Commander is a pretty big deal in Portland. EDH night at any store can be one of the liveliest nights as casual and competitive players alike come to play. Unfortunately, there is often a notable difference in play level, and this is not always due to skill. The format can get pretty expensive. My own decks probably average at around $200 each, with the most expensive being nearly $500! And that’s nothing compared to some of the decks in my play group. Even so, perhaps the most powerful deck I own is valued at only $45 dollars, and, while it can win a normal EDH game, it was designed for a budget format my friends enjoy called “Peasant.”
Peasant Commander is a specialty format my playgroup enjoys fairly regularly and several of us have multiple peasant decks. The rules are simple:
- Your commander may be any uncommon creature.
- Your deck (including the general) must contain exactly 100 cards.
- Those cards must fit within your general’s color identity.
- Those cards must all be common & uncommon.
- No individual card may cost more than $5.00 at tcgplayer mid price.
- And, perhaps best of all, no sol ring.
Otherwise, it plays like a regular Commander game and supports as many players as you can stand to play with!
While Peasant bears some clear resemblance to Pauper, in the lack of rare cards, its differences are what make it really shine. A good peasant deck can hold its own in a regular 4-player commander game, as can a great pauper deck. A great peasant deck can dominate a game.
I only have one peasant deck, but it definitely gets the job done. My general is Lorescale Coatl, one of the best, if oft looked over, uncommon creatures in the game.
It’s a 2/2 snake for 1UG, which seems a little weak at first. Irrelevant creature type, and lower stats than cost, but then there is its ability. “Whenever you draw a card, you may put a +1/+1 counter on lorescale coatl.” This snake gets very big, very fast. guaranteed at least one +1/+1 counter per turn after it comes out, and so many blue spells have the three greatest words in magic on them already– “draw a card”. With spells like Windfall and Brainstorm in the format, the issue isn’t making the snake a threat, it’s just getting it to land a hit. In a 100 card deck, that isn’t a tough bill to fit! Even my pet cards like Tortoise Formation and Golgari Decoy have a solid home in this deck.
With a deck list like this, it’s sometimes harder not to win! And since Lorescale Coatl has been reprinted twice in the past year – with 2 copies in the Elspeth vs Kiora duel deck and as uncommon in Modern Masters 2015, it’s easier to find than ever!
If you want to try out Peasant, some other great commanders for the format are Bushi Tenderfoot (for a Voltron build), Vizkopa Confessor (Control and/or Life Gain), and Guttersnipe (for an instant/sorcery heavy deck), but any uncommon creature you love could be the start of a beautiful new budget deck!