Being a budget brewer is usually a tough proposition. The mana base for most decks is usually so prohibitively expensive that it is very difficult to make a deck for a reasonable cost. However, the beauty part with Khans of Tarkir is the inclusion of the Refuge Lands. These inexpensive, common lands are super important to helping to keep the cost of your deck in line. Since they are also in all 10 colour pairs, it makes for an opportunity to really build some interesting decks without breaking the bank.
One of the most interesting mechanics that came out of Khans has been Delve. It has allowed Treasure Cruise and Dig Through Time to see play in virtually every format because the reduction in cost created by the Delve mechanic is hilarious and disgusting all at once. I wanted to take my own stab at a Sultai deck powered by Delve and the common cycle of Refuge lands to provide a budget conscious deck that is capable of some ridiculous game states and power. Let’s see what I’ve got cooking.
The lands cover off your bases as well as possible. Opulent Palace ensures access to all three colours and run about a $1 a card. The other Refuge lands are all pretty inexpensive additions as well and the basics fill out the land requirements for this deck relatively effectively and cheaply. Nice deal. This land base runs you under $10 bucks but still gives you access to the colours you need!
The creature package isn’t as large as I usually run, but the ones that I do run are important.
Let’s start with the 3 Satyr Wayfinders in this list. These little guys are ridiculously useful because they fill your yard for your Delve spells and fetch you land. The best part with the Wayfinder is that if you hit ANY land card you can pick it, not just basics. In a deck running so few basics and so many dual and tri coloured land that distinction is huge. At roughly a dime a card these are cheap, effective, and very useful.
Nyx Weaver is a vital part of the deck because it also helps to fill your yard, and by consequence power out those Delve spells even faster. However, sac this little guy and regrow that important resource you just milled away. Nothing is funnier than recasting that Villainous Wealth you just burned, getting your Kiora or Jace back, or finding that blocker you need to try and stem the tide. Also, at a mere $0.40 a card they are a bargain for something so useful.
Sagu Mauler: Why not? He’s huge, hard to handle, and requires an immediate answer or you die to the ridiculous 6/6 trampler with Hexproof. Also, at $0.50 a card he’s a steal.
Chasm Skulker: This is legitimately an experiment. I feel like this card could be very good, particularly with the amount of cards I can draw off things like Treasure Cruise, Dig and Interpret the Signs. He produces value if he gets killed and is otherwise just a growing bomb to dismantle your opponent. He’s also very cheap, meaning he also helps keep the cost of the deck down.
Rakshasa Vizier: Honestly, a pair of feels fine in this deck to reap the ridiculous benefits of Delving away loads of cards and making a huge behemoth. Also, a 4/4 for 5 is just fine base stats anyway. Oh, and it’s cheap…so…Budget Brew away.
Necropolis Fiend: This is the big finisher in this deck. A 4/5 with Flying is pretty awesome…but the ability to repeatedly take care of creatures with its tap ability is huge. The casting cost has no real bearing because of the ridiculous Delve potential with this deck meaning it can hit the table without much trouble and at $0.30 a card you can’t go wrong.
With all the budget cards we’ve played in the lands and creatures there is lots of room to splash around with fancy spells.
Jace, the Living Guildpact: Did anyone notice that Jace’s new first ability jives with Delve incredibly well? I haven’t seen him in any lists at all so far and I’m wondering why not? His second ability is very relevant as well and totally protects you or him if used properly. Yes, his ultimate might curtail your plan somewhat, but wrecking your opponent’s hand and you drawing 7 is ridiculous. This could be the best $4 card in the deck.
Kiora, The Crashing Wave: Wow, has the value of Kiora plummeted recently. What was once a $20 card is now $8.50…and she’s amazing for this deck. Her first ability is very useful because she nullifies their best creature every turn. The second ability is amazing to draw yet MORE cards and then dump extra land to ramp to Dig, Villainous Wealth, or Necropolis Fiend. Her ultimate is an inevitable win condition. She’s pretty sweet.
