05/16/2012 BoaB: "Budget Reanimator"

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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.
Clearly the secret to the original Frites list is the ability to play 6 Unburial Rites.
I often don't have much of anything good to say about these decks, but this seems great to me. It's a shame that you need 4 (5)  colors, but I agree that you can't really function without a lot of ways to dump guys into the graveyard.
It's late and maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't the Behemoth and three 1/1s be 24 points of damage?

Behemoth's ability adds 4/4 since there are 4 creatures on the board.

Behemoth 5/5 + 4/4 = 9/9
Each 1/1 + 4/4 = 5/5

15 + 9 = 24

Don't care if I'm wrong, but I'd like to know what I'm missing if it is 27 as he says.
budget deck that won't cost me a hundred dollars to pull together?
From Jacob van Lunen?
What a shock! 
If Wizards put hundred dollar bills in each pack, players would complain that they weren't folded right.
It's late and maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't the Behemoth and three 1/1s be 24 points of damage?

Behemoth's ability adds 4/4 since there are 4 creatures on the board.

Behemoth 5/5 + 4/4 = 9/9
Each 1/1 + 4/4 = 5/5

15 + 9 = 24

Don't care if I'm wrong, but I'd like to know what I'm missing if it is 27 as he says.

Yeah he's wrong.  I came here to see if anyone else noticed lol
There is no tighter shirt!
Ah well, still enough damage to win :D

Interesting...can't believe I didn't see the Behemoth before!
1) Learn to math...."If you have three 1/1s in play and Craterhoof Behemoth enters the battlefield on your side of the table, you're going to be attacking for 27 trample damage. That's probably good enough to lock up victory." this equals 24 not 27.

2) Frites becomes much much worse without the expensive manabase.  Mainly because then you aren't as fast and game changing.
I like fun, but competitive decks. So I might not play what is optimal but they have normally been tested to have a 2/3 winrate.
I'd just like to say that I think this deck should be called Rainbow Brites. (5 color + Budget-Rites.) That is all.
Clearly the secret to the original Frites list is the ability to play 6 Unburial Rites.



Indeed, saw that and I lol'd. Poor JVL. This time, in his defence, he just copy + pasted the original decklist, which had the error in the firstplace.

Also, his math skills clearly need work on this one from his poor Behemoth arithmetic. (not that mine is much better mind you)


Well, the deck is okay I guess. I honestly think it's too slow for standard though, and with no removals/bombs, I doubt it will go off fast enough for the win most of the time.

But I wish to adress this quote from the end of his article:


"Be sure to shoot me an email or hit the forums with any questions or comments. I'm always looking for feedback and future column ideas!"

JVL

I will ask again, as I have asked every week:

Please, do an article on BUDGET mana solutions. I feel like every time I try to make a deck, I come up with these awesome ideas and then run into the usual "Oh crap, every friggin land out there that fixes my mana is extremely expensive (Duals), or messes up my tempo (CIPT) or has some hugely disadvantageous drawback (IE - Tarnished Citadel). I would love to see this issue adressed, and what you would go about looking at when constructing a deck and having an extremeley slim budget. Hopefully it's something more in depth than "splash green". I understand different decks probably have different mana solutions, but regardless, I'd love to hear your take on it. Mana is so important in magic, and I feel like I lose to other decks a lot just because they can afford $12 lands and I can't.


Cost to obtain this deck using the cheapest prices on bidwicket.com, assuming $5 shipping and free basic lands:

Estimated total cost: 91.5
2 Clifftop Retreat: 2 @ 5.69; total 11.38
4 Evolving Wilds: 4 @ 0.1; total 0.4
4 Gavony Township: 4 @ 1.29; total 5.16
4 Shimmering Grotto: 4 @ 0.04; total 0.16
4 Woodland Cemetery: 4 @ 4.42; total 17.68
4 Avacyn's Pilgrim: 4 @ 0.05; total 0.2
4 Birds of Paradise: 4 @ 3.45; total 13.8
3 Blade Splicer: 3 @ 3.51; total 10.53
4 Craterhoof Behemoth: 4 @ 2.03; total 8.12
4 Geist-Honored Monk: 4 @ 0.43; total 1.72
4 Faithless Looting: 4 @ 0.09; total 0.36
4 Lingering Souls: 4 @ 1.69; total 6.76
4 Mulch: 4 @ 0.02; total 0.08
2 Trackers Instincts: 2 @ 0.07; total 0.14
4 Unburial Rites: 4 @ 0.18; total 0.72
4 Ancient Grudge: 4 @ 0.05; total 0.2
2 Ray of Revelation: 2 @ 0.02; total 0.04
2 Purify the Grave: 2 @ 0.03; total 0.06
3 Timely Reinforcements: 3 @ 1.33; total 3.99


