Recently one of the guys in my Friday playgroup decided to build a budget deck. He’s an expecting father and funds have become more tight for him, so he’s thinking a bit outside the box and trying to see what he can do to get the most bang for his buck. Similarly, I’m in a position where with the holidays and having taken some time off of work plus other expenses piling up, I could use a good budget deck myself. So today I’m sharing a new brew with you that was created with a budget of $50 in mind — this is a similar amount to what my friend has used, and it sounded like the only way I could build a deck from scratch and be able to purchase it in one order.
I was actually in the middle of revamping existing decks, finding small tweaks that I could use in order to either lower the mana curve or exploit some combo further. I started thinking about color combinations that I hadn’t tackled yet, and one that came to mind was Abzan; or Black, Green and White. Unfortunately the amount of legendary creatures in this color combination is limited, but I found one that sounded sufficiently janky to build around: Doran, the Siege Tower. I give you:
As you can see, Doran is a 3 drop 0/5 which sounds like something you would want to avoid. However, his ability is interesting and can be used in a number of ways. My first thought was that he sounded like a good commander for a Wall deck, which actually happens to be a thing. It sounded like the perfect sort of jank I was looking for, and at the same time once I put the thing together I found that most of the cards were under $1! Most of the time when people build budget decks, they tend to have a couple of limiting factors — the total deck price, and the price per card. My friend who built his at the $50 mark said that he didn’t care what the cost of the individual cards were, just that the total was at or close to $50, so I took those same parameters. This particular commander costs about $9 by himself, so that limits the build but we were also considering not counting the commander cost in the budget. Either way, my deck is sitting a few cents above $50 on mtggoldfish.com, even counting Doran. Here are the only cards that cost more than $1 in this particular build, along with my reasoning for their inclusion:
Cards over $1:
Two of the cards are lands, and their inclusion is pretty obvious. I wanted to have some decent dual lands in the landbase, so there ya go. There are four creatures, a couple of artifacts and three spells otherwise, and they ended up being important for a number of reasons. The walls add some utility, and happen to be very good when paired with Doran’s passive. The artifacts are for ramp and card advantage, and there are a couple of decent spells there, one of which helps slow down attackers, another for ramp and the other is a nice boardwipe with added recursion. All felt like good additions.
The main win condition combos with Doran’s passive. There are two enchantments that help with this win condition. The idea of the deck is to play walls early and often, giving you defense to protect against opposing forces. Then, you can use things like Diabolic Tutor or Plea for Guidance to tutor up one or both of the main win-cons, Assault Formation and Rolling Stones. With Doran on the battlefield (or with Assault Formation by itself), your walls can now attack and assign combat damage via their toughness instead of their power, in effect making them */* creatures where * is equal to their toughness. I have added redundancy with cards like Animate wall, Wakestone Gargoyle, and also added cards like Entangler that allow one wall to block all creatures coming my way. As long as my walls can attack, they are huge creatures for low mana investment or in other cases a single wall can block a horde of incoming enemies. There are also cards like Walking Wall, Mobile Fort, and Prison Barricade that can attack for a price.
Let’s not kid ourselves, this deck isn’t going to win tournaments, and it’s probably tier 5 or lower, but it’s a fun/cheap investment and I think Magic should be played in multiple ways to truly enjoy it — why let cards sit and rot when they can be used? You can check my full deck list here, and I’ll be back with more commentary on this once I’ve built and tested it!