One of the traps you can fall into while building commanders is over-optimization. If you have a sizeable collection, you’ve been playing for a long time, or have deep enough pockets, it’s easy to throw 100 good cards together and call it a day. But what about the people who go outside instead of eating chicken tenders in their parent’s basement? What do you do if you have “responsibilities” or “common sense” and don’t want to spend your life’s savings on cardboard? Well you build on a budget. But it’s ok! I’ll let you in on a secret. Lower power budget commander decks are a blast to build and play for new and experienced players alike.
Today, we’ll take a look at a neat new commander from Ikoria, built on a budget, just as soon as I’m done with these chicken tenders.
Path of Ancestry
Snow-Covered Forest x9
Snow-Covered Island x6
Snow-Covered Swamp x6
Temple of Deceit
Temple of Malady
Temple of Mystery
Casualties of War
Crux of Fate
Extinguish All Hope
Mythos of Brokkos
Return of the Wildspeaker
Vivien, Champion of the Wilds
Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
Elusive Tormentor // Insidious Mist
Gorm the Great
Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
Lord of Extinction
Surrak, the Hunt Caller
Thada Adel, Acquisitor
Virtus the Veiled
Yahenni, Undying Partisan
Brokkos, Apex of Forever is, at first glance, just a weird Gigantiform in your command zone. On closer inspection however, you may notice that he is absolutely a Gigantiform in the command zone! While you could cast him as a 6/6 trample for 5 in a pinch, we’re going to want to mutate him onto something with an abusable ability. Now, because of how messy mutate is as a mechanic, we won’t go into too much detail about the exact way it all works, but you can check it out in the comprehensive rules if you’re curious (702.139).
Looking through the deck list, you’ll no doubt see some cards that have strict upgrades available to play in the format. I tried to use as many inexpensive options as possible. As for the more expensive cards, I opted to try for things players may have from cracking some packs lately, or can pull out of soon-to-be-rotated standard decks. At the time of writing, the most expensive card in the deck is Breeding Pool, and the price per card drops pretty steadily after that. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the plan!
This is going to be some magic as Richard Garfield, Ph.D. intended. Our intricate and well-thought-out plan is to hit people with a big stick until their life points drop to 0. To get there, we’re packed to the brim with some early game draw and ramp effects, as well as a basic suite of answers for anything threatening on the board.
Brokkos works best when we have some value creatures to duct tape him to. Thada Adel, Acquisitor can steal artifacts and offers some situational evasion in islandwalk. Kheru Mind-Eater steals cards from our opponent’s hand and gives menace. Trygon Predator gets a big power boost to help keep pesky artifacts and enchantments off the table and a 6/6 trampling Cephalid Constable makes for some brutal swings.
Leyline Prowler is a mana dork that helps accelerate into Brokkos and provides him with both deathtouch and lifelink. Cold-Eyed Selkie can draw ludicrous number of cards and Ravenous Slime or Scavenging Ooze eat away graveyards while increasing in power.
Gorm the Great forces our opponents to block and his buddy Virtus the Veiled combines deathtouch with our commander’s trample to see enemy life totals and blockers disappear. One even searches for the other thanks to their partner ability!
For protection, Yahenni, Undying Partisan can gain indestructible so long as you have spare creatures lying around while Elusive Tormentor ’s flipside, Insidious Mist , offers up an unblockable, hexproof, indestructible commander.
Lastly, for dealing massive amounts of combat damage we have Consuming Aberration and Lord of Extinction . Even without Brokkos, we can always slap a Rancor on them or offer them up to Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord and drain the table to zero.
Beast Within and Maelstrom pulse are good general problem solvers while Heroic Intervention and Lazotep Plating protect the board. Extinguish all Hope & Crux of Fate hit most creatures on board and Casualties of War eliminates up to 5 of the most threatening cards on the table.
Other than the simple “attack with giant creature” plan, the deck does run one infinite combo that allows us to pivot to the “attack with infinitely giant creature” plan.
Crackdown Construct + Lightning Greaves or Mist Dragon + Rancor/Brokkos, Apex of Forever/Jarad, Golgari Lich Lord
Crackdown Construct gets +1/+1 every time we activate an ability of a creature of artifact that isn’t a mana ability. Since Lightning Greaves and Mist Dragon are both free to activate, the construct can get infinite power and toughness before swinging for lethal with the help of our commander or Rancor. You can also just feed the construct to Jarad to drain the table. It’s a bit obvious and pretty easy to disrupt but very funny when you pull it off.
Why no infect?
Infect generally isn’t welcomed at lower powered tables. Regardless of whether the mechanic is actually any good as a whole in edh, it causes considerable groaning and moping the second you read the word off the card. At the end of the day, you need people to play edh with and in general, people are much more widely accepting of commander damage and giant creatures than infect.
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Brokkos was a card I saw during spoiler season that got me thinking about exactly how I build commander decks. While this list could certainly do with some upgrades, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out given the budget goal I had set. It was certainly a fun afternoon of brewing and the deck has been a total blast to play in all of the test games I’ve run with it. I hope this can serve as a good starting point for anyone curious about the commander.
Do you have any card suggestions you think we missed? Have you tried out Brokkos for yourself? Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments down below! Happy deck building!