The Standard Pauper Show, Ep 32

Not Gruul? Then set review. This week it’s Green Red and Multicolor. Izzett Kicks and Golgari Butt fights abound. Set review smash!!
The Gauntlet is entering the end game and only 3 decks remain. Who will be the champion! The guys review two rounds.
This is the Standard Pauper Show!

The Standard Pauper Show, Issue 26

Section 1: This week in Standard Pauper

Happy New Year!

No video this week.

Instead we have… SPOILERS!

Card Brennon’s Thoughts Sam’s Thoughts
This seems like a great card. Prowess is strong and it replaces itself. But 1/1’s see a lot of hate   Great Card, one of only 7 2 drop creatures, and probably the most effective, works well in a 1-2 curve deck, which are by far the most effective decks in the format. Great in White Blue Heroic, and Red White Blue storm.
null Ok, Tombstalker without flying, 1 bigger than mandrils, 1 less to cast than shambling attendants. Are 5/5’s for 7 a big player in this format? I like that it kills the two big hexproof dudes, but only if they don’t have evasion. A big dumb 5/5, even for cheap, might not have a place.  So yeah, 5/5 for less is good, but even casting this for 4 you still just end up with a vanilla dude that is probably going be outclassed by heroic creatures. After Theros rotates Delve may go up. I am surprised that Delve  made its way to Fate Reforged, as only Treasure Cruise is truly playable.
I am super stoked for the Dash mechanic. A quasi unblockable 3/2 with haste ofr 2R is pretty freaking awesome. Cannot wait for more Dash-ers, or dancers, or prancers or even vixens.  Its Vashino Sandstalker. At common. For one less red. I love Dash even if this card isn’t super relevant with the much more on curve Heroic dudes running around. The can’t block clause is super cool though. Red is making blocking harder and harder.
The potential to have a 4/3 for 3 is really tempting. I like this card in a stompy shell. Heck maybe some crazy Simic build will show up with prowess triggering ferocious.  3/2 is on curve. I have yet to see Ferocious get triggered in a Standard Pauper game. Playing these after you play your 5-6 cost 4/4 seems bad. If only this was off curve from Alpine Grizzly. 
What’s more confusing than Morphs? Having a different kind of Morph! Seriously, this is going to be a judging nightmare. I can see how cheating in cards with unfortunate casting requirements or ETB effects could be really good. However, not many things like that in Standard Pauper. I don’t thing this will be very good for us unless we will be getting a lot of cards with draw backs. I think this is an interesting card. It can turn your useless late game lands into 2/2 creatures. Of course random 2/2 creatures are way less relevant into the late game. I like this card way better at instant. As a sorcery it probably won’t see play. Raise the Alarm is way better.
Ok, same as above. However, surprise bears is kind of cool. They are not tokens so unsummon effects have minimal effect. Possible legacy format implications. I think that this could be good in some kind of prowess build though. Not often do you get spell triggers off creatures.  Better at instant speed. The question for me is at 5 mana what cards in your deck are worse then turning two random cards from the top of your deck into 2/2 creatures. Also Simic isn’t really a color combo in Standard Pauper. Nor are Midrangeish control decks. So yeah. Coolish card without a home.
I like this one probably more than I should. I have visions of Sand Scour dancing in my head! 2/3 for 3 is meh at best. Was Orzhov Euthanist a think in Standard Pauper back in the day? Was Standard Pauper even a thing in Ravnica block? I love cards with Modes to them. I like the 2/3 for 3 in Black. I am not sure that the second mode is really all that great. No source of damage in the format like a Viridian Longbow or a Pinger. Way better then Witches Familiar, or Felhide Minotaur.


Section 2: Budget Modern

If you have been following the Pauper Gauntlet, you know that Mono Red Heroic has been tearing up the competition. It is a deck the I really like and I think it could go further. Currently, it is in Round 8 as it made it to the Top 10. This also means it has an automatic entry into the next Gauntlet. Lets take a quick look at the deck:

4 Akroan Crusader
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Goblin Cohort
3 Goblin Shortcutter
4 Jackal Familiar
4 Mogg Conscripts
2 Satyr Hoplite
4 Foundry Street Denizen

