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Budget Commander: 5 Powerful EDH Decks FREE on Magic Online (Part 2)

Recently I did an article showing how to play Commander on Magic Online for free using Cardhoarder's new free 5 ticket loan accounts and five Commander decks that you can borrow for free using the program. It turned out that the article was more popular than anticipated and the demand for those five decks quickly spiked the price outside of the five ticket range, and after adjusting the prices back down for a few days I eventually gave up and moved on. But fear not, friends, because there's plenty of other powerful Commander decks that you can borrow for free, so we're back with five more sweet decks that you can borrow for free using a loan account. This time I'll keep the price of each deck under 4 tickets so you'll have a bit more time to pick them up before they spike out of the 5 ticket limit.

Before we dive into the decks, let's briefly go over what you have to do in order to start playing free decks on MTGO. If you want an in-depth guide to setting up and playing MTGO then check out Seth's guide covering that. To quickly summarize here:

  • Install MTGO
  • Set up an MTGO account and upgrade it to a full account (one-time payment of $5)
  • Register your free 5 ticket loan account with Cardhoarder

And that's it, you're ready to play! Whenever you want to borrow some cards, simply go to Cardhoarder, add the cards to your cart, and then pay with your loan account at checkout. Once you've completed your order an automated bot delivers you the cards on MTGO. Returning the cards requires simply clicking "return order" on Cardhoarder, which summons an automated bot to collect the cards from you on MTGO. It's really that simple!

Now that you know how to get the decks, here are five more sweet brews to get you started:

1. Feather Voltron Control

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Feather, the Redeemed is the most popular Boros commander and one that lives up to its hype. While the majority of Boros commanders have their abilities tied to attacking, Feather does something totally different, rewarding you for casting instants and sorceries that target your own creatures, returning them back to your hand at the beginning of the next end step so you can keep casting them over and over each turn. This powerful and unique ability transforms normally junk cards into powerful card advantage engines as you keep casting them over and over for ever-increasing value, resulting in a grindy Boros Control deck that out-values and overwhelms the rest of the table.

Pretty much all Feather decks are focused entirely on their commander and my version is no different. With Feather on the field, cheap cantrips -- spells that replace themselves by drawing a card -- turn into card draw engines as we repeatedly recast them: cards like Bandage, Crimson Wisps, Defiant Strike, Expedite can be cast once on each player's turn to keep drawing a card for one mana. Since the entire deck is reliant on Feather, our deck is filled with ways to protect our commander from removal, such as Sheltering Light, Gods Willing, Cloudshift, and Otherworldly Journey. Feather is so important that usually it's correct to delay casting her until you can both cast her and protect her on the same turn. We can repeatedly remove threats by targeting Feather with Fall of the Hammer, Reckless Rage, and best of all Chandra's Ignition, or clear the board with Urza's Ruinous Blast. Finally, we win the game through commander damage, boosting Feather's damage with cards like Titan's Strength, Psychotic Fury, Scroll of the Masters, and the ultimate toolbox, Sunforger.

Since I expect to be asked why I've left out some of the most popular Feather cards in my version: I think cards like Spellgorger Weird, Guttersnipe, Electrostatic Field, and Akroan Crusader are unoptimal in even budget Feather lists. These cards, while neat, are unnecessary in the deck, diluting our Feather-focused gameplan. 

If you're looking for a unique Boros Control deck that grinds out your opponents with junk cards turned into insane value engines then Feather, the Redeemed is for you!

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2. Muldrotha Graveyard Control

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Muldrotha, the Gravetide is one of the most popular commanders in the entire format. Muldrotha is a unique Graveyard commander: while most Graveyard decks focus on entirely on one card type, usually creatures, Muldrotha encourages you to have a variety of permanent types in your graveyard, letting you cast one of each type from your graveyard on each of your turns. This leads to a grindy Control deck that out-values the rest of the table by constantly casting, sacrificing, and recasting permanents from the graveyard for ever-increasing value. While most Muldrotha decks are grindy value engines, since the Commander encourages permanents of all types there's a huge pool of good cards to work with so there's a lot of variation between Muldrotha decks when it comes to card choices, which I find neat.

