Ultra Budget Brews — Rivals of Ixalan

Hello, and welcome to a special edition of Ultra Budget Brews! Today we will look at budget cards from Rivals of Ixalan, but we will be doing so in a manner that’s a bit different than normal.

You see, I love movies.

Growing up, I watched movies fairly often, but once I got to college and was able to watch whatever I wanted, I discovered that there was a lot out there that I had missed, and I was eager to catch up. In my mind, movies, before they are anything else, are stories. Stories are how we as people learn about ourselves and others, how we discover our feelings and shape our opinions about the world, and how we express ourselves. Clearly, I think stories are pretty important.

I’m not one to normally care about awards shows, but I’m always at least mildly interested in the Oscars, simply because, as stated above, I love movies, and because I’ve often seen a high percentage of the movies and am interested in seeing what wins. So today, I am doing a Rivals of Ixalan award show. I will be nominating different cards for different categories and picking winners based on my own unfathomable reasoning. Hopefully, this will be at least mildly enjoyable for everyone involved.


Welcome

MC: “Welcome to the Rivals of Ixalan awards show! Tonight, we celebrate the 196 cards that make up the set Rivals of Ixalan and recognize their contributions to both Magic the Gathering and to our beloved format, EDH.

Tonight is a little different than most awards shows. Our awards are specifically going to recognize the little guy, the behind the scenes cards that put in the work that allow the stars to shine. Kumena, Tyrant of Orzaca and Zacama, Primal Calamity will have their moments to shine, but tonight is not for them. Most of these cards will be under $1 (CardKingdom prices), though a few may be a bit above. With that out of the way, lets get started!”


The Awards

Tolarian Academy Award for Best Tribal Card

MC: “We all know that Ixalan block has brought a lot of attention to tribal decks, particularly Pirates, Dinosaurs, Vampires, and Merfolk. This award goes to the card that most embodies it’s particular tribe and adds the most bang to the decks it’s in. The nominees are:

MC: And the winner is…Champion of Dusk!”

Champion: “Wow…what an honor! First off, I want to thank my lord and savior Edgar Markov. Without him, his powerful Eminence ability, and his Mardu color identity, vampires would simply be irrelevant. That being said, this award isn’t just for me, but for all those vampires out there who have dreamed of relevance, the Stromkirk Condemned and Rakish Heirs of the world that everyone else has laughed at. Who’s laughing now?!?”

Possible Commanders: Edgar Markov, Olivia Voldaren, Elenda, the Dusk Rose

Tolarian Academy Award for Best New Commander

MC: “Every new set brings a plethora of new legendary creatures that can helm their own decks. Some of them are like Hapatra, Vizier of Poisons (958 decks on EDHREC), others, well, others are closer to Captain Lannery Storm (5 decks on EDHREC). This award seeks to honor the former as opposed to the latter. The nominees for this award are:

And the winner is…Nezahal, Primal Tide!”

*Smattering of confused applause*

Nezahal: “Thanks for that! I can tell you are all a bit confused. Honestly, I am too. I mean, I lead 7 total decks over on EDHREC. Why am I here?

That leads me to a much better and more interesting question. Why are we here? As an Elder dinosaur, it’s a question I’ve asked myself for a long, long time. Longer than any of you have been around. I was pondering deep questions like this before any of you we’re a twinkle in Mark Rosewater’s eye. I’ve been drawing all of the cards, doing a solid Reliquary Tower impression, and being nigh unkillable forever, and plan to keep doing this until we get hit with a Star of Extinction!

And let me tell you one more thing! *orchestra begins playing* Wait, what’s that? Stop it! I’m not finished! I swear when I find who’s responsible for this travesty, I’ll show you what a 3 turn clock looks like! I’ll…*the rest of the speech is drowned out by the orchestra and an animated Nezahal is ushered off stage*

Possible Commanders: The Locust God, Kruphix, God of Horizons, Arjun, the Shifting Flame

Tolarian Academy Award for Best Hate Card

MC: “Every EDH deck needs answers. It doesn’t matter if you an aggro deck, a midrange deck, a combo deck, or somewhere in between, you need answers to survive. This award is for the cards that stop things from getting too degenerate, too quickly. The nominees are:

And the winner is…Silent Gravestone!