Please, do an article on BUDGET mana solutions. I feel like every time I try to make a deck, I come up with these awesome ideas and then run into the usual "Oh crap, every friggin land out there that fixes my mana is extremely expensive (Duals), or messes up my tempo (CIPT) or has some hugely disadvantageous drawback (IE - Tarnished Citadel). I would love to see this issue adressed, and what you would go about looking at when constructing a deck and having an extremeley slim budget. Hopefully it's something more in depth than "splash green". I understand different decks probably have different mana solutions, but regardless, I'd love to hear your take on it. Mana is so important in magic, and I feel like I lose to other decks a lot just because they can afford $12 lands and I can't.





I hear you on that, but do you think there IS a good solution? I think we saw Jacob's best shot in this deck which is essentially 5 colors. Run Birds, run Shimmering Grotto (which has some obvious disadvantages), and put most of the money in your deck into the dual lands that are the most essential. 

This is one reason I hope WotC never changes out the dual lands used in the core set, so that investing in those once can keep paying dividends for years. 
Not to mention Birds of Paradise is expensive again . Prime Time needs to go home. I have to run Llanowar Elves for my ramping purposes now... I traded my Birds off so fast for some Isolated Chapel.
I don't like it at all.  First of all, the mana has been poorly sorted.  I understand wanting to limit dual lands to control the cost to buy the cards (budget theme), but do you really think a five color deck can afford lands that produce colorless mana for a quasi-useful effect?  Evolving wilds is a mixed solution.  It allows you to grab a color that you need, but it costs you two of your allocated lands for that basic land card which reduces the probability of drawing into another land for the rest of the match.  Few people are calculating the proper use of Evolving Wilds from a probability perspective, and this is exacerbated by the reliance on Shimmering Grotto which requires 2 mana to get the 1 you need.  In short, if you start off with the idea of a "budget" anything the last thing you should do is make it a five color deck.  Five color decks are always expensive because of the mana sources.  It makes no sense whatsoever given the design parameters.

More importantly, what are the paths to victory here?  It's all essentially down to a single combo triggered by a single card (unburial rights) and poses no significant offense without this.  A control deck with a significant investment in removal and environmental control can get away with this ttype of combo reliance, but not a five color deck with no thought for defense.  Remember that for every hand where you start with an unburial rights in your hand, you are also going to have a match where you don't see it until card 20.  With bad luck, it might take longer, and if you do find it it's useless without the behemoth in your graveyard.  What if it gets countered?  What's the backup plan?  Win with a few tokens or hardcast the Behemoth (which you have previously triedd to get in your graveyard)?

And what is tracker's instinct doing in here?  It works exactly opposite the gameplan.  It forces you to put the behemoth in your hand if its the only creature drawn-- a real risk since it's the only creature you actually want in your graveyard unlike a reanimator deck like with zombies-- and it risks putting the unburial rights in the graveyeard which forces you to have white mana for the flashback, another risk and potential delay. 

This deck is poorly constructed, has elements that work at counter purposes to the combo, is over reliant on that combo without an investment in control to see it happens, and is not ideally positioned with mana.  It also makes a poor design choice in going five colors with a budget theme.  I give it an F- for quality and D- for creativity.
I don't like it at all.  First of all, the mana has been poorly sorted.


It is a difficult manabase, but it is roughly two colors, and 2 you can use at your convenience or later. The last color barely can be considered existent.

I will say this: t1st ramp ain't happenin, and if it is it probably ain't doing anything t2nd. Not enough t1st green. Birds of Paradise is good at manafixing, but this deck may actually be better off avoiding this plan. The ramp is just kind of arguably unnecessary and a hinderance to its other plans. This deck's at war with its mana and what it's going to with it, and that's what's going to get it killed. However, most budgets builds have that problem. There is arguable room for improvement, though, and I don't think it's dead in the water.

More importantly, what are the paths to victory here?


Even tokens is enough to win long games. URites is resilient to countermagic (not to mention countermagic is arguably less popular with Cavern of Souls about.). G-HMonk wins games, even against Delver. The SB for Delver is not terrible, it gains a flood of defense, some relevant life, and the ability to flick their equipment on the nose.

And what is tracker's instinct doing in here?