2 Dragon Mantle
4 Furor of the Bitten
4 Hammerhand
4 Reckless Charge

17 Mountain

2 Bloodfire Dwarf
3 Brute Force
2 Flaring Pain
4 Forge Devil
2 Gorilla Shaman
2 Volcanic Strength[/d]

This deck is violent and demands early answers. So what does this have to do with Modern? Well, if you look closely, only 5 cards are not modern legal. I just felt this type of budget deck could be made into a lean mean modern machine with a few additions. So, I went to the source and asked the man himself, JPHSnake if he had some time to give this some thought. Jack is such a cool guy, I hope you all watched him dominate in the King of the Nerds show on TBS, he came back the same night with a slick list of 75:

4 Akroan Crusader
2 Figure of Destiny
4 Foundry Street Denizen
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Rakdos Cackler
2 Satyr Hoplite
4 Stromkirk Noble

3 Coordinated Assault
4 Dragon Mantle
4 Furor of the Bitten
4 Hammerhand
4 Lightning Bolt

17 Mountain

4 Dynacharge
4 Skullcrack
4 Smash to Smithereens
3 Spark Jolt[/d]

Ok, without looking it up, can you guess what the most expensive card in this list is?

I’ll give you a minute to think… In the mean time, here is another picture of my cat:


Smash to Smithereens at $5

Here is the deck in action:

Some suggestions have been made to add [c]Legion Loyalist[/c] over Stromkirk and add some number of [c]goblin bushwhacker[/c].

What do you think?

The Standard Pauper Show, Issue 23

Section 1: This week in Standard Pauper

I hope everyone is enjoying the slightly new format of the show! I put a decent amount of work into these and I am fairly proud of the end product. Could it be more polished? Of course. But for the low cost of free, this is the best I can give you ;)

Round six has already begun! Please take a moment to watch some of the matches. I know you will enjoy them.

Speaking of cross promotion, here are a couple of the Gauntlet videos I helped make:

The Green One vs Izzet Cruise Control


Tortured Toolbox vs MBC
SPDC 27.08
7 December 2014
Standard · 9 Players
9 Decks · 100% Reported
3 rounds Swiss
Top 4 playoff
Hosted by DrChrisBakerDC

1st Boros Heroic by DrChrisBakerDC
2nd MBC Splashed by beatnik bobby
T4 BW Control by flying_men
T4 UR Token by Maltercio

Cruise Watch: 2014
1st Place: 0 Cruise
2nd Place: 2 Cruise
3rd Place: 0 Cruise
4th Place: 4 Cruise

Does not appear that the dreaded TC has totally warped the format. I like that. I hate to see a single card change things up. Much like Ghostly Flicker, which was a pain in the butt.

Section 2: The Winning Deck

We went over Dr. Baker’s deck in the show, so lets look at another one.

Standard · Control
2nd by beatnik bobby in SPDC 27.08 (3-2)

4 Benthic Giant
4 Disowned Ancestor
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Returned Phalanx
4 Servant of Tymaret
3 Disciple of Phenax
2 Baleful Eidolon

4 Feast of Dreams
3 Pharika’s Cure
3 Read the Bones
2 Debilitating Injury
2 Eternal Thirst
2 Font of Return
2 Treasure Cruise
1 Fleetfeather Sandals

13 Swamp
4 Dismal Backwater
4 Evolving Wilds
3 Island

3 Festergloom
3 Flesh to Dust
2 Whirlwind Adept
2 Rotfeaster Maggot
2 Molting Snakeskin
1 Baleful Eidolon
1 Disciple of Phenax
1 Pharika’s Cure

Again, let us look at the curve

Looks more like getting flipped the bird rather than a deck curve. There are 2 drops galore in this revision of a previous winner.

No bad. You have your 2 mana you need for Phalanx. But that will be all you are casting. Is that one door stop enough to keep this hand? If we look back at the curve, the odds are your next draw is either a land or a 2 drop. With this in mind, I say keep.

Now let’s look at the next six cards:

Island off the top is pretty nice. The hand is a bit slow and you are not casting Treasure Cruise any time soon. But, you have a nice early drop, 2 regenerators, and some decent hand disruption. Over all I fine with keeping this hand.

Section 3: Modern Masters 2 Speculation

Put on your thinking caps. Get gatherer ready. And come up with some cards you think may get pushed to common. This might be hard. What you have to look at are archetypes you feel Wizards will try to push, and figure out which cards need to always be available in draft. Those will be the cards dropped to common.

Another way to think about it is “What answers need to be common.”

I’ll go first.

My choice for pushed to common is: Wipe Away!

