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By: Dreager_Ex, Joshua Smith
Oct 18 2016 12:00pm
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Commander is a format filled with powerful bombs and ridiculous spells, and with both of these things there tends to be a very inflated price tag when it comes to singles. I'm here to show players, who might feel skittish dropping hundreds on those chase rares, that Commander doesn't have to be expensive and if you make the right choices you can keep the format fun and fresh without those high dollar cards. The goal of this series will be to make a new budget commander deck each week and slowly build up a collection to improve our future ventures. That way, if you keep up with the articles and the decks each new deck will have access to a higher dollar amount despite our goal to stick to a strict spending limit. After last week we have 24.76 tix worth of cards to use for free this week with our budget friendly brew.
 


Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer - The Iron Legion

Jor Kadeen, The Prevailer

Starting with the framework last week's deck provided I wanted to pursue another color this week. Red felt almost necessary as all of the money cards from last week were Red. Part of our strategy last week was to finish some games with infinite tokens destroying all of our opponents. So this week I wanted to expand on that and make a deck that played up the tokens a bit more and got an advantage from them being artifacts. As a result I came across Jor Kadeen, who acts as a Pseudo-Overrun if you cast him with a board full of Artifact tokens.

Tokens have always been a staple for the Boros colors, but along with the tokens I wanted to see what other kind of powers those colors had available to them. One thing often overlooked by players when they assess the power level of a commander is the raw stats their commander might have. The ability on Jor to buff our legions of tokens is great, but another thing worth pointing out his is 5/4 body which more often than not is simply a 8/4. With a huge power like that Jor makes it easy to convert your play style away from the pure token legion and more toward a Voltron strategy. The Voltron strategy, for newer Commander players, is where you combine a lot of buffs with your commander. The goal is hitting your opponents for that twenty-one commander damage and killing them outright. This gives us another strategy so we aren't just limiting ourselves to our tokens, and it also makes our commander an exciting play when we don't have other creatures on the board. Having multiple gameplans is always the best way to construct your deck and we'll try to not fall prey to the multitude of board wipes in the format that will no doubt pose a problem for us.

Alright so let's run down the cards from last week that we want to include in our Boros Iron Legion, and also some more staples we'll add to our collection that we will want to have available for this deck and future commander decks. For the sake of my sanity we will be leaving out the all-around staples for Commander from previous decks, such as Sol ring, as for the most part we'll be putting them in most decks and they won't really contribute much to the game plan beyond making the deck operate more smoothly. We will however, show off what cards from last week make the cut! So with that said let's see what we're putting in this week's deck:

New Commander Staples:
Swords to Plowshares..................................................................................................$0.04
Solemn Simulacrum......................................................................................................$1.35
Return to Dust...............................................................................................................$0.02
Darksteel Plate..............................................................................................................$0.18
Mana Crypt....................................................................................................................$1.56
Command Tower...........................................................................................................$0.06
Wrath of God.................................................................................................................$1.94
Boros Signet..................................................................................................................$0.04
Burnished Hart...............................................................................................................$0.01

Drafted From Last Week:
Pia and Kiran Nalaar.....................................................................................................FREE
Feldon of the Third Path................................................................................................FREE
Goblin Welder................................................................................................................FREE
Steel Hellkite..................................................................................................................FREE
Pentavus........................................................................................................................FREE
Staff of Nin.....................................................................................................................FREE
Hammer of Purphoros...................................................................................................FREE
Gilded Lotus..................................................................................................................FREE Chaos Warp..................................................................................................................FREE 
Blasphemous Act..........................................................................................................FREE
Mind's Eye.....................................................................................................................FREE
 

As you can see, I took the opportunity to invest in some White staples for Commander. Swords to Plowshares, Wrath of God, and Return to Dust are all crucial cards for many white strategies. The Wrath of God might be a bit pricey but we made a lot of use out of last week's cards and that really helps out on our budget for this week. Command Tower is also a very obvious pick up for anyone interested in the Commander format, hopefully if you're reading this you already have one but if not they are super cheap. Solemn Simulacrum is another one that is a bit on the pricey side but again it's one of those cards that can be thrown into almost any deck. Now finally comes the Mana Crypt, which can act as another Sol Ring in most decks. The damage can add up over a long game but fortunately we will have outlets to get rid of it and the fact that it is an artifact definitely matters with our general. The price is on par with Wrath of God but this card will definitely get some work done for many of our decks going forward.

