The Final Two: Red!

Posted in Building on a Budget on August 13, 2008

By Ben Bleiweiss

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Building on a Budget, the column dedicated to building decks that cost 30 tickets or less using Magic Online. My name is Ben Bleiweiss, and I'll be your host for two of the next three weeks (I have a week off next week, and then I return for my final column). In last week's column, I continued the series where I take a random list of rares that all cost half a ticket or less, such as this one:


Adamaro, First to Desire Ghitu Fire Magnivore Sensation Gorger
Aggravated Assault Goblin Game Magus of the Arena Shah of Naar Isle
Akki Lavarunner Goblin Goon Magus of the Scroll Shaman's Trance
Ashen Firebeast Goblin King Mana Clash Shard Phoenix
Ashling the Pilgrim Goblin Pyromancer Mana Echoes Shared Animosity
Ashling's Prerogative Godo, Bandit Warlord Mannichi, the Fevered Dream Shimatsu the Bloodcloaked
Balthor the Stout Grand Melee Mass Hysteria Shivan Dragon
Bedlam Granulate Master Warcraft Shivan Hellkite
Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit Gratuitous Violence Megatog Shivan Wumpus
Bend or Break Grip of Chaos Menacing Ogre Shunt
Blazing Shoal Hamletback Goliath Mindblaze Siege of Towers
Bloodfire Colossus Hammer of Bogardan Mindmoil Skarrgan Firebird
Bloodshot Cyclops Hammerfist Giant Mine Layer Skirk Alarmist
Boldwyr Heavyweights Heartless Hidetsugu Mogg Sentry Skirk Fire Marshal
Bomb Squad Heat Shimmer Molten Firebird Skyfire Kirin
Boom/Bust Hell-Bent Raider Mudhole Soulblast
Borderland Behemoth Hidetsugu's Second Rite Myojin of Infinite Rage Spiteful Visions
Breaking Point Homura, Human Ascendant Need for Speed Stalking Vengeance
Breath of Fury Hostility Norin the Wary Stand or Fall
Burning Sands Hunted Dragon Nova Chaser Steamflogger Boss
Butcher Orgg Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician Obstinate Familiar Stormscale Anarch
Callous Giant Iizuka the Ruthless Okk Sunrise Sovereign
Clash of Realities Impatience Overmaster Tarox Bladewing
Clickslither Imperial Hellkite Pact of the Titan Tectonic Instability
Confusion in the Ranks Impromptu Raid Parallectric Feedback Tephraderm
Cosmic Larva Impulsive Maneuvers Pardic Dragon Thieves' Auction
Cragganwick Cremator In the Web of War Pardic Miner Thoughts of Ruin
Crimson Hellkite Incendiary Command Patron of the Akki Through the Breach
Decree of Annihilation Inferno Petradon Thunderblade Charge
Deep-Slumber Titan Insurrection Possessed Barbarian Thundermare
Detritivore Ion Storm Radiate Tide of War
Din of the Fireherd Ishi-Ishi, Akki Crackshot Rage Reflection Titan's Revenge
Djinn Illuminatus Jaya Ballard, Task Mage Rally the Horde Torchling
Dragon Mage Jeska, Warrior Adept Rathi Dragon Two-Headed Dragon
Dragon Roost Jiwari, the Earth Aflame Reckless Embermage Tyrannize
Dragon Tyrant Kaboom! Reiterate Undying Flames
Dwarven Bloodboiler Kamahl, Pit Fighter Relentless Assault Unstable Hulk
Dwarven Shrine Karplusan Minotaur Reversal of Fortune Valleymaker
Elemental Mastery Karplusan Yeti Rimescale Dragon Vengeful Firebrand
Excruciator Kilnmouth Dragon Risky Move Volcano Hellion
Fatal Frenzy Knollspine Dragon Rockshard Elemental Volley of Boulders
Fervor Knollspine Invocation Rosheen Meanderer Vulshok Battlemaster
Fiery Gambit Kumano, Master Yamabushi Ruby Leech War Elemental
Final Fortune Lava Hounds Rukh Egg Warp World
Flame Fusillade Lavaborn Muse Ryusei, the Falling Star War's Toll
Flowstone Slide Leyline of Lightning Savage Beating Wild Research
Form of the Dragon Lightning Crafter Savage Firecat Wild Ricochet
Fortune Thief Lightning Surge Scoria Wurm Wildfire
Fumiko the Lowblood Living Inferno Scourge of Kher Ridges Word of Seizing
Furnace Dragon Loafing Giant Searing Wind Words of War
Furnace of Rath Mages' Contest Sedge Sliver Wort, the Raidmother
Fury of the Horde Magma Giant Seize the Day Zo-Zu the Punisher

Run it through the random list generator:

Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit
Reckless Embermage
Ryusei, the Falling Star
Decree of Annihilation
Stand or Fall
Furnace Dragon
Shivan Dragon
Heartless Hidetsugu
Wort, the Raidmother
Breaking Point
Lightning Crafter
Lavaborn Muse
Karplusan Yeti
Tide of War
Relentless Assault
Shard Phoenix
Hammerfist Giant
Rally the Horde
Scourge of Kher Ridges
Skarrgan Firebird
Skirk Fire Marshal
Through the Breach
Shivan Hellkite
Akki Lavarunner
Balthor the Stout
Vulshok Battlemaster
Cragganwick Cremator
Wild Research

And end up with the following starting deck heyah!:

Final Red 1

Download Arena Decklist


Immediately I can see that there are a few dead cards here (Wild Research without mana to activate it? Mudhole at all?), but random is random, and what color embraces randomness more than red? Still, I'm pretty sure that there are a few candidates here that are not long for the world, so with that in mind, I shuffled up (electronically) for Game 1!

