No-Cash Commander – Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Commander, No-Cash Commander

Hi guys, Crazy’s back with another no-cash commander deck.

Regular readers will know but for those of you who don’t – The only rule for the No-Cash series is that the entire deck should cost less than $50 TCG Mid (At time of writing anyway, I’m not a soothsayer). And clocking in here at a total of $48.93 is a deck headed by one of my favourite legendary creatures from the new set – Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Full Deck List available on TappedOut here if you want to read-along.

The Plan

You may remember Rishkar from a certain article last week where I mentioned I might be up for making this deck. Turns out I was up for making this deck. The first thing you’ll notice if you used that link up there is that this deck has an incredibly aggressive curve. That’s because we want to flood the board as quickly as possible with creatures and counters which lets us ramp into more creatures and counters. Once we hit critical mass we drop an overrun-esque effect and cripple the table. Hopefully. The trick is to spread the +1/+1 counters evenly enough to produce the mana you need.

So first we’ll talk about the important part:

Early Game

So in this deck, unlike many other commander decks – We really want to curve out with creatures. Essentially every creature in this deck is a mana dork with Rishkar’s ability so the more the better.

Arbor Elf, Elvish Mystic, Llanowar Elves, Fyndhorn Elves – The proper dork suite. Getting one on board turn 1 will allow for a Turn 2 Rishkar which – Considering Rishkar can target itself – is not bad.

Arcbound Worker, Clockwork Beetle, Endless One, Servant of the Scale, Simic Initiate, Spike Drone – The Pseudo-dork Suite. Due to the fact they each enter with a +1/+1 counter they can all tap for G as long as you have your commander down. Special mentions to Servant of the Scale, Simic Initiate and Spike Drone for being able to move their counters elsewhere later.

Young Wolf – Undying is a fun mechanic. Even more so when they come back as beefy mana dorks.

Bond Beetle, Kujar Seedsculptor – Great for flexibility. They can come in themselves with a counter or they can give something else a counter. And counters, of course, mean mana.

Arcbound Slith, Scrounging Bandar, Vinelasher Kudzu – More Pseudo-dorks. Not as efficient as the 1-mana versions but come with additional benefits when compared. The Kudzu and the Slith can grow and Bandar can distribute counters to anyone who comes in.

So that is a LOT of mana dorks. What are we casting with that mana you may ask? Step into my office for a second…

Winning in style

Avenger of Zendikar – The most expensive card in the deck at $4.26 but frankly I refused to cut this. It creates an incredible amount of power and also doubles as a pseudo-Boundless Realms by giving you a bunch of creatures equal to your lands and a convenient way to get a +1/+1 counter on them all.

Primeval Protector – Now if you’ve been playing the way this deck should play you should be realistically casting this for a lot less than 11 anyway. In fact, considering he dishes out a counter per creature on entry you want him to be as cheap as possible. As well as turning on all of your mana dorks that is a whole lot of power just distributed to your board.

Decimator of the Provinces – For when you can’t afford a Craterhoof Behemoth.You need to be a lot wider than you might with a Craterhoof but this baby still packs one hell of a wallop with a developed board.

Gladehart Cavalry – Primeval Protector lite. Still provides a sizable buff to your board and can gain you enough life to stay afloat in a pinch if you need it.

Hydra Broodmaster – This can provide a positively titanic boost to your board if you’re outputting enough mana. A realistic 11 mana gets you 25 points worth of power, push that to 21 mana and this momma’s dropping 100 power’s worth of creature. For something not going infinite, that’s a huge amount of beef.

Cultivator of Blades – A nice, flexible win-condition. Gives you a field-wide power boost every time it swings but can also just provide more bodies to make mana with.

Overrun – The big green stompy win-condition. Turns your entire board into a force to be reckoned with.

You might be wondering how we make counters other than the creatures that make them for themselves. We’ve already covered a few (Hi Scrounging Bandar) but as for others…

Counter Distributors

Durable Handicraft – Might honestly be one of my favourite cards from Kaladesh. Provides a steady stream of counters until you want to cash it in for a field-wide power boost.

Ordeal of Nylea – Gives you counters to help you ramp, then sacrifices itself to help you ramp. It’s pretty great overall.

Lifecrafter’s Gift – Can give a counter to a fresh creature before boosting all of the ones with counters. Generally pretty great.

Hardened Scales – Basically a force multiplier for the rest of your counter machines. And cheap to boot.

Bow of Nylea – With the amount of mana we’re pumping a turn we should be able to spare 2 to grab a counter every now and then, and even has other benefits attached.

Implement of Ferocity – It’s a counter that doesn’t cost a card. It’s fine.

Contagion Clasp – Another force multiplier for your board that also kills a weenie when it comes in. Another good pick

Decree of Savagery – How to kill an under-prepared opponent for only 9 mana. And in this deck it really is “Only” 9 mana.

Ring of Kalonia – A re-usable way to give something it’s first counter, followed by giving your biggest guy trample when you go for the alpha-strike. Cheap and great.

Animation Module – 3 and tap to proliferate target thing is great, and the ability to then pay mana to make more bodies is great. The greatest? This gets absolutely insane with Durable Handicraft, letting you do a semi-decent impression of a mono-green Thopter-Sword.

Verdant Confluence – Now this does a bit of everything. +1/+1 counters, Ramping and getting back creatures. Overall does everything we want.

Increasing Savagery – A real shot in the arm for something you need to get big, fast. Then a second bigger shot in the arm for something you need to get bigger, faster.

Ivy Lane Denizen – Effectively puts a +1/+1 counter on a creature as soon as it enters, nullifying the need to use another activator later. Or can put it an another creature to activate it, making you mana from casting your creatures.

