10/05/2011 BoaB: "Knight of the Living Dead"

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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.
Looks like he made the same mistake I did: Sign in Blood did not get reprinted, and as such is no longer in Standard.
Immature College Student (Also a Rules Advisor)
Yeah, i just noticed that too. Oh well, it's not like gambit is a downgrade or anything.
Doesn't JVL test/build on magic online? Maybe that's why he's made a lot of mistakes with rotated cards lately. SiB is still legal online I believe.
Yeah, i just noticed that too. Oh well, it's not like gambit is a downgrade or anything.



It's not a downgrade, but in a deck with 4 Gambits and 4 SiB, that's not really the issue. What's going to side in for SiB here?
It's nice to see him showing a deck evolve for once. This is the kind of article I want to see in this slot (though with playtesting results show in between the evolutions). Hopefully he doesn't go back to not-evolving when he's able to playtest on MtGO again.
But like others have already said, Sign in Blood isn't Standard legal anymore. I bring this up simply to say this: Why oh why did you guys cut it from the Core Set?! *sobs*
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
Altar's Reap is a good substitute for Sign in Blood in the zombie tribal/token version.  Probably not so much in the infect one.
It's nice to see him showing a deck evolve for once. This is the kind of article I want to see in this slot (though with playtesting results show in between the evolutions). Hopefully he doesn't go back to not-evolving when he's able to playtest on MtGO again.
But like others have already said, Sign in Blood isn't Standard legal anymore. I bring this up simply to say this: Why oh why did you guys cut it from the Core Set?! *sobs*



I agree entirely.  This was a very real look at how a deck sometimes get made... you test it out and evolve it, and it ends up being very different from what you set out to build. I hope we see more like this as well, and although I find playtesting matches interesting as well, I think they could be more of a recap of the match then a whole play-by-play. The match reports should reflect on the deckbuilding process, otherwise they don't really have a much of a point to them.
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
I also found this column to be enjoyable. It's always funny to see how decks evolve into something you never imagined when you set out.
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.
The deck is fun, and yes, the column is enjoyable. Very nice!
So the first two decks are pretty decent if you are on a budget (if you replace Sign in Blood with Altar's Reap of course), but that third deck is not a budget deck at all! Four Inkmoth Nexus?!? That card is going for around $10 currently. If that was the only expensive card then maybe I could forgive it, but then he includes Phyrexian Crusader ($4 - $5 a piece) and Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon ($5 - $6).

With only those cards in the deck using the lesser value of each card it would cost you around $70! Assuming $.25 for commons and $.50 for uncommons that leaves us with $80. Now perhaps I'm overreacting but that seems a bit much for a budget deck. I miss the days when you could make one of these decks for under $30.
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Wow... overuse of the word "real". Ancient Grudge is a very real card, apparently. Well, okay, I do spend many of my days staring at made-up cards, but I don't really think affirming the tournament-legality of a card is what JvL's meaning here. Similarly, Distress is "a very real discard spell"... Not just a real discard spell, but a very real one. So real its reality jumps out of the card if you hold it. Um, what?

I really liked the column this week.  I was surprised to see that Phyrexian Crusader and Mirran Crusader never made it very far in competitive standard when those two cards initially seemed some of the best of the set.  Paladin-en-vec was a great card back in the day and mirran crusader is probably close to power, replacing pro-red with pro-green, but also giving it double strike.  Phyrexian Crusader has pseudo-double strike because infect basically does double damage in a dedicated infect deck.

I liked the article because it took a neat but unrealistic idea and took us through further development of the deck to it's final stages.

As to how to improve the deck, if Phyrexian Crusader is the powerhouse of the deck, you have to decide whether it is more important that it has infect or whether it's tribal synergies are more important.  Imo Cemetery Reaper is the only other very good zombie so I'd lean toward an infect deck.  It's pretty dissynergystic to put an infect card in with other zombie that don't have infect.  I think infect decks of various ilks will be some of the best decks in the new standard.  I always liked the UBr Infect/Artifact/Control deck developed by Patrick Chapin.  In fact, decks like that are always my favorite.  I love control decks that have comboish win-cons that can win out of nowhere.  I always liked the Tezz/Inkmoth Nexus interaction very much.  I think the blight dragon and phyrexian crusader could be the finishers of choice in that deck.  I know Tezz is a PW, but atm all of the component pieces can be purchased for relatively cheap, making it close to a budget deck.   

So the first two decks are pretty decent if you are on a budget (if you replace Sign in Blood with Altar's Reap of course), but that third deck is not a budget deck at all! Four Inkmoth Nexus?!? That card is going for around $10 currently. If that was the only expensive card then maybe I could forgive it, but then he includes Phyrexian Crusader ($4 - $5 a piece) and Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon ($5 - $6).

With only those cards in the deck using the lesser value of each card it would cost you around $70! Assuming $.25 for commons and $.50 for uncommons that leaves us with $80. Now perhaps I'm overreacting but that seems a bit much for a budget deck. I miss the days when you could make one of these decks for under $30.
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While I understand that the term "budget" has different meanings for different people (and you should too), I think an $80 price tag is fine. Compare to the decklists found in the top 16 of last weekend's Starcity Open. The retail price of these lists run from $225 to $430, so I'd argue a deck that is 1/3 to one-tenth that price is most definitely "budget". You can also trade easily for most of these cards since they are underplayed at the moment, with exception of Inkmoth Nexus.
Wow... overuse of the word "real".



I had the same response.  There were only four "real" (along with some really), but it bugged me for the whole article.

