Paupers and Kings, Ep. 1: GW Bogles

Hi everyone, and welcome to the first episode of Paupers & Kings, my series on porting Pauper decks into the Modern format while staying on a budget.

Today we’re looking at everyone’s favorite list to hate, Bogles / Hexproof.

Why Hexproof?

We’re starting with Hexproof, in particular, because the list plays very similarly across formats. In both Pauper and Modern you are playing a near solitaire-esque game of Magic; building a Voltron with Auras and busting through for massive damage and life gain.

Strengths of Hexproof / Bogles

  1. Life gain against other aggro decks makes it very hard for them to race you
  2. Null your opponent’s targeted removal
  3. Good early game and late game, can be aggressive and grindy

Weaknesses of Hexproof / Bogles

  1. Weak to specific hate from sideboard (aura sweepers are a mean thing)
  2. Clunky hands require aggressive mulligans
  3. Weak to discard and sacrifice effects

Hexproof in Pauper

For whatever reason, we tend to call this deck “Hexproof” in Pauper but “Bogles” in Modern. That’s the nomenclature I’ll use from here on it, but it’s the same deck. The Hexproof list we’re favoring today is from Dain5, who has been placing in recent Pauper Daily Events with it.

I like this list because the mana base is incredibly consistent; gone are the tap lands, instead we’re rocking 17 green sources and 12 spells that can help us get white when we need it.

Here is the list:

[d title=”Hexproof by Dain5 (Pauper)”]
Land
16 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Khalni Garden

Creatures
4 Aura Gnarlid
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Slippery Bogle

Spells
4 Abundant Growth
3 Ancestral Mask
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Rancor
4 Utopia Sprawl
4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Manamorphose

Sideboard
1 Flaring Pain
3 Gleeful Sabotage
2 Hornet Sting
3 Scattershot Archer
3 Young Wolf
3 Moment’s Peace [/d]

It’s a cheap list even by Pauper standards, except for one troublemaker. [c]Ancestral Mask[/c] run at $4 each right now, so you’re blowing some cash if you want those. Replacing them with Umbras (Hyena, Spider, Snake as you prefer) would be fine if you wanted to save some cash. Running regular forests is fine too; I added the snow-covered but they honestly don’t do anything.

The goal of this list is to land a Hexproof guy (of which there are 12), load on some auras (of which there are 16) and beat face. Ledgewalker has the added bonus of being difficult to block, and Gnarlid comes down later in the game, often as a large, unblockable beater.

Bogles in Modern

The list works about the same way in Modern, but has a few all-stars that raise the power level, provide consistency, and (unfortunately) require a more complicated mana base. The list we’re looking at today is adapted from Dust_’s winning list. Let’s take a look.

[d title=”Bogles (Modern)”]
Land
4 Brushland
4 Sunpetal Grove
4 Wooded Bastion
3 Forest
4 Plains
1 Dryad Arbor

Creatures
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Kor Spiritdancer
4 Slippery Bogle

Spells
3 Path to Exile
4 Daybreak Coronet
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Hyena Umbra
1 Keen Sense
4 Rancor
4 Spider Umbra
2 Spirit Mantle
2 Spirit Link

Sideboard
3 Burrenton Forge-Tender
2 Choke
2 Gaddock Teeg
2 Nature’s Claim
2 Stony Silence
4 Rest in Peace [/d]

This budget list still has a few cards that break the bank, especially compared to Pauper. [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c] is the biggest transgressor. Unfortunately, you really can’t play Bogles in Modern without that card, it is simply way too strong.

[c]Kor Spiritdancer[/c] can be replaced by another Hexproof creature, even [c]Silhana Ledgewalker[/c] could come in. You lose some consistency because the card draw you can get off her is really helpful especially in stalled out games, but can save almost $15.

[c]Path to Exile[/c] can be [c]Condemn[/c] or even [c]Journey to Nowhere[/c] though neither card is as good as Path.

The mana base is about as good and cheap as I can get it. We’re saving about $100 with this base, mainly by omitted [c]Windswept Heath[/c], a card that is amazing but also awfully expensive. Let’s take a look at how we’re getting mana.

[c]Brushland[/c] is an amazing dual land in a list like Bogles. It is always untapped and it always provides either {G} or {W}. The one life lost is (usually) easily made up with the lifegain we have going. If there’s a list to run this land, it’s Bogles.

With 7 basics in the list, [c]Sunpetal Grove[/c] has a decent chance to come into play untapped and give you whatever color mana you may need. On the other hand, half the time it’s a guildgate, which isn’t always awesome.

[c]Wooded Bastion[/c] is an allstar. It allows you to play [c]Forest[/c] on turn 1 and then rock {W}{W} on turn 2. This let’s you hit a 1-drop Hexproof guy and then rock any two of your 1-mana enchantments on turn 2, swinging in with a 6/4 first-striking trampler, for instance, or something else ridiculous.

