Magic: The Gathering's Commander format allows a near-unfathomable amount of possibilities for deck building. Besides Commander's banned list, any cards from Alpha through the latest set release are legal. While including cards from Fallen and Empires and Homelands can be fun, players tend to lean towards adding commonly played Commander staples to their decks. 

When reviewing any red Commander decklist, you're likely to see Blasphemous Act, Chaos Warp, and Faithless Looting among the 99 cards. These red Commander staples truly excel at what they do. Wizards of the Coast frequently reprints Commander staples across all five colors, which helps to keep their secondary market prices affordable.

However, many Commander staples fetch a premium on the secondary market and have not seen a recent reprinting. Dockside Extortionist is a red Commander staple with just one printing that sells for over $50. Forgoing the inclusion of Dockside Extortionist, one of the best red cards for mana ramp and combos, may significantly reduce the power level of a deck. Fortunately, some pricey Commander staples have affordable alternatives that won't break the bank.

#1 Demonic Tutor

Demonic Tutor is a black Commander staple that allows you to search for any card in your library and place it into your hand. With a current average market price of around $30, though, it's not always an affordable inclusion. While Demonic Tutor is arguably the best black tutor in Commander, players do have other black tutor options at lower price points.

A more affordable black tutor is Core Set 2021's Grim Tutor, available for about $15. For three mana, Grim Tutor allows you to search your library for a card and put it into your hand, as well as losing 3 life. Paying one more mana and 3 life is not ideal, but it is half the average market price of Demonic Tutor.

Here's another black tutor from Modern Horizons 2 that possesses similarities to Demonic Tutor. For two mana, you can suspend Profane Tutor by exiling it with two time counters. Upon removing the last time counter from Profane Tutor, you may cast it for free and search your library for a card to put in your hand. Waiting for two turns to search for a card is irritating but not unreasonable, considering Profane Tutor's average market price is around $3.

#2 Entomb

Entomb an incredible graveyard enabler in MTG that sells for about $25. For one black mana, Entomb allows you to search your library for a card and put it into your graveyard at instant speed. From an efficiency standpoint, it's irreplaceable. That said, a few cards do come somewhat close to Entomb's power level.

Unmarked Grave from Modern Horizons 2 is definitely less potent than Entomb, but hey, it's only $3. As a two-mana black sorcery, Unmarked Grave permits you to search your library for any non-legendary card and put it into your graveyard. While Unmarked Grave limits the ability to find Griselbrand or Dark Depths, you may search for any type of non-legendary card.

Buried Alive may not cost one mana, but it does let you find up to three creatures from your deck to put into your graveyard for the low, low price of $5! There are no limits to finding legendary creatures with Buried Alive, unlike the disadvantage of Unmarked Grave. For UB decks, pairing Buried Alive with Victimize can create infinite mana with Deadeye Navigator and Peregrine Drake (Great Whale, Palinchron) returning from the graveyard to the battlefield.

A third, more ambiguous alternative is Vile Entomber from Modern Horizons 2. Vile Entomber is a $0.11 uncommon 2/2 black Zombie Warlock with deathtouch that allows you to Entomb each time it enters the battlefield. Vile Entomber is a comparatively pricey four mana, but it makes an excellent blocker in addition to its Entomb ability.

#3 Blood Moon

Another card with a creature alternative is Blood Moon. For around $16, you can use Blood Moon to turn all nonbasic lands into Mountains. Blood Moon excels in mono-red Commander decks where there is a minimal downside for the player casting it.

Magus of the Moon is essentially Blood Moon on a 2/2 red Human Wizard. Your opponents may have more options to destroy a creature instead of an enchantment, but it is a small concession for 1/3 the price of Blood Moon. Interestingly, both cards see play in Modern and Legacy.

#4 Steelshaper's Gift

Steelshaper's Gift sees occasional Modern play in the Puresteel Combo deck. With an average market price of $23, Steelshaper's Gift puts an Equipment card from your library into your hand for one white mana. White Equipment-centric Commander decks led by Balan, Wandering Knight, Akiri, Fearless Voyager, Sram, Senior Edificer, and Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist // Rograkh, Son of Rohgahh may want to add Steelshaper's Gift to their 99.

If cost is an issue for building an Equipment deck, consider running Open the Armory, which holds an average market price under $1. Open the Armory, as its name suggests, allows you to search your library for an Equipment or Aura card and then put it into your hand.

#5 Mystical Tutor

Mystical Tutor is a fantastic one-mana blue spell, with a price point of around $20. Casting Mystical Tutor allows you to search your library for an instant or sorcery card, reveal it, and put it on top. Blue Commander decks looking for answers to opponents' plays or a game-ending spell should consider this staple. That said, if the price point is a bit high for your liking, you may want to try the following two blue tutor spells.

Merchant Scroll is a two-mana sorcery that enables you to search your library for an instant blue card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. Unfortunately, Merchant Scroll's search effect only finds instant blue cards. On the plus side, it puts the card in your hand, and is a fraction of the price of Mystical Tutor.

Strixhaven: School of Mages gifted Commander players with Solve the Equation. For three mana, you get to search for an instant or sorcery and put it into your hand. Solve the Equation may not equate to Mystical Tutor, but it does place a spell in your hand for under $3.

#6 Craterhoof Behemoth

When it comes to game-ending green creatures, Craterhoof Behemoth is a top contender. Craterhoof Behemoth gives creatures you control — including itself — +X/+X and trample, equal to the number of creatures you control. If spending almost $50 for Craterhoof Behemoth feels daunting, good news! Players have the budget-friendly option to run End-raze Forerunners instead.

End-raze Forerunners is a 7/7 vigilance, trample, haste Boar with the exact casting cost of Craterhoof Behemoth. However, End-raze Forerunners only gives +2/+2, vigilance, and trample to other creatures you control. You may not be able to boost the power and toughness of your creatures to the levels of Craterhoof Behemoth, but End-raze Forerunners makes an acceptable substitute for under $1.

Birds of Paradise is an incredible one-mana green creature in Commander, ideal for playing on turn one for to ramp into spells of any color. A copy of Birds of Paradise will currently set you back $10 or more. Luckily, there is another one-mana green creature capable of creating any color of mana by the second turn of a game.

Gilded Goose is a 0/2 flyer for one green mana that produces a Food token upon entering the battlefield. You may tap Gilded Goose and sacrifice a Food token to make mana of any color. At the low price of $3, this Bird is worth considering for any green deck interested in early mana ramp.
The vast amount of MTG cards printed over 28 years means that players have plenty of options for Commander deck inclusions. Whether you're trying to build a sacrifice or spellslinger Commander deck, playable cards are available to fit almost any budget. It's nice to know that the size of your wallet doesn't have to hinder you from enjoying the Commander experience.