Brew For Your Buck - Queza Crimes on a Budget

Intimidation Campaign | Art by Svetlin Velinov

Commit Crimes, Save Money

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. This time, we're going to be our own Robin Hood, committing crimes and giving the valuables to... well ourselves so I guess the analogy isn't perfect. Plot seems to be the headliner mechanic from Outlaws of Thunder Junction (OTJ), but we're going to see what we can do with some of the crime committing cards. Remember, targeting an opponent, anything they control (including spells on the stack), or something in their graveyard counts as committing a crime. I set out to find a way to do that from the command zone and boy howdy did I find a great commander for this:

Queza is from New Capenna, the plane that is all about committing crimes. But the mechanic isn't in that set, nor is there anyone on New Capenna to stop the families from committing any crimes they want. If only there was a plane full of random detectives to help prevent all the crime...

Flavor fails aside, Queza gives us one of the easiest ways to trigger our crime matters cards in the command zone. Simply draw a card, target an opponent, and you're on a wanted list somewhere. Queza's average list on EDHREC is shockingly expensive at $507.29, with a some of the usual suspects (also not a mechanic in conjunction with crimes) making up the top 10:

            1. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse ($69.11)
            2. Rhystic Study ($38.00)
            3. Orcish Bowmasters ($35.51)
            4. Esper Sentinel ($31.26)
            5. Demonic Tutor($29.73)
            6. Cyclonic Rift ($28.23)
            7. Trouble in Pairs ($27.46)
            8. Consecrated Sphinx ($23.91)
            9. Smothering Tithe ($23.71)
            10. Bloodletter of Aclazotz ($17.00)

Total Value of Cuts: $323.92

For the first time in BFYB history (I think), none of the lands would make it onto this list, which is really cool since we get to keep the entire mana base that includes a fetch, Raffine's Tower, and a few shocklands. You could always cut them if you wanted to save more, but we won't be adding basics for the article.



Crimes Against Your Commander Pod

I immediately searched for anything in the Esper (white-blue-black) color combination that said the word crime on it. Two of these are perfect for what we want, because your reward for commiting a crime is drawing a card, which will commit another crime! Intimidation Campaign ($0.08) is first. Simply play this, drain your opponents and draw. That will trigger Queza which will bounce this back to your hand. As long as you have the mana, you can keep casting this over and over for multple drains and draws. Duelist of the Mind ($1.19) does a similar thing, and though its crime ability will only trigger once per turn, it fits perfectly as a flying, vigilant, beater in a deck that is constantly drawing cards.


Three drop mana rocks may have fallen out of favor, but Bandit's Haul ($0.05) looks great in this deck. Not only does it help with fixing, but all this crime we're committing turns our mana rock into card draw, which in turn fuels itself with Queza to draw even more cards. Seize the Secrets ($0.08) will pretty much always be a two-mana draw two in this deck, or should I say two-mana draw two, ping two, commit two crimes, trigger Cliffhaven Vampire twice, return Intimidation Campaign to hand, recast it, trigger Queza...


Raven of Fell Omens ($0.08) is somewhat obvious, and while it seems limited by its once per turn clause, we want to be drawing cards all the time, so in a turn cycle this becomes drain four, gain four on top of whatever Queza is doing. Plus it goes well with the other cards in the deck that trigger from gaining life. Servant of the Stinger ($0.10) is a card I liked a lot during my set review for OTJ. It might not seem like much, but with three opponents you can probably sneak this through, especially if you attack into someone that really doesn't want to lose their only key creature. If they don't block, tutor up your Drogskol Reaver and win the game.


If you CAN do the crime...

This next selection of cards are all ways to commit more crimes. Withered Wretch ($0.16), A.K.A. the black Scavenging Ooze, is a cheap, repeatable way to commit as many crimes as you have mana for, and is a nice little piece of hate to fight against any graveyard decks at the table. All of a sudden those once-per-turn clauses don't seem so bad. Magus of the Abyss ($0.20) is strangely worded, but it is targeting something and subsequently triggers your crime cards. If it has no targets, that means your opponent has no creatures, so I think you're doing okay (unless of course, you're being beat down by artifact creatures)

The next cards can both enable card draw (and therefore crimes) on opponents' turns, on top of providing some other useful function for the deck. Flavorfully, they both come from Queza's home plane of New Capenna. Remember, it's the crime-only plane where committing crimes is not a mechanic. Change of Plans ($0.38) gives us the card selection on top of pumping and protecting our board. Lethal Scheme ($0.26) was actually quite expensive a few months ago, but we can include it here thanks to a reprint. Convoke, especially at instant speed, is super strong especially for a deck that isn't intending to win via combat damage.


Wrap Up & Savings

Let's see what we saved:

Out  Price  In  Price 
Sheoldred, the Apocalypse  $ 69.11 Intimidation Campaign  $ 0.08
Rhystic Study  $ 38.00 Duelist of the Mind  $ 1.19
Orcish Bowmasters  $ 35.51 Bandit's Haul  $ 0.05
Esper Sentinel  $ 31.26 Seize the Secrets  $ 0.08
Demonic Tutor  $ 29.73 Raven of Fell Omens  $ 0.08
Cyclonic Rift  $ 28.23 Servant of the Stinger  $ 0.10
Trouble in Pairs  $ 27.46 Withered Wretch  $ 0.16
Consecrated Sphinx  $ 23.91 Magus of the Abyss  $ 0.20
Smothering Tithe  $ 23.71 Change of Plans  $ 0.38
Bloodletter of Aclazotz  $ 17.00 Lethal Scheme  $ 0.26
Total  $ 323.92 Total  $ 2.58
Total (Lands)  $ -
Original Deck Price  $ 507.29
    New Price  $ 185.95
    Total Savings  $ 321.34
    Savings 63%


We saved 63% and the deck is still almost $200! I guess that's the price of this Esper mana base. You can always cut some more there if you need to, but I'd start with some of the pricey cards that didn't make the top ten like Alhammarret's Archive or Faerie Mastermind. That way, you can hang on to the mana base which can be used in a bunch of decks!

So, did I miss anything? I came across some other crime engines like Spatial Binding or Teferi's Tutelage that might fit, but thought they didn't do quite enough. Would you have added anything else? What other commanders commit crimes this easily? Let me know in the comments and I'll see you next time when we brew for your buck!

Queza Crimes

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Creatures (19)
Instants (16)
Enchantments (6)
Artifacts (13)
Sorceries (9)
Planeswalkers (1)
Lands (35)

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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:

The Over/Under - A Review of New Capenna Commanders

Brew For Your Buck - Gitrog Ravenous Ride on a Budget

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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