MTG Ramblings

Constantly Improving

Author: Andrew Parnell (page 1 of 4)

Esper Tokens @ SCG $5k aka Liliana has Lifelink!

This past weekend I was lucky enough to get to play in my first ever SCG $5k event. While this is by no means my first tournament of this size (~150 people), it is still always fun to play in these because the competition is pretty high and it is a fantastic learning experience.

For the tournament we piloted the same deck that we won Gameday with a few weeks ago and went 2-2-1 with at a PPTQ. I made a few adjustments to get the deck a little closer to the list that performed well at GP Indianapolis. The main benefits of this build are the increased number of Wingmate Rocs and the card advantage of Painful Truths (this card is VERY good).

Round 1 (0-0) vs. Jeskai Black
The first round of the day was a matchup that I felt pretty good about going into the tournament, Jeskai Black. I knew that their removal package was not well suited against our tokens, and as long as we could deal with their early Jace, Vryn’s Prodigys and Mantis Riders, we should be able to coast to victory. Game 1 went exactly as planned. Our opponent kept a hand with multiple Jaces (which we silkwrapped immediately and some spot removal, which couldn’t answer Secure the Wastes. While we won Game 1 fairly easily, I felt my opponent was playing very slowly, and in hindsight it was my mistake not to call a judge.

Game 2 was a grind. My opponent sided in tons of disruption, snagging a Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and a Secure the Wastes with a pair of Duresses, but they didn’t have many threats of their own. We were able to use Shambling Vents and Knight of the White Orchids to get our opponent all the way to 2 life, but he landed a Tasigur, the Golden Fang which we were not able to deal with, and after 3 activations plus a Jace flip off an Ojutai’s Command, our opponent was able to get back 10 damage worth of burn and simply burn us out with spells. Again, my opponent played very slowly, and although I asked him to play faster, it was my mistake for not calling a judge.

Game 3 began with about 4 minutes off the clock. We kept a very reactive hand and were able to stop our opponent from landing any threats. Unfortunately time was not our friend and we ended up going to turns. It’s never fun to start off a tournament with a draw.

Round 2 (0-0-1) vs. Abzan Aggro
I guess this was my punishment for not calling a judge round 1, but I got to face my second slow opponent in back-to-back rounds. As my buddy said later, “what do you expect when you are matched up against everyone else who also went to time in Round 1?” Fair point, but this opponent was even slower than the first. Game 1 we got absolutely smashed by Heir of the Wilds > Anafenza, the Foremost > Gideon, Ally of Zendikar > Siege Rhino. I conceded after 5 turns, and game 1 STILL took about 20 minutes.

What came next though was completely unexpected. My opponent took a full nine minutes to sideboard. Not only did he not know what cards to bring in, but after he finally did decide, he had to un-sleeve and re-sleeve the cards because his sideboard was not sleeved beforehand. #facepalm Again however, the key error here was on me for not calling a judge.

Round 2 we had a favorable draw, getting our Gideon online first backed up by removal and Secure the wastes. While our opponent kept staying alive one chump blocker at a time, we ended up grinding out a win, again with about 5 minutes left on the clock.

At this point I am getting pretty tilted by two opponents in a row playing incredibly slowly, and I ask my opponent a third time to hurry up. We keep a sketchy hand for game 3 on the draw, and its possible that I was flustered into keeping because of the time, but it’s hard to say. Our opponent lands the Abzan curve again and the match is over before time is called.

Round 3 (0-1-1) vs. WB Allies
Obviously at this point I am not happy – I feel like we are playing pretty well and we could have won both rounds, but instead we are sitting at 0-1-1. Rather than cry about it I decide to buckle down and focus on winning the next 5.

Game 1 we are on the draw against a WB allies deck trying to win off Drana, Liberator of Malakir and a bunch of cheap allies. Armed to the teeth with removal, this matchup is a breeze and without any of the key pieces to the deck they didn’t stand a chance. Once I was able to land a raided Wingmate Roc, the game was sealed.

Game 2 wasn’t much different – my opponent kept a hand full of 1-for-1 removal but that is no match for a Secure the Wastes plus Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. This match wasn’t close.

