Commander precon decks are getting better. There’s just no way around it. I’m going to have to change the way I do things around here.
And that’s great!
Instead of spending five articles talking about each of the New Capenna Commander decks and doing $50 upgrades, I’ll be consolidating them into just two articles total. I’m keeping the overall budget per article the same, though – instead of $50 per deck, we’ll be spending just $20 per deck. Why just $20? Well, like I said, the decks are getting better, so I’m lowering my target budget for an entry point into EDH. With the decks going for about $40 each right now on ChannelFireball.com, adding on $20 of upgrades puts us right into (or sometimes under) triple-A video game price territory – and that’s before you pay for the DLC, Season Pass, virtual currency or whatever else. Plus, it’s the budget I used for my Commander upgrade league, so it’s a totally workable starting point.
As always, I’d like to remind you of a couple of things regarding my budget articles:
- The $40 startup cost plus $20 upgrade cost has a different impact on different people, but given that it’s about 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.
Let’s get started with the Bedecked Brokers deck headlined by Perrie, the Pulverizer!
Bedecked Brokers Precon
We’re looking at a deck that wants to go wide in terms of types of counters and then build up those counters with proliferate effects while putting in big attacks with Perrie (and potentially at least one other creature, though Perrie can self-target). +1/+1 counters will be a big part of building our board, but we have plenty of other types of counters to make Perrie more powerful. With a nice low curve (average mana value without lands: 3.15), 38 lands in the deck and no spells costing more than six mana, this is an impressively compact list. Let’s tune it up a little!
These five creatures are outta here! Kros is out of place in this deck and wants much more to be in charge, so off they go to new opportunities. Wickerbough Elder is pretty slow, and we have other ways to deal with problem artifacts and enchantments. Shield Broker, even in a proliferate-heavy deck, is just very awkward by itself. Skyship Plunderer does a bad impression of proliferate and doesn’t outpower our other two-drops, while Park Heights Maverick is a little too easy to block profitably.
Three creatures come in to replace them:
|Faithbound Judge (VOW)||Guildpact Informant (WAR)||Falco Spara, Pactweaver (SNC)|
Faithbound Judge adds a new type of counter to the mix: judgment counters! While it may not have the je ne sais quoi of the Judgment Night soundtrack, it’s a fun inclusion. Guildpact Informant is another 1/1 flying proliferator, and Falco Spara gives us more things to do with our counters (spoiler alert: Falco Spara is very powerful.)
We’re cutting these six noncreatures:
It’s a bit weird to be so heavy on artifact ramp in a green-centric deck, so we’ll be swapping these out.
Declaration in Stone does exile the target, but at sorcery speed, I’m not that excited. I don’t think we need two wraths, and Planar Outburst is certainly the lesser of the two.
I talked about the slow speed of Gavel of the Righteous in my set review, and I’m staying consistent. Urban Evolution, meanwhile, is outpaced by other card draw options we’re bringing in, and I’m including Falco in that calculation.
Eight noncreature spells join the replacement train:
|Farseek (M13)||Cultivate (M21)||Planewide Celebration (WAR)||Swords to Plowshares (A25)|
Farseek and Cultivate replace the lost mana rocks. Swords to Plowshares is a great removal option at about half the price of a Path to Exile, so it makes our cut here. And yes, I’m adding a seven-drop! Planewide Celebration is fantastic in this deck – quadruple proliferate is great, and mixing in some permanent recursion can’t hurt.
|Contagion Clasp (SOM)||Tome of Legends (ELD)||Wedding Announcement (VOW)||Paradox Zone (C21)|
Clasp adds more proliferate action to the deck, while Tome of Legends gets us card draw value and access to yet another counter type: page counters! Wedding Announcement adds invitation counters and some card draw, while Paradox Zone brings us creatures with +1/+1 counters and has growth counters itself. This is a big value-fest!