[c]Dryad Arbor[/c] eats sacrifice effects. You can, alternately, buff it up and swing in, assuming no one else is around to wear all those auras.

Some of our sideboard choices are expensive. [c]Choke[/c] can hose big blue lists, but since they’re not always our biggest concern, you could omit it. [c]Gaddock Teeg[/c] is amazing against certain lists, though. My board includes [c]Rest in Peace[/c] which is actually my favorite sideboard card of all time and a great answer to anyone testing out Dredge decks. [c]Stony Silence[/c] hoses a lot of lists including Affinity, and it’s also cheap. Forge-Tender can come in as Hexproof guy #9-12 with the added bonus that they are immune to red sweepers; they can also save your face from damage in a pinch.

On the Play

So how do these look in play? I took them both our for three matches, and the results speak for themselves. Check out the playlist.

 

For those counting along at home, that’s 6-0 in the tournament practice room. 3-0 in each format. Hard to do much better than that!

Next Week on Paupers & Kings

I’m going to try and do this as a weekly series. Is that cool with you all? We have lots more great crossover potential, including Goblins, Burn, Mono-Green Stompy, Delver, Tron, and others. Which lists do you want to see me try out? Let me know down in the comments.

Until then, may you opponent always be holding useless Doom Blades.

/bava

Daily Event Report: Modern Bogles

Hi all,

I wanted to share with you a Daily experience I had and some of the insights I have gleaned from it.

kor-spiritdancerBefore leaving for a two-week vacation, I wanted to enter one last Event. The decks I had sleeved up were Mono-Green Infect, Ad Nauseam, Storm, and Mono-White Death and Taxes. I dared not enter Infect while B/G/x is such a popular archetype, and I don’t care for its Twin match-up either. Similarly, I dare not use Ad Nauseam or Storm while V4 is so laborious and unfriendly to big turn strategies. Finally, I was weary of the Death and Taxes plan. I did not want to prevent opponents from winning; I wanted to win. More than that, I wanted to win quickly. After all, I had clothes and toiletries to pack.

So I did some research of prices and decks to play, and I noticed that [c]Goblin Guide[/c] has skyrocketed in value the past few months (those of you that tried Goblins: congratulations to you!). So there went my idea of spending very little time and tickets jamming Burn through four rounds. In the past week, a number of days have posted Burn as the number one deck to cash at 10%. What’s more, a lot of players are probably running Burn without cashing. In fact, I suspect that the number of players running Mountains is not proportionate to the amount of players winning, though I wouldn’t say it is only placing because so many are buying in. Anyway, if Burn is the latest trend, then what is a good idea to play?

Well, Death and Taxes tempted me. I’ve never lost a match to Burn in testing and in 2-man queues. It doesn’t seem like it would win, but it has just enough disruption and life-gain to get there consistently. But what happens if I face the other 90% of decks in Modern? Well, I was disappointed with my testing against Scapeshift, Ad Nauseam, and Storm combo, the very three lists I thought D&T would be well-equipped (pardon the double meaning) to face.

I ended up deciding to play Bogles, selling some packs I had been holding onto in the hopes that they would increase in value, to buy 4 [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c]. I owned the rest of the cards in the arguably sub-optimal build featuring [c]Suppression Field[/c] maindeck. I thought this would be a bye against the Burn lists and put enough pressure and mild hate against Twin and Pod, and with a lowly 2 [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] in the board, I could get there against [c]Liliana of the Veil[/c].

Here is the list I had thrown together with a few minutes and 17 tickets to spare. I overcompensated a bit on selling the packs I’d been squirreling away.

[d title=”Modern Bogles”]
Land
4 Brushland
4 Forest
4 Plains
4 Razorverge Thicket
2 Sunpetal Grove
2 Temple Garden

Creatures
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Kor Spiritdancer
4 Slippery Bogle

Spells
4 Daybreak Coronet
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Hyena Umbra
2 Path to Exile
4 Rancor
3 Spider Umbra
1 Spirit Link
2 Spirit Mantle
4 Suppression Field

Sideboard
2 Burenton Forge-Tender
1 Ethersworn Canonist
2 Leyline of Sanctity
4 Nature’s Claim
1 Path to Exile
2 Rest In Peace
1 Spirit Link
2 Stony Silence[/d]

Let me stress this here: This is not an optimal Bogles list. This is not a list I suggest you buying into. I just looked at the trends of Modern the past few days and thought that the Bogles strategy, regardless of list optimization, was going to be favorable.

That being said, the things I missed in the deck are [c]Keen Sense[/c], the 4th [c]Spider Umbra[/c], and one or two more [c]Spirit Mantle[/c]. The former gives me a draw engine (even if it favors second main phase) even when removal takes care of [c]Kor Spiritdancer[/c], and the latter gives me the safe feeling that the game is nearly over.