Gravestone: “As my name implies, I prefer to keep it short. Karador, Ghost Chieftain? The Scarab God? Sharuum the Hegemon? Suck it.”

Possible Commanders: Any deck that needs a bit of graveyard hate.

Tolarian Academy Award for Best Use of a New Mechanic

MC: “Every new block gives us a bevy of new, interesting mechanics to inspire us in our deck-building. Rivals of Ixalan is no different. From Ascend and Explore, to Enrage and Treasure, we were given a lot of new tools for our decks. Here are your nominees:

And the winner is…Path of Discovery!”

Path: “Hey everybody. Thanks for having me out here tonight. I’m not one for public speaking and really prefer to spend my time out, you know, exploring, finding lands, getting gains, but I do appreciate you giving me this award. It, uhhh, well, it means a lot to me. So…thanks.”

Possible Commanders: Sidisi, Brood Tyrant, Karametra, God of Harvests, Experiment Kraj

Tolarian Academy Award for Best Win Con

MC: “Every deck needs a way to actually win the game. Games of EDH are fun, and mutiple hour games can be fun sometimes, but you know what’s better than one game of EDH? Two games. So have a way to end the game, so that we can get another one in. That’s right Tony, I’m talking about you. You and your Derevi, Empyrial Tactician prison deck. If you are gonna play with Winter Orb and Tangle Wire, heres a novel idea: have a way to win.

I digress. Your nominees are:

And your winner is…Tendershoot Dryad!”

Tendershoot: “Hey everyone. Not exactly sure why I’m here. Don’t get me wrong, I’m honored, yadda yadda, but this is for budget cards. BUDGET. Why in the name of Bolas am I under a $1? Seriously. I mean, have you read me? I have Ascend, which is comically easy to activate in EDH, especially since I make tokens on EVERY upkeep. Not just my upkeep. Every upkeep. Also, I naturally pump those tokens. If I last a turn cycle in your average 4-player EDH game, I’ve created 11 power! That’s crazy! Heck, they are even Saprolings! Everybody loves those!

So yeah, sure, I accept your “budget” award, but mark my words, peasants. I’m gonna be worth something someday. Probably a couple of bucks. Take it to the bank!”

Possible Commanders: Ghave, Guru of Spores, Rhys the Redeemed, Kresh, the Bloodbraided

Tolarian Academy Award for Best Spell to Copy

MC: “Spellslinger decks have been around forever. Whether it’s Mizzix of the Izmagnus, Kess, Dissident Mage, or Riku of the Two Reflections, every play group has someone that would rather cast a flurry of high impact spells and then copy those spells, as opposed to attacking with creatures. This award is for them. The nominees are:

And the winner is…Brass’s Bounty!”

Bounty: “I’m here an behalf of pirates everywhere. Granted, I’m not an actual pirate, more of an honorary one. Cause, y’know…treasure. Anyways, when people see us, they think we are dirty savages. They think we are underpowered. They think we only want to steal, kill, and plunder.

Ok that last part is totally true.

But, we are so much more than that! We have exciting, interesting win cons, like Revel in Riches! We make nifty artifact tokens, with cards like Pitiless Plunderer! And, yes, we steal, kill, and plunder. All I’m saying is give us a chance. Even if it’s not a full on tribal deck, we’re good!

Look at me, for example. I’m basically red’s version of Boundless Realms. Have you ever played against that card? It’s nuts. So play me. Copy me. Win with Marionette Master. With me, the world is your oyster.”

Possible Commanders: Breya, Etherium Shaper, Etali, Primal Storm, Daretti, Scrap Savant

Tolarian Academy Award for Best Card that will be Budget…Someday

MC: “Not all cards are budget right off the bat. For reasons that are often inscrutable, some cards are worth more money from the get go. As time goes on, these prices normalize and cards that were once $2-$3 become $1. This award is for the cards that we desperately want to be budget and hopefully will be…someday. The nominees are:

The winner is…Wayward Swordtooth!”

