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By: Gumby, Travis George
Mar 22 2008 1:59am
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After a bit of reflection on my various deck builds, I've noticed a trend. Most (All?) of my decks were built with the general idea that I was not going to spend more than a few dollars to make the deck. Admitably, there have been times where I splurged and spent fifty dollars on cards, but even then, it was for stuff I really needed or would have an impact on as many decks as I could (like buying better multicolored lands than the Ravnica block commons). I tend to play the tribal format more than anything else, so my article will stick to that format. I'd really like to see some fresh faces in the format, rather than just the members of my clan and the half dozen or so other people that play it regularly, so I thought I'd share some of my budget classic tribal deck building experience. My goal will be to keep the deck budgets as close to five or six dollars as I can, while still being fairly competitive.

Deck 1: Lovisa and Sosuke's Love Children

Tribe: Warriors
Cost to Build: $5.88
Cards: 60

This is one of my favorite decks.  It was a warrior deck before warrior decks became more mainstream.  It still wins more often than it loses, despite that I originally designed it just after Coldsnap was released.  The general strategy is fetch mana, and try to stall until you have Lovisa Coldeyes in play, and a Rally the Horde in hand.  Typically, your opponent will have no idea what just hit them because you just created a whole bunch of 3/3 warrior tokens with haste.  With decent amounts of landfetch, I typically get between 7-12 warrior tokens when I play Rally the Horde.  I will confess that the card is risky, because it does have a pretty big random factor in it and you might not get any tokens at all or some ridiculously small number of them.  This deck will never win you any tournaments, but it is a lot of fun to play, especially if you suddenly get 35 warrior tokens to smash your oppponent with.  Here is the decklist! 
Lovisa Coldeyes


Thugs on a Mission
  Thugs:   Seriously Good Mojo:
$0.02 4x Civic Wayfinder $0.02 4x Naturalize
$0.02 3x Matsu-Tribe Sniper $0.02 4x Rampant Growth
$0.76 3x Lovisa Coldeyes $0.19 3x Kodama's Reach
$0.04 3x Godo's Irregulars $0.29 3x Rally the Horde
$0.02 3x Goblin Sky Raider $0.05 2x Time of Need
$0.02 2x Viashino Fangtail $0.02 1x Barbed Lightning
$0.04 2x Sosuke, Son of Seshiro    
$0.04 2x Goblin Balloon Brigade   Staging Areas:
$0.48 1x Hunted Troll FREE 8x Forest
    FREE 4x Mountain
    $0.03 4x Gruul Turf
    $0.19 4x Shivan Oasis


Deck Two: "You wouldn't like them either if you'd been holding your bear and suddenly it too many legs..." -- Ronald Weasley, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

 Tribe: Spiders
Cost to Buid: $5.40
Cards: 60

This is another one that will never win a tournament, but definitely a blast to play.  At first look, spiders don't have any spectacular powers (Can block flying critters... whoopie...), but under closer examination, almost all of them have a higher toughness than cost ratio.  In otherwords, bring on the mass damage!  Throw in Form of the Dragon and your spiders will rip apart anything that can attack you.  This deck doesn't exactly have a complicated win condition, but sometimes simpler is better.

Form of the Dragon

How do you spell Arachnophobia?
Too Many Legs: Spidey Senses:
$0.02 4x Aquastrand Spider $0.18 3x Form of the Dragon
$0.02 4x Canopy Spider $0.03 3x Fertile Ground
$0.02 4x Needlepeak Spider $0.48 1x Pariah's Shield
$0.02 4x Penumbra Spider
$0.04 2x Steam Spitter Webs
$0.14 2x Silklash Spider FREE 7x Forest
$0.03 4x Gruul Turf
Call for an exterminator? $0.19 4x Shivan Oasis
$0.19 4x Pyroclasm $0.38 3x Swarmyard
$0.11 3x Pyrohemia $0.14 3x Terramorphic Expanse
$0.04 2x Slice and Dice FREE 3x Mountain

