Posted in Building on a Budget on March 5, 2004

By Nate Heiss

I seem to be on some sort of Blue kick of late, this being the third Blue deck in a row that I am talking about – but I assure you that budget decks can also be built from cards of every color…check the archives for plenty of other great decks (I went on a bit of a red kick awhile back as well).

This week’s deck is a spin off of a popular deck back when Cowardice was first released. Back at that time the deck was utterly agonizing to play with or against, but now there are a few more things you can do. The general idea of the deck is to get a Cowardice in play and then have complete and utter control of what can stay on the board and what cannot. As long as you have some sort of effect that can target creatures every turn, you get to decide what stays. You will notice that Magic becomes a very different game with Cowardace in play because creatures very rarely die. Cards like Dark Banishing turn into a bad Unsummon.

This deck combines Cowardice with the now popular Affinity mechanic – the idea being that you can bounce your opponent’s creatures and they will have to use their mana replaying them while you can simply replay yours for free if you need to bounce them when damage is on the stack or if your opponents find a way to send them home first. Also, this allows for the deck to get some slightly explosive Frogmite draws that will help combat the general slowness that this type of deck brings to the table.


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The Scale of Chiss-Goria is the workhorse of this deck. I know, it sounds strange, but the Scale is actually preferable to the Tooth for a few reasons in this deck. The most important reason is that you are not so much concerned with killing your opponents right away – you would rather have your blockers stick around until the Cowardice comes into play. After you achieve this goal, the Scale will turn into a free unsummon every turn – an effect that your opponents will likely be unable to defeat.

The most interesting card to use with the Cowardice is Triskelion. Simply shoot a creature or two, bouncing them, then use the last shot to have the Triskelion shoot itself, sending it back home ready to shoot again another day. This will also allow you to sneak in points of direct damage if the ground somehow gets gummed up or they can stop your assault. It is slow-going, but the Triskelion can do 2 a turn (3 with the help of the Sacle) and then come back to fight again another day.

Note that there are several off-color mana sources with no use other than Providing Affinity – think of them all as ancient Tombs.

Tips on Playing the Deck

  • Try not to blow your Triskelions before the Cowardice comes into play – they will be very vulnerable at that point and they are usually the best thing you have going after getting Cowardice in play.
  • This deck works because of the 8 card drawing spells – Thirst for Knowledge and Thoughtcast – use your mana to play as many of these as possible in the early turns. This will aid you greatly in playing out a turn 4 or 5 Cowardice.
  • Unless you are able to cast Thoughtcast or a Frogmite on turn 2 with it, always play your Myr over the Talisman – yes, it is more vulnerable, however, since it has summoning sickness, it is better to get it out there earlier.
  • The Aether Spellbombs are often best used for drawing cards. This deck is already very good at bouncing things, but sometimes you need to buy yourself a little time before the Cowardice hits play!
  • Although this may be a bit obvious – remember that you can play out the Scale as an instant! Be tricky! Nothing demoralizes an opponent more than putting damage on the stack and popping out the Scale!

Adding More Money to the Deck:

Adding Black to this deck would be a lot of fun - while I am not able to use Darksteel in these decks yet due to the set not currently being released online (as of this writing), Chittering Rats and Ravenous Rats make excellent additions to this deck if you want to add black. They are really cool bounce targets.- forcing your opponent to discard whatever you bounce and making it so they have very little to do.

Black also gives you the option of Warped Devotion, turning all of your Cowardicing into card advantage. Not to mention the premium creature kill spells like Barter in Blood. Consumptive Goo also becomes quite the little beater when Cowardice is out – but watch out – one false move and all the hard work you put into him could be reset. Bane of the Living would provide you with a way to actually kill their guys – just return your own first then give the rest –x/-x. You could even save the Bane by bouncing it with a Scale while this effect is on the stack.

Overall this deck is fun to play but should only be used n a very casual environment. I really feel that multiplayer games are the best environment for a card like Cowardice. Of course, everyone might just get annoyed with the effect eventually and just try to kill you. Ah, such is life.

Until next time, Evacuation.

-Nate Heiss
Team CMU
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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