Villainous Wealth: I want a full playset of these guys because I think this card could be the real deal. It’s an absolute game breaking spell. Yes, it’s greedy, yes it’s expensive…but you only need to hit one and the game just about ends on the spot because it attacks them on an axis that they likely aren’t expecting. Look at the deck…it looks like it wants to beat down with the Vizier, the Mauler, or the Fiends, but one of these for 6 or 7 totally changes the perception of the game. Add in the fact that it is about $0.50 a card as well and you have a budget all-star.
Dig Through Time: Well, this let’s you assemble EXACTLY that piece you were missing. What more needs to be said. It is an awesome card. It is not cheap at $7.50 to $15 a card…but it is well worth it.
Interpret the Signs: I have to admit, I stumbled across this and love it. With all the very high casting costs in this deck you can hit this for 6, 7, 8 or even 9 cards without much trouble! That’s bonkers. And at a mere $0.15 a card is just perfect mass card draw for this sort of deck.
Sultai Charm: Ummm…Removal. Nuff said.
Scout the Borders: This acts as card filtering AND as a ritual type effect because it dumps itself and 4 more cards in your yard…meaning that you are most of the way to casting Treasure Cruise by turn 3 and turning things up to high gear. You don’t need too many of them, but a pair seems like the right number.
If you are really keen on playing this deck it would be mighty easy to get a few more pricey treats for this deck. Currently the price tag for this deck is running somewhere shy of $75…but there are lots of pricey treats to sub in that will drive the price tag way up.
The obvious place to start is with 4 Polluted Delta. That’s $80 in Delta’s. Sure, they thin your deck, feed your Delve and are generally pretty useful, they are hardly key lynch pins in the strategy. That said, I would love to have a playset of these guys to rock in the deck.
Yavimaya Coast and some more Scry Temples might also be considerations for this deck help improve the mana situation. I’m less convinced on these guys, but the added value of the free scry or more untapped lands might be really helpful.
I would be prepared to entertain a discussion about NOT running the Dig Through Time, not because it is a bad card, but because Interpret the Signs might be the better spell. This deck is usually looking for just mass card draw and Interpret the Signs is a sleeper pickup that could be insane. I would need to test both options.
I could TOTALLY make a case to sub out the Viziers for a pair of Sidisi…and with her bring in a couple of Whip of Erebos as well and emulate the Sidisi Whip decks out there. There is no doubt that it would be a powered down version, because it lacks the Hornet Queen or the Soul of Innistrad, but it could be pretty potent.
There are a number of treats from Fate Reforged that I might be prepared to try out in this deck but there aren’t an over-abundance of them. I would be willing to splash around with Temporal Trespass because any time you can grab an extra turn it seems busted. Also, Torrent Elemental can totally be game breaking because of its ridiculous ability AND the fact that it can be cast from exile if you Delved it away. While the rest of the Sultai cards look interesting they don’t really do what this deck wants to do and so these will be about the only things I would be looking to experiment with.
You can’t afford to be too cautious with this deck. As much as this deck wants to get to the later stages of the game to try and use more of its resources, you are in a race, not with your opponent, but with yourself. The fact remains that you could be in real danger of decking yourself without much effort, so once you get a foothold and can leverage out some heavy hitters you need to make good and close out the game. Your graveyard is absolutely a resource that is there to be utilized so don’t hesitate, but you need to be mindful of how quickly you burn through your cards. Otherwise, the deck is super fun and able to do some truly ridiculous things and accelerate to get to some mighty powerful spells.
So, if you are looking for something pretty fringe to try at a FNM, or just kicking around with your buddies around the Kitchen table, this sort of Budget Sultai brew might be right down your alley.
Thanks for reading…and as always keep it fun, keep it safe…keep it casual.
By Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @bgray8791 on Twitter
The Khan is here! The Khan is here! Ok…maybe not quite…but that’s what I wanted to yell when I finally had a chance to crack some Khans and play with the new shiny toys. Oh boy! Oh Boy! Oh Boy! I’ll spare you waxing poetically about Khans and let’s get to the good stuff.
