From the Brim to the Trim - Budget Tokens and Dead Opponents

Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer | Art by Daarken

Toking Tokens to Tweak Taco-Eating Toucans

Greetings and salutations from a deeply disturbed mind, which produced this nonsensical nightmare of an alliteration! I'm Arnaud and I'm thrilled to take you on yet another journey of cheap brews, token shenanigans and fun galore!

Before we dive into this week's Commander budget brew, I'd like to quickly address the poll I submitted last time, in which I asked if you would be interested in one or more live sessions of building these kinds of brews on Twitch.

I'll be honest, I didn't have high hopes, and expected maybe a few positive responses, against overwhelming disinterest. By the holy mana was I wrong. 71 of you said you would actually be interested in watching several of these lives, and 39 would take a gander at a one-shot. I'm humbled, I'm happy, and I'm excited to get this on the rails. For the sake of completeness, 45 of you said you weren't interested, and that's perfectly fine. 32 also mentioned that the time frame was a problem. For these watchers, I'll try to post the stream on YouTube, if you want to have a look or catch up at a later time.

So we're doing this. You can join my channel through the link here, and we'll have our first brewing chat on Wednesday 29th of May (so about a week after this article is published) at 9pm CEST, Paris time. I really hope to meet your expectations and, most of all, that we'll have a good time. But enough chit-chat, let's dive into this week's commander.

Brudiclad is an interesting jack-of-all-trades. 4/4 for 6 mana is not that impressive, but giving your tokens haste can be brutally effective. And turning all of your tokens into an army of massive monsters sounds fun.

I mentioned the Phyrexian Artificer's versatility, and for good measure. While Tokens is the most played strategy, with 2,489 decks, there are also 836 focused on Treasures, 777 on artifacts, 261 on Clones and even 136 on Myr.

I'm sort of expecting to see some sort of salad bowl with a nice mix of miscellaneous cards. Let's dump each of those on Archidekt, including all of the juicy ones from the Cheap section.

403 cards. Is that a new record? I think it is...

First Trim - The Cardboard Chainsaw Massacre


403, that's a lot of stuff. And I get the feeling that not that many will belong to the bling. So let's go, let's axe, let's hack.

The initial harvest isn't too bad. After trimming all cards worth more than $2, we end up with exactly 300, 36 of which totter between the $1 and $2 mark.

Let's take a look at the most worthy shinies above $1.10:

  • Reliquary Tower: $1.11 for one of my favorite lands of all time. I feel like TCGPlayer is trolling me.
  • Saheeli's Directive: Depending on the sheer volume of artifacts we end up with, I feel like this could be a game-ending machine.
  • Gleeful Demolition: Three tokens for a single red doesn't sound like a bad deal.
  • Metallurgic Summonings: There goes one of the reliable ways to make big tokens.
  • Mirror Box: I assume this would be played to make a clone copy of a big legendary creature. A fun idea, but probably not one we'll follow.
  • Forensic Gadgeteer: Courtesy of the recent Murders at Karlov Manor, this cheap asset makes tokens and effectively allows for cheap draw in toil. A solid card.
  • Blinkmoth Urn: Hopefully this would generate oodles of mana for us. A shame.
  • Tempt with Reflections: A political tool and a nice way to make a huge token for us to emulate.
  • Nexus of Becoming: I feel like this could have some strong potential. Slightly too expensive for our brew, but a very interesting card nonetheless.
  • Irenicus's Vile Duplication: Again, another way to make a token copy of something down the drain. This card is bonkers good, I'm surprised it hasn't spiked in price.

This leaves us with a single card worth more than $1 : Myr Retriever. At $1.01, I feel quite safe in welcoming this recursion outlet to the family.

And with this first trim, we still have... wow, 268 cards to go through. Brudiclad sure knows how to muster his troops...

Second Trim - Cardward Scissorhands

Time to eat our veg. Do you eat enough veg? I'm sure you do. You're great people, full of peps, vitality and vitamins... Err, I digress.

Currently, the various categories contain these:

These are high counts. Like, really high. I feel like I'm repeating myself, but I get the feeling we have been seeing higher and higher figures these past few articles.

When looking a bit more in-depth, there's a distinct trend: most of these cards tend to produce tokens one way or the other. Some are interesting, others seem a bit puzzling. At any rate, I'll try to privilege token makers when they're not too draft-chaffy. I still want to build a decent ramp base, as I feel this deck will quickly become quite mana-intensive.