More Mulch would be better of course. But you underestimate the deck's flashback component. It's its key root to victory. It's grave puts win condiitons on the table, is removal, is more dredge, and has blockers, all lurking within.
I actually suggested he take popular decks and budgetize them last weekSmile, but Reanimator seems like a terrible choice. By definition, you need extremely mana-expensive and powerful creatures (preferably a lot of them) and those are nearly always extremely money-expensive. JVL, if you do another column like this (and i still think he should), please do a budget ramp or delver, those seem much more practical.
Please, do an article on BUDGET mana solutions. I feel like every time I try to make a deck, I come up with these awesome ideas and then run into the usual "Oh crap, every friggin land out there that fixes my mana is extremely expensive (Duals), or messes up my tempo (CIPT) or has some hugely disadvantageous drawback (IE - Tarnished Citadel). I would love to see this issue adressed, and what you would go about looking at when constructing a deck and having an extremeley slim budget. Hopefully it's something more in depth than "splash green". I understand different decks probably have different mana solutions, but regardless, I'd love to hear your take on it. Mana is so important in magic, and I feel like I lose to other decks a lot just because they can afford $12 lands and I can't.


It's a fair question, but this is the wrong week to ask. There's probably never, ever going to be a budget and competitive deck of 3 or more colors, let alone 5. (Well, with Phyrexian mana... or artifacts and just splashing some of the colors... well, OK, almost never.) Mana is such a basic part of how the game works, and Wizards has made it pretty clear that they don't want to print dual lands without drawbacks again, that it'll always take broadly useful rares to play three or more colors, and broadly useful rares mean money.

So that's your answer: stick to few colors. Either just one, or two but make sure that you only need one color late and in small amounts. Green ramp with a few fatties in another color as finishers, for example.

why isn't abundant growth mentioned in this deck or just generally as a budget way to fix mana? It only has the same amount of tempo loss as evolving wilds (if you have another land in hand), cantrips itself and is supremely flexible. It also allows you to run a few more green sources which can setup first turn BoP/pilgrim.


Also, couldn't rampant growth (and more green sources) be considered here both as a mana fixer and resource accelerator?

Ken Nagle has gone on record to say that the "good" mana fixing (read: nonbasic lands) is explicitly designed to be ubiquitously useful while fillling rare slots, as a means of goading out a higher level of spending on their products. Having this column do a study on some way to reconcile that goal with the player's goal of "building on a budget" would certainly have merit to it.
..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true" />So that's your answer: stick to few colors. Either just one, or two but make sure that you only need one color late and in small amounts. Green ramp with a few fatties in another color as finishers, for example.



I totally understand that a 5 colour deck is pretty much suicide if you can't afford the mana base (this deck was a waste of time for a budget column if you ask me) - But I'm just talking about mana fixing in general, not necessarily in a certain type of deck. I'd love to see him even list a whole bunch of budget solutions, or strategies for deckbuilding with a focus on mana fixing.

In a perfect world Wizards would recognize how important mana is and continue to reprint at least somewhat half decent lands every core set, ideally them being so abundant that they won't break a person's bank. There's nothing worse than losing just because someone can afford better lands than you, while you sit there and get out tempo'd or mana screwed/color screwed.
 Even still, it seems like cards that get reprinted 2 or 3 times still tend to be expensive. Even BoP which has been reprinted more times than I can count still averages around $18 - $20 a playset. And that's only useful if you run green.

In any case, I'd like to hear JVL's take on the whole issue, and how he would go about solving it.


Another issue with cheap mana fixing is that WotC seems to have decided that it's in green's part of the color pie, and taking it wider by providing cheap mana fixing for all weakens green as a color too much, and makes it pointless. Hence why we're very unlikely to see karoos and signets back in RTR.
Another issue with cheap mana fixing is that WotC seems to have decided that it's in green's part of the color pie, and taking it wider by providing cheap mana fixing for all weakens green as a color too much, and makes it pointless. Hence why we're very unlikely to see karoos and signets back in RTR.




So basically what wizards is saying is "We don't give a crap if mana fixing cards are expensive, so good luck ever making even semi-competitive decks without breaking your wallet. Not our problem"


So basically what wizards is saying is "We don't give a crap if mana fixing cards are expensive, so good luck ever making even semi-competitive decks without breaking your wallet. Not our problem"

It'd be slightly more accurate to say their reasoning is "Since the very first dual lands were rare, nobody questions WHY something that does nothing more than facilitate the playing of spells is rare these days, and putting them at rare makes us lots of money. As long as we can get away with it, we will!"
IMAGE(http://images.community.wizards.com/community.wizards.com/user/blitzschnell/c6f9e416e5e0e1f0a1e5c42b0c7b3e88.jpg?v=90000)
So basically what wizards is saying is "We don't give a crap if mana fixing cards are expensive, so good luck ever making even semi-competitive decks without breaking your wallet. Not our problem"

It'd be slightly more accurate to say their reasoning is "Since the very first dual lands were rare, nobody questions WHY something that does nothing more than facilitate the playing of spells is rare these days, and putting them at rare makes us lots of money. As long as we can get away with it, we will!"



