I was able to re-center Juri around Treasure!
A Rakdos Treasure list is definitely feasible in Commander. The cards in Forgotten Realms that support this theme are plentiful and exciting – one look at Xorn and you’ll know exactly why I pivoted to Treasures. But is Rakdos the right color combo for a Treasure deck? We know there’s plenty of blue Treasure support going back to Ixalan, so the answer probably lies somewhere in the Grixis slice of the pie. Let’s question that assumption, though – are green and white secret sleeper colors for Treasure decks?
The overall answer is “probably not unless you’re going full multicolor.” Searching exclusively for green, white and Selesnya cards that make reference to Treasures (sorry, Treasure Hunter, you don’t count), I found a total of 13 that are legal in Commander. Minimus Containment, Excavation Technique and Spoils of the Hunt don’t really count, so we’re down to 10. Of those 10, here are the four that really turn heads:
The two enchantments and Tireless Provisioner all do some serious work in Commander, as you’ve probably already seen, and Old Gnawbone is a solid top-end card for a deck that loves to attack with huge creatures, but these cards speak to me in terms of added value rather than a full-on Treasure theme. What’s the payoff? Just casting big stuff? Green can already do that, and when you cut it out of the mix, you’re mostly left with these utility enchantments that just slot into other lists.
By contrast, there are 62 cards within the Grixis identity that make Treasure tokens (I’m not counting Herald of Hadar’s critical roll), and that’s not counting any artifacts that might be relevant. Here’s a quick breakdown of their color identities:
Obviously these cards are of varying qualities, but it’s easy to see from this that just sticking with the Rakdos identity, there are 45 available Treasure generators. Adding blue throws in 17 more, so going Grixis adds about 38 percent more cards. With six artifacts and one land (Treasure Vault) that make Treasures as well, it’s clear that we could probably make mono-red, Rakdos, Izzet or Grixis work. Dimir is a little more of a stretch – even though it has almost as many Treasure generators as mono-red, the card quality is a bit worse.
So what’s the best way to play – mono-red, Rakdos, Izzet or Grixis? Well, since we’re not in the realm of cEDH, I don’t think there’s a “best” – I just think there are different options. Let’s break those options down so that you can build the Treasure deck that works best for you!
If you don’t want to expand outside of a single color for your Treasure deck, I have good news: You don’t need to. You can keep your mana base nice and simple with lots of basic Mountains (or Snow-Covered Mountains if you’re feeling it) and still get access to many of the best Treasure-related cards.
This is the premier Treasure card. With this card in play, any time you make Treasure, you’ll feel just like the Xorn in the art feels as it dumps all that tasty gold into its mouth. Effects like this have a long history of being powerful in Commander, and Xorn is no different.
If you’re leaning on any kind of spellslinging theme, Storm-Kiln Artist fuels the fire quite nicely. With this card on the battlefield, casting and flashing back Strike It Rich is totally mana-neutral, so if you have a high instant and sorcery count in your deck, it’s hard to ignore this card.
I’m not usually one to advise people to pick up Standard staples for Commander, but if you’ve already got a copy of this card or don’t mind the expense, it’s not hard to see why doubling the output of your Treasures would be good.
Obviously this card isn’t strictly necessary, but if you have one, it’s hard to imagine not running it.
We may not have the draw power of blue decks, but we sure as heck can filter our draws. These three do a decent job of fixing our draws while also providing treasure. Plus, there might be other reasons we want to discard cards…
Goblin Welder and friends are a fairly obvious way to benefit from Treasures. An individual Treasure token can often be worth more than one mana by itself thanks to synergies, but when you’re bringing cards like Wurmcoil Engine back from the graveyard in exchange for something as simple as a Treasure, you’ll wonder why you were ever doing anything else with them.
In terms of Commanders, we have quite a few options in mono-red. EDHREC lists these as the most popular choices:
Most of these would do well as members of the 99 with another one at the helm, and all four provide both Treasures and some sort of payoff for having or using them, but like most of you out there, I’m immediately drawn to Magda. I built a Magda list in late 2020, but let’s do a little bit of a rebuild and perhaps build that Faster Car we talked about in that article. After all, with newly-printed Treasure cards and Dwarves in Forgotten Realms, there’s plenty of room to grow. Here’s an untested sample list:
Magda Treasure EDH by Eric Levine
Why play Rakdos? Well, we have all of the strengths of the mono-red list, but we get to add some extra dimensions. Black loves to sacrifice things, and Treasures live to be sacrificed. Black adds some key cards to the mix that shouldn’t be overlooked, as follows:
Black has plenty of Aristocrats-style options, but if you’ve ever wanted one that plays directly off tokens so that you can drain people’s life and make mana at the same time, well, Commander Legends has the answer in Nadier’s Nightblade. If your opponents are paying attention, they will know how dangerous this card is.