Draw Ramp Removal Wipes

Brainstorm Beamtown Beatstick Abrade Aetherize
Bident of Thassa Burnished Hart Burn Down the House Chain Reaction
Deduce Commander's Sphere Hell to Pay
Demand Answers Darksteel Ingot Mystic Reflection
Faithless Looting Diamond Pick-Axe Ravenform
Frantic Search Dowsing Device Red Sun's Twilight
Meeting of Minds Dreamstone Hedron Release the Gremlins
One with the Machine Emrakul's Hatcher Resculpt
Opt Enthusiastic Mechanaut Visions of Ruin
Pirate's Prize Etherium Sculptor
Preordain Everflowing Chalice
Reverse Engineer Fellwar Stone
Reconnaissance Mission Fire Diamond
Saheeli, Filigree Master Foundry Inspector
Seize the Spoils Hedron Archive
Stern Lesson Impulsive Pilferer
Tamiyo's Logbook Iron Myr
Thirst for Knowledge Izzet Cluestone
Thrill of Possibility Izzet Locket
Trail of Evidence Izzet Signet
Transcendent Message Karn, Living Legacy
Witch's Mark Liquimetal Torque
Magnifying Glass
Mind Stone
Noble's Purse
Palladium Myr
Poetic Ingenuity
Prismatic Lens
Replicating Ring
Saheeli, the Gifted
Silver Myr
Sky Diamond
Strike It Rich
Talisman of Creativity
Thought Vessel
Treasure Map
Unstable Obelisk
Wayfarer's Bauble
Worn Powerstone


Ok, this was a handful. So much so I feel like you deserve some explanations on the unusual amount of ramp I'm keeping this time.

Most of these spells serve a double duty. They either reduce our mana cost or make some sort of token, usually Treasures, sometimes something else. The same can be said for the draw package. I'm currently keeping 14 of such spells, in hopes that we can manage to go full-throttle and have the gas for that.

There is also the fact that, generally speaking, artifacts are slightly less prone to removal than creatures, especially where boardwipes are concerned. There will be the occasional Vandalblast, Austere Command or Bane of Progress, but I stand by my choice. Granted, we'll also need some sort of creature tokens, if only to make them the paragon of our army once Brudiclad is out.

With these parameters in mind, the selection of the remaining cards will be quite drastic, and we'll try to keep the very best jank we can find. The more I'm looking at this list, the more I want to make spectacular plays, ones that make for good stories.

We'll have a longer chat on what direction we want to take the deck to in the next section. For the time being, after shortening the mana base, there are still 188 cards left, almost two decks worth of cards! By far the bushiest trim I've had to undertake insofar.

Third Trim - Cutting off the Rough Edges

So, 88 cards to go. And some decisions to make.

From what I can see, there are two major directions dictated by the cards. The first focuses on our stuff, the second on our opponents'. There are also a few remaining Myrs, but they are so far and between that I don't really count them.

I feel like playing along with whatever monstrosities land on the rest of the table is much more fun. "What are you complaining about? YOU played that thing, not me..." We'll still keep a few outlets to make sure we get a decent target to copy.

There's also the question of tempo. I feel like this is not a fast deck, despite the massive ramp package I decided to keep. We need to assemble a token army, have a valid target for Brudiclad's ability when we cast it, ideally with some means to protect our stuff. That requires a lot of mana, so we're playing the long game.

Therefore, I feel like it's safe to keep some counterspells around. This is still a casual deck, so I'll not retain too many of those, but there are a couple that seem frankly funny to tinker with, in addition to providing some sturdy protection.

Let's not forget the question of what token makers we want to keep. Again, there are two sorts: small fries and big monsters. Given that our ongoing selection is already bulging with all sorts of tokenery, I feel like we can go cut-throaty on what's left.

Finally, the curve. A lot of these spells are in the 6 mana+ range, so I'll try to limit those to the very best and/or the most funny.

You were hoping for it, you were dreading it, either way, here's another big table.

