Ultra Budget Brews - Rashmi, Eternities Crafter
Don't Rashmi, I'm Thinking!
Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Ultra Budget Brews, the article series where we build decks that contain no card that costs more than $1, commander included!
...Well, that's not entirely true. The first part of that is still true. 99 of the cards will still cost less than $1, but last time, I gave you all a poll asking whether I should keep the $1 limit for the commander as well, or if I should raise it to $5 in the interest of building more interesting decks. Here is how you all voted:
It was a pretty overwhelming majority, so I feel fairly confident that this is the direction you all want me to go. This is not to say that I won't ever build commanders that cost under $1; I just want to do it when the deck will be interesting, and this gives me the freedom to build new decks in different color combinations that have been previously closed off to me. For example, I haven't been able to build a Simic deck in the almost 3 years I've been writing this column because my only options are, which has lost badly in a number of polls, or , who commits the unforgivable sin of being a worse version of another card in the most boring way possible. Even , an uncommon from Dominaria, costs too much. Given this, I thought it could be fun to start the new year off with a Simic legend.
- Simic colors are incredibly powerful
- The floor for the ability essentially reads "Draw a card."
- The ceiling of the ability is very high, as casting free cards off the top of the library is innately powerful
- Isn't as obnoxiously powerful as
- Simic colors are incredibly powerful, encouraging your opponents to stop you from doing powerful things
- Middling power and toughness
- Requires a lot of top deck manipulation to play at full power
- ...Isn't as obnoxiously powerful as
When building a Rashmi deck, I think the first question we have to ask ourselves is, "How important is casting spells for free from the top of my deck?" The answer to this question will inform the rest of our build. If that is important to you, you'll want to include cards like, , and , and you'll likely focus on casting one big spell every turn to get one slightly smaller spell for free, as setting up multiple Rashmi triggers in a single turn cycle is a big ask.
I chose to go a different route. Instead of focusing on the quality of the spell we get from the top of the deck, I'm more interested in sheer quantity. If we cast enough spells, we're likely to hit a few free cards here and there without adding in expensive top deck manipulation and, as mentioned above, the floor of Rashmi's ability is essentially "draw a card" with the upside of getting around cards likeand .
Achieving the quantity we're looking for asks us to jump through a few deckbuilding hoops. The short version of this is that we're playing a lot of instants and creatures with flash to trigger Rashmi on our turn as well as on our opponents' turn. The long version? Take a look below!
Rashmi and Her Quest for Value
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Total cost: $25.89
One of the things I like about this deck is that Rashmi isn't absolutely integral to make it work. Obviously, the deck is significantly more powerful with her, but casting instants and creatures with good ETB triggers can still get you there, on occasion. A trap I often fall into is building decks so centered around the commander that if things go wrong and it gets killed a couple of times, the wheels come off the whole thing and I go absolutely nowhere, in record time.
I hoped to avoid this here.
The main tension of this deck will be deciding when to cast your spells. If you don't have Rashmi out, it's much easier. If you need the ETB effect it provides, cast it. Otherwise, wait until the end step before your turn, giving your creatures "blue haste."
Without, things get cloudier. Assuming you're "Player 1," and you have a hand of , , and , do you cast your during Player 2's turn, opening it up to removal from Player 3 and 4? Or do you save it to cast later and cast during Player 2's turn? Or do you save it and cast more cards during Player 4's turn because you need to surprise your opponents? As always in these situations, it depends, but these sorts of thought processes makes this deck entertaining to play and gives it a fair amount of replay value.
The deck has a few different ways to win. The most straightforward way is by using something likeor to pump our critters into legitimate game-ending threats. Our other option is to use our flash creatures to accrue enough advantage over time that we slowly overwhelm our opponents. One of the nice things about this deck is that we'll rarely look like we're in a dominant position; our opponents are likely to look elsewhere instead of targeting us, and every point of damage your opponents do to each other is a point we don't have to be concerned about later.
So, Why Aren't We Playing?
This is the question I expect will come up most with this build. At face value, Rashmi and Edric are fairly similar. They both are Simic decks with cheap commanders that draw lots of cards with small creatures. The simplest answer is that I find Edric decks to be pretty boring, though undeniably effective, especially on a budget. Casting a bunch ofthat allow you to draw cards, which allow you to draw more tiny threats and counterspells, sounds significantly more enjoyable in theory than it is in practice.
