Cheap as Chips, Ep. 10: Good night and good luck

notorious throng art

Cheap as Chips has run it’s course. Ten decks in eleven weeks (one week downtime for life-related events). We’ve had highs and lows. We’ve brewed – if I may say so myself – an amazing amount of good coffee. And the occasional decent deck. A few doozies as well, but let’s not cry over milled spilk.

Below is my attempt to summarize what has and has not worked, and some avenues I may explore over the summer.

Let’s review our original goals:

  • Spend less than 5 tickets per deck.
  • Win half of our games.
  • Be competitive in the half we don’t win.
  • Rarely suffer blow-out losses.

Top three budget decks (with some tweaks these might be playable):

Notorious Rogues: [c]Invisible Stalker[/c] into [c]Earwig Squad[/c] into [c]Stinkdrinker Bandit[/c] into [c]Notorious Throng[/c]. This is a powerful deck if you can protect your critters. If you manage to resolve and stick [c]Oona’s Blackguard[/c], you can empty your opponent’s hand. Suffers against absurdly fast decks (Infect, Affinity) or Abzan midrange-type decks with 12+ removal cards.

Hungry Centipede: [c]Hedron Crab[/c] into [c]Duskmantle Guildmage[/c] into [c]Mindcrank[/c] is a tried-and-true combo that will catch a few decks unprepared. [c]Consuming Aberration[/c] into [c]Essence Harvest[/c] is a fun alternate win con… but this deck is not interactive enough for my tastes. It wins games that are boring to play.

Cipher Tricks: My second pet-deck on this list. [c]Invisible Stalker[/c] into [c]Contaminated Ground[/c] into [c]Hidden Strings[/c] is fun, although definitely underpowered for the meta. [c]Hidden Strings[/c] into [c]Royal Assassin[/c] and/or [c]Agent of the Fates[/c] is a nice way to clear the board. Better evasive-hexproof creature options would increase the viability of this deck.

Middle of the road (conceptually okay but flawed builds):

Shivers and Shakes: [c]Nightveil Specter[/c] into [c]Maralen of the Mornsong[/c] into [c]Ob Nixilis, Unshackled[/c] is a fun, unusual game plan. But Ob Nixilis is too expensive and different approach using [c]Mindlock Orb[/c] is probably a better strategy. More testing needed.

Glissa and Friends: [c]Devoted Druid[/c] into [c]Quillspike[/c] ended more duels than I thought it would, but overall this was an underpowered deck. There are many options to pair with [c]Glissa, the Traitor[/c] however. I’m throwing the persist approach out and will rebuild this with stronger artifacts and artifact creatures.

Daxos Weenies: [c]Preeminent Captain[/c] into [c]Lavinia of the Tenth[/c] is a nice move, but a weenie deck with a curve this steep is not really a weenie deck. Still, [c]Daxos of Meletis[/c] and Preeminent Captain should be a decent pairing. I’ll keep tweaking to see if I can further improve this deck.

Bottom feeders (delete from MTGO deck list):

Daxos Midrange: I don’t know how to build a proper mid-range deck. I will do some study and self-reflection on this and get back to you sometime… in 2016.

Necrotic Troll: It turns out that abusing [c]Necrotic Ooze[/c] is just not a very powerful game plan. He goes from being a 4/3 for 4-mana to… a 4/3 with some activated abilities for 4-mana.

Mono Black Delve: MBC is not the strongest deck in the current meta. And MBD it seems is not even worth considering. Paired with blue or green a delve strategy might be viable, but it’s not high on my list of rebuilds.

Best gameplay videos

1. Cipher Tricks doing a number on Jeskai Burn. This is not a fluke. Cipher Tricks matches up nicely here because of the hexproof.


2. Notorious Rogues wipes the floor with Jund Vengevine. Bob never looked so helpless. Lacking Liliana, however, this is not exactly the strongest Jund build in the meta. Still, the cup is half-full folks.


3. Honorable mention – Glissa and Friends just barely squeeks through a game against a Rakdos discard deck.


Worst gameplay videos

1. Necrotic Troll obliterated by Abzan midrange.

Warning: The following video contains scenes that may be difficult for players of Magic the Gathering to watch. Cheap as Chips and waive any and all liability for retinal damage that may result from pressing play on this doozie:


2. The entire MBD three-game series. My Soulflayer delve deck only succeeded in digging its own grave.


That’s all for now, folks. Thank you to Bava and Dan for convincing me to write this series, and thank you to those who contributed by commenting on the decks and gameplay videos. I’ve learned a lot from the series and hope to see you in the playrooms!