A Magictation by Mikeal Basile
“Magictating” is defined as getting into the zone with your Magic the Gathering collection–thinking, planning, organizing, reminiscing about past games, and imagining future games. It is a combination of hard thinking about the game and calm meditation, reveling in the joy it brings you.
You might be tempted to spend $100 or more on a single card to get a big impact mythic for your Commander deck. The problem is that you can play several games before you get a chance to actually play your new pricey mythic. I’m here to tell you about 20 different mythics and rares that are under $20, make a huge impact, and add variety to your Commander games. For the price of one pricey mythic you can pick up five of these cards, so let’s discuss the ten cheap mythics you should be playing in Commander.
1. Bramble Sovereign
This card is just ridiculous. It came out in Battlebond, a set designed to be played in limited as a two-headed giant match-up, so it happens to custom made for multiplayer formats, like Commander. This can make for some hilarious plays in order to bring down the table’s biggest threat. Giving your opponent an extra Avenger of Zendikar, Verderous Gearhulk, Worldspine Wurm, or even a pair of Craterhoof Behemoths for a mere two mana can really turn a game on its head. Allowing someone to double up their ETB triggers off cards like Duplicant or Archon of Cruelty can quickly cut the current archenemy out of the lead. Perhaps you may even strike a double deal with their Sphinx of Enlightenment? I can’t wait to use this card more often. I just slotted it into my EDH cube, because it is a card we all need to see in play more often.
2. Kalonian Hydra
Let’s be honest about counters in green decks; they’re there more often than not.I am so surprised Kalonian Hydra hasn’t flown past the $20 mark. It is so powerful in so many green decks. Doubling up +1/+1 counters is crazy on a single creature, but doubling up all the counters on every attack is insanity—and I love it. Jam this in any deck that’s running a counters theme and you won’t be disappointed. This is like having a repeatable Doubling Season on the board (Doubling Season–way more than $20).
3. Natural Order
Natural Order shouldn’t be under $20, and I don’t think it will stay that way for very long. It has commanded a price over that for quite some time. It just got reprinted as part of the mystical archive, and snagging copies of that version for under $20 is an excellent deal. Granted, this most recent printing is the only one under $20 which is a good sign that this card isn’t going to be dropping in price any time soon. Natural Order allows you to cheat the best green creature from your deck into play at instant speed. It’s like a mini Tooth and Nail, but it’s only four mana. It has always been powerful in 1 vs. 1 matchups, and it’s still amazing in multiplayer. There are so many green combo pieces and game-ending creatures you can cheat into play that this old beauty is still one of the flashiest cards around. If you happen to use it to get yourself a Verdant Force, then you win the nostalgia bonus round my friend.
4. Unbound Flourishing
This is more a niche pick-up for decks with “X spells”. However, this is absolutely amazing in those decks. I think it’s unlikely you aren’t already playing it in a counters matter deck, but if you aren’t, then it’s time for you to jam one of these into your deck and truly make it a next-level monstrosity (bonus points for playing and activating Hydra Broodmaster with Unbound Flourishing in play).
5. Thrun, the Last Troll
So, most of the cards on this list are closer to the $20 mark, but Thrun, the Last Troll is under $5. I can’t even believe that I can write that. This card has been reprinted only once, in the Mystery Boosters set. Otherwise, it’s only been printed once, and that was in Mirrodin Besieged—10 years ago! That’s crazy. This card is overdue for a price spike. It could get reprinted in a Commander Precon., but I doubt it. If it does, then it’ll drop quite a bit, and likely be a bulk mythic forever. Yet, if it doesn’t, and people start realizing how powerful this card truly is, then I expect they’ll be snapping up every copy of it under $10 in short order. This is a fantastically cheap buy at the moment. Having a four mana threat that can block incredible well and dodge targeted removal is still solid in the Commander format…ten years later! Feel free to announce playing it by busting out your best baritone singing voice, “Thrun, da-da-dun-The Last Troll!”
