19, Dec, 23

173 of MTG's Best Budget Commander Staples!

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Article at a Glance

One of Commander’s biggest boons is having the ability to build a truly powerful strategy for cheap. Many of the format’s strongest cards are surprisingly affordable. Just look at Sol Ring, for example. Sol Ring is both one of the best and most affordable cards in all of Commander, making it the ultimate budget Commander card.

If Sol Ring had as few printings as Mana Crypt, they would likely have very similar secondary market values.

If you’re looking for some singles to be stocking stuffers for loved ones or your MTG playgroup that they will definitely use, without breaking the bank, look no further.

Instead of the usual approach of ranking a list of cards, however, we are going to go over a few different types of cards you may find in Commander, and give some cheap options for those cards. This will cover more cards and, ultimately, hopefully, make the article more useful for everyone.

Here are some of the best MTG Commander cards on a budget!

Mana Rocks

Sol Ring is both one of the most powerful and the cheapest cards in Commander. Sadly, this combo doesn’t pop up too often otherwise, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some great mana rocks out there for cheap.

One alternative cheap mana rock that some players may not think of is Sol Talisman. This Sol Ring comes in a bit delayed but is just as useful once it enters play. If you have a deck that synergizes with Time Counters, this could be even better.

Signets are a great place to start. These mana rocks all come down on turn two and can help fix your decks in a ton of different colors. Generally, in Commander nowadays, two-mana mana rocks are still quite powerful, but you should have a good reason to play mana rocks with a mana value of three or more. In their cheapest iterations, at the time of writing, all Signets are under a dollar on TCGplayer.

Here is a list of different Signets for you to consider:

  • Arcane Signet
  • Selesnya Signet
  • Izzet Signet
  • Orzhov Signet
  • Simic Signet
  • Dimir Signet
  • Boros Signet
  • Azorius Signet
  • Golgari Signet
  • Rakdos Signet
  • Gruul Signet

Similar to Signets are Talismans. These function a little bit differently than Signets, directly adding mana to your mana pool instead of filtering one mana into two different colors, at least in the case of the guild Signets.

These are a bit more painful, dealing one damage to you if you choose to add colored mana, but they also give the option to add colorless mana for free. Like Signets, Talismans cost two mana to cast, and many are also under a dollar on TCGplayer. The rest float between $1-2.

Here is a list of the Talismans:

  • Talisman of Resilance
  • Talisman of Curiosity
  • Talisman of Conviction
  • Talisman of Progress
  • Talisman of Unity
  • Talisman of Dominance
  • Talisman of Hierarchy
  • Talisman of Impulse
  • Talisman of Creativity (around a dollar)
  • Talisman of Indulgence ($2+)

Otherwise, don’t forget about Commander’s Sphere. Three mana is a bit expensive for a mana rock, but you can cash this one in for another card if you don’t need it anymore. Mind Stone and Fellwar Stone are more popular mana rocks on a budget.

Ramp Spells

If instants, sorceries, or even auras are more your speed, there are some budget Commander options for those as well! Cultivate and Kodama’s Reach are ancient mainstays for Commander players trying to fix their mana base on a budget. These are great for a deck with a color identity of three or more different colors yet don’t break the bank.

If you’re looking for something a bit more efficient, there are also a series of two-mana spells that can emulate similar results. Rampant Growth is another straightforward option to get your mana a turn ahead.

Farseek and Nature’s Lore (both $1-2) have some unique synergies with nonbasic lands. While these cards do need to find a land with a certain basic land type, they don’t necessarily need to be basic. This allows you to dig into some cheaper dual lands like Highland Forest to help fix your manabase on a budget.

Enchantress decks love the opportunity to use cards like Utopia Sprawl and Wild Growth. These cards can get you ahead on mana as early as turn one and have incredible synergies with cards like Enchantress’s Presence. For two mana, the popular Pioneer card Wolfwillow Haven is another interesting piece of ramp.

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Mana Dorks

If you have synergies with creatures, maybe your plan is better suited to using mana dorks as ramp. These can start accelerating your mana rather quickly but are also a lot easier for your opponent to remove, so be careful!

It may seem somewhat surprising, but at the time of writing, Ignoble Hierarch‘s price is… somewhat reasonable? As long as the sketch art doesn’t bog you down, finding a copy of this for $1-2 is perfectly reasonable. Not only can this card accelerate your mana, but you can also gain Exalted buffs on your attacking creatures.

