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By: Orlanth, Risto Salama
Jul 26 2008 8:47pm
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5 decks for 9 tix


If you are a new player, or just like budget decks in general, then this article is meant for you. Compared to paper magic MtGO prices are generally rather low, and it is entirely possible to build solid decks for casual for measly price as this article is going to show.

In case you have just recently joined MtGO (and still have that 9.99$ coupon) , ideal purchase would be to buy two tickets from MtGO Store and two 10th edition booster packs or whichever booster packs that you can sell for 5 at that moment in MtGO, making net result of 12 tickets. But in case you rather not bother with selling, best bet is to just buy 10 tickets with that coupon (well, you pay one cent extra) and go buying cards.

For the first deck, we are going to add a very expensive card, but only manawise. Plague Wind. Since it has such a game changing effect, and its' casting cost is so high, there’s really no need to have more than two or three of them in your deck. Here’s the points you should consider when building with or around such an expensive card, this card in particular:

  • Mana acceleration, and in this case preferably kind of acceleration that stays. Land fetch, or artifact mana are both solid.
  • To have a maximum use of this card, you should play many creatures yourself.
  • Have some solid defence, preferably in the form of creatures.
  • Some card drawing would be nice.
  • This isn’t a combo card, so finding and casting it is not a must.

As for the deck built for Plague Wind, I decided to go green-black, because that color combination would be more viable option; cheaper than monoblack or other color combinations. But it is mainly due to excellent acceleration of green.

Since I went to black-green I mainly looked in Ravnica, as it has that particular color combination well represented. For early defense I chose Carven Caryatid, which is an excellent defender that replaces itself in the form of card-draw. Quite suitable descendant for famed Wall of Blossoms. Stinkweed Imps will make your opponent think twice before committing an attack. Don’t fear to dredge them back if you must. For removal, I put in Putrefy’s because that is an excellent removal right there, and it will be useful in many decks of future. Rend Flesh, also will help remove any non-indestructible, non protection-from-black and non-spirit creature at instant speed. Since it can target non-black creatures, it is a solid choice over cards like Dark Banishing. Indrik Stomphowler, is basically Naturalize with solid threatening body. I also put in Sisters of Stone Death for those with huge Timmy appeal to cards, and if you can keep it in the board (preferably without Pacifism) they can dominate. I wanted to use creatures for landfetch and in went Farhaven Elves and Civic Wayfinders. Ironically, to help accelerate for these, I used Llanowar Elves. Which can help you cast these creatures often in second turn. Also it is a very useful mana-acceleration that will help you in your future decks. For the land I chose 4 Golgari Rot Farm and 4 Tranquil Thicket as well as 9 Forest and 7 Swamp.

Do note that this deck has to run more lands that provide green mana than black, as many of your acceleration lies in green. In addition you have 8 green cards that can fetch you a swamp, which also helps to reduce the number of swamps. Bouncelands like Rotfarm work in good harmony with cycling lands aka Thickets. You can bounce with Rotfarm a thicket you played earlier and use it to draw a card when you’re out of gas.


  • 2 x Plague Wind(8th ed): 0.48
  • 4 x Carven Caryatid (Ravnica): 0.32
  • 4 x Putrefy (Ravnica): 0.76
  • 2 x Sisters of Stone Death (Ravnica): 0.28
  • 4 x Indrik Stomphowler (Dissension): 0.20
  • 4 x Llanowar Elves (9th or 7th edition): 0.32
  • 4 x Farhaven Elf (Shadowmoor): 0.20
  • 4 x Civic Wayfinder (Ravnica): 0.08
  • 4 x Rend Flesh (Champions of Kamigawa): 0.12
  • 4 x Stinkweed Imp (Ravnica): 0.20
  • 4 x Golgari Rot Farm (Ravnica): 0.20
  • 9 x Forest: Free!
  • 4 x Tranquil Thicket Onslaught: 0.12
  • 7 x Swamp: Free!

Total cost of the deck: 2.80 tix

Adding money to the deck

Sakura-Tribe Elder and Kodama’s Reach are some of the stable land-fetch cards that you will probably see often. Birds of Paradise is a fine manafixer that could replace Llanowar Elves in this deck. As an alternative legendary finisher you could consider Visara the Dreadful. Dual lands, like Overgrown Tomb, aren’t necessarily (you are playing green after all), but they can make your mana smoother.

