Today is going to be a sick-nasty day, Commander Fam.
I have one of the dopest topics I could possibly discuss with you when it comes to Commander, and you're not even going to have to put any work in today. I did it all for you! It starts with you sitting there, looking at your old and boring deck, and it'll end with some new hotness gracing your palms.
Today, kiddies, we're all about come ups.
One of my favorite internet personalities is a handsome fellow named Nate, better known by his Instagram and Twitter handle as Tabasko Sweet. You can catch his show, Cheap Thrills, weekly on SuperDeluxe's Facebook page for some incredible blessings when it comes to fashion. Tabasko is a connoisseur of the finer things in life, but our boy Nate doesn't stack paper to the ceiling, so he's constantly figuring out how to beat the system. He makes his own Jordon's and handpaints Supreme ski goggles. You want a Louis Vuitton wallet but don't want to fork out thousands of dollars? No worries. Nate will teach you how using some markers, pliers, and a coin pouch you can buy at the dollar store. It's swagger boosts galore, with you as the beneficiary.
But that got me thinking: how can I help my readers increase their clout levels when it comes to slinging hundred-card decks?
Then it hit me.
Semi-Competitive or full blown super serious Competitive Commander is a format based around two very important things: The ability to win games and sweep pods and-way more importantly-looking insanely iced out, so if you lose...who cares! You looked fly doing it.
Commander isn't about the games as much as it is filling your deck with righteous foils, expensive cards, artist-altered beauts while making people jealous when they sit across from you. We don't care that you can cast Warp World 35 times in a row, fam, we care that the Warp World is foil and Japanese. At least that way when you're combo'ing out I'll feel the need to adorn my face with some shades to shield my eyes from the brightness.
Not everybody can get out there and drop fat stacks on their decks, though. We want the boost but don't want to lose the loot. Call me Robin Hood. I'm gonna teach you how to steal from the rich and give to yourself.
One of the fliest things you can do to your deck is customize it with some hand-drawn artistry. This works super well on cards that you don't have the option of getting as foil, which takes a boring card and gives it a serious upgrade. Magic events like Grand Prix or SCG Tour® stops might will almost always have a booth of some hardworking men and women that can provide you with whatever you'd like on your cards, but not everyone can travel to these events.
Sorry west-coasters. Maybe teach your venues not to ask of hundreds of ks.
That doesn't mean you should stop yourself from adding some slamming customizations to your Commander deck.
Local artists are everywhere, and they're literally starving. Starving for work. Starving for money. Starving for a sandwich. Some super talented guys and gals are gracing your Facebook right now that could put their liquid acrylics to good use and paint you up some Care Bears or T'Challa or whatever you want on the cards of yours that are hella expensive.
Your boy wanted some sweetness on his Mana Vault but didn't want to drop the $140 necessary to achieve a Kaladesh masterpiece, so I reached out to Bryon Wackwitz at a local GP I attended. I requested that he alter a regular, unfit Mana Vault with my favorite Pokemon of all time, Pichu. For the low-low of $30 dollars, I walked away with a swagged out mana Vault that more people ask me about than any card in my collection. How is that for a come up?
This is one of the easiest and slickest ways to build relationships at a local level while filling up the pockets of some of the most talented people in Magic: artists. While it might sound tough to approach them, I assure you the worst thing that can happen is that they say no. When you're dealing with some foils or non-English cards than can cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars, a deck comprised of a multitude of altered cards is going to give you massive amounts of street cred and give you full customization of your beast. Now it's not just about having a foil that tons of other people out there also have, but instead you're now rocking something that you and only you can sport. If your friends were a type of doughnut, after seeing your sick alters the only kind of flavor they could possibly be is jelly-filled.
Different Set Foils
One of the most overlooked ways of tricking out your deck on the low comes in the form of reprints, kiddies. Original set foils with OG boarders are for people who swim in giant pools of gold coins like Scrooge McDuck, and I'm not trying to blow a week's pay on those things. Hear me out.
For one of my decks I was offered a Future Sight foil of Magus of the Moon for $80. That's a lot of bread, and I knew there had to be a better way to achieve that kind of godliness. Thankfully, Iconic Masters had your boy covered, and I was able to make a checklist:
- Same art? Check.
- Same text box? Check.
- Same flavor text? Check.
- Same everything except the set symbol? Check.
