Brew For Your Bug - Going Infinant

Verdant Succession | Art by Edward P. Beard, Jr.

Graveyard Antics

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. We've had a lot of variety over the last few articles: Iron Man, Five-colors, Monarch, which were all fun to explore. However, this time we're headed back to some of my truly favorite things: Golgari, infinite combos, and playing lands from the graveyard.

When this creepy crawly got previewed, my eyes went wide. This was it. A Crucible of Worlds in the command zone. Then I promptly forgot it existed while I drowned in the deluge of other products. Until the other day when my eyes went wide and thought "this is a Crucible of Worlds in the command zone." While I was tinkering around with a list, I came across an awesome combo for the deck that is super budget, so that's what we're going to look at today.

Zask's lists all tend to be Insect typal, and lean towards tokens. Given that, I think we could do a lot to shore up our plan for winning the game, because you need A LOT of 1/1 Insect tokens to win via combat damage. The average deck doesn't seem to abuse the Crucible effect much either, so we'll look for cards to fix that too. Speaking of the average list, it clocks in at $163.98, not a bad starting point at all considering some of the other decks we've seen. In fact, the most expensive card in the deck is only around eight dollars:

            1. Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest ($8.15)
            2. Assassin's Trophy ($7.19)
            3. Exploration ($7.18)
            4. Canoptek Scarab Swarm ($5.96)
            5. Grist, the Hunger Tide ($5.11)
            6. Virtue of Strength ($4.13)
            7. Ashnod's Altar ($4.05)
            8. Skullclamp ($3.97)
            9. Altar of Dementia ($3.81)
            10. Scute Swarm ($3.79)

Total Value of Cuts: $53.34

It just kills me to have to cut Scute Swarm, but them's the rules. For the lands, removing the priciest ones and replacing with basics would save an additional $58.15, bringing the total to $109.41.



Beehold the Combo

I mentioned the combo so let's start with that. Verdant Succession ($1.75) is an old card from Odyssey that on first glance, is just terrible in Commander. But, its interaction with Zask is pretty hilarious. Combined with a sac outlet like Dross Hopper ($0.07) (which is even an Insect!), things get really interesting. My friends at Commander Spellbook graciously contributed a short video to explain:

Some of you may already be thinking, but aren't we just going to mill ourselves out? That's where Gaea's Blessing ($0.26) comes in, to let us loop in near-perpetuity. Throw in Syr Konrad (who's already in our list) and we're draining the table for the win.


AssistAnts to Winning

Like I mentioned above, outside of Syr Konrad, there really isn't a great win-con for the deck. Leaning harder into the Aristocrats strategy seems like the way to go, so we'll put Dreadhound ($0.16) to backup everyone's favorite black Knight. With all the tokens we have lying around, and Zask's Crucible ability, I also really like Guul Draz Overseer ($0.11) as another way to pump all the Insect tokens (sometimes literally) flying around.


But how do we find these game-winning cards? Well, if you're a series regular, you might have predicted that this is another deck where Mausoleum Secrets ($0.98) gets the nod. I've said it once and I'll say it again: This card is criminally underplayed and I will keep putting it in decks that I think make great use of it. Here, it gets all three of our win conditions, which don't need the Verdant Succession combo to still be very good. In a similar vein, you can use Corpse Connoisseur ($0.30) after it's been milled over put our finishers into your graveyard to be reanimated with another one of my pet cards that's already in the list: Dread Return


Forests Through The Bees

"You may play lands from your graveyard." It's the most alluring sentence in Magic, at least in my house. The almighty hypnotoad says so. Zask says it from the command zone. Guul Draz Overseer was a good start, but I wouldn't be able to sleep if I didn't include at least a few more cards that abuse that ability.

We removed Exploration, which was the only way to play more than one land per turn, so we'll add Druid Class ($0.62), which is the cheapest permanent with that text on it. It's a bit of a mana investment to get there, but the incidental lifegain on the first level is nice, and if you really need to you can animate a land with the third level too. Cryptic Caves ($0.10) is a repeatable way to trigger Landfall, draw cards, and is notably not a Cave as Lost Caverns of Ixalan might want us to believe. Finally, we'll throw in a Riveteers Overlook ($0.31) to increase the density of "fetchlands" in the deck.


Wrap Up & Savings

Let's see what we saved:

Out  Price  In  Price 
Mazirek, Kraul Death Priest  $ 8.15 Verdant Succession  $ 1.75
Assassin's Trophy  $ 7.19 Dross Hopper  $ 0.07
Exploration  $ 7.18 Gaea's Blessing  $ 0.26
Canoptek Scarab Swarm  $ 5.96 Dreadhound  $ 0.16
Grist, the Hunger Tide  $ 5.11 Guul Draz Overseer  $ 0.11
Virtue of Strength  $ 4.13 Mausoleum Secrets  $ 0.98
Ashnod's Altar  $ 4.05 Corpse Connoisseur  $ 0.30
Skullclamp  $ 3.97 Druid Class  $ 0.62
Altar of Dementia  $ 3.81 Cryptic Caves  $ 0.10
Scute Swarm  $ 3.79 Riveteers Overlook  $ 0.31
Total  $ 53.34 Total  $ 4.66
Original Deck Price  $ 163.98
    New Price  $ 57.15
    Total Savings  $ 106.83
    Savings 65%


Total: 65%! Not bad considering the price of the starting list was already pretty low. If I was going to build this, I'd definitely spend the extra few bucks to get Scute Swarm back in the deck. The final list is posted below but I couldn't resist listing some honorable mentions, since there are a lot of questionable cards remaining after the swaps. Looking at you, Giant Ladybug!

So, are you happy we're back in Golgari-combo-graveyard-lands world? Do you also love Mausoleum Secrets and Dread Return? Do Insect-based puns bug you? Let me know in the comments and I'll see you next time when we brew for your buck!

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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.

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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