$30 Chishiro, the Shattered Blade

09 Mar 2022 - 5 min read

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Hey guys! As you may know, I love to build decks with restrictions. This first started with aggressively putting arbitrary flavor restrictions on my more powerful EDH builds. While that strategy went about as well as you’d expect (check out our Roast of Kozilek for context), recently I’ve been able to redirect that desire to give myself a more challenging deckbuilding experience into the implementation of tightly budgeted decks. You can see some of my previous work in this area across the Hexdrinker back catalog ($25 Sythis anyone?), the Budget Brews Secret Santa deck that Oakley’s been having some recent success with ($40 Purphoros), or my current pride and joy: a $30 hard-limit Hamza, Guardian of Arashin deck that’s been holding its own in our lower powered group meta.

Why Budget?

If you haven’t considered building on an “extreme” (or any level of) budget before, give it a shot! Not only can it be an incredible way to stretch your deck building muscles, but there’s also way more nuance than you’d think in final card selection: choosing which cards will be your “premium” choices, which cards will take the biggest power hits, and what cards really shine when everyone else will be limited similarly. It’s a constant battle that feels a lot like the Canadian Highlander’s Point system in application.

And frankly, you’d be surprised how little relative power you actually have to sacrifice to make these decks work. Sure, you won’t be pubstomping at your LGS anytime soon, but you can certainly expect to hold your own in even most midpowered metas while spending less money than you might on a night out.

But enough singing the praises of cheap ass decks, let’s proceed to the main event. As I mentioned above, I absolutely love my Hamza, Guardian of Arashin budget deck. Having a commander with built-in cost reduction is always a recipe for a good time and with the recent focus on +1/+1 counters from Strixhaven to Neon Dynasty, there’s no shortage of good tech to try out. Just a few weeks ago Mikaeus, the Lunarch led a ragtag group of 14/14s to a glorious victory. Conclave Mentor plus Mikaeus is a match made in heaven, let’s just say that. Yeah, I really love Hamza…but damn is Chishiro, the Shattered Blade turning my head.

image sourced from scryfall.com

Hamza is primarily focused on playing large threats for cheap based on the number of creatures you have with +1/+1 counters. While that can lead to some incredibly powerful turns, the benefits of Hamza disappear with the elephant himself when some inevitable removal strikes him down. With Chishiro, you lose Hamza’s ability to empty your hand in one fell swoop - but when every cheap aura and equipment makes you a 2/2 with menace not only do you still manage to create a terrifying board presence, you don’t lose access to your biggest haymakers should a Wrath of God come a-knockin’. Chishiro’s spirit buddies can get broken QUICK (as we’ll find out below) and are usually far more sustainable.

It’s a different strategy for sure - with a heavier focus on modified over solely +1/+1 counter synergies. But I swear Chishiro has the same soul as Hamza, a few interesting tricks up his sleeves, and a killer origin story. Let’s dive in.

How Enchanting

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

With Chishiro, only Auras and Equipment will generate creatures but any modification will generate +1/+1s at the end of turn. This split gives us a couple different areas to focus on, so the trick is finding the sweet spot between the various components of the modified batch keyword. This build is primarily focused around enchantments, so they’re gonna get their own category in this tech breakdown.

Crown of Flames - Remember when Sythis, Harvest’s Hand was spoiled in MH2 and everyone and their cousins went looking for the cheapest enchantments to abuse that draw trigger? Well, poor ol’ Whip Silk felt that squeeze and the common from Invasion is now up to $5. That won’t really work for us here so we’ll just call out the red card with the same effect. For 2 mana you get a beautiful constellation-triggering loop that builds up a healthy army turn after turn. And don’t worry, Setessan Champion and Enchantress’s Presence both fit in our budget.

Emblem of the Warmind - Ah Future Sight, always a source for some absolutely ridiculous designs…especially for budget decks. Haste enablers can be incredibly potent in decks where a token army could come out of nowhere, so Emblem of the Warmind is a fantastic way to both trigger Chishiro AND enable a devastating turn. Not bad for 2 mana.

Arterial Alchemy - While not an aura itself, this card from Crimson Vow generates three blood tokens that enter as equipment and will therefore give you…3 2/2s with menace for 3 mana. I don’t coupon like my momma, but even I know that’s one hell of a deal.

You Can Count On Me.

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

What’s better than 2/2s with menace? 2/2s with a metric ton of +1/+1 counters …and menace. Trust me, I’ve had that claim peer reviewed (Editor’s Note: while I usually assume the truth is the opposite of whatever Chev says, this time the math checks out). While Chishiro generates the army, we’re going to need some help if we’re going to train ‘em.