Game 1: astateofdissipation (Poison Clone)

I end up trading a Reckless Embermage for a Vesuvan Shapeshifter, at which point astateofdissipation drops Swamp Mosquito, clones it twice, and backs them with double Swarmyard. Although I have a lot of creatures on the board, I am unable to outrace his ability to regenerate his Mosquitoes and then poison me to death.

Record: 0-1

Out: Impatience, Mudhole, Wild Research, Tide of War
In: 4x Jaws of Stone

I like the idea of having something to use with a lot of Mountains, and Jaws of Stone seems like a ton of fun for a mono-red deck—kind of like Volcanic Winds, but able to go straight to the head. I also have visions of being about to conspire it with Wort, for a good 12-14 damage to the head.

Final Red 2

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Game 2: resqueda (Black-Base Shrines Land Destruction)

Resqueda starts the game with an Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, then a Forest, and then drops two Spreading Algae on each of my first two lands. He then blows up one of my lands with Rancid Earth and proceeds to drop Honden of Cleansing Fire. I build up to six mana and start dropping creatures, the first of which (Reckless Embermage) dies to Porphyry Nodes. I drop Karplusan Yeti and Tephraderm, and resqueda answers with Honden of Life's Web.

I break through by ramping up to eight, allowing me to drop Wort, the Raidmother without having to lose my Mountain / Swamps to his Algae. When he drops another Porphyry Nodes, I play and conspire Jaws of Stone, hitting each of his tokens for one, and doming him for 12 damage, plus 10 from my attacking creatures. He gets two more blockers on his turn, but I have a second Jaws of Stone, and I am able to send 18 damage directly to his head, outracing his life gain and winning the game.

Record: 1-1

Game 3: electricmessiah (Black-White Lifegain)


Shivan Dragon
Electricmessiah starts out with Soul Warden, and by the time I get my first play (Reckless Embermage), he's accelerated into back-to-back Beacon of Immortality, courtesy of Mind Stone and Orzhov Signet. He then drops triple Hissing Miasma and double Righteous Cause, and tops it off with a third Beacon of Immortality for good measure.

I start to get back into the game with a Shivan Hellkite, but it is shut down quickly with Faith's Fetters. I then drop Shivan Dragon, and start swinging for an upwards of 17 damage a turn (taking 3 damage each time I swing). I hit him five times with Shivan Dragon (for a total of around 100 damage), and then drop Wort, the Raidmother. This enables me to get back-to-back Jaws of Stone for 24 each, bringing electricmessiah back down to a manageable life range.

As I get stuck on 2 life (without any more chance to attack), I start pinging electricmessiah once a turn with my Embermage (once on his turn, and once on my turn), adding Lavaborn Muse for an extra 3 damage a turn against his empty hand. He gets a last-ditch Beacon to stave off death for a turn, but I am able to finish him off with Lavaborn Muse to seal a victory that was, at one point, 160ish life points away.

Record: 2-1

Game 4: Gotoblivion14 (Black-White Orzhov)

He starts with Order of the Stars on turn two, naming red. He then drops Shrieking Grotesque, puts Pillory of the Sleepless on my Lavaborn Muse, and puts Faith's Fetters on my Karplusan Yeti, sealing the game as the rest of the drops in my hand cost 6+ mana.

Record: 2-2

Out: Breaking Point, Akki Lavarunner, Fervor, Rally the Horde, Stand or Fall, Through the Breach, Vulkshok Battlemaster
In: 3 Wort, the Raidmother, 2 Lavaborn Muse, 2 Cragganwick Cremator

Yup, conspire + Jaws = dead opponents. I add in some more creatures that have done well for me so far, and take out some of the chaff from the deck.

Final Red 3

Download Arena Decklist

Game 5: DrDelight456 (Blue-Red Spirits)

DrDelight456 drops Slumbering Tora, and I get Balthor the Stout, Lavaborn Muse, and Cragganwick Cremator (discarding Shivan Hellkite at random). He is forced to play defense, and activates his Tora with Kuro, Pitlord, but I have hit him for enough damage to win with my unblocked creatures.

Record: 3-2

Game 6: eightc (Enchantress)

Eightc starts with Verduran Enchantress and Unstable Mutation. I get down Cragganwick Cremator and then drop Shard Phoenix. Eightc gets Living Terrain, drops Simic Guildmage, and uses Persuasion on my Cremator. I block the Treefolk land on the attack (while eightc is down to one mana, and so can't move around the Mutation), and sacrifice the Phoenix to take care of the now-shrunk Enchantress and the Guildmage. I then drop Wort, the Raidmother, take a 10-hit from two attackers, and wipe out eightc's board with a conspired Jaws of Stone.


