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Current Cheap Commander Pickups


I'm not an Magic finance guru, but I play a ton of Commander, and I think I have a good eye at identifying cards that are popular in the format. With Eternal Masters bringing us some sweet reprints and Khans of Tarkir & Fate Reforged recently rotated out of Standard, now is the time to pick up some Commander cards for what might be their price floor. This is not a list of recommended cards to buy stocks of, but rather a list of Commander staples and playables that I recommend picking up a copy or two now, either as an upgrade to your current decks, or as excellent choices for future ones. Let's get started!

 

Eternal Masters

Eternal Masters (EMA) has been a wonderful gift for us Commander players. We've seen a ton of Commander staples have their prices significantly lowered. The supply of this set is extremely limited, however it's best to pick up a few of the cards that you want sooner rather than later.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While I wouldn't call it "cheap," Mana Crypt took a significant hit in its price from the EMA reprint: it was sitting at $170 when the card was spoiled, and now you can buy the EMA version for $94. One of the most broken ramp cards in the format right up there with Sol Ring, Mana Crypt would be a format staple if it were not for its steep price. While EMA significantly increased the amount of supply on the market, since Mana Crypt had an extremely limited print run beforehand as well, it's still a Mythic in a small print run and once supply dries up, Crypt will go back up in price.

If you're interested in playing with a Mana Crypt, I think now is the time to get one. I doubt we'll have access to a cheaper Crypt for a long time — unless it gets banned (which I think it should).

Played In: All decks willing to spend $90+ on a single card.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Natural Order sat at $32 before the reprint was spoiled, and now you can get it for $26. Not a crazy difference, but being a Mythic in a small print run, I'd expect the price to go right back up to where it was soon enough. Natural Order is one of the best tutors in the format and is a near auto-include in Green creature-heavy decks that like running all the Llanowar Elves. Swapping a mana dork for an Avenger of Zendikar is fun times!

Played In: Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, Derevi, Empyrial Tactician, Karador, Ghost Chieftain, and other Green creature-heavy decks.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Another Mythic reprint, Sneak Attack has fallen from $42 when it was spoiled to $25 currently. Creature-heavy decks, including Stompy (Xenagos, God of Revels), Reanimator (Alesha, Who Smiles at Death), or both (Kaalia of the Vast) love this card. I'm certainly getting a copy for my Xenagod.

Played In: Stompy and/or Reanimator decks like Xenagos, God of Revels, Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, and Kaalia of the Vast

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I'm not sure if I'm happy or sad about this reprint. On the one hand, the reprint has caused Sensei's Divining Top to drop from ~$30 when it was spoiled to $23 currently, and at Rare it might keep the price down for a while. On the other hand, more people will play with the Top in Commander, which means games get much slower as everyone waits for the Top player to finish looking at his top cards. Ugh.

Played In: Any deck that runs a lot of shuffling effects like fetchlands.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The Greatest Thief in the Multiverse got enough of a bump in supply to (temporarily) reduce his cost, from $34 pre-spoiler to $20 now. Also of note for people who like to bling out their decks, foil Dack dropped from $400(!!!) to a slightly less insane $187, but I'm willing to bet one non-foil Dack that the same speculators responsible for the $400 price tag will work hard to bring it back to that ludicrous price point within the next two years. So get your shiny copy now if you want it!

Dack Fayden loves to steal opposing Sol Rings and loot away bad draws to fill your grave for later shenanigans. I'm almost never upset to see Dack in my hand. The dashing rogue ends up in nearly all of my Izzet decks due to his versatility. 

Played In: Most Izzet decks, though I might be biased in how much I like this card.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Before this reprint, the cheapest version of Sylvan Library was $24. Now you can get the EMA version for $20, but it also comes with the modern (i.e. GOOD) wording, which if you wanted before EMA, you would've had to spend $116 ($76) to get the Commander's Arsenal version of it. Also, if you want to pick up a foil version (like me!), it's currently only $58.

