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Best Standard Magic Decks: Week of 11/14/16

Many players acquire big expensive cards either over time or through trades. Often times a competitive Standard format deck can run hundreds of dollars. Not everyone can afford that because they play casually with their friends and have higher priorities than a collectible card game. I wanted to showcase a handful of budget friendly decks that look pretty solid and could really stand up against some of the top decks.

Golgari Aggro

This black and green deck, also known as Golgari, is very budget friendly and has a high degree of potential in standing up to some of the top competitive decks. I found this at Strictly Better MtG on Youtube. He says that it costs just $8 and without the sideboard, it's just a hair over $9. With the sideboard, however, it's closer to $15 courtesy of the MtG Goldfish Deck Pricer tool. That's still pretty great, though, for the cost of a trip to Chipotle, you could have a pretty solid Magic deck.

This deck is obviously an aggro deck because just about every aspect of it is meant to deal damage. Night Market Lookout is a tiny 1/1 for 1 black mana who drains 1 point of life from an opponent and gives 1 point of life to you every time it taps. Think about using him to crew a vehicle, no need to attack, just tap him over and over again. Reaver Droid is a 2/1 for 1 black mana, unfortunately, he has a catch in that he'll deal damage to you if you don't have any other colorless creatures in play. Kessig Prowler is another 2/1 for 1 green mana, but if you can keep him alive by turn five, he can transform into a huge 4/4 stomper. Scythe Leopard is yet another 1/1 for 1 green mana who can pump up +1/+1 via landfall.

Assuming you don't suffer from ophidiophobia, then having Noose Constrictor won't be a problem. This two drop critter has the much need Reach mechanic so it can at least catch those pesky fliers that this deck is susceptible to. In a pinch, you can also discard in order to pump him up if need be which is quite helpful. Snapping Gnarlid is the other two drop creature which gets a +1/+1 landfall bump as well.

The remainder of the spells in this deck are boost spells with the likes of Blossoming Defense, +2/+2 and hexproof until end of turn; Unnatural Endurance, +2/+0 and regenerate; and Larger Than Life, +4/+4 and trample. Dead Weight brings the anti-boost by enchanting a creature with -2/-2 which will be very helpful in clearing out a smaller, annoying creature or reducing a larger creature to make it more manageable to take down. Alms of the Vein is a potent Sorcery that inflicts 3 damage on the opponent while you gain 3 life. It also has a very cheap Madness cost, so I highly recommend saving this as the discard option for one of the above-mentioned creatures who pump from discarding.

Creatures (23)
4 Night Market Lookout
4 Reaver Drone
4 Kessig Prowler
4 Scythe Leopard
4 Noose Constrictor
3 Snapping Gnarlid

Spells (16)
4 Blossoming Defense
3 Unnatural Endurance
3 Dead Weight
4 Larger than Life
2 Alms of the Vein

Lands (21)
11 Forest
10 Swamp

Sideboard (15)
2 Sinister Concoction
1 Dead Weight
2 Natural State
2 Plummet
2 Clip Wings
3 Swarm Surge
1 Appetite for the Unnatural
2 Alms of the Vein

Key Cards of Golgari Aggro

Izzet Artifacts

Let me just start out by saying that I love Artifacts. I have a Metalworks Colossus deck that I'm trying to refine to be competition worthy and I feel that it's close. My point in starting out this way is to showcase the land Inventors' Fair. When you have three or more lands in play, you gain 1 life. There have been more than a few times where multiple copies of Inventors' Fair in play have been the difference of me winning a game or not. If you have even a handful of artifacts in your deck, this land is an absolute must.

This deck is simply called an Artifacts deck because it doesn't fit into another category very easily. The only other thing I would maybe call it is a midrange because it has smatterings of a little bit of everything. One thing is does rely on pretty heavily is Energy. Aether Theorist is a solid 2 mana creature for 1/3 who brings Energy into play and can tap into it in order to scry. His fellow Vedalken buddy is Whirler Virtuoso who can create a 1/1 Thopter token for 3 Energy. Swimming onto shore is one of my favorites, the Thriving Turtle. This unassuming 0/3 creature for just 1 blue mana can get a +1/+1 counter every time he attacks for just 2 Energy. I like him a lot because he's pretty tough and kind of sneaky. On turn two he attacks and pumps up to 1/4, your opponent likely won't have anything strong enough to kill him and will either take the 1 point of damage or chump block. By turn three he can become a 2/5 and by turn four you have a 3/5 in play that cost just 1 little blue mana to cast.

Aethertorch Renegade is a potentially scary creature if you can amass 8 energy and with this deck, doing so by turn three isn't difficult. Spend 8 Energy and now Aethertorch Renegade deals a devastating 6 damage to your opponent. Bomat Courier can stockpile cards face-down under him and when you're ready, place all of those cards into your hand. But be careful, if he is killed while cards are exiled face-down under him, they remain face-down into the exile pile. Chief of the Foundry is another favorite of mine since he provides +1/+1 to other artifact creatures. Since he's a 2/3, he can hold his own against most attacks as well. Then there's the Multiform Wonder who brings more Energy into play and can utilize that Energy to add mechanics and bumps in a wide variety of ways. He's pricey at 5 colorless mana but if you can afford him and have the Energy to manipulate him, he can be very useful.

Glimmer of Genius is a great card because you get to scry, then draw, and get more Energy. Harnessed Lightning is a great direct damage spell because for just 2 mana it can unleash as much damage to a creature as you have Energy to pump into it. Decoction Module is an artifact that gives you an Energy every time a creature comes into play as well as providing a bounce back mechanic which isn't used often but could come in handy if someone vexes on of your creatures. Aether Meltdown provides a -4/-0 to a creature or artifact and gives you much needed Energy.

Panharmonicon is an artifact I don't see in deck builds very often but is an outstanding card that basically allows a triggered ability to trigger a second time when a creature enters play. For example, let's say you have a Bomat Courier, Panharmonicon, and Decoction Module in play. You then cast Aether Theorist, that triggers the Decoction Module to give you 2 Energy instead of just 1. In this particular build, Decoction Module is the only card that Panharmonicon can assist with so in my opinion it's a wasted effort because there should be more that it can synergize with. None the less, without the sideboard it's coming in at about $26 and with the sideboard $31. Although there are immediate changes I would make, it still has a lot of very fast and destructive potential.

Creature (26)
4 Aether Theorist
4 Aethertorch Renegade
4 Bomat Courier
4 Chief of the Foundry
2 Multiform Wonder
4 Thriving Turtle
4 Whirler Virtuoso

Land (22)
4 Highland Lake
2 Inventors' Fair
8 Island
8 Mountain

Instant (5)
2 Glimmer of Genius
3 Harnessed Lightning

Artifact (4)
2 Decoction Module
2 Panharmonicon

Enchantment (3)
3 Aether Meltdown

Sideboard (15)
3 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Confiscation Coup
4 Galvanic Bombardment
3 Negate
3 Revolutionary Rebuff

Key Cards of Izzet Artifacts

Magic the Gathering is one of those games that players can spend as little or as much as they want in order to play. If you're just getting started, there is bound to be another player out there who has a vast amount of cards that are seemingly worthless to them and would very likely be willing to just give you so that you can play and be introduced to the game. I am a firm believer of the phrase "it doesn't hurt to ask", so go do just that, ask.

If you have already asked and have the basics down but don't have the resources and/or interest to invest a lot into it, there are a wealth of resources out there for putting together budget friendly deck builds. BudgetMTG, MtG Goldfish, and Tapped Out are just a few of the many resources out there.

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