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Said on Auratog Modern...

#1

Boggles might not be budget itself, but it contains cards and ideas you can use. I like the auratog/rancor to give (1g +2+2) to auratog, it makes for a great knockout blow even if its fragile- something every budget deck should look for. Mongoose being a backup plan and protection helps a lot with that. I'd still want a plan for spot removal - gatherer's regenerate is nice with push taking the place of path in many cases, but its going to involve keeping an eye on your meta for exile effects.

While sigil is a great card, cutting it would allow you to also cut abor and sprawl for more 1 mana enchantments, massively speeding up the clock.

If you keep it in the sideboard, you'd still have that 'grindy game' tool even if you aren't running it maindeck - you could even go for a full transformative sideboard trying to live in that 4-5 mana space with a Heliod's Pilgrim value package and value-generating answers like Oblivion Ring.

There are some interesting midrange enchantment options that might suit a budget list running elf/sprawl, with Season of Growth and cards like Setessan Training or Shapers' Sanctuary aiming to eliminate the card advantage drawbacks of enchanting stuff. Silhana Ledgewalker and Sixth Sense still kicks butt when it comes to just drawing a card every turn. Abundant Growth and similar might not be amazing in terms of payoff for one mana, but a set of the variants allows you to splash any colour easily, while still fueling auratog. Satyr Enchanter type effects is a payoff that might work, but is a removal magnet and thus ends up reliant on stuff like sanctuary anyway.

Ajani's Chosen and Archon of Sun's Grace point to the 'play lots of enchantments in midrange plan, but once again, the card advantage battle is where to focus.

There are some 'etb matters' enchantments, but making them work is tricker than it sounds- Oath of the Ancient Wood, Setessan Champion, Strength from the Fallen etc.

Ethereal Armor is the powerhouse in boggles for a reason- it might be a nonbo with autatog sacrifices, but the 'count the number of enchantments' effect is really, really good. Also, its cheap. All That Glitters is armour 4-8.

Totem armour is another tool to protect creatures, but at that point you are basically building boggles.

Best of luck with the brew- its a well supported archetype that hasn't made the cut in terms of tier1, but with a little metagaming and planning it'll play well enough to win FNM.

June 29, 2020 4:52 a.m.

This is a cute list.

I feel like with the number of other 1/2 mana zombies and a well planned sideboard (15 Duress variants is an option) you might be able to swing an fnm or two, which is wild for a singleton list.

Specifically, I'd look at Gray Merchant of Asphodel Rotting Rats,Foulmire Knight, Midnight Reaper, the 1 mana cast from graveyard zombies, and value options like Graveborn Muse or Necromancer's Stockpile

I don't like Forever Young type effects outside of combos where you draw your entire library. Another zombie will almost always be more useful.

Finally, Lich's Mirror , reset, Bump in the Night/Gonti's Machinations is the most hilarious way to win a game.

Good luck and happy brewing.

June 26, 2020 6:45 a.m.

Said on Primal Permutations...

#3

Mutate is a really interesting mechanic that I expect to find a place in modern, even if it never reaches tier 1. Modern already has some wild 1 drops, and attaching, say Parcelbeast to a Steppe Lynx can start looking cool- its just a question of the right combination being found to power the deck.

I'd focus on low cost mutate cards, 1 drops to mutate them on that either protect a powerful mutate effect or multiply it, and mana dorks as backup mutate targets.

Auspicious Starrix will likely win you the game if your opponent cannot remove it. Gemrazer to back that up will offer a lot of blowout potential. Most of the lower tier mutate creatures could work with the right synergy picks in the rest of the list.

In terms of 1 drops to examine, Glistener Elf and Slippery Bogle for efficient voltron, as well as less conventional voltron like Spikeshot Elder or Vector Asp, Young Wolf returns all its creatures seperated to the battlefield with +1+1 counters, Blistercoil Weird and legendary spell recursion point to a jeskai spellslinger, Signal Pest+ a white go wide list, Arcbound Worker/Servant of the Scale/Simic Initiate/Hardened Scales and +1+1 counters could get pretty out of hand.

Hedron Crab land drop mill is a cute option, Permeating Mass will make people call for the judge, but isn't actually any good. Some +1+1 counter synergies will likely let you abuse some mechanics like Devoted Druid's untap, if you can find the combination.

