Squandered Resources: Super Budget Super Series 7



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Introduction:
It's the end of the year! We've been through a lot this year, and after roughly thirty decks being showcased in these articles, it's time to end it all with a bang. This time of year is not only one that we take as an opportunity to look forward, but also to reflect and look back. Because of this, I will not only be presenting you guys with a few new decks to look at, but I will also be reflecting on some of the most popular and powerful of the year. I will discuss any changes that I have made since writing about them, and any potential future changes as well. How does the top five sound to you? Good? Okay, let's get started!

The Year's Favorites:

I cannot tell you how difficult it was to choose even five of my favorite decks of the year. After looking through all of them, I had around twelve that I wanted to talk about! Of course, that would mean making this article at least a two part series, which I am not looking to do. So, after much deliberation, I give you my five favorite decks of the year (in no particular order).

Phasenought

This mono blue combo deck can be found in my Super Budget Super Series 5 article. More than anything, what makes this deck stick out to me is the price tag. Never would I have imagined that a turn two 12/12 Trample would ever cost $85. What's more, the deck is one color, and that color happens to be what is widely considered the best color in magic! Counter magic, the best draw manipulation in the game, and some awesome flair points coming from Vision Charm, all make this one a definite keeper and a definite favorite.

Nowadays, as much as I hate to do it, I think I would play Delver of Secrets in place of the Jace's Phantasms. As much as I wanted to make the Illusion work, the Charm and Thought Scour are just not enough to make it worth playing over a flying Wild Nacatl. This means we can replace Scour with Preordain, giving us even more control over what we draw and improving consistency. Vapor Snag is another card I've looked at replacing, but I'm still not sure if that is the right choice, or even what I would replace it with if I did decide to go that route. Maybe in the months to come I'll find something. Even then, the deck sits comfortably in this list, with some decent tournament experience behind it at the hands of some of you both online and in the real world. If you have not given the deck a try, I really suggest you do. At a price like that there really isn't much to lose.

Landless Dredge

Landless Dredge is a deck that was included in what was possibly my post popular article ever. I had a tough time picking between this and the ever popular Oops All Spells deck that has been getting some good attention ever since it placed 2nd at a Starcity Games tournament a few months back. This attention however, is exactly why I chose to include Dredge in my list. I really feel that this deck simply does not ever get the attention it deserves. For a measly $150 you get what I believe to be one of the most powerful meta decks in the format. In the past, many would be quick to point out that the resilience and consistency that this graveyard based combo deck boasted came at the price of its cousin's intense speed. Such criticisms are completely moot now. Playing four Balustrade Spy means you have a very real chance to combo out and kill your opponent as fast as turn two!

Multiple top placings at SCG's, with lists as close as 74 of my suggested 75, prove the power of the deck. When you can go to an SCG and win back the cost of your deck without even making Top 8, you know you've found a bargain. It may be because Dredge was my first real Legacy deck ever, it may be because of my love of combo, but whatever the reason, Landless Dredge is certainly one of my favorite budget decks of 2013.

Mono-Blue Tempo

As you can imagine, my Blue and Budget Legacy article brought with it a lot of...well, blue decks. Among them was Brandon Semerau's Mono-Blue Tempo list, which he took to a Top 8 finish at StarCityGames Minneapolis. Since writing about this deck, I have had a number of you email me, telling me how powerful the deck is. I have had a few of you give me details on your high placings at SCG Opens, and I couldn't be happier with the news! It's one thing to hear about someone doing well with a budget deck and then using that as justification to write about it. It's another thing entirely when multiple readers respond to my article to tell me that a deck that costs less than $185 made them money at some of the biggest tournaments in the country.

There's not much that I would change about this one. Daze, Dismember, Archive Trap and Vapor Snag are all in the edge as far as being replaced, but there is not a lot that could actually replace them. Counterspell is an option to consider, but with such a low land count, I'm not sure it would work the way we need it to. Additional Spellstutter Sprite and Preordain are worth considering. Also, with 24 instants and sorceries to cast, it probably wouldn't hurt to pump up the clock with one or two Runechanter's Pike.

Soldier Stompy

When I wrote my White and Budget Legacy article back in May, I never thought I would be able to watch first hand as the Soldier Stompy deck included within marched through an SCG Invitational, dropping only one game due to a deck registration error. That's exactly what happened, however, when long time Magic buddy, fellow Sad Robots team member, and all around silly guy Mack Doyle made it all the way to the final round win-and-in of the SCG Indianapolis Invitational, slinging ridiculously awesome cards like Captain of the Watch and Suppression Field. Alas, it was sad times when Mack was matched up against Chris VanMeter in round nine, who ended the Soldier's fiery run in an extremely close game three. It was almost all worth though, to watch this deck out-race a turn two Griselbrand.

