Dear readers and friends of M:tG!
While the title of this article sounds rather boring one could argue, I will try to entertain you and provide a good read by showcasing three rather budget-friendly deck ideas I have had just recently. The first two will be Modern Format legal and the last will be a Legacy Format deck, although, and I have to state that clearly here and now, I am not intending to play with any of the three in a competititve environment, but rather “just-for-fun” – casually.
Before I will show you the first of the three decks, I have a BIG M:tG-related announcement to make:
My sister Nora Propst won the Casual Tournament last Saturday!!
I am so proud of you, Nora!! Mind you it was her second tournament ever and in the first one she did not win a single game. Here’s the winning deck I built for her in case you missed the article and are curious what deck she masterly piloted to victory!
Let us get started with the most boring of the three decks and work our way up towards the one that is potentially the most fun to play:
Double Direct Damage Rush (Modern Format):
4 x Ball Lightning RRR
4 x Lightning Bolt R
4 x Pyretic Ritual 1R
4 x Seething Song 2R
4 x Flame Javelin 2/R 2/R 2/R
4 x Lava Spike R
4 x Pyroclasm 1R
4 x Browbeat 2R
4 x Furnace of Rath 1RRR
4 x Forgotten Cave
20 x Mountain
About the Deck:
Well as I said initially, this deck is pretty boring… The single and simple strategy is to inflict a minimum of 20 points worth of direct damage on your opponent as fast as possible. The only creature I am running is good old Ball Lightning, which they reprinted in some more recent core editions so I can run him in a Modern Format deck thankfully. The rest of the deck is a nice mix of burn spells, mana ramp like Pyretic Ritual (adding RRR to your mana pool at 1R) and Seething Song (adding RRRRR to your mana pool for 2R) and even some decent draw in the form of Browbeat. Powerful card draw in red? How amazing! I had to include that in a playset of four and still, the deck qualifies as a Modern Format deck as they “Timeshifted” the old Browbeat in Timespiral.
The main card in the deck however is a shamefully overlooked Enchantment from Tempest which was reprinted in some core editions a few years ago as well:
This card…is simply INSANE in a deck like this. Sure it will double the damage your opponent will deal as well, but who is faster I wonder? I for one got a Ball Lightning with a virtual power of 12 for just RRR for once, multiple Spells that inflict 6 damage at the cost of 1 and Browbeats which will in most cases draw me 3 new cards as the opponent would have to take no less than 10 (!) damage to prevent me from drawing.
The perfect play would be second turn Pyretic Ritual providing mana for a Seething Song which then provides 5 red mana, of which 4 will be spent on Furnace of Rath and the fifth mana will inflict 6 damage in case you happen to have either the classic Lightning Bolt or the Kamigawa Lava Spike handy. Not half bad and even if you can do that turn 3 with Seething Song your opponent will be in big trouble.
Honorable mention: Pyroclasm is great for stopping fast Creature rush decks short, even more so with a Furnace out as it will then deal 4 damage to every Creature on the field instead of the regular 2, which wouldn’t be a bad deal at 1R to begin with!
OK that is all I can say about this deck idea I had very recently… BORING! Next!
Beastfall (Modern Format):
4 x Sakura-Tribe Scout G
2 x Skyshroud Ranger G
4 x Sakura-Tribe Elder 1G
4 x Vinelasher Kudzu 1G
4 x Woodcrasher Baloth 4GG
4 x Rampaging Baloths 4GG
4 x Harrow 2G
4 x Summer Bloom 1G
4 x Mulch 1G
4 x Seek the Horizon 3G
4 x Terramorphic Expanse
4 x Evolving Wilds
14 x Forest
About the Deck:
This one looks more interesting to me with lots of great synergies – just how I like my decks!
The basic plan is to ramp mana like crazy using cards that put lands into play quickly. The deck is running Creatures as well as Instants or Sorceries that do the job. Either put lands from your hand into play with Sakura-Tribe Scout or the nearly identical Skyshroud Ranger, starting on turn 2, as both cost a single green mana, search your deck for lands and put them into play with Sakura-Tribe Elder and the awesome Harrow (which lets you sack any land and put two basic lands into play UNTAPPED for just 2G) or use a combination of your sorceries Summer Bloom, Mulch and Seek the Horizon. Summer Bloom works really well with Mulch and Seek the Horizon. Summer Bloom lets you play three additional lands on your turn for 1G while Seek the Horizon lets you conveniently search your deck for three basic lands and puts them into your hand at the cost of 3G. Mulch is even more cost-efficient as for only 1G you can look at the top 4 cards of your library and puts all lands revealed into your hand.
All this sounds pretty amazing, but what will all the additional lands and additional land plays per turn be good for. The answer are one cheap and two more expensive Creatures.
Vinelasher Kudzu can be played turn 2 and if you have a Sakura-Tribe Scout or Skyshroud Ranger in play, you can give it a first +1/+1 counter right away by bringing a land into play through Scout’s/Ranger’s Ability. And many, many more +1/+1 counters will follow as you Harrow and Mulch away to your heart’s content.
This one will grow insanely large when you play land after land after land, being a 4/4 and gaining +4/+4 everytime you put a land into play and, and this is crucial, he gets Trample to boot! Just imagine dropping 4 lands via your regular land drop plus 3 additional lands through Summer Bloom. That’d make the Woodcrasher a freaking 20/20 trampler. Not something to sneeze at in my humble opinion.
Lastly, Exhibit C:
This one will have you swarm the battlefield with 4/4 Beast Tokens in like no time, which is great as well and on top of that he is a decent 6/6 Trampler for just 6 mana.
Well that is what you use the excessive mana you generate through cards like Sakura-Tribe Scout and Elder, Harrow, Summer Bloom in conjuction with Mulch and/or Seek the Horizon as well as with your 8 land-fetching lands. Yes, that is right, this deck runs playsets of each Terramorphic Expanse and the identical Evolving Wilds, which can be tapped and sacked to put a basic land from the deck into play tapped. Landfall-Count: 2. And these are lands so they cannot be countered and your various Baloths and the Kudzu will benefit from them no matter what.
Overall I think this deck has a lot of great interactions and could, in theory overpower an unprepared opponent fast, considering the tremendous mana ramp capabilities and potentially highly powerful killer Creatures (those would be the Kudzu and the two kinds of Baloths).
Lastly I have to mention that this deck was extremely expensive to buy together from scratch and I think I did not even spend 20 Euros for all of it!
Well, on to the last and funniest deck of the three and whilst it is Legacy legal, I consider it just a fun experiment with a combo I came up just a few days ago. So here comes…
Turbo Sphinx (Legacy Format/Casual):
1 x Anger 3R
1 x Sharuum, Sphinx Hegemon 3UBW
1 x Magister Sphinx 4UWB
4 x Dark Ritual B
4 x Daze 1U
4 x Thirst for Knowledge 2U
4 x Force of Will 3UU
4 x Careful Study U
4 x Thoughtseize B
4 x Life/Death G/1B
3 x Exhume 1B
4 x Buried Alive 2B
4 x Lotus Petal 0
4 x Polluted Delta
2 x Scalding Tarn
4 x Underground Sea
4 x Volcanic Island
2 x Island
1 x Mountain
1 x Swamp
About the Deck:
Well, first off I must say I dislike these kind of instant win combo decks, preferring more control or aggro control types of decks which give your opponent a fair challenge. But just a few days ago, I spontaneously and really out of the blue so to say a crazy combo came to me (I think a particular game of EDH came to my mind where something similar happened and secured me the win) and I just had to construct a deck around it, even if it will just remain some kind of mental experiment.
As in so many combo decks, all stands or falls with one card. In this case it is most definitely Buried Alive:
So basically what you do is play the above card asap (Lotus Petals and Dark Rituals provide extra speed and draw spells aplenty should help you find one – and the latter is the harder part!) and send the following 3 Creatures to your graveyard (which are the only 3 Creatures in this deck):
…Sharuum, Sphinx Hegemon…
…and lastly Magister Sphinx:
Once you accomplished that, you just need something to reanimate Sharuum from the graveyard to the battlefield, control a Mountain and the rest the more M:tG-savvy of you will already have figured out. For the not-so-wise in the ways of Magic (the Gathering): Anger will give all your Creatures Haste whilst in your Graveyard and once you reanimate the 5/5 Flying Sharuum, Sphinx Hegemon, she will reanimate your Magister Sphinx which, also being a 5/5 Flyer, makes your opponent’s life total exactly 10. Just attack with both your Sphinxes and GAME OVER!
You may say that the combo is kinda weak and easy to dismantle as a single Path to Exile, Oxidize or whatnot could destroy it in the blink of an eye. However, in this particular deck the combo is well protected through cards like Thouhgtseize and 8 free Counterspells in the form of playsets of each Daze and Force of Will.
The deck really lives or dies with Buried Alive, but there are cards that help you draw into one and double as discard outlets if you happen to have one of your 3 key creatures in your hand, such as Careful Study and Thirst for Knowledge.
As for the actual reanimation, I am running 4 of these…
as well as 3 Exhumes, which have a drawback that will not matter if you are able to pull off the combo early on.
And yes, your Volcanic Islands count as Mountains to acitvate Anger’s graveyard-based ability as well as as Islands so you can return one of them to your hand to pay for Daze’s alternative casting cost.
In theory, you could win on turn one with this deck, which is highly, HIGHLY unlikely. You could play a Volcanic Island and a lotus Petal, then sack the Petal for a Dark Ritual and follow up with anohter dark Ritual. You will have 5 black mana at your disposal which you’d spend first on Buried Alive, sending your terrific trio from the deck to the graveyard and then play either the “Death side” of Life/Death or Exhume to reanimate Sharuum which will reanimate Magister Sphinx, setting your opponent’s life total to 10. As Anger will be in your graveyard and your Volcanic Island would count as a Mountain, you would be able to swing in for the win with two 5/5 Flyers possibly, if you were the starting player, without your opponent ever playing a single card.
As I said a first turn kill like that will not occur very often but it is within the realm of the possible by any means. A second or third turn win is much more likely and I guess the deck, while, again, I dislike combo decks like that, could be fun to play in a casual environment. As for competitive Legacy Format play, I’d prefer my tried and tested, trusty Red-White-Blue Landstill by any means!
OK that’s my three latest Magic: the Gathering deck ideas for you. I hope you found this article at least somewhat entertaining, would like to thank you for reading and, as always, wish you all