Why? Because it is an answer to combo. I think some sort of combo is going to be present and this card will disrupt that without being such a buzz kill.

Now your turn!

Legacy on Mondays: So I Was a Little Bit Wrong

Welcome Back!

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article stating that I doubted that Khans of Tarkir would have much impact on the Legacy format whatsoever. This, thanks to a mere two cards, has been proven slightly wrong. If Standard and Modern get [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c] as their new power card, then Legacy gets [c]Dig Through Time[/c] and [c]Treasure Cruise[/c]. Sure, both of those are being played in Standard and Modern, but Dig and the Bruise Cruise are getting a lot of attention in the Legacy scene as well.

Overall, I could not care less about [c]Jeskai Ascendancy[/c]. It is not going to have any effect on the Eternal scene at all. I care more about the two blue delve cards, because they have much more raw, applicable, and immediate power than the Ascendancy does. I would also like to discuss how I plan to use these bad boys, but first, the cards themselves:

[c]Dig Through Time[/c] – This card is a bit like [c]Impulse[/c] on steroids. It is very different from [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] in that it is more of a cantrip and hand fixer than a gas spell. Sneak & Show has used this card some, as the graveyard can fill up with cards like fetchlands, [c]Lotus Petal[/c]s, and counterspells, so that it often only costs two or three mana. As of writing this, Dig is selling for $7.58 a piece on That is not cheap for a powerful cantrip, but the card is definitely useful for finding answers, win conditions, or more gas.

dig through time

[c]Treasure Cruise[/c] – The text box on this should read: “Threshold – [c]Ancestral Recall[/c].” Wow. This effect is ridiculously powerful. Decks like ANT have begun to use this card, and cast it twice for only {u} in the same turn. Delver decks, Canadian Threshold, and others have also started to play this card too, just to combat the raw card advantage that the other decks are getting from it as well. The Legacy graveyard fills up faster than ‘yards in almost every other format, with a possible exception for Vintage. Fetchlands, [c]Wasteland[/c], [c]Force of Will[/c], [c]Life from the Loam[/c], and friends will be filling graveyards at an exceptional pace. Fortunately, [c]Scavenging Ooze[/c] and [c]Deathrite Shaman[/c] slow things down a bit, so expect a resurgence of these two to help combat the menace in an effective way in the main deck.

bruise cruise

Fortunately, I doubt these will see play in too many [c]Dark Confidant[/c] builds. They both have CMC 8 regardless of Delve, so ol’ Bob will not be coinciding well with these. But I don’t care about that too much; I am far more interested in seeing how I might be able to fit these into my favorite Legacy archetype – [c]High Tide[/c].

Oh yes, after that four-article marathon, here we are again at that deck! But these cards both fit into the niche parts of the [c]High Tide[/c] deck: They either cantrip or provide draw power. Both are mana-efficient in a deck that usually fills the graveyard quickly, too. The one chosen is based on deck type, and whether or not the tight nucleus of cards that makes up the deck is worth thinning for something new.

One obvious example would be that [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] is outright unplayable in Solidarity. The deck is 100% instant speed, so no-no on the sorcery. [c]Dig Through Time[/c], however, is instant speed, and as mentioned earlier it does a great impression of a suped-up [c]Impulse[/c], a card that is normally run in Solidarity. A disadvantage is that Delving hurts [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c], which is a popular edition to recent Solidarity lists. I might try running two Dig instead of an [c]Impulse[/c] and an [c]Opt[/c]. Both of the lesser cantrips are still necessary in numbers, as they set up the hand nicely without a stocked graveyard while contributing to Delve themselves.

The card in which I am more interested for my purposes as a Spring Tide player is [c]Treasure Cruise[/c]. The old bruise cruise has the potential to be a draw spell that is far more efficient than [c]Meditate[/c] or [c]Ideas Unbound[/c], and it is much better as a set-up card than either. It is also a common, and sits at the lovely price of only $0.15 on I am not running Snappy Griller, so I do not fear exiling my entire graveyard to go cruising. It isn’t so good in the early turns, and it is awful when multiple start to pile up, as the graveyard can’t always be restocked at lightning pace after one cruise, and I do not want to spend too much mana casting the things. I want to test them as 2-ofs and 3-ofs, just to see what happens. It may improve the overall consistency of the deck as an effective turn-4 draw spell that sets up for a perfect turn-5 kill, or it may save that extra 1 mana that an [c]Ideas Unbound[/c] would not to continue to combo off in a tight spot.

