8/13/2013 RC: "Modern on a Budget"

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This thread is for discussion of this week's ReConstructed, which goes live Tuesday morning on magicthegathering.com.
If nothing else, it far outshines anything JVL ever wrote in his stint on the "budget" column.
I'm pretty sure that deck never got tested. How consistent is it?
Having just 8 cards in the deck to win is not enough, waht are the odds of drawing two?

Removing Nyxathid from the deck is probably a mistake, and I'm betting this deck needs more win conditions.
Sorry, Gavin, got a couple problems with this one:

1) Once again, as a true member of R&D, you're perpetuating the lie that Modern cards are "hard to find".  The following statement is patently untrue:

Inquisition of Kozilek is not a rare, but I'm not adding any in since I know it's a hard uncommon to find



StarCityGames, right now, as I'm writing this, has almost 200 copies of the card in stock (no, not a typo, TWO HUNDRED) if you want them for around $8 a shot.  I wouldn't call a card which the world's leading online retailer, who will ship anywhere in the world, has TWO HUNDRED copies of "hard to find".  Please stop perpetuating this lie that R&D has been telling us for quite some time.

Now, if you said "Inquisition of Kozilek is not a rare, but I'm not adding any in since it's quite expensive and doesn't fit into the "budget" theme", I'd accept that.  That is a true statement.  However, that would be admitting that the card availability problem is a problem of pricing, rather than the raw existence of cardboard matter, and would thus imply that Modern Masters as a set was an abject failure in solving the "card availability" problem, with Tarmogoyf now at $150 ($120-130 at time of Modern Masters release) and Dark Confidant at $80 ($60 at Modern Masters release), on StarCityGames.  We wouldn't want a member of R&D to acknowledge a failure, would we?  After all, that's why someone thought it was a good idea to leave Affinity and Combo Winter, the 2 most important ages in all of Magic history, perhaps, out of a promotional set designed for commemorating Magic's 20 years of history.  I wonder who that member of R&D was who was making the card list for that promotional set...don't tell me, let me guess, please?

2) There is a decklist in your "decks that didn't make it" section with Dread Return in it.  As much as I'd love to say there was no problem with this, Dread Return is, in fact, on the banned list.

3) There is a decklist with 8 copies of Breaking//Entering.  Last I checked, that wasn't legal.

I agree that Nyxathid probably needs to stay; I'm dubious that "6 damage per turn should be enough", especially in Modern. 


I love the honourable mentions, as usual. There are some awesome decks in there. I don't see why the Living End deck uses Borderposts though; wouldn't Guildgates or Expanses/Wilds work just as well? (The Borderpost/Balance deck is a nice if painful setup though.)


Shadowborn Apostle plus Bloodbond March is hilarious too. That's a lotta demons.

Did people only send in Kiln Fiend decks? I mean three decks that all feature 4 Kiln Fiend, 4 Apostle's Blessing and 4 Assault Strobe?

I do like the original deck (Smallpox is probably one of my favorite cards for the skill it takes to play), although I would try something like Nihilith as a two-of. It makes nervous how slow the deck can be. Something like Gruul or Living End would probably run it right over. I wish Gavin had talked about sideboarding and not glossed over the somewhat significant cutting of Bojuka Bog. I'd also run Dismember ove rone of the kill spells. Probably Victim of Night, as you likely won't have to deal with too many high-costed permanents that dismember doesn't kill. Sign in Blood might be a card that deserves mention as well.

Also, I don't know what your budget top end is, but a playset of Inquisition of Kozilek still has this deck at under fifty dollars (this is without cutting anything and going off of TCGplayer near mint prices). I admire that The Rack is probably the only card on the list that you might pay more than a dollar for but Inquisition isn't even that expensive. You can pick it up for five dollars a copy and when the rest of your deck can cost as little as 15 or 16 dollars adding 20 dollars for a playset is still pretty budget. Hm. I know that there is likely some sort of company policy that prevents you from listing secondary market prices but maybe it is possible to use MtGO tix as a value? This could be used to give different budget tiers. As in, the list you provided could be for folks who have a deck building budget of 10 - 20 dollars, you could do one that is 20 - 40 dollars that includes Ensnaring Bridge or Inquisition, and one that is 40 - 60 dollars that includes both. The top tier is admitedly debatable as budget but is still incredibly cheap for a competitive deck.

That Blood Artist/Illness in the Ranks deck made me laugh quite a bit once I figured out what it did. I want to try it out now.
Thanks for all of the feedback, everyone! Great to hear from you all.

I'm pretty sure that deck never got tested. How consistent is it?
Having just 8 cards in the deck to win is not enough, waht are the odds of drawing two?



In your opening hand, 23.2%. Finding one of the eight in your opener is 65%.

It's worth noting that you don't need two; I just used 6 damage a turn off of two as an aside in my article. Once this deck takes hold of the game, you will usually have time. The game will stall out for a while as little happens, as your opponent keeps drawing lands or cards they can't cast and you keep making them discard them. During this part of the game you'll have turns to draw Rack/Affliction, and multiple turns where active ones are dinging them will go by.

There is a decklist in your "decks that didn't make it" section with Dread Return in it.  As much as I'd love to say there was no problem with this, Dread Return is, in fact, on the banned list.