 For our next deck, we’ll use many of the green cards we used in the above build. But this time, we are going to marry green with it’s another enemy color: blue.

Does your opponent have all the fish? Is he beating you with big cool monsters? Is he playing cards you, my budget-loving friend, couldn’t afford? Does he have some nasty enchantment, artifacts, lands that ruin your day? Do not worry! For measly four cents, yes four, you can take what was his and shove it down his sorry throat with rest of his evening meal. Order your Confiscate today, and get whatever your opponent is playing into your side of the field. Why remove, when you can simply take?    -Mandatory advertising speech.

So yes, we are going to build a thieving deck, with 4 Confiscate, 4 Dream Leash and, just for the sake of the theme’s name: 4 Thieving Magpies. Magpies are a tremendous card advantage machines when unopposed. We are going to use the same land/mana acceleration elements that we used in the previous build. Also Carven Caryatids can stay with this build. For additional card draw we use Compulsive Research that can dish your excess lands. For additional artifact/enchantment removal we are going to use Trygon Predator, since using Stomphowler from previous build might force you to destroy your own enchantment. And for a finisher (in case that stingy opponent didn’t provide us one) we are going to use Cerulean Sphinx, which can shuffle back to your library when facing imminent danger. 


  • 2 x Cerulean Sphinx (Ravnica): 0.24
  • 2 x Trygan Predator (Dissension): 0.28
  • 4 x Compulsive Research (Ravnica): 0.12
  • 4 x Confiscate (9th ed): 0.16
  • 4 x Dream Leash (Ravnica): 0.76
  • 4 x Thieving Magpie (9th ed): 0.16
  • 4 x Carven Caryatid (Ravnica): Previous build.
  • 4 x Llanowar Elves (9th or 7th edition): Previous build.
  • 4 x Farhaven Elf (Shadowmoor): Previous build
  • 4 x Civic Wayfinder (Ravnica): Previous build
  • 4 x Simic Growth Chamber: 0.32
  • 8 x Forest: Free!
  • 4 x Tranquil Thicket: Previous build
  • 8 x Island: Free!

Total cost of the deck: 2.04 tix

Total cost so far: 2.80 + 2.04 = 4.84

Adding money to the deck

Sakura-Tribe Elder and Kodama’s Reach apply here as well. Simic Sky Swallower would be propably the best finisher for this deck.

For the next build we are still going to stay with our good pal green, but now we add red to the mix. This time we are going to build a deck around a card: Warp World.

To maximize the Warp World, we shouldn’t play any other instant or sorceries in our deck. Also, we should play permanents that have useful comes- or leaves- play abilities. Again we are going to use many of the green cards, from the previous build. We however add Krosan Tusker that can be used as card draw + land fetch or just as a finisher. We are going to add Mogg War Marshal to the deck, which provides us excellent chump-blockers. Galvanic Arc is also an ideal enchantment for this deck, as it can provide us a mean to kill opponent immediately after casting Warp World. Obviously, it is useful as simple removal as well. I also added Anarchist to the mix as they can fetch you Warp World back from the graveyard in case it got countered or you want to cast it again.


  • 3 x Warp World (Ravnica or 10th ed): 0.42
  • 1 x Anarchist (Odussey): 0.02
  • 4 x Krosan Tusker: 0.12
  • 4 x Carven Caryatid (Ravnica): Previous build.
  • 4 x Indrik Stomphowler (Dissension): Previous build
  • 4 x Llanowar Elves (9th or 7th edition): Previous build
  • 4 x Farhaven Elf (Shadowmoor): Previous build
  • 4 x Civic Wayfinder (Ravnica): Previous build
  • 4 x Mogg War Marshal Time Spiral: 0.32
  • 4 x Galvanic Arc (Ravnica): 0.08
  • 4 x Gruul Turf (Guildpact): 0.12
  • 9 x Forest: Free!
  • 4 x Tranquil Thicket: Previous build
  • 7 x Mountain: Free!

Total cost of the deck: 1.08 tix

Total cost so far: 2.80 + 2.04 + 1.08 = 5.92

Adding money to the deck

Birds of Paradise can replace Llanowar Elves here, however Elder and Reach won’t be as good here. Eternal Witness would be good in this deck as well, and would replace Anarchist.