Played In: Pretty much every Green deck. It's a Green staple.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Turn 1: Swamp, Dark Ritual, Entomb fetching Jin-Gitaxias, Core Augur, Animate Dead, go.

Entomb is one of the best tutors in Commander. Every Reanimation deck, and nearly every Black deck, wants one. The price for one was about $28 pre-spoiler and now it's sitting at $17. It's a Rare, so EMA increased the supply a decent amount, but I doubt it'll go much lower before it slowly climbs back up over $20 and beyond.

Played In: Reanimator and most Black decks like Meren of Clan Nel Toth, Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, and Karador, Ghost Chieftain.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Maze of Ith has long been a cherished land in Commander. It deters attackers and lets you safely use "attack" triggers on cards like Kaalia of the Vast and Alesha, Who Smiles at Death without worrying about them dying to blockers. The maze also pairs nicely with Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, letting it tap for mana.

The EMA reprint is currently available for $16, while previous printings sit around $23. Maze of Ith isn't as popular as it once was (The Dark version once reached $40) but it's still a solid utility land.

Played In: Pretty much any deck.

 

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In a vaccum, Gamble is a solid tutor. For a single Red mana, you search for any card, then discard one at random. If you have 5 cards in hand, that's a 80% chance to not discard the card you tutored for. That said, I have an irrational hatred for Gamble in a vacuum. When the odds are against you, and you discard the card you wanted to keep, it feels terrible. I don't remember the times Gamble worked as intended, but each failure is seared into my memory.

That's just in a vaccum, however! The best decks to run Gamble are the ones that can set up scenarios where it doesn't matter what you discard. If you add Green and have a Regrowth or Life From the Loam in hand, it doesn't matter if you discarded the Gaea's Cradle you tutored for, you can just get it back. Likewise in Black, discarding the creature you tutored for is no big deal if you have Reanimate in hand. Suddenly Gamble goes from a cheap, flexible tutor with some risk to one with no risk at all.

This card was up to $30 pre-spoiler, and now it sits at $14. It's the best tutor Red has to offer.

Played In: Pretty much any Red deck will want it, but it's especially good in decks that don't care about what they discard.

 

  $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Maelstrom Wanderer is one of the most popular and powerful Temur commanders alongside Animar, Soul of Elements. It's big, splashy, and ends games in a hurry. Limited supply also means it was a good candidate for price spike buyouts, which happened when Journey Into Nyx came out and more recently when Oath of the Gatewatch was released, bringing the price up to $25 pre-EMA. Now the EMA version currently sits at $12, but at Mythic rarity it might not be long until speculators try to raise the price back up.

Played In: Er, well, Maelstrom Wanderer decks, though it's not at all bad in the 99 as well. It's so fun and powerful that I doubt we'll see a new Temur commander dethrone it any time soon.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

I'm actually surprised that the pre-EMA prices of Enlightened Tutor and Mystical Tutor weren't significantly higher than they were ($14 and $7 respectively). They're two of the best tutors in the entire format, yet their prices have been steady for years. I guess the supply is very high, or they are less popular than I believe them to be?

The EMA reprinting hasn't lowered the price on these signficantly, unless you're looking for foil versions of these (like me!). The foil version of Enlightened Tutor was $60, but now the EMA foil is available for $41. Mystical Tutor has a From the Vault crappy foil version at $20, but now you can get a good foil for $32. Not cheaper, sure, but so much better than the From the Vault foiling!

Played In: Every deck that can run them should at least consider it. They're pretty much format staples.

 

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I've always had a special reverence for Vindicate, which I long considered the best single target removal spell in the game. That's no longer the case. Vindicate most recently has been upstaged by Anguished Unmaking. That said, I'm still running both removal spells in pretty much every deck that can cast them.

The EMA reprinting shaved a couple dollars off the regular version, but notably gave us a way cheaper foil version. The Judge Promo version was $35 pre-EMA, and now you can get the EMA foil version with the same art for only $20.

Played In: All Orzhov decks.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Argothian Enchantress is a staple in the Enchantress archetype and the best of the bunch, the others being Verduran Enchantress, Mesa Enchantress, Enchantress's Presence, and Eidolon of Blossoms. If you're running Enchantress, you want this. Sorry, Daxos the Returned.

