- Building on a Budget is dedicated to making decks that cost 30 tickets or less on Magic Online. Weekly deck testing is done using Magic Online.
When Time Spiral was first released, there was a card that I immediately wanted to play with. This card is not the most flashy of cards, or the most desirable (good for the budget!), but it works well with a card from Magic's past. That card?
Back in the day, the French developed a Tooth and Nail deck revolving around Cloudposts. They would use Sylvan Scrying plus Reap and Sow to get multiple Cloudposts into play, and use them to fuel an entwined Tooth and Nail. They named this deck Twelve-Post, although they could only actually have 4 Cloudpost out at a time.
Enough of the history lesson! Vesuva allows you to copy any land, and that includes Cloudpost. This means that if you play with four Cloudposts and four Vesuvas, you have access to a potential eight Cloudpost! What does this mean for your mana?
One Cloudpost = 1 Mana
Two Cloudpost = 4 Mana
Three Cloudpost = 9 Mana
Four Cloudpost = 16 Mana
Five Cloudpost = 25 Mana
Six Cloudpost = 36 Mana
Seven Cloudpost = 49 Mana
Eight Cloudpost = 64 Mana
Nine Cloudpost = Either you're playing the mirror match, or you're a dirty cheater!
Compare this to the Urzatron, and you'll see that a focus on the locus comes out way ahead! If you're playing Urza's Mine, Urza's Power Plant, and Urza's Tower, you need to get three different lands out at once, and then they produce seven mana. You only need one Cloudpost to get things going, since any combination of Cloudposts and Vesuvas past the first will act identically to one another. Three Cloudposts equals nine mana - outpacing Urza lands by two mana.
Step One: Searching for Land
Step Two: Searching for Land, Part Two
One old tried-and-true trick for setting up your draws is to run Sensei's Divining Top in a deck that uses multiple shuffle effects. I've already got eight in the deck. Sakura-Tribe Elder is a natural fit in this deck. Without Sakura-Tribe Elder, this deck can get stuck not having enough colored mana sources. With Sakura-Tribe Elder, the deck can play turn-one Cloudpost, turn-two Forest, and then have access to two colored mana the rest of the game while dropping Cloudposts/Vesuvas every turn.
Step Three: Finding a Use for 64 mana (a.k.a., Profit!)
You've got eight Cloudposts in play. Now what? The skies are the limit, my friend! Use Wurmcalling to make 60/60 Wurms each turn! Cast and activate a turn-four Mindslaver! Wipe the board clean with Oblivion Stone, using only one land!
I took a look at the cost of these cards on Magic Online and found that they were all surprisingly cheap – perfect for a budget deck. Let's look at a breakdown for the deck.
|Card||Cost in tickets|
|Cloudpost||4 for 1|
|Sylvan Scrying||4 for 1|
|Sensei's Divining Top||4 for 3|
|Oblivion Stone||2 for 3|
|Sakura-Tribe Elder||4 for 1|
|Wurmcalling||2 for 1|
The total cost on four Cloudpost, four Vesuva, four Sylvan Scrying, four Sensei's Divining Top, three Mindslaver, four Sakura-Tribe Elder, three Oblivion Stone, and two Wurmcalling? 25.5 tickets. This leaves us with 4.5 tickets to work with, and 32 more cards to fit into the deck.
Since we're running Sylvan Scrying and Reap and Sow, it's easy to fit in any other non-basic lands that might tickle our fancy – they are easy to search out! As a kill condition, I added in the mother of all mana-intensive lands, Dark Depths (30 mana? No problem – that's only four Cloudposts over two turns!)
I also decided that I could easily support a second color of mana. In particular, the ability to recur Mindslaver appealed to me, so I put in the blue and added a single copy of Academy Ruins. Once I got up to thirteen mana (three Cloudposts, an Island, an Academy Ruins, and any other two lands), I would be able to completely lock down the game with this artifact. I could activate Mindslaver, put it back on the top of my deck, and control every turn my opponent had for the rest of the game.