The sideboard was thrown together and could have used one more Leyline, one more [c]Stony Silence[/c] (particularly in hindsight), and perhaps one more [c]Rest in Peace[/c].

The main-deck [c]Suppression Field[/c] were inconsequential here and may be removed in the future for the Auras I miss, but it is way too soon for me to state that this is the optimal move. For the time being, I will happily use them as an excuse not to dish out for [c]Horizon Canopy[/c] and fetches.

As far as the 2 [c]Temple Garden[/c] and 8 basics go, that was just an oversight.

I enjoyed playing Bogles. It reminded me of playing Mains and Toys in Decipher’s Star Wars card game (RIP) and assembling Artoo in Red 5 plus Luke piloting with Han in the Millenium Falcon, adding many battle destiny. I digress.

I went into the Event with little practice but the plan that if I had the option of turn 2 auras or [c]Kor Spiritdancer[/c] on the play, I was going to play the latter. On the draw, I was going to play the 2 auras. Having this solidified plan (which I will maintain) at least gave me the data to know which decisions are stronger in the future, and it will be a long time before I change the plan. This daily, it proved favorable to stick with this strategy.

Without further rambling, let’s get into the rounds.

Round 1 – Win against Dega Burn, 2-0

Game 1

Keep hand with 3 lands, Bogle, Umbra, Daybreak Coronet, Spiritdancer
I lose the die roll and see an [c]Arid Mesa[/c] fetching [c]Mountain[/c], [c]Lava Spike[/c]. Ok, so far so good. My die roll with the format seems to pay off for a free round.

A [c]Slippery Bogle[/c] with [c]Hyena Umbra[/c], [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c], and [c]Ethereal Armor[/c] seals the game handily.

Game 2

I open with Leyline of Sanctity, Gladecover Scout, Spirit Mantle, and Rancor.

There is some jostling for position in the early turns where I am unsure whether I should hold back my creature with protection from his guys or to apply pressure. I decide on the latter and later topdeck into [c]Spirit Link[/c].

It is interesting that Dega Burn is specifically chosen over Mono Red for the purposes of dealing with [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c], but my defeat over this list was much handier than what you’ll read in round 2.

Sideboarding: -4 Suppression Field, -2 Path to Exile, +2 Leyline of Sanctity, +2 Burenton Forge-Tender, +1 Nature’s Claim, +1 Spirit Link

MTGO V4 Crash count: 1 (after sideboarding)

Round 2 – Win against Mono-Red Burn 2-1

Game 1

I mulligan down to five to see a creature, but he gets equipped with [c]Spirit Mantle[/c] and [c]Ethereal Armor[/c], easily able to put away the game. I played [c]Kor Spiritdancer[/c] here over two auras, and he was immediately targeted by [c]Magma Jet[/c]. Having experience with Mono Green Infect against Burn, I’m always happy to see my opponent targeting my creatures.

Game 2

My opening seven shows me both [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] and… five lands. I mull it to six, which has [c]Burenton Forge-Tender[/c] and some auras plus one land. Unfortunately I never see another land, and my opponent targets the first with [c]Molten Rain[/c] before I can assemble the win.

I was tempted to keep the 2 Leyline hand, but what would have happened if I never drew a creature?

Game 3

After his fourth turn, I am at 7 life, and my opponent is at 10. He has four Mountains in play, tapped, a [c]Rift Bolt[/c] suspended, and a [c]Hellspark Elemental[/c] in his graveyard. His hand is three cards. My [c]Slippery Bogle[/c] is enchanted with [c]Hyena Umbra[/c], [c]Spirit Mantle[/c], and [c]Ethereal Armor[/c]. My hand is [c]Nature’s Claim[/c] and [c]Sunpetal Grove[/c], and I topdeck a [c]Brushland[/c]. If any of his three cards can deal me one damage, I lose. Do you see the play? Comment with what you would do. Maybe it’s obvious, but this is the only moment where a game was close, and I actually had to think with Bogles.

Once again, Mono Red Burn was so much closer to getting there against me than the multi-colored version.

Crash count: still 1.

Round 3 – Win against Naya Pod 2-0

I just don’t respect this deck. I hear it mulligans well, but I never felt any pressure against him, and the opening hands can be so top-heavy with multiple Pod targets and Angels.

Game 1

We’re busy swinging away, ignoring each other, and he has 2 Noble Hierarchs and one Restoration Angel with me at 5 life when I topdeck Daybreak Coronet. It’s not for the win, but it buys me the turn I need.

Game 2

He mulls down to 5 and keeps a one lander. He plays a mana dork and concedes on turn 4 with those two permanents remaining on his board doing nothing.

Sideboard plan: +1 Path to Exile, +2 Rest in Peace, -1 Spirit Link, -2 Hyena Umbra. Well, this was the plan, but…

Crash count: 3. Once at the beginning of the round, and once in place of sideboarding.

