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Perfection of Extortion

Casual Budget W/U/B (Esper)





Main Idea:

This second edition in my Perfection series of standard budget decks, combines the cipher and extort mechanics to exude constant pressure on the opponent. Extorting will serve as the main win condition for this deck, and I believe will be sustainable and reliable in competitive Standard MTG.

Key Aspects:

  1. Cipher mechanic -- Casting these spells and having the ability to cipher onto creatures, Invisible Stalker in particular, will allow this deck to maintain a sturdy board position through control; my favorite, Hands of Binding can be pesky against most decks, and Undercity Plague serves as an even more powerful late-game cipher.
  2. Extort mechanic -- The life to the cipher-beast. Extort will allow this deck to constantly gain life/deal damage, while maintaining a board position. It currently serves as the deck's main win condition.

For those of you who have seen my first Perfection deck, Perfection of Milling, it was far from perfect when I first built it. It is not yet perfect, nor will it ever be, but it is competitive, even against some of the top decks out there. This deck is in same position, and will rely on your comments to become competitive. With that said, as always,

All suggestions, comments, and +1's are welcome!



Thank you to everyone who has helped me out constructing this deck! Keep the comments coming!

Comments View Archive

Underperforming Cards

Following discussions in other decks, I'm looking to replace Drogskol Reaver and Cyclonic Rift . The Reaver costs way too much to ever hit the table, and the Rift never gets overloaded, making it useless as well. I was thinking of either some ramp, or Mentor of the Meek (which tempest has urged me to add for a while). I'm open to any suggestions!

@ hamiam -- Thank you for the feature, I really appreciate it! Do you have any suggestions regarding what I've mentioned above? If you ever want me to check out a deck or anything, let me know!

June 15, 2013 10:08 p.m.

tempest says... #2

You mentioned me?

June 15, 2013 11:10 p.m.

tempest says... #4

ohh. i thought that was part of the update. my bad. yea. that was me :)

June 16, 2013 12:16 a.m.

this deck needs the better lands and Pontiff of Blight (gives everything extort. keyrunes would do well if pontiff was in and they are all pretty cheap. i understand the lck of duel lands, but it is possible without them.

June 16, 2013 3 a.m.

@ Tempest -- Still think I should run him over Drogskol Reaver ?

@ ThatMagicCardGuy -- If you understand the lack of dual lands, then which lands does it need? And Pontiff of Blight is a possibility, but I don't have enough mana acceleration to make him very useful.

June 16, 2013 9:49 a.m.

reawkwian says... #7

why not search warrant for life gain? and its fairly low cost aswell so u can extort i suggest possibly adding think twice or thought scour for draw power possibly supreme verdict for board wipe idk just some low price suggestions

June 16, 2013 10 a.m.

tempest says... #8

  • 2-of -- You may or may not see this card in a game, but when you do, it can end games or make way for you to secure a win.
  • 3-of -- You will probably will see this card in a game, and contributes to a win. It doesnt necessarily single-handedly win games, but is a great support card
  • 4-of -- You want to see this card. It makes up the core of the deck, and a win is very difficult without one.

i would say that the pontiff should be a 3 of. you don't have a lot of extort creatures. this guy also has a power of 2 for Mentor of the Meek and a high toughness to block a good amount of the creatures in standard instead of taking a beating to keep your extort creatures alive. and there are always games when you get mana flooded...

June 16, 2013 10:26 a.m.

@ reawkwian -- Linking cards using double brackets drastically helps when giving suggestions. Search Warrant is a little slow, and I usually have enough lifegian through extortion. I think I will be adding Mentor of the Meek for some draw, and Supreme Verdict wound hurt more than help in a creature heavy deck like this one.

@ Tempest -- I wonder where you got those guidlines :P Pontiff of Blight would definitely go in as a three of, but he does cost 6. I had a lot of trouble casting the Reaver and overloading the RIft, so I'm not inclined to add another high CMC card. I was thinking of adding 3 Mentor of the Meek s and maybe a fourth Lingering Souls ?

June 16, 2013 11:18 a.m.

tempest says... #10

if you do that, i feel like you don't have game finisher/bomb to end the game. that could be detrimental to your deck since you don't a fast early game either. you could try the fast route (which i think is more effective) with AEtherling as the finisher?

