No Tinker? No Problem.

Building On A Budget - Wild Desire

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This week's Building On A Budget deck is based off of a decklist that reader Bill Ricardi sent in. He managed to create a budget version of the ever-so-popular Twiddle/Desire deck for the Magic Online Open format. "Isn't that deck full of rares?" you might ask. The version you know might be full of rares, but there are ways to do similar things while using mostly commons and uncommons.

While most budget combo decks will be based around some interesting creature interaction, this one is the classic medley of spells, drawing cards, and untapping your mana several times in one turn. It can make a player think back to the old days of Academy and Prosp-Bloom.

The core of the deck is casting Twiddle and Dream's Grip, and then untapping your lands that are enchanted with Wild Growth and Fertile Ground. This produces enough mana for you to cast Mind's Desire with a high storm count since you cast lots of cheap spells essentially for free.

The card drawing comes in the form of Concentrate, Thirst for Knowledge, and Words of Wisdom. Opt and Sleight of Hand also help you dig for what you need while adding to the storm count. When all is said and done, you cast a Tendrils of Agony to kill your opponent. Sometimes this is possible even without casting Mind's Desire (getting the black mana you need from Fertile Ground).

This deck regularly wins from turn 4 to 6. While that isn't blindingly fast, it's rather solid for a combo deck with only four rares.

Building on a Budget - Wild Desire

The original deck build included Krosan Restorer, which was good in the deck. However, I removed them to create dead cards in your opponents' decks (all of their creature kill is useless).

The deck starts out the game by casting a mana enchantment and then Concentrating or casting several Opts/Sleight of Hands. When you can cast a Mind's Desire for about 4, go ahead and try it out, keeping a land untapped if possible (in case you draw some mana enchantments to put on it). Hopefully you'll Desire up another Desire, in which case you cast all the other spells you draw and then the other Desire. Once you do this it's easy to hit a Tendrils or get enough free card drawing and mana generation to cast another Desire or Tendrils for 20.

If you don't hit a Desire, it means you probably hit some combination of card drawing and untapping effects. In that case, try to draw enough cards and generate enough mana to find and cast another Desire. Otherwise, bide your time and set up to do it all over again the next turn.

The third thing that could happen is that you hit a bunch of spells and Tendrils. In this case, just take your opponent down outright.

It's difficult to mulligan with this deck. Not to say that it can't recover from a mulligan, but rather that it's tough to decide what constitutes a mulligan hand. A good guideline is to keep two-land hands (mulligan the one-landers even if you have mana enchantments), and hands with Tendrils in them are already sort of like a mulligan hand.

Tips On Playing The Deck

  • Always try to put Wild Growth or Fertile Ground on a blue-mana source.

  • Play the artifact lands last--they're there to be discarded to Thirst for Knowledge.

  • Be very careful about tapping your lands. Always keep them untapped for as long as possible (avoid floating mana unnecessarily) because you never know when you'll have more mana enchantments to put on them.

  • When selecting cards for Opt and Sleight of Hand, remember you'll need the following things to "go off": mana enchantments, Twiddles, and one Mind's Desire. Try to get the ingredient you don't already have.

  • Save all your Twiddles and Dream's Grips for the turn you think you can go off.

Adding Money To The Deck

Chrome Mox and City of Brass are the two main money additions to this deck. The Mox will help you go off a turn earlier while adding to the storm count, which means better Mind's Desires and a more stable combo deck overall. City of Brass helps smooth the mana. In a deck where you want to win on turn 5, you can't wait for the right color of mana to come along.

Some might think that Gilded Lotus would be a good add to the deck since that's what the full-blown Extended deck is based on. However, without Tinker it's difficult to play the Lotus. If you wanted to build a Lotus-based deck, I would recommend making it very differently. Use red instead of green, add Seething Song plus maybe Trash for Treasure then use some plan to either Seethe the Lotus out or use Trash for Treasure to get it back from the graveyard. While a deck that uses all these rares might be a little faster, the budget build is solid for a fraction of the price.

Until next time, make sure all players draw X cards.

Nate Heiss
Team CMU
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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