02/10/2011 BoaB: "Transmuting Post-Besieged"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's Building on a Budget, which goes live Wednesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
Where's the article?
Mmm... this looks really fun to play and it also wins competitive matches! I overlooked Shimmer Myr on the spoiler but the deck actually got a very unique identity with the MBS addition. Hope this gets to win a tournament somewhere.
If Limited gets in the way of printing good Constructed cards... Screw limited
When I think "building on a budget," I think Platinum Emperion.
looks fun i built the last version with a few minor tweeks, farie machinist and mox opal. also in the first match u list boarding out sembalace avil but there none in the main.
Why not add Pili-Pala to the deck?  It's a cheap artifact and an infinite mana combo with grand architect!
Master Transmuter is just ridiculous. Cards have mana costs for a reason. 

The Grand Architect chains are quite impressive though. I'm also impressed by "Valakut you for 60?" "In response, Emperion" - twice in the same game.

I love cards like Spine of Ish Sah and Ichor Slick. I would love Master Transmuter, in fact, because I love blink effects and the art is absolutely gorgeous... except she is just stupidly overpowered. She'd be good enough if she said "with CMC less than or equal to that of the artifact you returned"...
the mysterious boarding out of Semblance Anvil confused me, too.  was this from an earlier incarnation and not the final list, or just a typo?

also in the first game, it seems a Platinum Empirion magically appeared on your side attacking, though no mention was made of it ever coming down.  i assume it got transmuted in at some point.  just caught me by surprise in reading.  X)

seems like a super fun deck.  kinda up there on the rare count, although i guess most of them are relatively cheap.  idk, i don't really keep up with the newer stuff much anymore. 
When I think "building on a budget," I think Platinum Emperion.



Me too-single cards that are intended to be tutored for and retail for $3 on SCG qualify as budget.

When I think "building on a budget," I think Platinum Emperion.


$1.50 apiece or less according to store.tcgplayer.com/magic. Mythic or not, apparently an 8/8 for 8 isn't all that popular if it just keeps you from losing rather than helps you win.

I didn't like this article, but not because its decks aren't "budget" enough. My problem is partly that I don't play Extended and BoaB is about little else these days, and partly that there's too much focus on Master Transmuter. This is the third article about it in as many months, last week's article was an artifact combo deck that discussed but didn't actually use that card, and there's probably more going back further or that I've missed. And maybe it seems more common to me than it is because he uses the art for it even in articles that don't feature it in decks.

We get it. It's objectively a good card and Jacob personally finds it extra fun, and apparently people who e-mail him like it. But for those of us who don't play Extended, who don't like decks based on a toolbox of control effects, or who like both and just have had enough of this lately, can we please not have another "Hmmm, I wonder what artifacts I haven't put in a deck with Master Transmuter yet?" article?
When I think "building on a budget," I think Platinum Emperion.


$1.50 apiece or less according to store.tcgplayer.com/magic. Mythic or not, apparently an 8/8 for 8 isn't all that popular if it just keeps you from losing rather than helps you win.



The Emperion is cheap beacuse he doesn't actually really DO anything.  You're paying a lot of mana, and you're not getting any evasion or any special effects other than life total shenanigans.  Even in a Meta that wasn't full of titans and Jaces, he's be a $2-3 card.

So yes.  I would definitely consider him a budget card as well.  He makes for a neat trick in this deck, and that's about all he does anywhere.
"My opponent cast a Primal Command putting one of my Leylines on the top of my library and shuffling it."

How did he target you to make you shuffle with a Leyline in play?

Final cost of the deck according to cardkingdom.com is almost $80.00. Whose budget are we talking about here? 11 different rares? 3 different mythic rares? What happened to fun, quirky casual decks, or finding ways to break underused rares? Jacob has done multiple columns focusing on Master Transmuter, which is a great card and makes for several types of killer decks, but it's been done to death.

I enjoyed the column he did where he took the two preconstructed decks from Duel Decks: Elspeth vs. Tezzeret and modified them to be more streamlined, consistent and competitive, but still managed to keep the same basic strategy they started with. Maybe he could do a column where he takes one of the Mirrodin Besieged preconstructed decks and modifies it the same way.

As far as I can remember, I've never seen a Building on a Budget article focus on the Commander format. I think it would be very interesting to see Jacob's take on a budget Commander deck.

Love the article.

My Transmuter deck has turned into essentially a Kitchen Table deck. But I've been working on a set of Grand Architects and I'll be looking to add in the Shimmer myr's as well.

I disagree with the 1 Thousand Year Elixir. I play 3. To me, getting one out in combo with the transmuter is more important than searching for it "post transmute".

I also don't know why you have a Elixir of Immortality. It's the only card really being searched for by the Trinket Mages. You've sided it out in the games you played against, and you can search for a card like Platinum Emperion. That would save slots for stuff.

