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Budget Commander: Edric, Spymaster of Trest | Aggro Tempo | $30, $300 | Update


I started writing Budget Commander articles for this site over four years ago. My articles are still good, but they're old. Outdated. The budget decks are no longer the original prices I set for them and there's been hundreds of new card options released to possibly add to them. It's time to update those old lists and make them shiny n' fresh again! Now that I'm working full time here in this fishbowl, I'm going to be regularly updating my old articles one at a time, starting from the oldest article and working my way to the most recent ones. By the time I've caught up I'll probably have to start the cycle again as new cards keep being printed and old cards keep shifting in prices!

We started this never-ending cycle with Part 1 and Part 2. But now it's time to freshen up my favorite brew of them all, my one true love in this format, a deck so silly good that I'm actually banned from playing it on Commander Clash: IT'S EDRIC TIME, BABY!

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Even after years of power creep, Edric, Spymaster of Trest is one of the most powerful budget commanders out there. While posing undercover as a Group Hug deck, Edric is the King of Tempo, looking to immediately flood the board with 1 cmc evasive creatures and draw tons of cards off Edric's combat trigger, all while preventing your opponents from stabilizing through a combination of cheap countermagic and removal. Eventually the evasive beatdown and huge card draw disparity overwhelms your opponents. It's a simple, brutal, beautiful deck.

 

How It Plays

Edric, Spymaster of Trest is a simple deck that one thing really, really well. Here's how every game plays out:

  1. Spend the first few turns casting cheap creatures like Llanowar Elves and Faerie Seer.
  2. Cast Edric, Spymaster of Trest and draw a bunch of cards off your evasive creatures.
  3. Cast more cheap creatures and draw more cards while keeping mana up for cheap answers like Spell Pierce and Nature's Claim.
  4. Repeat step 3 over and over until you overwhelm your opponents. If you can afford it, run extra turn spells like Time Warp to greatly speed up this process.

That's seriously the entire deck. Cast cheap creatures, attack, draw cards, and cast cheap answers to your opponent's stuff. Rinse repeat until you win!

You might like this deck if ...

  • You want an Aggro deck that wins through combat damage
  • You want a Tempo deck looking to quickly get ahead of your opponents and ride that momentum to victory
  • You want a simple, straightforward deck that is super easy to pick up and play (very little shuffling too!)
  • You like the idea of beating up your opponents with draft chaff weenies like Faerie Seer
  • You want to draw ALL the cards

You might NOT like this deck if ...

  • You want a Combo deck
  • You don't want to be heavily reliant on your commander being on the battlefield
  • You'd prefer a complex deck with lots of tutoring and multi-layered synergies
  • You believe there's such thing as "too much" card draw

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The Old List

My original article was published May 27th, 2015. Most of the information has aged well so I won't repeat everything already said in the article. There are two changes I'd note after playing Edric for years, however:

1) Fully powered Edric, Spymaster of Trest decks don't need many other sources of card draw. A fully powered Edric list is all about consistency, speed, and the most mana-efficient protection available. If you've reached a point that your deck can consistently cast Edric on turn 2 with protection backing him up then you don't really need other sources of card draw. However, accomplishing this is expensive: you'll need the best mana-fixing lands that enter untapped, so cards like Breeding Pool and all the relevant fetchlands, Botanical Sanctum, etc. You'll also need the cheapest countermagic like Force of Will and the cheapest protection creatures like Sylvan Safekeeper. These cards cause the deck to skyrocket in price. Budget Edric decks can do very well without these expensive cards, but the deck will be slower, and it will be harder to consistently protect Edric from removal. In these more budget situations where Edric is less reliable, you'll want to improve the deck's consistency with more card draw as backup for when Edric is removed.

2) Extra turn spells like Time Warp are the best finishers available to a fully powered Edric deck. It's strange to say it, but this deck full on 1/1's like Faerie Seer don't actually need pump effects like Beastmaster Ascesion to win games. Extra turn spells are far more powerful and more flexible in the deck: each extra turn casts means another combat step, tons more cards drawn, and more weenies cast for the next turn. Paired with cheap recursion like Noxious Revival, chaining together extra turns is by far the best way a powered Edric deck can win. But again, this is expensive: the only cheap extra turn spell I can think of these days is Karn's Temporal Sundering. The rest are at least a couple bucks and most are over the $10 range at this point. Notorious Throng used to be under a dollar when I wrote the original article but it's shot up in price since then. Budget Edric decks don't need extra turns to win, but if you want to upgrade to the fully powered version, you gotta pay for it.

With the old article covered, let's look at the old brew. This list was $40 when I published it five years ago:

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What was once a $40 list is now $115, nearly tripling in price over five years. Some of the best in the deck, like Sylvan Safekeeper and Notorious Throng, have skyrocketed in price over the years, which is a shame. However, this deck is a little rough around the edges, and with five years' worth of new cards we can definitely make a tighter list with a lower price.

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New Options

Edric, Spymaster of Trest decks are composed of just a few ingredients: 1) cheap utility creatures 2) cheap evasive creatures 3) cheap removal 4) cheap protection 5) finishers. Here are some of the best new options that I could find over the last five years. Let me know if I missed any:

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Updated Edric ($30)

2020's Budget Edric looks different, but plays out the exact same: play cheap creatures, play Edric, draw cards, keep your opponents offbalance, play more creatures and draw more cards — win. We don't have enough extra turn spells at this price point to win solely off them, so we've added Biomass Mutation (the best) and Overrun (still good) to help get us there; especially with Regrowth and Reclaim it's more than enough to close out games.

The deck looks janky as heck, but I guarantee that it's one of the most powerful decks you could make at this price point!

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Tomer's Personal Edric (~$300)

I've got my own personal paper version of Edric that started out as the original $40 deck list plus upgrades from my collection, and I've been slowly upgrading the deck ever since. It's not a fully powered list -- you really need stuff like Force of Will to push Edric to the limit -- but it's still strong enough that I don't ever play it at my usual playgroups. Too strong for regular playgroups, not strong enough for CEDH! Woe is me!

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The difference between the $30 list and my $300 list is speed and mana-efficiency. We're running all the best mana dorks, like Boreal Druid, which both ramp out a turn 2 Edric but can also attack and draw cards when our commander is on the battlefield. We have mana-free ways to protect our important commander, such as Sylvan Safekeeper and Eladamri, Lord of Leaves, the latter also giving all our elves a form of evasion as well. We've also got 1cmc evasive creatures that double as clutch utility like Mausoleum Wanderer and Siren Stormtamer, and since we've got a high Faerie count Spellstutter Sprite is just the bestest.

But the real price increase comes from two things: the lands and the extra turn spells. Edric's power goes up dramatically when you start adding mana-fixing lands that enter untapped, but they are expensive: just the handful I've added are an extra $100, and my manabase is far from complete too! I still need to pick up Mana Confluence, City of Brass, and I'll probably never go out and buy Misty Rainforest or the almighty Tropical Island!

The best extra turn spells are Notorious Throng, Time Warp, Temporal Manipulation, and Capture of Jingzhou, which cost the least amount of mana for unconditional extra turns and don't exile themselves which is important when pairing them with Reclaim and Noxious Revival. When you've reached a critical mass of extra turn spells you don't need other win conditions because you just chain them together.

 

That's All, Folks!

Expect a regular installment of the Budget Commander Updates going forward. I've gotten a lot of requests for particular commander decks to be updated, so don't worry, I'll get to them all soon! Thanks for reading!


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