Playing Legacy on a Budget – Conjuring Currency, by Christopher Cooper
I’m not going to go into the comparisons here, as that’s been done many times before by people far better at it than myself. Instead, I’ll look at ways of budgetising your favourite decks and making them an achievable reality.
Getting Into Legacy
For those of you who haven’t read it, Drew Levin’s series on getting into Legacy on the SCG premium side is a must-read. The articles are now free to read and talk about the different approaches you can take to getting into legacy. I’ll be taking a different approach to Drew though, as I look at how we can replace cards with functionally similar ones to achieve similar goals.
One of the things I always say to people when they’re looking to budgetise existing decks is to look at the price and the function. Why are you buying that card now? Is it just a stopgap so that you can play with the deck until you can afford the more expensive card, or is it going to be a more long-term fixture in your deck?
In some decks you might want to run Wasteland as a 4-of. In these decks you’re using it as a way to cut your opponent off mana. In others you might only run one or two copies, to hit specific lands.
In the first case, running a Ghost Quarter instead of a Wasteland would be counterproductive — it does little to cut your opponent off lands unless they are running few to no basics. Unless you’re running a Crucible of Worlds/Life from the Loam package somewhere in there, you’re not going to grind them out completely.
The decks where Wasteland‘s a one- or two-of, however, can use Ghost Quarter to deal with specific problem cards, like Dark Depths, Maze of Ith or Mutavaults. However, in Death and Taxes for example, it might be worth including extra Ghost Quarters over the Wastelands or Rishadan Ports that you’re missing. In these decks, you have other ways of gaining the advantage back, namely through some number of Leonin Arbiters and Aven Mindcensors.
Prioritising your Budget
If the card you’re choosing is just there as a stopgap though, what you really don’t want to be doing is blowing your budget on stopgaps and having nothing left to save up for the expensive cards. If the cheaper alternative costs 50-75% of the card you want, why not just save the money and get the more expensive ones quicker? For this reason, the budget “replacement cards” I recommend tend to be on the very low end of the scale, allowing you to pick up better cards as you save more and more.
A good example of this is the Mirage fetchlands, Bad River et al. Admittedly these are pretty pants when you compare them to the Onslaught and Zendikar fetch lands, such as Polluted Delta. But, in a slower deck like Miracles where having the odd land enter the battlefield tapped is not a huge issue, they can fill a role. Especially when part of the reason you want them to be fetches is for post- Brainstorm, Jace, the Mind Sculptor zeroes or Sensei’s Divining Top activations to shuffle away cards.
They will fill a role in much the same way Hallowed Fountain would for Tundra. Am I saying that I will start running Hallowed Fountain and Flood Plains in my tier 1 competitive Miracles deck? No. But would I be ashamed to run them to get the deck off the ground and start playing in some tournaments? Definitely not.
So over the next few months I’m going to be looking at some Legacy builds and trying to come up with a budget brew that can expect do to fairly well at a 20-man tournament. Similar, if you will, to the intent of the event decks in Standard and Modern.
I’d love to hear how much do you guys think I should be spending on a deck per month — let me know in the comments and I’ll see what I can come up with.
- £65- it’s the price of the Modern event deck. If you can do it for Modern, surely you can do it for Legacy too?
- £100- a nice round figure that gives us a little more room to work with and include more powerful staples.
- £130- Twice the price of the Modern deck. Seeing as the Modern event deck is about three times the price of the Standard one, surely we can stretch to this?
- £200-250- stretching the definition of budget, but actually just the cost of most reasonable standard decks at the moment. I could definitely cook up something spicy with this budget.
Thanks for reading, and let me know your thoughts.