Hey guys, welcome to another Budget EDH column. This week, I’ll be doing a roundup of the best budget cards to pick up from War of the Spark. This list will include what I believe to be the strongest of the cheaper* cards. What this list will not include, though, are cards which are more niche and are used in decks with specific strategies.
Chances are that if you’ve been to a pre-release or cracked some boosters, you may have opened some of these already; if you haven’t though, or if you prefer to order singles, you may not have seen some of the new set’s offerings. Let’s jump right into it!
*Prices are correct at the time of publication via mtggoldfish.
10. Lazotep Plating $0.31
If you’re not in green or white, this is an excellent answer to targeted removal. Whether you’re protecting your Commander, your tribal creatures, or your combo piece, Lazotep Plating does an excellent stand-in for all-stars like Heroic Intervention, Teferi’s Protection, and Boros Charm. The 1/1 token is largely irrelevant, but it’s a nice freebie which can be more useful in a Zombie tribal deck.
9. Dovin’s Veto $1.05
This card is going to be played a tonne in Standard, so why am I recommending it for Commander? Well, usually I would be hesitant to pick up Standard playables until they rotate, but thanks to Dovin’s Veto being both an uncommon and being printed as a Promo, this card is unlikely to spike too hard. Even if it does, it’s currently relatively cheap, so it might be good to get a couple now. It’ll be right at home in any combo-centric metagame, or even ones that play a minimal number of creature-based spells. It’s not going to do much against aggressive decks, but it might save you from a Devastation Tide or a Cyclonic Rift. Dovin’s Veto has pseudo-split second, counterable only by spells that can return a spell to its owner’s hand or can exile spells on the stack, both of which rarely crop up in EDH. It’s a solid inclusion for any control deck that expects to engage in counterspell wars.
8. Deathsprout $0.25
Deathsprout is a great pick-up for newer players or those on a budget that don’t have access to a well-tuned manabase. Being able to answer a problematic creature, ramp, and fix your mana all at instant speed is a nice 2-for-1, and although Green and Black have access to cheaper removal, you can’t put a price on being able to achieve two things with one spell. This would fit nicely into a budget Abzan or Sultai build, with Blue and White decks historically needing a lot of coloured mana to cast their spells.
7. Ob Nixlis’ Cruelty $0.14
Speaking of cheap, efficient removal – this is strong. Wizards has shied away from printing removal of this quality at common for a while, but Ob Nixilis’ Cruelty knows no bounds. Show your opponents similar cruelty by exiling their utility & combo creatures instead of just killing them. This is especially strong in builds without access to White, the colour which is best-known for exile-based removal. At three Mana and being castable at instant speed, what’s not to love?
6. Nissa, Who Shakes the World $3.71
Yes, Nissa is pushing our idea of ‘Budget’ a little – but for the price, she’s very very good. Mark my words – if somebody figures out how to break this card in Standard, we’ll be seeing a price spike. Either way, this card is only ever going to go up in price thanks to its insane ability to double your Mana. Mana doublers in EDH are always snap includes, especially in Green decks. Nissa is currently sitting at a low point, so I’d pick one up soon if you want to play her before War of the Spark rotates.
5. Nissa’s Triumph $0.20
If you were wondering what to do with your new Nissa, or you were inspired by fellow #TeamMoM member Chris Vincent’s Mono-Green Nissa EDH deck, then I’ve got a great card for you. Nissa’s Triumph works well as some early game insurance for hitting land drops, but if Nissa is your Commander or you’ve got a couple of Nissa Planeswalkers in your deck, this thing can just straight up grab three lands. Yes, you read that right – three lands. That means Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, Cabal Coffers, and the Ghost Quarter you need to protect them (or the Thespian’s stage to do silly things) can all be grabbed for one two-mana spell. It’s a little niche, but I like it.
4. Casualties of War $0.78
I could make a contrived joke about the recent War of the Spark: Mythic Edition debacle here, but it’s a bit too soon. This is a great multi-functional, political card, and unlike Decimate, it doesn’t lock you into destroying your own permanents if there isn’t one of each type on the board. This card will not stay at its current price and should find a home in a lot of GBx decks. Grab one now.
3. Despark $0.54
How often does a permanent hit the board before turn 4 that has to be killed on sight? Well, discounting cEDH (competitive tier combo focused Commander) the answer is probably rarely. For all intents and purposes, this will be replacing Vindicate in a lot of decks, and for good reason. Instant speed interaction for two Mana is a great deal, and Exile is always the preferred option.
2. Return to Nature $0.15
If these effects weren’t good enough already, why not staple on the ability to stop a graveyard loop or reanimation effect?
I don’t need to say any more. Just get a foil and be happy.
1. Emergence Zone $0.66
Emergence Zone fits into any deck that can afford to spare some slots for utility lands, and it’s a great effect. Casting an end of turn board wipe or flashing in a win condition is very strong. I wouldn’t be surprised to see most decks finding a place for this land, and I have to wonder if it’s a bit good. There’s a reason not every card type or colour plays at instant speed… j
Just be prepared for this one when it hits the table – pack some targeted land destruction!
The cards mentioned in the list above are all wallet-friendly and should give you some good upgrades to existing cards. If you’re a new player, now is a great time to get into Commander, and the power level of War of the Spark is ideal to catch you up on some of the more expensive, powerful effects that haven’t been printed for some time.
There are a lot of good cards in this set, and some of them, like Ugin, the Ineffable, are good enough to fit into most decks. Unfortunately, the price reflects this – Ugin is currently selling for $7 and its price is rising. I don’t think you’ll be able to pick one up much cheaper than that in the next couple of weeks – you can probably get one for $5-6 if you’re lucky – but after most of the drafting and box openings are done, this is a card that will climb until it sees a reprint (which is very unlikely, in my opinion). As far as the Planeswalkers go, I’m either not convinced most of them are worthy of including in decks unless they fit a niche purpose, or their prices are over-inflated due to their Standard (and Modern – all of the Teferis) playability. I’ll look at the Planeswalkers in more detail in another article soon, but if you have to pick one up, for now, I’d probably just get a second copy of whatever is working for you by grabbing a Spark Double, which is currently sitting at around $3. I think the price on this may be a bit volatile, and if you’re someone who likes foils, I’d keep an eye on it.
If you enjoyed this article, get in touch on Twitter @TheKristenEmily. Let me know if you think I missed anything, and let me know what budget cards you think will fit into more niche strategies – I can already see myself playing the $0.89 Tomik, Distinguished Advokist in my Mono-White Lyra deck, as he wears equipment like a champ and protects Emeria, the Sky Ruin pretty darn well. Until next time – Valar Morghulis.