Building On No Budget

Posted in Building on a Budget on February 26, 2007

By Ben Bleiweiss

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Building on a Budget! I'm Ben Bleiweiss…

And I am BoaB, the budget-friendly robot…

And we are here to bring you the latest and newest budget tech courtesy of BoaB's newest upgrade. Yes, we've fitted BoaB with the newest in budget technology, and he's going to help me build a humdinger of a swell budget deck today. Aren't you?

Affirimative, friend-human Ben! With budgettech version 3.0, I am now equipped to find the ultimate in budget building. My new firmware upgrade allows me to index every Magic card ever printed and formulate the best budget deck imaginable!

Wow, BoaB! That sounds really impressive! Are you ready to take your first shot at building a deck?

Affirmative! My sprockets are turnings, my gears are winding, and my malaprops are all adroit. I feel the creative oils within me churning out the ultimate budget deck! *BEEP*


Download Arena Decklist
Land (60)
60 Forest
60 Cards

Ummm…BoaB, there's a little problem here.


Negative, friend-human Ben! I am powered with the most sophisticated money-saving computers ever devised by humanity, and this deck is the most budget tournament-legal Standard deck available!

But BoaB, it can't win!

That is not a concern, friend-human Ben! I am here to Build on a Budget, and there is no budget less than that for Forests.dec!

All right, let me see how it does….

Game 1: Irish Samurai (U/R/W Burn)
He casts Stone Rain twice and Jester's Scepter twice, and then burns me out. I concede at 3 life, having gotten mana flooded all game.
Record: 0-1

BoaB, this just isn't working. It's one thing to Build on a Budget, but isn't this taking it to an illogical extreme?

Friend-human Ben, it is only logical that a deck with 60 basic lands is the most budget deck you could build! Basic lands have the minimal cost. This is the optimal budget build.

But you need variety in Magic! If you play the same cards over and over again, it just becomes boring! Nobody will want to face me if all they see is Forests, Forests, Forests!

Ah, BoaB computes now! BoaB will formulate a budget deck with more variety!

Rainbow Lands

Download Arena Decklist
Land (60)
12 Forest 12 Island 12 Mountain 12 Plains 12 Swamp
60 Cards

BoaB, this is just as bad as the first deck!

Negative! BoaB computes that you will never draw 100% of the same card with this deck over the course of 52 turns. This makes it much more filled with variety than Forests.dec!


Sigh. Stupid robot!

Game 2: Maddprof (W/G Aggro)
He gets turn-one Utopia Sprawl, turn-two Selesnya Guildmage and Sprout, turn-three Thallid Germinator, turn-four Call of the Herd, kill me on turn five. I get Island, Plains, Swamp, and Mountain, but die before my fifth turn with a Forest in hand.
Record: 0-2

BoaB, now you listen to me! I am not playing the Dan Bock memorial Pro Tour 2001 all-land deck for my column! Building on a Budget isn't about Building with the absolute lowest budget possible - it's about teaching people, who happen to be on a budget, how to build competitive, fun decks!

BoaB does not understand! BoaB version 3.0 is programmed to make the most budget decks possible. BoaB has made the perfect decks for friend-human Ben! Why is friend-human Ben angry with BoaB? Does not compute! Does not compute!

Well, if you're only going to make me decks with basic lands until I get you upgraded, we might as well make the best of this situation. Let me make a quick phone call.

*10 minutes later* *Knock at the door*

Hey there, Momir!

"Wassssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssup Ben?"

In you go!

"Nooooooooooooo! My spine! Must… play... blue-green... multicolor… spell… before… I… go… urrrrrrrrk."

Ah! BoaB version 3.1 with optional Momir Vig upgrade now understands how to make an all-land deck fun for the masses! Behold, Momir Basic.dec!

Momir Basic

Download Arena Decklist
Land (60)
20 Forest 20 Mountain 20 Swamp
Other (1)
1 Avatar - Momir Vig, Simic Visionary
61 Cards

Much, much better. For those not familiar, the format has shifted from Standard to Momir Vig basic. In Momir Vig Basic, you use the Momir Vig Vanguard card - a card that grants you powers not ordinarily available in a duel! You start at 24 life (as opposed to the normal 20), and with seven cards in hand, all of which will be basic lands. On each of your turns, you can discard a land and pay X mana. If you do, you put a random creature with mana cost X into play. So, for instance, if you pay two mana, you might get Dimir Guildmage, Gemhide Sliver, or River Boa - any creature currently programmed into Magic Online is fair game for Momir Vig!