EMA's Argothian Enchantress dropped the card's price by $6, but what I'm really excited about is the $32 foil version, down from the $54 Judge Promo.

Played In: Every Green-based Enchantress deck wants this.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Toxic Deluge was $15 pre-EMA printing, and now you can get the EMA version for $8. It's one of the best board wipes in the format, being cheaper and easier to cast than Damnation, while also dealing with indestructible creatures. For these reasons, it's also sought after by Vintage and Legacy players. EMA also brings us the card's first foil printing, which is currently $80, but the price is volatile.

Played In: Every Black deck. One of the best board wipes in the format.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Regal Force is a great way to draw cards in Green creature-heavy decks. While I prefer some of the more recent cards like Shamanic Revelation to draw, Force is notably a creature that draws with its enter the battlefield (ETB) trigger, which makes it more flexible and abusable. Green has numerous ways to tutor up creatures such as Survival of the Fittest and Green Sun's Zenith, and can even cheat it into play with Natural Order. Blink and Reanimation strategies also work wonders.

The card was $15 pre-EMA. Now you can get the EMA version for $5. Sweet!

Played In: Green creature-heavy decks, notably ones with lots of mana dorks.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Karmic Guide is a powerhouse. Played fairly, she's a solid way of reanimating a creature. Add some blink abilities, and you've got an engine going. Add some sacrifice outlets, Reveillark, and other shenanigans and you've got an infinite combo. Good stuff!

I only mention her here because of the foil price. The Urza's Legacy version goes for $64, but you can get the EMA version for only $15!

Played In: Reanimator decks, Combo decks.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Ashnod's Altar is a staple for many combo decks. You do not put Altar in your deck expecting to do "fair" things with it. It ends games with infinite loops: Ashnod's Altar + Grave Titan + Nim Deathmantle makes infinite mana and infinite death/ETB triggers, which then ends the game with Blood Artist or a lethal Exsanguinate.

The high supply of this card keeps the cost down, but the EMA printing marks the first time we get a foil version! Huzzah! The foil is currently sitting at $25, and being Uncommon the supply should be decently high, but the demand from the Commander crowd should also be high so I don't know where the price will end up in a year or two.

Played In: A wide array of Combo decks.

 

Khans of Tarkir

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Here's an obvious one: the Khans of Tarkir fetchland cycle. These, along with the Original and Ravnica dual lands, are the best and most popular lands in the Commander format. Heck, they might even see more use than the dual lands, because Mono Color decks still greatly benefit from fetchlands for the shuffle effect (e.g. Sensei's Divining Top) and filling the graveyard (e.g. Crucible of Worlds). Not only are fetchlands heavily played in Commander, but also in other formats like Modern, Legacy, and Vintage.

Thankfully, Khans of Tarkir injected a healthy supply of these lands onto the market, so their price increase is slow and steady over time. They will go up until the next big reprint (whenever that is). Since it's unlikely these lands will get any cheaper in the near future, and pretty much every single Commander deck can benefit from them, now's as good as time as any to pick some up for your decks.

The only real downside to playing with fetchlands is having to constantly shuffle 99-card decks. It's such an annoying experience that I avoid running them entirely in my more casual decks so I don't have to bother shuffling after.

Played In: Any Commander deck. Yes, even Mono Color decks.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

My pick for second-best Clone card after Phyrexian Metamorph. Clever Impersonator costs 1 more mana than the Metamorph, requires UU in the casting cost when Metamorph needs no colored mana at all, isn't an artifact which makes it harder to tutor up in Blue (artifacts can be fetched with Fabricate and Tezzeret the Seeker), but the upside is that it can also copy enchantments and planeswalkers. Overall, Metamorph is significantly better in most decks, but if you ever want a second Clone, then Clever Impersonator is your man? Woman? Thing? It's what you want.

It's a Mythic so the supply isn't crazy high, but it could be reprinted easily enough. I'd recommend getting a copy just in case you want Metamorph #2.