Turning Treasures into mana is all well and good, but have you considered turning them into cards? Black gives you the option to do just that, and while red lets you do some welding shenanigans, this is a more direct approach.
If you’re in Rakdos, you’re probably leaning into an overall sacrifice angle with cards like Pawn of Ulamog and Sifter of Skulls bringing you more goodies when your creatures die. Pitiless Plunderer’s effect is on another level for a Treasure deck because, well, it makes Treasures, but it also augments the Eldrazi Spawn/Scion generators, because Pitiless Plunderer doesn’t care if your creatures are tokens or not. Sacrifice a nontoken creature, get an Eldrazi Scion/Spawn token, then sacrifice that for one colorless mana and a Treasure – what a deal.
If you need to set up some defenses or just want to cash in to create a big attacker, Kalain’s ability lets you spend Treasures to cast better, more stat-focused versions of your creatures. Not as big of a difference-maker as it is in Limited, but still.
We couldn’t possibly make it out of this section without talking about Revel in Riches. It’s not just an alternate win condition, though that is nice. It also turns mass removal into mass Treasure creation, which erases the loss of tempo often generated in multiplayer by being the person who chooses to spend their cards and mana blowing up the board. Bonus points if you’re getting tons of value off a heavily discounted Blasphemous Act.
As Commanders go, the most popular options according to EDHREC are these two:
Prosper leans into Treasure as a subtheme/co-theme alongside playing cards from exile, whereas Kalain is all in. That said, I could easily see quite a few other Rakdos commanders working decently well with Treasure themes. Grenzo, Dungeon Warden could use the boost in his X value, or a Toggo/Armix deck could go all in on artifact tokens with Treasures lining up alongside Rocks. I’m sure you can figure out many more possible options!
Okay, it’s time for an example deck list. We need look no further than my recently retooled Juri deck! I’m probably cutting Tempting Contract and Treasure Chest before I play next, but I haven’t totally decided what goes in those slots – I’m thinking about Grave Titan as well as something else large that could get in and brawl.
Juri Treasure EDH by Eric Levine
Izzet’s Treasure synergies are a little all over the place. Dragons, Pirates and artifacts in general are all part of the equation. That said, there are some cards that will probably show up in most Treasure-themed Izzet decks:
Turn all your tokens into a single kind of token, you say? Well, that can work a couple ways. We could make a bunch of Treasures and then turn them into Golems or something else beefy, or we could make a bunch of Servos and Thopters, turn them into Treasures, and go totally nuts.
Using your Treasures just once is fine, but why not use them every single turn? Galazeth Prismari keeps you locked in on instants and sorceries, but Urza’s all about freedom (as long as that only involves blue mana).
It’s not Mana Drain, because of course, this costs five mana, but getting Treasures into the mix has a lot of value.
If we’re making all of those Thopters and Servos we talked about earlier, shouldn’t we extract some additional value from them? Let’s have them make us some Treasures and eventually get us a Tolarian Academy. Sounds pretty good to me.
There are a few different options for commanders. According to EDHREC, Galazeth is the most popular, followed by partner decks featuring either Breeches, Brazen Plunderer or Dargo, the Shipwrecker alongside Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator. Today, I want to step a little bit off the beaten path and put Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer at the helm. Here’s a sample first draft of a deck list that centers around Treasures but also has a wider token theme for Brudiclad to enjoy!
Brudiclad Treasure by Eric Levine
What are the advantages of going full Grixis? Well, you get access to all of the above! The best of the best! You do have to do some backwards justification with commanders, though.
Admiral Beckett Brass is the most popular option on EDHREC for Grixis Treasure decks, which would likely be a pirate-centric way to build things. Since we haven’t leaned into Pirates yet in this article, I think now’s the time to take a look at how a Pirate Treasure deck would work. The Admiral, fearsome though she is, doesn’t really synergize with Treasure herself. Plus, I think the Pirate theme has been explored plenty well. This article needed a twist ending – what if Grixis wasn’t just Grixis?
Don’t forget that you don’t have to use every color in your commander’s color identity! It’s totally okay to build a fully Grixis deck with Breya at the helm – just make sure you include white mana to be able to cast her. At that point, though, you might as well throw in Smothering Tithe and Monologue Tax. That said, I’m going to conceptualize and build this as a Grixis deck with a couple of bonuses, so I’ll keep the white inclusions to a minimum. Here’s our final sample list for the article – hopefully you’ve gotten a ton of value out of this overview of Treasure!