Round 4 (1-1-1) vs. Esper Tokens
Back up to even and still playing well, we get to play the mirror for the first time ever in a tournament. Our opponent was running the exact 75 from GP Indianapolis, including the manabase, which I firmly believe is suboptimal and have adjusted in my own list. Game 1 we land a Gideon on turn 4 and an Ob Nixilis Reignited on turn 5, to which our opponent focuses all their attention on dealing with Gideon. While I can see what he was thinking, I actually do not believe this is the correct strategy. As powerful as Gideon is, he can be chumped or dealt with in other ways, but if you let Ob Nixilis sit there and +1 every turn, you are just going to be buried in card disadvantage. This game went pretty long, but as expected we drew probably 8 more cards than our opponent due to Ob Nixilis, and we were able to grind out the win pretty easily.

Game 2 wasn’t quite as close as our opponent mulliganed to 5 and we drew all of our sideboard cards, including a Dispel for their Secure the Wastes and a Dragonlord Silumgar for their Gideon.

Round 5 (2-1-1) vs. Jeskai Black
Going into round 5 we get paired up with a 3-1 opponent running a (no joke) 100% foiled version of Jeskai Black – complete with 4 foil Jaces and all foil fetchlands. This was no doubt the hardest match to learn from because we simply got beaten down so quickly.

Game 1 we go double fetchland into Painful Truths, essentially starting at 15 life. Our opponent lands turn 3 Mantis Rider into turn 4 Mantis Rider – leaving us at 6 life when we untap turn 5. We play out a naked Wingmate Roc hoping to block, but a Crackling Doom puts us dead very quickly.

After Game 1 I sideboard into our anti-Mantis Rider strategy, but I choose not to bring in Negates, feeling that while our opponents spells are powerful, most of them are not actually that effective at stopping our deck. However I feel like this is a mistake, as similar to round 1 our opponent is able to point burn spells at our face and rebuy them with Tasigur and Jace. While we are slogging through the ground trying to win off Gideon and removal, our opponent sits back and just burns us out from 12 life.

Round 6 (2-2-1) vs. Abzan Aggro
At this point we are out of the top 8, but I still feel like we have played pretty tightly on the day, and I want to get as much experience as I can from a long tournament like this – I refocus my energy once again and sit down against Abzan Aggro.

Abzan is an odd matchup for our deck because in theory we matchup pretty well against them, but in reality I know we have a losing record against the deck. In Game 1 on the play we land a turn 4 Gideon backed up by tons of removal, and for the first time all day I feel like we are completely in the driver’s seat. Our opponent is on their heels and is forced to use all their resources to try to stop Gideon. Once we Secure the Wastes for 6, the game is over.

Game 2 we keep a removal heavy hand and deal with every threat our opponent puts out. Luckily for us, we draw a Painful Truths to refill our hand with gas while our opponent topdecks the wrong part of their deck, trying to match our Gideons and Ob Nixilis with Heir of the Wilds and Warden of the First Tree. We beat Abzan Aggro fairly easily, and feel really good going into the last round.

Round 7 (3-2-1) vs. 4-color Rally
While the day hasn’t gone perfectly, we can still make Top 32 with a victory and go home with a very respectable 4-2-1 record. I haven’t played much against Rally decks and I know our removal doesn’t match up too well, but I know they also don’t have great answers to Secure the Wastes. My guess would be it’s a pretty even matchup.

Game 1 we go for an early Secure the Wastes and get a quick win off a Gideon Emblem: we simply get our opponent to 0 before they are able to start the Rally shenanigans.

Game 2 we go for the same strategy and it pays off…almost. This was head and shoulders my worst play of the tournament, and not surprising that it came in Match 7 of the day. (Another reason I enjoy these tournaments is to get the practice of the very long days). On about the 8th turn of the game or so, our opponent taps out and we Secure the Wastes with a Sorin, Solemn Visitor. I untap with lethal on board and both a Silkwrap and Stasis Snare in hand. I double-check our opponents board – they can eat a bunch of our tokens, but no matter how they block they go to -1 life, nothing can save them. I go straight to attacks and swing out with everything. Our opponent makes his blocks and we go to damage when my opponent says, “I got to 1.” After triple checking our math over and over I finally realize that my opponent blocked with Liliana, Heretical Healer…which has lifelink. I had two removal spells in hand that could have dealt with Liliana if I had realized this before combat. Rather than going to -1, our opponent gained 2 life off Liliana and stayed alive at 1 life. After eating about half our board, our opponent untaps and casts Rally the Ancestors for a massive amount of creatures. Even with our life totals at a staggering 29-1, I am not able to fight back through triple Rally the Anscestors and all the life our opponent gains off Zulaport Cutthroat.