Wort, the Raidmother
Jaws of Stone

Eightc recovers with Troll Ascetic, Eternal Witness, and Persuasion on my Wort. I play Ryusei, the Falling Star, and it is put under Faith's Fetters. Eightc taps out to do this, and I Jaws of Stone my own Ryusei, the Falling Star to take out eightc's board. Unfortunately, the game does not have a happy ending for yours truly, and a Centaur Glade the following turn pumps out more guys than I can reasonably handle.

Record: 3-3

Out: Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit, Balthor the Stout, Hammerfist Giant, Karplusan Yeti, Heartless Hidetsugu, Lightning Crafter, Overmaster, Radiate, Tephraderm, Skirk Fire Marshal, Reckless Embermage, Scourge of Kher Ridges
Add: 4 Oxidda Golem, 4 Blazing Shoal, 4 Akroma, Angel of Fury

I've had a few games that ended so far with a hugely conspired Jaws of Stone. So I decide to make the focus of the deck "Bang! You're dead!" I want cards that will destroy my opponent from out of nowhere. Blazing Shoal is a fun choice, because I already have a bunch of high-cost cards in my deck (4 Wort, 4 Jaws of Stone), so it will often pitch for +6 damage. I add in Akroma, Angel of Fury, because I can both play it early game (turn three), morph it (turn six), drop it steady (turn eight), or pitch it to Shoal (+8 damage). Oxidda Golem is another "Mountains matter" card to add to this deck, adding a bit of speed via haste.

Final Red 4

Download Arena Decklist

Game 7: thordeer (Elves)


Blazing Shoal
thordeer's turn one: Pendelhaven, Llanowar Elves
My turn one: Mountain
thordeer's turn two: Attack, pump to 2/3, Forest (18-20)
My turn two: Mountain
thordeer's turn three: Forest, attack, pump (16-20)
My turn three: Play Oxidda Golem, swing for three (16-17)
thordeer's turn four: Attack, pump, Forest, Heedless One (14-17)
My turn four: Mountain, attack with Oxidda Golem (14-14)
thordeer's turn five: Imperious Perfect, swing with Llanowar Elves and Heedless One (8-14)
My turn five: Swing with Oxidda Golem. After no blocks are declared, remove Akroma, Angel of Fury and Jaws of Stone from the game with two Blazing Shoals to pump Oxidda Golem to 17/2. Win.

Record: 4-3

Game 8: doch (Red-Blue ???)

Doch casts multiple cantrip-type spells, including triple Chromatic Sphere, double Manamorphose, double Reach through Mists, and double Ponder. I morph a third-turn Akroma, swing with it three times, drop Wort, the Raidmother, and then conspire Jaws of Stone for 14.

Record: 5-3

Game 9: Zyphre (Faeries?)

Zyphre starts the game with Seat of the Synod, and follows it with Mirrodin's Core. I am on the play, and drop a third-turn Oxidda Golem, swing in for three. On his turn three, Zyphre drops Reflecting Pool and Bitterblossom. On my turn four, I swing in, and pitch double Jaws of Stone to deal 15 damage, knocking Zyphre to 2, which becomes one on his upkeep due to his enchantment. Before he can die on his turn, I play Cragganwick Cremator, sending Hostility to the dome.

Record: 6-3

Game 10: lucasnj (Super-High Budget thingy)

Four shocklands, two Birds of Paradise, two Shadowmage Infiltrator, and an Umezawa's Jitte later, and this game is over. Don't mind not being budget; do mind seeing a deck like this in the casual room.

Record: 6-4

Game 11: DarkCyrus (White-Blue-Black Blink)

DarkCyrus starts with Phyrexian Rager, and follows with Aven Riftwatcher. I get face-down Akroma (Terrored) and Wort, the Raidmother. I then play Jaws of Stone, and I misclick, sending 7 damage to a creature, instead of 14 to his head. The next turn, I have Oxidda Golem with Blazing Shoal for 9 (removing another Wort from the game), but he has Momentary Blink on Aven Riftwatcher to stay alive. I stare helplessly at the Cragganwick Cremators in my hand, as I send him down to 1 life—and he drops double Riftwatcher the next turn with Momentary Blink backup to basically blow me back out of the game. It's not often I end up losing to a misclick, but in this case, 100% accurate.

Record: 6-5

Were I to keep evolving the deck, I would continue to focus on cards that can wipe out my opponent in a single turn—perhaps more Relentless Assault (which work well with Wort and with Blazing Shoal) so that my creatures are more often lethal in a single (set of) swings. I also might want some global sweepers, such as Pyroclasm, Sulfurous Blast, or the such, because X/1, X/2, and X/3 flying creatures seemed to give me trouble.

Next week: Guest Columnist!

Two weeks from now: My Final BoaB!

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