Played In: Any Blue deck that wants another Clone card after Phyrexian Metamorph.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Dig Through Time is more of a niche card in Commander than it is in other formats. It's far less likely to find the specific card you want in a singleton format with 99-card decks. Decks often cast bigger spells so graveyards don't fill up as fast, and often time decks run graveyard recursion so they don't want to exile a bunch of card to delve. That said, Dig Through Time is still a very powerful card in certain decks, particularly ones that fill the graveyard fast with cheap stuff that they don't mind exiling. In particular, Blue and Izzet Spellslinger decks like Talrand, Sky Summoner and Mizzix of the Izmagnus love to Dig for value. These decks fill the 'yard fast with cheap cantrips like Ponder.

Dig Through Time is a Rare and doesn't see much play, but it's great for the decks that want it. It's only a buck. Worth picking up one or two for sure.

Played In: Spellslinger decks such as Mizzix of the Izmagnus.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I love drawing cards. Grim Haruspex draws a lot of cards for only 3 mana, like a mini-Harvester of Souls.  It doesn't fit in every Black deck, but Sacrifice decks love using it as a draw engine.

At the time of writing this, Grim Haruspex is a mere $0.33 . There's no reason not to have a copy in your collection.

Played In: Sacrifice decks like Chainer, Dementia Master, Karador, Ghost Chieftain, Marchesa, the Black Rose.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Hardened Scales is just so mana-efficient at what it does. Pretty much every modern set released has and will have a few cards that add +1/+1 counters to creatures, and sometimes entire mechanics around it, like bolster. For this reason, every set released increases the likelihood of some sweet +1/+1 counter deck theme emerging in Commander and causing Hardened Scales to jump in price. It's only a matter of time.

Hardened Scales is a mere $1.75 right now. It briefly spiked to $5 following some ambitious buyouts during the release of Battle for Zendikar but then settled back down (being a Rare in a widely opened set means there's a big supply). The moment a new +1/+1 counter mechanic or legendary creature is revealed though, I expect its price to jump.

Played In: Vorel of the Hull Clade, Marath, Will of the Wild, Skullbriar, the Walking Grave

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

3 goblins for 3 mana is amazing value. A couple of 1/1's don't have much impact on their own in Commander, but there are two specific decks that absolutely love Outburst: Purphoros, God of the Forge and Krenko, Mob Boss. Outburst is either 6+ damage to all opponents with Purphoros, or a bunch of Goblin synergies with Krenko.

Hordeling Outburst is under a buck right now. It could get reprinted and drop further, or it could go up in price, but either way the risk is so low that you might as well have a copy.

Played In: Purphoros, God of the Forge and Krenko, Mob Boss.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

See the Unwritten is a bomb in Stompy decks. You either dig 8 cards deep for a 6+ mana fattie to drop into play, or you drop two fatties into play! Dropping a Worldspine Wurm and Void Winnower into play for 6 mana is amazing. Timmy loves this card. I love this card. 

This card is currently under a buck. It's less likely to see a reprint due to the ferocious mechanic, and it's a Mythic. I expect it to slowly climb up in price, so you might as well pick up a copy now.

Played In: Stompy decks like Xenagos, God of Revels and Mayael the Anima.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Temur Ascendancy is amazing. It's Fervor and Elemental Bond put together for the same mana cost! Both for very good and popular effects in Commander. Being Temur colors is the only big restriction, otherwise you'd be seeing it a lot more. Still, at $0.29 this is an amazing pickup.

Played In: Animar, Soul of Elements, Scion of the Ur-Dragon.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Anguished Unmaking is slightly better in Commander since it costs 1 less mana and losing 3 life is negligible when you start with 40. That said, Utter End is still bonkers good. Most decks that can run Unmaking will probably want End as well.

Played In: All Orzhov decks, most other decks that can run it like Kaalia of the Vast.