Mack has since started his own Twitch channel (which you can find here), where he plays pretty much every eternal format. He has played with the Soldier Stompy deck and has made some interesting changes worth checking out. He does an awesome job commentating and generally being a pretty entertaining streamer. I stop by as much as I can to berate him, and you probably should too. It's the best way to see a deck like Soldier Stompy in action without leaving the comfort of your own home!

Dark Depths

Last, but certainly not least, is a recent addition to the family of budget decks we have in our library. Dark Depths combo, from my Halloween Special article, holds a special place in my budget heart, if for nothing more than the fact that I found a new use for this!

In all seriousness though, this list, inspired by Gamot Adrien's original list, is a powerhouse. My love for the combo (and my love for H.P Lovecraft) makes this deck a guaranteed winner for me. What's great about the deck, and the combo itself, is that you can go so many different routes with it. For example, there exists a straight G/B version of the deck, which you can watch being played right here by Adrien himself. I've played around a lot with this deck and have tried lots of different changes. Interesting things I've seen other people play are Not of This World to protect Cthulhu and Shizo, Death's Storehouse to prevent blockers. Michael Augustine has also tried his hand at the deck, and as you can see in this deck tech, preferred to go the much faster all-in route with it. What do you think of his version? I'm not sure exactly which list I like best, but I do know I'll be toying with the deck for a while.

Decks:
With the end of what was probably the 900th "end of the year" list you've seen on the Internet this past month, its time to get moving on to something you have not seen yet: new super budget decks! I know you guys really like my super budget decks, so I figured showcasing some new ones would be a great way to end the year. Not only do I have three new decks for you guys, but there is a theme! To be honest, it was all sort of by coincidence, but every deck from this month's article is based on making a bunch of tokens. Gather up as many dice as you can hold, pull out all those tokens that you collected from other people's packs, and find that small bag of weird clear-colored plastic counters, because you're going to need all of them!

Deck Name: B/W Tokens
Deck Type: Aggro
Cost: $80

First on the list is the combination of colors that is probably best known for its token decks. With its synergistic and powerful cards like Zealous Persecution and Cabal Therapy, the token generator with the highest tournament success in the game, and the fact that Sorin, Lord of Innistrad is less than five bucks, I would be crazy not to include B/W Tokens in this article.


Key Interactions-
Cabal Therapy + Sorin, Lord of Innistrad or any other token maker

As mentioned above, what puts B/W tokens ahead of its competition is its combination of synergistic spells, powerful token producers, and annoying disruption. Duress, Cabal Therapy and Tidehollow Sculler keep all of the most powerful spells out of your opponent's hand, while Swords to Plowshares and Smother kill anything that sneaks past them. This ensures that your tokens will not only be at least as strong as anything else on the field, they might be the only things on the field!

Gather the Townsfolk is probably the best two mana token maker that we could have in white thanks to its faithful hour ability, and Midnight Haunting is nice because it makes fliers. The real star of the show though, as we all know, is Lingering Souls. Seen in Esper Blade decks (as well as others) since Tom Martel conjured them up and won a Grand Prix with them back in 2012, this card has more than proven itself in the competitive scene. Here, we are using them just like any other, winning card advantage wars and doing broken things like playing them in the same deck as Cabal Therapy.

Like every token deck, its nice to be able to make our tokens just a little bigger from time to time. Intangible Virtue is the best we can do in the enchantment department, as a +1/+1 buff combined with vigilance means we can increase our clock and worry less about the clock our opponent has on us. Sorin, Lord of Innistrad works in a similar way, his -2 ability giving our guys bonus damage and his +1 ability producing lifelinking tokens for us. Really, if Lingering Souls is the heart of the deck, then Sorin is the soul. Maybe that should be the other way around, though?

Sideboard Suggestions-
You best bet against combo decks is your discard, so it's a good thing that even just in the main deck you are boasting a total of 11 targeted discard spells. From the board you can bring in even more copies of Duress, as well as some Inquisition of Kozilek, making sure your opponent will be leaving the match thinking he's got butterfingers like nobody's business. From white you have access to hate bears like Ethersworn Canonist, and anti-storm spells like Silence. Of course, we cannot forget our obligatory graveyard hate rant. With on-color hate cards like Planar Void, Yixlid Jailer, and Leyline of the Void, as well as every artifact graveyard hate card known to man at your disposal, you have no excuse not to have some kind of answer.

Aggro decks will usually have a rough time getting through all of your blockers, but of course you have to be able to actually answer their threats at some point too. Luckily for us, we are running the two colors of magic with the most efficient removal in the game. Bring in some Path of Exile, Doom Blade, Engineered Plague, Perish, or Day of Judgement and call it a day.