All of this is purely hypothetical, but I may be picking up some [c]Treasure Cruise[/c]s and gathering some empirical data sometime in the near future. Oh, and Pauper players, did I mention that Cruise is legal in your format? I have seen none of it yet, and would love to see if Pauper’s [c]Ancestral Recall[/c] sees widespread play. Possibly in Trinket? I’m not sure. Leave a comment if you have any ideas!

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you next week.


Legacy on Mondays, No. 13: Will Khans have ANY Impact?

Welcome Back!

Khans of Tarkir was released last Friday, and everyone is talking about it. Brewers are salivating with all kinds of tasty prospects for the new standard, drafters at the prerelease have said good things about it, and I for one am very excited about the reprint of fetchlands, as covered in a previous article. So, here is another speculation for you! Instead of talking about economic prospects, or the burgeoning of a new standard, I’d like to look at the potential for Khans in the Eternal Formats. And by potential, I mean lack thereof.

The only reason I would ever see myself purchasing Khans of Tarkir would be to acquire fetchlands, and purchasing boosters or booster boxes looking just for fetches is a losing game. When they come down to $10-12 a piece, it will be more efficient to buy them as singles than to search through droves of packs to find a few rares. No creatures seem appealing, and the new mechanics are not powerful enough to see Legacy play. This is, of course, only a summary of my opinion, so let’s take a closer look at what the set will likely not bring to the Eternal party.

Any yes, [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] is not impressed by the inefficient and orcish [c]Zurgo Helmsmasher[/c].

Tarmogoyf is Not Impressed


There are literally no Legacy-viable creatures in Khans of Tarkir. While the general trend of Magic is true, that older spells are more powerful and have gotten weaker recently, and older creatures sucked but have become more efficient with newer sets, creatures from Khans do not fit the bill for Legacy material. Let’s compare.

delver insectile

Ah, here’s our good friend [c]Delver of Secrets[/c]! He is a perfect example of a Legacy creature. A 1-mana 1/1 that is potentially a 3/2 flyer that is attacking on the second turn. There is nothing truly special about this guy; he isn’t overloaded with crazy abilities or anything. It’s all about efficiency. A one mana investment into Delver can potentially deal 9 damage in the first four turns of the game. All that is needed is a spell on the top of the library, and away we go with evasive damage. There is clearly a reason that several Legacy decks are called “(Insert color scheme here) Delver.”

mantis rider

Here is [c]Mantis Rider[/c], another three-power flier that was just printed in Khans. He is also fairly efficient; a 3/3 with flying, haste, AND vigilance for a mere three mana seems pretty good. However, even hasty he can only deal 6 damage in the first four turns of the game. He also is the turn three play, whereas Delver lets you play stuff on turns two, three, and four while beating down. The cost {U}{R}{W} is also a pain. While fixing is not a problem with fetches and duals in Legacy, the fact that fixing is necessary for a [c]Mantis Rider[/c] makes it less efficient. No unnecessary fetches need to be popped to get extra colors for a [c]Delver of Secrets[/c].

Nimble mongoose

The same argument can be made for these two. [c]Nimble Mongoose[/c] is easy to turn on in the right decks, and costs a mere one mana, while [c]Sagu Mauler[/c] requires either a two-time mana investment for a turn-5 6/6 trample hexproof or a one-time investment to attack on turn 7. Mongoose is clearly superior and capable of doing much more damage in short order.


When people think “Legacy,” they usually also think “[c]Force of Will[/c].” This is for a good reason, as the card is very powerful and universally known. I see no meaningful counterspells coming out of Khans of Tarkir. FoW is on a whole ‘nother level compared to [c]Stubborn Denial[/c], which in comparison is terrible. But not all spells are counterspells, so let’s look at something else.

It’s very easy to compare these two. [c]Utter End[/c] is great removal for anything outside of a land for a decent cost of four mana. [c]Vindicate[/c] can remove anything, just not exiled, for one less mana. Instant vs Sorcery speed does make a difference, but in Legacy the reason to prefer [c]Vindicate[/c] will be the fact that it nukes lands and costs less mana. Cards like [c]Maze of Ith[/c] wreck some decks, and being able to deal with it without a [c]Wasteland[/c] is huge. Also, many decks run with extremely low curves that sometimes will not have more than three or four lands on the field for the duration of the game.

