Commander Where Each Card Must be a Buck or Less

What is Dollar General or #1DH?

Dollar General/1DH is a multiplayer Commander/EDH variant where each card in your deck must be worth $1.00 (USD) or less, this price restriction also applies to your commander as well. It follows the same gameplay and deck construction rules as Commander except for the budget restriction mentioned above.

If you have seen mentions of #1DH on social media or other articles, it is the abbreviation for Dollar General.

How is Dollar General a thing?

Well it all started with this Tweet:

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In the end, one dollar was the most popular option. Players in our local playgroup liked the idea, and several of us started to brew decks which we later played at a local, in-house Magic meetup. That’s how Dollar General started in our playgroup.

Wait, really why is this a thing?

Pauper and budget limitations aren’t new to Commander. The idea of Dollar General was first conceived by fellow Commander writer Aaron Durbin, @UncleLanddrops, in an article written in 2012. Dollar General is a hybrid of pauper and budget Commander which enjoys more variety than Pauper due to the larger card pool. In Pauper Commander, decks can only contain cards of common rarity. But by limiting a cards to dollar or less, #1DH still forces you away from the usual Commander staples, like Cyclonic Rift or Solemn Simulacrum.

Finding budget alternatives or niche theme cards to complete your deck is certainly a challenge. But the extra effort is also rewarding.

How many legendary creatures or commanders are under a dollar?

Rough estimates, there are a total of 290 unique legendary creatures that are under a dollar. You can find legendary creatures that are under a dollar with this link with from Card Kingdoms search engine.

Is Dollar General still Commander/EDH?

Yes, Dollar General is still Commander and follows both the rules and social aspects of the format. We highly encourage players to play within the guidelines of the Commander’s social contract:

“Commander is designed to promote social games of magic. It is played in a variety of ways, depending on player preference, but a common vision ties together the global community to help them enjoy a different kind of magic. That vision is predicated on a social contract: a gentleman’s agreement which goes beyond these rules to includes a degree of interactivity between players. Players should aim to interact both during the game and before it begins, discussing with other players what they expect/want from the game. House rules or ‘fair play’ exceptions are always encouraged if they result in more fun for the local community.”

Also, you can still use your #1DH deck in a normal game of Commander.

What are the rules with the dollar limit in Deckbuilding?

There is no rules committee to Dollar General.  Ultimately, it is up to you and your playgroup to decide what price guidelines are the best fit and most agreeable to and how stringent or lax you want to price restriction to be . Resources for price guidelines are listed below.

What do Dollar General decks look like?

Similar to Commander, Dollar General decks vary in themes, strategy, and focus. Here are some brews and #1DH deck building articles:

Ryan Sainio (@RyanSainio) built a deck that includes Dakkon Blackblade with evasive shadow creatures and walls to protect your life total.

Mike Linnemann (@VorthosMike) built a Vorthos-inspired Szadek, Lord of Secrets Dimir Mill deck and artwork he enjoys playing.

My (@Alexckszeto) mono white Rebels deck, named “Rebel Without A Cause,” a deck that can protect you with rebel synergies and swarm your opponents.

Nathan Weber‏ (@nathanjweber)’s mono red, Kumano, Master Yamabushi deck is focused on dealing massive amount of damage to your opponents.

Erik Linden @ErikLinden’s Daghatar the Adamant commands the field in this Abzan deck that combines a recursion engine with a +1/+1 counter synergy.

How do Dollar General games play out?

The pacing is more deliberate than a normal game of Commander. Without fast mana staples like Sol Ring, Mana Vault, Grim Monolith, and Mana crypt, games move slower in the beginning stages of the game. The restriction also limits mana-efficient tutors, adding more variance and leading to a wider variety of game play.

Overall, the games of Dollar General plays out similar to a normal Commander with card advantage engines, targeted removal, wrath effects, and creature combat. There’s also plenty of synergy, combos, and politicking among players alike to a game of Commander.

There have already been many memorable moments in our playgroup, including back-breaking alliance betrayals and the rapid power shifts you’ve come to to love the game of multiplayer Commander.

Why would I like Dollar General?

It just feels like discovering Commander for the first time,” said one player after a night of trying out Dollar General.

A major attraction of Dollar General is that every card in every deck faces the same price ceiling,which to parity in deck power level. For instance, consider Demonic Tutor (Not legal in Dollar General) versus Diabolic Tutor (legal in Dollar General): same effect, higher mana cost. That’s not to say you can’t find powerful cards that are less than a dollar. You will have to discover those gems through research and seeing what other people are playing.

Dollar General is a remedy for power creep in your decks. If your playgroup is entrenched in an ever-escalating arms race, this could de-escalate those tensions and bring things back to a more reasonable power level.

If you want to introduce newer players to EDH, Dollar General is a budget alternative that can help newer players build decks more easily. Power level parity creates a great environment to teach newer players the fundamentals while having games that are fun for everybody.

How do I keep track of pricing and what other resources can you help me with?

DeckStats.net, MTGGoldfish, and TCGplayer have deck pricing tools, handy for keeping track of prices in your decklists.

EDHrec.com and MagicCard.Info help you search for cards, and the display cards’ average price.

Podcasts such as Commandersbrew gives tremendous advice on brewing Commander decks on a budget, and their show is accessible to newer players and entertaining as well.

Tomer Abramovici (@BudgetCommander) has a series on MTGGoldfish called Budget Commander that focuses on brewing unique decks for less than $50.

Anything else?

A couple of the players are playing decks without sleeves in Dollar General. It’s a fun throwback to when a lot of us were first playing Magic. It just feels so good riffle shuffle a pile of Magic cards without sleeves. It’s difficult to describe the sensation unless you try it.

In addition, our playgroup is experimenting with removing all cards from the banned list with the exception to ante and conspiracy cards in Dollar General. We did this to see how it would impact game play, and to get to use cards we don’t normally get to play in a Commander. It is ultimately up to your local playgroup to decide how to shape Dollar General to your liking.

Wrap up

If you like the idea of playing a lower powered Commander variant, why not give Dollar General a try? On average a deck costs $20 to $40 dollars to build. and you could find most of your cards from draft fodder or rummage through the piles of cards in your collection. It’s easy as starting out by building one deck and introducing it to your local playgroup. They just might love your deck and want to build their own. At worst, you still have a budget Commander deck for your collection just in case you want to play a lowered powered game of Commander.

So give Dollar General a try. You may end up discovering some hidden gems along the way, for under a dollar! And if you do, please share your stories with us using the hashtag #1DH on Twitter.

Until next time – let’s chat Magic (Twitter: @AlexckSzeto)

*Credit to @RyanSainio for the graphic design.