Commander Legends: 4 Budget Deck Techs

Alex KatzCommander

Commander Legends is full of exciting new legendary creatures that will inspire a wide variety of brewing possibilities. Whether you’re building a tribal deck with Miara, Thorn of the Glade or Malcolm, Keen-Eyed Navigator, a keyword-matters decks with Akroma, Vision of Ixidor or Radiant, Serra Archangel, or a commander-matters deck with Keleth, Sunmane Familiar and Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar, there are fun options for players on any budget. Here are some ideas for new Commander decks you can build with Commander Legends for just $50 or less.

Averna, the Chaos Bloom

Averna is a Temur commander that enables cascade, a mechanic that allows you to play nonland cards from the top of your library for free. Any time you cascade while you control Averna, you can play a land you revealed while cascading, allowing you to ramp up quickly to more expensive cascade spells like Aurora Phoenix and Maelstrom Colossus.

As you build your deck, keep an eye on the mana costs of your spells. Cascade lets you play spells whose converted mana costs are lower than the cost of the cascading spell; most spells with cascade cost between three and six mana, so your sweet spot is going to be five mana or less. But since Imoti, Celebrant of Bounty gives spells that cost six mana or more cascade, it’s going to be worth your while to include a handful of higher-cost spells, plus the ramp to cast them.

Other things to keep an eye out for are permanents with powerful ETB abilities that you can cascade into, and spells like Cavalier of Gales that let you control what’s on top of your deck.

Sample Averna Commander decklist
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Liesa, Shroud of Dusk

Liesa is a black and white angel from Innistrad who really likes hurting people. She lets you pay life instead of mana for her commander tax, and she makes everyone at the table lose life when they cast spells. The trick to making friends with Liesa is to gain life faster than you lose it, and faster than your opponents are losing it.

A good Liesa deck includes lots of creatures with lifelink, as well as ways to boost your lifegain, like Angel of Vitality and Boon Reflection. You’ll also want ways to drain your opponents’ life faster, like Ill-Gotten Inheritance. Since you’ll be gaining lots of life, it’s also a good idea to include spells that reward you for gaining life, like Cliffhaven Vampire and Cradle of Vitality. Defensive spells and creatures that prevent your opponents from counteracting your life gain by attacking you will come in handy, too.

Sample Liesa Commander decklist
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Lathiel, the Bounteous Dawn

Liesa isn’t the only Commander Legends commander who wants lots of life gain. Lathiel also wants you to gain as much life as possible, but for very different reasons. While Liesa requires you to run as fast as you can to stay in one place, Lathiel turns your lifegain into +1/+1 counters for your creatures. Since lifegain isn’t necessary to just stay in the game, you can also focus on other things, like creating creature tokens to put all those counters on. You also have access to Selesnya lifegain powerhouses like Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice, and a variety of tokens with lifelink, like the soldiers from Guilds of Ravnica and the cats from Amonkhet block, so you can also use token effects like populate to increase your life gain. Don’t forget to include other lifegain payoffs, like Speaker of the Heavens, and ways to get even more +1/+1 counters, like Conclave Mentor.

Sample Lathiel Commander decklist
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Ghen, Arcanum Weaver

Ghen is a commander that cares about enchantments, but their color identity – Mardu – isn’t normally associated with them. Making a strong deck for Ghen is an interesting puzzle, and we can solve it in a very Mardu way.

Ghen lets you sacrifice an enchantment to bring other enchantments back from your graveyard. This suggests that the best deck for them is likely similar to an Aristocrats deck (which are often in some combination of Mardu colors), but for enchantments instead of creatures. So we need enchantments that do interesting things when you sacrifice them, like Aura of Silence; spells that let you sacrifice enchantments, like Final Payment; and spells that let you profit from your enchantments going into the graveyard, like Starfield Mystic. And since you’ll be bringing your enchantments back from the graveyard, you’re also going to want enchantments with powerful ETB effects, like Banishing Light, and spells that give you benefits when your enchantments enter the battlefield, like Grim Guardian. Cards in any of these categories can be enchantment creatures, which should make it easier to fill out the creature slots in your deck.

Sample Ghen Commander decklist
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On Time and Under Budget

There are so many wonderful opportunities to make the perfect budget Commander deck with Commander Legends‘ legendary creatures. (I’m going to take a stab at that Lathiel deck myself.) Let us know what awesome brew you’re putting together this season!