Three lands hit the chopping block:
The Odyssey filter lands and the panoramas are both favorite cuts of mine for their inefficiency/awkwardness, and Llanowar Reborn is a solid theme inclusion but not a card I’m excited to play here. Let’s swap them out for these three:
|Calciform Pools (TSP)||Saltcrusted Steppe (TSP)||Terramorphic Expanse (CMR)|
Proliferating storage counters is fun, and their existence supports Perrie! Terramorphic takes the Panorama spot nicely – it may not make mana on the turn you play it, but it’s a much better fixer to draw early.
We’ve now spent a total of $19.76 – budget goal achieved! Here’s the final upgraded Brokers list.
Bedecked Brokers Upgraded
Next up, and last for today, is Cabaretti Cacophony (we’ll cover the other three next time – I wrote about a million words over the last couple of weeks, so the tie goes to Future Raging Levine). Here’s the deck out of the box, featuring Star Wars Name Generator all-star Kitt Kanto, Mayhem Diva (it’s a good name, it just sounds like some Expanded Universe content to me!).
Cabaretti Cacophony Precon
The plan is to generate tokens and goad stuff! Eventually, we pick off whoever’s left with our token army. Sounds fun to me! The average mana value on this one is a bit higher at 3.43 without lands, but there’s only one eight-drop and no sevens, and we still have 38 land. Love it! Let’s tune it up.
These two really work much better as the directors of their own shows, so we’ll leave them out. Bess is particularly awkward alone, and while Phabine could work, the effect is unreliable enough that I’ll be happy to lose a six-drop.
I don’t totally know why Magus of the Wheel is in here other than to support Zurzoth, and that’s not enough of a reason. Selvala speaks to the same subtheme, but we’re not trying to ramp super hard, so she’s out too.
Let’s put in six all-new creatures!
|Jinnie Fay, Jetmir’s Second (SNC)||Drumbellower (NEC)||Stonybrook Schoolmaster (The List)||Welcoming Vampire (VOW)|
Jinnie Fay helps upgrade the many 1/1s we’ll generate into bigger and better tokens. Drumbellower lets us goad, goad and goad some more, and Stonybrook Schoolmaster generates even more tokens to help out with that. Welcoming Vampire keeps the cards coming as we generate more tokens – the draw is restricted to once per turn, but since Mentor of the Meek takes mana as payment, I figure the Vampire is worth trying out in that spot.
|Llanowar Elves (M12)||Fyndhorn Elves (CMR)|
I also added two mana Elves, both to help us ramp early and to use later with Kitt Kanto when we no longer want the mana quite as much.
We’re cutting some noncreatures too:
Once again, I’d rather get some land-based ramp in here. It’s hard on the board for artifacts these days.
Seize the Spotlight doesn’t fit our theme terribly well and its effect is pretty variable, so I’m out. Cabaretti Confluence costs a lot of mana and doesn’t do quite enough, as discussed in my set review. Finally, Sandwurm Convergence is nice, but it costs a ton and I’d rather focus on making large amounts of tokens all at once. The Rhino token generators at least make tokens in bulk (and they’re bulky)!
We’re bringing in these three noncreature spells:
|Farseek (M13)||Harvest Season (KHC)||Rabble Rousing (SNC)|
Farseek and Harvest Season give us some land-based ramp, with Harvest Season scaling quite well with our token base. Rabble Rousing acts as sort of a token doubler with a nice free spell built into the process.
Finally, we’re cutting two lands:
If you saw what I cut from the Brokers deck, you should expect these to be cut. Here are our replacements:
|Sokenzan, Crucible of Defiance (NEO)||Terramorphic Expanse (CMR)|
Sokenzan is a decent land that adds some tokens later if it’s not needed, and Terramorphic Expanse is a solid fixer.
Great job, team – we spent $17.35, coming in well under budget! Here’s the final deck list for today. See you next time as we upgrade the other three precons on a budget of $20 per deck!