Solemn Simulacrum
Goblin Welder

 


Developing our Strategy - The Art of War

Last week's deck gave us a lot of gas for our artifact legion strategy. Our last week's commander Pia and Kiran Nalaar offers us three bodies, two of which are artifacts. It's not the best token generator in the deck but it provides some utility for us. Feldon of the Third Path and Goblin Welder pull off some heavy token shenanigans as they will be utilizing some crucial creatures that get tossed into the graveyard early. Pentavus being a prime specimen for the graveyard shenanigans, but we'll go over the other creatures they will cheat into play later. Let's just say the value gets ridiculous. Staff of Nin and Mind's Eye smooth out the later stages of the game with some much needed card draw, which is a little slack in Boros unless you're willing to dump your hand. Finally along with our Wrath of God we have Blasphemous Act. Now my first thought when making this deck was to avoid putting in the board sweeps because they are counter intuitive to our plan of swarming out opponents. After some testing though I learned how games often played out with this kind of deck. The majority of the time, if you ever devoloped a board that even slightly resembles something threatening you're going to get nuked. That's fine, wrath effects are common in the format and are to be expected. While you are recovering however your opponents will often assume you're out of steam and leave you largely alone. Your Wrath effects keep you alive long enough to power out a game ending combo, which we have a couple of available to us. With all of that said let's talk about our primary game plans, because it always pays to have a backup.

As stated above, our commander acts as a Pseudo-Overrun for our iron legion. So the immediate game plan is to throw out tokens, preferably some artifact tokens, and push them all into the red zone with metalcraft active and Jor Kadeen on the board. If that fails to a board wipe or mass bounce etc, we also have the outlet of our commander alone, which can bash our opponents for 8+ points of commander damage a turn. Finally we have some combos that can just lock up the game and secure us the win. So lets take a look at the cards we'll utilize for our gameplans:

Assembling the Legion:
Assemble the Legion........................................................................................................$0.01
Myr Battlesphere..............................................................................................................$0.02
Hangarback Walker..........................................................................................................$0.48
Darien, King of Kjeldor......................................................................................................$0.14
Captain of the Watch........................................................................................................$0.01
Geist-Honored Monk.........................................................................................................
$0.01
Goblin Rabblemaster........................................................................................................$0.78
Precinct Captain................................................................................................................$0.01
Hero of Bladehold.............................................................................................................$1.61

Myr Turbine.......................................................................................................................$0.01
Mentor of the Meek...........................................................................................................$0.03
Aurelia, the Warleader.......................................................................................................$0.41
Firecat Blitz.......................................................................................................................$0.02

 

Myr Battlesphere 

For our token strategy we have a ton of generators available to us. It's very important in a large multiplayer game to have some resilience to the board wipes that not only our opponents play but that we ourselves will be playing. It's not enough to power out a lot of tokens with one card (although that can be powerful), but we have to spread out of tokens so that we don't appear to be a huge threat right away, but also so we can resist overextending on the board. I also like having most of our generators as creatures so that we have another body for Jor to do some work and also to give Feldon of the Third Path some nice juicy targets. From there we can include some cards to benefit our swarm strategy such as Mentor, Aurelia and Hero of Bladehold, which acts as both a generator and a swarm buff. Now let's see the Voltron and combo cards:

 

Bolster the General and Destroy them All:
Darksteel Plate................................................................................................................$0.13
Worldslayer......................................................................................................................$0.02
Sunforger.........................................................................................................................$0.01
Blade of Selves................................................................................................................$0.06
Tenza, Godo's Maul.........................................................................................................$0.01
Godo, Bandit Warlord......................................................................................................$0.39
Relic Seeker....................................................................................................................$0.02
Stoneforge Mystic............................................................................................................$0.91
Stonehewer Giant............................................................................................................$0.01
Open the Armory.............................................................................................................$0.01
Sigarda's Aid...................................................................................................................$0.02
Obliterate.........................................................................................................................$0.42
Purphoros, God of the Forge...........................................................................................$2.09

