-spooky- returns at long last to bring you the latest in budget Legacy brews!
With card prices blasting off into the stratosphere, Magic is becoming more and more difficult to budget. To keep up, we must either adapt, or stop playing the game. Enter super budget competitive Magic; despite the recent price hikes that now plague the game, the following decks still give us a fighting chance.
Deck Name: Quillspike Combo
Deck Type: Combo
Cost: $55 USD
Not many mono-green combo decks exist, but of those that do, this is probably the most cost-effective. Normally creature-based combos are too easy to disrupt (thanks to the "dies to removal" problem,) but we don't have that problem with this list. With its protection, three hard tutors, and combo pieces, this deck sports some hardcore consistency.
|Quillspike ComboMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards|
3 Devoted Druid
1 Elvish Herder
4 Elvish Mystic
2 Fyndhorn Elves
4 Llanowar Elves
1 Sylvan Safekeeper
4 Green Sun's Zenith
4 Living Wish
4 Ranger's Guile
4 Seedling Charm
4 Sheltering Word
4 Worldly Tutor
1 Dryad Arbor
Quillspike + Devoted Druid
Seedling Charm + Quillspike
Sheltering Word + Quillspike
Green Sun's Zenith + Dryad Arbor or Sylvan Safekeeper or Elvish Herder
The combo is simple. Combine Quillspike and Devoted Druid to put infinite power and toughness into a very large and very angry porcupine. Your ten copies of Llanowar Elves ensure the speed of the combo, and on top of that, your Druid makes mana--so the combo speeds up the combo.
Like any combo deck, consistency is everything. That's why this deck runs Green Sun's Zenith - which also acts as mana acceleration with Dryad Arbor, - Worldly Tutor, and Living Wish. You will almost never play a game where you can't gather all of your combo pieces. So much creature-searching also allows us to run some silver bullets in Sylvan Safekeeper for protection and Elvish Herder for higher killing potential. In addition, Living Wish opens the door for some killer sideboard choices (see below).
Because of the way the combo works, removal has a lesser effect on you. If your opponent tries to Swords to Plowshares your Druid, you just combo off and attack. If they Swords your Quillspike, you laugh and gain infinite life. However, having protection is still a good idea. Ranger's Guile is perfect, since it's essentially a one-mana instant hexproof spell that gets through all targeted removal, even Abrupt Decay. Sheltering Word works the same, with the added bonus of being able to gain you infinite life, just like an opponent's Swords to Plowshares would. And then there's Seedling Charm. It's first ability isn't very relevant, but we play it for the other two. Giving your infinite-power porcupine trample will guarantee a blocked kill. Regenerating one of your combo pieces means you are immune to two of the most common removal spells in the format: Abrupt Decay and Lightning Bolt.
Of course, changes could always be made. I like the idea of replacing the two Fyndhorn Elves with Elvish Spirit Guides or Lotus Petals to increase speed even more, but I don't know exactly how strong this would be. Ditching two more Forest for a full play set of either mana-boost would not be out of the question either. I could also see splashing black in the deck, to add discard and sideboard options. This would mean access to Abrupt Decay. At the same time, these options would increase the price of the deck, and it would be slower if black were added.
Aggro decks might be a little fast for you, and their removal could be a problem. Of course, this all depends on what the removal is, and how much protection you see. Adding in protection like Avoid Fate and Sylvan Safekeeper will help increase your chances of surviving removal. You can also Wish for protection creatures, so keep some in the board. Krosan Grip and similar spells could deal with equipment. Because you lose all your power at the end of each turn, Meekstone has serious potential.
Against control you have those same protection options and more. Autumn's Veil, Guttural Response, Gaea's Herald, Insist, and Savage Summoning all ensure your creatures break through counter-magic, with the Herald being a great Wish target. Cards like Defense Grid and Leyline of Lifeforce are also possible choices.
Combo is probably your biggest hurdle. Basically, you have to kill them before they kill you. Thorn of Amethyst can slow things down for your opponent with little recoil. Heartwood Storyteller might help you find a Mindbreak Trap, but that is likely out of the question. Faerie Macabre, Loaming Shaman, and artifact-based graveyard hate can help against graveyard combo decks. Sylvan Primordial, Terastodon, and Ensnaring Bridge also help against Show and Tell. Another option is to sideboard out all of your protection for some speed cards like Lotus Petal, with the hopes that you can just outrace them.
All-around useful Wish targets include the two combo pieces (obviously,) Hall of the Bandit Lord, Miren, the Moaning Well, Soaring Seacliff, Sejiri Steppe, Tower of the Magistrate, Bojuka Bog, and Reclamation Sage. Worldspine Wurm is also attractive as it ensures that you never deck out should you gain infinite life. Each other card should be self-explanatory, and with great potential in various situations.
Deck Name:W/U Rest in Peace
Deck Type: Control / Combo
Cost: $90 USD
After checking the prices on Rest in Peace, Energy Field and Helm of Obedience, I thought I might be able to build a decent W/U Rest in Peace control deck for a normal $250 Squandered Resources article... so naturally, I was blown away when I was able to put together a respectable list for only $90 USD!
|W/U Rest in PeaceMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards|
2 Detention Sphere
4 Energy Field
3 Helm of Obedience
4 Rest in Peace
1 Sacred Mesa
4 Spell Pierce
4 Supreme Verdict
4 Swords to Plowshares
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Glacial Fortress
1 Kor Haven
4 Seachrome Coast
Rest in Peace + Energy Field or Helm of Obedience
There are two major combos that Rest in Peace provides. The first is RIP with Energy Field. When active, this combo prevents you from ever taking damage. This is due to RIP's removal being a replacement effect. Nothing ever hits the graveyard when RIP is in play, so Energy Field never leaves play as a result of its own drawback. The second combo is with Helm of Obedience. Helm is worded in such a way that causes it to repeat its milling ability infinitely as long as nothing hits the graveyard. Simply activate the mill with a RIP in play and then watch your opponent flip their deck over with a defeated look on their face. So you have a permanent stall combo and an instant win combo all in one deck. Just try to deny that uber. Just try.
