Hello again fellow looters! It’s me Roy, back for another article this week. Now before we delve into our topic, I have to explain something. If you have been reading my past articles, you know that I promised that my next article would be a data-centric analysis of the new format One Fate Reforged Pack and Two Khans of Tarkir Packs. (Also that I would have an article once a week.) Well, as it turns out, watching 300+ games of magic is a ferociously difficult task for a full time college student who also works. I know that I just need to bolster myself with some coffee and sit down one day and maybe then I will have the prowess to just knock it out. Until then, I have some other ideas for articles including the topic for this week which is all about Modern on a budget. So before you raid my house, just know that I will try to dash out the article ASAP. Until then, let’s talk Modern! Also, Outlast! (See what I did there?)
Moving on, Modern is a format that has been around for a while, however, it has grown a lot in recent months. My local game store’s (LGS) Modern event now has just as many players as the standard events, On top of this, Star City and even Wizards have started embracing modern events more openly. The most recent Pro Tour was even modern which makes the format fresh in the magic community’s mind. Well, everyone else is doing this new thing the kids call “Modern” now, why shouldn’t I? I am hip right? Well, the problem lies in the cost of most modern decks. Some decks in this format can run as much as 500 to 800 dollars for a finished deck. That can be a lot especially because most of us either: love standard and spend the money on that format, spend all our money on drafting, or just don’t have any money. Have no fear! I can solve every problem for you except for the last one. I can even solve that one too if you change the word none to some! How will I do that? Well, with a budget deck of course!
Now, I scoured the internet and found five decks that I feel are good budget modern decks that still remain relatively competitive. I even included a stock list with each archetype I post and this should be easily traded for. (Some of the cards may even be on this website! )
Disclaimer! The deck will not be perfect. There will always be some card that can make the deck inches better. That is not the goal with budget deck building. The goal here is to make the best deck with a limited budget that can go toe to toe with some of the real decks in the format without feeling like you are using a wet noodle in a sword fight. Also this is going to have a focus on having a bit of fun. These are decks you may not take to a Pro-Tour Qualifier (PTQ), however, they may do alright in your local store.
Without further ado, here is the top five decent/fun Budget Modern Decks!
There is always some red deck that keeps all the other decks on the format on their toes. These decks tend to be really good because they can pick up wins just by having their opponent stumble for even one turn. This is due to this deck being very fast, however, there comes a point in every game where, if you haven’t won yet, you most likely won’t. Now, even the most competitive version of this deck is less than 100 which is much better than most Modern decks, but we can do better than that!
Now, as you can see this deck is designed to throw damage at your opponent and hope you can finish him off with Shrine or a top deck burn spell. You can even sideboard some Skullcrack’s in order to prevent decks with sources of life gain. Either way, this deck should be fun enough to play and win you enough games to warrant spending the 25 dollars or less the deck will cost.
For those who are new to Modern, you may not be familiar with this deck. The premise is simple, get the set of Urza lands (Urza’s Mine, Urza’s Tower, and Urza’s Power Plant) into play and play big stuff and expensive spells. Now, there are many ways you can play this deck. You can play: Artifact, Mono-Blue, Mono-Red, Red/Green, and I am sure many other ways. However, for the sake of cost, I feel like Mono Blue Tron may have a cheap list for us. Now, when I say cheap, I mean for Modern’s budget. This deck unfortunately has some cards that are harder to forego that may cost a pretty penny. We will see what we can do.
This deck is all about quickly assembling the pieces of your land combo and start dropping big spells. Spine of Ish Sah, Wurmcoil Engine, and all your other spells become very easy to cast. Treasure Mage can help you find the creatures. Now this version took some hits to be extremely budget, however, if you like this deck you can slowly add in some of the more expensive powerful artifacts and combos. The most popular is Mindslaver and Academy Ruins. The reason that it is not in this deck is due to cost, however, I still left in a fun Spine of Ish Sah and Phyrexia’s Core interaction that is budget enough for us.
Now this is a deck most people will tell you to play when you ask for budget modern decks, or at least they did when I asked. This deck is a mono white life gain deck that has some fun combos hidden in it. It gets its name from Soul Warden and Soul’s Attendant which both have you gain a life when a creature enters the battlefield. Couple that interaction with four Chalice of Life and four Ajani’s Pridemate, you have yourselves an interesting budget deck. Here is a fairly budget list I came across.
This deck is actually the easiest to play out of the decks mentioned so far. It requires very little to understand how to get this deck going. This deck is very susceptible to removal, although, I bet you could make certain changes to improve its odds in the long run. It would also be a smart idea to eventually include some form of white removal in your deck to stop from being walked all over. That is down the road after you decide if you enjoy modern enough.
Think of Affinity as a sort of artifact with a blue base aggro. This deck has been very successful and always remains a strong deck in the format. It even undergoes changes that allow for more variance. I have personally seen white affinity variants do very well in tournaments from time to time. For the sake of this exercise, we will be using a very stock mono-blue list I found with a lot of the expensive cards chopped out.
The main idea with this deck is to flood the board with as many artifacts as you can. Master of Etherium can get the job done nicely. Cranial Plating is another nice and clean way to win along with a Ghostfire Blade as a new budget alternative (Credit to Nighthawk 101). Signal pest can even turn an army of Ornithopters into a few 1/2 fliers. Another fun interaction is Ensoul Artifact with a Darksteel Citadel. Who doesn’t like indestructible beaters? Maybe your opponent…. Either way, this deck will be a very good budget deck to take to an FNM or local Modern tournament and get a fairly good placement and hopefully cash out.
Last but not least…..
Why did this deck make number one? Well, that may have something to do with it being the deck that I actually build to get into Modern, but that just means I know it all the better! Now, mixing this deck with blue is seen as a more effective deck overall. It gives you access to an unblockable infect creature as well as some other ways to give your current creatures evasion. This comes at the cost of duel lands which as we know can be expensive. I have taken the list I am going to give you to multiple modern events. Now, Infect has gotten more popular in recent years. Tom Ross and many other professionals have adopted the deck and this means it is under more player’s radar.
So here is the budget list I use whenever I want to play in a modern tournament.
This deck has gone through many evolutions. When I first started playing this deck, Modern was just a fever dream of a few of my friends and I didn’t know what a real infect deck looked like. I had this idea of a deck with a possible upside of killing on turn two which sounded awesome. Slowly the tech got more improvements and this is the current form. Now, even just being mono green it could obviously be better. A play set of Blinkmoth Nexus would improve this deck. Might of Old Krosa may even be better than Giant Growth but, as I said earlier, this deck is the spirit of budget modern decks.
So I hope you all enjoyed my list! If you guys decide to play any of these decks, feel free to leave a comment or let me know via social media how it went. If you think there is a better budget option or I missed something, let me know! I treat my articles as a way to share information with you. Hopefully you chose to share some information back. Before, I let you go for this week, I have one more thing for you. An honorable mention!
Yes that’s right, it’s time to randomly plug a Modern deck I enjoy playing but is really bad! Wait, did I mention it was a budget ?!?!?!? WELL WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?!?!
So many people may be looking at this and wondering how to play this weird deck? Well, I will tell you. First, you mulligan until you get a hand with a Treasure Hunt. Does it matter which other cards you have in your hand? Not with this deck! Next, any hand disruption kills you right away. Then, once you have a land and a Reliquary Tower or two lands and turn three then we can begin. Treasure Hunt until you hit a Zombie Infestation. Play it, pitch your hand of now 30 to 40 cards, and then enjoy.
By Roy Anderson
@Sockymans on Twitter
1st at SCG Edison Modern Premier IQ on Sep 28th 2014