Iridescent Hornbeetle - One of the most ridiculously powerful benefits to +1/+1 counter strategies at this price point, Hornbeetle pairs beautifully with Chishiro. Stacking your end step triggers correctly will net you an army of insects after Chishiro’s ability puts counters on every modified creature you control. Pair that with this next guy…

Grumgully, the Generous - I love Grumgully unconditionally. Actually, all the Hexdrinkers do. There’s something about this weird lil’ goblin shaman offering everyone mushrooms that just speaks to the core of my being (Editor’s Note: Don’t accept anything from strangers, kids. Just run away). Anyway, effects like these are the synergistic glue that tie this deck together. Modifying every creature that ETBs is the perfect way to have your spirits and eat ‘em too… or something like that. Point is, between this blue drug dealer, Renata, Called to the Hunt , and Remnant of the Rising Star our spirits shouldn’t stay 2/2s for long.

Jugan Defends the Temple - Another example of “Well this isn’t exactly an Aura BUUUT…”, I really want to play with more sagas. Sue me. Anyway, check out the second stage of this saga - distributing two +1/+1 counters among your creatures will potentially modify two of whatever you got and make them eligible for the end of turn counter bump. The flip side allowing variable-sized scaling on your spirits or anything else entering is GREAT for ending board stalls and can keep you grooving: cast an aura on one creature, add the +1/+1 to the resulting spirit, and now e’rybody modified. Badda bing badda boom. Similarly, Roaring Earth skips all the Lore counter hoo-ha and landfalls +1/+1 counters for 2 mana at a mere $0.30.

Getting Technical

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

Not auras, not counter-generating, but still absolutely essential to upsetting all your opponents. Here are some picks of technical allstars that take Chishiro to the next level.

Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith - The cat’s out of the bag a little with this one. Multiple people have already pointed out this “secret” Toggo tech, but being able to generate equipments at a minimum of one per turn is exactly what the doctor ordered.. Similar to Arterial Alchemy called out earlier in this piece, but 100x better and more consistent. Julian we did it, we broke rock goblin.

Kami of Celebration - So, it ain’t exactly card draw, but it’s still going to be an incredible source of card advantage. Exiling equal to your attacking creature force should be nothing short of wild and hopefully lead to some truly devastating results. Just be careful not to mill yourself. Additional counters per cast spell are just gravy.

Idol of Oblivion - Originally printed with another awesome token commander, Ghired, Conclave Exile , this card never gets enough love. Even at $30, we’re able to fill this deck with enough consistent token generation making Idol essentially a cheaper Phyrexian Arena in most scenarios. Plus sometimes it makes Eldrazi…

The Whites of their eyes

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

Sooner or later, you’re going to want to win the game. That’s fine, we all have that urge every once in a while. For this deck, we’re going to want to win with combat. What a novel strategy.

Thundering Raiju - Truly a beast. Thundering Raiju on its own is going to a hasty 4/4 for four that grows every turn, but with friends…dealing damage right to the dome is a consistent way to continue to apply pressure and bring opponents’ life totals within combat range. Trust me, it works.

Akki Battle Squad - Literally printed to bring Chishiro to victory, this precon pickup gives you one additional attack step if a SINGLE modified creature attacks, and untaps your entire modified army. Usually, this will mean two giant swings in a single turn but there’s also the added benefit of untapping random utility creatures. In one of the games I played, I got two Thundering Raiju attacks, each draining the table for 12, and was able to untap a Gyre Sage with three +1/+1 counters on it. Not too shabby.

Return of the Wildspeaker - Big creatures. Instant speed. Boom boom.


Game, Set, Match

That’s it! That’s the deck! TLDR: Use auras to create a modified army that builds in size and scope with Chishiro and other +1/+1 counter generators, finally closing out with some massive combat damage. Good, clean fun. Anyway, we’ve got the whole decklist down below or on our Moxfield!

Budget Chishiro

Bonus Round: Money

…Have the budget folks all left? Are we safe to talk about some sweet money cards? Listen, I love budget building. I really, really do. But sometimes you wanna build a little better, or maybe you’ve got some expensive cards lying around looking for a home.

image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com
image sourced from scryfall.com

Primal Vigor - If you’ve got a Doubling Season , toss that in too but the more specific (and cheaper!) cousin will double your spirits and double your +1/+1 counters.

Blood Forged Battle-Axe - like we covered with Arterial Alchemy and Toggo, Goblin Weaponsmith , creating equipment tokens is an incredible way to also generate spirit tokens. Battle-Axe is usually an allstar, but here it’ll be pulling double duty.

Lithoform Engine - The equivalent of Duct Tape for an EDH deck, while many commanders can benefit from the little engine that could, few commanders can fully utilize Lithoform Engine’s adaptability like Chishiro. Want to copy the spirit creation or +1/+1 generation? Done! Copy Smoke Spirits’ Aid or Inspiring Call to ridiculous effect? Absolutely. Double your Thundering Raiju , Akki Battle squad , or Enchantress’s Presence ? We won’t judge, in fact, we’ll encourage. Point is, with a commander powered by triggered abilities and permanents out the wazoo - this card is a good call (Editor’s Note: “Lithoform Engine is good in basically every deck,” is the such a cold take, it might single handedly fix climate change).

Okay! That’s it! I’m really done this time! Lemme know if I missed your favorite tech in the comments!

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