January 5, 2017

Image Credit:

Budget Brews Revisited.

Howdy Budget Brewers! It's that time of the week for us to take a gander at some of the more budget options we can play at our local FNM's. While our main goal is ultimately to just have some fun, it's all gravy if we're able to win some matches as well. It's true, janky combo's are my bread and butter but I've been known to sprinkle in a dash of control or a smidgen of aggro. Then, sometimes a smattering of something in between the two. We tackle new and exciting ways to play that's easy on our wallet, and can have some fun at the local level!

This week we're going to do something a little different and take a look at some of the past Budget Brews I've done. After having played the decks at tournaments I'm able to improve on them. Also, because some cards being reprinted like Ghostly Prison), they are now more affordable and can be included in my Budget Brews.


This deck I've played twice recently. I played it once during FNM with my only real win-con being Pyrite Spellbomb. Despite this, I was able to come in 3rd place out of 12 players. The deck is not something I would want to take to a larger tournament, well at least not using only Spellbomb as my sole win condition. The deck was exhausting to play, and even after 4 rounds I wasn't sure I had it in me to play with the deck anymore. I still have it sleeved up of course, just in case the mood strikes.

The Original List:

Once I had it built in paper and was able to goldfish it a few times, I knew I had to change a few things. First Thoughtcast had to go. I love drawing cards as much as the next guy, but sometimes you just don't have enough artifacts on the field.

The other card I quickly fell out of love with was Etherium Sculptor. Playing all of our cheap artifacts for free, does have it's advantages, but one of the strengths of the deck is that it turns all of our opponents removal spells into dead cards. They're happy to point them at this guy, and all of our value is lost. It also, doesn't really do much besides sit there.

What to play instead?

Having 4 open slots gave me some wiggle room to play around with. If you look at the more expensive builds of the deck they all usually play some number of Mox Opal. This card is clearly out of our budget. Though truth be told, in my paper deck I have 1 so far and am looking to add a second. In it's place, I slotted in 2x Mind Stones. It ramps us when we need it and it can draw us a card when we're digging for a way to actually win the game.

With the other two open slots I put in a third Conjurer's Bauble. Graveyard hate is a real thing right now in Modern and being able to put Pyrite Spellbomb or whatever else you may need on the bottom of your deck in response to a Rest in Peace or a Scavenging Ooze activation may just help you win the game.

I also decided a second Codex Shredder would be nice for the fourth slot. Just to help us loop things more, and I've found milling the opponent can sometimes be beneficial.

Finally, Pyrite Spellbomb as fun as it is looping a million activations of this 2 damage burn artifact is, it's just too much. Banefire is much easier to pull off and win the game with.

Playing the Deck

To give you an idea of what it is like playing the deck, I was playing versus Melira Company and we went to time. We were in turns and I had turn 2 and 4. Thanks to a well timed Scavenging Ooze from my opponent, I wasn't able to just loop Codex Shredder and Faith's Reward for the win. So, I had to play out different ways to keep the “combo” going for 20 minutes as I sealed the win. All while everyone else in the shop stared angrily as I did this to them.

The second time I've played this, I switched to the faster win-con of Banefire. I used it in 3 rounds of a multi format tournament where I went 2-1 losing to Naya Zoo, who just had a faster draw than I had.

Final Decklist:

Moving Forward

Moving forward with the deck, I don't think much is going to change. As I mentioned previously, I'm going to be putting in some number of Mox Opals because I've fallen in love with the deck and think it's a pretty good rogue deck that can win.

One thing that slots easily into the deck though? Whir of Invention. Wow. I first saw the card thanks to Conley Woods (eggs aficionado) on Twitter. I knew I would need to get my hands on some when they come out so I could test the card in the deck. How many to use, or where it slots in? That, I'm not sure yet.

Pillow Fort

Looking back at my original decklist, I'm glad that Ghostly Prison was reprinted to drop the price of the card into the dirt. I couldn't imagine playing this deck without the card. My original list, was way off from an optimal list.

Looking back, I'm not impressed.

What to play Instead?

I battled with a mono-white version of this deck leaving the counter-spells in the dust and focusing more on Journey to Nowhere type effects and just locking my opponent out from ever being able to attack me. Seriously, one game my opponent needed 34 mana to be able to pay for all the Ghostly Prison effects I had in play, and I just couldn't find my win-con.

Here's the list I took to battle with.

Playing the Deck

Playing this deck can be hilarious good fun as long as your opponent has a sense of humor. Otherwise, it's miserable for the pair of you. Round 4 in FNM I was playing versus Slivers, and you could tell my opponent was not having fun, or even cared to find any fun in the situation.

This is fine of course. I accept this is going to happen when I pick this sort of deck up. I still took my win.

In game one with this this deck, it's best to keep a hand with early lock pieces so you can set your fort up before it's too late. Since Modern is mostly dominated with linear aggro-combo creature based decks, this is a safe bet. From there, you have to judge your hand and find the specific lock pieces you're going to need. This deck does auto-lose to some, and is a meta call, but if your meta is right it's a great pick.

Moving Forward

A new way for this deck to win? Starfield of Nyx. This card is a beast in this sort of deck. It helps catch you up when you're behind, and if you're already ahead and have the lock well in place, it can just end games. I ended up coming in third losing only to Naya Zoo this time as well. Game 1, everything went my way where as game's 2 and 3, I either flooded or didn't have any lands.

This deck I really enjoyed playing, but be warned, many of your opponents might not find it enjoyable to play against. The one change? I may end up making it G/W for more of a G/W Enchantress build.

I've been playing variations of this list on X-Mage for some time now, and always have a blast. You gain card advantage using Eidolon of Blossoms which doesn't die to every piece of removal in the format, while Courser of Kruphix lets you play lands off the top of your library.

The duo of Utopia Sprawl and Arbor Elf also helps you ramp into your pillow fort quicker giving you extra mana to build an even stronger prison, faster.

Standard Storm

This was my original idea for the deck. It's basically Eggs in the Standard format. Do nothing until you're able to chain together a few things to win the game. In the original article I also gave some idea's for some different builds of the deck. When it came time to battle in a 3 round multi-format tournament that included 3 rounds of standard?
I chose mono-blue.

Overall I went 2-1 with the deck losing only to R/W Vehicles.

Playing the Deck

Honestly, playing the deck was a bit boring. It didn't really feel like playing something like Eggs. I spent a lot of turns just sitting there and hoping to either Anticipate or Impulse via Glint-Nest Crane into our win-con.

The deck did win me some games and it is dirt cheap to throw together. So if you're like me and not really a Standard player, but need something to play? I'd recommend something along the lines of this.

Moving Forward

There's nothing really to change with the deck, unless you wanted to throw in some Hedron Archives somewhere, but I don't plan on playing the deck anymore. I'm not really a standard player, and if I was to play standard again, I'd probably go back to playing some sort of Thermo-Alchemist brew.

Thanks for joining me while I try to Untap the Multiverse!

Have an idea for something you'd like me to brew up? Give me a shout in the comments!
Or in the usual social media ways -
Twitter - @maibuddha