Budget Commander - Kalain, Reclusive Painter

Magic: the Gathering


Budget Commander - Kalain, Reclusive Painter

Rakdos' performances are dramatic, violent and disturbing. Kalain has a thrilling ending in this sacrifice deck where the ends justify the means in the name of art.

By Eduardo, 08/18/21, translated by Humberto - Comment regular icon0 comments


Edit Article


The philosophy of the black color uses all the necessary means to win, and united with the rush of passion in red, it spares no effort to get where it wants to go. We have a combination that uses all available resources for a swift battle advancing against opponents to prevent the enemy forces from having time to organize the defense. This deck has an agile and fluid layout. Your goal is to quickly develop a board with creatures and artifacts, especially treasures. Followed by a mana base control, reducing threats and creating a dynamic exchange of resources, sacrificing permanents and drawing cards to keep the game going.


The list features many interactions with treasures, using this feature to develop the game. Kalain, Reclusive Painter boosts our creatures by paying their costs using a treasure. Between interactions with artifacts we use triggered effects to deal damage, Reckless Fireweaver deals damage to all opponents whenever an artifact comes into play, this includes treasures, and Disciple of the Vault reduces their life whenever an artifact is sent to the graveyard, that is, whenever we sacrifice treasure. In this same line, we have as finisher Marionette Master, which deals damage equal to its power when we sacrifice our artifacts.

The Prodigy Artist - The Commander

Kalain is a prominent human elf painter, notoriously eccentric. After separating from Dagult, the Declared Lord of Waterdeep, she began to paint monsters that, thanks to her ability to draw in the Weave, could come to life. Their relationship lasted a little over a year, when Dagult broke his promises and began spending more and more time at Neverwinter, involved in his interests. The lord tried to entirely ruin Kalain's career after leaving her, using her authority to separate her from Waterdeep's high society and have her works and reputation gradually destroyed. This social, patrimonial and psychological violence left deep marks on Kalain, which made her become a recluse in her home, fearing for her life.

Facts described on pages 88 and 89 of Waterdeep: Dragon Heist, Wizards of the Coast 2018.

In the Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms set, Kalain, Reclusive Painter's card has retained its RPG game characteristics as a human elf bard, and its converted mana cost allows it to be on the battlefield in first turns. When it comes into play, it creates a treasure, which ensures its triggered ability.
Loading icon

The Inspiration - Gameplan

The proposed Kalain deck is a midrange, with a staggered game, playing on top of the mana curve, that is, it seeks to generate an asymmetry that gives the player an advantage over the opponents. The deck uses low-cost cards to gain an advantage while pacing the game. Battlefield control is the key to victory. Triggered abilities are the main ways to deal damage to opponents incrementally or massive damage with Marionette Master. Magda's presence also allows for interesting combo lines that generate other winning possibilities.
Loading icon

The Carnarium - Manabase

Seeking the best use of the initial turns, we only opted for lands that come into play untapped. Considering that the deck's average mana costs are quite low, a little more than 2.5 without including the lands and with them a little less than 2, we chose to play using a reduced number of lands.
Loading icon


We rely on treasures as an important part of our strategy resources, both as a source of mana and to enable spells and tricks. The use of mana stones were prioritized, preferring the low-cost ones like Everflowing Chalice and Springleaf Drum, which are always good choices. Liquimetal Torque is interesting for its activated ability that turns creatures into artifacts. Tempting Contract generates up to 3 extra treasures per turn. Inspiring Statuary gives non-artifact spells the ability “improvise”

(your artifacts can help you cast these spells. Each artifact you tap after you finish activating the mana ability pays 1)

, allowing us to use our treasures multiple times to pay mana costs.

The Resources - Card Advantage and Recursion

Generating combat advantage is one of the strengths of Rakdos. For that, we have Azra Oddsmaker and  Mindblade Render allowing extra draws whenever they deal combat damage. Not every combat has positive results, so Fain, the Broker uses potential casualties to generate counters that can be turned into treasures. The looting mechanic, the name given to cards that draw and discard, is the red's way of drawing cards inspired by Faithless Looting, the most famous card. We have several cards with the same style, such as Cathartic Reunion, and many of them that collaborate with treasures such as Seize the Spoils and Unexpected Windfall. Magus of the Wheel as its wheel feat is a reload option when we run out of hand or need to get back into the game. Idol of Oblivion generates an extra draw per turn that we put a token into play. Remember that treasures are tokens. Other mechanics present are






({2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card)

. Costly Plunder and Deadly Dispute exchange a treasure for two cards, the second generating a new treasure. Academy Manufactor creates a huge advantage and Tamiyo's Journal maximizes that advantage by tutoring cards when sacrificing clues.
Loading icon

Words of Binding - Interactions

Versatility and risk, Chaos Warp can either remove our opponents' permanents or put even better permanents directly from our library into play. We have Mire in Misery and Feed the Swarm to deal with creatures and enchantments. For those that are indestructible, Grim Hireling and Angrath's Rampage, the latter also deals with artifacts; similarly we have Abrade, and Bedevil that also deal with planeswalkers. Shred Memory tutors cards costing two in addition to exiling cards from the graveyard. Rakdos Charm handles graveyards, artifacts, and deals massive damage to all players based on how many creatures they control.


