One of the things you might hear or read a lot about is the price of Magic. It’s a big thing in the community. People will moan about how a card that does nothing cost over five pounds or a Standard playable uncommon costs a huge amount because it goes in a bunch of Legacy decks. There is a certain amount of Pokemon syndrome in this. “Gotta catch them all.” Lots of us were gamers first and collectors second, so not having playsets of cards is frustrating.
But let’s focus on the first part… We are gamers. We want to compete on a Friday night. We need the good cards to be able to get our hands on those prizes, right?
You may be interested in this article – mtgUK Standard Budget Deckbuilding Competition – Win £100! by Christopher Cooper
Well here is a list. It’s a Rabbleless red list. No Goblin Rabblemaster. That’s the money card in the Red Deck Wins, and every list that is playing red is running it… apart from this one. And, except for one change, this is a list of cards that was in the top four at the LA Grand Prix a few week ago.
Now with this list comes the caveat: Just because this deck did well at that particular event, and at a premier level, does not mean you can grab the list and then win your FNM. That is not how Magic works. You have to take into account your own meta and how well a Red Deck Wins might match up. Also there is the small factor of skill.
People who complain that RDW is an idiot-proof deck and that any fool can win with it don’t really understand this game. These are, in most cases, worse cards than your opponent will be playing and can quite easily be outclassed. But if your deck breaks the right way and you play to its strengths you can run some people over.
3x Frenzied Goblin – 75p
4x Foundry Street Denizen – 40p
4x Akroan Crusader – 40p
1x Arena Athlete – 20p
1x Coordinated Assault – 20p
4x Dragon Mantle – 40p
4x Firedrinker Satyr – £8
2x Lightning Strike – 20p
1x Hall of Triumph – 75p
4x Stoke the Flames – £16
4x Hammerhand – 40p
4x Hordeling Outburst – 40p
4x Monastery Swiftspear – £6
(prices shown are totals)
Total Price: nearly £35
Whoa! £35 quid for a RDW? Isn’t that a bit steep? Well yes and no.
Firedrinker Satyr and Hall of Triumph are the only rares and the latter is a one of. (Also it was a game day promo so there might be a few in a trade folder.) Stoke the Flames is a £4 pound card. It’s an uncommon that’s going for more than the rares in the list.
The thing is you drafted M15 and you bought a fat pack so you probably have at least two Stokes. The same for the Monastery Swiftspear. You traded for a few of those when you were going to build that Jeskai deck but then you realised that you didn’t have any Dig Through Time and the Pro Tour made them jump up in price before you bought any. The thing is, by the time you’ve finished typing your order into Manaleak’s Super search, it’s probably less than a tenner being spent and that’s including the £1 postage.
Total Price: £33
Hold up Pal! £33 for the sideboard? That’s only £2 less than the main deck. The thing about a sideboard is they have a very specific use: to deal with the meta. I don’t know your meta so I can’t recommend a sideboard. This one is the one that came with the GP Top 4 list, with the exception of a Rabblemaster. That is a great card but it is now at £15 so in this list a playset would add £60 pounds to the price, defeating the purpose of the exercise.
The Eidolons are another example of a card’s value being a lot higher because of its playability in other formats. They’re good in the board and they will do a lot of work but they are one of those things that might not end up being something you need in your meta. If everyone at your shop plays a base green shell you won’t want them, but if there are loads of aggro decks or the mirror then they’re brilliant. Another thing I won’t go too deeply into in this article is that they will most likely hold their price outside of Standard, which is nice to know when you’re handing over wads of cash.
Lets take it to FNM and see how I get on.
In this round I faced Oliver. He’s a competitive player. At the last GP he went to he was on twitch for his win and in match. He’s a better player than me and I’m not confident about my match up. If this was a higher REL I would expect him to be running a known list but as it’s just FNM he has been running some great brew recently. The last time I faced him he was playing some sort of constellation control plan which had a nasty habit of Doomwaking my little aggro black deck to death.
Game 1. He tells me he’s playing something that he just threw together because he didn’t have time to build his Riddle of Lightning idea. Great, I’m up against a pile, this is going to be a free win. He then mulligans down to 5. This just gets easier.
I was wrong, I hadn’t a clue what I was getting myself into. I deployed my Firedrinkers Satyr and Frenzied Goblin turn 1 and 2 as he went about playing out his tap lands. Green and White were his colours. Greedily I played out all my cards. No sweeper before turn 5 and by then this game would be over.
And it was… but not in my favour. He played out Sylvan Caryatid and then the Radiant Fountain to gain himself 2 life. This deck cannot cope with much in the way of life gain; 2 is probably the most I would want my opponent to get back. He then bestowed one of his creatures with a Hopeful Eidolon. I suddenly thought that I might have fallen asleep and woken up in the middle of round 1 of a draft but no, Oliver was on the lifegain train.