I like how these players never even begin to take Limited into account when they go on their "Dual lands shouldn't be rare!!!!!11!" rants.

Unless the block has a multicolor theme (Alara, Ravnica) or something that changes playing lands into a means of offense Zendikar) printing a lot of lands at Uncommon or lower can really mess up limited games something fierce.

As a player that primarily plays draft and sealed, I want the dual lands to stay rare and out of my limited pools.

FYI: Smart buying can make sure you have all the duals you ever need for cheap.  Scars duals might be $20+ a pop now, but they were cheap as dirt when they first came out.  Watch the market and buy low, it's really not that hard.
I like how these players never even begin to take Limited into account when they go on their "Dual lands shouldn't be rare!!!!!11!" rants.

Unless the block has a multicolor theme (Alara, Ravnica) or something that changes playing lands into a means of offense Zendikar) printing a lot of lands at Uncommon or lower can really mess up limited games something fierce.

Just like taking away one of the Common slots and replacing it with a basic land screwed up Limited, right?

Or did you mean screw it up by making it easier to play multi-color decks, which almost everyone in Limited plays already?

I'd actually prefer nonbasic lands get a different treatment: take up the slot occupied by the basic land. That way, they can be easier to obtain, don't replace the rare in packs, and make the presence of a 'land slot' in a booster pack less disappointing.
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It did actually screw up limited though, it just happened at the same time that they started radically reducing set sizes, so the impact wasn't as big.

And don't fool yourself.  5-color fixing cards are already extremely low picks in most limited environments (They have to do something else, like ramp to make picking them a priority in any way), don't think that tossing in a CYCLE (or based on some people's wishlists, several cycles) of them at the uncommon slot every set won't just lead to boosters with that much more trash.  We already have to deal with charms and crap like that, don't make us deal with Duals there too.

There are times when uncommon/common duals make sense, like in the two sets I mentioned.  In fact, I expect there to be some common/uncommon duals in RTR, just like there were in the original Ravnica.  But if it does happen it will be because the environment will support them with lots of multicolor cards.  Uncommon duals in sets like Scars would have been miserable.
It did actually screw up limited though, it just happened at the same time that they started radically reducing set sizes, so the impact wasn't as big.

And don't fool yourself.  5-color fixing cards are already extremely low picks in most limited environments (They have to do something else, like ramp to make picking them a priority in any way), don't think that tossing in a CYCLE (or based on some people's wishlists, several cycles) of them at the uncommon slot every set won't just lead to boosters with that much more trash.  We already have to deal with charms and crap like that, don't make us deal with Duals there too.

There are times when uncommon/common duals make sense, like in the two sets I mentioned.  In fact, I expect there to be some common/uncommon duals in RTR, just like there were in the original Ravnica.  But if it does happen it will be because the environment will support them with lots of multicolor cards.  Uncommon duals in sets like Scars would have been miserable.


So coz duals mess up limited, they should be rare and mess up casual magic. At rare dual lands are WAAAY to pricy. And it realy sucks to open a booster with a land as rare. If i open a booster, i want something nice in the rare slot, not just a dual land. If they just print duals as Akoum Refuge and no rare duals, it would be much better for casual play.
I would like to say a few things.  JvL has kept things in perspective from the competative->budget angle.  INstead of the Budget->competative side.  This is probably the highlight of the season so far for me.  Yes it is narrow, but guess what?  You asked for budget and budget is narrow.  He utilizes the Lingering Souls + Township angle and that is a more recent developement in Frites.

Also, I know he is limietd in space, but there is the Angel of Glory's Rise + Humans from block constructed angle.  Sadly, w/o Huntsmaster you lose some edge, but it is worth noting.

And it has been touched on, but Ghoultree "Dredge" is very budget and competative.  Many decks are competative.  The sad truth is, you need skill reguardless.  Just last night a newer player tried R/W aggro/humans.  COuldn't win, almost had a fit because of that.  I tried to help him, even threw him some spare Oblivion Rings to help.  But without basic deckbuilding, piloting, and card pool options, budget is irrelevant.