My Muldrotha list is pretty vanilla with most of the popular Muldrotha cards showing up. Our goal is to ramp with cards like Sakura-Tribe Elder, Skull Prophet, Font of Fertility, and Wayfarer's Bauble. To speed up the process of filling our graveyard we self-mill with cards like Satyr Wayfinder and Vessel of Nascency or use powerful tutors like Survival of the Fittest and Mythos of Brokkos. We have many ways to draw cards, from casting Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths, evoking Mulldrifter, sacrificing creatures to Greater Good, or best of all, drawing cards for doing Muldrotha things with River Kelpie. Our deck is jam-packed with ways to stop our opponents from doing things with answers like Glen Elendra Archmage to counter spells, Plaguecrafter and Caustic Caterpillar to remove permanents, and the deliciously evil Mist of Stagnation to prevent our opponents from untapping. We have a variety of ways to get stuff out of our graveyard, getting any card back with Nyx Weaver or Tamiyo, Collector of Tales, yoinking any creature with Animate Dead, or recurring all our lands with World Shaper. Once we've had our fill of value, we put our opponents out of their misery by draining our opponents repeatedly with Kokusho, the Evening Star, beating face with Lord of Extinction and Consuming Aberration, or sacrificing them to Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord to kill all our opponents at once.

If you're looking for a Graveyard Control deck that is open-ended and has a huge pool of cards to work with then Muldrotha, the Gravetide is for you!

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3. Gishath Angry Dinos

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

We've covered two control decks so let's balance things out with some aggro: Gishath, Sun's Avatar is a Dinosaur Tribal deck that wins the game by smashing faces. Despite having a small card pool, the archetype is surprisingly powerful and can quickly end games if underestimated. A lot of its power lies in our commander: Gishath comes out of the gates swinging as a massive 7/6 with trample, vigilance, and haste. Whenever Gishath deals combat damage to a player, you reveal that many cards from the top of your library and put any number of Dinosaur creature cards from among them onto the battlefield. It's common to have a totally empty board before casting Gishath and then immediately having a lethal army of dinos after a single combat. This is an absolutely insane ability that can single handedly win you games and is well worth Gishath's whopping 8 mana cost. All we need is a bunch of dinosaurs in our deck for Gishath to flip and we're golden, but there's actually a ton of neat overlapping synergies that we can build upon.

First is manipulating the top cards of our library to make sure we're flipping dinos with Gishath. We tutor dinos from our library and put them on top with Forerunner of the Empire and Congregation at Dawn, yoink some from our graveyard with Reinforcements, or rearrange the top of our library with Cream of the Crop. These cards not only help Gishath and generally help us draw the cards we want to see, but they let us run lots of other topdeck payoff cards like putting them in play for free with Descendants' Path and Lurking Predators, drawing them with Domri Rade, or casting them with Vivien, Champion of the Wilds.

Since Gishath's ability scales with how much damage it deals, cards that boost its damage, like Goring Ceratops or the flexible Boros Charm, mean we're dishing out both way more damage while also flipping more dinos in the process. Best of all, however, are extra combat steps: not do they let you swing with Gishath extra times which is lethal enough on its own, but if you have a way to give the dinos Gishath flipped on the previous swing haste then you've essentially won the game. Savage Beating is terrific and Breath of Fury is the best of the best: if you attack with Gishath plus another creature enchanted by Breath of Fury, you'll flip dinos with Gishath and sacrifice the enchanted creature to take an extra combat step and move it to a flipped dino, then do it again until your opponents are all dead.

Gishath is far from the only powerful dino in our deck, however. We're loaded with powerful standalone dino options, like the board wiping Wakening Sun's Avatar, the combotastic Zacama, Primal Calamity, the insane card advantage engine Etali, Primal Storm, and the beatstick ramp Wayward Swordtooth. But the reason this deck is called Angry Dinos is because our focus is on the dinos that have the enrage mechanic: cards like Ranging Raptors, Ripjaw Raptor, Trapjaw Tyrant, and Silverclad Ferocidons. These cards are terrible by themselves, but if you can repeatedly damage them they become insane value engines. If you trigger their enrage ability two or three times they're amazing and anything after that is just gravy. Our deck has tons of ways to trigger enrage, pinging creatures with Raging Swordtooth and Marauding Raptor, or making them fight with Domri Rade and Domri, Anarch of Bolas. We even have some enrage combos such as making Cacophodon indestructible with a card like Heroic Intervention and then activating Pyrohemia, dealing 1 damage to each creature and player, triggering the Cacophodon's enrage to untap a red mana source and tapping it again to pay for another Pyrohemia activation for infinite activations and infinite damage. You can kill all your opponents if you're at the highest life total, or you can make a huge army of Polyraptor, whatever works.

