Brew For Your Buck - Budget Naya Token Deck

Dunes of the Dead | Art by E.M. Gist

Crucible Commander 3!

Hello, fellow brewer, and welcome back to Brew For Your Buck, where we swap out the top 10 most expensive cards in a deck with 10 budget cards that add a unique twist. Avid readers of my articles know that this one was coming, since we've covered the other two commanders that have similar text to Crucible of Worlds. It just so happens my timing couldn't have been better, because at time of writing, Dune: Part 2 is all the rage in theaters, plus we got the Outlaws of Thunder Junction Commander deck teasers. There just so happens to be a Naya deck called Desert Bloom, which seems likely to enhance what we're cooking with today:

I don't know if there is a more obvious "here's how to build me" commander but Hazezon makes it pretty clear: play Deserts, make tokens. His average list, starting at $366.20, contains a bunch of the typical cards you'd see for both of those game actions, with these cards making up the top of the list:

            1. Anointed Procession ($51.84)
            2. Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation ($18.63)
            3. Crucible of Worlds ($17.24)
            4. Scapeshift ($16.18)
            5. Sylvan Safekeeper ($14.29)
            6. Ancient Greenwarden ($11.80)
            7. Exploration ($10.99)
            8. Dryad of the Ilysian Grove ($10.64)
            9. Constant Mists ($9.98)
            10. Aura Shards ($9.77)

Total Value of Cuts: $171.36

Just to be clear: Anointed Procession alone makes up 14% of the average list's cost, which is outrageous for one card. I wouldn't fault you for replacing that and stopping right there. Speaking of replacement, only six lands require a swap for a basic, which is pretty good for a three color deck. Doing so will lead to an additional $91.58 in savings, for a total of $262.94.

Our budget package for the deck is a bit mixed, and designed to take advantage of what the deck is already doing: moving lands in and out of the graveyard for value, which also happens to be one of my favorite things to do in Magic.



Token Generation

While we have some ways to create tokens when a land enters the battlefield, we're missing out on creating them with the graveyard too. Quintorius, Field Historian ($0.09) will make a 4/2 Spirit in addition to the Sand Warriors when we use Hazezon play a Desert from the graveyard. I especially like this in conjunction with Knight of New Alara which will give the white and red Spirit an additional +2/+2. We can also throw in Crawling Sensation ($0.17) to help us fill the 'yard in addition to making Insects, including on our opponents' turns with ways to sacrifice lands at instant speed. Finally, Turntimber Sower ($1.78) produces a functionally endless stream of Plant tokens that can either help recur lands if Hazezon isn't in play, or get really scary once Avenger of Zendikar enters play.


Sacrificial Lands

I'm always a fan of adding a few extra lands to decks that care about them. We have all of the available Deserts for these colors, though more seem to be coming soon with OTJ. Until then, you can add these to spice up the mana base. First, Flagstones of Trokair ($1.87) is the perfect land to bin, since you can go get a Plains (even nonbasic!) right away to trigger Landfall again. Happily, we can play Riftstone Portal ($0.97) in this deck while I wait for the cycle to be completed (give me a black-green one Wizards!). This is another perfect land to sacrifice for value and instantly fix the rest of your lands for green and white.


I just mentioned Flagstones of Trokair's ability to get nonbasic Plains, and if you don't need to fix your mana, you can go get Mistveil Plains ($0.26). It may seem odd, but being it'll allow you to rebuy Deserts so you can find them again with something like Hour of Promise, or even give you a shot at redrawing something more generic in conjunction with a shuffle effect. It works great with Quint too. While admittedly less synergistic, Gods' Eye, Gate to the Reikai ($0.51) is another version of Dunes of the Dead effect that we can sacrifice for value and replay from the graveyard with Conduit of Worlds; exactly what this deck wants to be doing.


Extra Utility

We'll round out the budget package with some additional ways to squeeze an advantage out of our lands. Edge of Autumn ($0.43) is a card I think should see more play in most green decks. In the first few turns it does exactly what you want, but it also has utility later since you can cycle it for free when ramping is less important. In our deck, we're actively looking to sacrifice lands, so cycling it brings even more upside. Speaking of cycling, Tectonic Reformation ($0.22) can become a pretty good card selection engine, and even better in conjunction with Turntimber Sower and Crawling Sensation. Finally, Ruin Ghost ($0.27) is a niche little card from Worldwake, but can do all sorts of shenanigans here for just a singular white mana: Blink a Desert to make more tokens and trigger Landfall, reset Echoing Deeps, or do the final point of damage to an opponent with Sunscorched Desert for the most style points.


Wrap Up & Savings

Let's see what we saved:

Out  Price  In  Price 
Anointed Procession  $ 51.84 Quintorius, Field Historian  $ 0.09
Ojer Taq, Deepest Foundation  $ 18.63 Crawling Sensation  $ 0.17
Crucible of Worlds  $ 17.24 Turntimber Sower  $ 1.78
Scapeshift  $ 16.18 Flagstones of Trokair  $ 1.87
Sylvan Safekeeper  $ 14.29 Riftstone Portal  $ 0.97
Ancient Greenwarden  $ 11.80 Mistveil Plains  $ 0.26
Exploration  $ 10.99 Gods' Eye, Gate to the Reikai  $ 0.51
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove  $ 10.64 Edge of Autumn  $ 0.43
Constant Mists  $ 9.98 Tectonic Reformation  $ 0.22
Aura Shards  $ 9.77 Ruin Ghost  $ 0.27
Total  $ 171.36 Total  $ 6.57
Total (Lands)  $ 91.58
Original Deck Price  $ 366.20
    New Price  $ 109.83
    Total Savings  $ 256.37
    Savings 70%


I really like this budget package because it's a great example of maximizing every part of Hazezon's abilities. We already want Deserts/lands cycling through the game zones (hand, library, battlefield, and graveyard), so it was fun looking for ways to pull value out of each of those transitions. Now we can really maximize token production and make Jetmir, Nexus of Revels or Felidar Retreat that much more devastating. Revisiting your commander's play patterns can really lead to some cool (and hopefully cheap) additions to your deck and impress your play group!

Sadly, I think that brings us to the end of our exploration of the "Crucible In the Command Zone" commanders and I am looking forward to seeing what OTJ might bring for upgrades to all three of these decks, at least until Wizards prints a fourth! Until then, I'm always happy to hear feedback about the current article or the series in general. Let me know in the comments and I'll see you next time when we brew for your buck!


Just Deserts

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Creatures (24)
Instants (9)
Sorceries (12)
Enchantments (8)
Artifacts (6)
Lands (40)

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Please note: card prices listed in this article are accurate at the time of writing, but prices can vary over time and between locations.

Read more:

Brew For Your Buck - Unearthing the Infinite

Rally the Ancestors - Legends of the Honored One


Brian played Magic intermittently between 2003 and 2017 when he fully embraced his love for Commander. Finding ways to maximize the value of each piece of cardboard in the deck is one of his favorite things to explore, especially if it involves putting lands in the graveyard! Outside of Magic, Brian works as a consultant in the marine industry, turning his passion for boats and ships into a career.

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