December 30, 2016

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Budget Brew: Frontier Atarka Red

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!


Frontier as a format was created by MTGSalvation user “BillowPillow”, and is also sometimes called “Modern-Lite” or the New Non-Rotating Extended. Everything with the new M15+ card frame is legal. It's all the rage with trend setting Magic players, as Japanese store Hareruya has already started holding weekly events for the format.

There has been numerous postings on Reddit, and other Magic related websites talking about the format and the expected meta-decks, but everything is still a little rocky and a lot of the decks still seem a unrefined. One thing I do know, is that casting Torrential Gearhulk into Dig Through Time sounds like my cup of tea.

That's not really what we're doing this week though. This week, we're going with the old stand by: Aggro. When a format is still fresh, I tend to go aggro and just punch my way through the meta game. I don't think Frontier should be treated any differently.

The deck only runs about $60 at the current TCG Market prices, but it promises to pack a wallop. It has what the Pro-Tour Winning Atarka Decklist has, in that it's low to the ground, fast and can deal massive amounts of burn damage.

Originally when I wrote this article I had a "whoopsie" moment and I thought Thermo-Alchemist didn't have defender. It does.


No matter.

Thermo-Alchemist is still a rock star in this deck simply because it can provide a constant ping. If you play your cards right, you'll be able to block the opponent's attacks, and rock them in their face with plenty of fire and Thermo damage to boot.

Atarka's Command doesn't really shine as a defending card, but giving your creatures haste versus something like the Frontier version of U/W Spirits, might just be what you need to catch you back up if things aren't going your way in a game. It does still Lava Spike in the face, and it'll still reset your Alchemist to get another ping in there.

On the surface, it may not look like the most elegant or most difficult deck to play, but it will win you some games in an early format that may only end up living as long as Tiny Leaders. So, while you and your play group and/or LGS is having Frontier events, why not play something cheap that can pack a punch and win games?


Sideboarding is pretty difficult, since we have no idea what to expect in this early format. Looking over decklists online the format seems to be almost as varied as Modern. There's a lot of limbs and legs flying everywhere trying to figure out what to do, and how to do it.

I'd guess some Tormod's Crypt's would be a good place to start, and maybe some Smash to Smithereens for the expected U/R Artifact resurgence.


The only real upgrades to the deck would be Wooded Foothills and the R/g fetchable land. That's kind of the benefit of playing fast aggro decks!

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!
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Twitter - @maibuddha