Oh, yes that's right. I'm Nate. Did you miss me? I'm just like the old Nate. You know, the one that wrote all those cool Building on a Budget articles? That's right, 30 dollars or bust, baby!
No wait – don't go… I really am Nate! I promise!
What's that you say? The shiny purple hourglass symbol on my forehead? Well, um, it was a long night and the bald dude said the rift was perfectly safe….
HE BET ME A DOLLAR, OK?? That's right; I jumped through the time rift because he bet me a dollar.
Freaking Teferi. He always did know how to screw with me.
So here I am, in the future, and somehow I have this shiny purple symbol on my forehead. Then I find that who else but Ben Bleiweiss is writing my beloved column! What happened to that nice Jay guy?
Anyhow, I am here in the future and I got nothing better to do than make budget decks…which is important because I didn't even get the dollar. Stupid Teferi. All I have is thirty smackeroos and budget deck building skills that could kill a man.
Double the Fun
After checking out all the new (old?) stuff, I think that the hottest budget deck to be had is blue-green. I think I made a blue-green deck for the very first Building on a Budget. However, this blue green deck is very, very different.
Let me just say this: if you are the type of player that enjoys Giant Fan, then you are going to love Double Mayhem. It is all about making the most of +1/+1 counters. Moving them around, using them in cool ways, and perhaps most importantly, doubling them. How? With Doubling Season of course!
Lets get to it:
Building on a Budget: Double Mayhem (about 30 tickets)
This deck has a lot of counters... and not the type that stops your buddies from playing spells and having a blast. These are the good kind of counters – the ones that make your stuff fat. Graft provides an excellent base to draw from when searching for creatures that enjoy counters, but the “timeshifted” cards provide some crucial ones, like Spike Feeder, Hunting Moa, and Thallid (a.k.a. “the little fungus that could”).
The general game plan of this deck is to take one of two plans based on what you draw. If you draw a Doubling Season, then try to conserve your counter creating guys until after you play it. Of course, if it looks like your opponent is going to roll you over before that happens, don't wait. You will draw more counter guys later anyhow.
Doubling Season can make some truly crazy things happen. It will double the counters you move with Spike Feeder and Spike Tiller. It will double the counters Granted by Cytoplast Root-Kin (not to mention making him an 8/8). It will double the counter a Thallid receives each turn, then double the number of 1/1s he puts into play when you take 3 off. The list goes on and on. Don't get me started on what happens when you get two Doubling Seasons in play!
If you don't draw Doubling Season, you will need to rely on the sheer awesomeness that happened when you get these creatures teamed up on the table.
If you play a Spike Feeder with a graft guy around, it will allow you to make it bigger and give you extra life. This can be important when facing down other big creatures or in a damage racing situation.
Hunting Moa can also interact nicely with the Spike Feeder, but it can help getting a +1/+1 counter on anything that might not already have one. This is important for your Cytoplast Root-Kin, which will grow everything with a +1/+1 counter by another counter. It is also important with Plaxcaster Frogling and Aquastrand Spider for them to grant their abilities around.
There are many such cool interactions in this deck, and you will discover most of the important ones with a few games behind your belt.
Tips on Playing the Deck
A lot of the time you will be killing your opponent with one big swing, due to the way this deck exponentially increases its power base the longer it has to run around unimpeded. However, don't let this mad power rush overplay your hand. Keep in mind that most decks will be able to kill your guys, and its best to be careful with Plaxcaster Frogling when you can, and not to overcommit your board just to fall prey to a Wrath of God. This deck can put on the gas when it needs it and ramp up pretty quickly, so don't be afraid to hold back (except, of course, when you fear they have Persecute in hand).
Don't be afraid to let your Hunting Moa go by not paying the echo if your have better things to do with your mana. A lot of the time it will act as a pseudo fog, your opponents not wanting to attack into it for a turn. That is a plenty good use for him. Remember you are not playing a crazy beatdown deck that needs to win as fast as possible… you are playing a creature combo deck that just happens to win on turn five on occasion.
Do not underestimate the power of Spike Tiller. It can often turn a game around by creating a horde of hasty 3/3 lands to overpower your opponent with, or sometimes they are efficient blockers. On occasion, their normal Spike ability of passing the counters around is good enough to win the game.
is your best removal spell; use it wisely. For those of you who don't know how it works, read on. Your basic goal with Cytoshape
is to turn one of your opponents annoying creatures into a 0/0, thus killing it. You can do this by choosing a 0/0 creature for it to copy, like any of your Spikes or graft guys that you might have in play. Sure, they might be bigger due to +1/+1 counters, but in the corner they say 0/0, and that's what your opponent's guy will become. Conversely, you can use Cytoshape
as a sort of Giant Growth
or utility spell on occasion. Turn your Spike or graft guy into a Hunting Moa
to effectively give is +3/+2, since the +1/+1 counters will still apply. If your guy happens to die in the same turn, you will get the Hunting Moa
ability to give a counter to something. You can also turn a graft guy into a Spike Feeder
or Tiller, allowing you to move the counters around or eat them for good effect. Does your opponent have some sort of super awesome creature you like? Turn one of your guys into it for a turn! Isn't copying fun?
Peel from Reality is your other removal spell, albeit a temporary one. The nice thing about it is that you can reset the counters on one of your guys in play. This can be important when you are eating counters off a Spike Feeder, or you just want to replay a Cytoplast Root-Kin. It's also nice to replay a guy that you cast before you had your doubling season out.
Overall, just remember that in a pinch, there is probably some tricky thing you can do that your opponent never saw coming. Have fun surprising them!
Adding Money to the Deck
Now that I have been teleported into this time from the past, I noticed that my 30 bucks in the bank has gained enough interest for me to add some money to this deck. Then I might challenge Teferi to a duel and get back to the past!
Easy adds are Breeding Pool and Birds of Paradise for a firmer mana base. Terramorphic Expanse is always nice, but the coming into play tapped actually hurts this deck a fair bit. The birds are especially nice in this deck because you can put counters on them and fly over for victory. The big bird plan was always one of my favorites.
is actually very good in this deck. It is pretty quick and grows to very large sizes. It's downside of being worse later in the game is softened by Doubling Season
. It is also a nice bullseye for your opponents removal spells, distracting them from more powerful things to come.
Other options include Serrated Arrows and Shape of the Wiitigo. The Arrows are nice versus utility creatures and managing that opposing horde of weenies. The Shape of the Wiitigo is a little over the top but pretty hilarious on a Spike Feeder or Tiller.
The real lesson this week is: Never trust a planeswalker in matters of temporal chaos. The secondary lesson however, is that counters, and the doubling thereof, can be really fun! This is a solid deck with a lot of replay value. It will often surprise you and win in ways you never might expect. Tinker around with it and try adding different things to the mix. How would a Mindless Automaton or a Clockwork Hydra add to the mix?
Well, I really must be going. If I don't get back to the past, how am I going to work on Time Spiral anyhow??
Until next time, may your timeshifted cards remind you of pleasant afternoons.