For the next build we are going to build a pretty classic deck: White Weenie. However, we are going to build the deck with a little twist: Vigilance. Why? Because we can, and we like to include Vulshok Gauntlets.

For additional equipment I chose the always so cheap Bonesplitter, Empyrial Plate and couple Leonin Bola, which you can use to tap opponent’s creatures when you are attacking with your Vigilance monsters. Remember to keep your excess lands in hand because of Empyrial Plate and do not over commit playing creatures, just play enough creatures that you can threaten and damage opponent. This is a good practise also because Wrath of God or other mass removal can end your little crusade once and for all if you don’t have some creatures in reserve. As for creatures Razor Golem has vigilance, nice body, and with only plains as lands, costs three to enter the battlefield. Leonin Den-Guard has vigilance when she’s equipped, so in she goes. Ronom Unicorn is here to remove enchantments. Skyhunter Prowler and Courier Hawk have vigilance and are fliers. Auriok Glaivemaster is in here because it is one-drop and works nicely with equipments.


  • 3 x Empyrial Plate (Mirrodin): 0.87
  • 4 x Courier Hawk (Ravnica): 0.08
  • 4 x Skyhunter Prowler (Fifth Dawn): 0.08
  • 4 x Ronom Unicorn (Coldsnap): 0.08
  • 4 x Leonin Den-Guard (Mirrodin): 0.08
  • 4 x Auriok Glaivemaster (Darksteel): 0.08
  • 4 x Razor Golem (Darksteel): 0.08
  • 2 x Leonin Bola (Darksteel): 0.04
  • 4 x Vulshok Gauntlets (Mirrodin): 0.08
  • 4 x Bonesplitter (Mirrodin): 0.12
  • 23 x Plains: Free!

Total cost of the deck: 1.55 tix

Total cost so far: 2.80 + 2.04 + 1.08 + 1.55 = 7.47

Adding money to the deck

Sword of Fire and Ice, Sword of Life and Death and Jitte would all be nice equipments for this deck. Auriok Steelshaper would boost your soldiers (and knights if you add them) and makes equipping much more profitable. Leonin Shikari would be good pair with Lightning Greaves in this deck, making your creatures virtually immune to targeted removal.

For the last build, I chose to do black-blue control deck as a theme. I used many of the control elements of the previous builds but added some counterspells (Mana Leak, Cancel) to protect yourself or your permanents, some cheap removal (Last Gasp) and bounce Echoing Truth.

This is pretty straight-forward deck, and ideally you want to play spells during your opponent's turn. Like most control decks early game is all about surviving, middle game is fortifying your position, and late game is finishing your opponent.

Do note that incase you have counter in hand, it may pay to play Thieving Magpie with 2-3 lands left untapped in order to protect it.


  • 2 x Cerulean Sphinx (Ravnica): Previous build
  • 4 x Compulsive Research (Ravnica): Previous build
  • 4 x Confiscate (9th ed): Previous build
  • 4 x Rend Flesh (Champions of Kamigawa): Previous build
  • 4 x Last Gasp (Ravnica): 0.12
  • 4 x Thieving Magpie (9th ed): Previous build
  • 4 x Mana Leak (9th ed): 0.36
  • 4 x Cancel Time Spiral: 0.20
  • 2 x Echoing Truth (Darksteel): 0.16
  • 4 x Dimir Signet: 0.12
  • 4 x Dimir Aqueduct: 0.20
  • 4 x Lonely Sandbar: 0.20
  • 9 x Island: Free!
  • 7 x Swamp: Free!

Total cost of the deck: 1.36 tix

Total cost of all decks: 8.83 tickets!

Adding money to the deck

Counterspell replaces Cancel. Thirst for Knowledge (with couple artifact lands like Seat of Synod) replace Compulsive research for some instant drawing goodness. Meloku the Clouded Mirror could be used as a finisher, and he has natural synergy with cycling lands (not so much with bounce lands though).

As for a bonus here are some cards you should try to get if you plan to make different budget decks.

Since green has so many tools to get lands or fix mana, dual lands which provide green (like Golgari Rotfarm) are lesser priority than other dual lands (say Boros Garrison).

That was it. I hope this article has been a useful and maybe even an eye-opening experience.

Best Regards,

Risto Salama