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Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / My Favorite New Commander | $50 Mono Red Discard

My Favorite New Commander | $50 Mono Red Discard

Hey friends and welcome back to Budget Commander! Today I want to talk to you about my latest obsession, a deck I enjoy so much that I'm giving it the highest honor of being included in my paper Commander collection: Inti, Seneschal of the Sun:

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Casual-Friendly Mono Red

Recently I've been thinking about what the "worst" mono color in casual Commander currently is. I won't go deep into this topic here because this is a deck tech not a format philosophy piece, but suffice to say I think it's Mono Red, especially when you're on a budget and don't have access to the top handful of staples like Dockside Extortionist, Underworld Breach, and Jeska's Will.

In my opinion, the strongest things you can do in Mono Red are:

  • "Glass cannon" decks that either quickly pop off and win before opponents can stabilize, like Storm, Krenko, Purphoros, Slicer
  • Crushing nonbasic lands, aka defeating a large chunk of players with a single Blood Moon

The problem with these two strengths is that they aren't always the right pick for casual tables. People generally frown upon MLD so Ruination effects are off the table and even then they do little against other Mono Color decks or Green basic ramp decks. And while I love Glass Cannon decks, especially Storm -- Zada, Hedron Grinder is an all-time favorite of mine -- they often are relegated to the "last game of the night / let's get a fast one in" because they either pop off and win quick or they do absolutely nothing.

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If you want to play a longer more mid-to-lategame style deck in Mono Red that interacts more with the table, well, it gets more challenging because it makes Mono Red's inherent weaknesses more glaring: subpar card draw and ramp, subpar answers to creatures, minimal options for enchantment removal, commander protection, and recursion, things that get more pronounced as the game progresses. Mono Red simply doesn't have that many good tools to shore up these weaknesses and play a grindier game, and the few options they do have are usually not budget-friendly (e.g. Jeska's Will). Therefore it's best to pick a Mono Red Commander that itself provides some of the tools to address these weaknesses so you always have access to it in the command zone.

And we see this in some of the most popular Mono Red commander options on EDHREC: Red is very good at Burn, and three of the top Burn commanders come with built-in resiliency to removal -- Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might, Solphim, Mayhem Dominus, Purphoros, God of the Forge -- which is especially good since Red has basically no good answers to board wipes. Red is also pretty strong at supporting Artifacts, and Chiss-Goria, Forge Tyrant is likewise cheaper to cast and recast, plus its attack trigger is both card draw and ramp, ideal for a grindier game.

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But there's another powerful midrange option that I love more than all those: Inti, Seneschal of the Sun. Unlike the previous midrange options that focus on Burn or Artifacts, Inti's main themes are a mix of Discard and Cast From Exile: Inti turns all your discard into impulse draw which Red can easily transform into true card advantage, which I'll explain below! Inti doesn't have any built-in resiliency to removal, but he does only cost 2 mana, which means you can reliably recast him a few times per game, which puts him roughly on par with the other resilient options in my opinion. So Inti both is very reliable / consistently on the battlefield and provides steady card advantage, the exact two things Mono Red needs to play midrange. 

Inti is also from the exact same set as Ojer Axonil, Deepest Might, which is #3 most popular Mono Red commander at 6425 decks, but Inti is highly underrated at just 517 decks! This is another benefit in that most players have never seen an Inti deck in action, meaning you have the element of surprise against people who haven't seen your deck before.

So let me break down the key cards that make Inti tick and why I've fallen in love with this unique and underrated midrange beast!

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Discard & Cast From Exile

First up, let's talk card advantage: Inti effectly "replaces" any discarded card with one we can play from exile. By running any of Red's standard "loot" effects that discard to draw that many cards, like Demand Answers and Thrill of Possibility which cost us 2 cards to draw 2 cards, Inti can turn these card-neutral cards into card advantage by adding an "extra" card to the exchange. Cycling cards like Forgotten Cave work the same way. There are TONS of good looting / cycling options in Red so we've loaded up on the most efficient versions of them.

Inti only lets us play those cards until the beginning of our next end step, so the key to maximizing our chances of playing each card we exile is by discarding outside of our own turn, so we have all our mana available next turn to cast the exiled cards. Instant discard options are always best!

I also highly recommend keeping the mana value of the deck as low as possible, to maximize the chances that we can actually cast the cards exiled with Inti since we only have access to them for a turn.

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There are plenty of discard synergy pieces in Red that make all our discarding even more powerful: we have plenty more ways to turn our cycling / looting into card advantage with Containment Construct, Conspiracy Theorist, Bag of Holding, Currency Converter, and Veronica, Dissident Scribe. All of these stack with Inti's ability for tons of card advantage.

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We also have a few graveyard synergies since we're discarding so many cards: Squee, Goblin Nabob is "free" discard, Anger wants to be in the graveyard, Scavenged Brawler can be activated from the graveyard, and Increasing Vengeance can be cast from there.

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Since Inti casts from exile we also can run some powerful exile support synergies: Party Thrasher ramps out noncreature spells, Iraxxa, Empress of Mars generates creatures, Unstable Amulet burns out opponents, but my favorite is Impending Flux which is a one-sided wipe that doubles as a way to finish off opponents.

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The end result is a deck that is low to the ground and casts lots of spells per turn, swinging in each turn to chip down life totals and then closing out the game with a combination of burn and creature combat.

$50 Inti

The base list has most of the powerful staples already included. We splurge a bit for Currency Converter which is one of the best discard payoffs and Bolt Bend which is my baby pet card that is one of the best ways to protect Inti from targeted removal, what a shame it didn't get reprinted in Ravnica Remastered!

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$100 Inti

Doubling the budget lets us snag incredible staples like Professional Face-Breaker and Sword of Forge and Frontier which both ramp and work well with our cast from exile theme, Seize the Day which finishes games and can be discarded early to still be flashbacked later, and one of my favorite cards these days Price of Progress to insta-kill greedy opponents for just 2 mana!

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$360 Inti

This is what I'd considered a "fully upgraded" Inti list. For thematic inclusions we've got Jeska's Will, Birgi, God of Storytelling (the backside but the front is amazing too) and Delayed Blast Fireball which work exceptionally well with our "cast from exile" payoff cards and Underworld Breach being ridiculous especially when we're discarding so many cards to fuel it.

This deck offers even more options to Voltron kill with powerful staples like Commander's Plate, Shadowspear, Mithril Coat, and Deflecting Swat as top-tier protection for Inti. 

I've also tossed in generic staples like Cavern-Hoard Dragon and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle because why not?

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Blood Moon?

If you want some easy wins, add Blood Moon, Magus of the Moon, and Ruination to your lists. They do nothing against mono color decks unless Richard is building the manabase, but against multicolor decks they can often be free wins and are definitely the highest win % cards for their mana values. The downside of these cards though is lots of playgroups really don't like these cards so it's rude to play them at those tables, and also their win% goes down if your opponents both hate these cards and know you run them since they will gang up and kill you (ignoring everything else) so you don't get a chance to cast them.

Personally I don't run these cards in my own paper decks, but if your playgroup is cool with it and you want the power boost then add them!

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Thanks For Reading!

I hope you enjoy this one. I'm adding a version of Inti to my own paper collection that is very similar to the $360 version with some more meme inclusions like Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded only because I have the white-bordered April Fools version and I think it's funny.

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Expect more Budget Commanders while I'm away on vacation since I don't have recording equipment on me to do videos but have plenty of time on the train or plane to write these. Thanks for reading!

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