Friday, May 13, 2016

Budget Magic? NOT ON MY WATCH

Actual picture of my playmat.
Hey scrublords and scrubladies, it's Dan. So, as you guys may have noticed, budget decks are all the rage. If I had to speculate as to why this is the case, it's probably because no one wants to drop $1000 on a deck they're gonna play lose with thirty times, half the good shit is gonna rotate, and then you're left with the financial equivalent of 60 pokemon cards in Dragonsleeve matte blues.

This was a great investment.
And I can sympathize with that. I'm an Accountant/amateur writer with a drinking problem. Not exactly loaded. I can't just buy standard staples all willynillly like an Oil Tycoon.

But these budget articles aren't fair. Rich ass Movie Stars want to play Magic too. Probably in between travelling to exotic locations and bangin' supermodels, but I'm sure there's some downtime for card games. So this article is a deck tech for a deck that I've been wanting to try in standard, but I simply can't afford it. I'm hoping the CEO of some company sees this, builds the deck, and plays Magic way better than me, so he wins the pro tour with my shitty deck. And then maybe he'll take pity on this pleb, and hire me. Or something. I dunno, maybe you guys just have these cards lying around, and want to take a whack with it? Either way, let's check it out.

Coming in at a paltry $500 - wait, actually? Only like $500? First off, it's ridiculous that I'm saying only $500. That's a shitload. But that just goes to show how stupidly expensive last standard was.

I was running a fairly budgety Jeskai list before Khans rotated, and it was easily $600+, and now my self-proclaimed expensive deck actually costs less than my budget deck last season. Yikes. Luckily over 50% of that value was in Fetches, Ojutai, and the aforementioned dragon's command, so I didn't lose everything. Except my dignity, but I honestly lost most of that back in college.

Anyways, now that I've sort of convinced myself that this isn't as outrageously expensive as I thought, let's talk about the deck some.

The goal:

Shouldn't be too tough.
Ideally, get the opponent's life total to 0 before your own. That's not super easy, but this deck isn't too shabby at it. We use our strong walker suite - all of which can create their own creatures - to gum up the board and generally be insanely annoying with their incremental advantage. Eventually we crush them with our ceaseless bulk of dudes, and if they boardwipe, we just make more until they're sad.

The critters:

The creature list in this deck is simple, and quite short. But of course, god damn expensive. We have Jace, Vryn's Prodigy because looting is helpful when your curve goes this big, and because his flipside dumbs down their threats. We don't have a ton to flashback with his walker face, which is why we aren't running more, but occasionally you need a second shot at that Roast or Fall of the Titans to melt something.

Nissa, Sage Animist is first and foremost a neat little land tutor. Hooray, Forests! But once she flips, she fits along perfectly with our pile of walkers. Her plus draws us a card, which helps a lot when we go into long grindy games, and she can even make a dude with her minus 2. Walkers that make dudes to protect themselves end up sticking on board longer than they deserve, and when Nissa, Sage Animist sticks, you end up with a ton of cards.

Now I ain't no Hangarback gurrrl, but I love this card. And I am kind of a Hangarback girl. He's a spoopy token machine in this deck, and helps fill out our early game curve. Ideally we get to plop him on turn two, crank him maybe once or twice, and then explode him for some thopties. The more tokens, the better, which is why we also have some Dragonmaster Outcasts for later game ownage.

Sylvan Advocate is in there cause it's stupid. Early game, it puts on pressure and is a good blocker. Late, it puts on a lot of pressure and is a better blocker. We also have a singleton Dragonlord Atarka, because we want to go late, and she's a hell of a late threat, especially when coupled with the buffs our Arlinns toss out.

The enchanting side of Temur:

This deck has a few enchantments, and each plays an important role. Oath of Jace is wonderful filtering, which this deck desperately needs. At some point you don't need any more Arlinn Kords in hand, and Oath of Jace lets you trade them in for something else. The scry is insanely relevant too, as you should, ideally, have at least one planeswalker on board at all times. If you don't for a long period of time, something has gone horribly awry, and I don't mean that stupid counterspell.

Oath of Nissa is the best card in this deck. Looking at the top three lets you grab whatever you need next. That's assuming it's not a Fall of the Titans that you need, which it knowing my luck it will be. And, most importantly, the second bit of text on the card is super relevant!

"For the life of every plane, I will remember to read the entirety of my cards."
We have a lot of walkers, a lot of colors, and only so much land. Being able to cast Sarkhan Unbroken off of four forests and a mountain is insane, and helps us drop these powerhouses on curve.

Walkin' their way to victory:

As you can see, this deck runs a shit ton of planeswalkers. Surprising, how a planeswalker deck does that, isn't it? I assume you all knew that when I said "walker" I meant "planeswalker," and not the other walkers in standard. Although, we do have Hangarback Walker. Maybe we should force in the other walkers from this set?