3) There is a decklist with 8 copies of Breaking//Entering.  Last I checked, that wasn't legal.



Thanks for pointing this out! Sometimes things like Dread Return slip through into the Honorable Mentions, though I keep an eye out for them. That deck will still run fine without them. As far as Breaking//Entering, that was a typo and I'll follow up on it. Thanks again!

I'm dubious that "6 damage per turn should be enough", especially in Modern.



See above.


..."window.parent.tinyMCE.get('post_content').onLoad.dispatch();" contenteditable="true">Shadowborn Apostle plus Bloodbond March is hilarious too. That's a lotta demons.



Agreed! That deck made me smile.



Did people only send in Kiln Fiend decks? I mean three decks that all feature 4 Kiln Fiend, 4 Apostle's Blessing and 4 Assault Strobe?

I do like the original deck (Smallpox is probably one of my favorite cards for the skill it takes to play), although I would try something like Nihilith as a two-of. It makes nervous how slow the deck can be. Something like Gruul or Living End would probably run it right over. I wish Gavin had talked about sideboarding and not glossed over the somewhat significant cutting of Bojuka Bog. I'd also run Dismember ove rone of the kill spells. Probably Victim of Night, as you likely won't have to deal with too many high-costed permanents that dismember doesn't kill. Sign in Blood might be a card that deserves mention as well.




Kiln Fiend decks are always incredibly popular. This is just a small smattering of variations on them - I received several, several, several more this week. Crazy!

Dismember is certainly a reasonable choice, especially if you want a removal spell to cast for one mana. However, considering Victim of Night kills almost everything for two mana, that would likely be the only reason I would look at Dismember over Victim. (At least maindeck.)

The one Bog was removed from the maindeck as it is fairly unreliable, and lands that enter the battlefield tapped are fairly weak in this deck since you need to curve your discard well. (Dakmor Salvage does do so, but the upside is high enough with Crime/Smallpox that a couple are worth it.) Nihilith is certainly a card I've played in decks like this before and is worth considering if you'd like a Nyxathid style card.  

Hope that helps answer your questions!


2) There is a decklist in your "decks that didn't make it" section with Dread Return in it.  As much as I'd love to say there was no problem with this, Dread Return is, in fact, on the banned list.

3) There is a decklist with 8 copies of Breaking//Entering.  Last I checked, that wasn't legal.



Maybe that is why it is in the decks that didnt make it.

Modern budget is my favorite. More please!
Thanks for this.  Would be interesting to see how some of these decks play out in testing.  Also the testing could help to make extend each subject into a couple of articles and then not get burned out on trying to find and change new decks each week (or whatever cycle this is on).

I am glad this article is coming back though.
That Blood Artist/Illness in the Ranks deck made me laugh quite a bit once I figured out what it did. I want to try it out now.



It looks like such a fun deck to play with. Maybe worth trying out in 2HG alongside a Krenko Goblins deck.
If upgrading this deck I wouldn't be using Dark Confidant (not because if the money cost of the card) because it slows you down and takes valuable deck space. The deck wants to play discard on each of the first three turn to reduce your opponents handsize quickly to zero. When this is established Liliana of the Veil comes to to control the hand or remove a creature and then Rack, Affliction or Bridge are played for their effects. When this control is established it is pointless to have Dark Confident in the battlefield as Liliana does all the discard needed and Bridge protects you if there are creatures. You basicaaly then grind your opponent with rack damage.
I think if you're wanting to upgrade the deck splashing green for life on the load/raven's crime/small pox would be pretty good.
*loam I mean
If upgrading this deck I wouldn't be using Dark Confidant (not because if the money cost of the card) because it slows you down and takes valuable deck space. The deck wants to play discard on each of the first three turn to reduce your opponents handsize quickly to zero. When this is established Liliana of the Veil comes to to control the hand or remove a creature and then Rack, Affliction or Bridge are played for their effects. When this control is established it is pointless to have Dark Confident in the battlefield as Liliana does all the discard needed and Bridge protects you if there are creatures. You basicaaly then grind your opponent with rack damage.



I've play tested it and Gavin's right.  Dark Confidant is an all-star.  You don't cast it on turn 2, the ideal turn 2 play is smallpox.  The issue isn't needing Liliana to continue discarding or sac a creature, you'll have plenty of discard.  The issue is drawing into more racks and shrieks asap.  Or maybe you need an additional removal spelll, or liliana.  Dark confident does it like a champ.
I think if you're wanting to upgrade the deck splashing green for life on the load/raven's crime/small pox would be pretty good.



I don't think you'll need Life from the Loam.  With turn 2 Smallpox, you kill their early creature and cripple their mana base, giving you time to discard them out.  I've found Despise useful to cherry pick out low cost creatures.  It is better early on than Blackmail because a savvy player will catch on to what you're doing and only show you high cost cards, hoarding the low cost stuff to try to cast out.  However, obviously, its worse later.  With Despise and Blackmail, leave the high cost cards alone, they'll go to discard since Smallpox prevents them from being cast.  After turn 2 smallpox, you're happy to run the deck on only 2 land for a few turns until you draw a third, if you ever even need it.
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