budget FNM

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ive been attending the local FNM on and off, problem is 2 out 3 players are highrollers with budgets of 500$+++, and i dont have this kind of money to spend on magic. Well i do but work gets in the way of FNM way to often for it to be worth it.

ive been placing around the bottom half which roughly translates to a 40% winrate with a weenie-midagro-overrun splicer/werewolf/any good cheap creature i could find. that was fine since my deck is around 10$. But this time around i'd like to play something that could bring me to 50%+ win, and something that isnt quite so defenseless if opponents deck works.

so ive come up with this which is still budget but agro-control and with counterspells so that i just might stop some of the nastier things they can throw at me. how does this look? and how do you think it would do vs more controlish deck running suntitan/image?

 
Very topheavy... For monoblue, I don't know what you could do to solve that.

Anyway, I found for budget builds that synergy wil work. You may not have a metric ton of goodstuff, and you may not be optimized for top level play or for any decent matchups, but as long as there's an engine and a mana curve, should be okay.

Otherwise a well-flowing strategy such as one-to-three mana creatures that hit nicely while piling yourself up with counterspells and removal. Perhaps burn too if you know what you're doing.

Right now you probably honestly want another color.
As a fellow budget-ish player, I advise you to stick with it and honor your mana curve. Ask yourself the question "What do I want to be doing, or what is the best play on turn X?" For example, you will probably want turn one Delver, turn two Mana Leak and flip Delver, etc. What about something like:

Creatures
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Invisible Stalker
3 Stormbound Geist
3 Dungeon Geists
2 Aether Adept

Other Spells
4 Mana Leak
4 Vapor Snag
4 Ponder
3 Dissipate
2 Think Twice
2 Cackling Counterpart
2 Runechanter's Pike

Lands
21 Island
2 Ghost Quarter



sideboard

1 smite the monstrous
4 think twice
4 divination
2 bone to ash
4 stoic rebuttal 
Some people go out and spend 500$ to get started.

A lot dont.

I started out similar to where you are 2 years ago. I still dont have a ton of money to spend on magic. But I did work towards it, because its a hobby I enjoy. Eventually, you will accumulate your own collection that will be worth something. You have to actually be active in it though. Sometimes you can spend a little to get something you absolutely need, like lands. But most staples are commons and uncommons that are easy to get a hold of. The rest you can acquire through trading and playing and winning packs, which is how I've worked up to being able to get a play set of something I need like snapcasters without actually forking out 25$ for them. Thats also why it makes me a little angry when people accuse others of buying their way into a game, when really they have dont the work to establish themselves from the ground up just like almost every other player.

So, I understand your feelings towards the somewhat daunting tasks involved with getting into this game, but you shouldnt come to rash conclusions about people who have taken the time to get into a hobby they enjoy.

EDIT

Forgot to talk about your deck.

Someone already talked about the expense of your deck mana wise.

Blue control is probably best in the delver form, unfortunately.

If you want to make an effective, inexpensive deck, white weenie undying/card advantage.dec is looking really good to me. Load up on doomed travelers and loyal cathars and the rest of the human family, maybe get some honor of the pure, and go to town. You have o-ring to deal with big stuff, and you can blow through little dudes to get value out of your guys that come back. Then some traditional white controler dudes like lawkeeper can clear the road, and maybe work into some bombs when you have the cash.
Why don't you play the Limited events (usually Draft) at FNM?  I think it's a lot more fun in general.  It teaches you to look for less obvious uses for every card in the set.  You get to see the game on a different level other than "I need that $50 card to be competitive".  Sealed will eliminate the barrier between those who want to spend crazy amounts of money on a deck and those who don't.  Not only that, but it builds up your card pool so that you can get the Tier 1 decks without having to spend a lot more money.  The Limited events are going to cost you a little extra money, but you're getting cards out of it and greatly increasing your chances of winning.

I'd recommend just playing Limited events (at my shop, it's just Drafts every Friday and Sealed for releases/pre-releases) for a full block (i.e. Innistrad, Dark Ascension and Avacyn Restored) to build up your card pool.  Then, once the new block is released, you'll only have to buy the staples to get a top deck.
uhm...all i said about with people with expensive decks was that they have expensive decks...

i agree that most people dont buy their cards in one go but continously. I fail to see how this affects the fact that they buy their cards?