Round 4 Loss against Affinity 1-2

Game 1

He casts turn 2 [c]Thoughtseize[/c] against me to remove [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c]. I think it was inconsequential because he beats me with poison counters from [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c]. Still, maindeck [c]Thoughtseize[/c] in Affinity is interesting.

Game 2

This one was more of a grinder; he didn’t see an early [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] so lifelink mattered. He made a misplay attacking with a [c]Cranial Plating[/c]-equipped [c]Vault Skirge[/c] when my Voltron had [c]Spider Umbra[/c]. So I ended up winning the life race and had the [c]Nature’s Claim[/c] for his last ditch effort with [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c], targeting [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] with his trigger before his last turn.

Game 3

I keep a shaky 5 with 2 lands, [c]Path to Exile[/c], a Bogle, and [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c]. I hate to pass it for a random 4, though (one of the consistent problems with the deck). His [c]Thoughtseize[/c] takes the Coronet and nearly puts me out of the game. I make a misplay not casting [c]Path to Exile[/c] during his upkeep on his [c]Signal Pest[/c] which would have saved me four life. The turn that he won, I had Bogle with [c]Rancor[/c] and a second [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c] and could have dug myself out of the hole with the right top-decks and lifelink. When the game was over, I discovered by drawing a few cards that it wouldn’t have mattered, but tight play still should be the goal regardless.

Crash Count: 6, Once during game 1, once in between rounds (after sideboarding), and once again in game 3.

I love going into round 4 in the 3-0 bracket. The pressure is totally off, and I never perform optimally in the 2-1 bracket. That’s something I need to work on. I’m certainly better here in the MTGO environment that in real life.

Closing Thoughts

In my closing thoughts, I will start with apologizing for not going with the video series route on this. I’d like to hear whether you all want a weekly Daily Event video, but as long as my computer system is so low and the V4 requirements are so high, it is very unlikely that I can provide it.

So why am I sharing this wall of text with you?

Possibly to brag about my victory? Certainly not. Boggles does have some decision trees, particularly on turn 2, but for the most part, I rode free wins to 6 Theros-block packs. I am glad, though, that finally mtgo-stats and mtggoldfish turns up a result on my username, as typically the 7pm EST daily (my wheelhouse) does not publish.

To tell you to use this deck? Good gracious no. As I said before, this is not an optimal Boggles list. Boggles may not even prove to be a good idea for long (although the deck is trending upward in daily results).

Instead, guys, my take away is this: Metagaming is hard. And I say this to lead into my next article about Burn to encourage you, as you look at Modern, to set the bar high with what deck you invest in and play. I picked this deck specifically for the easy Burn match-up, noting its prevalence, and still I was one single turn or one bad choice away from losing to Burn and going 2-2 instead of cashing. I’m going to elaborate on these concepts more as an introduction to my next article, but remember this key piece of advice from this article: Play good decks. Be the problem, and not the pest.

Hope you enjoyed. If you have an answer to any of the questions I had in this article or any questions for me to answer, please comment below.

-drinkard

Threat Evaluation, Part Four: Forest, Go

After excluding arguably three of the most powerful colors in Magic, we aren’t left with more than a handful of decks. Still, some of these are near to my heart. I have won more packs in ticketed MTGO events with basic [c]Forest[/c] than any other land, period. First, there was Stompy in Pauper. Later, there was a beautiful, if very brief, period where the 2013 and 2014 core sets were legal together, and [c]Rancor[/c] and [c]Kalonian Tusker[/c] were available to a Standard Stompy player. Finally, there was my beloved Mono-Green Infect in Modern.

Forests really make the opponent prove your deck is bad because you are really good at applying early pressure. Not only that, but also the pressure is difficult to remove, whether it is because of Hexproof, instant-speed buffs, or /5 in the bottom right corner of the card. Let’s take a look at some of the mono-green lists available in Modern:

Greener Pastures

These lists are simple: drop Fangorn, and beat.

Mono-Green Infect

As I have already written about this and spreading it across formats, I’ll be brief: this can win on turns two and three when needed, or it can sit back on Exalted triggers and pump spells for protection and reach for the win on turns six through ten.

Tell-tale signs: Turn one [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] that isn’t followed by [c]Mox Opal[/c], [c]Springleaf Drum[/c] or [c]Signal Pest[/c] is a good sign. [c]Cathedral of War[/c] and [c]Sylvan Scrying[/c] are definite heads-up. Also, if your opponent drops Forest, Forest, and still does nothing, they’re most likely playing an [c]Ichorclaw Myr[/c] with backup.

Stompy

With creatures like [c]Leatherback Baloth[/c] and [c]Thrun, the Last Troll[/c], planeswalkers, and removal such as [c]Pit Fight[/c] and [c]Beast Within[/c], this isn’t your [c]Winter Orb[/c] Stompy list of the 90’s. Its only similarity to the Pauper lists is the name, also, as the curve and resiliency is much higher. In fact, it’s closer compared to Jund or Rock. Sergi has done a good write-up on this deck archetype on this page.