 Stoneforge Mystic

So we included a lot of tools to both protect and buff Jor Kadeen. There are also plenty of ways to tutor for our awesome equipment. The plan, should our swarm plan not meet our needs, is to tutor for some equipment to make Jor Kadeen unstoppable, such as Darksteel Plate, Lightning Greaves, and Swiftfoot Boots. After that we have other equipment to help up his power to threaten our opponents, and in the case of Sunforger gives us access to a tool box of spells that will greatly benefit us in both quashing our opponent's plans and protecting our own. Finally there is the world killer spells that work to devastating effect with Darksteel Plate. Take our indestructible commander and throw an Obliterate onto the field and we have a clean board for us to tear down players with Jor. Better yet, we can equip him with a Worldslayer and eliminate all hope for your opponents to recover on the board as it gets wiped every time Jor lands a blow. Purphoros, God of the Forge gives us another powerful win-condition to synergize with our token swarm. Should our tokens become unlikely to get through in combat we can power them out with Purphoros on the board to apply some added pressure to dwindling life totals, or in most cases outright kill players. Including these cards gives the deck a lot more diversity and eliminates a lot of its weakness to mass wipe or Moat-like abilities. 

Managing Our Resources:

With the game plan locked down its time to look into our mana for this deck. We have a lot of non-basics in last week's deck but the colors were simple. This week we'll have to fix our colors a bit and we'll invest a bit more into some commander staple lands. So let's run down some of the candidates for this week's mana base:

 

Mana Mana:
Temple of Triumph..................................................................................................$0.06
Boros Garrison........................................................................................................$0.03
Boros Guildgate......................................................................................................$0.02
Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion............................................................................$0.01
Slayers' Stronghold.................................................................................................$0.01
Kher Keep...............................................................................................................$0.15
Hanweir Battlements...............................................................................................$0.06
Command Beacon..................................................................................................$0.17
Clifftop Retreat........................................................................................................$0.13
Battlefield Forge......................................................................................................$0.24
Ancient Tomb......................................................................................................$1.83
Ancient Den.............................................................................................................$0.22

Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion

As you can see there is nothing really special with our mana base going on here, just some basic color fixing. We also included a few more utility lands to help our game plans. Sunhome and Slayers' Stronghold for our Voltron strategy and Kher Keep to help with our token generation. Hanweir Battlements is also included here, to pair with our Hanweir Garrison. While it is very unlikely we will see both of them, there is almost no reason to not include both of them and potentially create a Hanweir, the Writhing Township. Finally we included a juicy piece of ramp in the form of Ancient Tomb         which is not quite as good as a Sol Ring but it is comparable to our Mana Crypt. 

Now with the mana base fully established let's look at the overall decklist:

Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer
- 100 Cards Total
Creature
1 Aurelia, the Warleader
1 Burnished Hart
1 Feldon of the Third Path
1 Goblin Welder
1 Gold Myr
1 Indomitable Archangel
1 Iron Myr
1 Hero of Bladehold
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Godo, Bandit Warlord
1 Pentavus
1 Palladium Myr
1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar
1 Relic Seeker
1 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Steel Hellkite
1 Stoneforge Mystic
1 Stonehewer Giant
1 Captain of the Watch
1 Darien, King of Kjeldor
1 Geist-Honored Monk
1 Odric, Lunarch Marshal
1 Hangarback Walker
1 Mentor of the Meek
1 Goblin Rabblemaster
1 Precinct Captain
1 Purphoros, God of the Forge
1 Hanweir Garrison
1 Hanweir Militia Captain
29 cards

Instant
1 Boros Charm
1 Chaos Warp
1 Dispatch
1 Enlightened Tutor
1 Return to Dust
1 Swords to Plowshares
6 cards

Sorcery
1 Wrath of God
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Day of Judgment
1 Open the Armory
1 Obliterate
1 Phyrexian Rebirth
1 Firecat Blitz
1 Vandalblast
8 cards
Artifact
1 Boros Signet
1 Darksteel Ingot
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Gilded Lotus
1 Hammer of Purphoros
1 Lightning Greaves
1 Mana Crypt
1 Skullclamp
1 Sol Ring
1 Staff of Nin
1 Swiftfoot Boots
1 Sunforger
1 Thran Dynamo
1 Worn Powerstone
1 Myr Incubator
1 Myr Turbine
1 Eldrazi Monument
1 Mind's Eye
1 Worldslayer
1 Blade of Selves
20 cards

Enchantment
1 Assemble the Legion
1 Sigarda's Aid
2 cards
 
Land
1 Ancient Tomb/> 1 Great Furnace
1 Command Tower
1 Darksteel Citadel
4 Plains
1 Temple of the False God
1 Hanweir Battlements
1 Boros Guildgate
1 Kher Keep
1 Temple of Triumph
1 Sunhome, Fortress of the Legion
1 Battlefield Forge
1 Boros Garrison
1 Ancient Den
1 Clifftop Retreat
1 Command Beacon
4 Mountain
1 Slayers' Stronghold
3 Mountain
2 Plains
2 Plains
1 Buried Ruin
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Rogue's Passage
34 cards