Its not about "working my way in" you dont win boosters for free, you gamble for it, with your admission fee. If youve built up a collection this way you will have lost some of these fees as well along the way,  and in fact - have bought your cards albeit in a roundabout way. 

theres no way - outside 1 in a million luck - to place top 6  at my FNM with a deck of less than 200$ ( by the prices in my country though, perhaps I could get a good deck for less if i wanted a deck expensive enough to warrant international shipping). the players know what they are doing and im not excaggerating about the size of the wallets they have 4 of every rare/mythic they want to play in their decks.  
 
but like i said i just dont play often enough to warrant that sort of investment.   
@mac: ye i cant tell you how disappointed i was that i missed the prerelease games and the chance to play these guys on a level playing field but between work and a sick daughter i ended up missing the opportunity. Also draft tends to be less cohesive decks. I'd like it alot if there was modern pauper events but no luck apparently the people who like the game enough to want to play at events also like the game enough to spend money on it - and like a guy said when i asked about it: why would they want to play pauper when they have all these rares?^^

o and about the curve: less than 5% of the people there play fast agro, lately decks akin to hold the line but with 4 heroes of bladehold and 4 angelic destiny has been showing up, but the speed of my defense is just fine as is. 
If you play a good sligh deck out of nowhere and know how to hose the competition you can easily win.

Learn what beats the best decks->Put those cards in a deck->Roflstomp your way to the top 8.
@missing: ok then build me a budget deck that can beat control+sun titan+image(+ maybe a few more copiers) with full playsets of black sun's zenith and judgment day in sideboard, and that can also beat hold the line style deck with 4 heroes of bladehold and  angelic destiny. : GO!


if you cant then stop talking trash;)

and im not even sure those are the best decks... 

You can't possibly try to build a deck that will beat everything.  You could spend $1,000s of dollars and it still wouldn't do that.

Why don't you check out some top deck lists instead of trying to get everyone to do the work for you?  TCGPlayer.com has a decent list and includes rough price estimates for the full deck.  RDW is a cheap(ish) deck that consistently does well.  Here's an example list that runs about $80 and went 4-0 on MTGO recently:



Sideboard
[deck]2x Manabarbs
3x Manic Vandal
2x Peace Strider
3x Rolling Temblor
2x Traitorous Blood
3x Vulshok Refugee[/deck]
no but you can build something that can beat two decks. i wasnt really trying to get him to do so...it cant be done is more my point.

75$ is about right for the minimum price of a competitive deck....thats not budget tho, in my book. id might fork out that much tho...but with international shipping it gets jst a little higher than im willing to put on the table. But ye if if i was to up my wallet a bit red would not be a bad place to look with shrine in the mix, its a nice list too
@missing: ok then build me a budget deck that can beat control+sun titan+image(+ maybe a few more copiers) with full playsets of black sun's zenith and judgment day in sideboard, and that can also beat hold the line style deck with 4 heroes of bladehold and  angelic destiny. : GO!


if you cant then stop talking trash;)

and im not even sure those are the best decks... 

Surgical Extraction- answers all of the above with the exception of Zenith AND you can play them in a white/blue control deck. Hoses anything with 2-3 big threats... Mana Leak their "big gun" then extract it effectively nuttering their deck of threats. To be very nasty combine with Snapcaster for repeated fun and watch as they pull their hair out while you insta-speed de-construct their deck. Watch for Missteps though.


Honestly, the most "Budget Friendly" deck is mono-red or even (depending on your location) poison, but even then you're approaching $100 or more. Its hard to get away with a truly competative deck without spending a few bucks on the hard hitters (Snapcaster Mage,  Prime Time, Hero's of X, ect.) Then when a cheap deck becomes effective, it quickly jumps in price (Ala Delver/Dismember/Gut Shot mode). Good luck. I was in the same boat a while back.
actually that just takes cares of the suntitan which is by far the most vulnerable deck - well it would be if not for all those counterspells;)

i'd loike to run surgicals tho...but they cost almost what im investing in this deck and almost ½ the total cost of the deck... 

the hold the line still has champions and crusaders and other stuff lined up 
As a fellow budget-ish player, I advise you to stick with it and honor your mana curve. Ask yourself the question "What do I want to be doing, or what is the best play on turn X?" For example, you will probably want turn one Delver, turn two Mana Leak and flip Delver, etc. What about something like:

Creatures
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Invisible Stalker
3 Stormbound Geist
3 Dungeon Geists
2 Aether Adept

Other Spells
4 Mana Leak
4 Vapor Snag
4 Ponder
3 Dissipate
2 Think Twice
2 Cackling Counterpart
2 Runechanter's Pike

Lands
21 Island
2 Ghost Quarter

I like this list. Looks solid, although I feel four stalkers for two pikes isn't the greatest combo for getting both out at the same time.

But yeah. Mana curve is so very helpful.
As a fellow budget-ish player, I advise you to stick with it and honor your mana curve. Ask yourself the question "What do I want to be doing, or what is the best play on turn X?" For example, you will probably want turn one Delver, turn two Mana Leak and flip Delver, etc. What about something like:

Creatures
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Invisible Stalker
3 Stormbound Geist
3 Dungeon Geists
2 Aether Adept

Other Spells
4 Mana Leak
4 Vapor Snag
4 Ponder
3 Dissipate
2 Think Twice
2 Cackling Counterpart
2 Runechanter's Pike

Lands
21 Island
2 Ghost Quarter

I like this list. Looks solid, although I feel four stalkers for two pikes isn't the greatest combo for getting both out at the same time.

