Brew for Your Buck - Venturing For Value

Radiant Solar | Art by Alexander Mokhov

Venture into Valuetown

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.

It's probably no secret at this point that black is my favorite color in the game, so I was on the lookout to not bore you all with another black deck but also search for something I could put together from cards in my collection.

An LGS in my area was unfortunately going out of business (thankfully someone bought it and it's back!) right around the time of Commander Legends: Battle for Balder's Gate release, so I ended up getting a few discount boxes during their closing sale. In reading through the Background pairings possible, I noticed a really interesting synergy between these two:

Alora, Merry Thief can make one of our creatures unblockable, but that comes with the drawback of having to return it back to our hand in the end step. However, when we order our triggers on our end step, we can target that creature with Far Traveler first, blink it, then not have to return it! Now we have something most blink decks don't have: a way to win quickly. Looking at the average list on EDHREC, the deck clocks in at $189.10, with Rhystic Study and a bunch of blink staples making up our top 10. When did Propaganda become a $4+ dollar card?!

          1. Rhystic Study ($37.63)
          2. Preston, the Vanisher ($20.68)
          3. Thassa, Deep-Dwelling ($13.60)
          4. Displacer Kitten ($9.90)
          5. Farewell ($9.64)
          6. Conjurer's Closet ($7.91)
          7. Panharmonicon ($6.05)
          8. Teleportation Circle ($5.07)
          9. Talisman of Progress ($4.68)
          10. Propaganda ($4.65)

Total Value of Cuts: $119.99

This time around, the manabase doesn't make up a huge percentage of the deck's value. We can save an additional $23.70 if we cut and replace the ones that would have made the top-10, bringing our total savings to $143.69.


For all of you that are upset with taking out our blink pieces, don't worry. You'll still be able to head straight to value town and with an actual clock to boot. For our budget package, we turn to another D&D mechanic: dungeons. It turns out that there are a lot of ways to venture into the dungeon when our creatures enter the battlefield or do combat damage to an opponent, and our commanders are set up to do both of these, so we'll be flying through dungeons and reaping the benefits in no time!

Venture "Lords"

Our first substitutions are the some of the best venturers we have access to. First up, Radiant Solar ($0.48) is just cracked. Not only do we get a venture trigger when it enters, but we'll venture every time we blink a creature. Not to mention Radiant Solar also flies, so we can target something else with Alora's ability and still crack in for a six-point life swing. Hama Pashar, Ruin Seeker ($0.06) is a no-brainer, doubling up our dungeon value for just existing on the battlefield.

Attacking for Value

While Alora gives us some fantastic evasion, she only does so with one key creature. Our plan is to end the game through combat damage while supporting our creatures with all of our dungeon value, so granting more of our board evasion will accelerate us to a win. To start, we can add Midnight Pathlighter ($0.25) to grant our board a unique form of evasion. Even though the format is clogged with more and more legendary creatures, at the bare minimum we guarantee a venture trigger with the creature we target with Alora. Seasoned Dungeoneer ($3.42) can give 17 out of 39 creatures in our final list protection from creatures (read: unblockable) and some card filtering with the Explore mechanic as well. Finally, Thorough Investigation ($1.61) grants us Clues for attacking so much, and in turn the Clues will give us a venture in addition to a card. We can even store up the Clues and turbo through a dungeon in one big card-drawing, venturing turn!

Completion Bonuses

Now that we've accelerated our dungeon room rate, we can take a look at cards that grant us big bonuses for completing them. The recently-banned-in-Legacy White Plume Adventurer ($3.22) saw a significant price drop, so we can snag a copy on the cheap. Like Seasoned Dungeoneer above, Eccentric Apprentice ($0.06) can help us attack with other creatures that aren't being sneaked through with Alora by turning a blocker into a bird. These two are also fine blink targets, as we'll take the initiative on their way in. Finally, Imoen, Mystic Trickster ($0.06) keeps the good times rolling, drawing us two cards per turn as long as we have the initiative, which should be trivial if we have an unblockable creature each turn.

One omission from our budget package to note is Nadaar, Selfless Paladin. He's a great card for the strategy and cheap ($0.30) if you want to pick up a copy, but his inherent vigilance prevents him from being blinked with Far Traveler. Watch out for those non-bos!

Generic Value

Okay, we could slot in some other dungeon cards, but I just thought it was criminal that Sludge Monster ($0.17) and Myr Battlesphere ($0.21) were not in the average deck list. Both of them have ETB and attack triggers that are just insane if we get them turn after turn. Sludge Monster will lock down two creatures per turn, and Myr Battlesphere... well, games will just END if it sticks around for a few turns. A note on Sludge Monster: just because it leaves the battlefield when it blinks doesn't mean the slime counters are removed from anything, so feel free to slime it up like a Nickelodeon show from the 90s.

Wrap Up and Savings

Let's take a look at what we've saved:

Now that's what I call some savings! We dropped the price of the deck down to just under $55, and yet again kept 90/100 cards from the original list. Value engineering at its finest.

Venturing for Value

View on Archidekt

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer

Time for feedback! Did you like the dungeon idea? Is there a commander that you want to see next? Let me know in the comments and I'll see you next time when we brew for your buck!

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.

EDHREC Code of Conduct

Your opinions are welcome. We love hearing what you think about Magic! We ask that you are always respectful when commenting. Please keep in mind how your comments could be interpreted by others. Personal attacks on our writers or other commenters will not be tolerated. Your comments may be removed if your language could be interpreted as aggressive or disrespectful. You may also be banned from writing further comments.