So, my initial reaction to this pack is BOOOO…nothing crazy sweet in this pack, but it is pretty reasonable and offers some interesting choices for cards and a tough first pick. Having not had a ton of limited experience with this set I’m working a bit in a vacuum, but I still have an idea about where I would go.
Let’s start with the rare and while the Deflecting Palm has proven to be very good in Jeskai tempo decks in Constructed, it is by no means a slam dunk for Draft. It will very likely sit dead in your hand in many games, if you draw it, and even once you do it does little to impact the board. Now, there will absolutely be situations where it is the best card you could have hoped to pull, but most of the time will be unless you’re on the Jeskai game plan and can trigger a load of Prowess triggers. I won’t discount this card from this pack, but it isn’t an automatic slam first pick.
Amongst the uncommons we have a couple of really interesting cards. Let’s start with the Charm because these are all very powerful. All three modes of this are borderline bananas and the sheer versatility of this card makes me want to jump on board. Yes, it is 3 different mana symbols to cast it, but the options this can present are remarkable. Also, with the wide range of mana fixing in this set like the common Refuge cycle, Banners, and Tri-lands (and forget about those fetches) you could easily pull this off.
Sultai Flayer is a 3/4 for 4 mana and is very versatile. While the name claims it is a Sultai creature, it can also synergize very nicely with the Temur clan because of all the 4 toughness creatures it seems to have kicking around. Gaining 4 life is pretty significant and big creatures tend to have a bit of a bulls-eye on them, so you may as well reap a little benefit from it. The 3/4 for 4 mana is also pretty efficient and gives you something to exert some good board presence.
Goblinslide is not something I’m really keen on because I don’t really want to play that has no impact on the board when I cast it, needs other pieces to trigger it (like non-creature spells) and then STILL pay 1 mana to get the Goblin token. It has its applications, but I’m not lining up for this one.
Shambling Attendants gets my attention because a 3/5 with Deathtouch is pretty solid. The casting cost on this one is not ideal, and even with the Delve it makes for a tough sell, but something this large with deathtouch basically shuts down your opponent because they will be unlikely to be keen to trade with the attendant. A little pricey, but will get a good solid look based on the impact it can have on the board.
Archer’s Parapet gets my attention pretty quickly because it is a way to help bust a board stall situation. Two mana for 0/5 is totally doable and gives you a solid barrier to hide behind while you set up your board. The fact that you can use it to deal damage in the later game is a nice bonus. The black activation is not a big drawback due to all the fixing in this set, but it is something to keep in mind as you move through your draft.
Rite of the Serpent. Well, Well…6 mana removal is back. You’ll play this and it will likely get drafted mid-round because removal is always at a premium. The thing that I like most about this card is that you get a sweet bonus of a Snake token if you take out a creature with a +/1+1 counter on it. That’s some nice value, even if it is conditional.
Weave Fate is the Divination for this set, but might be slightly better because it is at instant speed. Blue decks will want this and will be happy to grab it and play it on their opponent’s end step all game long.
Tusked Colossodon is a massive Green fatty for 6 mana. I remember when Craw Wurm was the big dumb Green fatty for 6…this guy is a significant upgrade. You won’t want this guy early but to grab him later in the round as a big defender or just a way to trigger Ferocious will earn this guy his stripes.
Mardu Banner and Swiftwater Cliffs sort of serve the same role of enabling the fixing in this set with so many demands on your mana base. The fact that these are readily available in just about every pack is good news and may mean that both of these are available later in the round. However, don’t be surprised to see these guys start disappearing earlier and earlier as people fight over the mana they want/need.
Swift Kick is an interesting take on the Green “fight” style of removal. Instant speed, and getting +1/+0 could mean you take out their creature, but you are likely working out a trade at best and leaving you down a card because they lose their creature…and you just traded your creature and a spell to do it. Also, 4 mana for this sort of effect is pretty expensive, particularly when Savage Punch is in this same set at 2 mana. This is acceptable and does see play, but it isn’t high on my list of priorities.