Ponder and Preordain provide card selection, helping you find combo pieces and protection for them. Your removal is pretty standard. Four Swords to Plowshares is expected, and four Supreme Verdict ensures that you never have to worry about being able to wipe the board. Finally, Detention Sphere extends your reach to permanents like planeswalkers. And never leave home without Kor Haven: it has proven its worth many times over the years.
Disruption is fairly standard, as well. Spell Pierce gives you an early-game presence, and Counterspell offers hard counter-magic for later on. Both of these can be used to protect your RIP combos, as well as your back-up kill, Sacred Mesa. Enlightened Tutor would be great for the list should you already own it, or are willing to shell out the extra cash.
Against aggro decks, you should be ahead of the game. If you have trouble, additional removal in the forms of Path to Exile and Day of Judgment can help. Even something like Ensnaring Bridge can keep them from hitting your life points too many times. Ensnaring Bridge is also great against some combo match-ups that rely on combat damage. Aegis of Honor is great against Burn decks if you can find it, but Circle of Protection: Red does the job.
Control mirrors are rough. Cards like Defense Grid can help your combo resolve, but beyond that and additional counter-magic you don't really have too much. Dispel can be your best friend, and Divert can turn the tides when things start Decaying Abruptly.
Combo decks should go down fine. You have the graveyard hate options you always have. Don't forget that Dredge and Reanimator exist; they prey on unprepared metas. Additional counter-magic always helps too, and you can even throw in cards like Arcane Laboratory, Curse of Exhaustion, Eidolon of Rhetoric, and Rule of Law for Storm.
Deck Name:Boros Aggro
Boros Aggro is a R/W weenie deck that backs up its fierce creatures with great burn and removal. Goblin Guide was included, but thanks to a recent price increase - $8 turned into $25 - I had to replace it. Still, the deck packs a punch, and will always be a choice for those of us who like this sort of thing.
|Boros AggroMagic OnlineOCTGN2ApprenticeBuy These Cards|
4 Dryad Militant
4 Figure of Destiny
4 Goblin Legionnaire
2 Isamaru, Hound of Konda
4 Keldon Marauders
4 Vexing Devil
4 Boros Charm
4 Forked Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Lightning Helix
4 Path to Exile
4 Battlefield Forge
4 Clifftop Retreat
Boros Aggro is what you would expect it to be. Use the best burn you can find in red, while you hit with the best weenies from both colors. Vexing Devil is your hardest hitter, and would be complimented well with Goblin Guide should you already have some. Send them out early and let them do what they love. They're the most expensive cards in the deck, but are well worth the cost. Dryad Militant is a Savannah Lions that makes life harder for Tarmogoyf, Nimble Mongoose, and some graveyard-based strategies. Figure of Destiny gives you a mana outlet, should you get flooded. Keldon Marauders gives you a powerful two-drop creature that has some level of guaranteed damage. Finally, Goblin Legionnaire is a decent two-drop that gives you some reach for killing delvers or punching through tough defenses. I considered some number of Thalia, but decided against it. We rely heavily on burn, and I don't think her taxing effect is as effective as it could be in this list.
The spell list looks like you thought it would. Lightning Bolt is the standard of all burn spells, and so it is included. If you can afford or already own Chain Lightning, then it is a great addition to your suite. If not, the list includes Forked Bolt, which has extra value in a creature-heavy deck.
Lightning Helix can give a huge six-point life swing in your favor, and has great versatility. Kill a delver and gain back the life that it took, or finish off the opponent who is just barely hanging on. Path to Exile is your key removal and was chosen over its more popular counterpart due to the aggressive nature of the deck. We want to aggro and burn-out opponents as quickly as possible. Giving them their life back with Swords is counterproductive, to say the least.
All your burn and removal should lay waste to most creature-based decks. If you think you need more, go ahead and add more. Swords to Plowshares is still available, as is Condemn, Searing Blood, and pretty much every other burn spell you can think of.
Control decks will have a hard time with cards like Oblivion Ring and Council's Judgment getting rid of Jace and friends. Aura of Silence can help in prison situations. You have no counter-magic, but Grand Abolisher and Vexing Shusher can make sure your spells resolve if it becomes an issue.
Silence, Rest in Peace, Orim's Chant, and graveyard hate are all combo-killers. Lets also not forget the hate bears, like Thalia and Ethersworn Canonist. Having bodies on your hate works great in aggro decks, as you can present a clock and a cheese repellent at the same time.
Man, I do like these lists! This isn't about what I like though! Feel free to let me know how much you love or hate them. The price increases, coupled with "real life" stuff, has really slowed down my writing (as many of you have noticed,) but I'm still here, brewing and playing as often as the Magic gods allow. As always, questions, concerns, and criticisms are more than welcome. Head to the comment section to tell me what's up!
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On the RW Aggro deck, do you see a use for Monastery Swiftspear? With 20 burn spells it should go reliably to 2/3, which is great for R.
Speaking of Prowess, Seeker of the Way is nice in a drawn out game thanks to lifelink, but probably not aggressive enough.
Thanks for the article anyways, hope to read more soon
About a two years ago, I tried to brew quillspike-devoted druid combo for modern. Unfortunately, tutors like summoners pact and chord of calling were way too expencive.
Seeing this article forces me to try that againg, since both cards are reprinted.
I also like appreciate how well your decks can scale up if you are fortunate enough to own a few more cards.