Tell-tale signs: Forest, [c]Experiment One[/c] is a common play, but this list shares that with other beat variants. If you keep seeing more Forests and cards like [c]Strangleroot Geist[/c] and [c]Kalonian Tusker[/c], you know this is your match.

Elves

It is difficult to search for decks based on price on mtgo-stats and mtggoldfish, so whenever I come across one that is low, I always bookmark it in my mind. The lowest that I have ever seen in Modern was a list that only cost $9.58 at the time that it placed 3-1 in a Daily. And its components were Elves. With only 38 creatures and 4 [c]Lead the Stampede[/c], I’m sure the pressure was on for his opponents. There are more lords in here than in Merfolk, and the [c]Aether Vial[/c] are replaced by mana-producing creatures, maximizing the synergy.

Obviously there are combo lists available as well, whether the combo be [c]Cloudstone Curio[/c] and [c]Elvish Visionary[/c] with [c]Nettle Sentinel[/c] and [c]Heritage Druid[/c], [c]Intruder Alarm[/c] with [c]Joraga Treespeaker[/c] and [c]Ant Queen[/c], or [c]Hive Mind[/c] and [c]Summoner’s Pact[/c], the options are quite open.

Tell-tale signs: [c]Wren’s Run Vanquisher[/c] and [c]Bramblewood Paragon[/c] are only seen here. Obviously [c]Nettle Sentinel[/c] and [c]Heritage Druid[/c] are strong hints.

Wielding The Green Dragon*

Here are lists that are predominantly green but do not have a basic land other than [c]Plains[/c] (as white is the last color to be covered) in their mana-bases.

*- Can we talk about how one WIELDS a dragon for a second? Imagine Samuel L. Jackson in the famous Pulp Fiction “What?!” scene with a green dragon in place of the gun. I can only imagine how wildly the artist’s mind ran with upon receipt of the card’s name.

Hexproof Auras/Bogles

Equally difficult to respect and not respect at the same time, the Bogles player typically forgoes all interaction with the opponent in favor of a [c]Slippery Bogle[/c] or [c]Gladecover Scout[/c] souped up with four to ten enchantments. Some lists at least have the decency to play [c]Suppression Field[/c] and [c]Path to Exile[/c] for interaction, and some realize there is often little point.

Tell-tale signs: The deck simply can’t function without a mulligan into a creature, so you should see [c]Slippery Bogle[/c], [c]Gladecover Scout[/c], and/or [c]Kor Spiritdancer[/c] within the first two turns.

Green Devotion

This list uses some of the old standbys seen in mono-green beats, but here they are taken advantage of for their mana costs. Once enough cards like [c]Wistful Selkie[/c] and [c]Burning-Tree Emissary[/c] are in place, the player generates enough mana to win with [c]Genesis Wave[/c], [c]Tooth and Nail[/c] for [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] and [c]Xenagos, God of Revels[/c], or [c]Eternal Witness[/c] and [c]Primal Command[/c] recursion, whichever. Take your pick, no big deal.

Tell-tale signs: This is the only list to play land Auras other than [c]Spreading Seas[/c].

Hate-Bears

How frequently this term is thrown around, yet no one can fully appreciate it until they’re on the wrong end of a 7/7 [c]Scavening Ooze[/c], [c]Leonin Arbiter[/c], and [c]Thalia, Guardian of Thraben[/c] with no lands in play.

Tell-tale signs: [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] turn one is rather typical in Modern. [c]Loxodon Smiter[/c] following it on turn two is slightly less so. The real giveaway is when they are combined with tempo elements such as [c]Aven Mindcensor[/c] or [c]Linvala, Keeper of Silence[/c].

A variant on Hate-bears excludes all of the durdly enter-the-battlefield effects and “tax” cards (of Legacy and Modern Death and Taxes lists) for more cards like [c]Wilt-Leaf Liege[/c] and [c]Voice of Resurgence[/c]. Call it Care-Bears? Still, a [c]Kitchen Finks[/c] with the stats of [c]Juggernaut[/c] and a 4/3 1-drop in [c]Dryad Militant[/c] are quite severe.

Last March of the Ents

Hey, wait, that’s not a Magic card.

This concludes the look at lists heavy enough into Green to contain basic Forests but not containing Islands, Swamps, or Mountains. Next week we’ll look at the last few Modern lists: those that are heavy, heavy white and without any splashes. I’ll conclude the series in two weeks with the ones I’ve missed along the way.

In the meantime, enjoy the SilverBlack list I’ve run for all my league games into the Juggernaut stat of 5/3. How did he manage to make two references in here?

