Casual Encounters: Brewing a Budget Modern deckBy Bruce Gray
With the banning of Cruise and Dig Through Time I thought I might take a bit of a stab at Modern. The format seems SOOO intimidating because it is just so powerful and with so many truly ridiculous archetypes that even getting into the format seems very challenging. Now, I don’t have the money to jump into the format with one of the Big Boy decks, so I end up having to brew my own budget deck just so I can play. Today, I thought I would share with you guys what sort of budget Modern Brew I’ve been working on.
Budget means different things in different formats. To most of us a budget deck at Standard means that the deck costs less than $100. At Modern that threshold changes significantly and puts you well into the hundreds of dollars, but considering that some of the Modern decks floating around can cost THOUSANDS of dollars, this still seems like a bargain. The deck I have for you today costs a couple of hundred dollars and thus falls into this realm and could be a lot of fun to play.
Sometimes there are decks that you brew for one format that you like so much that you keep them together as they roll over into the next format. That is the case for this deck that I ostensibly built for Standard during Return to Ravnica and Theros Block. It wasn’t a mainstream deck by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a deck that I liked to play and it could do some awfully powerful things and steal a win out of nowhere. Let’s take a look at the deck list.
Bant Enchantress Auras – Modern Budget deck
Ok, a number of people are going to look at this list and just scoff because I have things like Plasm Capture…and I agree…but part of the idea behind this build was to do something a little off beat…and I think I’ve got it. This deck is trying to do a number of things, and that might be its downfall. It wants to be 1 part control deck, 1 part Hexproof, 1 part Enchantress and looks and feels a bit clunky, but with some streamlining could be really fun. Let’s have a peak at some of the cards.
The Hexproof package is the Aqueous Forms, Ethereal Armor, and Unflinching Courage and the game plan is pretty easy. Suit up a Witchstalker and go nuts. The Lone Revenant was something I found in a janky binder and tossed in just in case I needed another target because I wrathed away the board…and the additional card draw is kind of a sleeper addition to the deck. Ajani is in here for his 2nd ability, to give a Witchstalker flying and double strike and it can well and truly end a game in a hurry.
The control package is the trio if Plasm Capture and Render Silent along with the Supreme Verdicts. This is pretty straight forward in terms of concept but the choices I made are pretty unusual. Counterspell and Plasm Capture are both likely too slow for Modern, but if there is going to be a 3 mana counter spell to run, Render Silent feels like a good option because it is Counterspell and a Silence stapled together. Plasm Capture is just a greedy spell that gets passed over, but even nabbing one spell with one is a huge tempo swing. This package could no doubt be streamlined, but they provide for some interesting options and are spells your opponents would NEVER expect to contend with. Sphinx’s Revelation is just a powerful card draw spell that can’t be overlooked and some number larger than 0 felt like the right call.
The Enchantress package is powered by the ever popular Eidolon of Blossoms. I took one look at the large number of enchantments, particularly Auras, and decided that nothing makes an Aura based deck run better, and ruin more opponents, than cantripping into your other spells. So, in went the Eidolon to abuse all those enchantments and off I went.
A few other pieces that are useful in here don’t fit with any real theme, but are versatile utility creatures. Qasali Pridemage is great example as he wrecks other enchantments and can provide a meaningful boost to a solo attacker. The original interaction of this deck had Fleecemane Lions but with those still being played heavily in Standard I made a suitable substitution. Courser of Kruphix is another useful card that jives well with the Enchantress theme, but would likely get run anyway because it just provides so much value. Thassa, the Charioteers, and the Bow of Nylea all offer similar utility for differing reasons, but all could be replaced without much trouble.
At Modern the Shocklands paired with Fetchlands are indeed the way to go so the mana base is most of the way there. The Scry lands aren’t ideal and the “buddy” lands would be preferable…particularly the Hinterland Harbour and Glacial Fortress. However, those are fairly modest adjustments to the mana base.
Render Silent and Plasm Capture are both targets for an upgrade provided you have a suitable option. Mana Leak, Spell Pierce, Remand all come to mind, but some of those are more expensive. The permission shell has room for improvement and there are a number of possible ways to go.
I could run Slippery Boggle and Gladecover Scout as Hexproof one drops instead of the bulkier Witchstalker, but I like how the stalker could be used to punish Black and Blue decks who want to play on your turn. Those +1/+1 counters accelerate the clock in a suitable way for sure. It might mean that the deck is too slow, but I’ll need to test it out and see.
The Lone Revenant is likely FAR too expensive…but I think he’s a funny card and something that could be an interesting solo threat.
Well, that’s my deck…it may not be much good and could most certainly be streamlined with a bunch of other options, but it is a fun and interesting deck.
Thanks for reading and until next time, keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it Casual.
Regards.By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @bgray8791 on Twitter