Posted in Building on a Budget on August 6, 2004

By Nate Heiss

No – this article is not about the card Life Burst. Get over it. It is, however, about other equally cool life-gain, however.

Clearwater GobletUnderappreciated means underpriced!

If you ever looked at all my Building on a Budget articles in one day – you would notice two things. First – you would see that I enjoy budget black decks. Second, I enjoy decks that use Sun Droplet. Today's deck falls into the latter category. This deck came about because I really wanted to show off the Sunburst mechanic in a deck – especially Clearwater Goblet. Everyone knows that Etched Oracle is a bargain for four mana, but I think they do not realize the awesome power that the Goblet holds. And they obviously don't enjoy Sun Droplet as much as I do.

Recurring life is very, very powerful. Gaining five life a turn is nothing to scoff at, especially when you don't have to maintain it every upkeep or some other nonsense. This deck is designed to gain life faster than they can deal damage to you – eventually picking off their guys with Infused Arrows and beating down for the win.

When I first looked at the spoiler for Fifth Dawn, Clearwater Goblet stuck out in my mind as one of those cards that would be really, really good if the environments were just a turn slower. I think it is good enough to play with anyhow and is quite undervalued monetarily…the perfect basis for a budget deck!


Download Arena Decklist

This deck plays out by dropping some early mana fixers in order to get more colors for Sunburst (Viridian Acolyte, Sylvok Explorer, Darksteel Ingot, Pentad Prism) and maybe a Sun Droplet to help stave off the beats for a turn or two before the heavy hitters start to arrive. This deck starts turning the game around when it becomes time to cast cards like Etched Oracle, Clearwater Goblet, and Infused Arrows…oh, let's not forget Ageless Entity…he gets out of hand rather quickly.

This deck is a bit clunky and it might take a little while to get control of things, but that is why all that life gain is in there. Don't worry; you have all the time in the world. Kill those creatures one at a time - block and draw cards with Etched Oracle – you aren't going anywhere. No one is going to Shrapnel Blast you out with a Clearwater Goblet going.

Sometimes this deck can just come out really fast due to Pentad Prism. It has the ability to cast a turn 3 Ageless Entity, Etched Oracle, or a fast Clearwater Goblet to start taking the life lead early. If this happens, you opponent will either have to deal with your monsters or pack it in.

I would just like to state for the record that I am finally using Ageless Entity - I have caved to the public demands. It seems like every time I put up a deck with life gain, everyone wants to see the Entity in action. Well, now is the time – seize the moment.

I would worry a little bit if I was trying to play this deck against a really fast deck like Affinity or maybe Goblins. It is more of a casual deck design even though it could probably beat those decks sometimes. I would say stick to this build for enjoyment factors. If you want to get ahead with your rating while using this deck, then you will definitely need to add money to it.

Tips on Playing the Deck

Adding Money to the Deck

This deck can go in so many different ways. You can use Bringer of the Blue Dawn, or any bringer for that matter – Bringer of the White Dawn + Mindslaver is becoming a quick favorite of many. You can add Joiner Adepts instead of those Viridian Acolytes to ensure you can fully Sunburst. You can add Eternal Witness because they would be just awesome in the deck with the Etched Oracles.

If you want to go beyond Mirrodin Block and make this a Standard legal deck, you can use cards like Zur's Weirding to lock up the game with Clearwater Goblet, and City of Brass to help out with your mana more. Birds of Paradise would also give this deck a big speed boost while maintaining flavor. If you are going to play this in the current tourney environment, I suggest at least having some way to deal with affinity.

Until next time, Giant Fan!

-Nate Heiss
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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