June 16, 2013 11:32 a.m.

@ Tempest -- That's what I've been using as a finisher. Throw a Dark Favor on him and the game ends pretty quickly. Maybe I should look for something to support him as my finisher?

June 16, 2013 12:35 p.m.

tempest says... #12

its just that your mana curve looks aweful. get some good 1 drops. i personally really like Doomed Traveler and Dutiful Thrull . both contribute to Mentor of the Meek and have multiple lives

June 16, 2013 1:18 p.m.

@ Tempest -- Yeaaa it does look like hell. Let me change it a little so it looks a little better.

June 16, 2013 1:20 p.m.

tempest says... #14

also, if your only finisher is AEtherling i would up him to 4

June 16, 2013 1:28 p.m.

tempest says... #15

also, if your budget allows it, i think Ajani, Caller of the Pride would fit nicely into this deck

June 16, 2013 1:35 p.m.

@ Tempest -- I think I might up him to 3, 4 seems a little excessive but I very well could be wrong. Ajani is also nice, but I'll only acquire him in paper if I get a good deal. Anything thoughts on smoothing the curve out even more? And what's your opinion on Thrull Parasite ?

June 16, 2013 3:13 p.m.

ThEdUnCeCaP says... #17

why AEtherling ? wouldn't you be avoiding typical money cards that budget players wouldn't have?

June 16, 2013 5:04 p.m.

tempest says... #18

Thrull Parasite is really good. i don't know how i missed that.

June 16, 2013 5:17 p.m.

@ ThEdUnCeCaP -- Being a budget player doesn't necessarily mean that every card is a cheap dollar rare. It just means, at least in my opinion, that you cap yourself on a price limit for each deck you make. Whatever fits in my $50 budget for standard decks is fair game.

@ Tempest -- Was curious to why you didn't mention that - I'll make the change.

June 16, 2013 5:39 p.m.

Gullo says... #20

Wanted to stop by and say that you've done an amazing job with this deck. It's an incredibly fun deck and I love it so much I thought I would try to get some suggestions from you on how to improve it, if the budget wasn't so tight. Any obvious things that come to mind other than dual lands? Thanks a lot and keep up the amazing work!

June 17, 2013 12:44 a.m.

@ Gullo -- Thanks! I honestly don't think there's anything this deck needs that's more expensive. Tamiyo and her emblem could be helpful with extorting, and Geist of Saint Traft is a low-CMC game finisher. Neither of these are necessities and they aren't cards I wish I had room in the budget for, but I'm sure they could help.

June 18, 2013 12:06 a.m.

tempest says... #22

I still feel like you don't have enough one drops. You should add more to make full use of Orzhov Charm

June 18, 2013 12:27 a.m.

xWickedxOne says... #23

What about Twilight Drover , Treasury Thrull and Way of the Thief or Holy Mantle ? Or adding Nightveil Specter ? Just tossing around ideas, I haven't had a chance to play with this setup, but those are some cards that seem possible at first glance... I would definitely have Teysa, Envoy of Ghosts in mine though...

June 18, 2013 8:40 a.m.

@ Tempest -- Agreed, but what to remove?

@ xWickedxOne -- Teysa isn't bad, but I've just removed another 7 CMC card from the deck because it never got played. I think the only things that I'll be adding are more 1-drops and/or another cipher card (although there aren't really any good ones aside from Hands of Binding ).

June 18, 2013 11:40 a.m.

xWickedxOne says... #25

if you want more one drops how about : Boros Elite , Shadow Alley Denizen , Trained Caracal , Judge's Familiar , or as mentioned earlier -Dutiful Thrull

As far as what to take away... I would take out at least 2 Hands of Binding if not more, and 1 Kingpin's Pet and 1 Tithe Drinker ... and replace those 4 with one drops.

I'd probably take out all 4 Hands of Binding just to have 2 Blind Obedience in there at all times, but that's just me... I'd rather have more options for extort then the cipher ability...

Just my thoughts anyways...

June 18, 2013 10:44 p.m.

tempest says... #26

did you notice that cipher will trigger extort?

June 18, 2013 10:58 p.m.

xWickedxOne says... #27

better yet... leave the Tithe Drinker and take out a Dissipate instead!

