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Bad Bogles 2: Back in Black -- $8 Hexproof (M19)

Standard Aura Hexproof Budget BUG (Sultai) Enchantment



This is a Sultai take on my Bad Bogles deck, splashing Black for Cartouche of Ambition to help us race against Aggro without straying from the shoestring budget. All in all, I've been really happy with the upgrade as it really helps avoid situations where we land a Bogle, untap, and still lose to our opponent's wider board.

If you're new to the party, Bogles has been a deck in Modern for a really long time and its game plan is pretty simple: play a turn 1 Slippery Bogle or Gladecover Scout, load it up with cheap Auras, and smash face for the win. Standard doesn't have any 1-CMC Hexproof creatures or anything but it's still really fun to shred with Bogles in the 3- and 4-CMC range. Plus this deck is built mostly of bulk commons and uncommons, so it costs less than $8 in paper and 2 tix online. Can we take down Tier 1 monsters with draft chaff worth about as much as two measly packs? Maybe, maybe not, but we're sure gonna have fun trying!

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

Thanks to Core 2019, we have the best Bad Bogle we've seen in a long time: Vine Mare. This thing is the real deal. Even without the "Unblockable by Black" rider, a 5/3 Hexproof for 4 is fantastic. Throw in the immunity to black Deathtouchers and you have yourself a heck of a Bogle. We're running the full 4 Vine Mares and hoping to draw it every game. We are ride-or-die for Vine Mare.

We're also running 2 each of two backup Hexproof creatures: Jade Guardian and Slippery Scoundrel. Jade Guardian is reasonably cheap at only 4-CMC so we can usually get it down fairly early, and a 3/3 Hexproof creature for 4 is at least a respectable body. It's obviously worse than Vine Mare but at least it's a little easier to cast. I'd love to run more copies of Slippery Scoundrel but it's only Hexproof later in the game so we really don't want to draw it early. These two creatures are important for our consistency. While Vine Mare is head and shoulders better than either of them in most cases, going up to 8x Bogles means we can reasonably expect to draw at least one every single game.

Ride On

Ok, you've got your Hexproof creature down. Now it's time to get pumped.

Our best Aura is Cartouche of Knowledge. It's cheap, it keeps us drawing through our deck, and there aren't too many flyers in the format so this will often essentially make our Bogle unblockable.

Cartouche of Strength is also great, if a bit more expensive. It keeps us from getting chumped all day by Thopter tokens and getting to chow down on one of our opponent's creatures along the way is great.

Cartouche of Ambition is simultaneously our worst and most important Aura. It doesn't give us any evasion, it isn't especially cheap, and the ETB ability is quite weak compared to drawing a card or fighting a creature, but the Lifelink is absolutely critical to staying alive against swarm and aggro decks. We frequently fall behind in the early game and this Aura helps solve that problem. Ambition can bring us back from the brink in a way the other Auras just can't, and for that reason alone, it's absolutely indispensable.

Finally, Hashep Oasis is our backup "Aura." The opportunity cost to run it is pretty low and it can sometimes shave a turn off our clock or enable an attack that would've otherwise been a non-starter. All in all, a good inclusion to the deck.


Now we just gotta make sure we stay alive long enough to rock out, and for that we have a light control package.

Essence Scatter helps keep the board clear while we wait to get down a creature while Negate deals with non-creature threats early and protects us from sweepers later on. I already mentioned Cartouche of Strength but it's worth mentioning again, as it's a great way of interacting with the board if we miss countering something. Note that fight effects work very well with Lifelink so if you can afford to slap on a Cartouche of Ambition before your Cartouche of Strength, go for it.

However, we also have a bit of spice here for some removal that doesn't depend on getting a Bogle down: Trial of Ambition. We're already running a bunch of Cartouches and splashing Black, so I figure we might as well jam with the best of the Trials. Cast it early to pick off a 2-drop the opponent got in under our Essence Scatters, then pick it up later on after casting an Aura and re-cast it to take out their 5-drop. This can even lead to really brutal turn sequences where we cast Trial, Aura-up our Bogle, then cast Trial again before swinging into a now-empty board. You can even kill Carnage Tyrants or Bristling Hydras with this! How sweet is that?

Opt, meanwhile, helps us draw into the cards we need at any given time. We really need to make sure we hit our land drops early (seriously, missing land drops is almost as bad for us as it is for hardcore Control decks) and Bogles and Auras late, and Opt is perfect for that. This deck plays more like Combo than Midrange so a bit of card filtering is really, really important.

Highway to Hell

The lands are a little sketchy, I'll admit: we have all four Woodland Streams, a split playset of Submerged Boneyard and Foul Orchard, the aforementioned copies of Hashep Oasis, and some basics. Most of our serious action is further up the curve so we're not punished too badly for our budget taplands here, but the deck's mana situation could be better. Hashep Oasis can do some serious work here once we've got a Bogle down and some evasion strapped to it, but make sure you leave up enough mana to Negate their Settle the Wreckage!

It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)

For the sideboard, we have Spell Pierce and the fourth Negate for Control matchups, Naturalize for dealing with troublesome artifacts and enchantments, Crook of Condemnation to blow up graveyard strategies, Hour of Glory to deal with The Scarab God and Hazoret (it's our budget Vraska's Contempt, but we couldn't consider running any double-Black spells without upgrading our mana first anyway), and four copies of Unsummon to help us survive the early turns against Aggro, which is generally our worst matchup. All in all, we have a pretty diverse set of answers in our colors.

Let There Be Rock

Thank you for reading, and I hope you like the deck. $8 is about as cheap as a deck can be but if that sounds too cheap for you, Carnage Tyrant is essentially a strict upgrade to Jade Guardian, and obviously the mana base could use some serious love. Other than that, though, we're mostly running the best Bogles cards available right now so there's actually not that much difference here between full-price and ultra-budget.

That said, let me know if you have any other ideas for how to take this show to the next level! I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Updates Add

Core 2019 has given us a magnificent gift and I'm not about to look it in the mouth: Vine Mare! This card is so darn good. It's the best Bogle in Standard right now by a wide margin and I threw it in the deck so fast it made our poor Scaled Behemoths go into immediate retirement. I've also been experimenting with Slippery Scoundrel and I'm pretty sold on it as well, but only as a 2-of. Other than that, the list is unchanged except for a few tweaks to the sideboard. This deck really hums now.

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Revision 5 See all

4 weeks ago)

-4 Opt main
+4 Essence Scatter main
-2 Jade Guardian main
+2 Slippery Scoundrel main
+4 Vine Mare main
+4 Opt main
-4 Essence Scatter main
-4 Scaled Behemoth main
+3 Negate main
-3 Negate main
-4 Woodland Stream main
+4 Woodland Stream main
+3 Naturalize side
-3 Appetite for the Unnatural side
+1 Negate side
-2 Consign // Oblivion side
-1 Negate side
-2 River's Rebuke side
+4 Unsummon side