Game 3 we mulligan to 5 and Duress our opponent and see 3x Rally the Ancestors. Unfortunately our reactive hand full of removal spells cannot do anything against Rally and without putting any pressure of our own, we get completely smashed – a shocking and pretty disappointing defeat in Round 7.

Final Record: 3-3-1 (51st place)
Patrick Chapin explains in Next Level Magic that if you focus your energy in tournaments on playing as perfectly as possible and learning from each mistake you make, you will enjoy Magic much more. While the losses are still tough to take, I try to take this philosophy to heart as much as possible, and it really helps after a day like this. After a long day, we played our matches pretty well overall and recognized every key mistake that we made.

Thanks for reading, now its time to get back to the grind and improving our game however possible.

Parney
twitch.tv/telemokos
twitter.com/_telemokos

Revisiting 5 mistakes from last night’s stream

One of the most crucial ways to improve in Magic is to look back and revisit our mistakes and try to learn from them. This is often difficult, especially when a draft goes well, but it’s important to take the time to see what we could have done better.

Last night on the Monday Nights w/ Parney Stream, we went 3-0 with a blue-white fliers deck, but had to do 35 punt pushups for our mistakes. 10 of these pushups came from mistakes last week, but the other 25 came from 5 huge mistakes made throughout the draft, which we will examine here.

Decklist & Draft Viewer

Mistake #1 – Processors can snag cards underneath Quarantine Field

In the middle of our first match while grinding through a very close game, we mistakenly held a Murk Strider back in our hand for 3 or 4 turns in a row when we really needed to bounce something. My thought process was that due to our opponents 0/6 wall, the 3/2 body wouldnt be super relevant, and I wanted to wait until I could process something, because the bounce would be crucial to get back my Benthic Infiltrator (which had been snagged with Exert Influence). Unfortunately our opponent didn’t have any cards in exile…or so I thought. I had forgotten that we had resolved a Quarantine Field earlier in the game, and so there were 2 exiled cards hidden under the enchantment that could be processed.

Q Field snapshot

they’re hiding

Mistake #2 – Bouncing the non-Smothering Abomination creature makes it sac itself

During our second round our opponent played out a Smothering Abomination alongside a 4/4 creature. We didn’t have any flying blockers at the time, so I was more worried about the Abomination than the random 4/4. I wanted to try to force through some damage and race our opponent, so I used Roil Spout on the Smothering Abomination, leaving his 4/4 in play and getting in some important damage through that turn. I did not even realize at the time that Smothering Abomination must sacrifice a creature during our opponent’s upkeep. If we had bounced the 4/4 instead, our opponent would have untapped and during their upkeep would have been forced to sacrifice the Abomination itself. It’s important to remember all the text on cards and not just shortcut to “Its a 4/3 flier that can draw cards.”

smotheringabomination

this guy…

Mistake #3 – Quarantine Field cannot exile awakened lands

During round 3 our opponent was beating us down with a 3/3 awakened land and a Tide Drifter that we wanted to deal with. Lucky for us we drew into our Quarantine Field! My thoughts: “Perfect, lets see here…tap 6, x=2, exile the Drifter and the …” Well the 3/3 creature is still a land, and thus spells that say “nonland permanent” do not effect them. We almost made the same mistake in game 2, but caught it just in time.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 3.41.23 PM

…oops

Mistake #4 – Counterspells are not removal spells

During the deciding game of Round 3 we were at 1 life but stable, as our 0/6 Fortified Rampart was holding back his 4/4 and we had a Benthic Infiltrator slowly hitting our opponent to zero. We were also both in topdeck mode, so when we drew Horribly Awry with only 2 Infiltrator hits away from the win I was pretty pumped. Our opponent untaps and slams Mist Intruder – a flyer that can deal the last 1 point of damage needed. In my head I had shortcutted Horribly Awry to be a “removal spell for CMC 4 or less” and was so excited that I let the Mist Intruder resolve, waiting to kill it EOT. Of course, Horribly Awry is a counterspell not removal, so it was useless after the spell resolved. We were very lucky to topdeck Murk Strider here, bouncing the Mist Intruder and countering it on the way back down. We nearly threw that match away because of a really obvious error and should be more careful about our mental shortcuts in the future.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 3.48.55 PM

2nd time’s a charm

Mistake #5 – Why is our opponent playing strangely?