[d title=”Modern SilverBlack Stompy”]

Land

20 Forest

Creatures

2 Dryad Militant

4 Elvish Mystic

4 Experiment One

4 Kalonian Tusker

4 Leatherback Baloth

4 Strangleroot Geist

Other Spells

2 Beast Within

2 Giant Growth

3 Loxodon Warhammer

1 Pit Fight

4 Prey Upon

2 Triumph of Ferocity

4 Vines of Vastwood

Sideboard

2 Acidic Slime

1 Back To Nature

1 Deglamer

1 Pit Fight

2 Ranger’s Guile

1 Reknit

2 Tormod’s Crypt

1 Trophy Hunter

1 Unravel the Aether

3 Windstorm[/d]

This deck is obviously a port of the Modern “Stompy” list. I really think the similarity is closer to Rock; you won’t find a closer card to [c]Dark Confidant[/c] than [c]Triumph of Ferocity[/c]. I haven’t lost a game where it has triggered twice and drawn me a card. Maybe I haven’t where it’s triggered once and drawn me a card, but I’m trying to be conservative here.

You also haven’t lived until you equip a beater with [c]Loxodon Warhammer[/c], fight with it, then attack with it.

My match loss is to flyers. [c]Lingering Souls[/c] is quite a card in this format. Unfortunately, it is always accompanied by [c]Inquisition of Kozilek[/c], and often it travels with anthem effects. It’s quite a bear to defeat. You have access to [c]Scattershot Archer[/c] and the cards I already have in the sideboard. Maybe [c]Scryb Ranger[/c] belongs in the maindeck, and the archer in the side.

I hope this series is benefiting your Modern play. It is such a great thing, over time, to track your results and watch the meta shift once you’re knowledgeable of all the archetypes.

-drinkard

You Too Can Play Modern: 10 Budget Modern Decks

The current economic crisis is being really hard on all our non-essentials, and Magic: the Gathering is an expensive game. Very expensive, in fact, when you decide to play a competitive format like Modern. Even if Wizard’s intention was creating a format that could be played by those who could not afford Legacy, the truth is tier 1 decks cost around 800 euros ($1,100) on average, and that’s a lot of money. Wizards is, I am sure, working on it and we’ll see reprints of the biggest offenders sooner or later. For the time being, though, it is difficult to start playing this wonderful format.

Or is it?

There are cheap decks that can be built for around 100€ ($135), and then there are versions of more expensive decks that can be built also for this approximate quantity. Which option is better depends on your priorities: I decided, when I built my first Modern deck, to start building a UR [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] deck, and to wait until I could afford [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c]. But I have friends who decided to start with Burn or Soul Sisters, and they had way better results at the beginning, which allowed them to get some store credit, which allowed them to build more expensive decks afterwards.

Anyhow, let’s have a look at some lists!

[d title=”Burn”]
LANDS
10 Mountain
4 Mana Confluence
4 City of Brass
2 Gemstone Mine

CREATURES
4 Goblin Guide
4 Vexing Devil

SPELLS
4 Bump in the Night
4 Boros Charm
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Magma Jet
4 Rift Bolt
4 Shard Volley
4 Skullcrack
[/d]

Stay with me for a while, and don’t dismiss Burn at first sight. It is a consistent deck, it doesn’t depend on any particular card, it works, it is fun to play, and it is cheap, especially if we don’t use the classic fetch/shock lands, which we don’t need to use. If the deck works, we can perfectly afford to lose some life using [c]City of Brass[/c] and [c]Mana Confluence[/c], as the opponent will be too busy losing to take advantage of the situation.

On the other hand, it is one of those decks where mulligans hurt bad, and every game is a bit of a lottery. You can trust your top-decks, and the deck does not tend to let you down, but there is little you can do if it does. Also, there is some very specific sideboard against burn, and we lose chances every turn. Despite all that, the deck wins, and punishes durdly and slow decks like no other.

[d title=”Living End”]
LANDS
4 Blackcleave Cliffs
4 Copperline Gorge
2 Evolving Wilds
4 Forest
5 Mountain
5 Swamp

CREATURES
4 Deadshot Minotaur
2 Fulminator Mage
2 Jungle Weaver
1 Shriekmaw
4 Street Wraith
4 Pale Recluse
2 Beast Within
2 Avalanche Riders
4 Monstruous Carabid

SPELLS
4 Demonic Dread
3 Living End
4 Violent Outburst
[/d]

Living End is a pretty straightforward combo deck which had a recent spike in popularity thanks to the banning of [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c]. There is still a healthy amount of graveyard hate in Modern, but now graveyard-related strategies have a lot better pre-board situation, at least.

The combo goes as follows: we cycle big creatures, then we play a cascade spell (cascade spells allow you to reveal cards from the top of your deck until you find a spell that costs less than the one with cascade, then you play that spell), and that cascade spell can only hit [c]Living End[/c], which will be put in play without suspend, and bring back all the creatures we originally cycled, at the same time it puts all the creatures in the opponent’s side in their graveyard.

