Still Rareless, Still Careless

Posted in Building on a Budget on June 1, 2011

By Jacob Van Lunen

Jacob Van Lunen began playing Magic in 1995. He has participated in organized play at every level of competition and was a member of the winning team at Pro Tour San Diego in 2007, thanks to an innovative draft strategy. As a writer, Van Lunen has had more than three hundred Magic strategy pieces published

I've received a lot of email asking for a post–New Phyrexia version of "Rareless and Careless," a deck I had worked on a few months ago. A lot of newer players may be wary of entering the fray of Constructed Magic without access to powerful spells like Jace, the Mind Sculptor or Primeval Titan.

These fears are usually misconceived, though. Local Standard tournaments are a great place to start your Constructed Magic career. There are always a good number of players just starting out. Best of all, it's possible to be competitive at these events with decks you can put together easily.

Rareless and Careless is an attempt to make a competitive Standard deck that doesn't play a single rare or mythic rare in the entire 75. Red and blue still offer the best options at the common and uncommon rarities. Blue provides us with card advantage and library manipulation while red provides us with removal. I want to build the deck in a manner that teaches the pilot how to understand and profitably manipulate a very wide array of situations.

Let's start by taking a look at the original deck list.

Rareless and Careless

Download Arena Decklist

The format has changed a great deal since the original publication of Rareless and Careless. With the printing of Batterskull, Caw-Blade has gone from a tier 1 deck to the most terrifying thing you've ever seen. Luckily, this archetype has enough burn to ensure that one will have the burn spell for the Stoneforge Mystic to at least delay Batterskull from entering the fray.

Æther Adept was very good at stabilizing against decks like Boros and Kuldotha Red. Neither of those decks seems to be a threat anymore. It's time we switched the Æther Adept to another card that might be better in the current format.

Scroll Thief
Neurok Commando

If one looks at the most successful Standard decks of the past few weeks, one will immediately notice a common trend. Most decks have stopped running spot removal like Lightning Bolt or Condemn. Most decks have also stopped toying around with Gideon Jura. These two factors make Scroll Thief an excellent inclusion that increases the consistency with which we have an Ophidian-like creature to cast on the third turn. I also found myself having issues with cards like Neurok Commando, Æther Adept, and Searing Blaze; it's difficult to have perfect mana, and these cards really put an unnecessary strain on the mana base. Neurok Commando is powerful enough to defend its inclusion here, but the other cards are definitely getting cut.

It's also worth noting that the current lack of removal and Gideon in the format is hugely beneficial to your Kiln Fiend draws. I wouldn't even play around Condemn anymore.

"Do you have one of those two Condemns that are in your deck? No? Okay, you're dead."

Rareless and Careless, post–New Phyrexia update

Download Arena Decklist

The new version of the deck is specifically designed to make you a better Magic player. Gitaxian Probe lets you know your role. Sometimes, you'll want to function as a control deck. You know your opponent is going to cast a Jace, the Mind Sculptor on a key turn with Spell Pierce backup so you don't cast your second creature, leaving you with enough mana to cast Mana Leak and pay for the Spell Pierce. You know your opponent has an aggressive draw so you manipulate him or her into giving you a few two-for-ones with your Arc Trails or Forked Bolts. It becomes clear that you can play a very aggressive game and use your burn to end the game very quickly. The information granted by Gitaxian Probe is huge here.

Playing only 20 lands seems very scary these days, but the deck doesn't have any cards that cost more than three, and it only plays ten that cost three. The overwhelming majority of the cards in the deck only cost one mana, this allows to deck to receive a strange sort of card advantage. It draws less land and more spells than the opponent, it just needs to carefully use each inexpensive spell in a way that remains on par with the more expensive plays of the opponent.

The sideboard:

4 Flashfreeze
1 Deprive
2 Scroll Thief
2 Forked Bolt
3 Crush
1 Manic Vandal
2 Spell Pierce

Crush is necessary in a world of Batterskull and Sword of War and Peace. Your deck has enough burn to keep the sword in check, but the Batterskull can be a real issue if it resolves or is put into play.

Flashfreeze is necessary if we want to have a chance against Valakut decks and certain Blue-Red-Green variants. I wouldn't bother sideboarding all four of this card against Splinter Twin decks or Elf decks. You already crush Elf decks with cards like Forked Bolt, Staggershock, and Arc Trail, and too many copies of Flashfreeze will just make your draws clunky.

We upgrade our Arc Trails to Spell Pierce and Deprive when playing against Splinter Twin decks.

Let's play some games!