During game 2 of round 1, (we had taken game 1) our opponent began playing very defensively. While we didn’t think much of it at the time since it was a very grindy matchup, we should have stopped and thought about what was happening (More than just a quick clock check to make sure we weren’t behind on time). All of a sudden a message window pops up that says our opponent won the game. This is of course a huge surprise as we are way ahead on clock, and then I notice that there are 0 cards left in our library. We were so focused on playing solid and not overextending our board into Planar Outburst than we didn’t even notice that we were in danger of running out of cards. Given this information, there are a ton of plays we could have made differently to increase our chances of winning that game.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 3.45.42 PM

womp womp

Thanks for reading and hopefully this was helpful for you as well. Come join us every Monday evening at 10p CT for some drafting and hopefully not too many punt pushups!

– Parnell
twitch.tv/telemokos
twitter.com/_telemokos

BFZ Gameday Tournament Report

Let’s not bury the lead here: We won Gameday! Wooooooooooooooo!

Drana Gameday Playmat

Before getting into the actual tournament, let’s take a look at the decklist below.  You may notice that this is a few cards different from the build I put together on stream last week. (You can see the deck in action here).

Before the tournament

Last week I brewed up this sweet WB Tokens deck and tested it a bit on Magic Online. I was really happy with the deck and felt very comfortable with how to play it, so when I finally decided to play Gameday it was an easy choice what to sleeve up. I made a few adjustments to the deck before the tournament, which you can see here:

+2 Treasure Cruise -2 Painful Truths: This was just an oversight on my part. I got so excited that we could consistently cast Painful Truths for 3 because of the blue that I completely missed that Treasure Cruise would just be better in that slot.

+2 Dispel -2 Seeker of the Way: Seeker is easily the weakest card in the deck and ideally we would cut all of them, but I haven’t found a good way to do that yet. After watching some pro coverage last week I realized that there are a few very powerful instants in standard right now, and Dispel acts almost like another targeted removal spell for our deck.

+1 Prairie Stream -1 Plains: Part of the reason for this was increasing the number of blue spells in the deck, but also because it allows you access to White mana even if you only have Swamps and Polluted Deltas in hand.

+1 Stasis Snare -1 Complete Disregard: The main point of Complete Disregard was to have an instant speed exile effect for 3 mana. Initially I didn’t run Stasis Snare in fear of Dromoka’s Command, but after I realized that because Command gives us the choice of which enchantment to sacrifice, Stasis Snare isn’t nearly as vulnerable as I had initially thought.

+1 Ob Nixilis Reignited -1 Reave Soul: Reave Soul is a fine spell in the deck and possibly better than Seeker of the Way, but it was a mistake to play it over Ob Nixilis, who is extremely powerful and definitely owns a slot in our deck.

+2 Duress -2 Despise: Since we have plenty of good creature removal, Despise isnt really necessary. If we are going to lose, its often by other planeswalkers or powerful spells, which Duress can take care of for us.

Round 1 (0-0) vs Atarka Red

One of my favorite things about our deck is that is has a great matchup against Atarka Red – I am so tired of building sweet decks that just snap lose to Red… no longer I say! Game 1 went pretty smoothly after we made some good blocks and trades with our early creatures and then blew out our opponent with a murderous cut for 1 after they went for a big Become Immense turn. Bringing in the full 4-of Surge of Righteousness as well as a Languish and Ultimate Price gave us a big advantage post-sideboard and we took the match quickly. 1-0.

monastery_swiftspear Become Immense meet Murderous Cut

Round 2 (1-0) vs Abzan

Thank goodness we main decked those Dispels! On the play we ran out a pair of early Hangarback Walkers and our opponent’s strategy was to Abzan Charm them away. On back-to-back turns we Dispelled the Abzan Charms and punished our opponent for not developing their board. Game 2 we mulliganed down to 6 and lost our Gideon, Ally of Zendikar to nice Duress from our opponent. A pair of Siege Rhino later and we were toast. Game 3 went down to the wire with our life total hitting 2. After removing all our opponent’s threats, we used Shambling Vents and a one-time Sorin, Solemn Visitor +1 to get our life total back up to 10. Our opponent landed an Ugin, the Spirit Dragon but since our Thopters are colorless, he could only 3 us to the face and try to race. Retreat to Emeria + Flooded Strand gave our army of thopters +2/+2 and we finally pulled out the close victory. 2-0.

