Hundreds of new Magic: the Gathering cards have been printed in 2022. Some of them are very expensive, like standard all-star Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, which is currently selling at a backbreaking $65 for the cheapest version. Instead, we’re going to talk about cards that are flying far under the radar. This is mostly due to a lack of standard playability, but these new tools can fit perfectly in the Commander format. Most of the cards I’ll talk about are below $1, but none of them will cost more than $3. Notably, few if any of the cards I’ll speak about will be from out-of-the-box preconstructed Commander decks. If you play Commander, you’ve probably seen those decks and bought one or two of them this year. This list is focused largely on cards which have to be opened the hard way or purchased/traded. As always, if you desire any of these cards, the easiest way to get these singles is through Hipsters of the Coast’s sponsor, Card Kingdom. It’s where I buy my singles, and I’ll confess that I ordered several of the inclusions below as I discovered them. Now, are you ready to save some money?

Shakedown Heavy [Less than $1]
Even in Commander, a 6/4 body with menace is no laughing matter. Although menace is the first ability you’ll read, the second ability is the more relevant one. You’ll probably be drawing a card with it every turn you have a profitable attack. The mana cost, power, and toughness mean you need not fear a ground assault from all but the beefiest of creatures. Menace means you’ll often have great attacks against planeswalkers, players with the initiative or monarchy, or anyone who doesn’t feel like taking 6 damage. I’ve tested this card and found it to often be a 6/4 Phyrexian Arena which can’t attack. It’s more than enough for me, especially considering the pricetag, which can cost you as little as a quarter. It may have Shakedown in the name, but you’re the one getting away with a robbery.

Feldon, Ronom Excavator [Less than $1]
It’s been a while since Feldon’s last iteration, Feldon of the Third Path. He’s a humble excavator now, and for the humble price of two mana he will excavate you some cards. You can utilize single damage pings from cards like Defiler of Instinct to build up value over time. Or, you can send him to your opponents for quick damage and the potential for a peek at 2-8 cards if they have blocks. Bonus points are awarded if you cash him in using cards like Blasphemous Act. Notably, you probably shouldn’t swing him into massive boardstates, as getting your top 60-80 cards exiled might not be the best for you. At almost a quarter it’s hard to regret tossing this into almost any red deck looking to turn creatures sideways.

Isshin, Two Heavens as One [Less than $1]
It shouldn’t come as surprise that this card is making an appearance. Isshin has already taken Commander by storm at the helm of many decks, and for good reason. His ability to double attack triggers will serve you well with the countless creatures that want to turn sideways over and over. If his applications in the command zone weren’t enough, he also fits perfectly into the 99 of decks that want to attack with their commanders, like Edgar Markov, The Ur-Dragon, Kaalia of the Vast, and Najeela, the Blade-Blossom. The humble price does a lot to sweeten this deal even more, and I picked up my own just a few days ago.

Jon Irenicus, Shattered One [Less than $1]
One of the most popular Commanders across the last several years has been Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow. The deck has been present in almost every meta I’ve seen. Jon is a much more subtle, and in my view, fun Commander. Instead of focusing your entire game around trying to mise Draco for meme value off of a Yuriko trigger, you can instead donate unblockable dorks like Changeling Outcast to opponents. After you kindly give away your creatures, you can watch your opponents haplessly hit each other for increments of 3 every turn while you sit back and profit. I can’t put a value on not having your opponents go “Ugh, Yuriko’s back again? Big surprise!”, but if I had to, I’d say it’s worth a lot more than the spare change that Jon would cost you.

Lagrella, the Magpie [Less than $1]
Despite having very strange wording, this card is relatively simple in what it does. For each player, yourself included, you may exile one creature they control until Lagrella leaves the battlefield. When those creatures come back, if any are under your control, they get a couple of counters to boot. The counters are the icing. What you really want, though, is a cheap way to interact with each opponent at the same time. I’ve played cards like Brutal Cathar and Banisher Priest in Commander surprisingly often, and this is a steep upgrade. Additionally, this can also slot right into decks that are already looking to take advantage of blinking creatures, like Roon of the Hidden Realm. Lagrella costs barely more than a quarter, and is worth considering for almost any deck that can justify the color requirements.

Loran of the Third Path [Currently $3]
There’s no hiding it; Loran is a very good card. If you’re in white, this card will bring a smile to your face. Artifact and enchantment interaction, card draw, and in-game politics are all present here, for a relatively low mana cost. Even if you aren’t compelled towards in-game politics at the table, you can still give a card to the person who needs it most. Every part of this card is relevant and powerful enough to warrant an inclusion on this list. At $3, she is one of the most expensive cards I’m featuring, but can you really put a price on knowledge?

Rivaz of the Claw [Less than $1]
Dragons have always been popular in Commander. This shouldn’t come as a shock, especially since the format is also known as Elder Dragon Highlander. Rivaz is another great tool for mana-hungry, dragon-filled decks. As if making mana wasn’t enough, you also get built-in recursion. Although I can’t say for sure, I have a feeling they aren’t going to stop printing dragons, meaning that the sky is almost the limit for Rivaz’s potential going forward. Not bad for a card that costs less than one play on a claw machine.

Satoru Umezawa [Less than $1]
There’s a lot of text on this card, but let me save you the trouble. Satoru lets you ninjutsu in cards like Blightsteel Colossus for 4 mana. There are so many things you can do with Satoru, and although the most overtly powerful things are obvious, you can also return creatures with an “enters the battlefield” ability to play them again. I’ve played Satoru in both Commander and cube draft, and he was an all-star in unfair decks across both formats. Even the showcase version of Satoru is sitting at a humble $2, with the normal version going for about a quarter.