6. Avatar of Growth
Avatar of Growth is a card that initially escaped my radar. It’s a game day promo from 2018, so it’s about three years old now, and it’s actually under $10. This is the kind of card that plays fantastically well in multiplayer, and especially well against your friends that look down their noses at basic lands. This is a great way to punish those dual, fetch, shock, triome wielding opponents and reward everyone else living on a more frugal budget. I can easily see this being a powerful three drop in an average Commander game that then ramps up the rest of the table as well as yourself. I think it might even find a spot in my EDH Cube, because this is the sort of Battlebond-esque fun I like to see in friendly games of Commander.
7. Shaman of the Forgotten Ways
Speaking of forgotten buys, this card is probably appropriately named at this point. It’s hasn’t been printed since 2015, and I doubt it sees that much play in your local groups. However, it is a fantastically powerful way to obliterate people’s life totals and then swing in for an easy kill. If they’ve left themselves with one blocker or just one creature in play, then they’re basically dead on board. A control player that runs a creature light deck can find themselves dead in very short order. Voltron players? Yeah, they’ll be terrified of this thing. You get to swing in with two 1/1’s and knock them out. That’s some sweet budget player removal right there.
8. Nullhide Ferox
Now I know you’re looking at me like I’m crazy for mentioning this bulk mythic. It’s one of the cheapest mythics to never see a reprint. It’s also a 6/6 Hexproof for four mana. Granted, it has a rough downside: you can’t cast non-creature spells. However, for only two mana you can turn that ability off until end of turn. Well, anyone can, but hear me out before you write this thing off. It’s a 6/6 for a mere four mana. It’s no Argothian Wurm (also worth considering), but the trample isn’t that huge of a loss when you consider that it dodges all targeted removal unless that person decides to pay an extra two mana to remove it. If you’re running a more aggressive deck or perhaps using Ruric Thar as your Commander, then you really should consider jamming this impactful beater for the monetary equivalent of two gumballs. Unlike most Hexproof creatures, this one begs for and allows for table interaction. It’s hard for people to feel salty about your Hexproof creature when it isn’t really hexproof, but more like “Ward 2”,except not as good. Remember, this is a budget list.
9. Primeval Bounty
Primeval Bounty seems like a slow and perhaps over-costed value engine. However, it really doesn’t take much to rev this engine into overdrive. It’s relatively easy to cast after doing some accelerating and then immediately drop a land to gain three life. This card doesn’t make you an immediate target either (like, say, Doubling Season might). Yes, six mana for three life is terrible. However, if you happen to cast another spell off that, like Snakeskin Veil, you suddenly have a creature with four +1/+1 counters on it that got to dodge a removal spell at the same time. It really just gives every spell and land you play an additional trigger (like adding on a free kicker bonus). Now, every creature nets you an additional 3/3 while each spell pumps up a creature with additional counters, and every land drop pads your life total. Overall, it is a valuable little card that can get rapidly out of hand in any deck that’s running synergies with counters, beasts, life gain, or even a beast tribal deck! Krosan Warchief loves seeing this card, and so do all your other beasts that you call forth from the Contested Cliffs.
10. Seasons Past
Don’t pass on this Seasons Past card. It appears to be an over-costed regrowth, but once you’ve played it late game you won’t ever look at it the same way. Unlike Praetor’s Counsel, which I think more than a few people jam, this one slips under deck builder’s radars as the restriction seems overly prohibitive. I emphasize “seems” here because once you start looking at your actual mana curves, you come to find that you actually end up with a variety of different casting costs in the yard in the mid-to-late game. The ability to bring back any type of spell is the coolest part of this card. It doesn’t restrict by card types, so everything that costs different amounts is up for grabs. Don’t forget that lands have a mana value (converted mana cost) of zero and can be snapped up with this card along with all your other goodies.
I hope I brought a few cheap mythics into consideration for you. Plenty of people hunt down the same old green cards like The Great Henge, Craterhoof Behemoth, and Sylvan Library. Instead of gunning for a run-of-the-mill style card, perhaps you could consider jamming a few of these affordable cards (for less than the price of any of those mentioned above). The impact these budget cards make is pretty solid, and for the price—it’s really hard to do better. Until next time, may your bank account and the cards be ever in your favor!