   FloodedStrand So sweet

Round 3 (2-0) vs Jeskai Tokens

While I’m guessing this is normally not a strong matchup for us because of all of our 1-for-1 removal, we had a few key turns that won this match for us. We were lucky enough to have an Utter End in our opening hand on the play Game 1, so when our opponent slammed Jeskai Ascendancy on turn 3, we were able to exile it immediately. After Silkwraping their Hangarback Walker the following turn, our opponent was left with a bunch of low impact cards that couldn’t stop our active Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Game 2 was a breeze after we let our opponent overcommit with 3 token makers and then slammed our sideboarded Languish, leaving them again with a few low impact resources and no way to keep up with the power level of our spells. 3-0.

Utter End LanguishPromo Good draws, but thats why we put them in the deck!

Round 4 (3-0) vs GB Aristocrats

I felt a little bad punishing this deck because I really love the aristocrat brews, but what can you do. Game 1 we hit our opponent with a turn 1 Duress snagging Collected Company and then ultimate priced a Drana, Liberator of Malakir. Unfortunately for our opponent, Aristocrats decks usually rely on one or two payoff cards which create synergy with the rest of the deck (full of subpar cards). As you can imagine, if you don’t let them hit these payoff cards, random Sultai Emissarys and Blisterpods wont keep up with cards like Gideon, Ally of Zendikar and Ob Nixilis Reignited. Game 2 we hit a huge Nantuko Husk with a Surge of Righteousness and never looked back. 4-0.

SultaiEm Blisterpod These cards don’t do much without the payoff cards

Round 5 (4-0) vs Abzan

Time for the finals, win this and we win Gameday! Game 1 was tough, with lots of trading resources back and forth. Luckily for us we had two Shambling Vents, meaning each time the coast was clear we just drained away our opponent into dust. I’m not sure whether our opponent mis-sideboarded in Game 2 or just got a really bad draw, but they didn’t really do…anything. The first spell that was cast was our own Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which actually survived most of the match and carried us to victory as we backed him up with removal and dispels. When our opponent finally got rid of Gideon we simply cast a huge Secure the Wastes end of turn and just one-shot our opponent for the win. 5-0.

shamblingvent securethewastes These are really difficult opponents to interact with

Gameday Champion! (5-0)

We finally won a standard tournament, and added our 3rd consecutive Gameday top 8! Not only did we go 5-0 in matches, but we were also 10-1 in games. I was very pleased with the deck, it was a ton of fun to play and seemed to have a decent matchup against all our opponents. I would make a few more small adjustments to the deck including running another Stasis Snare and maybe a Wingmate Roc but overall the deck is exactly what I want it to be. Based on how the metagame shifts, I could definitely see adjusting the removal package to match as well.

That’s probably it for standard for a while though, back to drafting! Thanks for reading, and now lets check out our sweet prizes!

-Andrew
www.twitch.tv/telemokos (Streaming every Monday night)
www.twitter.com/_telemokos

promosDrana Gameday Playmat

Brewing w/ Parney: WB Tokens

*Note* This past weekend I won Gameday with this deck after making a few adjustments, a tournament report for that will be up soon!

New Standard means the format is wide open and its the perfect time to start brewing! Prior to the Pro Tour last weekend I had heard people talking about some different token-style decks. While some were the typical Jeskai token versions and some were the popular “Aristocrats” style, that is not what I was interested in. Focusing primarily on combing Secure the Wastes, Retreat to Emeria, and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar I built a WB Token Midrange/Control deck below. Rather than deciding up front which removal is best for the current meta, I took a broad approach, using post-sideboard games to narrow in on which removal is most effective for the matchup. Take a look at the videos and let me know what you think!

Deck Tech/Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Budget Standard – Mono White Devotion

As soon as Wizards announced that Leagues were live, I was ready to try them out. Unfortunately, since they don’t have sealed leagues yet, I had to put together a good standard deck to use. There haven’t been many decks recently that I have been excited about, and I am not willing to drop hundreds of dollars on Abzan “Good Stuff”, especially just before rotation. Luckily for us, there is a new deck out that has put up some good results lately, is very fun to play, and doesn’t cost a ton. The deck I am talking about of course (if you read the title of the article) is Mono-White Devotion, specifically the version that Sam Black piloted to the semi-finals of the World Championships a few weeks ago. Since the core of the deck is not overly expensive, I challenged myself to create a budget version of the deck all for less than $50.