I'd also run a Platinum Angel. Provides another target to kill if the enemy wants to win the game. And the 4/4 Flier is nothing to laugh at either. (especially when your bringing it in and out with only 1 mana)

I also don't think 4 copies of Lodestone in the board are necessary. Usually just having one out really throws your opponent off. And I'd find a way to main deck these in the first place. Adding mana to the cost of every opponent spell just seems like something you want regardless.

I'm also not sure about the Chimeric Mass. Evasion maybe? Seems like its hardly a win condition.

Edit: I also tend to play with a couple of copies of Ethersworn Canonist Or at the very least have them in the board. They mess with combo decks, elves, rdw that kind of stuff.



All in all the deck list seems awesome. And there's some great ideas to adapt my transmuter deck in to!
According to everyone on these forums. You should only play the best decks in whatever format you want. You are a bad player and should just quit if you intend on using anything else.
good question madcow.....how does that work guys?  gamers mistake?
Primal Command:
Step 1) Put's the enchantment on top of Library. 
Step 2) Shuffles opponent's graveyard into Library.  (even if empty, this works)
Step 3) Make profit.

Jacob - can you please respond about the Semblence Anvil? 
and also about Pila Pala - infinite mana does seem like it could be fun...  but maybe it's just a win-more.  Though with searching sphinxes, it seems like it could be good.

I know this deck is getting expensive... but if you tried it out when he first started chatting about it (think it was standard back then), it was not all that much.  Like many budget articles, the "dual" lands are typically thought as staples - and are not often accounted for in costs.  So, as I have built this deck from the start - the upgrades won't be that expensive.  (But I totally understand those new to the deck being frustrated at the cost).

I like the idea of the Canonist.  Kathuda Goblins and Elves and other red deck win decks are pretty inexpensive to build - so I like idea of being able to slow them down a bit - but remain in the flavor of the deck.
Primal Command:
Step 1) Put's the enchantment on top of Library. 
Step 2) Shuffles opponent's graveyard into Library.  (even if empty, this works)
Step 3) Make profit.


Primal Command doesn't say "shuffle opponent's graveyard". It says "shuffle target player's graveyard" and thus it may only target players who do not control a Leyline of Sanctity, let alone 2 of them.

Anybody have any thoughts on a what a non-budget version of this would look like?  I know some are saying it isn't budget in it's current form, but what if it abandoned even pretending to be budget?
As far as I can remember, I've never seen a Building on a Budget article focus on the Commander format. I think it would be very interesting to see Jacob's take on a budget Commander deck.


I'm pretty sure BoaB doesn't cover EDH or casual formats in general because you can do basically anything in them. The cardpool is too large and the metagame is too unpredictable and/or too individual. One guy plays a Goblin deck basically unchanged from the Onslaught era, another guy plays a deck based on getting an Avatar of Kaldra out, someone else plays a milling deck, someone else plays a Saproling deck, someone else plays a combo deck relying on cards from both Urza's Destiny and Darksteel. Of the thousands of cards in the game, there are probably fewer than 100 of them not legal in Extended that sell for more than $10 and most cost a lot less than that, so no matter what your format or chosen theme you have plenty to choose from.
I don't think the Trinket Mages do enough in this deck. They only seem really good for fetching Everflowing Chalices, but with only two main, probably won't be there to set up a turn four Chalice (if that's the way one's aiming o.o ).

Anyways, I'd at the very least test out replacing the Elixir of Immortality with a Voltaic Key. Chance it might be a "win harder, not more" with the Master Transmuter herself,  but (as my U Proliferate deck's taught me) from untapping a post-combat Wurmcoil Engine, to squeezing an extra mana out of a two-countered Chalice, it can help in little places.

As for Pili-Pala, its absurd-potential can mean nasty Chimeric Masses, as well as a chance to include Blightsteel Colossus (For those who have JVL budgets, of course).
Deck blog: http://alurenrecycle.blogspot.com/ http://gureiseion.tumblr.com/
I like Master Transmuter decks and it is clear that they can be very strong without being $100+ decks.  That said, I think JVL has now done them to death and everyone who has read his articles now should have sufficient understanding to build their own decks (whether they go for infinite mana from Pili-Pala or Myr abuse or try and throw down a huge creature turn 4).

I have to agree with the comments that $80 is not budget for most people especially when you are including one off cards that might not find homes in every deck.  Cards like Go for the throat will be auto includes for so many decks that it is worth buying 4 even if that is $10.

I wouldn't mind seeing JVL take a 'bad' rare from MBS and show us how to build a deck round it.
I like the articles, but I have to agree with the general sentiments here. Yes, an $80 deck does fall into my personal opinion of "building on a budget"... but I don't see many people taking this type of approach when they get into the game.

For those that are new to the game, they usually grab an intro pack with a "theme" and then build around it. I'd love to see more articles on modifying and building around the intro packs to make them stronger. I'm actually a little surprised that we didn't see this with the release of MBS. Just another way to plug the product.
Hey Jacob, love your articles bro.