 

Fate Reforged

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I've been very impressed with Outpost Siege in my Mono Red and Boros decks, colors that are lacking in card draw. In those decks, Outpost Siege performs as a slightly worse Phyrexian Arena, which is quite good still. The enchantment shines the most bright in a Purphoros, God of the Forge deck, where you'll sometimes even use the dragons part of the card to deal with creatures or burn out opponents.

Played In: Mono Red and Boros decks, most notably Purphoros, God of the Forge.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Shamanic Revelation has quickly become one of my favorite ways of drawing cards in Green. Playing a bunch of mana dorks and then drawing 4+ cards is easy enough, but things get really silly in a Tokens deck. With cards like Hornet Queen available, drawing 10+ cards is easily doable. It's $0.31 to pick up. Get a copy!

Played In: Many Green decks, but most notably in token-producing decks like Rhys the Redeemed and Prossh, Skyraider of Kher

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Never underestimate a Time Walk card, even the weaker ones. Taking an extra turn is very good. At the very least, they'll always have a home in Narset, Enlightened Master decks, which remains a very popular commander. At $1.50, you don't have much to lose picking one up.

Played In: Narset, Enlightened Master and Edric, Spymaster of Trest.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Ugin's board wipe ability is very strong in Commander. It's kind of like a Perilous Vault that is cheaper to cast and activate but has more flexibility. Ugin shines brightest in a colorless-heavy deck, where his board wipe is asymmetrical. The +2 ability and ultimate is just bonus for those decks. He's also a shoe-in for Superfriends obviously!

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon is currently at $23.51, which is the cheapest he's ever been, and he still might be dropping a bit more. But remember that he's 1) Mythic Rare 2) from a smaller set so less supply 3) a planeswalker 4) actually playable. He might go down in price but not by too much, and it's also possible he'll go up.

Played In: Artifact decks, Superfriends, Colorless decks like Kozilek, Butcher of Truth.

 

Commander 2016 Mana Fixing

When Commander 2016 was announced, we found out that the preconstructed decks would each be 4-color. When I talked about My Commander predictions I mentioned how mana fixing is very important when you're juggling four colors in the same deck. The most important thing these preconstructed decks must have is a manabase that can consistently play the cards in their decks, or else the player's experience will be very negative. Since Wizards has a track record of improving the design of these preconstructed decks year after year, I have no doubt that the mana base will be solid.

The mana fixing in these decks will almost certainly be a mix of reprints and some new cards. We don't know which mana fixers will be reprinted, but I can guarantee that the reprinted mana fixers will take a big price hit, while the ones left out will spike hard.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Chromatic Lantern and Coalition Relic are the two of the best mana rocks for a 4-color deck. Neither of them have seen a reprint for a long time. I'm pretty sure at least one of these will see a reprint. I believe the Lantern is much more likely than the Relic to see a reprint, since it's a simpler card and simplifies your land management as well. Both Lantern and Relic could make appearances, especially in the non-Green deck, but if you want to play it safe pick up a Coalition Relic just in case.

Played In: Chromatic Lantern and Coalition Relic often show up in 3-5 Color decks, while the latter is also solid in Mono and Dual Color decks that aren't Green.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Lands that tap for all 4 colors will be a premium in the Commander 2016 decks. City of Brass, Mana Confluence, Forbidden Orchard, Exotic Orchard, and Reflecting Pool are premium options in this category. Wizards will certainly reprint some of these, but the others will get an immediate price spike if the spoilers reveal that they're missing. If you want to play it safe then pick up a copy of them while they're relatively cheap.

 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Green is the king of mana fixing, and these creatures are some of the best at it. Four out of five of the Commander 2016 will feature Green, so adding these premium mana dorks to your deck is a no-brainer. Of these, I'd bet that Birds of Paradise will be the only one seeing a reprint, as it's the simplest and most iconic of the bunch. Any of these that aren't reprinted will see a price spike.

 

All Done!

So there you have it: all of my recommendations of Commander cards that you should pick up a copy of sooner rather than later. What do you think of my list? Are there any choices that you disagree with, or any cheap pickups that you think I should've mentioned? Let me know in the comments section! Thanks for reading!


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