I am more than satisfied with this week's column.  I wish there were more mainstream decks to budgetize.  Thanks to Event Decks, there could be, but everyone would call JvL a cop-out.

Last comment:  Birds of Paradise is one of those cards that every long-term player advocates trading for/holding onto.  That lowers the budget a bit if you simply hold onto staples.
So basically what wizards is saying is "We don't give a crap if mana fixing cards are expensive, so good luck ever making even semi-competitive decks without breaking your wallet. Not our problem"

It'd be slightly more accurate to say their reasoning is "Since the very first dual lands were rare, nobody questions WHY something that does nothing more than facilitate the playing of spells is rare these days, and putting them at rare makes us lots of money. As long as we can get away with it, we will!"



I like how these players never even begin to take Limited into account when they go on their "Dual lands shouldn't be rare!!!!!11!" rants.

Unless the block has a multicolor theme (Alara, Ravnica) or something that changes playing lands into a means of offense Zendikar) printing a lot of lands at Uncommon or lower can really mess up limited games something fierce.

As a player that primarily plays draft and sealed, I want the dual lands to stay rare and out of my limited pools.

FYI: Smart buying can make sure you have all the duals you ever need for cheap.  Scars duals might be $20+ a pop now, but they were cheap as dirt when they first came out.  Watch the market and buy low, it's really not that hard.

I like how you've lumped me into being one of these players that has gone on such a rant even though I haven't. At all. Never once have I said Dual lands shouldn't be rare.

Anyway, I like chronego's suggestion of duals taking up the BL slot in a booster. That would be really neat.

Mana is such an integral, fundamental part of the game. Without it, the game would not be the same (That argument could be made, granted, for many parts of the game, but I hope you understand what I mean).
Players shouldn't feel trapped by it just because they can't shell out mad cash.
There's a quote by Maro saying that they keep most duals at rare to sell packs.

www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/s6iw9...
There's a quote by Maro saying that they keep most duals at rare to sell packs.

www.reddit.com/r/magicTCG/comments/s6iw9...

I know they do it because it sells packs. That's why in my post I said "putting them at rare makes us lots of money". The problem is, they're making this money at the expense of what's good for their players.

Lands do nothing but facilitate the playing of the game. They aren't exciting, they don't directly help you win, they don't make you feel clever, they just let you play. Without decent mana bases, a lot of decks just plain don't work. So by making the very things that make the game playable Rare, they're making it harder, or at least more expensive, to play.

I assume the only reason so many people accept it is because the very first dual lands were rare. If they'd been uncommon, which I'd argue they definitely should have been, from the start, and then later Wizards decided that, in order to make more money, they were going to bump them all up to rare, people would get really upset. However, since the precedent was set that dual lands are rare, people are jaded to the problem.

As for the "Uncommon lovers don't like dual lands as much" aspect of Maro's argument:

Okay, assuming that the players who buy fewer backs ARE the same players who don't appreciate dual lands as much, this just means that by making dual lands rare, you're taking away the most exciting card those players get: the rare in the booster pack. If they buy fewer packs, they don't see that many rares, so each rare matters more; opening a land in the rare slot is a slap in the face for such players. It's not a cool creature, it's not an awesome spell... it's a land. It does nothing except make mana.


"It makes them money" is a valid argument for rare dual lands, but then again, cards like Jace, the Mind Sculptor make them a lot of money. Should they print in every set a card so powerful that everyone needs four, so that they can sell enough booster packs for every player to get four? At some point, the harm to your fans and their enjoyment of the game has to outweigh the monetary benefits. When competitive decks require mana bases that cost up to (and sometimes even over) $100, that's a huge deterrent to ever get beyond the casual level in the game.
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Not to mention Birds of Paradise is expensive again . Prime Time needs to go home. I have to run Llanowar Elves for my ramping purposes now... I traded my Birds off so fast for some Isolated Chapel.

Is it just me or with the reanimator deck, wouldn't abundent growth be a better option than birds of paradise? It fixes the mana. It's harder to remove an enchantment then a 0/1 creature, and you get to draw a card, so it replaces itself.  Seems a better option to me. I might replace mulch with Hallow too.
Is it just me or with the reanimator deck, wouldn't abundent growth be a better option than birds of paradise? It fixes the mana. It's harder to remove an enchantment then a 0/1 creature, and you get to draw a card, so it replaces itself.  Seems a better option to me. I might replace mulch with Hallow too.


AGrowth isn't ramp .
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