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Budget Commander: $20 "Swell the Host" Upgrade

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You've made a smart choice to pick up the Swell the Host preconstructed Commander 2015 deck. With the powerful ambassador of New Phyrexia, Ezuri, Claw of Progress, at your side, you now wish to modify the deck in accordance with The Great Synthesis, the process of creating the perfect Phyrexian deck. I shall guide you through the process, and together we shall compleat this deck using Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur's perfect system. Let's take a look at the base specimen:

Like all Commander 2015 decks, Swell the Host is a good deck right out of the box. We've got plenty of lands, eight sources of ramp, a reasonable curve that averages 3 converted mana cost (CMC), and a good mix of card advantage / threats / disruption / protection. We close out the game with Ezuri, Claw of Progress leading the charge, or with one of many random fatties like Caller of the Pack, Day of the Dragons, or Lorescale Coatl. But following The Great Synthesis means we do not settle for merely "good" — only pure perfection will suffice for the Father of Machines.


This Engine Runs On Creatures

Like most Green commanders, Ezuri, Claw of Progress cares about creatures. As a new twist, Ezuri specifically cares about creatures with power 2 or less entering the battlefield. Note that he doesn't care how the creatures enter the battlefield. This caveat means all the following creatures trigger his ability:

As you can see, there's a lot more variety in how to add experience counters to Ezuri, Claw of Progress outside of just casting creature spells. While Swell Host 2.0 will be a Creature-heavy deck, we've got a lot of wiggle room on how to put everything together.

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+1/+1 Counters Matter

A subtheme that is worth exploring with Ezuri, Claw of Progress are creatures that benefit from +1/+1 counters. The Simic Guild's two mechanics, Graft and Evolve, both benefit from additional +1/+1 counters. Abzan also focused on +1/+1 counters with the Bolster mechanic and even had support cards to make +1/+1 counters more desirable, like Inspiring Call. There are also creatures devoid of any named mechanic that enjoy +1/+1 counters as well, such as Sage of Hours and Chasm Skulker

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Amputating The Imperfections

It's time to take Swell the Host to the operating table for some surgery. First, we must cut away the impurities and graft on superior card choices. We shall remove the cards that do not synergize with Ezuri, Claw of Progress's grand design: cards that do not add experience counters to Ezuri, don't support a +1/+1 counter theme, don't contribute to the deck's utility / removal / protection, or are simply too inefficient at their role. Here are the first cards I would remove:


$20 Compleation

In our pursuit of perfection, we shall add more cards that work well with Ezuri, Claw of Progress, +1/+1 counters, and general utility / removal / protection for the deck. Here are my budget recommendations:

Combining the cards, here's a $20 upgraded list:


Here's what the whole deck looks like:

Fully Compleat

If money is not a concern, here are some power cards to reach Glorious Perfection:

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Two Down, Three to Go!

Hope you enjoyed this upgrade guide for Swell the Host! We'll be back soon for another Commander 2015 article!

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