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Budget Kicker 2-for-1: Hallar and Verazol ($65) | Budget Commander


Hey friends, it's Tomer, and I'm finally back with another Budget Commander. I haven't done a true Budget Commander article for a while now as I've been occupied lately with the weekly abridged gameplays, commander quickies, streams, Commander Clash, and other new projects. But with the latest set release, Zendikar Rising, bringing so many sweet new commanders, the time felt right to do another Budget Commander deck tech. And friends, this is perhaps my most ambitious project yet, a concept I've never seen another content creator try to pull off: I'm going to build a deck that is two decks in one! The goal will be to build a modular Kicker deck that can easily swap between being either a Hallar, the Firefletcher deck or Verazol, the Split Current deck!

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Meet Our Kicker Commanders: Hallar & Verazol

Alright, so here's why I'm doing this: when I first saw Verazol, the Split Current, I knew I wanted to build a budget deck around it. While Kicker isn't the best supported archetype, Verazol does a great job carrying it, along with other key support cards to make kicker cards shine, like Roost of Drakes, Saproling Infestation, and Coralhelm Chronicler. A Kicker deck under Verazol is a durdly value engine, getting tons of extra value from kicked spells such as copying them, making tokens, and drawing tons of cards. And luckily for us, the Kicker archetype is seen mostly as a draft archetype and doesn't see much play in constructed formats, which means nearly all the kicker cards are going to be dirt cheap to pick up.

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But as I started figuring out a rough draft of my Verazol deck, my mind wandered back to the first official Kicker commander that we got back in Dominaria: Hallar, the Firefletcher. I initially wrote off Hallar when the card was released, but after getting spanked by them a couple times I'm now a true believer. Unlike Verazol, which is a durdly value engine, Hallar is an explosive Burn deck that turns kicked spells into massive damage against our opponents. All you gotta do is load up Hallar with some counters with cards like Invigorating Surge, boost the damage further with cards like Dictate of the Twin Gods, and then start chaining together as many mana-efficient kicked spells as possible, like Goblin Ruinblaster.

Just like with Verazol, the vast majority of key cards for a Hallar deck are super cheap, so it's easy to make a budget deck with them.

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Now despite both decks playing very differently, both Hallar and Verazol share a lot of cards in common: both are Green-heavy Kicker decks that deal with +1/+1 Counters. The Green and Colorless cards that you want in either deck are almost entirely the same; it's only the commander and their second color that significantly alters the game plan. 

The Goal: 2 Decks In 1!

With so much overlap between the two decks, I had a strong desire to combine them in some way. There's some obvious ways to do that, like choosing a commander that can run both Hallar and Verazol in the 99: Riku of Two Reflections is a perfect candidate for this, as it even has the ability to copy kicked spells like Verazol can. Now this is an elegant way to run both Hallar and Verazol in the same deck and something I'd recommend doing if you don't want to be overly complicated. I've even heard some people treating Hallar and Verazol as if they had the partner mechanic and running both in the command zone, which is another neat way if your playgroup is okay with it.

But personally, I like overly complicated ideas, and I feel like Hallar and Verazol play differently enough that I want them to be the commanders of their own distinct decks, not smooshed together in the same deck. So we're going to make a deck that is split up into three distinct sections:

  • A Green Core section for cards that we want in both Hallar and Verazol
  • A Hallar section that includes Red cards and Hallar-specific cards
  • A Verazol section that includes Blue cards and Verazol-specific cards

The idea is that we carry all three sections around and when we want to play with either commander, we combine our Green Core section with either commander section. So if we want to play Verazol, we combine our Green Core section with our Verazol section, and if we want to play Hallar we combine our Green Core section with our Hallar section. Crazy, I know, but it's worth it: this method gives us literally two distinct decks with a shared card pool, giving us gameplay variety while saving us money since we don't need to buy a bunch of duplicate cards to pull this off. So let's break down each section and I'll show you how it all comes together!

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The Green Core ($30)

Our green core section holds all the cards that are useful in both our Hallar, the Firefletcher and Verazol, the Split Current decks. We've got:

This section provides the foundation for either deck, providing a sturdy base of 65 cards to build off. The current cost is $30:

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Verazol Section ($20)

Our Verazol, the Split Current section adds the Blue and Simic colors to turn our base deck into a durdly value engine. The idea here is to grind out our opponents over a long game, drawing tons of cards with Coralhelm Chronicler, Fathom Mage, and Inscription of Insight while slowing down our opponents with cards like Thieving Skydiver, Blink of an Eye, and Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep. Eventually we win the game off our commander beating face and copying haymakers, or with a token army from Roost of Drakes and similar cards, or we make five copies of the best creature on the battlefield with a kicked Rite of Replication.

I did spend nearly $10 on just Rite of Replication and Thieving Skydiver alone, so if you want to shave off half the cost of this section you can just replace these two cards. It's up to you.

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Hallar Section ($15)

Meanwhile, our Hallar, the Firefletcher section takes the complete opposite approach: instead of playing for a long game, we just want to play Hallar, the Firefletcher, cast a bunch of kicked spells back to back, and murder our opponents with burn damage. To accomplish this we've loaded up on the cheapest kicked spells available to us: cards like Goblin Bushwhacker, Emblazoned Golem, and Cinderclasm are some of the best kicker cards in our deck not because they are good cards themselves but because they're some of the most mana-efficient ways we can trigger Hallar's incredibly potent ability.

But I've also added some cards that power up Hallar in different ways too: Dictate of the Twin Gods is an amazing way to double Hallar's damage output and is great to flash in right before your turn, Comet Storm is a great lategame card to finish the game once our opponents are softened up, and both Snake Umbra and Keen Sense are fantastic sources of card draw when enchanted to Hallar since each trigger will net us 1 card draw per opponent, so 3 cards in a typical game.

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Putting It Together

Now that we have each section done, all you need to do is shuffle up the Green Core section with either the Verazol or Hallar section and you've got a fully complete, fully distinct deck to play! Here's how the decks look like when put together:

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That's All, Folks!

And there we have it: 2 Kicker decks and you can own both for just $75! So, what do you think? Is this too silly of a deck concept to be worth pursuing, or are you on board with some 2-for-1 decks in the future? Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!



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