Ultra Budget Brews - Temmet, Vizier of Naktamun
Timid Teammate Temmet
Hello, and welcome back to another edition of Ultra Budget Brews, the article series where we build EDH decks that can't contain any card that costs more than $1. It's also the article series that, despite the best of intentions, keeps getting distracted by Modern Horizons previews. Could I close the other tab? Yes. Yes I could. I'm a grown man and I have self-control. Then again...
Thanks for the permission, Bilbo.
Last time, I gave all of you a choice of 5 different commanders to build around this time. Here are the results:
If I'm being honest, I was pretty surprised by this result. I figured Krond or Thromok would come out on top since they are commanders that are older and typically underplayed that are nevertheless pretty interesting. Temmet is a card that I've always found... underwhelming? It's interesting, but not overtly powerful, but when you think about it, that's sort of a perfect card to build a budget deck around.
- Only costs 2 mana
- Relevant creature type
- Gives evasion
- Flavorfully, he's basically King Tut (young and powerful)
- Small stats
- Only buffs a single token
- Rules are a bit wonky with Commander
- Flavorfully, he's basically King Tut (young and mummified)
Our commander suggests a build that encourages us to make creature tokens. White and blue both do this pretty well, but they both typically make lots of tokens as opposed to making one big token, and Temmet works best with a single large token since his ability only affects one creature. This creates a considerable amount of deckbuilding tension, as we don't necessarily want to do the thing that our colors are naturally good at.
Thankfully, there are a few keywords that work particularly well with our commander. Eternalize allows us to get a creature back from our graveyard, except they become a 4/4 Zombie. Amass is a recent addition, but being able to grow one Zombie token larger and larger is exactly what this deck wants to do.
Embalm is another keyword that works great with Temmet, and is actually present on his card. It flavorfully represents mummifying a creature once it's already dead, but since this is Magic, the mummy then has the opportunity to live their best life one more time, just as a Zombie this go around. Oh, and by "live their best life" I mean "harry and harangue our opponents."
A (very) Brief Interview with an Imaginary Reader
"But wait, Andrew, if Temmet can become a Zombie token, how does that work with commander damage? And how does it work with the command zone? Also, is it true that long beards are a mark of wit and class?"
Thanks, imaginary reader, for the insightful questions! Temmet can create a token of himself, but any damage that token inflicts does not count as commander damage. This seems unfortunate, and it is, but it helps you appear a bit less threatening, which can be politically advantageous. Also, when you Embalm Temmet, you get to put him back into your command zone. If you then cast him again while his token copy is in play, one of them will die to the legend rule.
Also, long beards are indeed a mark of wit and class and I'm about 90% sure it's the reason I was hired here. My wife disagrees and thinks long beards are in poor taste, but since she is still with me, I don't entirely believe her.
Temmet Token Trouble
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Our deck aims to stick Temmet, make some tokens, and start swinging in for damage. It's a pretty aggressive, combat-focused take on Azorius, but since it is Azorius, we have the ability to hang if the game goes long. We are incredibly unlikely to one-shot anyone out of nowhere; instead, we look to reliably chip in for 4 or 5 points of damage a turn. Our evasion gives us a certain amount of inevitability, though combo decks can and will be able to stick it to us, since we are mostly unable to interact with them outside of a few counterspells. Every deck has a weakness, and dedicated combo is definitely ours.
Since Temmet only costs two mana, we have a plethora of options early in the game. Normally, decks tend to spend the first few turns ramping and getting things in place before they start dropping their hay-makers. This leaves you a few turns to start picking at people with Temmet. It might not seem like much, but every little bit will count.
Eventually, you'll start making tokens, and even if you can't do anything with Temmet, you'll be able to hit people with those tokens. Typically, Temmet is simply not threatening enough to bother removing. If they do, well, perfect, they wasted removal on your recursive two-drop commander.
Our deck also has a little bit of a go-wide token backup plan. We do prefer large tokens, but we have the ability to swarm as well. Cards like, , , and all make your tokens significantly more potent than they might be otherwise.
This board wipe is already underplayed, and happens to be almost tailor-made for this particular deck. It is not abnormal to create a token creature with this card that's a 10/10, if not even larger! Every deck needs a way to get rid of a congested board of troublesome critters. This does that and provides a threat, and is as close as it comes to an auto-include in Temmet's deck.
is like 's more suave, fancy nephew. While Phyrexian Rebirth just cannonballs onto the battlefield, creating a tidal wave of value in the process, Supplant Form is more of a perfectly-executed dive. It's exact and precise in a way that its beer-guzzling Uncle Phyrexian Rebirth can only dream of, but it's not as splashy. That being said, when you bounce, and make a token copy of,x` your opponent's , you're gonna feel mighty powerful.
Giving your token, that likely will be unblockable, the ability to half someone's life total is undeniably potent. This will attract a ton of attention, so make sure you play this when it appears the coast is clear or when someone else is clearly a bigger threat.
I have a soft spot in my heart for this spell. One of my favorite cards of all time is, and while this definitely isn't even in the same ballpark as Cryptic, it's still pretty powerful in the right deck. It also costs a handful of nickels as opposed to $30, but who's keeping track?
Drawing a card is always great, countering creatures is great, and putting your Temmet into play from your graveyard is also great. This card doesn't have a ton of homes, but this deck is one of them.
This is an old, strange card. It's essentially a two-manathat you have to pay extra mana to keep online. Your opponents can get rid of it a couple of different ways, but paying just two mana to get a token copy of the scariest creature on the board is exactly what this deck wants to be doing.
As always, these are cards I would add if we weren't concerned about a strict budget limitation, had them laying around, or were hoping to up the power level of the deck
Living Weapon is a great keyword in conjunction with Temmet. Creating a creature token with something as powerful as Batterskull already attached is pretty silly, especially with lifelink and vigilance attached. The fact that you can dodge targeted non-removal is also just beautiful.
However much life you were planning on paying? Double it. Go down to 3 life. It's fine. Your opponent that has two red mana suspiciously open? This isn't Arena, and they don't have.
Unless they do. If they do, well, it'll be a fun story. Next time, though, they won't, and your giant token will boop them directly on the nose for 30 damage.
One of the drawbacks of most of our tokens is that they are a bit puny without some help. Rite of Replication lets you pick the nastiest critter on the board and make a token of it, or if it's late enough in the game, make five. You should be able to find a way to win with fives. Or s. Or s....
I could go on, but that point is that the ways to win with this card are only limited by your imagination.
I used to see this card often, but can't remember the last time I saw one on the battlefield. Graveyard hate is something that every deck needs at least some amount of. Yes, this isn't the most reliable or widely-scaled hate available, but the upside on it is large enough to make up for that. Whatever your opponent's most terrifying critter is, you get to make token copies of it and they won't be able to reanimate it, at least until you choose something bigger and better.
This is good no matter when you cast it. The temptation will probably be to wait until you have enough mana to make X > 10, but if you need them earlier, don't be afraid to fire it off. Temmet doesn't benefit this card all that much, but his buff is still a nice little bonus. In reality, I'm just throwing this in every white-based token deck until I get sick of doing so, something which is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
What did you think of the deck? Any changes you would make? Any incredibly obvious cards that I missed? Let me know below! As always, the poll for next time is below. Let me know which of the five options you'd like to see get the 'Ultra Budget' treatment.
Until next time!