If you're looking for an explosive Stompy deck with tons of overlapping synergies and love Dinosaurs then Gishath, Sun's Avatar is for you!

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4. Jhoira Combo

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

We've done Control and Aggro, so now it's time for some Combo! Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain draws you a card whenever you cast a historic spell. The more historic spells we cast, the more cards we draw, the better Jhoira becomes. So the most logical way to build the strongest Jhoira deck involves casting an infinite amount of historic spells per turn, drawing an infinite number of cards in the process, and eventually winning the game various ways. Since the most abusable historic cards are artifacts, that's the card type we'll be focusing on in this deck.

First we jam our deck full of historic cards that we can cast for free. Some of our cards can always be cast for zero mana, like Herbal Poultice, Tormod's Crypt, or an unkicked Everflowing Chalice. But we also have many ways to reduce the mana cost of our other artifacts to zero, like Semblance Anvil, Cloud Key, and Etherium Sculptor. With these cards we can quickly and consistently cast our many artifacts for free, letting us draw through our library with Jhoira.

We can draw a ton of cards off Jhoira alone, but eventually we'll reach a point where we have no more artifacts in hand and fizzle out. To prevent this, we can smooth out our draws with the help of Artificer's Assistant bottoming lands or draw twice as many cards with Vedalken Archmage, but most important of all are our mass artifact bounce spells like Retract and especially Paradoxical Outcome, letting us recast all our free artifacts and draw a ton more cards in the process.

With our insane card draw engine online, winning becomes super easy. Either we burn out our opponents with cards like Reckless Fireweaver, crush them with a servo army made by Saheeli, Sublime Artificer, or we combine Words of Wind with free mana rocks to bounce and recast our rocks while bouncing all our opponents' permanents, but most often we'll win by pewpew'ing them to death with Aetherflux Reservoir.

If you want to play a very simple and straightforward all-in Combo deck that is incredibly powerful at such a low budget then Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain is for you!

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5. Edric Tempo

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

We finish this list with my personal favorite deck: Edric, Spymaster of Trest! This tempo deck is looking to get out the gates faster than our opponents, attacking and drawing tons of cards off Edric while answering our opponents threats with cheap removal. The deck can quickly snowball out of control, developing our board and hand while protecting ourself from anything our opponents can throw in our way.

The heart of our deck are our 1-drop creatures. We have evasive beaters like Spectral Sailor, Faerie Seer, and Wingcrafter that will draw most of our cards off Edric. We also have our mana dorks like Elvish Mystic, Arbor Elf, and Elvish Pioneer, which are primarily to ramp out Edric and other cards but can sometimes get in for combat damage as well. Once we've established a board of creatures we start chaining together extra turn spells like Notorious Throng, Karn's Temporal Sundering, and Temporal Mastery, poking our opponents to death as we keep drawing more cards, cast more creatures, and attack over and over. If our opponents dare try to get in the way of our delicious card draw, we quickly shut them down with cards like Spell Pierce, Unsubstantiate, and Autumn's Veil.

If you want to play a very simple and straightforward Tempo deck that is aggressive, is full of interaction, and draws tons of cards, then Edric, Spymaster of Trest is for you!

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That's All, Folks!

I never affect paper Magic prices -- I'm definitely no Seth-level influencer -- but the popularity of the last article definitely raised the last batch of deck prices on Magic Online. All decks this time around are under 4 tix so there's a bit more room for them to grow before they go over the 5 tix limit, but I suggest you pick them up quick! If you like this sort of stuff let me know in the comments section and I'd be happy to whip up some more. Thanks for reading!

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