Deck Three: Caustic Squirrels

Tribe: Druids
Cost to Build: $5.44
Cards: 60

This deck is a little harder to win with than either of the previous two that I've posted, but if you've read this far, you're probably looking to switch gears from brute force decks to one that uses a bit more finess.  Here, I have a deck that has ONE creature with more than one toughness.  Most druid decks are pretty heavy on enchantments because they get bonuses of some sort for enchantments.  While this deck does rely on enchantments to win, it is actually because they read "Enchant Land" and I'm focusing on a more overlooked power of druids "Untap target land."  This deck is more or less self explanitory: Get some "Squirrel Tar" onto a land, tap the land for the enchanted power, untap the land with a druid, tap the land again, repeat until your opponent is at desired health level.
Caustic Tar

Caustic Squirrels
  Dirty Druids   Squirrel Tar:
 $0.02 4x Elves of Deep Shadow  $0.44 4x Squirrel Nest
 $0.05 4x Llanowar Elves  $0.04 4x Caustic Tar
 $0.03 4x Quagmire Druid    
 $0.04 4x Ley Druid   Polluted Woods
 $0.02 4x Stone-Seeder Hierophant  FREE 8x Forest
     FREE 4x Swamp
  Gonna eat that?  $0.14 4x Terramorphic Expanse
 $0.19 4x Putrefy  $0.31 4x Tainted Wood
 $0.03 4x Last Gasp  $0.05 4x Golgari Rot Farm

Deck Four: You didn't really need that...

Tribe: Insects
Cost to Build: $6.76
Cards: 60

While I don't normally build decks with this much control, I confess that this is another of my favorite decks to play.  It has variety in its burns, and lots of them.  In addition, it rolls a couple of good combos like Army Ants+Dakmor Salvage and Nantuko Husk+Brood of Cockroaches.  There's enough control here that you don't have much to worry about from your opponent that you cannot deal with. I did later come back and add 'money' to this deck, and added Sensei's Divining Top and Grand Coliseum which really improved the way the deck worked, but that doesn't fall within the budget constraints I listed at the begining of this article.

Army Ants

Where did I put the spider deck?
  Bugs:   Infested places:
 $0.02 4x Nantuko Husk  $0.38 4x Swarmyard
 $0.02 4x Nantuko Vigilante  $0.05 4x Dakmor Salvage
 $0.05 4x Brood of Cockroaches  $0.14 4x Terramorphic Expanse
 $0.45 4x Bane of the Living  FREE 4x Swamp
 $0.14 4x Army Ants  FREE  2x Mountain
     FREE 2x Forest
  Look what they got into!  $0.05 2x Golgari Rot Farm
 $0.19  3x Putrefy  $0.03 1x Gruul Turf
 $0.03  3x Rend Flesh  $0.03 1x Rakdos Carnarium
 $0.03  3x Last Gasp    
 $0.19  3x Sylvan Scrying     
 $0.02  2x Death Denied    
 $0.02  2x Dark Banishing    

I hope by now, some of you that were not already interested in  playing the format are considering it and that my ramblings have somehow moved you.  It can be a lot  of fun to try building a deck within the constraints of the tribal format, not to mention most of the regular tribal players know each other and are a bit less likely to be rude and or concede during a game.  In any case, I'd like to thank everyone who actually read this far and wish you all luck in future games.




by urzishra (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 03/22/2008 - 03:32
urzishra (Unregistered)'s picture

great article.. love the decklists.. i may try a few of them out and build my own.. i'm glad you didn't go with the "obvious" tribes (like Elves, Humans, Gobs)

by Outlaw1 at Sat, 03/22/2008 - 17:35
Outlaw1's picture

I liked the article and I liked the different take on tribal. I deffinatly want to try the insect and druid decks. My one suggestion is replacing the quagmire druid with krosan restorer. It's .01 cheaper, fits the tribe, untaps a land, and later becomes more efficient at untapping land.

Cheap fun? I'm in! by Charlesmaximus (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sun, 03/23/2008 - 23:25
Charlesmaximus (Unregistered)'s picture

thanks for the decklists will definitely build one of 'em.  good job

really nice build by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Sat, 03/22/2008 - 20:52
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

Nice article.  Love the inventiveness and the fun.  I can see how these would be a joy to play.