Keyword piles like Banehound Healer's Hawk, abilities like Figure of Destiny or 'conditional' P/T boosts like Scute Mob could make for a decent beatstick if you can spend two cards on it - Gnarlwood Dryad, Toolcraft Exemplar Wild Nacatl, Loam Lion could all find places in some lists,as they are already efficient and pushing them out of kill range for lightning bolt/anger of the gods may be relevant.

Mortician Beetle with the bat strapped to it is a great casual clock.

None of these are crazy effecient, but building a list of sixty cards that all sorta work together is the heart of brews like this.

All told though, its a bit of a mess where the best bet is to pick two colours with 2/3 mana mutates, and throw them on creatures which protect them while hunting for stirix. Trying to stretch into more colours will pressure a budget manabase very hard. Keeping to mostly green with basic searching to fix for a second colour will ease that process a lot- especially with dorks like Avacyn's Pilgrim or Elves of Deep Shadow.

June 24, 2020 5:56 p.m.

Said on How to ramp ......

#4

Sounds like you need to check out the Life from the Loam or amulet titan primers. They should have engines you can use.

Getting a quick avenger can be achieved by cheating cost with Quicksilver Amulet or Dramatic Entrance.

Theres also the option of building something like Splendid Reclamation, or druidic vow. Getting lots lands onto the battlefield is usually something you have to build the entire deck to support, and the battle is surviving the card disadvantage while doing it quickly.

I did get one pretty quick from an (etb basic land into play) , Wall of Omens Overgrown Battlement flicker wall tribal list, but it's not amazing.

June 23, 2020 5:39 p.m.

Pile on that the number of possibilities and the almost unique state of any game table and we reach a point where even categorising decks as aggro/combo/control may be difficult, let alone assessing card choice or misplays beyond 'this seems to win more somehow' regardless of the volume of data our ability to interpret that data is still limited.

While homogenization is a risk, that's more down to 'flavour of the month' herd mentality than the actual state of the meta.

Being able to see when the meta revolves around a card would be neat however-especially when that card is healthy for the format and the tables it's at, which should allow for more varied responses to that and increased deck variety.

June 23, 2020 8:28 a.m.

Said on RUG Graveyard exile...

#6

I reccomend testing this as a Sprite Dragon RUG tempo/midrange shell. It can be pitched to the forces and it likes you sitting and protecting it with counterspells. Logic Knot, Negate, Mana Leak etc has a lot of tools to both fuel the yard and stall for the time to start generating squee/griffin value.

Alongside a well planned sideboard you could translate the current standard 'sprite dragon boggles' into modern pretty well, with stuff like Deeproot Champion providing potential extra copies. With the sideboard packing a bunch of tools like Electrolyze and Lightning Bolt you could probably make it to being FNM competitive even if you aren't going to win competitions.

Check out some of the temur tempo lists- a lot of them were just excuses to run 'goyf, but there are some neat tricks in there.

If you want to go even more gimmicky, you could try to get Commandeer running, but in my experience it is really far too much card disadvantage even with blowout 'you mean my lightning bolt/cryptic/wilderness rec' moments.

June 22, 2020 9:32 a.m.

Have you considered building around Leyline of the Void in concert with Altar of Dementia? That said, the deck would need to be making more value from exile effects for me to be comfortable with it. It'd be less green and more black, likely running Wasteland Strangler style effects.

Exiling squee/griffin as a card advantage engine is neat, but more 'meat' for turns 1-3 seems essential- since you are sitting on '0 cost' spells, cheap creatures with good activated abilities so you can keep mana up seems good- lavamancer and ooze go a way to this, but I'd run more stuff like Spectral Sailor alongside sweepers to play like a control deck.

Another option is delve spells and stuff like Thought Scour- Logic Knot is a spectacular spell when you want to exile cards, and although it competes with escape costs, there are enough self-mill options out there to power the deck.

June 22, 2020 7:39 a.m.

Controversial, but I'd go for banning 'massive variance but uninteresting' 'you have to argue not to put it in your list' cards - so the same old sol ring, mana crypt, mox, duals.

This'll have the main benifit of making the format more accessable while reducing the 'feels bad' from people just getting to play more magic because they drew a god hand- it doesn't eliminate all high variance, but it does stop it being 'every deck has some random 'I'm two turns ahead' cards, especially when wizards have catagorically stated that they won't be reprinting them.