It is a fragile combo though. It is too easy for any deck with access to counterspells to counter Living End, and sometimes the deck just fails to work because we draw all our copies of [c]Living End[/c] before we can cascade into one (believe me, it happens!). But it is a really fun deck to play, and it has had some very solid results. Also, the deck can be built for extremely cheap if we substitute [c]Fulminator Mage[/c] for any other cheaper card.

[d title=”Soul Sisters”]
LANDS
21 Plains

CREATURES
4 Ajani’s Pridemate
3 Kitchen Finks
2 Martyr of Sands
2 Ranger of Eos
4 Serra Ascendant
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Squadron Hawk

SPELLS
4 Honor of the Pure
4 Path to Exile
4 Spectral Procession
[/d]

This deck comes from a Standard list that appeared for a brief period of time during which [c]Soul Warden[/c] and [c]Soul’s Attendant[/c] were both legal in the format. That didn’t last, but then Modern became a good soil for this idea to grow, bloom, and give fruit in the form of games won and burn decks humiliated.

It is a good deck, in my opinion, even though it is rather non-interactive (which is something that can apply to many of the decks here, to be honest). The life gain gives it an edge against aggro decks, and it tends to have good top-decks as everything synergizes with everything.

There is a rather interesting variant using [c]Norin the Wary[/c], which ensures constant Enter The Battlefield triggers. Also, having red allows for some other tools, like [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] and [c]Boros Charm[/c].

[d title=”Mono U Tron”]
LANDS
1 Academy Ruins
8 Island
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
1 Tectonic Edge
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

CREATURES
1 Platinum Angel
3 Solemn Simulacrum
1 Myr Battlesphere
1 Sundering Titan
3 Treasure Mage
1 Wurmcoil Engine

SPELLS
4 Condescend
1 Cyclonic Rift
4 Expedition Map
2 Mindslaver
1 Oblivion Stone
4 Remand
3 Repeal
1 Spell Burst
3 Talisman of Dominance
4 Thirst for Knowledge
[/d]

I have not tried this one personally yet, but I have played against it and I can confirm it is very, very effective. It’s a mix of control and ramp, and a very good one at that: the opponent will find themselves facing huge creatures and difficult board states in no time.

There is a combo inside this deck too: [c]Mindslaver[/c] + [c]Academy Ruins[/c] means our opponent will never control his own turns again, which means we have won. It has the usual weaknesses of ramp decks: early game is not fantastic, and the engine has to be set up. Blue allows for some control and tempo which make it easier for the deck to get into the mid- and late-game though, as well as some card draw/selection, so we can trust the deck to deliver the cards we need.

[d title=”Stompy”]
LANDS
22 Forest

CREATURES
4 Experiment One
4 Dryad Militant
4 Scavenging Ooze
2 Kalonian Tusker
2 Skylasher
4 Strangleroot Geist
2 Leatherback Baloth
2 Thrun, the Last Troll

SPELLS
4 Rancor
4 Giant Growth
4 Vines of Vastwood
2 Beast Within
[/d]

This is right up my alley. Aggro, creatures, tricks. This deck has not yet proven itself to be a big contender in the Modern metagame, but I consider this to be a solid list. Graveyard hate is built-in thanks to [c]Dryad Militant[/c] and [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c], the creatures are abundant and big, and green is also a great color for sideboarding, having access to artifact and enchantment hate.

Stompy, however, is a new deck and as such it could very well fizzle and just not work well enough. I am stoked, but it could pay to be cautious.

[d title=”WB Tokens”]
LANDS
10 Plains
4 Swamp
4 Isolated chapel
4 Godless shrine

CREATURES
2 Doomed Traveller
3 Tidehollow Sculler

SPELLS
3 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Intangible Virtue
4 Zealous Persecution
4 Lingering Souls
2 Midnight Haunting
4 Path to Exile
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Spectral Procession
[/d]

First things first: this list was made before the Modern Event Deck was released. If you like this deck and can find the Modern Event Deck for a good price, by all means start there. It is a good value.

WB tokens is as full of tools as the night full of terrors. Black and white is a very good color combination and makes dealing with anything a breeze. Also, this deck plays so many creatures the opponent has to be prepared against this or just lose: spot removal just won’t work.

Keep in mind though, there is a good amount of sideboard available for the kind of board states WB tokens creates, and it is extremely devastating.

[d title=”GU Infect”]
LANDS
4 Breeding Pool
3 Gemstone Mine
4 Forest
3 Hinterland Harbor
4 Inkmoth Nexus
2 Pendelhaven

CREATURES
4 Blighted Agent
4 Glistener Elf
4 Ichorclaw Myr
2 Plague Myr

SPELLS
4 Apostle’s Blessing
4 Groundswell
4 Might of Old Krosa
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Rancor
2 Distortion Strike
4 Vines of Vastwood
[/d]

Infect takes a shortcut on the aggro approach, makes pump spells twice as effective, and makes the whole metagame understand how important it is to have early removal against this. It has never been a tier 1 deck, but still it has won tournaments and is a constant threat against any unprepared opponent. This is the sort of deck that keep players on their toes, and that’s a good thing.