By the time I had gotten rid of the Eidolon I was hopelessly adrift from the win. I struggled on for a few more turns and then scooped. Searching through my sideboard for cards that might be good against this deck, I shed a tear for my recently departed Skullcrack. Nothing in the sideboard for this match up. So I just ran it back.
Game 2 we both kept 7. I drew the God hand and ran really well. He wasn’t able to get his life gain going.
Game 3 it all became clear. He played out the Ajani’s Pridemate and it was all downhill from there. I tried, I really did, but this was a terrible matchup for my deck.
I have the deck list for this but I think Oliver would do well to enter it into the Budget deck competition so I have not not added it.
This was the fourth time I had drawn an opening 7 and things were starting to feel familiar. One Mountain at least, one creature and a bunch of spells (preferably not Stoke the Flames) and I’m good to go. In this round I played Chris. He usually plays modern but Kahns is very exciting so here he was playing Standard.
I got down my one drop and on turn 2 he played a Pain Seer. If there is one thing this deck likes it’s my opponent doing themselves damage. However he kept it back on defense and then ummed and ahhed over his three drop. Eventually he played out a Herald of Torment. This was the complete opposite of round one. This matchup was all in my favour.
I had avoided 4 turns of Thoughtseize and had attacked through his creatures with frenzied goblins and hammerhand so that if he drew one now it would be a dead card. A Stoke the Flames took us into sideboarding.
I kept a hand that I felt was Thoughtseize-proof and then that didn’t happen anyway. I played out on drops, trying to avoid the fearsome duo of Bile Blight and Drown in Sorrow. When the removal did come it was in the form of Hero’s Downfall and Murderous Cut. I was happy to exchange my one CMC guys for three drop removal.
I reset and built my board again. Two turns later I was swinging for exasies.
In this round I was playing Olly. He is a fairly new player, six months or so. He got here by way of Warhammer. He traded aggressively for the cards he wanted for his Abzan deck so I knew what I was going to be facing.
Game 1 he went down to 6 and kept a hand he spent a long time thinking about. I thought that even a slightly dodgy keep favoured me. We traded a few early cards, then he missed a land drop and that was all she wrote. By then I knew this deck would punish anyone who stumbled. I overran the board with creatures and killed him in two turns.
I was up against Will in this round. He has been running various green devotion lists since Kahns Standard. It feel like I’ve played him every week since then and we’ve had some pretty cool games.
Turn one scry land for him was fairly usual and I proceeded to deploy my normal sequence of cards. Firedrinker Satyr into Frenzied Goblin. I was just starting to think that I had this game sewn up when Will played his own Frenzied Goblin. It caught me off guard and made me scratch my head as to what his list might be.
We traded Lightning Strike and creatures. He put an aura on one of his guys, Thunderous Might. It gave the game away as being a red devotion list. I hadn’t played against many and I wasn’t sure of what I should be playing around. By the time the dust had settled in game 1, I was victorious but I was struggling to think of what I might have in board that would help.
I decided on the Eidolon of the Great Revel.
Shuffle up and straight on with game 2. Will had obviously had the same thought as he played out a turn two Eidolon of his own, and for the rest of the game I was on the back foot. He finished me off with a Fanatic of Mogis.
Game 3 was a doozy. Lots of one for ones from each of us, it came down to a turn of draw go from me. He swung in with three of his guys, I blocked and pumped my swift spear with Coordinated Assault. The first strike kept the plucky monk alive and on my go I was able to play a Firedrinker Satyr and then Hammerhand it along with another combat trick to make my Swiftspear big enough for the kill.
I must say I do like it when people change up their decks. Week in week out you play the same thing and then a little shift and it catches everyone out. I was lucky to get this win.
I got drawn against my nemesis: my son. I have spoken about him in the column before but he’s the real deal. A genuinely intuitive player. Only few weeks ago he won a GPT to gain 2 byes for the Stockholm GP.
I didn’t know his list, which is unusual because we normally playtest together during the week but just before this week’s FNM he got ahold of a few cards that he had been wanting for this deck and had decided to run it untested. He was at 2-1-1 but he said he was happy with his deck.
In game 1 I smashed him up. I was swinging with a million little guys on turn 4 and he was stuck on mana. At this stage he was Black Green and possibly another colour.
Game 2 was a different story. He had his mana all set by turn 2 with his plain lands. Not one of my creatures stuck around. He got an Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver going and then beat me around the head with the guys he had stolen.
Game 3 was a re run of game 1.
This deck I trialled cost less than £35 and was good enough to get me second place at FNM. I dipped into my expensive sideboard cards once and the rest of the time I wished I had more Act of Treason type effects to use. Jeering Instigator crossed my mind.
Have a look in your folders. You might have one or two of the rares you need for this deck and you will have nearly all the other cards. Build this list or improve it. Maybe you already have. Let me know how you did in the comments, but don’t put your list in there. Send your list in for the competition.
Full information on the Standard Deck Competition can be found here – mtgUK Standard Budget Deckbuilding Competition – Win £100! by Christopher Cooper