Here is an otherwise plentiful list of cheaper mana dorks to consider:

  • Fyndhorn Elves
  • Avacyn’s Pilgrim
  • Solemn Simulacrum (not really a mana dork, but you get the point)
  • Sakura-Tribe Elder
  • Apprentice Wizard
  • Bramble Familiar
  • Elves of Deep Shadow
  • Arbor Elf
  • Joraga Treespeaker
  • Palladium Myr
  • Burnished Hart

Removal

There are plenty of powerful removal options for budget Commander decks. This is, in big part, thanks to the relentless reprintings of some cards like Swords to Plowshares and Path to Exile ($1 each) in recent Commander preconstructed decks. While White’s options are fantastic, what does that mean for other colors?

Green gets access to Beast Within ($1), a powerful removal spell that can take care of any permanent in exchange for a Beast token. Unless your plan is fully focused on taking out lands, you also get Stroke of Midnight and Generous Gift (which can take out lands), with similar effects in White.

Red has Chaos Warp, which as the name suggests, has a rather chaotic upside associated with it. A similar card that could be decent removal in Commander is the recently released Zoyowa’s Justice. This is capable of removing an artifact or creature of any size, and gets around Indestructible, but has a similar downside to Chaos Warp.

Multicolored MTG mages have access to a truly disgusting number of cheap and versatile removal options. Despark, Vindicate, and Utter End are some powerful examples in Orzhov colors that can deal with a wide range of different threats.

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If you’re looking for cheap options that can deal with opposing Commanders without sending them back to the Command Zone, Darksteel Mutation can shut down all abilities, transforming an opposing Commander into an indestructible insect. Kenrith’s Transformation, while not quite as good, has a similar effect.

In blue, Imprisoned in the Moon can also be quite difficult to deal with, turning an opposing Commander into a land. In black, Oubliette ($1.50), phases an opposing Commander out of the game until the enchantment is dealt with. All of these cards deal with Commanders in a way that the Command Zone cannot solve.

Finally, board wipes have a lot of powerful, cheap options as well. Blasphemous Act ($2) is one of the most popular ones in all of Commander, capable of taking out a board of creatures for just one red mana. Merciless Eviction is a bit restrictive in its color identity, but can easily deal with multiple different kinds of permanents. We’ll list out some more boardwipes on the cheap for you to consider:

  • Akroma’s Vengeance
  • Austere Command
  • Descend Upon the Sinful
  • Divine Reckoning
  • End Hostilities
  • Fated Retribution
  • Fell of the Mighty
  • Fated Retribution
  • Hallowed Burial
  • Hour of Reckoning
  • Hour of Revelation
  • Mass Calcify
  • Planar Cleansing
  • Realm-Cloaked Giant
  • Wrath of God ($2)
  • Boompile
  • Nevinyrral’s Disk
  • Oblivion Stone
  • Perilous Vault
  • Bontu’s Last Reckoning
  • Deadly Tempest
  • Decree of Pain
  • Extinguish All Hope
  • In Garruk’s Wake
  • Duneblast
  • Gaze of Granite
  • Chain Reaction
  • Disaster Radius
  • Obliterate ($2)
  • Starstorm
  • Aetherspouts
  • Crush of Tentacles
  • Curse of the Swine
  • Devastation Tide
  • Engulf the Shore
  • Evacuation
  • Whelming Wave

If you’re looking for some more boardwipe options, maybe not at a budget, we found many of these cards here.

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Win Conditions

Some of the more difficult cards to find on a budget can be win conditions, but the definition of a win condition is also a difficult one to nail for Commander. Regardless, we’ll give a few different cards that we consider win conditions on a budget.

If you’re trying to swing in with creatures for damage, it’s tough to beat cards like Overrun and End-Raze Forerunners on a budget. Both of these cards, timed properly, can easily kill at least one of your opponents out of nowhere.

Infinite combos can be surprisingly cheap to assemble financially. Not every table likes them, though, so there’s definitely a time and place for them. That said, if you’re trying to win the game reliably on a budget, these can help. Not all of the combos below are infinite ones, but they all cost a total of under $2 on TCGplayer, and are definitely win conditions within themselves.

  • Niv-Mizzet, Parun or Niv-Mizzet, the Firemind and Curiosity or Snake Umbra
  • Composite Golem and Kenrith, the Returned King (and a way to kill the opponent)
  • Door to Nothingness and Radiant Performer
  • Rukarumel, Biologist and Realmbreaker, the Invasion Tree
  • Dualcaster Mage and Invasion of Alara (Sublime Epiphany can also be used, but is $2-3)
  • Naru Meha, Master Wizard and Invasion of Alara (Sublime Epiphany can also be used, but is $2-3)
  • Jeskai Ascendancy and Sprout Swarm
  • Body of Research and Brion, Stoutarm (This might be my favorite)
  • Akki Battle Squad and Volrath, Shape Stealer
  • Channelhoard Wurm and an Extra Turn spell that doesn’t exile itself (Walk the Aeons, for example)
  • Mayael’s Aura and Willowdusk Seer
  • Intruder Alarm and Jan Jolsen, Chaos Crafter
  • Felidar Guardian and Saheeli Rai (this costs less than $2!?)

