60 to 100 — Valduk and the Ultra Budget Brew Takeover!!!
That's right folks, you read the headline right. This may be the place where you normally find a sweet brew inspired by some 60-card stack, but that's not the case this time. Standard is in flux, Modern has been stable (which is a very good thing!), and Reserve List buyouts have me fussy about Legacy right now. There just aren't too many Modern decks I haven't touched on already that don't scream "BUilD mE!" right now.
So my real life best friend and fellow EDHREC writer Andrew Cummings and I decided to have some fun with our articles. By this I mean to try our hands at the other person's series. We're both VERY different types of players, always ready to discuss the merits of Green in all formats over the boring colors of Blue/Red. These differences don't just stop at the Modern format but well into Commander too. While Andrew does...whatever it is he's doing in most his articles, I'm laying down some truth with efficiency and some amount of actual wins. Probably something with Humility. White is another truth that he just doesn't understand yet.
Those dirty Izzet hands...
So here we are, ready to invade the space of the Ultra Budget Brews. For those that don't understand how things work there, no card can be over $1 according to EDHREC's affiliate link with Card Kingdom. And that's about it. Bonus points if I find a way to integrate nonsensical gifs into the articles as well. Here we go!
Since I didn't have a poll to decide which commander I would write about, I'm just going to pick one that you may have heard I am excited about despite only being a uncommon in Dominaria. Valduk, Keeper of the Flame isn't a terribly popular commander yet, his whole 18 decks so far can attest to that point, BUT a voltron all-in type commander that just happens to have a backup plan with a slew of tokens seems like a solid gameplan. Let's break him down Whiske...Cummings style.
- Cheap commander at only 3 mana.
- Mono color will help with the budget since we don't need mana fixing.
- Counts both auras and equipment, giving us flexibility in deckbuilding.
- Budget brew, so can't even play Blood Moon
- Can't play mass artifact removal since it would likely hose ourselves
- Still Mono-Red...
So if you can get over the fact that we're stuck in the 6th best color for Commander, we actually have a diverse gameplan we could follow. Either bring the beats with Valduk with token backup or focus on protecting Valduk and let the minions do the dirty work.
Equally as intimidating as a 3/1
If we can't get enough ideas from the current Valduk EDHREC page due to the limited decks, we can always turn our sights to another similar mono-red commander in Godo, Bandit Warlord. Being much more established and equipment centered might give us some hints towards what we can fit into this budget brew.
If I Were a Rich Man...
Since we're working within the confines of everything being <$1, we have to get creative with replacing some of the most powerful cards in the deck. Let's run down some of the cards we wish we COULD play if we weren't playing peasant Magic.
"Hey, no farts Matt! Purphoros is good in mono-red decks, water is wet, and nothing rhymes with orange..." Well, all of those points are correct good reader! Impact Tremors is one that only recently got excluded from the Ultra Budget Hall of Fame, a destination I recently decided exists. Valduk's ability to make enough elementals to fill the hole in any ex-girlfriends heart pairs perfectly with these two cards. The real challenge should be having enough from Valduk to 1-shot the table with either of these cards...
Here's another gem that also used to be Ultra Budget Brew-able that has climbed the ranks into our hearts and out of our wallets. Even better than having our dudes enter the battlefield and dome the table is being able to sacrifice them to ping someone/something before we have to let them disperse into the aether. Mono red may be the red headed(literally) stepchild of the color pie, but it has one of the best sac outlets to it's name!
One thing Red is notoriously bad about is card advantage. Red is all about the here and now, and the future be damned. Skullclamp helps fix the issue of running out of cards thanks to all of the 3/1's we plan on creating. Never have I been more upset about $0.30 as I am right now..
In addition to being able to steal everyone else's artifacts, this card is a built-in win-condition with all the other artifacts we end up running. Since most of our equipment isn't worth blowing up one by one, we can sneak under the typical threat assessment radar (unless you're playing at my LGS that is...) and then quickly swoop in and win out of nowhere. It's just not meant to be when you throwing dimes instead of dollars I guess.
The Ballers on the Budget
Mmmmm, daddy. Since the tokens that Valduk makes already have haste and trample, we really just want this ugly mug back there to drive up the stats. Last time I checked the math, 5 is more than 3. I wouldn't like to go into the long game with a mono-red deck and this helps us get into the red zone that much quicker.
The biggest brother to our previous budget-minded cuts, but Warstorm Surge also has the most potential. Unlike Purphoros, God of the Forge or Impact Tremors we only get to hit one target, but we can use this for creature removal if needed. The biggest issue with this card is costing 6 whole mana, which definitely can make it a slog.
Here's a sac outlet that I can get behind and everyone can afford. This spicy little meatball helps the Red player keep up with the bourgeois playing Gaea's Cradle and the like. It's not a free outlet, but Stone Raining our opponents certainly will help them stay on our level.
You want to win with commander damage? Because this is how Valduk wins with commander damage. This might be one of the most explosive cards you've never heard of. And I KNOW you've never heard of it, otherwise it would be in more than 55 decks.
Barring any instant speed blowouts, this card let's us attack with Valduk as though the amount of caution in the wind was palpable. Preventing even 5 damage or so means that our equipped creature will probably survive combat thanks to all the tokens we SHOULD have when we do attack.
Valduk's Atomic Arsenal
And the total bill comes up to...
Suck it, Andrew. I beat you at your own game! The last time around his Ultra Budget Brew came in at $36.41, once again proving I'm better. But we're not competitive with each other, aren't we?
Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed my attempt to steal Andrew's thunder. Look for his attempt to inject some Giant Growth on a 60-card deck sometime in the future! As for my return to my regular series, I'd love to hear some decks you all have seen that you'd like to see brought into the Commander format. Are there any archetypes that you would like to see? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by peasants!