Token Makers Copycat Recursion Counterspells Misc

Desolation Twin Blade of Shared Souls Daretti, Scrap Savant Counterflux Bane of Bala Ged
Detective's Satchel Cackling Counterpart Back from the Brink Counterspell Chief of the Foundry
Dragon Fodder Clone Legion Dollhouse of Horrors Disruption Protocol Darksteel Juggernaut
Efficient Construction Echo Storm Myr Retriever Hornswoggle Impact Tremors
Empty the Warrens Endless Evil Izzet Charm Master of Etherium
Forbidden Friendship Fated Infatuation Launch Mishap Myr Galvanizer
Gleaming Geardrake Flameshadow Conjuring Negate Neurok Stealthsuit
Goblin Assault Jaxis, the Troublemaker Saruman's Trickery Reckless Handling
Krenko's Command Mirage Mockery Stoic Rebuttal Shimmer Myr
Loyal Apprentice Mirror March
March of Progress Mirrorworks
Maverick Thopterist Prototype Portal
Mechtitan Core Quasiduplicate
Mogg War Marshal Replication Technique
Myr Battlesphere Self-Reflection
Nadir Kraken The Apprentice's Folly
Pia and Kiran Nalaar Zndrsplt's Judgment
Ral's Reinforcements
Rally at the Hornburg
Reef Worm
Saheeli, Sublime Artificer
Sai, Master Thopterist
Schema Thief
Siege-Gang Commander
Soul Foundry
Third Path Iconoclast
Thopter Assembly
Thopter Engineer
Threefold Thunderhulk
Tilonalli's Summoner
Whirler Rogue
Young Pyromancer


Well, that was a lot of cuts. It's been an interesting journey though. Many players have undertaken quite a different route, choosing to make token copies of their own best stuff. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, especially if you dabble with the more expensive creatures money can buy.

With so many cards out of the way, I feel like this is a good time to take a break. We still have 17 cards to remove, and to be honest, I'm having some trouble at choosing what to cut.

Final Trim - Heart-Wrenching Choices


It's past midnight, I'm exhausted, and I fear that I might make some ill-chosen decisions. So to make matters simple, let's cut a couple cards in most categories, that should settle it.

  • Solemn Simulacrum: Goodbye Sad Robot, we'll miss you.
  • Brass's Bounty: On paper, it looks fantastic. But as we already have several ways to make Treasures and not that many to make steady mana in the end. I feel like this might do too little, too late.
  • Storm-Kiln Artist: Granted, a third of our spells are either instants or sorceries. But they are, for the most part, expensive spells. As such, I feel like the Dwarf might not yield that many Treasures.
  • Expressive Iteration: I want to love this card, I really do. But I believe there is simply better stuff out there.
  • Thopter Spy Network: I know, I know, token maker and card draw outlet all in one. But also a bit slow.
  • Fleeting Reflection: One had to go, I chose the single target outlet.
  • Krenko, Mob Boss: There aren't that many gobbos in the list to make it worthwhile, and it will be a kill-on-sight target.
  • Invasion of Kaladesh: Looks like a fantastic finisher... if you can manage to flip it.
  • Faerie Artisans: Simply too inconsistent. Suppose one opponent casts a Terror of the Peaks, only for the next player to turn your token into Llanowar Elves...
  • Supplant Form: Cute, but we already have several ways to copy our opponents' stuff.
  • Mimic Vat: You need it on board. You need a relevant creature to be on board. And then you need it to die. Too many hoops.
  • Hordeling Outburst: I love this ratio, but I need to cut stuff.
  • Call the Skybreaker: Despite the recursion, 7 mana is a lot to pay for a measly 5/5 nowadays.
  • Ominous Seas: I like the idea of turning all of our creatures into 8/8s, but without major card draw, this is improbable at best.
  • Reality Shift: Down with one removal spell, albeit a fantastic one.
  • Lazotep Plating and Padeem, Consul of Innovation: To Honious with protection, whatever happens, happens.

And with that, we got from 403 to 100:

Your stuff looks nice, mind if I make it better?

View on Archidekt

Commander (1)
Ramp (15)
Draw (12)
Tokens (13)
Land (35)
Wipes (2)
Copy (11)
Counterspells (3)
Protection (2)
Recursion (1)
Burn (1)
Removal (5)
Anthem (1)

Buy this decklist from Card Kingdom
Buy this decklist from TCGplayer
View this decklist on Archidekt


An interesting journey this. When I first started this brew, I did not expect seeing so many different routes. Goes to show how well Brudiclad was designed.

But now it's your turn. Any hidden gems? Any disagreements on my choices? Any experiences with the Artificer?

Let me know in the comments below, and I'll see you on Wednesday May 29th on Twitch and/or in two weeks here!

Read more:

Too-Specific Top 10 - Artifact Tokens

From the Brim to the Trim - Painting a Budget Treasures Deck with Cheap Brushes

Arnaud Gompertz has been playing Magic since 4th Edition, back in 1995. He's been an assiduous EDH enthusiast since 2012, with a soft spot for unusual and casual Commanders. He'll always favour spectacular plays against a boring path to victory. Aside from mistreating cardboard, he's a dedicated board games player, loves a challenging video game and occasionally tries to sing with his choir.

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