This is my second entry for this competition, and one that costs £8 less than my other submission. It’s completely different, an aggressive deck with a combo element.
I’d say it’s a lot more exciting and it also does some very silly things with cards from both ends of the Modern card pool. When the Ordeal cycle was released in Theros, I wondered why the paragraphs of text had been separated from one another. Specifically, why is the sacrifice trigger on a different line to the +1/+1 counter trigger?
Wording the cards like this means that if you sacrifice the Ordeals through means other than attacking, you still get the bonuses. Naturally I set about to building a deck that could built up a recurring sac outlet for Auras or enchantments.
I wanted to do this on a budget: I never imagined that the deck would be at all competitive – it was more of an exciting challenge to myself.
Then I discovered this little guy…
This is Auratog, originally printed in Tempest but reprinted as one of the timeshifted cards in Time Spiral. Not only can he sac enchantments at instant speed, but he buffs himself in doing so. Swinging in with an Ordeal gives him a counter before he sacs it to buff himself further.
From the moment I set eyes on Auratog, the deck was locked into white. Tarmogoyfs were once again put on my Modern waiting list.
I wanted to put other cards I could abuse with Auratog into the deck and did some searching on Gatherer. These would determine which other colours the deck would play.
The only minor drawback at the moment was that Ordeal of Heliod was fairly unexciting by itself. Gaining ten life is all well and good and might benefit us in some aggressive match ups, as well as forcing Storm to do a lot more damage to us, but it’s hardly format breaking.
The blue, green and black Ordeals all appeal to me a lot more than Heliod’s. I love drawing cards, I love ramping and I love it when my opponent has to discard their hand.
The red ordeal isn’t bad either, but didn’t appeal to me as much as the other three. Not wanting to play a four colour budget deck in Modern I knew I’d have to cut at least one of them.
The cards that cemented my next colour were the following: Reality Acid and Hatching Plans. The former is a 3CMC spell that kills anything without Hexproof – you can even take out indestructible permanents as it forces your opponent to sacrifice that permanent.
With Auratog out, you can enchant a permanent and then sac the Acid immediately, giving your Auratog a buff for that turn while taking out literally any type of permanent. Auratog 1-0 Nicol Bolas.
Along with these two spells I get to play Ordeal of Thassa. Even more card draw for two mana. With this level of investment I can be happy just drawing cards all day long. Winning doesn’t matter. Having a grip-full of cards is one of the best feelings in the game.
There were a few more pieces of the puzzle. I was already in blue and white, and playing a deck that revolved around Auras, sending lots Auras to the graveyard in the process. I was also in need of a finisher. Enter Bruna, Light of Alabaster!
I’ve spent most of the game durdling around sacrificing Auras: now I can get them all back and do it again. Brilliant.
When Bruna attacks, you might not put any counters on her, but you can certainly expect to get 4-5 Ordeals back, saccing them all immediately to gain 20 life and draw 6 cards or something utterly busted like that. As well as giving your little Auratog +10/+10 in addition to whatever counters he’s accumulated over the course of the game!
Bruna’s vigilant, so your opponent might think twice about attacking into her – her trigger works when you block as well.
Playing a six drop cemented my next colour choice. I’d need the ramp that Ordeal of Nylea gave me. Searching out lands to get Bruna into play early makes sense here and lends itself to a budget deck, as the reward for passing Nylea’s challenge is two basic lands. No need to engage in any underworld activities to fund the purchase of fetches and shocks here.
I was nearly there. The issues I had with the deck were that it could start fairly slowly and be blown out by Wrath effects. Ideally I wanted a one drop that would take an Ordeal well on turn two.
I believe that the only creature in the game that can crack an Ordeal on the second turn of the game through attacking is Clockwork Beetle, which comes into play with 2 +1/+1 counters on it. It usually has the drawback of one falling off at the end of combat, but with an Ordeal you negate that.
You also hit the crucial 3 +1/+1 counters needed to naturally trigger the sacrifice effect on the Ordeals. With this little bug, you can quite realistically be ramping to five lands by turn three, gaining enough life to be safe from Storm or Affinity’s best starts, or drawing more cards to give yourself a range of options the following turn.
I wanted another way to increase my ability to push damage through, so I’ve added one Rancor. With Auratog, you can sacrifice it plenty of times to get +2/+2 attack buffs, before reattaching it and swinging in for a lot of damage plus Trample. Read more about why I’ve only included one later on.
Finally I added an Open the Vaults. Returning your Beetles and all your Ordeals, Reality Acids and Hatching Plans back seems fine for six mana, if not as exciting as some of the uses Open the Vaults has in Eggs decks.
Don’t be fooled by the vast array of crud in this deck. Together they can power out ludicrously quick starts, dropping Bruna on turn four and returning a lot of gas to her as soon as she gets involved in combat. Even Auratog can be aggressive enough to put games to bed as it grows throughout the game and becomes a white Tarmogoyf.
Finally I had to come up with a manabase. The cards so far had cost me next to nothing in Modern terms (£21!), so it was entirely possible I could splash out a little on the lands. I needed enough basic lands to search for after a few Ordeal of Nylea activations – you’d be surprised at how quickly you can run out, particularly after you’ve recurred one with Bruna! – so I estimated I had 9-12 slots for nonbasic lands.
In my build I’ve gone with sets of shock lands but checklands are a cheap and cheerful alternative here, especially when you’re tutoring for the appropriate basic lands to ensure they enter untapped.
Spreading Seas is a card that was popularised once again at Pro Tour Valencia. If you need to mess around with your opponent’s manabase it comes in and has the benefit of replacing itself with card draw. It’s also an Enchantment you can sacrifice if necessary.
Crystallization should be reasonably easy to cast and removes an opposing creature from combat and potentially from the game. Oblivion Ring is here as a cheap white exile effect that can also be sacrificed to push a few final points of damage through.
Budget Modern Auratog
Here’s my deck list:
Other Spells 1
1 Open the Vaults £0.99
Total cost: £59.70
Going forward with the deck
If you’re looking to improve this list I’d highly recommend investing in fetch lands. They allow you to grab the lands you need from the deck, as a three colour deck in modern is always going to struggle to keep up with decks using fetches – I’d also probably change the checklands to shocks.
You probably also want more Rancors. It’s not a playset in my list because I wanted to present something that uses a particular interaction, so that people can go away and adapt the list as they see fit. Depending on your meta I might cut the ">Ordeals of Heliod for more Rancors.
Auratog, along with a load of green mana, can continuously sacrifice a Rancor for massive attack bonuses plus Trample when it eventually gets around to attacking.
If there’s a lot of Storm, Affinity, Burn or even Scapeshift in your meta, Heliod’s Ordeal will make the game a lot harder, but if you need to reduce your opponent’s life total quite quickly, Rancor is probably the better card. You could also shave a Gatherer of Graces for another one.
What do you think? Have I missed anything out? If you are looking for a cool themed-deck idea then please do put it together, give it a whirl and let me know what you think.
Till next time, thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing,