Cheap as Chips, Ep. 5: Enjoy a hot mug of Golgari


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 [c]Curiosity[/c], [c]Read the Bones[/c] or [c]Hunter’s Insight[/c] 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 [c]Glissa, the Traitor[/c]’s triggered ability. In addition, a two-card combo with [c]Devoted Druid[/c] and [c]Quillspike[/c] 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 [c]Safehold Elite[/c] and super flyweight [c]Perilous Myr[/c]. The former can persist indefinitely thanks to Quillspike or [c]Bow of Nylea[/c] removing the -1 counter. The Myr blocks, dies, does damage on its way out, and then recurs later thanks to Glissa. [c]Vault Skirge[/c] 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 [c]Executioner’s Capsule[/c], giving you plenty of removal. The amount of dying going on makes [c]Tragic Slip[/c] a good secondary removal choice.

In addition to allowing your persisting to persist, [c]Bow of Nylea[/c] 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 [c]Mwonvuli Beast Tracker[/c].

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

[d title=”Glissa and Friends (Modern)”]


1 Bojuka Bog

1 Golgari Rot Farm

4 Woodland Cemetery

10 Forest

8 Swamp


2 Vault Skirge

4 Safehold Elite

3 Perilous Myr

3 Devoted Druid

4 Quillspike

4 Glissa, the Traitor

2 Mwonvuli Beast Tracker


4 Executioner’s Capsule

2 Tragic Slip

2 Explorer’s Scope

2 Grisly Salvage

2 Read the Bones

2 Bow of Nylea


2 Hex Parasite

2 Nihil Spellbomb

2 Pithing Needle

2 Gleeful Sabotage

1 Cranial Archive

2 Infest

2 Putrefy

2 Soulflayer


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 [c]Mishra’s Bauble[/c] would be good a good upgrade if you have the budget for it. Me? For now I’m sticking with [c]Read the Bones[/c].

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