Magic: The Gathering – 10 Budget Upgrades For The Grave Danger Starter Commander Deck
Magic: The Gathering's Starter Commander Decks are great ways for beginners to get into Commander, with each one focusing on a different creature type or theme. One of them, Grave Danger, focuses on Zombies, the fan-favorite tribal creature, with Gisa and Geralf as the commander. Gisa and Geralf let you cast Zombie spells from your graveyard, giving the deck a kind of reanimator theme.
What's fun about these precon Commander decks is making them your own. However, a lot of the best and most powerful cards cost the same amount as the entire deck. This list gives you an idea of how to upgrade the Grave Danger precon without spending all of your holiday money while increasing its power level.
While we've tried to keep upgrades around the $5 mark on TCGPlayer, prices do fluctuate over time and may be different in the future.
10/10 Crowded Crypt
Mana ramp is important in a game of Commander, where the cards people play can skew more expensive than in other formats. You want to get your expensive cards out as early as you can, so a mana rock like Crowded Crypt is a good choice.
More importantly, you can sacrifice Crowded Crypt and create a horde of Zombies with decayed. A few strategies to add counters onto this artifact are easily attainable in a black deck, such as creating and killing off other Zombies with decayed, or sacrifice your creatures in other ways.
9/10 Tomebound Lich
Since Grave Danger's commander is about casting zombies from your graveyard, it's a good idea to have spells that put Zombies into it. Tomebound Lich is excellent at looting (drawing a card, then discarding a card), so you get to find a card you need while putting a zombie or card you don't need into your graveyard.
Despite its one power, Tomebound Lich isn't a creature lightly defended. Its deathtouch scares opponents often enough that you'll get value out of its looting ability.
8/10 Chemister's Insight
When it comes to draw spells, Chemister's Insight is kind of mediocre in most decks. However, it can shine in Grave Danger. Not only does it not put a lot of stress on your wallet, but you're able to play it twice.
You can cast it from your graveyard, but playing it a second time requires you to also discard a spell. This adds another means of getting a Zombie into your graveyard. Since you can cast Zombies from your graveyard, you're not losing a card unless you discard a spell you simply don't need.
7/10 Pyre Of Heroes
If you play any tribal deck in Commander, you need to play Pyre of Heroes. If you enjoy Birthing Pod, you'll know roughly what Pyre Of Heroes can dco, even if it's slightly pricier to activate. But its mana value is cheaper, and effectively serves the same function.
In Grave Danger, you'll be fetching other Zombies. Even though you have to sacrifice one Zombie to get another, you can simply bring the sacrificed Zombie back to the battlefield with Gisa and Geralf.
6/10 Endless Ranks Of The Dead
When you play a Zombie deck, you need to play cards that synergize with Zombies. What's better than an enchantment that creates more Zombies? Endless Ranks of the Dead creates half the number of Zombies you already have on the battlefield.
If you have four Zombies, you get two. If you have six, you get three. This happens every upkeep, meaning the battlefield will look like the mall parking lot from Dawn of the Dead in no time. This enchantment only costs four mana, making it easy to play early.
5/10 Secrets Of The Dead
If you're playing creatures from your graveyard, you might as well have an enchantment that synergizes with that. Secrets of the Dead lets you draw a card every time you cast a Zombie from your graveyard.
This is a great form of card advantage because you're not losing any cards from your hand, you're simply adding to your hand. You can cast something from your hand if you have enough mana. That's powerful for a three-mana enchantment.
4/10 Bladestitched Skaab
Of course, the only way to win with this deck is by attacking your opponent. Since your strategy is to build an army of Zombies, you might as well increase their power with anthem effects.
Bladestitched Skaab accomplishes this and gives your Zombies an additional point of power. Its 2/3 body is pretty good too for only one blue and one black mana. Bladestitched Skaab will be able to block smaller creatures, but you'll want to be careful, because keeping it alive is paramount to your strategy.
3/10 Wilhelt, The Rotcleaver
Let's fill the battlefield with Zombies on top of Zombies. Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver replaces any Zombies that died with a Zombie token. The difference is that this new token will have decayed, meaning it dies after it attacks. Unfortunately, if a Zombie has decayed, it doesn't get replaced by Wilhelt.
If you're not in the mood to attack, or your opponent doesn't block as you wanted, Wilhelt gives you the option to sacrifice a Zombie. This way you still get to take advantage of his triggered ability, and you get to draw a card.
It's important to have some defense and combat tricks, despite being a combat-focused deck yourself. When you focus only on enhancing your creatures, you run low on interaction and ways to get damage through. So, including a bounce spell or two will benefit you more than you think.
Unfortunately, Cyclonic Rift is a bit too pricey for a budget. Aetherspouts will clear the field of most opposition, and it's especially useful when your opponent thinks they have you on the ropes.
1/10 Rooftop Storm
Omniscience is a fun card to play, but it's a bit mana-intensive. That doesn't stop blue players from trying to squeeze it into their deck.
It doesn't fit the theme of Grave Danger, though. Instead, you're going to look at Rooftop Storm. It's similar but focuses on Zombies, making them free to cast. That includes the Zombies you cast from your graveyard using Gisa and Geralf's ability, which, if you get an instant-speed sacrifice outlet, means you can endlessly recast Zombies as much as you want.
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