It’s launch day, so Kristen takes us through a snapshot of good Commander cards to pick up for budget prices as Double Masters hits. Like last time, she’ll be going into both dirt-cheap cards and ones that are around $5 right now. Prices are correct as of the date of publication.

Every quarter, I review the latest Standard set and make my recommendations for Commander cards to pick up. It’s release day for Double Masters, though, so let’s have a bonus edition! This series is aimed mainly at budget conscious players, and so ignores the obvious high ticket items like Force of Will, and tries to enable players to make confident low-end purchases that will have a big impact on their deckbuilding. Although it’s also a great time to put together a Tron deck, I’m not going to be looking at this from a Modern perspective either.

Budget Blitz: Core 2021 Review

The market continues to look quite healthy despite the continued lockdown of many parts of the world. Thanks to Collector Boosters, many singles prices are now enjoying much lower floors, particularly rares and mythics that are wanted in Commander and other formats. Still, though, much of this year’s product is likely to see significant gains down the road as less product and fewer singles are being bought—you might just have to wait a little while to see that effect.

Previously, the main cards I identified as strong prospects for pre-order and release season were Mangara, the Diplomat and Heroic Intervention. Both of these cards have risen from their $3-4 preorder price points up to a steady $7-8. Both are heavily played in Commander, and will only go up over time, particularly with the glut of other product for people to focus on. I also advocated for picking up Triomes as they are pretty much at their floor. With rotation approaching and Shocklands on the way out, demand for Triomes will probably rise next month; and given people will be interested in the latest new shiny product instead of opening Ikoria, it’s a safe idea to grab a few if you don’t want to pay at least 20% more later on. Outside of those, I’m going to continue advocating for picking up Idyllic Tutor and Heliod’s Intervention now while they’re cheap. Both are easily capable of going up.

Like last time, I strongly advocate for picking up cheaper foils around the time of release. Collector Boosters naturally depress the price of set foils in particular, so check those out while you can.

Double Masters: Cheapest of the Cheap

So two things before we get into it: first off, a lot of the lower end cards have recently been reprinted in either Commander 2020, JumpStart or Mystery Booster. So if you’re wondering why I’m not calling out the previously $3 Thopter Foundry as a Double Masters bargain here for fifty cents, well, it’s already had its time in the limelight. Tangentially, other fifty cent cards like Grand Architect are in the Mystery Booster foil slot for only a little more, so I can’t in good conscience recommend not just getting that version unless you dislike foils. Secondly, as this is a Masters set, my cheap picks will be a little costlier than usual averaging at the $1-2 mark. They’re still great reprints and great pickups even then.

First up on the list is a staple that can fit into many decks. Able to tutor up everything from Field of the Dead to Emeria, the Sky Ruin and everything in between; Expedition Map is a great way to fix mana, dig out some land destruction or otherwise get a sweet utility land like Cabal Coffers. Averaging $5 before this reprint, it’s now available for under $2. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to grab some set foils up while the going’s good.

Another $5 card that’s happy to see a reprint, Jhoira, Weatherlight Captain is a great Commander for artifact decks; and a great card draw engine within the ninety-nine of everything from Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer to Sisay, Weatherlight Captain. It’s a great time to pick one for just $1, and again, foils are relatively affordable at $5 compared to Dominaria’s $15.

A hatebear artifically inflated in price due to lack of reprints since the original Modern Masters, Ethersworn Canonist is increasingly relevant as the Commander format is seeing a shift toward earlier and earlier multiple spell turns. At home in both cEDH and EDH builds of Winota, Joiner of Forces and a great candidate for slowing down decks across the board, this is a great pick up thanks to a drop from $6 to around $1.50.

I love Endless Atlas in mono-color Commander decks, and there’s an argument that it might even be good in some two color builds. It’s a great source of card draw for Red and White, and even some Green decks like the new Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse might benefit from the extra card per turn. Available for $2, it’s more affordable than ever and as far as budget card draw goes for Red and White? You’ll struggle to do better.

