So, I’ve got the budget-building bug after last week’s bonus article, Budget Deckbuilding. But, my compulsions are to your benefit! I’m going to go through each step of the “Leveraging Your Budget Dollars” as I build another $35 budget deck. So, let’s start from the beginning…
1. Decide what type of deck you’d like to build. Well, I’ve always loved Lovisa Coldeyes, but never had an excuse to build anything with her. Her art is exquisite – you can tell she’s at home on the battlefield, but there she is, sitting upon a throne, bored. She’s surrounded with implements of battle, but she sits clean, her armor and clothing completely missing any trace of the blood of her enemies. It’s the kind of picture that you just can’t help but dream up stories about. Anywho… she lends herself to the tribal archetype, being a lord for Barbarians, Warriors and Berserkers. It’s a shame that she doesn’t give herself the bonus (unless you make her one of the above), but that’s okay – she’s still awesome.
2. Seek out cost-efficiency. Okay, so chances are we’re not going to be able to afford to put all three types in there, because keeping synergy coherent between more than one creature type is expensive. So, let’s hop onto Gatherer and find out how many of each tribe we have to work with in mono-red. There are 27 red or colorless barbarians – that’s not enough to build a deck on. Of berserkers, there are only 28. So, Warriors it is. Thankfully, Gatherer counts 162 of those – so we have plenty of options.
I have picked 32 Warriors I really like:
One thing in particular I like about this list was the racial subtribal themes building up. There are 9 giants and 8 humans amongst the 32 warriors, which give us some more options to play with.
All right, let’s plug Lovisa and her 32 warriors into TCGPlayer.com’s optimizer, allowing for all conditions up to and including Heavily Played, and see what we get. The number I get is $15.72, which is awesome for 1/3 of the deck. Assuming 38 basic lands, this gives us $19.28 to fund the remaining 27 cards of the deck. That gives us plenty of purchasing power.
3. Use what you already have, or can trade for. Well, for the purposes of this exercise, I am going to assume that the deckbuilder has nothing but basic lands. So… we have Mountains we can use, and that’s it. Next step…
4. Decide what cards your deck can’t do without. How much tribal support am I going to need? Well, unfortunately, Warriors just don’t make an impact on the battlefield without some help, like Dragons would. So we definitely need some support, and Coat of Arms is where we start. That knocks $5 off our budget, but it’s worth it. Thankfully, Magic 2014 has greatly reduced the price of Door of Destinies, so we can include that too. These are really the only cards I would imagine the deck “can’t do without” at this point. Everything else should be negotiable.
5. Accept the limitations of your budget. With roughly $15 to spend, there’s a great many cards that all mono-red decks want that are going to be out of range for us.Blood Moon is the big one, but there’s also Wheel of Fortune, so we will have to get some card draw elsewhere. As awesome as it is, Gauntlet of Might is right out.
6. If you want speed, play a mono-colored deck. Done.
7. Make smart cuts. Okay, here’s where I fast-forward, and let you know that my original iteration of the deck came to $40.69, which meant I had to make some changes. The card I hated cutting most was Shared Animosity. The budget was tight, and as useful (and thematic) as it is, there just wasn’t room. Yes, this reduces the power level of the deck, but it doesn’t cripple it. The good news is, we’re talking three dollars here, so it should be easy to acquire the card in the future. I also had to get rid of Gratuitous Violence. Everything I said about Shared Animosity applies to Gratuitous Violence as well. Both these cards belong in the deck, but the deck still does well without them. Nonetheless, they are high-priority acquisition targets for the deck in the future (if you’re unwilling to increase the budget by five bucks to include them now.)
So… Here’s Lovisa!!!!
Plugging the deck into the TCGPlayer.com optimizer, setting for the same conditions listed previously in the article, the deck comes out to $34.70 – just under budget.
Given a few more dollars, this deck really wants Blood Moon, Gratuitous Violence and Shared Animosity. A $10 infusion would dramatically increase the power level of the deck by adding these three cards.
Magus of the Moon would have been useful too, but I would definitely acquire Blood Moon first. It’s just a better card. Koth of the Hammer would also love a spot in this deck, and I would love to switch out Wheel of Fate or Reforge the Soul with the much better Wheel of Fortune.
Nonetheless, this is a solid budget Warrior deck, and looks like it should be fun to play. The deck is at its best when it gets a squadron of Warriors together, preferably with Lovisa in play, under either a Coat of Arms or Door of Destinies, and assault a weak board multiple times through the aid of spells like Relentless Assault.