The Original Deck

The purpose of the deck is to start off by running out several cheap creatures and hit the opponent for some early damage. In the midgame, the deck shines via its best 2 cards: Archangel of Tithes and Wingmate Roc, which make it very difficult for the opponent to ever truly stabilize. Finally, even if the opponent is able to survive and stop our assault of creatures, the deck has the ability to spew out manifest creatures off of Mastery of the Unseen + Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx, meaning the deck can compete in all phases of the game. What I like most about the deck is that the mana base is 21 Plains and no duals, meaning our mana is very consistent. Also, the deck has the tools to trim down and compete with aggressive decks, but can also side-in late game heavy hitters, which along with Mastery of the Unseen, allow us to compete with the slower control decks.

Budget Changes

Gideon & Hangarback Walker

While Kytheon, Hero of Akros is clearly one of the best White 1-drops in Standard, the $8 price tag for 2 of them isn’t very exciting. The same can be said for standard all-star Hangarback Walker, which serves as a value 2-drop in this deck and a triset of them go for $32. Fortunately for us, Kytheon’s place in this deck is primarily just so that we can get a 2/1 with upside in play, not as much his planeswalker side, which makes him easily replaceable. Pretty much any budget 2/1 for W will do here, but I decided to go with Dragon Hunter because it also has the random upside of helping against dragons. Hangarback Walker is a little tougher because it is so great in the late game and can’t be replaced nearly as easily, but on a budget we are just going to have to come to terms with the fact that we won’t be getting that effect in this slot. What we really need here is a 2-drop creature with a reasonable body. While not a great replacement, there is a reasonable 2-drop white creature in standard that does have the side benefit of being WW in it’s mana cost, which helps our devotion. Yes, Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit does this, but we are already running one and I don’t feel like spending an extra $2.50 just for a 2/2 for WW with upside. Instead lets pay $0 and grab ourselves a playset of Vanguard of Brimaz. Sure, neither of these cards are nearly as strong as Kytheon or Hangarback Walker, but the deck primarily uses them to hit it’s 1-drop/2-drop creature curve and we just saved ourselves $40 without weakening the deck all that much.

Out:
2 Kytheon, Hero of Akros $8
3 Hangarback Walker $32

In:

2 Dragon Hunter – $0
3 Vanguard of Brimaz – $0

Saved: $40

Brimaz & Wingmate Roc

The meat of the curve is really where the deck shines, and so our hands are more tied here. Brimaz, King of Oreskos is a key 3-drop for us, but since it comes in at around $6 a piece, we can stick with 2, save $6 and add a Hidden Dragonslayer in place of the third. The 4 drop slot is devoted to the best card in the deck, Archangel of Tithes, which luckily for us is pretty affordable; it’s very important to have a full playset of these. Our curve tops out at 5 with a full playset of Wingmate Roc, another key card in the deck. Coming in at $7 a piece is a little tough here, but I feel that we can only really shave 1 copy, save ourselves $7, and run a High Sentinels of Arashin (which the original deck is even running in the sideboard) in the main instead.

Out:
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos – $6
1 Wingmate Roc – $7

In:
1 Hidden Dragonslayer – $0
1 High Sentinels of Arashin – $0

Saved: $13

Sideboard (Elspeth)

While it may come as a surprise to some, the deck does not run any main deck copies of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion. It does however run 2 in the sideboard, giving the deck some late game punch against control and slow midrange decks. I don’t feel like dropping $10 for a pair of Elspeths right before rotation, so this is where we get to be a little creative. What is that 6 or 7 drop white rare that was a limited powerhouse but is just too slow for standard? While I think there a number of different options, I thought Soul of Theros and Gideon’s Phalanx would be fun cards that are at least slightly hard to deal with for control decks. The fact that neither one of these cards costs anything more than a few pennies doesn’t hurt either.

Out:
2 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion

In:
1 Soul of Theros

1 Gideon’s Phalanx

Saved: $10

Updated “Budget” Decklist

After making the budget switches noted above, here were the only cards that I needed for the deck:

1 Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit – $1
4 Knight of the White Orchid – $1
2 Brimaz, King of Oreskos – $12
4 Archangel of Tithes – $10
3 Wingmate Roc – $21
3 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx – $2

Total Deck Cost: $47

Of course the budget version of this deck wont be as resilient as the original, and you will be sacrificing some win %, but if you are looking for a competitive standard deck that is fun to pilot and runs you less than $50, give this one a try!

– Parnell (Telemokos on MTGO/Twitch)

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