Some of you may be thinking: “Woah! That card’s totally sweet, and will own in Dredge and stuff!” It won’t Well, Dredge will never play it because it will always cost at least {B}{B}{B}{B}, and no one is going to craft a Legacy deck around this one “game winning” spell. [c]Fireblast[/c] is practically more “game winning” than this card. Besides, quite a few Legacy decks have this lovely answer to [c]Empty the Pits[/c] (which conveniently also answers [c]Empty the Warrens[/c]):

Yeah. No tokens ever survive this nuke. [c]Ratchet Bomb[/c] and [c]Powder Keg[/c] would both also wreck a board full of not-hasty 2/2’s.


There’s not much to say here. The fetchland + dual recipe is so beautiful that is has not been tampered with in years. RUG Delver is not going to start playing [c]Frontier Bivouac[/c]; it is slow and superfluous in comparison, and doesn’t come with the lovely shuffle-effect bonus. The new life gain Guildgates aren’t going to do much outside of Draft and Pauper. The fetch reprint is the only important thing landwise for the set, and the only thing that will impact any Eternal format.

Of course, all of this speculation is only my opinion. Are you an Eternal player planning on modding you decks to fit Khans cards? If so, please leave a comment! I would love to know what you guys think will happen to Legacy when Khans hits modo. Thanks for reading, and hope to see you all next week!


Legacy on Tuesdays, No. 10: Fetchland Reprint Community Discussion

Welcome Back!

This week, I would like to discuss the upcoming Onslaught Fetchland reprint that will happen in Khans of Tarkir. Wizards of the Coast finally decided to give those of us who had been lobbying in a disorganized manner for reprints of staples something over which to drool. I would love for this article to foster some community discussion and talk. Standard players: Are you excited for fetchlands in the format, even without those Ravnica shocks? Legacy/Vintage players or those looking to break into the format: Are you finally stoked to finish your mana base without breaking the bank? It would be sweet to just share my opinion here, then have the community continue the discussion in the comment section or on Reddit.

Onslaught Fetches

[c]Polluted Delta[/c] [c]Windswept Heath[/c] [c]Bloodstained Mire[/c] [c]Flooded Strand[/c] [c]Wooded Foothills[/c]

These five power players have been a crucial part of the eternal mana base since they were printed. Unlike the notoriously [c]Bad River[/c], which did see play before the printing of these, the Onslaught fetch lands come into play untapped and can find a dual for the low cost of 1 life. Fetch lands make [c]Brainstorm[/c] a power house card, improve the quality of [c]Sensei’s Divining Top[/c] spins, and allow for easy color fixing in demanding mana bases. Zendikar saw the printing of the enemy-colored fetchlands, which are the only fetches currently legal in Modern until Khans reprints the allies.


So, a staple reprint. There are ups and downs to such a thing, but fortunately I believe that in this case, the reprint is more beneficial than not.


The reprinted copies will be four times cheaper than those printed in Onslaught. Thank goodness, because $80.00 US for a [c]Polluted Delta[/c] (in paper) is quite steep. Even online, Deltas run at 25+ tickets, which is not an insignificant amount for most people. This lowering in price will open up new people to the eternal formats who before perhaps could not afford the crazy mana base that most tier 1-2 decks use. This coupled with the recent release of Vintage Masters with the dual reprints means that come September 26, there will hopefully be many new players jumping into the most expensive formats in the game.

Even though the Onslaught fetches are the ones being reprinted, their reprinting will cause the price of the Zendikar fetch lands such as [c]Scalding Tarn[/c] to drop. This may seem odd, but the answer is simple. If I am playing a [c]High Tide[/c] deck in Legacy, I need to use blue fetch lands for perfect brainstorms and deck thinning. Normally, I might use [c]Misty Rainforest[/c] and [c]Scalding Tarn[/c] because they are a little bit easier to get than the Onslaught blues [c]Polluted Delta[/c] and [c]Flooded Strand[/c]. However, the reprinting will make the Onslaughts more accessible (Delta’s Onslaught printing has already started to crash, even with Khans deltas on pre-order only), and this will mean that I no longer need to use Misties and Tarns for the job. In other scenarios, players might use fetchlands that are not perfectly on-color, i.e. using a [c]Bloodstained Mire[/c] to find a [c]Steam Vents[/c] in a {u}{r} Twin deck, all of which will reduce the demand for Zendikar fetches. Modern Jund decks have been known to play [c]Marsh Flats[/c] as a black fetch due to lack of [c]Bloodstained Mire[/c] and [c]Wooded Foothills[/c] as perfectly on-color lands.