Also, Ghost Quarter is awesome, and will probably do alot to keep the Nexus down.

Back to the question of what would replace Sign in Blood in the final deck list. What about Nihil Spellbomb? It's obviously an inferior draw spell for Black, but it seems to me that Solar Flare variants are fairly popular in the new meta-game. When facing Solar Flare or any other sort of creature reanimator strategy, the targeted discard in this deck would either play into your opponent's game or be dead in your hand, unless you had some way to deal with the cards after discard. You'd probably want some number of Surgical Extraction in the board to help with this match-up, but having Nihil Spellbomb doing dual-duty in the main might not be a bad idea. Thoughts?
I don't understand why proliferate, with all the strong proliferate cards out there, has not made it into competitive standard.

Inkmoth Nexus isn't even the only thing there is--
things like corrupted resolve turn almost instantly into "Counterspell".
Virulent Wound is an extremely strong removal spell that helps proliferate out in the early game.
Creatures like Blighted Agent and Plague Stinger are annoying evasive invasive creatures that can pack a punch if equipped or enchanted with things like spectral flight, skeletal grimace, and mutagenic growth.

Proliferate needs to make it's debut in standard, even if it did come out a year ago.
Also, Ghost Quarter is awesome real, and will probably do alot to keep the Nexus down.




Fixed.
The reasons why Skithiryx is terrible are:

1. Phyrexian Metamorph/Phantasmal Image are demoralising removal against your bomb

2. You hardly ever have the mana left to regenerate Skittles when you cast him (even if you top deck him late-game, you probably won't have 8 lands to cast him, give him haste AND have regen mana up, especially if your Inkmoth Nexuses have died to removal. 

3. Even if you do, it'll most probably only die to dirt cheap Dismember

4. Drawing multiples is terrible and staring at such a bad ass dragon when you're stuck on 4 lands is sad.


Though he's bad, I've quite enjoyed playing mono-black infect with Skittles and Crusader, even going to the extent of playing U/B Infect with Tezzeret AoB, the aforementioned creatures, Livewire Lash, Distortion Strike and Virulent Swipe (T3 cast Crusader, T4 cast Distortion Strike and Virulent Swipe on it, with Mana Leak mana up. T5 rebound it on the Crusader and wait for the scoop. Also equipping anything Infect with Livewire lash and targeting it with spells is oh-so-fun).
Wow... overuse of the word "real". Ancient Grudge is a very real card, apparently. Well, okay, I do spend many of my days staring at made-up cards, but I don't really think affirming the tournament-legality of a card is what JvL's meaning here. Similarly, Distress is "a very real discard spell"... Not just a real discard spell, but a very real one. So real its reality jumps out of the card if you hold it. Um, what?



I noticed that too... but it was kind of funny, not something that would take away from the enjoyment of the article. which by the way, was a very real article. ;)
~ Current Decks I'm Playing or Building ~ (Click a deck's name to see list) [] CorpseJunk Menace/Township Counters (Standard) [] Reanimation/Clerics Theme Deck - Commander: Ghost Dad [] Devouring Tokens (Planechase, Multiplayer) [] Krark-Clan Ironworks: 2012 Edition (Modern) [] Azorious Turbo Fog (Modern)
Yeah, i just noticed that too. Oh well, it's not like gambit is a downgrade or anything.



It's not a downgrade, but in a deck with 4 Gambits and 4 SiB, that's not really the issue. What's going to side in for SiB here?

I'm going to make a deck like this and replace sign in blood with gitaxian probe. Probably do a playset of Drowned Catacomb so I won't have to keep paying two life...
Nihil Spellbomb might be the answer for the last deck, but Altar's Reap is just too perfect not too run in the zombie decks. Before Cemetary Reaper, you want creatures in you graveyard. After he show's up, you can afford to sac a token, especially if you have endless ranks out. It just makes too much sense not too run.
So the first two decks are pretty decent if you are on a budget (if you replace Sign in Blood with Altar's Reap of course), but that third deck is not a budget deck at all! Four Inkmoth Nexus?!? That card is going for around $10 currently. If that was the only expensive card then maybe I could forgive it, but then he includes Phyrexian Crusader ($4 - $5 a piece) and Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon ($5 - $6).

With only those cards in the deck using the lesser value of each card it would cost you around $70! Assuming $.25 for commons and $.50 for uncommons that leaves us with $80. Now perhaps I'm overreacting but that seems a bit much for a budget deck. I miss the days when you could make one of these decks for under $30.
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While I understand that the term "budget" has different meanings for different people (and you should too), I think an $80 price tag is fine. Compare to the decklists found in the top 16 of last weekend's Starcity Open. The retail price of these lists run from $225 to $430, so I'd argue a deck that is 1/3 to one-tenth that price is most definitely "budget". You can also trade easily for most of these cards since they are underplayed at the moment, with exception of Inkmoth Nexus.



I have to agree with you that budget has different meanings for different people, but to be honost, i dont think $80 is on a budget. I like to play magic for fun, and one of the most fun part of magic is it's diversity. I like to play with a red agro deck to day and maybe a black control tomorow. If I have a 80 dollar tag on just one deck there is no way i can efford some different decks. (im a student btw, wich means i dont swim in my money)
I'm not a fan of precons, but you can buy a lot of them for $80. 
I really Enjoyed this article It really helped me design a really fun Zombie deck check it out:

 tappedout.net/mtg-decks/zombie-control-7...
I recently made a variant of this deck using the first list at FNM this week and it worked quite well I will post the list later
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