Let’s face it. Commander can be expensive. Though commander is a casual format, it is becoming harder and harder to build a good commander deck without draining your wallet. As much as we want to, we don’t have unlimited amounts of money. There are often cards that would make your deck really powerful, but are on the other hand, really expensive. Commander shouldn’t be as expensive as formats like Standard. I believe there is a way to find the effects you need in your commander deck without having to pay too much to do it.
Let me introduce myself. I’m Kai Chang, and my mission is to try to help commander players in the same situation as myself, by writing about ways you can save money playing commander. I want this series to cover cheap, underrated commander cards, alternatives to expensive commander cards, which ultimately leads you to be able to have more powerful decks, play more commander, and have more fun playing Magic. Let’s dive right into it! Voltron decks, decks focused on killing your opponents with commander damage, need to suit up their commander with lots of equipment, to do more commander damage to win more quickly. Well, you don’t just need any equipment, you need certain equipment to get through certain board states. Well, how do you find the equipment in your deck? Tutors.
When thinking of equipment tutors, what first card comes to mind is Stoneforge Mystic , but Stoneforge Mystic is a 25$ card, too expensive for many commander players. So, let’s look at some cheaper alternatives. We’re not going to look at equipment tutors like Stonehewer Giant or Steelshaper Apprentice , because they are already heavily played as equipment tutors, and the goal of this series is to help uncover hidden gems, underrated commander cards, not to promote already heavily played equipment tutors.
First, we have Godo, Bandit Warlord . It has the same enter the battlefield as Stoneforge Mystic , so that’s not any worse than Stoneforge Mystic in that aspect. It does not have Stoneforge Mystic ’s second ability, and costs considerably more to cast. Commander is a slower format, so
Godo’s high mana cost isn’t very much of a downside.
Though Godo is red, Boros are the best Voltron colors, including Tajic, Aurelia, and more recently Kalemne, so they can usually include both Stoneforge Mystic and Godo, but I want to convince you that Godo isn’t just a budget substitution, that it’s even better than Stoneforge Mystic .
Stoneforge Mystic ’s second ability isn’t very powerful in commander, because, when you think about it, many of the powerful equipment in commander are two or less mana to cast already, such as Umezawa’s Jitte , Lightning Greaves , Trailblazer Boots , Skullclamp et cetera. Sure, you can drop the Swords one turn earlier, but in commander, Stoneforge Mystic ’s second ability is near useless. Stoneforge Mystic ’s second ability also requires it to tap, so limiting it to only be able to drop only one equipment per turn isn’t very strong. The second ability does have one upside though; the equipment played by it can’t be countered, but Godo’s effect already automatically puts the fetched equipment onto the battlefield, so the downside of not having the second effect is lessened by that.
On the other hand, at first glance, Godo’s second ability seems very weak. It seems like something you wouldn’t play outside of a Samurai tribal deck, but, in fact, the ability is very strong in commander. Though they aren’t Samurai, vigilance creatures can still attack during the extra combat phase, because they are still untapped from the first combat phase. What good vigilance creatures are already played in commander? Well, as I mentioned earlier in the article, Stonehewer Giant is usually in this sort of deck, and that has Vigilance, so it can take advantage of Godo’s second combat phase. Another card that you probably are including in your deck is Sun Titan . Don’t tell me that attacking twice with Sun Titan isn’t good. When your commander is suited up with some equipment, it probably also has vigilance. Attacking twice
with your commander is huge.
Let’s look at Godo versus Stoneforge Mystic in a Tajic decklist generated by EDHREC:
Tajic Commander Deck
Out of the eight equipment in the deck, five are worth putting onto the battlefield with Stoneforge. Though more than half of the equipment are worth Stoneforging (new word), you are usually saving one or two mana, which is not very powerful. Meanwhile there are five vigilance creatures. Having five creature that can attack twice is better than having five equipment that you can play at a cheaper price, so in this decklist of Tajic, Godo would well outclass Stoneforge Mystic , and should probably have Stoneforge Mystic ’s spot in the deck.
Let’s take a look at another deck, this time a EDHREC generated Aurelia, the Warleader deck:
Aurelia Commander Deck
Out of the ten equipment in the deck, seven are Stoneforgable. In all the creatures, four have vigilance. Though there are more Stoneforgable equipments than vigilant creatures, the commander has vigilance, so that makes Godo super worth it in this deck. This generated deck squeezed in Godo, though it’s only played in 33% of the Aurelia decks. I think it would probably still be profitable to cut Stoneforge from the decklist and add another different card, and save some money. So, in this deck, since the commander has vigilance, Godo is better than Stoneforge Mystic .
To maximize the juice you can get out of Godo, try including some of these vigilance enablers: A good equipment that grants us vigilance is Ring of Thune, which is also just a great Voltron card Even if the card doesn’t do much or anything else other than to grant vigilance, if you have Godo out, those equipment become pure powerhouses, so cards like Avacyn’s Collar and Accorder’s Shield are also great additions to any deck with Godo. One last card that synergizes extremely well with Godo is Slayer’s Stronghold, because you can choose a new target every turn, so if your commander already has vigilance, you can your other big dude vigilance for the turn. These cards work fantastically well with Godo, but with Stoneforge, these cards are pretty trashy.
After looking at these two decklists and concluding that Godo is better in both decks, I think it’s worth it to play Godo over Stoneforge. Godo is only 3$, it’s one eighth as expensive as Stoneforge Mystic , so not only is it better than Stoneforge Mystic , it’s also cheaper. I hope this article has helped illustrate why Godo is so good in commander, and why you should play it over Stoneforge Mystic .