Making a budget deck is hard.
I’m not going to lie to you about that.
There is a temptation to take a deck, look at the expensive cards in it and just try to find replacements for them, the next best cheap card , which leads to suboptimal builds and underpowered decks.
In my experience, I have often found that building a completely different deck that can draw on aspects of a known deck to attack the metagame in a new and unexpected way.
This is why today I have chosen to build around this creature:
There is already a fair parallel for this card:
This chap is already banned in Legacy, and for good reason. Goblins is already a consistent, explosive deck without being able to stack it when it wants to. But is there something we can do with this other vertically challenged tribe?
Following on from my introductory article, my editor and I decided that the best budget for me would be less than £100. That’s right, I have £99.99 with which to build a deck and sideboard
Goblin Charbelcher is not a new card when it comes to combo decks, but normally it is in a glass cannon shell built for speed. This is a deck designed to prey on a metagame with a lot of midrangey multicoloured decks with greedy manabases that are less about speed and more about the grind. Even without the Charbelcher out, a Dwarven Recruiter can ensure that for the rest of the game you’re drawing gas. We definitely want four of each of these.
Running Dwarven Recruiter means that we also want to run a lot of dwarves. Unfortunately, dwarves are not the strongest of tribes in Magicdom, though there are some tribal synergies available.
Dwarven Bloodboiler is one of the more aggressive creatures available to the tribe, with the ability to pump your other creatures at instant speed and giving the pseudo haste in the process. This combos really well with Duergar Mine-Captain to pump up a team of attackers fast as you can tap the Captain to the Bloodboiler and untap him again with his own ability as many times as you have the mana for it. With just these two creatures out and 4 mana available you can attack for 12 damage, and have one of them take out a sizeable blocker if needs be- it takes a 9 toughness creature to be able to survive that kind of hit. We’ll put four each of these guys in too.
We also want some ability to interact with our opponents rather than just pressuring their life total. Dwarven Miner and Dwarven Blastminer both do a similar thing in blowing up non-basic lands, with the Dwarven Blastminer being the slightly more flexible of the two as its able to come down as a Morph if needs be. I think eight of these is too many as multiple copies become very redundant very quickly, but a four/two split should be OK.
So far our deck seems a little 3-drop heavy. As a deck that’s looking to be a relatively aggressive deck we could use a few cheaper creatures to lower our curve and start getting in some early beats. Duergar Assailant does just this, as it can act both on offense and defence past the slew of X/1s running around the format. Aside from True-Name Nemesis of course, but that’s a different kettle of fish.
Dwarven Berserker and Dwarven Lieutenant can also help with this, as both are two drops that can help make blocking difficult for our opponent. The Lieutenant helps buff our smaller attackers whilst blocking the Berserker is very difficult as it can trade with the vast majority of early drops in the format and still splash a little damage over with the trample.
Dwarven Vigilantes helps out with the small creature control aspect too, creating “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” scenarios for your opponent to deal with.
Overall, this gives us 27 dwarves to play with with our Dwarven Recruiter, which should be more than enough to belch our opponent into oblivion.
For the manabase we’re going to want a lot of Mountains and some way of ramping a little to hit our 3-4 drops. A measure of defence against counterspells would also be a good plan, and as we’re largely a tribal deck Cavern of Souls becomes a very realistic possibility. Unfortunately, due to the cost of them (and one of the sideboard cards I want to include) we can only afford a pair of them. We can, however, afford a full 8 “sol lands”. Sort of. Sandstone Needle and Dwarven Ruins will do a job for us here.
So on to the afore-mentioned sideboard. The card I referred to earlier is Blood Moon, which can just wreck some decks if you cast it on turn 2. Unfortunately we can only afford two of these as well, though that does put us at nearly £60 for four cards. Four Duergar Hedge-Mage gives us some dwarf-based artifact removal, though it’s highly unlikely it’ll be hitting any enchantments
Pyrokinesis comes in against creature heavy decks, elves, goblins and the like. For graveyard heavy decks we have two Relic of Progenitus and a Tormod’s Crypt, slightly for budget reasons but also to play around Pithing Needle. I never like to have all my eggs in one basket.
It is possible that some number of the Duergar Hedge-Mage should be in the main deck. However, I’ve chosen to keep them in the sideboard for now as the three drop slot is a little crowded. Further playtesting could sway me otherwise, but for now that’s what I’m happy with.
After all that, here’s the decklist:
2 Blood Moon
4 Duergar Hedge-Mage
3 Red Elemental Blast
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Tormod’s Crypt
All of this can be yours for less than £100, at the time of writing it came to £97.43 in total, giving you plenty of wiggle room for your own customisation.
This series is designed to give a selection of decks that can “have game” against popular decks in the format. The aim for the event decks that Wizards of the Coast produce is that with a reasonably competent pilot that they’d be able to win about 25% of matches they play. This equates to a 3-1 performance at a small tournament, which I believe is certainly a possibility with this deck. Good luck if you decide to give it a whirl, let me know how you do in the comments, or even if you have any ideas on ways to take this deck further.
Thanks for reading,