Cytoplast Root-Kin – Makes a whole lot of counters on a developed board but can also be greedy and take them all for himself and be a powerful solo threat if that’s whats needed.

Forgotten Ancient – Makes a lot of counters, hands out a lot of counters. Like the Root-Kin, can be a boon to the board or just a powerful solo threat.

Renegade Krasis – Consistent and powerful buffs to your board as long as you can continue to ramp the power of your creatures.

Ridgescale Tusker – Activates your entire board in terms of getting a counter on them all which can then be proliferated further. Not bad for an uncommon.

Sporeback Troll – Has graft to dish out counters and also provides a degree of protection to your board as long as you’ve been progressing your game as this deck wants to, by putting counters on as much as possible.

So there’s a lot of ways to make +1/+1 counters but what are we putting them on? To this end there’s a few ways in this deck to just get some bodies on the board.


Avatar of the Resolute – A powerful play at any point in the game, it always provides a body that needs some sort of answer.

Dwynen’s Elite – You may have noticed that there are a fair few elves in this deck. This gives us an extra body if we do.

Hooded Hydra – Also functions as a sink for all that delicious mana we’re making, but we’re primarily looking to generate a bunch of snakes to get out a more reliable win-con after we’ve boosted these.

Hornet Queen – Not only bodies to put counters on, but evasive bodies to put counters on! With deathtouch no less. This gets to be a pretty serious threat.

Managorger Hydra, Undergrowth Champion – Growing threats that double as mana producers. Both of them not entirely averse to getting boosted by other things (See: Increasing Savagery)

Silklash Spider – You may or may not have noticed that there is a bit of a weakness in this deck and that is an extreme lack of flyers aside from the Hornet Queen. The spider does some things to alleviate this issue.

Sprout Swarm – The true scourge of limited. The ability to make an absurd amount of saprolings at instant speed is not to be underestimated, and this even lets the creatures you don’t have counters on join in on the mana-making!

Now – We’re a green deck. Being a Green deck means we like to make mana. The best way to make mana is of course, land. So let’s go get some.


Farhaven Elf, Wood Elves – Effectively the same card in this deck, Wood Elves being slightly better for bringing in the land untapped. But they also provide a body which can be countered up and provide more mana itself.

Nature’s Lore, Rampant Growth – Again, effectively the same card in this deck with one being slightly better. They find a land on the cheap.

Skyshroud Claim – Literally a double Nature’s Lore. Great tempo play if you can follow it up with another card off the untapped land.

Sol Ring – You know this card.

Emerald Medallion – Okay so it’s technically not ramp but it does help you cast more things.

Now apart from land we’re just left with the other good cards, Removal, Protection – the Utility bits if you will.


Acidic Slime – Bops a problematic noncreature and provides a dangerous body. Green staple.

Armorcraft Judge – On a developed board this will draw you a LOT of cards. And you want to be drawing cards.

Copperhorn Scout – A very interesting card in this deck since it also lets you re-use all of your mana dorks when it attacks. Often only a one-shot mana booster but a mana booster nonetheless.

Mold Shambler – Sort of Acidic Slime-lite, but with the upside that this can also hit planeswalkers.

Beast Within – Unconditional Removal in Green? Leaves the opponent a present for their trouble but you probably destroyed something much stronger.

Heroic Intervention – We aren’t fond of boardwipes. It’s quite difficult to make a decent recovery if you extended too hard. This lets you null most boardwipes pretty hard.

Soul of the Harvest – Our other major source of card advantage and not an insignificant threat on-board either.

And then we have the two nonbasic lands:

Llanowar Reborn – The one and only Graftland. Puts a counter on something as it enters. Which is pretty fine. Not so much compared to…

Oran-Rief, the Vastwood – This gets utterly nuts with things that drop a lot of bodies like Hornet Queen and Avenger of Zendikar and is still very useful otherwise as a difficult to interact with counter distributor.

And apart from the forests that’s the deck! As for where i’d take it if I had more budget, here’s a few ideas:

Doubling Effects – Doubling Season, Primal Vigor, Kalonian Hydra

In a deck with as many counters and tokens as this these should be a no-brainer. They come in above the budget for this deck but would be insta-picks if they didn’t.

Monogreen Free Haste Enablers Concordant Crossroads, Lightning Greaves

When a lot of our creatures are coming with counters or ways to gain them immediately, giving them haste as well lets us be even more efficient with our mana.

Bigger Finishers – Craterhoof Behemoth, Pathbreaker Ibex, Triumph of the Hordes

And we need more ways to win when we go wide, and these are the best of the best. I play them in my own Omnath, Locus of Rage deck – Which I may do a full tech on sooner or later.

For now though – That’s all on this deck. Might you try this deck out? Thought of something I missed? Tried it out and turns out it’s terrible/great? Let us know via our Facebook Page or by leaving a comment below.

Until next time – Crazy out.

3 thoughts on “No-Cash Commander – Rishkar, Peema Renegade

  1. Thanks. I gave this a shot this weekend, and had a lot of fun. The deck is capable of putting an absurd amount of power/mana on the board early, but is very vulnerable to disruption (especially mass non-destruction wraths, like Whelming Wave, Toxic Deluge, or Terminus). Winter Orb plays well with your dorks, and can give you some serious breathing room.

    Amokhet also gives the deck a couple powerful new cards in Throne of the God-Pharaoh (which lets you kill without combat damage) and Harvest Season (which lets you “cash in” your mana dorks for hardier land-ramp), and Sandwurm Convergence (which is likely an upgrade from Hornet Queen, or played in addition to stop fliers and grind out tokens).

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