The Momir Vig avatar runs around 8-9 tickets through most people on Magic Online, and you can always find either an open Momir Vig game or a willing Momir Vig opponent in the casual room of Magic Online. It's the format I've played between matches to take a break from my regular deck, and it's a lot of fun to play - you never know what you're going to get, and you have to think on your feet to play with what you're dealt!

There have been numerous articles written about Momir Vig across the Internet, and here are some of the highlights:


Bennie Smith's introduction to Momir Vig
Jeff Till's Momir Vig Basic Primer
Frank Karsten's Momir Vig Tips and Tricks, Tim Aten's list of best/worst drops by mana cost in Momir Vig

Now let's see what we can do about upgrading BoaB…

*Three Days Later*

Hello, and welcome back to Building on a Budget! I'm Ben Bleiweiss…

BoaB is the newly upgraded version 4.0 Building on a Budget Robot, friend of protein sack Ben…

Protein sack Ben?

Affirmative! BoaB does not mean this as an insult, friend protein sack Ben! Self is upgraded to state facts.

Suntail Hawk

Sure, whatever. Me and my robot pal are here to bring you a Building on a Budget exclusive - White Weenie on a budget! I fed a list of white commons into BoaB's self-regulating databanks, and asked him to come up with a sixty-card deck list. BoaB, is that deck ready to go?

Negative. Still computing.

Well, while he's working on that list, let me show you the choices:

Absolver Thrull/Aven Cloudchaser/Cloudchaser Kestrel: Creatures that double as enchantment removal.
Amrou Scout/Amrou Seekers: A mini Rebel chain.
Boros Recruit/Infantry Veteran/Martyr of Sands/Sidewinder Sliver/Suntail Hawk: One-drop weenies.
Benalish Cavalry/Kjeldoran Outrider/Master Decoy/Mourning Thrull/Ronom Unicorn/Veteran Armorer/Veteran Cavalier: Two-drop weenies.
Flickering Spirit/Guardian of the Guildpact: Harder-to-kill 4-drops.
Icatian Crier: Creature generator. Raise the Alarm spellshaper.
Ivory Giant: Blinding Light with a hefty suspended body.
Faith's Fetters/Gaze of Justice/Gelid Shackles/Pacifism/Temporal Isolation: Creature/permanent removal.
Kjeldoran War Cry: Offense booster.
Fortify: Offense or defense booster.
Pentarch Ward: Defense Booster.
Plains: The land that makes the deck hum.

Ding! BoaB is ready with the perfect Standard-legal budget White Weenie deck!

All right BoaB, good job! Let's see the best budget common Standard White Weenie deck that money can be saved on!


Download Arena Decklist
Land (60)
60 Plains
60 Cards

BoaB, you have GOT to be kidding me.

BoaB does not joke, protein shake Ben! Given the parameters fed, this is the ultimate budget deck.

BoaB, we went through this three days ago. An all-basic land deck is no fun - you have to be able to at least kill your opponent.

BoaB computes! BoaB will run through the new parameters to update for the specifications of killing your opponent.

Icatian Crier

Download Arena Decklist
Creature (1)
1 Icatian Crier
Land (59)
59 Plains
60 Cards



You'd have to mulligan several times just to get to the one Icatian Crier. This deck isn't any fun.

Eager Cadet

BoaB disagrees! BoaB knows that Icatian Crier can turn those lands into Eager Cadets. BoaB knows this fact to be true.

But BoaB, there's too many lands in this deck, and not enough creatures or spells.

Explain to BoaB so BoaB can build better decks for protein sack Ben in the future!

All right BoaB, here goes. First of all, if we're building a White Weenie deck, we want to focus on having creatures. Not only do we want creatures, but we want them on a mana curve, so you can keep dropping creatures on successive turns.


