I’m lazy when it comes to card advantage. It’s a bad brewing habit I’m trying to break – stuff a bunch of cool synergistic creatures and spells into a deck, then realize you don’t have any ‘card advantage’ spells. Take out two or three cards and add a few Curiosity, Read the Bones or Hunter’s Insight into the mix. Deck done, ok let’s go play!

Clearly, there are much more sophisticated ways to achieve card advantage. I don’t know those, and they probably cost a lot of tickets – but let’s at least try to see if we can move from caveman-dumb to middle grade-school clever in terms of keeping a stock of cards in hand or on the battlefield.

We’ll do it in Golgari, my favorite color-combo for budget Modern and a word so smooth it could easily be a high-end organic coffee blend. And so…


Glissa and Friends

Glissa and Friends is a deck that aims to beat opponents with little critters that either refuse to die or can be recurred repeatedly via Glissa, the Traitor’s triggered ability. In addition, a two-card combo with Devoted Druid and Quillspike offers the potential for a supersized kill-swing that your opponent will need to respect. Glissa herself is a beast of an elf that demands removal.

The main fighters are bantamweight swinger Safehold Elite and super flyweight Perilous Myr. The former can persist indefinitely thanks to Quillspike or Bow of Nylea removing the -1 counter. The Myr blocks, dies, does damage on its way out, and then recurs later thanks to Glissa. Vault Skirge is included to give you another pesky critter that your opponent will eventually want to remove (and that Glissa can bring back).

On the defensive side, Glissa can recur Executioner’s Capsule, giving you plenty of removal. The amount of dying going on makes Tragic Slip a good secondary removal choice.

In addition to allowing your persisting to persist, Bow of Nylea provides a life-gain option and takes care of pesky flying critters. Needless to say, giving all your attackers deathtouch means far more dying, and thus more recurring. Keeping a Glissa on the battlefield is a challenge, hence the addition of Mwonvuli Beast Tracker.

If you need more power on the battlefield (against a removal heavy deck, for example), bring in Soulflayer which can gain Glissa’s awesome deathtouch+first strike ability, or gain flying courtesy of an exiled Vault Skirge.

Glissa and Friends (Modern)

Lands (24)
Bojuka Bog
Golgari Rot Farm
Woodland Cemetery
10 Forest

Creatures (22)
Vault Skirge
Safehold Elite
 Perilous Myr
Devoted Druid
Glissa, the Traitor
Mwonvuli Beast Tracker

Spells (14)
Executioner’s Capsule
Tragic Slip
Explorer’s Scope
Grisly Salvage
Read the Bones
Bow of Nylea
Sideboard (15)
Hex Parasite
Nihil Spellbomb
Pithing Needle
Gleeful Sabotage
Cranial Archive

Ideal gameflow:

T1: Play an Executioner’s Capsule.

T2: Play either Safehold Elite or Perilous Myr.

T3: Swing with your critter, play Bow of Nylea or Quillspike.

T4: Use mana to remove a -1 counter on Safehold Elite, play a Devoted Druid or leave mana open for Executioner’s Capsule if your opponent has a combo piece on the battlefield (Pestermite, etc).

T5: Play Glissa and start to kill stuff, recurring either a Capsule or a Myr.

T6: Go off with your combo on a cleared battlefield, or just keep swinging with your critters if your combo pieces have been removed. 

The sideboard is a mix of cards intended to deal with planeswalkers, pesky artifacts and enchantments, and a bit more brute force with Soulflayer. This is a fun one to play with, but I’m not sure there’s enough firepower in the mainboard to keep up with the top decks. A card like Mishra’s Bauble would be good a good upgrade if you have the budget for it. Me? For now I’m sticking with Read the Bones.

Have ideas for budget decks in Modern? Send them my way in the comments below!

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