Good luck to all of you players who are going to try Transmuter builds. It's a really fun deck, and will also cause you to tear your hair out in frustration.
Thoese of us who have been seriously deck-testing Transmuter/Kuldotha builds since November know the truth about this deck and its million incarnations.

Also, the non-budget version I'm currently running weighs in at 225 tix w/sideboard.

Have fun!
As far as I can remember, I've never seen a Building on a Budget article focus on the Commander format. I think it would be very interesting to see Jacob's take on a budget Commander deck.


I'm pretty sure BoaB doesn't cover EDH or casual formats in general because you can do basically anything in them. The cardpool is too large and the metagame is too unpredictable and/or too individual. One guy plays a Goblin deck basically unchanged from the Onslaught era, another guy plays a deck based on getting an Avatar of Kaldra out, someone else plays a milling deck, someone else plays a Saproling deck, someone else plays a combo deck relying on cards from both Urza's Destiny and Darksteel. Of the thousands of cards in the game, there are probably fewer than 100 of them not legal in Extended that sell for more than $10 and most cost a lot less than that, so no matter what your format or chosen theme you have plenty to choose from.



I'd like to remind you that before Jacob started writing the column, it was focused completely on casual. You don't need metagames or small card pools to build fun decks on a budget.
76125763 wrote:
Zindaras' meta is like a fossil, ancient and its secrets yet to be uncovered. Only men of yore, long dead, knew of it.
I like the articles, but I have to agree with the general sentiments here. Yes, an $80 deck does fall into my personal opinion of "building on a budget"... but I don't see many people taking this type of approach when they get into the game.



A current-gen video game runs you about $60.  Comic books run $4-5 a pop($10 if you like Japanese ones), and if you read multiple series that can really add up.  Other collectible table-top games like Warhammer or what have you can easily break into the multiple hundreds of dollars range.

Spending $80 on a deck you could potentially use for month/forever shouldn't really seem so far-fetched.
A current-gen video game runs you about $60.  Comic books run $4-5 a pop($10 if you like Japanese ones), and if you read multiple series that can really add up.  Other collectible table-top games like Warhammer or what have you can easily break into the multiple hundreds of dollars range.

Spending $80 on a deck you could potentially use for month/forever shouldn't really seem so far-fetched.


Buying current gen games used can half that price; webcomics are usually free; Other collectable table-top games like Heroscape (non-mandatory Hasbro plugin whee!) takes effort (base set + ~4 non-random boosters) before hitting a hundred dollars.

Point is, we have options, and a decent chunk of BoaB readers believe that lowering the budget can be done.
Deck blog: http://alurenrecycle.blogspot.com/ http://gureiseion.tumblr.com/
Enjoyed the article.  I like the new version of the Transmuter deck.  I've been following this deck through all its incarnations, and it's really nice to see one person's perspective for how a deck can change as it phases from standard to extended.  Especially a deck like this that seems to have a lot of potential, but has yet to find the one piece that makes it a bomb.  
Anyway, for those complaining about the "budget", most of the cost is in the lands and these can easily be subbed for others (like underground river).  Also, while wurmcoil engine is close to $10, I really can't think of any reason to use it over sphinx of the steel wind, in which case, it can be left out.
Also, while wurmcoil engine is close to $10, I really can't think of any reason to use it over sphinx of the steel wind, in which case, it can be left out.


Because it costs two mana and three colors less and was given away for free in large quantities over the span of a weekend not five months ago. And it takes three times as many removal spells to kill it.
Also, while wurmcoil engine is close to $10, I really can't think of any reason to use it over sphinx of the steel wind, in which case, it can be left out.


Because it costs two mana and three colors less and was given away for free in large quantities over the span of a weekend not five months ago. And it takes three times as many removal spells to kill it.


Those are great reasons to use it in lieu of sphinx of the steel wind if you don't have one.  If you already have the sphinx, there is very little reason to use wurmcoil engine -- it dies to doom blade, burn, doesn't work as well with grand architect, and lacks evasion.  The difference in mana cost is trivial in this deck as usually you won't be paying it, and I've found that the difficulty with which opponents have at removing the sphinx more than makes up for it.

As an aside, I've been messing around with flayer husk in this deck and I like it.  It gives trinket mage another target, can chump block, and can usually boost the small guys out of bolt range.
I think that trinket mage could benifit from sigil of distinction, brittle effigy, voltaic key, viridian claw or basilisk collar as the top  go to spells in a grand arcitect deck for me. I hardly ever even use everflowing chalice whenever I use grand architect and have no problems with mana for the most part barring mana screw. I like Executioner's Capsule and think it would do well with prototype portal but i think thats just because I like it so much and i really want to use it in something competative. Master Transmuter has been one of my favorate cards since I started playing at the scars prerelease and I had bought the assemble the doomsday machine deck so I really appriciate these articles and find them enlightening.