Dear readers and friends of Magic: the Gathering!
These days I am feeling that certain deckbuilding itch in my mind real bad and when I like one thing then it is building unconventional, unorthodox and unusual decks, preferably on a budget. So without much furhter ado I will share three out-of-the-ordinary decks I have built just today, on a budget and with Casual play or Modern Format in mind. I will showcase the decks in order of awesomeness, whereby some might be more competitive than the others and some may contain at least some cards that would be quite costly (and when I say “quite” I mean cards at the about 5 US dollars price point). Furthermore I will just hit you with the decklists and then follow up with some of my thoughts on the respective decks, as I usually do! So let’s get this started:
4 x Sage Owl 1U
4 x Galvanoth 3RR
4 x Condescend XU
4 x Magma Jet
4 x Reverberate RR
4 x Discombobulate 2UU
4 x Seething Song 2R
3 x Cruel Ultimatum UUBBBRR
2 x Searing Wind 8R
4 x Time Stretch 8UU
4 x Izzet Guildgate
4 x Halimar Depths
8 x Mountain
7 x Island
About the Deck:
Well, while this deck can pull off some fantastic stuff and bring fire and brimstone over your opponent, quite literally, it is also the easiest to dismantle among the three decks I am going to showcase here, as it all revolves around one overlooked, crap-rare (about 30 cents a copy right now) Creature – Galvanoth:
Well, the basic premise and in fact the only way to win with this deck is to get out Galvanoth ASAP, with Seething Song powering him out turn 3 and lots of deck manipulation that should ensure you draw into him sooner or later. Then you would use your awesome deck manupulation cards (you have a total of 20 cards that let you rearrange the top of your deck: 4 Creatures, 12 Instants and evne 4 Lands that do such things) to set up something pretty evil for Glavanoth. The best thing you can do is put a Time Stretch on top of your deck to get 2 extra turns for free in which you can set up more nastiness for Galvanoth to play for free. Searing Wind which would inflict 10 points worth of direct damage and Cruel Ultimatum does some very, well, cruel things as you can see below:
And what is really, really awesome and will wreak your opponent (if you can keep Galvanoth in play long enough, but more on that later) is Reverberate. At the mere cost of RR you can copy any Instant or Sorcery you are casting. Just think about it: First you untap your lands, then in your upkeep you cast Time Stretch for free through Galvanoth and then you spend just 2 red mana, which you are going to have under pretty much any circumstances, copying your free Time Stretch, thus getting an overwhelmingly awesome 4 extra turns for just RR. Of course you can inflict a probably lethal 20 damage right away if you pull off the same evil deed with Searing Wind!
Well while this all sounds awesome in a combotastic way, the deck is really “just for fun” as all revolves around a) getting Glavanoth into play and b) keeping him in play long enough for him to work his magic. There are some redeeming factors for both weaknesses: Your odds of getting out Galvanoth are increased by the 20 deck manipulation cards you are running and your countermagic, especially the situationally rather cheap Condescend can protect Galvanoth to some degree, as he is very vulnerable to a lot of opponent nastiness being just a 3 toughness Creature – heck even a 1 mana Lightning Bolt could overthrow your whole, diabolic plan (and so could Path to Exile, Doom Blade, Terminate, Putrefy, Mortify, and many many more cheap creature removal cards).
Again this is not supposed to be anything beyond a fun deck experiment which should actually work in 1 out of 4 games if you are lucky, no more, no less.
OK, on to the next fun deck, which shoul be a lot more consistent and reliable than the above deck. I would like to call it…
3 x Ornithoper 0
4 x Arcbound Worker 1
4 x Vault Skirge 1B/2LP
4 x Arcbound Stinger 2
4 x Steel Overseer 2
2 x Broodstar 8UU
2 x Fling 1R
4 x Thoughtcast 4U
4 x Cranial Plating 2
3 x Lightning Greaves 2
3 x Howling Mine 2
3 x Clock of Omens 4
4 x Glimmervoid
4 x Darksteel Citadel
4 x Seat of the Synod
4 x Vault of Whispers
4 x Great Furnace
About the deck:
Well while this is supposed to be a fast artifact deck, it is certainly not an Affinity deck (although I run 6 cards with Affinity for Artifacts – 4 Thoughtcast as cheap card draw and 2 Broodstars as finishers), but rather follows a very different approach, which is of my devising and maybe even to some degree original, as I have not seen a similar deck anywhere and based mine upon it. And please don’t tell me to add 4 Arcbound Ravager, as this is supposed to be a budget deck and secondly (call me crazy) I do prefer Arcbound Stinger since he has evasion in the form of flying!
