so normally i take quite a few of my decks to my lgs on edh night. somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-5. i like to test things between games or before we start, and sometimes if i really trust someone i'll let them borrow a deck though i hate doing it and will only do it as a last resort where its either they borrow a deck, or sit in the corner and sulk.
however recently theres been a rash of thefts, and with the average costs of one of my decks being close to $500 i don't want to bring any except the one i intend on playing for the night any more.
it got me to thinking, what if i built a deck that i could lend out lend but that wouldn't be a huge lost if it got damaged or ruined. then when people need theres an extra deck floating around, and we get an additional person to play with.
the problem i'm having is that its a very cutthroat meta, and i'm not sure which legends are going to be both cheap to build around, and competitive.
i was thinking momir vig might be an option, or maybe kresh. they seem decent on paper.
For the absolute cheapest, Geth is pretty functional on 99 swamps. Generally-speaking I think it's cheapest to find a command who can "do it all" for you. Also, if it were me, I'd avoid too many colors because I hate substandard mana bases and good ones are usually the priciest part of a deck.
Generally, the most expensive cards of any deck would lie in the mana base. That said, going mono is a surefire way to cut down on more than half of the cost. In that vein, what are the most competitive mono-colored decks?
Opinions may vary, but for the most part, I think these lists will give you the biggest bang for your buck. There are specific cards that are worth quite a bit in these decks (ie Gauntlet of Might or Mana Drain), but nothing absolutely mandatory to stay competitive.
As others have mentioned, you can do mono-colored decks pretty effectively for pretty cheap. I've seen big green Omnath worth maybe $50 decks do well at tables with multiple decks worth $500 or more.
Some choices I'd recommend:
Green: Omnath, Ezuri, Vela, Asuza
Red: Godo, Urabrask the Hidden
Blue: Azami. Note that Talrand can also be made very cheaply, but is ultimately a very linear and uninteresting general. I wouldn't recommend him, personally, but people do have different playstyles.
Black: Geth, Mikaeus the Unhallowed, Chainer
White: Kemba, Mikeaus the Luminarch, Odric
If you decide to go multi-colored, you are likely going to be putting more into your mana base if you want it to run efficiently. That makes it very important that you not spend too much on the other cards. I still wouldn't go over two colors if you really want to maintain a budget, though. Some good choices:
Vela the Night-Clad
Brion Stoutarm. Giants tribal can be surprisingly effective, especially given the recent reprint of lots of giants in Modern Masters. Your creature core can be purchased for next to nothing, though you will want to drop a couple bucks for Stonehewer Giant.
Nin the Pain Artist
Uril is quite good. I built an uril deck for my friend (well it's more like I gave him good cards to use and he built it, but by good cards, the most expensive I gave him is sun titan) and it has costed me very little. I suppose he also has a sol ring and a homeward path, but those are inclusions from the commander box he got, and they are not necessary for the deck to be powerful.
Basically, it just has a bunch of super awesome auras that normally only suck due to losing multiple cards to 1 removal spell. With hexproof and stuff with totem armour, and a couple enchantments to get indestructible, it is quite safe, and super easy to play. Ramp a bit, cast commander, throw on ~2 auras and start punching people in the face.
Sygg, River Cutthroat cant be very cheap to build around and a very very good starter commander, he was my first ever and I refuse to take him apart as he is just a fun casual deck that can be really good.
these are fantastic ideas. thank you all very much.
im now leaning most heavily toward uril, even more so because no one in the meta plays him and even the really expensive enchantments have alternatives. the green ramp should help smooth things a bit too.