While we only included combos with two cards in them, there are a lot more to see at Commanderspellbook.com, where we found most of these combos. There are even far more two-card combos there as well. Just double-check the combos before using them, as we found a few that don’t work as advertised.

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Utility Lands

Last, but certainly not least, let’s talk about utility lands. If you’re playing Commander on a budget, one easy way to reduce your cost is to stick to a smaller color identity. This can seriously reduce the amount of stress that you experience when building your mana base.

That said, a mana base full of Swamps or Mountains is not only boring but could be strictly worse than employing a few lands that can play double duty. Getting flooded is one of the most common ways to lose a game of MTG, so having a few lands that can do more than just tap for mana can give you some other stuff to do in the meantime.

One of the best utility lands out there, Bojuka Bog ($1) functions as a tapped black land and can exile a player’s grave on entry. Having graveyard hate is crucial to combating many common powerful strategies in Commander.

If you’re having trouble connecting with a Commander that wants to deal combat damage, Rogue’s Passage is your best friend. Alternatively in a Gruul-colored deck, Kessig Wolf Run can help a Commander finish off a player or just punch through opposing creatures for damage.

Temple of the False God isn’t really a utility land, but it is a ramping option that is infamously inconsistent. This can be powerful, but it’s budget land for a reason.

Alchemist’s Refuge can allow you to play at instant speed in Simic-colored decks. The ability is rather expensive considering you kind of need three extra mana for it, but if counterspells are flying all over the table, playing something at your endstep can help you push something through on your next turn.

War Room ($2) is a great option for mono-colored Commander decks. Paying one life to draw a card for four(ish) mana is expensive, but having this stitched on a land means it will not take up deckbuilding space and can become a recurrable outlet to help with flooding.

If you have an artifact focus, Buried Ruin is a cheap option that can pull an artifact out of your grave to your hand if you don’t need it anymore.

Karn’s Bastion is a powerful tool usable in any deck that can benefit from Proliferations. Like usual, five(ish) mana is a lot for this ability, but sticking it on a land frees up valuable deckbuilding space.

Looting lands like Desolate Lighthouse and Gier Reach Sanitarium can help turn your dead lands into usable cards while on a budget.

Looking to get some Ninjitsu triggers or some other sort of effect that wants you to connect to opponents with your creatures? Creeping Tar Pit is a budget manland that can turn into an unblockable creature.

If equipment is your weapon of choice (pun is very intended), Axguard Armory is your budget utility land. Able to turn into a search spell that can find BOTH an equipment and an Aura, it’s rather shocking that this Boros-colored land isn’t worth more.

If opposing Field of the Dead or Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle decks have you down, there are a ton of budget Commander options keyed to blowing up problematic lands. Ghost Quarter, Field of Ruin, Demolition Field and more can all blow up opposing nonbasic lands on a budget.

Kher Keep doesn’t create particularly powerful creature tokens, but if your deck wants to go wide, it is a great budget land option.

Here’s a list of even more budget Commander utility lands for you to consider:

  • Riptide Laboratory
  • Emergence Zone ($1)
  • Rivendell ($1.50)
  • The Shire ($1)
  • Mines of Moria
  • Tolaria West ($1.50)
  • Blast Zone
  • Vitu-Ghazi, the City Tree
  • Castle Ardenvale
  • Castle Embereth
  • Castle Vantress
  • Barad-Dur
  • Memorial of the Folly
  • Zhalfirin Void
  • Arch of Orazca
  • Terrain Generator ($2)
  • Rix Maadi, Dungeon Palace
  • Faerie Conclave
  • Flamekin Village
  • Drownyard Temple
  • Detection Tower

What Are You Interested in?

There are already a ton of different Commander cards to consider in this article, but we didn’t cover everything. Cards that generate a ton of value on a budget, like Tatyova, Benthic Druid, for example, were not an area that we delved into.

This should provide a huge wealth of different cards for you to consider for your Commander decks on a budget in the future, but we do plan on expanding this article even further, so be sure to check back!

Until then, have fun building your own wacky budget Commander lists using these promos to fill out the holes!

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