In a nutshell, prices will drop and more people will want to play eternal formats as a result.


Unfortunately, I forsee an issue with the reprinting of these wonderful money cards. I am afraid that this will drive the price of other staples such as [c]Wasteland[/c], [c]Dark Confidant[/c], and even lowly [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] up. This is due to the simple fact that more players attracted to a format because of the accessibility of one type of staple will put more demand on the others. As great as it will be to have cheaper fetches, the new player base will be putting demand on those other cards that have not seen reprint in recent memory. But why [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]? Because Burn is a fairly budget deck that benefits from cheap fetch lands for deck thinning. This is the only real issue with the reprint.

NOTE: This section, while it falls under cons, is NOT technically a con. It is just me ranting at Wizards for the reason behind the reprint.

Let us be perfectly honest. Wizards of the Coast is NOT reprinting fetchlands to crash their prices and make other formats more accessible to new players. I will give one word as to the real reason for the reprint: Modern. That’s right, the lovely new format that was made to “replace” Legacy as a more budget option is the reason these cards are seeing print. Wizards wants to promote the Modern format and expand its player base by making it more like Legacy and making Modern decks and mana bases more powerful. More Modern Players = More Money for WOTC because they can make more from events like the World Champs, which are now Modern. I’m not the biggest fan of Modern, because Wizards killed Extended to “make room” for it, which was totally unnecessary and alienated a large portion of Magic fans.

Modern is not the best format. Arguably, there is no “best” format at all. It may be your favorite, but it’s not mine, and I do not agree with reprinting something in a Standard (and therefore Modern) legal set just to promote a format. I would not mind a dual-land reprint in a special set like Commander, which is not legal in Modern, but WOTC doesn’t really want to give us that carrot yet… Or at all.

Alright, enough ranting! I want to hear from you now. Please, leave comments and ideas about the reprint and its effects on other formats. I know very little about Standard at the moment, and would love to know what kind of impact these cards might have.

Thanks for reading, and hope to see you next week!


Unified Strike 2: Eternal Burn

Have you ever played 21? Also called Blackjack, it is a classic game using a standard deck of 52 playing cards. Face cards are worth ten points, aces are worth either one or eleven points, whichever serves you best, and other cards are valued at their printed number. The highest objective is to match exactly 21 points without going over.

Essentially, it’s nothing like the game of Magic.

Let’s forget about that for a second. I want to tell you guys that I think I have the best financial advice available to you on MTGO. This isn’t speculation. I’m not going to tell you cards that I think you should buy (most likely because I already bought them and would like the price to go up). I’m not going to tell you cards I think you should sell (most likely because I’d like to buy them and would like the price to go down). I haven’t stocked up on a nickel rare that has an occasionally-broken effect that I can record some videos of to make it spike. Instead, this is simple money and ticket management.

[Here’s an aside: Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to show disrespect to the speculation writers or brewers and their articles. I respect them; they make money doing what they do, and it’s a pretty clever way to do it. You have to understand while sorting through any non-fiction writing: writers have, whether internally or because of supply and demand, a pressure to be unique and present new ideas. Because of this, not all the ideas are good. This is true with Magic just like articles about fitness, dieting, politics, management, etc. You can drown in Budget Modern articles out there. My “new thing” here is to suggest a good deck to you.]

I’m going to start with dispelling some myths about Magic’s eternal formats.

1) There is no “entry-level” deck.

At least, there isn’t one in its traditionally used sense. People use this term to describe a deck that is competitive and cheap. Unfortunately, the decks are not made for “entry” into real competitive play. They cannot consistently cash in events. If a deck does consistently cash, then usually it costs a fair amount more than 100 tix.

2) One cannot metagame at entry-level.

This is a mistake that I feel like MTGO players are elbows-deep in right now. Formats have gone kaput, and formats are exploding. The elimination of some Daily Events and the printing of Vintage Masters has made two formats obsolete: Pauper and Classic. Vintage Masters has made price points available to many players of Legacy, and it has totally opened the door to Vintage. For some reason, people are taking a couple of looks at these formats (or Block, Standard, and Modern) and deciding what the format is weak to. It’s most likely not. The format may be new to you, but it is not new to deckbuilders and people who have been investing time and money for years. These options have been explored and are worth passing over.

