New Budget Brews for Your Next Casual Night
by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
Welcome back folks! It’s been a while since I sat down and provided you guys with some fun new decks for your next casual card night, so I thought I would sit down and share with you what I’ve been brewing. The good news for you guys is that I’ve actually got TWO decks here for you and who doesn’t love a 2 for 1 special? Even with all the talk of Battle for Zendikar being less than thrilling from many perspectives, there are still loads of fun and interesting things you can do. Let’s take a look at a couple of things that I’ve brewed up and see what you think.
Budget U/B control
One of the biggest things about the current standard environment that makes it so prohibitive to get into a top tier competitive deck is the sheer value of Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Any deck playing Blue wants a playset of Jace! Let’s face it, the card is extremely powerful and likely worth every penny you pay for it if you grind out lots of matches. Sadly, I can’t afford the $320 for a set of four. However, there was another Blue mythic from Magic:Origins that no one even talks about and I can afford. I’m thinking of none other than Disciple of the Ring. I had the chance to draft this guy in back to back drafts and this guy was amazing. He has almost every relevant ability you would ever need on a creature stapled to him and if you fill your yard with Instants and Sorceries you can dictate the terms of the game fairly easily with an active Disciple of the Ring. So, the question is, can this be a big deal in some other environment than just draft? I suspect the answer is yes. Here is the list I put together.
Budget B/U control
The game plan seems simple enough. You want to push into the late stages of the game by answering their threats through bouncing them, countering them, or just outright killing them. Using your spells to handle their threats should allow you to pile up a bunch of fuel that you can then use with Disciple of the Ring to either further deal with their threats or to take the fight to them. It wouldn’t take much to pump the Disciple into being a very real threat and a quick clock.
Let’s suppose that your opponent can deal with your #1 threat like the Disciple. Did you notice any other backdoor wins? How about Demonic Pact and Disperse as being a potentially deadly way to really cinch down on your opponent? Get max value off the Pact and then bounce it, recast it and then repeat…seems pretty good to me. Also, don’t forget Damnable Pact and the Mage-Ring Network. If you get into a situation where you have available land at the end of their turn, charge up the Network and wait to be able to fire off a massive Damnable Pact at them, make them draw a whole pile of cards and die as a result of the damage. Nothing quite like a Black “Fireball”! The last trick is Learn from the Past which acts as a way to deck your opponent if you need to get that far.
The only cards that are expensive in this deck are the 2 Languish, 2 Crux of Fate, and the Demonic Pact. Even those are fairly modestly priced in most respects and available right here at Three Kings Loot. Otherwise, the Disciple is about $1/ card, Damnable Pact is about fifty cents, and everything else is super inexpensive, even the lands.
Now, there are lots of good upgrades to run that can still be budget friendly. Ultimate Price is a strong removal spell that is much cheaper to cast, but it doesn’t handle multicolored creatures like Siege Rhino, Anafenza, Mantis Rider or Atarka. Yes, Reach of Shadows is bad 5 mana removal, but at least it can handle those big time threats instead of being a dead card. Murderous Cut might be upgrade on both counts, but exiling your yard isn’t ideal when you want to fuel the Disciple. Of course, you could full on upgrade to Ruinous Path, but that is one more sorcery speed spell and that just might be too slow, or too expensive for the old pocket book. Cancel is eligible for an upgrade with a Scatter to the Winds, but as a rare that may not economical. Spell Shrivel would work almost as well in most situations but I would rather have the hard counter as opposed to the conditional element as part of Spell Shrivel. Reave Soul could stand to be upgraded to Complete Disregard and the only reason I’m running Reave and not Disregard is that I don’t have any more in my box…they are already all in decks! Reave Soul is fine, but the same issue surrounding casting it at Sorcery speed crops up again.
My early version of a sideboard would include 2 copies each of Encase in Ice and Self-Inflicted Wound as very solid sideboard options. I think I would also opt to run 2 copies of Mire’s Malice as a way to force discard and clear out their hand. Malice can also work to give you a late game threat with an Elemental should you need it. There is no doubt 2 copies of Dispel would make the grade as well simply for a little insurance. There would need to be some other serious considerations, but these would almost assuredly make my first 75 for this deck.
You could rock this with your buddies on a Saturday night and feel fairly assured that it could be a real pain in the derriere, but I don’t think you would be ashamed to sling this at FNM either…and the impact on your pocket book would be very manageable.
My second deck runs a couple of the same cards, but whereas the Control deck played these cards as an alternative win con, this time it would be a major key to victory. Let’s take a look at what I’ve got this time around.
G/B Damnable Cutthroat
The game plan this time is a little different. This acts very much like a token swarm deck. Cast a bunch of dudes, make some Scions, and then pump the team for the win with a Joraga Invocation or a Tajuru War Caller. Now, if that doesn’t work or you can’t find the Overrun style effect, Zulaport Cutthroat could be a win con if you just sac all your dudes to drain out your opponent. However, the really greasy way to get it done is to sac all your tokens (hopefully with the Cutthroat in play) to cast yet another massive Damnable Pact to close out the match. If you don’t have enough Scions feel free to power up the Mage-Ring Network and then just go mana crazy when it’s time to finish off your opponent.
The issue with this sort of deck is that it is extremely creature reliant meaning that a board wipe pretty much shuts this one down. Oh, and by the way, there are LOADS of wraths in this Standard format. However, decks looking to trade 1 for 1 with a token deck won’t be too happy to play you because their exchanges will invariably be much worse. If this deck can get online, go wide, and maintain pressure then this deck could be a real pain in the neck for some decks out there.
Now, I need to confess, I haven’t had a chance to put these through much of the way of testing. My wife and I had a new baby boy about 6 weeks ago, so testing has been somewhat limited, but I am 100% prepared to take both of these to battle at my next casual night and see if I can’t grab a few wins by casting Damnable Pact AT THEM. It just sounds glorious! And the best part is both decks are cheap so I won’t feel bad if they need to be scraped or adjusted.
Well, thanks for stopping by and having a read. If nothing else I hope my brews have given you a little inspiration to sit down and do a little brewing on your own. I get the sense from people out there in the MTG community that the relative let down of Battle for Zendikar is suppressing some brewers because they aren’t super enthused with the quality of the cards. However, as you can see, there are still lots of other fun things you can be doing with Battle and still enjoy the experience.
So, until next time, have yourselves a great MTG day and be sure to stop by next time for another Casual Encounter.
By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters
@bgray8791 on Twitter