Wow! Dropping from $11 to a much more affordable $1.80, Arixmethes, Slumbering Isle is a slam dunk to pick up for your big-mana Simic and Sultai builds. Being able to threaten a two-hit kill from the Command Zone is impressive enough, but this can be strong ramp outside of that too, particularly with the right set up. If you didn’t pick up the Adaptive Enchantment deck from Commander 2018, now’s a great time to pick one of these up.

Double Masters: Five Dollar Shake

There are also some slightly pricier reprints that are worth looking at here due to their new affordability. Whilst I’ll always recommend cards like Blasphemous Act and Austere Command (both down at sub $5 prices again), boardwipes are kind of replacement level in most decks; maximising your efficiency with these spell is generally one of the later upgrades to make. Instead, let’s look at some strong cards that can help upgrade your deck in other ways. These cards all average at $5 or less.

Path to Exile is seeing another reprinting after Signature Spellbook: Gideon, Mystery Booster and even JumpStart. Whilst I am contradicting my previous argument of not focusing on these types of cards, it highlights even more how strongly Path can hold value as an uncommon when it’s only dropped from $5 to $3. Even with all of these reprints, it’ll definitely be back at $5 again in the future. Path is one of the best removal spells in Commander, and an easy upgrade.

Speaking of efficient White removal, Council’s Judgment is now way more affordable at $3 too. Previously settling around $11 but even pricier before it fell out of favor in Legacy, this removal spell does something really unique: it doesn’t target. While you’ll seldom reach maximal efficiency and exile four permanents for three mana, stranger things have happened, and even the floor of this card is worth it. There are plenty of instances of shroud and hexproof in EDH, and this card gets around both.

Chord of Calling is an instant speed tutor that puts a creature into play from your library. It also has convoke, allowing decks that go wide to pump extra mana into the spell without needing to be mana dorks. It’s a really strong effect, and can set up for some really great plays, particularly as you’re able to do it in the end step. Now at an affordable $3 instead of $8, it’s a good opportunity to get a few copies if you need them.

Technically Hammer of Nazahn is cheating as it’s currently up at around $8; but when you consider it was $25 before, I can’t not mention it here. A staple in any equipment decks, the instant speed equip is probably more useful than the indestructible, and it’s not like the indestructible isn’t already really great.

Filter Lands, courtesy of Scryfall

Finally, the Filter land cycle are great lands to add to your decks. Able to produce any combination of two colors or colorless mana, they’re really flexible, and crucially, they come in untapped. It gets harder and harder to recommend tap lands these days; outside of Duals, Fetches and Shocks, these are one of the better options, particularly for Enemy color pairs who see fewer finished land cycles—come on, Wizards!

A Note on Double Masters Boxtoppers

There’s one more interesting thing to consider with Double Masters, and that’s the boxtoppers. Whilst they’re pretty far from Budget, I do think it’s worth sharing my thoughts on the prices of these.

For the Foil Mythics and more popular foil Rares, I think the time to buy in will be launch weekend when most product is opened and being sold. For non-foils, and less popular cards, I think the prices on these will generally trend down much like they did for the Ultimate Masters boxtoppers. There are still Fetchlands this year at some point, apparently, so those will be a more popular investment generally speaking.

As always, the fact that these exist should help to push down the prices of their non-showcase alternatives; but given the wide gap between the better rares and most of the filler, I can’t see this having as much of an effect as it otherwise might. I know I’ll be gunning for Stoneforge Mystic this weekend. My advice, if you’re interested in these, is to set a target price you’re happy to pay. If the card dips to that price over the next week, then by all means, pick one up. Otherwise, don’t pull the trigger unless you have cash to spare—something few of us can say these days. For that matter: I wouldn’t bother with sealed product this set at all. Just pick up the singles.

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter—what are you aiming to pick up? I’ll probably revisit this column again before Zendikar Rising to talk about rotation, and maybe JumpStart? JumpStart‘s a weird one to be sure; we still haven’t had stock in most countries outside of the US, so it’s hard to talk about objectively.

Based in the UK, Kristen is a lover of both Limited and Commander, and can most often be found championing the Boros Legion when called upon to sit down and shuffle up.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.