Like any other deck with black, your answer to control is going to usually be your discard, which I describe above. Of course, you can also try things like Pithing Needle, Oblivion Ring, Extirpate, Disenchant and others. It all depends on exactly what kinds of control decks you are looking at.

Deck Name: U/B Tezzeret
Deck Type: Control / Combo
Cost: $85

U/B Tezzeret is a deck that was inspired by the Legacy control deck known as Tezzerator. There are a few differences, however, and overall the deck is much more focused on the awesome Sword of the Meek + Thopter Foundry combo than its cousin. You know what this means right? Tokens!


Key Interactions-
Sword of the Meek + Thopter Foundry
Muddle the Mixture + Sword of the Meek or Thopter Foundry

There really are not too many nuances to this deck. You are playing the two most controlling colors in the game, so you have quite a few ways to say "no" to your opponent. Duress, Spell Pierce, Smother and Muddle the Mixture are all there and all hit from different angles, making sure sure you have an answer to almost anything that can be thrown at you. I like the idea of finding room for Counterspell in the list, but can't really decide what I want to take out. Either way, with all of these spells, combined with Ensaring Bridge, anyone sitting across form you should have a difficult time doing anything they sat down to do.

The main win condition of the deck is, obviously, the Sword of the Meek + Thopter Foundry combo. With both in play, one can sacrifice the Sword to the Foundry, which generates a token, triggering the Sword to come back into play attached to the token. This means you can sacrifice the sword as many times as you have open mana, gaining life and creating flying threats every turn. The combo is very difficult to answer, as one half of it comes back into play for free from the graveyard of its own accord should you ever make another 1/1.

If one third of the strategy is protection, and the other third is the combo itself, you know the rest is a way to find the combo, right? Ponder is a cantrip you have seen in almost every on-color deck I have written about. It finds whatever you are looking for, increases consistency, and is all around a pretty cool dude. Muddle the Mixture is awesome because it serves both as protection for you combo and as a way to find it. Both combo pieces cost two, which means we can transmute to find either piece! Cool eh? Finally, both Tezzerets can find the combo in their own way, and can also serve as win conditions in their own way. I wasn't sure which one I liked more in the deck, as they each have their ups and downs in the shell, so I included both.

To make sure each Tezzeret can be used to their full potential, we have quite a few artifacts in the deck. Artifact lands Seat of the Synod and Vault of Whispers are each included as full playsets for this reason. We also have some great artifact mana acceleration in Dimir Signet and Talisman of Dominance, which help you keep mana open for counterspells and as well as make a Tezzeret happen earlier. Last but not least, another aspect of playing so many artifacts is that we get to take advantage of Academy Ruins, which can rebuild either combo piece should they be lost, or any other key artifact like Ensnaring Bridge.

Sideboard Suggestions-
You are a very artifact based control deck, so your sideboard is going to more or less reflect this. Pithing Needle can come in against many different kinds of decks, but control (to answer planeswalkers and equipment) and combo (to answer mana rocks) are the two big ones. Additional Ensnaring Bridges are great against aggro decks, as are Wurmcoil Engines should you have the money for them. Cursed Totem can neuter all kinds of plays, and traditional hosers like Chalice of the Void and Trinisphere can be brought in against combo. Also, I hear that there are a plethora of graveyard hate artifacts.

You can also bring in some on color traditional hate. Additional discard like Cabal Therapy or Inquisition of Kozilek could be helpful in a few matchups. More black removal, like Go for the Throat, could help against aggro decks. In that light, there are also a few black board wipes like Damnation, Toxic Deluge, Perish, and Engineered Plague that are great at holding back the swarm. Dispel, Swan Song, and Counterspell are cool too. You know, if you feel like saying "no" more than you already do.

Deck Name: R/W Tokens
Deck Type: Control / Aggro
Cost: $100

If you asked me what my favorite card from Gatecrash was, without a second of hesitation I would tell you it was Totally Lost. That card perfectly reflects how I feel 90% of the day. I mean, look at that little guy. Don't you just feel so bad for him? He needs a hug. Now, if you asked me what my second favorite card from Gatecrash was, I would tell you it was Assemble the Legion. Well, maybe not. There's also Enter the Infinite...Yeah, Legion would have to be third. What's that? You say Balustrade Spy was in Gatecrash too? Gatecrash was a cool set, huh? Okay, fine. It doesn't matter what my favorite card in Gatecrash card is, this next deck uses Assemble the Legion. I'm happy about it, you're happy about it, so let's move on, eh?