Once I had added Academy Ruins, I also wanted a B-plan for killing my opponent with a recurring artifact. I settled for Triskelion. The Blue also enabled me to add in another spell which takes advantage of having a trazillion mana: Spell Burst. Once I get multiple Cloudposts into play, I can essentially counter a spell a turn for each Island I have in play.
|Card||Cost in Tickets|
|13 Forests/3 Islands||Half a ticket|
|Triskelion||Half a ticket|
|Spell Burst and Reap and Sow||Half a ticket|
|Dark Depths||1 each|
|Academy Ruins||1 each|
With one Triskelion, two Spell Burst, four Reap and Sow, one Dark Depths, one Academy Ruins and the basic lands, I was up to 53 cards and 29 tickets. For the last ticket worth of cards, I went with three Moment's Peace (to stave off weenie rush) and four Krosan Tusker (another shuffling/land search mechanism), bringing the total cost of the deck to thirty tickets.
Here's the deck:
How did the deck do? Better than I could ever imagine in my wildest dreams. When I play in Extended Pro Tour Qualifiers in January, I'm going to use this deck as the starting point for qualification. Let's take a look at the game logs.
Game 1: Brothwin (W/G Beatdown)
He gets quick Phantom Centaur, and I get Cloudpost, Vesuva, then Reap and Sow for a third Cloudpost. He swings in for 10, but I get Oblivion Stone, Reap and Sow (destroying one of his lands) for an Academy Ruins to recur Oblivion Stone, and lock him under Spell Burst. He concedes before I can find a Mindslaver.
Game 2: Zeffrin (R/W/U Good Stuff)
I drop Cloudpost. He drops Bloodstained Mire and sacrifices it for Sacred Foundry. I drop Vesuva, play Top, and set up another Cloudpost. He drops Hallowed Fountain and Silver Knight, then Steam Vents and Chrome Mox, powering out a quick Lightning Angel. I play and activate a fourth-turn Mindslaver.
He plays Fact or Fiction for 0 (thanks to my Mindslaver turn!), and I Reap and Sow for Academy Ruins on my turn. He attacks, and I Moment's Peace, drop Triskelion and a Vesuva, and put Mindslaver back on top of my deck. He Absorbs it on my next turn, but I put it back on top of my deck, activate Sensei's Divining Top to draw it, and replay/use it for the second time that turn. He concedes, since that allows me to lock him down for the rest of the game.
He gets a lot of Samurai, but I set up my board with Moment's Peace and get one of his turns with Mindslaver. This lets me empty out his hand to the board, setting up for a devastating Oblivion Stone. I get several Cloudposts to the board and drop Dark Depths, allowing me to kill him in one swing with Marit Lage.
Game 4: ae_33 (Affinity)
A turn by turn gamelog – the numbers in parenthesis are life totals.
Turn 1: Cloudpost.
AETurn 1: Great Furnace, Pyrite Spellbomb
Turn 2: Forest
AE Turn 2: Glimmervoid, Pyrite Spellbomb, Chromatic Star, Ornithopter, Frogmite
Turn 3: Forest, Oblivion Stone
AE Turn 3: 2x Spellbomb me (16), attack with Frogmite (14), Academy Ruins.
Turn 4: Cloudpost, Reap and SowGreat Furnace.
AE Turn 4: Vault of Whispers, Shrapnel BlastChromatic Star (9), attack with Frogmite (7).
Turn 5: Forest, Triskelion
AE Turn 5: Attack, I block Frogmite, it gets Shrapnel Blasted at me (2), Seat of the Synod.
Turn 6: Forest, Reap/Sow (entwined) on Glimmervoid, get Cloudpost, attack for 4 (16)
AE Turn 6: Blinkmoth Nexus, use Academy Ruins to put Great Furnace on top of deck.
Turn 7: Attack (he blocks with Ornithopter), Mindslaver.
AE Turn 7 (Stuffy Doll in hand): Activate Blinkmoth Nexus (shot with Triskelion), activate Academy Ruins to put Ornithopter on top.
Turn 8: Cloudpost, attack for (13)
AE Turn 8: Great Furnace, Ornithopter
Turn 9: Attack (he blocks), Mindslaver
AE Turn 9: Draw Cranial Plating, activate Academy Ruins with Ornithopter on top.
Turn 10: Attack (10)
AE Turn 10: Ornithopter, Cranial Plating, put Plating on Ornithopter.
Turn 11: Shoot Ornithopter, attack for 1 (9), cycle Krosan Tusker, get Island, Wurmcalling. Cast Wurmcalling, with buyback, for a 6/6 and a 5/5.