Commander
1 Jor Kadeen, the Prevailer
1 cards

 

I work hard for the Money!
(More Budget Friendly Options)

IN:                                                   
Plains or Mountain
Impact Tremors
Steelshaper's Gift

OUT:                                       
Ancient Tomb/> Purphoros, God of the Forge
Enlightened Tutor

If I had a Million Dollars!
(More Powerful Options)

IN:                                                    
Plateau
Sacred Foundry
Sun Titan
Gisela, Blade of Goldnight
Iroas, God of Victory
Puresteel Paladin
Wurmcoil Engine
Grand Abolisher
Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
Path to Exile
Sword of Fire and Ice
Batterskull

OUT:                                       
Ummmm....yeah....

As you can see there aren't many outlets for us to make this deck MORE budget-friendly, which in my opinion means it's a success. Ancient Tomb is easily replaced as its simply another form of ramp, which is good but you won't see it every game so it's not a huge loss. Purphoros, God of the Forge is a bit of a harder hit, I'd rather not take it out, but SOMETHING has to take the hit. Impact Tremor is an alright replacement, as it accomplishes a similar role, without the possibility of an active god. The creature part of Purphoros is negligible since he won't often become active, but the indestructibility is a huge loss. Finally, there comes Enlightened Tutor which in our deck is exclusively replaced with Steelshaper's Gift is more often than not equipment will be our target anyway. The biggest downside is the fact that Steelshaper's Gift sn't much cheaper than Enlightened Tutor and we do also have some enchantments and non-equipment artifacts to tutor for even if we are unlikely to do so.

Now for those of you willing to pump some cash into the deck there are a TON of options available to you. The obvious start is upping the value of your mana base with Plateau and Sacred Foundry. You could also add some fetch lands in for some added benefit, but we don't benefit as much from them as we already are on the low-end as far as lands go, and the deck doesn't care about Landfall or putting lands in the graveyard. After that there are some all-star bombs like Sun Titan, Iroas, God of Victory, Wurmcoil Engine and Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite. Their replacements are a little up in the air but I would shy away from taking out too many token generators to include bombs. Including the bombs gives you the opportunity to threaten the board a little more with your presence, which could be both a good and a bad thing.
 You'll have to step wisely here so as to not incur the wrath of the table should you step out of line. Finally, you can up the quality of your equipment spells with cards like Batterskull and various swords (all of them, not just Sword of Fire and Ice). I'm reluctant to provide you options to take out for any these cards, as I wouldn't recommend putting ALL of them in at once. It would take some testing but a general rule to consider, is to replace cards that fill a certain niche with cards that ALSO fill that niche. For instance, Steel Hellkite might be replaced with Gisela, Blade of Goldnight as they are both aerial threats, but Gisela can end the game by supporting both your Token strategy and your Voltron strategy, similar to Aurelia, the Warleader


 Balancing the Books - A Financial Analysis
(Prices in Tix from MTGOTraders.com on: 10/13/2016)

 

This Week's Deck Costs:                  

This Week's Deck Value:     31.88 
Cost of Cards From our Card Pool:    -12.84 

Final Total Spent this Week:    19.04 
Total amount saved:
   12.84 

Running Total:                      

Running Total of Expenditures:      24.76 
This Week's Total Expenditure:    +19.04 

The new Total of Expenditures:    43.08 
Weekly Average:
   (21.90)

 

So this is the first week that we are able to use cards from the previous week, and as a result we can develop a more powerful deck without splurging too much in a single week. This week's deck cost us: 19.04 tix which is right in the sweet spot for where I want us to be. Our weekly average is also just under 22 tix, which is good, but we'll try to get that lower. My goal is to hopefully have the Weekly average around 20 tix, and while that may seem like a lot of money to spend (80 tix a month) it's worth noting that your typical commander deck can run well over 100tix (a lot more in paper) and that's just ONE deck. So hopefully those of you following along with this journey enjoy the deck and the savings. In time we'll be investing in those high dollar cards with our new decks and we'll be able to power them up as we go!


Like what you read? Feel free to leave a comment with some feedback, advice or requests for future Commanders/Decks.
Just remember, the goal is to get the most use out of the cards we have in our pool now.
So keep that in mind when requesting Commanders.
Thanks!