The main plan is to swarm the field quickly with cheap artifact Creatures with flying and/or other useful abilites like Modular (Arbcound Stinger) or Lifelink (Vault Skirge). Vault Skirge is simply my favorite since you can play him at the cost of just 1 generic mana and you’ll have a first turn 1/1 lifelinked flyer. The next thing you’d do is either play a cheap Steel Overseer…
…and start pumping all your cheap or even free flyers (Ornithopter) with a +1/+1 counter on each on each and every one of your turns, OR play Cranial Plating on one of your flyers to make him grow huge power-wise, with your best target probably being Vault Skirge, who will net you a ton of Life with Plating attached to him. In the best case, you’ll have Steel Overseer do his “daily work” AND Cranial Plating attached to one of your evasive guys ASAP. The deck is actually quite cheap with most cards being commons or uncommons. The 4 Glimmervoids can be replaced by other cards such as the RUB-mana-producing Crumbling Necropolis and Steel Overseer, which had its price increased drastically for one reason or another, is actually the only not-so-cheap card at about 10 dollars a copy nowadays. I got my playset for 10 bucks not too long ago… Anyways if you really wanna go as cheap as it gets, take the Overseer out in favor of some other cards that would go well with this deck like Shrapnel Blasts or Welding Jars (the latter costs 0 and can be sacked to regenerate any one artifact, which can come in handy at times.)
However as it stands, the deck has some pretty awesome tricks up its sleeve, such as your 8 Modular creatures that will move all the counters they got from Overseer onto another artifact creature in case they are killed, or the two copies of Fling which I included as surprise instant win cards (well instant win under certain circumstances, granted). Just equip your Cranial Plating to any flyer, have a total of at least 10 artifacts in play and attack to dish out 10 damage, then pay 1R at instant speed, sacrificing the attacker to deal another 10 damage directly to your opponent, which should spell defeat for them in most cases.
What I am most proud of though is a combo I found out myself while ago and which I successfully ran in another artifact-heavy deck. Said combo involves two or three cards: Steel Overseer (as seen above), Clock of Omens and Howling Mine. The combo is great even without Overseer but simply awesome with him and goes like this: Play Howling Mine for 2. It draws every player an additional card during their draw phases, but only if it is untapped. When it is tapped it shuts down so to say. Also play Clock of Omens. It lets you tap two artifacts to untap any one artifact. Now with Steel Overseer the following would happen. You draw an additional card each turn from Mine, then during your Main Phase you tap Overseer to give everyone of your guys a +1/+1 counter. Then tap Clock and Mine for Clock’s effect to untap Overseer, which can then dish out another free round of +1/+1 counters. You can even tap other artifacts you might have like your equipments (Cranial Plating and Lightning Greaves) or just some artifact lands you dont currently need to repeat this process many times, giving all your little guys a considerable and lasting power and toughness boost each and every turn. AND Howling Mine will be tapped and thus shut down during your opponent’s draw step so it becomes one-sided in you favor. Again, Steel Overseer is not needed to do the Howling Mine trick, but he would be best as an “untap target” for Clock of Omens. Pretty neat, eh?
OK on to the third and last of my “out-of-the-ordinary” decks, which I think is most unique and awesome out of all th three but would also be the costliest (if you don’t happen to own most of the rather expensive cards it requires, which, to my luck, I do):
Wrath of Augustin:
4 x Judge’s Familiar U/W
4 x Stormscape Familiar 1U
3 x Dauntless Escort 1WG
3 x Skymark Roc 2UW
2x Loxodon Hierarch 2GW
2 x Grand Arbiter Augustin IV 2UW
1 x Isperia, Supreme Judge 2WWUU
4 x Mana Leak 1U
3 x Otherworldly Journey 1W
4 x Demand/Supply XGW / 1WU
4 x Day of Judgment 2WW
1 x Wrath of God 2WW
1 x Supreme Verdic 1WWU
2 x Reborn Hope GW
4 x Seaside Citadel
6 x Forest
6 x Island
6 x Plains
About the deck:
While it may not work out on every single game, this deck does, or rather tries to do, some pretty awesome things: Making your own Spells considerably cheaper while making opponent Spells more expensive AND turning “global” creature destruction Spells such as the classic Wrath of God into more or less one-sided destruction. Here is what I am trying to do with this deck:
The first part, makig your Spells cheaper is covered by timeshifted…
… and the main man and namesake of the deck…
…who does not only reduce the cost of your white and blue Spells but also increases the costs of all your opponent’s Spells by 1.