Key Interactions-
Isochron Scepter + Any instant or sorcery in the deck
Boros Charm + Isochron Scepter or Tokens
Humility + Token makers

I'm actually pretty excited about this deck. As far as token decks go, not very many can compete with the sheer quantity of tokens that this deck will produce. Yes, there is a full play set of Assemble the Legion in this deck. I was not exaggerating when I told you that you would need as many dice as you could carry in order to get through this article.

There are many strengths in this deck, so lets start with the basics. Assemble the Legion is a game-ending card. No, the turn it comes into play won't be the final turn of the game, but very few cards give such immense inevitability as this one. The most popular enchantment removal spell in the format is Abrupt Decay. Do you know what this means for us? It means once our five cost enchantment hits play, it has a high chance of sticking. It also means our opponents have a very high chance of getting trampled underfoot by our mass of soldiers.

Next to Legion, we have a few other token producing cards, namely, Raise the Alarm and Spawning Breath. Both give a small bit of card advantage in their own way. One gives you two creatures for one card, the other acts as a burn spell, mana accelerator, and token maker all in one. Not bad, but what's better? Whelp, if you noticed the four Isochron Scepter in the deck, then you know where this is going. Either token producer being put on a stick means you get either two tokens a turn, or burn and a token every turn. Not too shabby. There are plenty of other cards to put on the stick as well, each great in their own way.

Swords to Plowshares is the format's go-to removal spell, and when you put it on Scepter, your opponent will never see another creature again. Lightning Helix on a stick can also kill creatures, or provide some great reach, all while increasing your survivability thanks to the life gain. Silence is probably the most broken instant to give yourself infinite copies of, but even alone it can be a great pseudo Time Walk. Finally, one of the main reasons to be playing this color combination: Boros Charm. I'm debating playing a full four of this trinket in the main deck, it's just that good. On a stick this charm gives you a great four damage clock, as well as a perfect way to protect your Scepter from Abrupt Decay and other removal spells. Even without the stick you will likely find a use for the charm. It protects all of your tokens from mass removal, serves as a decent burn spell, and provides you with a trolling option of giving a 1/1 double strike just to spite your opponent! What more could you want?

Intangible Virtue goes without saying as a perfect inclusion to the deck. We've been over the card before, so it's probably best not to spend too much time on it. Humility definitely deserves some mention, though. If you have ever sat behind an Elspeth, Knight-Errant while Humility was on the field, you probably thought of yourself as an evil genius, laughing maniacally at the sobbing mess in front of you that claimed to be a worthy opponent. If you have not experienced this, then use your imagination. Now, picture the same scenario, only replace Elspeth with Assemble the Legion. Now you know what true evil is.

Sideboard Suggestions-
The first thing I need to suggest is that, if you are not including a full playset of Boros Charm in the main deck, you should have any lingering copies here in the board. You can be sure that nearly every deck you play against will bring in removal of some kind, and this guy helps snuff those options. The same can be argued for Silence, which is great against combo decks.

Combo decks hate seeing cards like Ethersworn Canonist, and with Assemble the Legion in play, you couldn't care less if you didn't get to play another spell the whole game. Oblivion Ring is your typical Sneak and Show hate, and can also be used against control and their planeswalkers. You also run very few one cost spells, so if you want to play Chalice of the Void or Trinisphere in the board, it probably wouldn't hurt.

Aggro decks hate white removal, so pack on those Path to Exile. Heck I wouldn't blame you for playing some number of Pyroclasm or Day of Judgement either. Sure, they kill your tokens, but it's not like you won't be making more. The same can't be said for you opponent, however. Ghostly Prison is another on color option worth considering if you don't feel comfortable playing board wipes.

Control decks are where things get cool! If you land an Assemble the Legion, you can be pretty sure that things are in your favor. Of course that won't always happen, but for the times that it does, you have a sweet option. Remember Smokestack? Yeah, with Legion out you can tick that puppy up to over 9000. It doesn't matter, you will always be able to pay for it. At the very least, a token maker on Isochron Scepter will make Smokestack playable, and control decks sweat. Other cards to consider are Defense Grid (awesome for keeping your Silence on a stick going through counter magic), Blood Moon (heck, half your non red cards can be played with colorless mana anyways thanks to Scepter) and Sulfuric Vortex.

Conclusion:
So that's it! The last article of the year! Hope it lived up to your expectations. I had a blast writing for all of you this year, and I hope you enjoyed reading all of my articles as much as I enjoyed writing them. Part of reaching the end of a year is thinking about the future, and I can tell you guys that I have some pretty cool plans for next year that I think all of you will enjoy, including writing an entirely new series of articles centered on casual decks right next to Squandered Resources! Excited? I know I am! Anywho, be sure to stop by the comments section. I love hearing from you guys about pretty much anything. Until then, I'll see you all next year!

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