AE Turn 11: Cast Thoughtcast, play Vault of Whispers, concede.
Game 5: Bipaic (W/U Control)
He gets Watchwolf, then Vitu-Ghazi. I get a fourth-turn Triskelion, then get Wurmcalling for five. He plays Faith's Fetters on my token and then Thrive on his guys. I Reap/Sow his Vitu-Ghazi and then Mindslaver him. I make him drop Pentarch Paladin, and go into Mindslaver recursion mode. Within a couple of turns, he's destroyed all of his own non-land permanents, and I have an army of 9/9 Wurms crashing into the Red Zone.
Game 7: Albaster Dragon (Mono-Black Madness)
He gets Curse of the Cabal – and I Mindslaver him. Note: You don't want to get hit by Mindslaver when you're playing Curse of the Cabal. I don't have enough to recur the Slaver (which would allow me to make him sacrifice all of his permanents, one turn at a time), but I do make him lose half his board, including all his good cards. He also plays Trespasser il-Vec, discarding all his cards. Eventually I get enough mana to lock him, and he dies to his own Sangrophage.
Game 8: Electrickill (W/R/G Legends)
He gets Godo with Lightning Greaves and Loxodon Warhammer. I Moment's Peace, and he drops Yosei. I drop Oblivion Stone, but he drops Yosei number two. I am forced to activate my Oblivion Stone in response so that I don't eat massive Godo death. He has a second Godo, which gets a second Loxodon Warhammer, and he swings me down to 8 before I can untap again. Once I do, though, I get Mindslaver, make him play another Godo (killing the one on the board), and lock the board down with Academy Ruins.
Game 9: Norselord (Myrs)
He drops Myrs and Genesis Chamber, then Mycosynth Golem. I draw four Cloudposts and Vesuvas, play and activate a turn-four Oblivion Stone, and then Reap and Sow for Dark Depths the following turn (off of a Forest). Marit Lage comes in two turns later for a full twenty damage.
He gets Gemhide Sliver and uses it to power out a quick army of Slivers, culminating in Fury Sliver. I drop to 8, but thankfully I've gotten several Sylvan Scryings and Sakura-Tribe Elders, and I ramp up to Oblivion Stone. He puts his Slivers back on top of the deck with Pulmonic Sliver, but I play Mindslaver, search for Academy Ruins, and lock him down. With Dark Depths, I am able to keep him locked and remove a counter a turn, killing him eleven turns later.
Game 11: The HarlequinofHate (Mono-U Control)
He Boomerangs and Wipes Clean my Cloudpost on turns two, three, four and five. Thankfully, he doesn't have any other action going, and I get multiple Cloudposts and Vesuvas, allowing me to attempt to hard-cast Mindslaver. The first gets Remanded and then Rewind, but I have Academy Ruins and can keep recurring Mindslaver until he runs out of countermagic. Four turns later, I finally stick the Mindslaver to the board and lock down the game for good.
Game 12: Omax24 (R/W Burn)
He gets a bunch of mana and drops quite a few weenies. I get an all-Cloudpost/Vesuva draw and Oblivion Stone on turn four. By turn seven, I have two Islands and five Cloudposts on the board, with a Spell Burst in hand. I draw Dark Depths and kill him quickly with a 20/20, without ever having drawn a Forest.
Game 13: Strauss4444 (Tron/Post)
He drops Cloudpost, I drop Forest. He then plays two Urza's Mine and an Urza's Tower, allowing me to Sylvan Scrying for Vesuva twice, giving me two Cloudposts. When I Reap and Sow his Cloudpost (entwined), he concedes.
I drop a quick 7/7 Wurm, and he answers with Ensnaring Bridge. I ramp up to three Cloudposts, an Island, and a Forest, and then get Spell Burst online. He gets stuck at three lands, and I drop a Forest and Reap/Sow him back to two. I keep dropping 6/6 Wurms to the board and Mindslaver him into keeping enough cards in hand for me to attack with my guys.
Game 15: Mead (U/R Legends)
He gets down Quicksilver Dragon and Shape Stealer, but I blow Mindslaver and drop Oblivion Stone. He casts (under my tutelage) Sakashima the Impostor and Clone, killing them both. I blow the Stone, Mindslaver lock him, and make him Incinerate himself every turn with a freshly drawn Jaya Ballard.
