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By: jdmedina, Jonathan Medina
Apr 03 2020 12:00pm

Since day-one of quarantine, I’ve been jamming Commander with my Discord server and it’s been amazing! I‘ve been a paper-only player, but recently I found some “secret sauce” that's made the whole Magic Online (MTGO) experience more enjoyable for me. We’ll talk about that later. First, I want to talk about how affordable Commander is on MTGO. 

10 Tix Commander

When I broached the idea of playing on MTGO with my Discord, I wanted to make sure it was affordable. I used a threshold that my buddy Shivam had mentioned on Twitter, 10 Tickets. I wasn’t sure how far that budget would get me, but I was pleasantly surprised to see how far you can stretch nine bucks on MTGO! For example, here are some cards that you wouldn't expect to be literally pennies: 

Vampiric Tutor

Sylvan Library

Chains of Mephistopheles

Survival of the Fittest

Living Plane

Cloudstone Curio


And the list goes on. That’s nuts right!? If you're like me, then you're already excited to start building a budget deck. I’ll walk you through the process that I used for building my 10 ticket Commander decks, then I’ll share one of my lists. By the way, we’ve adopted the rule that the cost of you commander is not included in your budget. This gives you the most possible options for building a deck. Keep in mind, these tips can translate to building for any budget. I'm using 10 Tix because that's what I'm familiar with. Let’s dive in.


Start with a deck you have. If you’ve been playing for any amount of time, you probably have a Commander deck built, or at least a list. If you don't, you can start with one of these lists from my Discord.


Bring your list into MTG Goldfish. I like using Goldfish to build decks because it lets me watch the budget as I go. If you already have the deck on Goldfish you can click “Edit Copy” to begin work on your budget version.


Cut all the cards over 1 ticket. This means you’ll have to say goodbye to Sol Ring. It’s ok to leave a few cards that are more than a ticket, just be prepared to face some hard cuts later. 


Fill in the gaps. Now you need to replace the cards you removed.  It can be as easy as swapping Eternal Witness for Regrowth. Or adding Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse in the place of expensive fetch lands. One thing that can help a visit to EDHRec. You can find options for your deck along with card prices in tickets.


Buy the deck. Once you have your deck built it’s time to acquire the pixels on MTGO! I apologize in advance, but were may have to do some acrobatics here so bear with me. It starts with downloading a copy of your decklist from MTG Goldfish. Click the "Download" button on the left side of the screen.


If you already have a collection on MTGO, it’s best to import your deck into MTGO and make a wishlist for the missing cards. This way you won’t pay extra for cards that you already own! 


Right click and select "Add Missing Cards to Wish List".


Right click on your Wishlist, click "Export".


If you don’t own any cards, you can upload the whole deck to the MTGO Traders deck tool and skip the in-client shenanigans. Keep in mind that the “optimize” button could save you some money.



After this, you’ll be armed with your weapon of choice and ready to battle! Here’s one of the decks I “sleeved-up” for some 10-tix Commander fun. My hope is that it will inspire you to build a budget deck on MTGO!

This deck is a blast, and at a ticket and a half, how could I resist throwing in a Timetwister? After building my deck, I queued up a pod with some friend. I was sipping on my coffee and laughing while I tapped my lands for The Locust God. It was met with the usual groans, “That’s not good!” and “You know what that means.” 


“Don’t worry guys, I got it.” Zuko reassured the table. 


I cast a Winds of Change


Zuko casts Reckless Rage targeting his Feather and my Locust God.


“Come on man!” I yelled into my mic. 


For a moment, I forgot that I was playing Commander on Magic Online. It occurred to me that being able to talk to (yell at) my friends while playing made a huge difference in my enjoyment level of MTGO. That’s where the secret sauce comes in. 


Secret Sauce

If you haven’t guessed, I was using Discord voice-chat to talk to friends while playing a pod on MTGO. This has become a near nightly routine for members of my Discord server and it’s a great way to connect during this time of social isolation. Discord is free, and MTGO decks are cheap. If you have the time, I encourage you build a budget Commander deck and get in on the fun! 


If you enjoyed this article, and you’d like to see more from me then leave a comment or let me know on Twitter. Until next time stay safe and thank you for reading.


<3 JM