We were dealing with the same card in almost every single regard minus the Future Sight set symbol, but there was a $60 difference. That might not sound like a ton, but how many tanks of gas does that put in your car? How many other foils is that going to let you pick up? That's like 1/4th of a Standard deck nowadays, and you'd just be wasting it on a card that's ten years older. Sounds muy malo if you ask me.
Once you really start delving in to the amount of reprinted foils out there that give you unlimited boosts in your decks' clout, you start to have trouble buying the old stuff when the new stuff is exactly the same, only cheaper.
Check out some of these staples and then the price differences:
Foil Dakmor Salvage for your Dredge Needs :
- $12.99 for Future Sight
- $3.99 for Modern Masters 2013
Grim Lavamancer for when you have to burn faces :
- $99.99 for Torment
- $8.99 for Magic 2012 Core Set
Karn Liberated because they'll never ban Tron :
- $159.99 for New Phyrexia
- $119.99 for Modern Masters 2015
Imperial Seal for maximum tutoring:
- $499.99 for English Portal: Three Kingdoms
- $149.99 for a Judge Promo
These are just a few of the deals you can bless yourself with. Now I know what you're saying: "But Mark, I like the way these old foils look." I totally hear you, and for many years I was a foil purist, but then I realized I like having money and foils a lot more than I liked only having foils. I started taking advantage of the sick deals that SCG has on the regular and began making my decks look incredibly fuego, and I found I was spending less and getting more value out of my purchases and trade-ins, which leads me to the big third point.
Make Your Cards Work for You
This one I'm going to take the most flack for, but this is coming from deep within the cockles of your boy's heart.
StarCityGames is absolutely freaking Wild n' Crazy Kids for how much trade in value they give. When a deck grows tiresome to me, I toss it to them in order to hook myself up with a 50% bonus, which other stores and businesses simply cannot compete with. We're talking close to full value on your cards if you take the trades, which you'd likely be crazy not to.
Pretend you have 250 bulk rares. Trash, right? And it's just taking up space in your binder. No one is ever going to trade for this junk. Most dealers are going to give you ten cents a rare trade for your bulk nowadays because it's not safe money anymore, and with the rate packs are opened it doesn't make fiscal sense for businesses to spit out tons of cash for cards that might never move. That business is going to give you $25 trade or around $20 cash for that bulk. Andrew Jackson is going to be really lonely in your wallet, but dealing with SCG's 50% trade bonus will add an Alexander Hamilton to that equation and get you locked into something much sweeter.
Don't believe me? Your boy puts his money where his wallet is.
When I decided I wanted to completely foil out my baby, Gisa and Geralf, I turned a lot of unwanted nonsense that has been sitting around for years collecting dust into a ton of iced out sickness for my favorite Commander deck. This wasn't about walking up to a booth and taking whatever they offered me, nor was this about doing the rounds and worrying that I needed to keep track of every penny to make sure that I got the best deal. When I had Emma Handy (shoutout to my girl for processing my orders Gang Gang) take care of me, I knew that I was in the best hands and that I was going to get the sickest deal. Almost 80% of the full value of these cards is f****** bonkers, and that's after I spread the love to my LGS to make sure they were getting a piece of the action. But in the end it's a no-brainer when you want the best value out there. Other sites were offering 25% or 30%...but 50% extra? Come on now.
Bless yourself before you wreck yourself. If you hate spending money like your boy does, give those cards a workout and let them be the gateway to even greater hotness. I literally just used my trade-ins to buy two new Modern decks. My bank account isn't weeping, and my backpack just got hella lighter.
Your Come Ups are Your Choice
If there's one thing Tabasko Sweet has taught me, it's that change must come from within. You must actively want to trick your decks out with more budget-friendly options before you dive into the lifestyle. This is extreme couponing for Magic players, but the rewards are plenty.
My decks have never looked sweeter, and I don't think my collection has been this streamlined in years. I'm packing tons of artist alters, newer foils, and the credit that I'm getting on unwanted chaff is ensuring that I won't be spending any of my hard-earned cheddar for quite a while. In short, your boy blesses himself on the daily with amazing cards due to a little ingenuity and understanding that you can have the finer things in life without putting yourself in the red.
That does it for today.
Holy ****. That was exhausting.
I hate the way that the youth talk these days. All of you children make me sick. Do you have any idea how much time I had to spend on Urban Dictionary to make this article possible?
I'm never going to try to reach out to a new demographic again. Give me my old curmudgeons that hate my guts any day of the week.