June 18, 2013 10:59 p.m.

tempest says... #28

Dissipate is the only counter spell in the deck and most, if not all, should blue decks should have a counter spell. :/

June 18, 2013 11:01 p.m.

xWickedxOne says... #29

@ Tempest Didn't think about that! Maybe drop 1 Hands of Binding , 1 Kingpin's Pet and 1 Dissipate for 3 more one drops?

June 18, 2013 11:05 p.m.

xWickedxOne says... #30

I'm not saying to take them all out... just 1

June 18, 2013 11:06 p.m.

tempest says... #31

maybe. lets see what ducttapedeckbox thinks about it. i think it could be possible

June 18, 2013 11:07 p.m.

xWickedxOne says... #32

idk... im just trying to think of ways to fix the mana curve...

June 18, 2013 11:10 p.m.

xWickedxOne says... #33

ok sounds good... sorry for blowing up your post ducttapedeckbox

June 18, 2013 11:11 p.m.

Don't worry, I have forgotten to respond to your posts tempest and xWickedxOne!

First, thank you for putting in the effort to help me with this deck! I really do appreciate it.

As far as one drops go, I think I'm most likely to include Dutiful Thrull or Doomed Traveler . Three of them sounds good, and dropping one Kingpin's Pet sounds good. I don't want to drop any Hands of Binding because it's extremely helpful in the games I play with this deck, and because this deck was originally support to combine extort and cipher; HoB is the only card left in the deck with cipher.

Now that I have the draw power from Mentor of the Meek , I was thinking of dropping the two Azorius Charm s, opening the two needed slots. I might go as far as dropping a Mentor for another Parasite.

What do you guys think?

June 20, 2013 11:46 p.m.

xWickedxOne says... #35

Sounds like a great idea! I do like the options with the AC though... What about keeping 1 Azorius Charm and drop 1 Dark Favor ? instead of dropping both AC's..

June 21, 2013 1:11 p.m.

@ xWickedxOne -- I do too, but having only one or two makes it impossible to rely on them; I'd prefer to mainboard a Charm only if I can fit 3+ of them. What do you think about dropping the 3rd Mentor?

June 21, 2013 1:31 p.m.

tempest says... #37

That's fine. You don't want too many of those

June 21, 2013 4:57 p.m.

tempest says... #38

Why Dutiful Thrull over Doomed Traveler ? I was play testing and without mana ramp, it's hard to decide whether to use the mana for mentor of the meek, extort, or regen. Regen would help you keep it alive so you could use HoB on it, but the extra token triggers mentor and doesn't require and mana. It's like either paying one black mana to keep the creature alive, or one of any (blue since its not in extort) to draw a card and still get another 1/1.

June 22, 2013 8:32 a.m.

@ tempest -- That is true, I didn't think of it that way. I'll make the change now.

June 22, 2013 10:46 a.m.

BitWizard says... #40

Just learned you can extort off of a ciphered spell, since you are still casting a spell. Hooray for our decks!

July 9, 2013 9:09 a.m.

Sir_Muffins says... #41

I really like this deck especially since it is such an amazing budget deck! +1 from me! i am running an extort deck and need some help if you wouldnt mind taking a look and shedding some light

July 11, 2013 2 a.m.

tcjantzen says... #42

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned Hidden Strings considering it can act as "ramp," it helps you keep mana open on your opponent's turn, its an extort trigger, and it gives you the mana for extort.

August 20, 2013 7:57 p.m.

Lord007 says... #43

Are you going to update for Theros? And I would heartily second Hidden Strings as a cipher, other cheap one time ciphers include Paranoid Delusions and Trait Doctoring

October 6, 2013 10:16 p.m.

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Compare to inventory
Date added 4 years
Last updated 3 years

This deck is Casual legal.

Cards 60
Avg. CMC 2.32
Tokens 1/1 Spirit
Folders Favorites, Interested, Mill/extrot, Thoughts, Extort, Decks I like, Standard (ISD-RTR blocks), Decks I Want To Try, interessant, Para probar, See all 28
Top rank #4 on 2013-03-24
Views 25139

Revision 22 See all

4 years ago)

+3 Doomed Traveler main
-3 Dutiful Thrull main