So, we'd want to have a few one-drops, two-drops, three-drops, and maybe a four-drop. From the list above, we have a few choices for each slot.


Boros Recruit

Boros Recruit: Tundra Wolves, but in Ravnica. First Strike is useful to have on large creatures, but is less important on a 1/1 - most creatures will be bigger than him, and so first strike will be irrelevant.

Infantry Veteran: Capable of making your other creatures larger on the offense. This is useful in penetrating the defenses of opponents who have primarily creatures. It's less important if the opponent is running a lot of removal spells, especially mass-removal like Pyroclasm or Wrath of God - if they can kill all your creatures at once, you've now lost two 1/1s instead of one 2/2.

Martyr of Sands: More suited towards a defensive-style deck, so not really a consideration here.

Sidewinder Sliver: Mtenda Herder, and we don't have other Slivers for it to power up. Is this better than first strike? On the offense, yes, unless you have spells and effects that boost power. Sidewinder Sliver works better than Boros Recruit without help. Boros Recruit works better than Sidewinder Sliver with Infantry Veteran on the board.

Suntail Hawk: Flying Men in white. Solid on the offense, thanks to early evasion.


Amrou Scout: I don't think there are enough common Rebels in mono-white Standard to make this theme work. Basically, we can end up with a 2/1 creature and a 2/2 Skirk Shaman. Not very exciting.

Benalish Cavalry: Comparable to most good two-drop creatures for white, including Black Knight, Knight of the Holy Nimbus, and the such. Not as powerful as those, but capable of fighting other 2/2s and winning.

Kjeldoran Outrider: Another 2/2 that can fight other 2/2s and win. Can't kill 3-toughness creatures like Benalish Cavalry, but can survive in combat against guys much larger than him.

Master Decoy

Master Decoy: Able to tap down other creatures. Weaker on offense than the other two-drops above, and probably weaker than the removal spells available.

Mourning Thrull: Suntail Hawk with a built-in Vampiric Link. Not exciting on offense compared to other two-drop flyers in White (Leonin Skyhunter, Azorius First-Wing, Mistral Charger), but the only one that's Common and castable in mono-White.

Ronom Unicorn: Kami of the Ancient Law, but for a new generation. A solid beater which doubles as enchantment removal.

Veteran Armorer: A weenie which boosts your other weenies. However, still dies to Pyroclasm (Veteran Armorer takes two, dies, your other creatures lose their toughness bonuses, and then die as well if they now have toughness two or less), which has perpetually been a problem with this guy.

Veteran Cavalier: The littlest Serra that could.


Cloudchaser Kestrel: A solid guy who combines Leonin Skyhunter with Monk Realist. The ability to turn other permanents White is cute, but not really useful in an all-commons build.

Icatian Crier: Able to make two Citizens in a single bound!


Absolver Thrull: Cloudchaser Kestrel just seems better, since it comes out a turn sooner and can fly.

Aven Cloudchaser

Aven Cloudchaser: See Cloudchaser Kestrel. If you were playing multiple colors, you could make the case that it's easier to cast Aven Cloudchaser or Absolver Thrull than Cloudchaser Kestrel. However, in mono-White (especially with only basic lands), the three-drop is just plain better.

Flickering Spirit: Kind of like Blinking Spirit, except with a much higher activation cost (you blink it instead of recasting it), and with evasion. Very mana-intensive. Also doesn't dodge non-targeted removal well (still is in play for Pyroclasm and Wrath of God).

Guardian of the Guildpact: Immune to mono-colored direct damage spells (non-targeted), so survives something like double Pyroclasm. Still dies to Wrath, but survives in combat against huge green fatties.

Ridiculous Drops

Ivory Giant: You'd want to get him into play via Suspend, but you have to wait a looooong time to see him. Also, what if your opponent is also playing white, or doesn't have creatures in play? Is it worth it for a 3/4 creature? Probably not in this deck.

BoaB now has the relevant creature information. Tell me more, and BoaB will reformulate the deck.

Faith's Fetters

Removal Spells

Faith's Fetters: A huge life swing, plus the ability to neutralize any permanent's ability (except for mana production). A staple of White decks, both offensive and defensive.

