Poroscope will greet you on the verge of midsummer with an article about how to build a budget EDH-deck! If your midsummer will be spent more indoors than at summer cottage you can take this advice and start brewing a budget commander deck!
Commander decks can be built with a very large scale in the budget. The most competitive ones can cost up to five-digit numbers with their original Timetwisters and fully foiled setups. Cheapest possibility to play is usually the precon-commander decks which will provide you with a ready-to-play deck for only around 40 to 60€. But how does one build a commander deck from a scratch with the precon-budget?
First, we have to make clear of a couple of things. Commander, as a format, can be played in various ways with different ways and budgets. The most expensive decks are expensive because of the card choices are usually cards that are cross-format-all-star-cards more than cards good only in commander. Players playing formats like modern and legacy tend to get the most efficient cards for their decks because playing a sub-optimal card choice might lead to losing the game. Since commander is originally formed around people willing to have fun you are not obligated to go always to the most expensive card choices if you want to for example build more of a budget builds. The fun factor of the game is mostly circling around the fact that everyone in the table is playing with similar power levels and everyone feels they can take part in the game.
The more colors you have in your deck the more expensive the build easily gets as you need to invest more in the mana base. Land cards tend to be expensive as they are usually played cross-format. Even though there are lots of dual lands that come into play tapped, you might lose the vital tempo for the game by playing too many tap lands. With two or fewer colors you can easily go with mostly basic lands thus giving you the possibility of using the mana right away and also lowering the budget a lot.
For this article, I built a mono-black discard-themed commander deck from a scratch and mainly focusing on the budget. The whole deck costs around 60€ without basic lands. This included all the cards in the deck - if you have some uncommons and commons at home from bulk boxes or boosters you could definitely save some money pretty easily by using them. It is worth noting that the commander Rankle, Master of Pranks also makes around 10% of the whole price of the deck. I picked Rankle to the helm since it's ability suits the theme pretty well but you could definitely do well with cheaper options as well.
The picks for cards have been made mostly by using the EDHrec searching with the words "mono-black discard" and picking the cards from the cheapest end of the suggested cards. Without playtesting, the deck feels to be quite ok the power level being pretty close to precon decks.
Roughly the plan for the deck is the following: Play discard effects and cards, that deal damage or make your opponents lose life when they discard cards. The deck also includes Exsanguinate as a wincon that can deal rest of the damage needed in the late game.
As an archetype, the mono-black discard is viable even outside budget EDH. The biggest differences in price are usually in the mana base. Mana producing artifacts are usually a bit more expensive as they can be played in various decks thus making them impossible to fit into a very snug budget. Luckily you can always upgrade your budget deck to make it better and more consistent and that is one of my own favorite aspects of EDH: the deckbuilding is fun and I can easily spend endless hours in figuring out the build for my deck.
Especially when doing a budget build you should pick a specific theme for your deck. Usually decks that synergise more with all the card options than play individually strong cards are cheaper to build since you don't need the most expensive and efficient cards to them - as long as they fit into your theme you are doing pretty ok!
Pekka "Löhis" Löhönen