From that perspective, sol ring is the smallest problem, but its still pretty 'one guy got it turn one now he's on 4 mana turn 2', in every deck and therefore every game. Sure, you could argue that its a format staple at this point, but (and i might be showing my age here), before the first commander precons no-one played sol ring that played commander out of every player I knew. We were getting the decks and sliding the rings into other formats because it was effectively soft banned. But then it being in the precons meant that evrey new player was bringing it to the table, which meant that the soft ban was never going to be in play. Getting back to that jank when people were ramping with bop or the suspend tutor t1 might be a little nostalgic, but I don't think its unreasonable.

June 21, 2020 5:44 p.m.

I'd give more consideration to Scale Up and Become Immense as big p/t increases are the driving force in infect. Also Blight Mamba is fun sb texch. Proliferate and counters are a solid idea, but with green leaning into things like Increasing Savagery rather than the white counters on all creatures, I'd be trying to Proliferate Servant of the Scale or abuse Wildcall for surprise Glistener.

I've had some success with Biomass Mutation, but once more it's still pretty inefficient.

Good luck with the brew, budget infect is more scary for people facing it down in fnm cause its just as explosive but less predictable than regular infect.

June 21, 2020 10:35 a.m.

Said on Hydratic Rampage...

#10

I highly reccomend avoiding expensive cards for first decks- if you are going to spend >$5 on a card, you want to be picking up a card that fits into lots of decks as a format staple (for green, stuff like Birds of Paradise). A lot of cards are expensive because there isn't enough supply for a format (in whiptongue's case, commander), rather than them being the best options. There are diminishing returns on copies of legendary creatures too, and no shortage of inexpensive cards that never quite made the cut into modern that are super fun. Old standard staples are frequently <$0.30

If there are hydras you want to spend money one anyway, pick up one and run tutors like Uncage the Menagerie.

If you get bored, start messing around with synergies; a lot of 5/6/7 drops are playable in a green ramp shell like this- some will perform outstandingly, and others can sit it out with minor cost.

In terms of fighting fliers, Grappling Sundew, Wall of Tanglecord or Traproot Kami offer a delay, there is a lot of cheap spot removal like Aerial Volley, multiplayer options like Clip Wings, sweepers like Corrosive Gale/Hurricane/Skyreaping, options to turn flying into a downside like Bower Passage/Dense Canopy, utility answers like Crushing Canopy and Crushing Vines, 'total shutdown' effects like Elvish Skysweeper, Scattershot Archer or Gravity Well.

Then there are options like a 'fight' subtheme using your own fliers- allowing for answers to more than just flying Foe-Razer Regent is a lot of fun, Frontier Siege is cute, Kraul Harpooner has seen competitive modern play in sideboards.

I really reccomend packing in one answer and a couple of planned search effects- knowing that Uncage the Menagerie can get you a Vastwood Hydra/Overgrown Battlement/Kraul Harpooner makes it decent when you only have a few options, while it encourages a relaxed and varied decklist.

Feed the clan sees great sideboard play for a reason- its a good card when facing lightning bolt effects, but if they have repeatable damage it starts looking lackluster. I'd look at creatures with lifegain stapled on- Gilded Goose will be rotating soon, and so should get cheap and remain somewhat relevant in that neiche, while cards like Healer of the Glade, Pelakka Wurm or Oracle of Nectars do the thing in the meantime.

Finally, the 'I'm optimising a deck' thing- with 24 basic lands you can swap for 2-3 utility lands. There are budget cards that fix major problems without competing for slots; Emergence Zone against counterspells, Labyrinth of Skophos/Mystifying Maze to Fog attackers, small-scale lifegain like Sapseep Forest/Glimmerpost/Radiant Fountain, card advantage like Memorial to Unity, manlands like Treetop Village or threats like Rogue's Passage.

The reason deckbuilding in casual magic is so fun is that there is rarely a 'right' answer- there are about twenty ways to solve any problem, and its more about which one you enjoy more than what exactly you pick. I had a deck which aimed to use Gutter Grime with Brindle Boar and Gristleback for a while and it did great. Look around, don't worry too much about optimising and have fun.

June 21, 2020 8 a.m.

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