3) One cannot hate at entry-level.

So you’ve brewed up a Vintage deck that works somewhat consistently, and you think you can jam 8 graveyard hate effects, 4 cards that hate blue, and 3 cards that hate artifacts, and you’re set, right? After all, that’s the format! Moxen are everywhere, shops are everywhere, and everyone else is either playing [c]Bazaar of Baghdad[/c] or [c]Jace the Mindsculptor[/c]. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work. First of all, your deck probably won’t work consistently with the amount of disruption that the established decks are playing, and secondly, your hate won’t do the trick.

4) On that note, hate isn’t enough.

You checked the results page and found that yesterday’s Modern event was lousy with Affinity, so you want to play Soul Sisters and load the sideboard with [c]Stony Silence[/c]. Fair enough. But what if you don’t draw your four-of in the very limited time that Affinity gives you before poisoning you out? What if you do draw it, but if you’re on the draw, they’ve already had access to three requisite mana to play and equip it? Meanwhile, because the hate has influenced your opening hand decisions, what if you don’t have access to any of your three aggressive strategies?

5) Pressure isn’t enough.

Ok, so what if you go the other direction? Forget hating what your opponent is doing; just hate the opponent. Many players have tried Goblins for this strategy. Jam a bunch of them into play and win with lords, [c]Shared Animosity[/c], whatever. Sadly, it isn’t new, and it isn’t consistent. Come on guys, you have to assume that every tribal strategy has been attempted; the decks are practically built for players by Wizards. If it were good, we would know. So the aggressive strategies include cards like [c]Path to Exile[/c], [c]Remand[/c], [c]Dismember[/c], and even Affinity is running [c]Thoughtseize[/c] from time to time.

6) Hate and pressure aren’t enough.

At least, they aren’t enough to have in your deck without a card advantage engine, whether it is [c]Thoughtcast[/c], [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c], or [c]Dark Confidant[/c]. Without these, you can draw just hate and no pressure or the other way around and be unable to interact with your opponent.

7) The Tournament Practice Room.

It is a misnomer. Don’t be excited about your results here. I wouldn’t even be too confident if I went undefeated for a few matches in 2-man queues. The Daily Events are a totally different environment from these places.

These are 7 mistakes, or at least misunderstandings, that I find either new players or players to new formats making all the time. Usually, there is one of two (possibly both) reasons: to save money or to attack the format from a new angle. Neither objective is met most of the time, or if it is, the deck is not consistently able to continue functioning at that level, and the player must take a loss switching over to a new list.

So what do we do then, with all of this in mind? Well, if we want to save money, we find the cheapest consistently placing list available in the format we want to play. For you all that want to play Legacy or Modern on a Budget, that list is Burn. If you can buy into something better across formats, I strongly recommend you to do so (Merfolk, for example, will be discussed in a future article).

Like Blackjack, playing Burn is not like playing Magic: The Gathering. Your opponents’ hate is often shut down (achieving a sort of card advantage), and your objective is totally different from creature-based aggro decks, mill, combo, or infect: play [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] seven times, which brings us back to 21. Burn’s rules are like those of another game.

Burn is the most consistent turn 4 deck in Modern. This hates all strategies that are a turn slower than it or any of equal speed that are on the draw. What’s more is it takes advantage of opponents who have a misstep in mana development, which is more common against Burn. Who will fetch a shockland when they know essentially that it is a free [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] for the opponent who specifically aims to play it seven times?

You may be asking yourself how this works in accordance with #6 above: decks need hate, pressure, and card advantage. Of course, we have pressure: the consistent turn 4 kill. What about the hate? Hate essentially shuts down a portion of your opponent’s deck. If your opponent is playing [c]Vapor Snag[/c], [c]Path to Exile[/c], [c]Doom Blade[/c], [c]Abrupt Decay[/c], etc. like many opponents are, then they could have up to 8 cards that you have hated out. So, again, a 52-card deck is another reference to our opening paragraph. The parallels seem endless.

Still, what about the card advantage? Many players have tried things such as [c]Wild Guess[/c], [c]Faithless Looting[/c], and even [c]Browbeat[/c] because they contain the magic words “draw” and “cards.” However, remember, Burn’s rules are not like other decks’ rules. What is a card worth to the Burn deck? The opponent’s life. Good burn cards spend one mana per three life or two or three mana for four life. One burn staple in Pauper and Legacy is [c]Flame Rift[/c], which reads:

{1}{R} – Deal 4 damage to all players.