It is a bit weak against removal, and edict effects tend to kill it dead (the deck usually runs fewer than 15 creatures), but it still is a very good option that will deliver swift kills.

[d title=”Melira Pod”]
LANDS
3 Evolving Wilds
6 Forest
4 Overgrown Tomb
2 Plains
7 Swamp
2 Temple Garden

CREATURES
4 Birds of Paradise
1 Eternal Witness
1 Farhaven Elf
2 Fauna Shaman
1 Gravedigger
1 Harmonic Sliver
4 Kitchen Finks
4 Melira, Sylvok Outcast
3 Murderous Redcap
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Safehold Elite
1 Shriekmaw
3 Sylvan Caryatid
1 Varolz, the Scar-Striped
3 Viscera Seer

SPELLS
4 Birthing Pod
[/d]

This is more of an experiment than an actual deck. You see, Melira Pod is arguably the best modern deck in existence, and there are people who fall in love with it the second they look at the Modern format, only to be let down by the price tag attached to it. It made sense to try and make a budget version, and the core of the deck is not especially expensive.

The good thing about Pod is its toolbox approach. This also makes getting the pieces for the deck easier, as they are a lot of times one-ofs. The bad part is it requires three colours, which, in Modern, means fetchlands. And you’re going to need play-sets of those. Also, [c]Chord of calling[/c] is really expensive, as is [c]Noble Hierarch[/c].

So, take this as a starting point. And pray [c]Birthing Pod[/c] doesn’t get banned.

[d title=”Hexproof Auras”]
LANDS
7 Forest
6 Plains
4 Razorverge Thicket
2 Sunpetal Grove
2 Temple Garden

CREATURES
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Slippery Bogle
4 Kor Spiritdancer

SPELLS
4 Ethereal Armor
4 Hyena Umbra
4 Keen Sense
3 Path to Exile
4 Rancor
4 Spirit Mantle
4 Unflinching Courage
[/d]

This is essentially the full deck minus [c]Daybreak Coronet[/c] and with a cheaper land base. It is a beautiful deck and the definition of both Voltron and Timmy. This is, of course, my opinion: some people use this deck to explain why the Modern format is essentially flawed.

Hexproof Auras puts a lot of pressure on the opponent. It builds a huge, untargettable beast, attaching auras to a hexproof creature. Spot removal is useless, dealing X damage tends to be insufficient, and blocking is futile – hence the success of the deck. Edicts and counter-magic can still hurt us, of course, but your opponent has to have it in his hand.

I needn’t convince you, though. There is a type of player for this type of deck. If you’re that type, you already know it.

[d title=”PyroDelver”]
LANDS
10 Island
2 Mountain
4 Steam Vents
4 Sulfur Falls

CREATURES
4 Delver of Secrets
2 Grim Lavamancer
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Young Pyromancer

SPELLS
2 Electrolyze
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Mana Leak
2 Pillar of Flame
4 Remand
4 Serum Visions
2 Spell Pierce
2 Vapor Snag
[/d]

UR Delver, or PyroDelver as I sometimes call it ([c]Young Pyromancer[/c] is just as central as [c]Delver of Secrets[/c] in this deck), is a great, great deck that has to be practiced and studied but which rewards the pilot with options against every deck in the meta. It does not deliver as many free kills as some other decks in this list (even though a couple of flipped delvers in the first couple of turns can mean a quick death for the opponent if they don’t have adequate removal), but it is consistent thanks to its card draw and selection, and is a very difficult deck to deal with while we are ahead in the game. It has some good recoveries too, thanks to [c]Young Pyromancer[/c].

The bad part is I had to cut some pretty important cards to make it a budget deck, and I’m not sure about this new list. [c]Spellstutter Sprite is great[/c], but its slot is normally occupied by [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c], which is really important to the deck; [c]Blood Moon[/c] is a central card here which improves the chances against some important decks; and fetchlands are pretty much a must too, as they improve the deck’s consistency.

Well, there you go. 10 Modern lists you can try out that won’t break the bank. Do you have a favorite? Do you play a different budget deck in Modern with any success? Let me know if the comments!

A Pauper Chat with Deluxeicoff (and some info on Hexproof)

Talking Pauper in general and Hexproof in detail with Deluxeicoff, one of the best pauper players on MTGO.

His Hexchant Hexproof deck –

[d title=”Hexchant by Deluxeicoff (Pauper)”]
Land
13 Forest
4 Selesnya Guildgate

Creatures
4 Slippery Bogle
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Aura Gnarlid
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Bond Beetle

Enchantments
4 Abundant Growth
4 Ehtereal Armor
3 Ancestral Mask
4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Rancor
4 Utopia Sprawl

Sideboard
3 Asha’s Favor
4 Moment’s Peace
4 Standard Bearer
4 Thermokarst [/d]