But yeah. Mana curve is so very helpful.



Maybe another Pike or Silver-Inlaid Dagger? I'm trying to think of good equipment that isn't a sword.

@Rawsugar- I'm telling you, try this deck on for size. You can make it for less than ten dollars, easily. The rares are about 50 cents each. You are worried up Sun Titan and Phantasmal Image? This deck will help you out. Vapor Snag Phantasmal Image and kill it. As for Sun Titan, simply just Mana Leak or Dissipate. By the time Sun Titan comes out, you will be smashing face with fliers, hopefully equipped. Cackling Image allows you to copy your dudes, especially the one's with come into play effects. Worried about Day of Judgment and Black Sun's Zenith? Easy again. Sideboard in Negate, another common. This deck will be fast, evasive, and you can save your counterspells for the big threats that are hammering you late game. Vapor Snag and Aether Adept also kill pesky tokens and blank Angelic Destiny. You can even put in Pyschic Barrier from your sideboard. If control is giving you trouble, maybe a sideboard like:

4 Negate
4 Flashfreeze
2 Master Thief <---- Stealing swords would be hilarious.
2 Aether Adept
1 Dissipate
Cut Think Twice and 1 Dissipate for 3 Thought Scour.

@jahc: fiirst the deck is more like 15 minimum 20 more realistic.

I dont hold with bounce, it could be in sideboard for the few situations when its actually useful but often it wont be.  
but the pike is nice and for some strange rason actually quite affordable locally. + the stormboiund is also a great target for it.

im now considering this:   



i feel naked without my midagro creatures tho. dungeon geist would be very good addition but 3,5$ locally 
Mr Indigo-Agreed. Great card I haven't really looked into yet.

rawsugar-Are you saying Dungeon Geists are anywhere from 3 to 5 dollars at your local store? Yikes. You should just go on www.bidwicket.com and find one site that is selling them cheap. Bidwicket is the best when you need a dozen or so cards and want them cheap. I'm all for supporting my local store, but not when the price difference is outrageous. I tend to not buy rares and even some uncommons from mine; they are usually about 50% higher in price. I don't want to get too much intro pricing logistics since this is a deck help thread though.

Twelve creatures and six equipment is definitely a rough ratio. You will have a lot of equipment sitting there as your creatures get picked off by removal. Ever considered Minshrieker, another 50 cent rare? It could be a great two-drop for your evasive aggressive strategy. Plus, late game you might have a lot of mana just sitting there. Topdecking a Mindshrieker, milling them a couple times next turn, and swinging in for a bunch of pumped damage seems pretty good. He's good against control decks that are giving you trouble. If you mill some counterspells, finishers, or card draw, they will not be happy to say the least. However, I would side him out against decks with Midnight Haunting. That's when you want to bring in your Vapor Snag and Aether Adept. I know you are impartial to bounce, but I can't tell you how good Vapor Snag will be in your deck. It will be rare that, unless you are playing a deck with Midnight Haunting or Moorland Haunt that you will be seeing creatures with flying. Vapor Snagging whatever creatures do fly will be devastating.

The list you posted is agood start, but its strategy is sort of indecisive. It sort of wants to be aggro, but only has twelve creatures. I'm thinking you should go all out aggro, with some counterspells, card draw, and a little bounce. That way you keep the pressure on. I think Phantasmal Bear will have a place in a very aggressive stratey. Plus, the more aggressive you are, the better chance you will have at beating those pesky control decks that are giving you trouble. If you are staying away from Dungeon Geists, try this:

Creatures
4 Phantasmal Bear
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Invisible Stalker
3 Stormbound Geist
2 Mindshrieker

Other Spells
4 Ponder
4 Vapor Snag
4 Mana Leak
4 Thought Scour
3 Runechanter's Pike
2 Dissipate
1 Silver-Inlaid Dagger

Lands
19 Island
2 Ghost Quarter

Sideboard:
4 Negate
4 Flashfreeze
1 Ghost Quarter
What is giving you trouble? The rest of the sideboard is your call.

Try playtesting with 21 land, and if it's inconsistent, maybe cut a dissipate, geist, or vapor snag for one more. Let me know how it does when you take it to an FNM. People won't really know what to expect or how to play against it, so you have that going for you. I think it should be fun. I plan on making this deck on magic online, and if it does alright, maybe take it to an FNM too. I have a little daughter too, so I know how frustrating budget constraints for magic can be. Just have fun and keep at it with this deck. The more you play it you will have a feel for what cards work, your deck's weaknesses, and your competition or metagame.