I run only 2 copies of Augustin, despite his vital role in the deck, because there is this awesome card…
…which not only tutors for Augustin, but for a ton of other cards in my deck which consists mostly of multicolored Spells.
Anyways once you have the Grand Arbiter out, things are going to get ugly for your opponent, and he is well protected for instance by Mana Leak, which for once costs you 1 less, so it will cost just U, plus it costs your opponent 1 more to cast. Hence Mana Leak could as well say “pay U to neutralize a Spell unless its controller pays 4” which is an amazing deal in my opinion. In the same way, you could just cast Otherworldly Journey…
to save Augustin from any harm and have him return to play at the next end step with a +1/+1 counter to boot. Journey will matter in another aspect of the decks strategy – more on that soon.
With either Stormscape Familiar or Augustin himself or even better both in play, your Spells will be considerably cheaper. This one for just UW…
…would be a pretty neat deal for instance. Or imagine her for just WWUU:
What an amazing deal that would be. Furthermore, Wrath of God or Day of Judgemnt at WW would be possible as well as 4/4 Loxodon Hierarchs for WG or 3/3 Dauntelss Escorts for WG.
This brings us to the second aspect of the deck, besides the decreasing of costs for your Spells while increasing the costs of opponent Spells: The Deck runs 6 “global creature destruction” Spells: 1 classic Wrath of God, 4 Day of Judgment and1 copy of the mutlicolored (and thus fetchable throug Demand) Supreme Verdict, which cannot be countered.
Along these destructive Spells, the deck has many ways to give you a huge advantage when casting one of said Spells in the form of protecting some of your own Creatures from the destruction so your opponent will have 0 Creatures while you will be able to retain most or at least some of them. The cards that fulfill this protective purpose are:
- Journey to Nowhere, as seen above, which exiles one of your Creatures and returns it to play at end of turn with a +1/+1 Counter on it. With Stormscape Familiar out you can do a Wrath of God/Day of Judgment/Supreme Verdict for 3 Mana and “phase out” your most important Creature for just one white Mana and your opponent will be left creatureless while you will still have your strongtest or most important Creature at end of turn – with a +1/+1 Counter on it!
- Dauntless Escort can be sacked to give all your other Creatures Indestructible for a turn, thus all would survive mass destruction save for the sacrificed Escort.
- Loxodon Hierarch does a similar thing, as you can pay GW and sack him to regenerate all your other Creatures. This will not work with Wrath of God though as that one prevents creatures from being regenerated.
Well these should be ways aplenty to get a huge advantage over your opponent by making your mass creature removal more or less one-sided.
One last card that has to be noted is Reborn Hope. It is equal to a Regrowth in this deck where most cards and all really important cards are multicolored (At the mere cost of GW you may return any multicolored card from your graveyard to your hand). Supreme Verdict, Isperia or Augustin would be prime targets for Reborn Hope.
Overall I really like the unique strategies and great interactions involved in this particular, really quite out-of-the-ordinary deck, and I am determined to purchase even some of the costlier cards (and only Supreme Verdict will cost me about 5 bucks as the other cards I either own, like the Day of Judgments and the Wrath of God, or are crap rares for 50 cents a piece or uncommons and commons anyways) to have this deck assembled and ready to be played at my local magic shop where I have become a regular already! I for one think it is a deck that is right up my alley, with tons of nice and quite unique synergies and not at all just “borrowed” from someone else.
Well that’s my three out-of-the-ordinary casual / modern format decks for you. I hope you found my ideas interesting to some degree at least and thank you for reading!
Happy Gaming you all!!