Swordtooth: “Thanks everyone. If I’m honest right now, I feel like I should be offended. By giving me this award, you are all basically saying that you think that I should be worth less than I am, that I’m not as good or appealing as I seem to be. When you get right down to it, that’s a pretty crappy thing to say. That being said, I’m a pretty understanding fellow. I mean, all I do is give you an extra land drop. Sure, I can become a 5/5 later on, but really, I’m just a cheaper Mina and Denn, Wildborn without ally synergies that can’t attack or block early. So, thanks for the award. I think.”

Possible Commanders: Omnath, Locus of Rage, Ghalta, Primal Hunger, The Gitrog Monster

Tolarian Academy Award for Best Creature to Target with a Kicked Rite of Replication

MC: “Creatures are the backbone of EDH. Every deck has to have at least one. Outside of lands, there is no other card type that can claim that, as you can potentially build a deck without artifacts, instants, etc. This award goes to the creature that we want to see multiple of on the battlefield at the same time. Your nominees are:

And the winner is…Tendershoot Dryad!

Tendershoot: “Well, what can I say. Here I am again. Remember all the things I said before? Multiply it by 5! Like I said before, it’s a travesty I’m budget! A conspiracy! I’ll find out who’s fault this is and they’ll pay! They’ll pay…well, I don’t know what they’ll pay exactly, but it’ll more than $1, that’s for sure!”

Possible Commanders: Thormok the Insatiable, Ezuri, Claw of Progress, Prossh, Skyraider of Kher

In Memoriam

MC: “Tonight, we here at the Academy would like to take a minute and honor a group that is no longer with us. That group is Naya commanders. With the release of Zacama, Primal Calamity, we at the academy fully understand that every other Naya commander has simply been outclassed. Can you run a beast tribal Gahiji Honored One? Sure, you could, but ask yourself, should you? Samut, Voice of Dissent? I guess you can, but we wish you wouldn’t. Johan? …But why? Mayael, the Anima, Marath, Will of the Wild, Rith, the Awakener, we’ve had some laughs, some tears, and enjoyed playing giant creatures together. Gone from our world, but never truly forgotten.

Tolarian Academy Award for Most Interesting Budget Card

MC: “Every set has cards that are immensely interesting and inspire us to brew decks with them specifically in mind. Cards like Panharmonicon and Overwhelming Splendor are good examples of this. Ixalan block just so happens to have a cycle of cards that are double faced. These are often inherently interesting, so the nominees are all part of that cycle. The nominees are:

And the award goes to…Storm the Vault!”

Vaults: “Well, I can’t say I’m exactly surprised. I mean, have you read me? I’m basically the fixed version of Tolarian Academy, a card that is so busted it’s banned basically everywhere, EDH included. So, you could say that I’m kind of a big deal.

“People know me”

Play with me. You’ll like the way it goes. I guarantee it.”

Possible Commanders: Breya, Etherium Shaper, Admiral Beckett Brass, Reaper King

Tolarian Academy Award for Best Overall Budget Card

MC: “Now for the award you’ve all been waiting for, ‘Best Overall Budget Card’. This award is for the elite, the blue bloods, the creme de la creme of budget EDH cards. This is an award we don’t take lightly. This card should be viable in multiple types of decks, with multiple commanders. The nominees are:

And the winner is…Release to the Wind!”

Release: “Wow…I’m truly, deeply honored. This really is a surprise. I mean, I’m only in 12 decks on EDHREC. I’ve never understood why. I’m a three mana instant that saves your best creature, lets you recast them any time for free, lets you reuse an enter the battlefield trigger, and can even be used on your opponent’s creatures in a pinch, whether to garner political favor, or to remove that blocker that is mucking everything up, stopping you from alpha striking. I hope this award will remind people that I exist. Thanks.”

Possible Commanders: Brago, King Eternal, Azor, the Lawbringer, Roon of the Hidden Realm


End Step

That’s all for this week. Next time, we’re getting back to it, so I have a poll for you all. Your options are below. Let me know in the comments who you most want to see. Until next time!

Andrew is a life-long gamer and has been playing Magic since 2013. He works as an ASL interpreter, enjoys running, and sitting on his porch reading, while simultaneously silently judging his neighbors. He lives in Joplin, MO with his wife.