Last One Standing is a sweeper that destroys all creatures except one random. Phyrexian Scriptures destroys all non-artifact creatures and turns a creature into an artifact. Reckless Endeavor deals damage to all creatures and generates lots of treasures. The Chef's Kiss card is a rare delicacy, as it gains control of a spell that targets a permanent or player and creates a copy that targets a random target that can't be you or creatures you control. Another card that spices up the game is Stigma Lasher, which when it deals combat damage, the player can no longer gain life until the end of the game.
Loading icon

Thunderous Wave - Making your opponents run out of resources

Dwarven Blastminer and Dwarven Miner are a duo that were added for their interaction with Magda, Brazen Outlaw generating treasure while slowing down opponents. Meanwhile,  Plundering Barbarian hits the mana stones. Such strategy with the extra mana from the treasures allows you to create an efficient game control. Removing land from all players and generating treasure creates an asymmetry. Crack the Earth and Tremble in early turns are devastating, Steam Vines traveling around the table destroys up to 4 lands per turn, and Destructive Urge says the player who takes damage from the enchanted creature sacrifices a land. Stoneshaker Shaman forces players who end their turns with untapped lands to sacrifice one of them, very effective against responsive decks. Pillage and Wrecking Ball are versatile removals that allow you to occasionally destroy lands. Shattering Pulse grants a long-term advantage by destroying artifacts, especially mana stones, over and over again. [cardside])(1 Dwarven Blastminer || 1 Dwarven Miner || 1 Crack the Earth || 1 Tremble || 1 Steam Vines || 1 Destructive Urge || 1 Pillage || 1 Wrecking Ball || 1 Shattering Pulse)

Superior Inspiration - Treasures

Plunder is one of the ways we conquer treasures. For this, we have the offensive of Captain Lannery Storm and Magda, Brazen Outlaw, who creates Treasures when they attack, while Grim Hireling and Hoard Robber generate tokens when dealing damage to opponents. Forsworn Paladin  has an activated ability that creates treasure plus a treasure-based combat trick. Fain, the Broker has an interaction that generates treasure at the cost of a +1/+1 counter, and an activated ability that creates counters. Strike It Rich creates up to two treasures. Interacting with the spells in the deck, we have Storm-Kiln Artist that has Magecraft - which is a keyword that highlights triggered abilities that give you some benefit when casting or copying an instant, or a sorcery - in this case creating treasures.


Other creatures with triggered abilities that generate treasure or interact with it are Impulsive Pilferer, which creates treasure when sent from the field to the graveyard, Xorn, which increases the amount of treasure tokens generated by other cards and Academy Manufactor effects that when a treasure is generated it creates a food and a clue, or vice versa, thus interacting with Tamiyo's Journal.
Loading icon

Magical Secrets - Winconditions

Direct damage reducing our opponents' life to zero is the most common wincondition. For this, we use Disciple of the Vault with its triggered ability, every time an artifact is sent to the graveyard it deals 1 damage to target opponent, Marionette Master deals great damage in the same way. Nadier's Nightblade and Reckless Fireweaver punish all opponents simultaneously, where the first deals damage every time a token is sent from the field to the Graveyard and the second every time an artifact comes into play. The strong interaction between Magda, Brazen Outlaw and Clock of Omens greatly accelerates the endgame when we have any of the direct damage options. However,  the combination of  Magda, Brazen Outlaw and Clock of Omens generates a finite or infinite succession of treasures, which in turn triggers abilities without a set limit. By playing cards directly from our deck into the game, Shivan Hellkite can guarantee lethal damage in a more offensive approach.
Loading icon
Among the victory lines, one of my favorite lines is the sequence of  Magda, Brazen Outlaw and Clock of Omens, followed by Academy Manufactor, Wishclaw Talisman, Claws of Gix and Elixir of Immortality. With this strategy, I can have access to all the cards in the deck.


That's all for today, and I hope you have fun with this deck. Please don't hesitate to leave any questions in the comments. Thanks for reading!
Profile Main Image


Visual Artist and Art Mediator, passionate about Magic since the launch of Mirage, alternative deck builder.

Social Instagram Brands iconTwitter Brands icon

User profile image

Be the first to comment

Same Author

Commander Deck Tech: Syr Carah, the Bold

Syr Carah Group Slug

Commander Deck Tech: Syr Carah, the Bold

In this article, we will talk about a Group Slug with Syr Carah the Bold, a versatile comm...

Top 20 Artifacts in Magic: The Gathering

Top 20 Artifacts

Top 20 Artifacts in Magic: The Gathering

We present a contemporary list of the best artifacts in Magic: the Gathering since its rel...

Quiz: Which Pioneer deck suits you best?

Pioneer Quiz

Quiz: Which Pioneer deck suits you best?

When in doubt between which is the best archetype or deck to play, let's find out what you...

Commander Deck Tech: Liara Portyr

Liara Portyr Deck Tech

Commander Deck Tech: Liara Portyr

The deck proposal with Commander Liara Portyr is a Boros artifacts-theme, taking advantage...

Quiz: Which Modern Deck suits you best?

Modern Quiz

Quiz: Which Modern Deck suits you best?

A common question among players of different formats is which is the best archetype or dec...

Commander Deck Tech: Tasha, the Witch Queen

Tasha EDH

Commander Deck Tech: Tasha, the Witch Queen

In this article we will discuss the possibilities of Tasha, the Witch Queen, one of the mo...

More from same author

Most read today articles