Rush of Battle has all the trappings of being just like Sanctified Charge except Charge is an Instant and grants First Strike and not Lifelink. The key is the Instant speed and First strike because they tip the scales and make Sanctified Charge terrific as your whole team just runs over your opponent. Rush of Battle is a sorcery, so needs to be played before combat is declared in order to even have effect, but the LifeLink doesn’t guarantee that your boys win in combat the way that Charge almost certainly ensured it. You will rarely run this and only if you are desperate for playables or ways to trigger Prowess.
Cancel is a perfectly reasonable counter spell in most formats and this set is no different. The problem becomes where do you prioritize it? I would argue that it is a mid-round pick for me, and mostly as insurance to make sure that I am packing some counter magic, but I may find that it slides further down the pick order as the format evolves.
My first pick out of this pack is quite seriously the Sultai Charm because I like the versatility of the spell and all three modes are very strong. The casting cost is a little prohibitive, but there is loads of fixing in every pack and by selecting it first you can craft your deck to support all three colours if that is the route you intend to take. However, even if you don’t play Sultai because the colours aren’t overly open, you are at least assured that you won’t have to face this down as you move through your rounds. I had considered Deflecting Palm and opted for the Charm because it is just more useful in more situations than Deflecting Palm, which is really only good in a couple of situations.
Well, there we have it as we move into the new world that is Khans draft limited and things look sweet. Even with this pack, which is pretty marginal, has a bunch of really interesting options to consider when evaluating the cards in the pack. I’m really excited for what Khans is going to offer the draft environment and help freshen up the Limited environment. I can’t wait to get my first crack at the format and see what the draft feels like to play first hand.
Thanks very much for once again reading this week and I can’t wait to see what Khans offers us as the draft and constructed formats continue to evolve and emerge. Thanks very much and may you open nothing but Mythic rares.
by Bruce Gray – Casual Encounters @bgray8791 on Twitter
This sturdy box holds 2,000+ cards and is available at your local games store for an MSRP of about $20. Here’s what you get :
Original Sultai Charm card art illustrated by Mathias Kollros with the new alternate art illustrated by Ryan Lee.
|Set Name||Khans of Tarkir|
|Block||Set 1 of 3 in the Khans of Tarkir block|
|Number of Cards||269|
|Prerelease Events||September 20-21, 2014|
|Release Date||September 26, 2014|
|Launch Weekend||September 26-28, 2014|
|Game Day||October 18-19, 2014|
|Magic Online Prerelease Events||October 3-6, 2014|
|Magic Online Release Date||October 6, 2014|
|Magic Online Release Events||October 6-22, 2014|
|Pro Tour Khans of Tarkir||October 10–12, 2014|
|Pro Tour Khans of TarkirLocation||Honolulu, Hawaii, USA|
|Pro Tour Khans of TarkirFormats||Swiss:
|Official Three-Letter Code||KTK|
|Initial Concept and Game Design||Mark Rosewater (lead)
Mark L. Gottlieb
and Ken Nagle
|Final Game Design and Development||Erik Lauer (lead)
and Adam Prosak
with contributions from Matt Tabak
|Languages||English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish|
|Available in||Booster Packs, Intro Packs*, Event Deck*, Fat Pack*
(* – Not available in all languages)
(Magic Online only available in English.)
Khans of Tarkir is going to be a large set—small set—large set block structure (like Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored, with a special consideration for Limited and “a time travel element” yet to be revealed.
Tarkir itself is a plane of five warring clans, each worships a different aspect of the plane’s (now extinct) dragons.
Abzan Houses – , Aspect: Endurance, Khan: Anafenza, Symbol: Scales, Theme: Control
Jeskai Way – , Aspect: Cunning, Khan: Narset, Symbol: Eye, Theme: Tricks
Mardu Horde – , Aspect: Speed, Khan: Zurgo Helmsmasher, Symbol: Wings, Theme: Aggro
Sultai Brood – , Aspect: Ruthlessness, Khan: Sidisi, Symbol: Fang, Theme: Resource manipulation
Temur Frontier – , Aspect: Savagery, Khan: Surrak Dragonclaw, Symbol: Claws, Theme: Midrange fatties