Game 16: Shepard (B/W)
He gets stuck on two lands, and I go Forest, Academy Ruins (Sylvan Scrying for Cloudpost), Cloudpost, Vesuva (cycle Tusker), Reap/Sow entwined, with 2 more Reap Sow and a Mindslaver in hand. He concedes.
Game 17: Imatone (B/R)
He gets two quick Ravenous Rats. I block one with Sakura-Tribe Elder, and then Reap/Sow him on turn four (Turn 1 Cloudpost, turn 2 Vesuva and Top, turn 3 Forest plus Elder, turn 4 Reap/Sow entwined). I then proceed to tutor about eleven more lands out of my deck (including Dark Depths), Mindslaver him, and kill him with a 20/20.
Game 18: Blackhammer (U/G/B Momir Vig)
I get Cloudpost, and he drops Akki Raider. I drop Vesuva, he Stone Rains it. I drop Vesuva, and he Stone Rains it again. He drops Akki Blizzard-Herder and a second Raider, but I have Moment's Peace to buy me time to get more lands into play. After his attacks, I drop Oblivion Stone, knocking him back down to two mana. He Shocks and Firebolts me down to 1, but I get Wurmcalling, drop a 9/9 Wurm, and swing in twice to knock him down to 2 before he draws a fifth land or another burn spell. Triskelion seals the deal.Record: 19-0
Game 20: Silverspear (B/R Rakdos)
He gets an early morph and Hellhole Rats. I ramp up to Oblivion Stone, Moment's Peace twice, and then blow Oblivion Stone revealing Liege of the Pit. Then I get a Mindslaver lock, and he concedes after I am about to get his second Liege of the Pit morphed.
Game 21: ZaHand (B/G Zombies)
He gets early Withered Wretch. I Oblivion Stone it while he's tapped out, because I don't want to lose the ability to recur. He drops double Rotlung Reanimator, but I keep them at bay with Triskelion. He breaks that stalemate with Undead Warchief, but I block one Reanimator, shoot the other one with damage on the stack, and then recur Oblivion Stone to wipe his board clean. A Sylvan Scrying for Dark Depths allows me to kill him two turns later.
He gets early Draco and Etched Oracle, and I can't draw any Cloudposts. I Moment's Peace for four straight turns, and end up with eleven non-Cloudpost lands on the board! This allows me to Mindslaver him, kill Draco by refusing to pay the zero upkeep, use Engineered Explosives to kill his own Myr Retriever, and then use the Myr Retriever to get back Etched Oracle to draw myself three cards! Within a couple of turns, I finally get two more lands down and Mindslaver lock him with Academy Ruins.
Game 23: Rocktomaspm (B/U Dimir)
He gets stuck on two lands, and I Reap/Sow both of them and start making ever-increasing Wurm tokens. He concedes after drawing no more lands.
Game 24: GuitarHero (U/B Ninjas)
He Boomerangs my first land, then drops two Mistblade Shinobi. He trades them for Sakura-Tribe Elder and then raw-dogs double Ninja of the Deep Hours. I make a 3/3 Wurm with buyback, he bounces it. I make a 2/2 Wurm, which leaves me enough mana to Spell Burst another bounce spell. He doesn't have one, and I draw four Cloudposts, allowing me to start dropping 6/6 Wurms with double Spell Burst backup.
Game 25: Quans (U/R Coinflip)
He gets Krark's Thumb and Fabricates for Izzet Signet. I Reap/Sow his Steam Vents and build up to Mindslaver. He has triple Pulse of the Forge, double Mirror Gallery, and Squee's Revenge. I Squee him for 10 (he gets double tails on a heads flip the first time) and then drop a 10/10 Wurm (no buyback) on my turn. He can't kill it, and I have triple Island, quadruple Cloudpost, a Forest, and Spell Burst in hand. He dies shortly thereafter to my Wurm.
Well, that concludes Building on a Budget for the year! I hope you all have a happy holiday season, a great New Year, and enjoy tinkering around with my Eight-Post deck! I didn't make any changes to the deck over twenty-five games (after all, why change any cards if you literally don't drop a game?), but there's a lot of things you can do if you have access to sixty-four mana!