This is worth one card.

It is important for me to articulate this so you can understand why Burn has suddenly become better: the reason is [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c]. Whereas [c]Flame Rift[/c] allows a colorless and is worth one card, Eidolon can easily be worth 2-3 cards in terms of the opponent’s life total, reading:

{R}{R} – Deal 2-10 damage to all players. If only 2 damage is dealt, the opponent discards a card.

Sure, your opponent’s removal is suddenly “on” when you play him, but they will be down a card and two life (which is worth a card). Eidolon provides card advantage even if “draw” is never printed on the card.

Because of [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c], Burn is now consistently placing 4-0 in Modern Daily Events and 3-1 in Legacy Events, whereas before it was a 3-1 Modern deck and a fringe Legacy deck. It is not too many printings away from being playable in Vintage, but I don’t encourage the attempt right now even if it may be close.

Knowing all this, we can invest in Modern and Legacy for under 100 tickets with a consistent winner. What if tickets aren’t our motivation, and we aren’t concerned with saving them? We just want to do something new and be published with a unique and innovative list. Is doing so mutually exclusive from ever having played a good deck? Can you not have fun winning, or at the very least, have fun winning with another list you were able to buy for free with your Burn winnings?

A number of budget Modern and Legacy decks have come from players that have more expensive Standard decks on their results page. Why is this? The good, consistent deck funded the brews. So here is my financial advice to you, and I genuinely think this is the best financial advice you can receive on MTGO: Start with the good deck, not with the brew. What good is it to buy into a budget Eggs deck with an amazing hateful sideboard if you spend $100 on the deck and its entry into tournaments and never get anything back? This advice is a little bit on the opposite side of a price spike, so I’m not telling you to buy these cards for a quick turnaround in tickets, but I’m trying to offer you wisdom in deck choices. Let the one good deck fund the dream decks. If you try to build some sort of [c]Ensoul Artifact[/c], [c]Ichorclaw Myr[/c] deck but it fails, no problem, you just lost some of your winnings.

Nevertheless, I will suggest (in my very humble and inexperienced speculator opinion) that very few packs of Journey into Nyx have been opened because of Vintage Masters drafts and the new client coinciding with the set’s release. I think Eidolon is a fine pickup even at a high price.

Without further ado, use these decks as a platform to fund your creativity:
[d title=”Modern Burn”]
20 Mountain

4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Goblin Guide
4 Hellspark Elemental

Other Spells
4 Flames of the Blood Hand
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Rift Bolt
4 Searing Blaze
4 Shard Volley
4 Skullcrack

2 Anger of the Gods
3 Combust
4 Molten Rain
2 Searing Blood
4 Smash to Smithereens[/d]

[d title=”Legacy Burn”]
20 Mountain

4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
4 Goblin Guide
2 Grim Lavamancer

Other Spells
4 Chain Lightning
4 Fireblast
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Price of Progress
4 Rift Bolt
3 Searing Blaze
3 Sulfuric Vortex

3 Ashen Rider
4 Faerie Macabre
3 Pyroblast
2 Satyr Firedancer
3 Smash to Smithereens[/d]

Now, I prefer Rakdos Burn in both of these formats, but we’re going to save that for another article. You actually save money in Legacy playing it, and in my opinion, [c]Tyrant’s Choice[/c] is better than [c]Price of Progress[/c] enough to make it worthwhile.

The Pauper list has made its way through a number of Premier Events and player-run events, and it is a good contender as well:

[d title=”Pauper Burn”]
4 Forgotten Cave
17 Mountain

4 Keldon Marauders
4 Spark Elemental

Other Spells
4 Chain Lightning
4 Fireblast
3 Flame Rift
4 Lava Spike
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Needle Drop
4 Rift Bolt
4 Searing Blaze

2 Flaring Pain
4 Lightning Strike
3 Molten Rain
3 Pyroblast
3 Smash to Smithereens[/d]

Give yourself a few matches with these, run them through some dailies (with about 30 tix as a bankroll), and I promise you won’t be disappointed. When you’re finished, you’ll have leftover tickets for all the budget brewing you can imagine, but let a good deck fund the dream.