Also, Edric has a bit of a reputation that Rashmi doesn't. With Edric, unless you're playing with an inexperienced table, you're likely to be enemy number one as soon as commanders are revealed. I also place a fair amount of value in playing something different and unique, and I've personally never seen a Rashmi deck in the wild.
Crafty Cutpurse was a card I was excited to mess around with when Ixalan released, which translates to "I promptly forgot it existed because I was distracted by."
I may have a problem.
Flashing this in to steal a bunch of tokens, creatures or otherwise, seems like exactly the kind of high-variance, backbreaking gameplay I love. Someday I'll steal a bunch ofor tokens and, while maintaining uninterrupted eye contact, sacrifice them, throwing away the mana, just to establish dominance.
If you are a longtime reader, you may have picked up on my (not-so) subtle disdain for. It's a very powerful card and an important effect to have access to, so while I don't advocate for people to run it, I think people should definitely run cards that are analogous to it. is one of my favorite versions of this effect that WotC has ever printed. Bouncing everyone's board back to hand while getting to replay one of your cards for free is very powerful, as it helps get around the typical problem associated with mass board wipes, which is that your opponents get to start replaying their own cards before you do. Also, bouncing and back to hand is the sort of value EDH players salivate over.
Having ways to recur cards from our graveyard is something every EDH deck should have access to. Most decks would prefer to have the cards come back to hand as opposed to the top of the library, but Rashmi changes the normal dynamic. Getting to pick exactly what you'd like on top of your library gives you the freedom to tailor your gameplan however you best see fit.
What this card equates to is half (okay, fine, the bad half) of aat instant speed and a two-mana discount. You might not be ending the game with this card like you do with the aforementioned Tooth and Nail, but casting it right before your turn starts is a play I'm happy to make as I'll have a good idea of exactly what I'm looking for. Underrate this card at your own peril.
I'm a huge fan of cards that mess with combat;, , and are cards I gleefully add to most any deck I can fit them into. Portal Mage is a toned-down creature version that gives you a bit more control while simultaneously correcting your opponents' poor threat assessment. heading your way? Nah. Looks like it's going to kill Dustin instead. He probably deserved it, anyway.
As always, these are cards I'd add if I weren't interested in a strict budget, if I were looking to up the power of the deck, or if I had access to a copy.
Firstly, I'm not entirely sure why this card costs more than $1. I guess it's because it's an Eldrazi? Who knows? Emerge is a fantastic ability, especially when attached to a flash creature. If a opponent points a removal spell at one of your creatures? Flash this in, sacrificing your imperiled creature for a bunch of free value. Need to get rid of blockers? Flash this in before your turn starts. Want to mess with an opponent's mana? Flash this in during their upkeep. This is one of those cards that's only limited by your imagination.
Sometimes, when aand a love each other very much, a beautiful thing happens: a powerful Magic card is born. As enjoyable as it would be, not every creature in our deck has flash. This fixes that with the considerable upside of forcing our opponents to not be able to play spells during our turn. As a side note, is every single card that references Teferi somewhere between "definitely playable" and "incredible"? 'Cause it sure seems like it.
Teferi. Turning Standard into Hearthstone since 2019.
The easiest way to think of Venser is as anwith a body. It doesn't straight up counter a spell like and , but it is easier to cast, only requiring 2UU, and you're trading the power of countering a spell for the modality of getting rid of a problem blocker or permanent. If you can, play this card.
Draining Whelk is's cousin that only visits on holidays. Every time Whelk shows up, they won't shut up about keto and Crossfit, but Snake can't say much, 'cause whatever Whelk is doing is clearly (annoyingly) working; every time they flex, Grecian statues get jealous. Snake also won't complain too loudly, though, as Whelk is a pretty agreeable person, and they make things fun.
The moral of the story isis a more expensive that has evasion and gets real buff.
I haven't gotten an opportunity to cast this card, which saddens me. Split Second isn't what I'd consider a great mechanic, but it is certainly powerful. Trading one of our dorks with flash for whatever horrible spell your opponent is casting is exactly the sort of trade we are in for. One of the traditional issues with cards like this is that we have to hold up mana, telegraphing that we have something to play. In this deck, we're going to be holding up mana on the regular, making this significantly less worrisome to our opponents.
What did you think of the build? Is it something you're interested in, or have you gotten wrecked one too many times by Simic Flash on Arena, andgives you flashbacks? Either way, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments below! Also, please vote on which of the following commanders you'd like to see get the Ultra Budget treatment!
Until next time!