Question for the pros out there..

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Being on a slightly limited budget, I find Geralf's Messenger to be out of my price range for my Golgari zombies deck I'm trying to build. The budget restriction also puts Falkenrath Aristocrat out of my range, as well as the majority of the shocklands.

Are there any fairly budget alternatives to the Messenger?

I was looking through Standard-legal Zombies on Gatherer and found that Phylactery Lich also happens to be a zombie, and was wondering if there might be a way to squeeze him in.

Also, Vengeful Pharaoh is a zombie.. and seems to have nice synergy with Lotleth. You can pitch him to get a counter and set yourself up to kill anything your opponent attacks you with. If they attack you, you kill a creature and get the Pharaoh back to pitch again (although it costs you a draw). Perhaps using it with Underworld Connections?

Silly, perhaps. Just throwing out random ideas and looking for opinions.
Messenger and Aristocrat will go down in price, so just save a little and wait.

I found Carmen Sandiego before you were born unless you're Zlehtnoba.

Vengeful Pharaoh is actually not Standard-legal anymore, as it's in M12. Gatherer just hasn't updated to reflect this.

There isn't really a good substitute for Geralf's Messsenger, as it's a very strong and unique card. The next best thing would probably be to play Dreg Mangler as a 3-drop. 
That's kinda like asking if there's a good replacement for Tarmogoyf in RUG Delver.

catowner wrote:
Welcome to 2012. Blue has the most efficient creatures, black has the all-in monocolored aggro deck, the most controlling deck in the format is green-red, control decks lose to aggro in attrition wars, and counterspells aren't an answer to fatties.
Islands wrote:
Pack Rat is like Bitterblossom and Tarmogoyf had a black baby.
The problem with the lich is that if you want to cast him on-curve, you have to either give up one of your first two turns to play an artifact, or run tormod's crypt main deck. Neither option is particularly appealing in an aggro deck.

Not only that, but you're opening yourself up to eing 2for1ed by artifact removal.

i know it sucks having to drop like $40 on a play set of messengers, especially after having to a drop another $40 on the woodland cemetery and like $80 on the overgrown tombs, but standard is a big fat money sink.  If you're looking to play one of the most popular archetypes at the height of their popularity, you're going to have to spend the money.

a good way to get ahead of that is to buy some of the hot cards before they become hot.  I grabbed my woodland cemeteries for $2 each last year.  if I had been smart instead of good-looking, I would have bought 3 play sets instead of one.
Next thing you will tell me Browbeat is bad.
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