March 23, 2016

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Budget Brews: Budget Clue

Welcome to this weeks Budget Brews!

When it comes to Standard we're doing things a little different this week. Right now, Standard is in that weird spot where people are looking ahead at brews with the new set and trying to figure out what's good while at the same time unloading their 'rotatoes'. So, we're going to do the same thing, which sadly means we can't test our special little brew, because while Xmage may have some of the Shadows Over Innistrad cards on it already, they don't have them all.

We've been leaning on the aggressive slant lately with Standard, U/R Prowess, then tokens. This week we're going old school. With an archetype that I'm the most comfortable playing, and that I seek to play regularly: Control. We're looking to bring back an old favourite card of mine Thopter Spy Network. This card saw popularity in U/W Thopter Control by Jeff Hoogland and then there was Jim Davis's U/B Thopter Control when Standard was in the same weird spot after Magic Origins, like it is now.  After 0-3-ing a SCG Regional tournament playing Bant Heroic and losing all three rounds to U/W Thopter Control I ran out and bought the card. They've been sitting in my binder ever since, and I've been itching to play them again.

The time has finally come back when we're going to have a plethora of artifacts on the field again and we're going to be drawing cards and sending in Thopters to ping our opponent to death. Thopter Spy Network is a more expensive Bitterblossom, but it has the upside of drawing you cards, and you don't lose life. Just because Faeries isn't a Tier 1 deck in modern, doesn't mean that Bitterblossom isn't a great card.

But, Craig... what's changed? Why are we going to reliably have artifacts on the field again in order to make Thopter Spy Network work?

Well, I'm going to show you... in Shadow's Over Innistrad, we have a new artifact:

Clues! Clue's are neat little artifacts that we make when we play a card that let's us Investigate. We have a few Investigate enabler's in our deck, we have a plenty really. The big one is our go to turn one play:


In Modern when you play blue, you turn one Serum Visions with this deck, a turn one with this card and you have an artifact on the field that enables you to start reeking value later in the game. It's also an early game chump blocker against whatever aggro deck pops up and you need to keep your precious life points.

Our other enablers:

en_2LGLxEhYMf   en_KxI8VCKNtN   en_y1ndlv1IAU

The last one looks a little deceiving, it's meant to destroy our opponents creatures (and it'll be a blowout vs token strategies) but remember that turn 1 we made? Who says we can't exile our own creature if we need to.

Clues do more than enable our main win condition, they also draw us cards later in the game when we're at a standstill or if we just need to see more cards to find an answer but with our Thopters we should be drawing plenty of cards to have to worry about sac'ing our clues.

In our deck, we also have Hangarback Walker, the creature that was once seen in just about every Standard deck has really fallen out of favour, and put it right in our Budget Brew dollar range, and we're happy to play with a creature that can be both early game pressure and late game finisher.

The deck can go in other directions

While I haven't finalized the sideboard quite yet, I might make this deck have a transformation sideboard into a mill deck. With all the drawing we're able to do and Sphinx's Tutelage still in Standard it's possible to make a half way competitive Mill deck.

Or it's possible to splash Red and make the deck Jeskai for cards like Pia and Kiran Nalaar or Thopter Engineer and don't forget about Ghirapur Aether Grid to ping opposing small creatures, or help your Thopters along to ping your opponent in the face. The idea of splashing Red is exciting, so we're going to go ahead and brew up two decks this week. The U/W Thopter Control, and the Jeskai variant, which will end up being a little more mid-rangey than control.

Either way there's plenty of possibilities to go with this new 'clues' strategy, and we're bound to find them all.

So, apparently U/R Thopters is currently a budget-y deck being played out there, but white removal is so good, and the current build takes a more aggro approach then I want to do. Yeah, there's some great synergy in that deck, but I like playing grindy games.

With that build I could definitely see swapping some more control cards in for some of those creatures and some white spells, and calling it a day, but the Treasure Cruise it has in there tells me the deck isn't really rotation proof, so there's another reason to brew up a new version....

No sideboard for our pre-rotation brews since we have no idea what the meta is going to be like yet, and that kind of dictates what our sideboard looks like. It's possible that the Jeskai version sideboards into a more U/W heavy control build, with the Aether Grids, but I'm not sure yet.

In other news, I have started to stream! I get on mostly on night, but plan on doing some random day streams when I'm able. I have a full schedule posted on Twitch and I look forward to getting some viewers! Right now I play strictly over Xmage, but am going to try to join the CardHoarder Network so I can borrow cards and play competitive Magic over MTGO.

Thanks for joining me while I untap the multiverse, and I look forward to brewing up something for next week!

Have an idea for something you'd like me to brew up? Give me a shout in the comments! You can also follow me on Twitter @maibuddha, Reddit /u/maibuddha, or you can join my Facebook group!