So we start our swanky walker curve at Hangarback, as stated above, and then immediately roll into Nissa, Voice of Zendikar.

"Notice me, Ashaya!" - Nissa
Nissa is baller. Making a dude to defend herself as she slowly ticks up makes our later walkers that much more explosive. If you play her later in the game you also get the option to immediately pump your board, which you ideally have from Hangarbacks and all of your other walkers. Sometimes you ult her, and that feels as good as a gentle kiss on the lips from your highschool crush.

"Grandma came to bake cookies and kickass, and all the other Magic nerds ate all the cookies." - Arlinn
Arlinn, who probably isn't old enough to be a grandma, is a great card in this deck. If you follow Nissa up with an Arlinn, you get to flip Arlinn, make a wolf, and use Nissa to pump the wolf and plant from the previous turn. In fact, it's totally possible to have on board on turn four an Oath of Nissa, a 2/2 Hangarback, a 1/2 plant, a 3/3 wolf, and two planeswalkers. That's a boardstate that a lot of decks can just never recover from. Arlinn, Embraced by Orbital Bodies can then pop a defender the next turn, or threaten a wicked crackback with her +1 ability if they dare tap their goobers.

Also, Arlinn's front side is just comical with Dragonlord Atarka. Play Atarka, kill everything they have, +1 on Arlinn, swing with your 10/10 flying vigilance haste trample. Extract delicious salt.

"Does anyone remember me?" - Sarkhan
Sarkhan is actually the reason I built this deck. Card is dope as hell, and no one is using him at all. His rough mana requirements make him inaccessible to a lot of decks, but Oath of Nissa don't give a fuck. His +1 ability gives us some more steam, as at the point in the game when you can cast him, we start to run out of cards in hand. If you're doing alright and want to close out the game fast, he can make a huge flier, which Nissa can make even huge-er. His ult is largely irrelevant, but I guess sometimes you could use it to tutor up Atarka to finish the game.

"I like my men how I like my coffee - literally on fire" - Chandra
Chandra is a game ender when you need one, card advantage when you need it, or a boardwipe when you need it. Girl does it all, and is a wicked powerful walker. By this point in the game you'll likely have two mountains, or at least an Oath of Nissa, so she shouldn't be too hard to cast. Don't forget that sometimes to close out a game you'll need to +1 Chandra to make some flamers, and then -2 Nissa to make them 4/2s. I've had this come up every once in a while, and it can make a difference.

Other stuff:

Roast and Fall are for things that are trying to murder our walkers. Reality Smasher is a real beating against our deck, and sadly in these colors Roast is just about our best option to deal with him if we don't have a big enough butt to stop him. Fall is a nice follow-up to an Oath of Nissa, and useful for blowing up planeswalkers from anyone who thinks their deck also deserves to have some.

Sideboard shenanigans:

I didn't put together a sideboard for this, cause I was busy losing at Thursday night Standard. Sorry. But I know what things I would probably use. I'm gonna run it down by matchups against current meta decks.

Humans: You want boardwipes and removal. A 4th Roast, some Radiant Flames, and Rending Volley would all be great options to have.

Bant CoCo: Actually, a super sweet matchup for this deck. Dispel is a good card to have a copy or two of, as without CoCo they are just playing crappy creatures. They have Avacyn late, but you have dragons, so... whatever.

G/B Sac: This is not a great matchup, since they go fast, and our board takes a few turns to establish. Radiant Flames is still helpful here, but most importantly, you need to have Clip Wings to deal with Ormandude. That card just beats our deck.

Control Stuff: A Negate or two is nice against opposing planeswalkers decks. If it's a non-blue based deck you're playing against, Seasons Past is actually a reasonable sideboard. We can actually hit a shitload of cards with it (Evolving Wilds, Oath of Nissa, Hangarback, Nissa, Arlinn, Sarkhan, Chandra, Atarka), and if they're B/W removal tribal, then your graveyard is bound to be fairly full. Kalitas is an issue, so you either need to Roast him right away, or just keep chumping until you get enough dragons to outrace him.

G/W Tokens: Not a bad matchup at all. We basically durdle along with them the first few turns playing Hangarbacks and Nissa. Once we hit the five and six drop range though, our deck starts to take off. Dragonmaster, Chandra, and Sarkhan all make threats that can swing over top for too much for them to handle. They'll side in Linvala and Sigarda most likely, so I'd have some Tears of Valakut and Clip Wings ready to go.


So there's a deck. I've been testing it online and it's a ton of fun to play, and pairs well with Killian's. All of your cards just have so much gross value; you rarely topdeck something and think "WELL THIS CARD IS USELESS." Except when you topdeck like... 8 lands in a row. Which I am known to do.

Got any suggestions for the deck? Do you, too, love Sarkhan? Would you make out with a large bearded guy for $50? If yes to any of the preceding questions, drop a comment or send us a message!

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