The Council of Four [Less than $1]
There’s nothing quite like forcing your opponents to choose between having their fun and keeping you from drawing cards or making creatures. This card lets you do just that. This card will make you a small army and draw you a new hand, unless your opponents are content to slow the game down big time. In my experience, decks that are blue and white don’t mind either of those situations. This council is by far worth the pocket change they’ll cost you.

Scrap Welder [Less than $1]
You may have heard of Goblin Welder, this scrappy fellow’s powered-up cousin. This card doesn’t make an appearance because it’s cheaper, even though the original will cost you nearly $20. It’s here because you can play both of them! That’s right, although Scrap Welder is significantly less strong and versatile, this effect is still strong. In my artifact decks, I’ll play as many of these as I can get.

Spirit-Sister’s Call [Less than $1]
Wow! If you’re playing almost any kind of black-white aristocrats style deck, this underpriced enchantment can and will trade in your leftovers for potent cards in your graveyard. This card fits in perfectly with creatures like Burglar Rat and Phyrexian Delver, artifacts like Bolas’s Citadel and Portal to Phyrexia, and enchantments like Omen of the Dead and Dictate of Erebos. The possibilities are almost endless. For less than $1 you can’t ask for much more.

Weaver of Harmony [Less than $1]
I think this card has obvious applications beyond pumping your other enchantment creatures. If you have powerful enchantments, be they sagas or otherwise, this will double up on some of the most powerful abilities you can put onto the stack. Ever heard of The Eldest Reborn? How about Binding of the Old Gods? Want to break the parity on Possibility Storm? Perhaps Thousand-Year Storm? This is a card that scales with each powerful enchantment printed, and they aren’t going to stop printing enchantments any time soon.

Angel of Suffering [Less than $2]
If you want to pad your life total and fill your graveyard, this card does both jobs at the same time. If you’re playing cards like Laboratory Maniac, Jace, Wielder of Mysteries, or Thassa’s Oracle, you can turn the downside of potentially getting milled out into an advantage. Cards like Zo-Zu the Punisher stop hurting you, and start incidentally filling your graveyard instead. If you’re playing a graveyard-focused deck, your opponents will be the ones suffering if you’re willing to spend $2 on this recently-printed mythic.

Depopulate [Less than $1]
Rare is the day where a four-mana boardwipe sells for under $1. Given that this does have a minor downside if your opponents are playing multicolor creatures, I understand why it isn’t tremendously popular, even as an ultra-budget alternative to cards like Wrath of God. However, this is still a wonderfully inexpensive card with a powerful effect and a cheap mana cost. I’ll be picking one of these up for Zurgo Helmsmasher, who wants every boardwipe he can get.

Gala Greeters [Less than $1]
These greeters allow you to choose your own adventure. Although I expect you’ll get a treasure most of the time, it’s nice to have a choice. Though it’s good at face value, this card gets significantly better if you can play creatures on your opponent’s turns. Notably, this will also trigger from token creatures. There’s a very good reason they made the treasure token enter tapped, and had each ability trigger only once each turn. 

Jaxis, the Troublemaker [Less than $1]
There’s a secret hidden mode on this card, built into the Blitz ability. This becomes a card-neutral way to copy any powerful creature you control for one turn. Inferno Titan? Yes please. Blightsteel Colossus? Oh yes. If you can cast Jaxis for the full four mana, you’ll get some cool results, but the versatility to have both options is key. If you want to turn big things sideways, Jaxis will definitely help.

Park Heights Pegasus [Less than $1]
If you’re going to be flooding the board with creatures, this is a cheap way to draw cards while applying pressure in the air. Of course, if you don’t have the creatures to justify it, this card loses most of its power. Thankfully, at a table of four, it’s likely you’ll find a place to push through a flying creature. I expect to see this card often in the 99 of decks like Queen Allenall of Ruadach and Rhys the Redeemed.

Rigo, Streetwise Mentor [Less than $1]
Although Rigo doesn’t actually have the Mentor ability, you’ll still learn quite a bit about budget Commander if you pick up this unique creature. Notably, the wording allows for a maximum of one card drawn per opponent attacked each turn. This will usually be a maximum of three extra cards per turn. Additionally, most of the evasive or unblockable one-mana creatures exist in blue. Rigo is a cool new twist on cards like Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow, and I expect to have a lot of fun building and piloting a deck with this ultra-budget Commander at the helm. Did I mention you get a free shield counter?

There’s just too many cool and cheap cards.

Yeah, I ran out of space. Fact is, there’s just so many cool and unique cards across 2022 that I can’t possibly list them all. That’s not even counting cards that were reprinted! Instead of writing a novel listing each awesome new addition, I recommend picking up cool cards when you find them. Trade with your friends, buy singles, draft! There’s lots of cool ways to engage with Magic these days, and single cards are cheaper than ever before. Opportunity costs are low, and the fun is high. Commander is supposed to be a casual format, so don’t be dissuaded because a card from today that costs a single quarter is weaker than a $10 card from 2010. Play precons against precons, build a deck that costs less than $40, and challenge your playgroup to be creative in a world ruled by Rhystic Study and Dockside Extortionist. 2023 is right around the corner, but I hope 2022 brought you lots of magic, and plenty of Magic.

Luka Sharaska (they/them) earned the nickname “Robot” by having a monotone voice, a mind for calculating odds, and a calm demeanor. Robot has been playing Magic for more than a decade, starting during the days of New Phyrexia in 2011. Most days, you’ll find them in the gym or creating content for their YouTube channel: Robot Rallis.

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