Gaze of Justice: Hand of Justice twice. This would be a lot better as an instant, because you could then use it at the end of your turn to remove a particularly problematic creature - and then swing in. It takes a commitment of a heavily-creature oriented near-mono white deck to work properly, but this is such a deck.

Gelid Shackles: A cheaper Arrest, but with an activation cost to stop the creature from attacking. Snow-Covered Plains are the cheapest Snow-Covered land, but they are still too expensive for this budget build. I'd recommend this as removal if you're playing with Snow lands, however.

Pacifism: The prototypical White "can't attack or block" creature enchantment. Been around for years, you all know it and love it.

Temporal Isolation

Temporal Isolation: Functionally similar to Pacifism, except it can be dropped at Instant speed. Since we don't have any shadow creatures that can be blocked by a creature enchanted by Temporal Isolation, one of its three drawbacks is negated. The other is that an opponent can swing, get through his creature, and then remove the Isolation to get in a solid hit. The third drawback is that after damage is on the stack, an opponent can sacrifice/remove their own creature, and deal damage. Here's how it works:

Let's say I have a Hunted Wumpus enchanted by Temporal Isolation. I declare it as an attacker, and it is not blocked. I then put six damage on the stack. Before the damage resolves, I cast Fling, sacrificing the Wumpus and targeting my opponent. Here's what happens:

1.) I sacrifice Hunted Wumpus as an additional cost to play Fling.
2.) Fling deals 6 damage to my opponent.
3.) The damage on the stack from Hunted Wumpus resolves, dealing 6 damage to my opponent. Temporal Isolation prevents the damage dealt by a creature when that damage resolves, not when it is put on the stack. Since the Temporal Isolation went bye-bye with the sacrificed Wumpus, it is no longer in play to prevent the damage from the Wumpus.

BoaB already knew this. BoaB is equipped with all the latest rulings from Oracle, the Wizards of the Coast rules reference!

Good for you BoaB! Now, let's talk about the utility spells.

Utility Spells


Fortify: Army of Allah, but with your choice of offense or defense. Unlike other iterations of this spell, you can cast it outside of combat. Quite good for either dealing that killing blow, or keeping your guys alive against Pyroclasm, which I've mentioned quite a few times already. Pyroclasm is the natural enemy of White Weenie, give or take Silver Knight and Soltari Priest (and a couple of others). Avoid it at all costs.

Kjeldoran War Cry: Like Fortify, except the first one gives +1/+1 instead of +0/+2 or +2/+0. Both boost a combined two power or toughness, but with Fortify you have a choice of which is bigger. If you draw two War Cries, this doesn't matter - the second is just plain bigger.

Pentarch Ward: Give a guy protection from a color of your choice. This allows it to safely block larger creatures, get through opposing blockers, remove enchantments of a certain color, or dodge removal. However, pretty expensive for something that doesn't actually help you deal more damage - would you rather deal 6 extra damage with Fortify, or allow one of your three creatures to swing for 2?

BoaB has all the pertinent information, and will now formulate a pauper White Weenie all-commons, Standard-legal deck for protein sack Ben!

Pauper White Weenie

Download Arena Decklist

Based on the choices, BoaB wants to have a good curve, many creature-boosting spells, and a couple of removal spells. BoaB thinks the deck has an early rush, and then can punch through with Fortify or Kjeldoran War Cry.

Thanks for all your help BoaB!

BoaB loves his best friend protein sack Bleiweiss!

I just have one question left BoaB.

What is your query?

How could I add money to this deck, if it had more of a budget?

BoaB suggests using Quarters instead of Pennies to denote your Icatian Crier tokens!


See you next week folks!

Next week: Two Ladies, One Goal.

What is 'What If?' Week?

It's "What If?" Week here on, and in the spirit of Planar Chaos, we're presenting you with a variety of "What If?" alternate reality scenarios. Some of them, like Mark Rosewater's column, explain the premise up-front; others, Kelly Digges’s feature article, encourage you to figure out the "What If?" on your own. Ask Wizards and Card of the Day are in on the fun as well, containing implied "What If?" questions, but Arcana is "normal" – we didn't feel alternate reality scenarios would play well in that format. Thanks for reading, and enjoy "What If?" Week!

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