I lost the roll and kept Terramorphic Expanse, 2 Island, Preordain, Arc Trail, Burst Lightning, and Neurok Commando. My opponent played a Blackcleave Cliffs, cast a Pulse Tracker, and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain, played my Terramorphic Expanse, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked with Pulse Tracker and I fell to 18, then he played his land and cast Kalastria Highborn. I popped my Terramorphic Expanse and found a Mountain on his end step. I drew a Lighting Bolt, played an Island, cast Arc Trail dispatching both Vampires, and passed the turn. My opponent played an Inquisition of Kozilek and took my Neurok Commando, then cast Vampire Lacerator and passed the turn. I drew a Kiln Fiend, cast it, and passed the turn. My opponent went to 19, cast a Lightning Bolt targeting the Kiln Fiend, and attacked. I cast Burst Lightning to dispatch the 2/2, and he passed the turn.

I drew a Mana Leak, cast Preordain, found a Scroll Thief, put it on top to draw it, played my land, and cast Scroll Thief. My opponent cast a Bloodghast and passed the turn back. I drew a Forked Bolt, attacked for 1, drew a Neurok Commando, cast it, and passed the turn. My opponent played his third land and cast a kicked Gatekeeper of Malakir. I sacrificed my Scroll Thief, he attacked for 2, and I fell to 16. I cast Lightning bolt on the Gatekeeper on my opponent's end step.

I drew Arc Trail, attacked with Neurok Commando, drew an Island, played it, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked for another 2 damage and attempted to cast another kicked Gatekeeper, but I cast Mana Leak, and he passed the turn. I drew Lightning Bolt, cast Arc Trail dealing 2 to my opponent and 1 to the Bloodghast, then attacked for 2 and drew a Mountain. I played it and passed the turn. My opponent cast an Inquisition of Kozilek, and I cast Lightning Bolt targeting him in response. He took the Forked Bolt, played a land, returned the Bloodghast, and passed the turn. I drew a Staggershock, attacked for 2, drew Burst Lightning, and passed the turn. My opponent cast another Bloodghast, attacked for 2, and passed the turn. I cast a kicked Burst Lightning targeting him on his end step, then drew a Preordain, attacked for 2, drew Arc Trail, and cast Arc Trail to finish off my opponent.

Sideboarding: -4 Kiln Fiend, +2 Scroll Thief, +2 Forked Bolt

I kept 2 Mountain, Island, Neurok Commando, Arc Trail, Burst Lightning, Lightning Bolt. My opponent played a Vampire Lacerator and passed the turn. I drew a Staggershock, played my Mountain, and passed. I let my opponent take 1 from his Vampire Lacerator and then cast Burst Lightning to kill it. My opponent played a second land, cast Vampire Hexmage, and passed the turn. I drew a Gitaxian Probe, paid 2 life to cast it, and saw Swamp, Marsh Flats, Dark Tutelage, and Kalastria Highborn. I drew Mana Leak and decided to keep two mana open to counter the Dark Tutelage. My opponent attacked for 2 and attempted to cast Dark Tutelage, but I cast Mana Leak as planned. I drew an Island, played it, cast Neurok Commando, and passed the turn.

I knew my Arc Trail would achieve a very juicy two-for-one if I let my opponent cast that Kalastria Highborn the next turn. My opponent cast Kalastria Highborn, played his land, attacked me down to 14, and passed the turn. I drew a Mana Leak and cast Arc Trail killing both Vampires. My opponent paid two mana for the Highborn's triggers and drained me for 4 life, putting me at 10. I attacked my opponent down to 21 and drew another Neurok Commando. My opponent attempted to cast a Gatekeeper of Malakir with kicker, but I had the Mana Leak. I drew a Lightning Bolt, attacked my opponent down to 19, cast another Neurok Commando, and passed the turn. My opponent activated his Lavaclaw Reaches and attacked me, but I cast Lightning Bolt to quickly end those shenanigans. I drew an Island, attacked my opponent down to 15, drew a Mountain and another Staggershock, played my land, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Vampire Lacerator and passed. I cast Staggershock to dispatch the Vampire on his end step. On my upkeep, I rebounded the Staggershock to put him at 13. I drew a Burst Lightning, attacked my opponent down to nine, drew a Lightning Bolt and a Gitaxian Probe, cast Gitaxian Probe, saw a hand of land, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Bloodghast and attacked for 2; I took the damage. I cast a Staggershock targeting his face on his end step, rebounded it, attacked, and cast Lightning Bolt to end the game.

I lost the roll and kept 2 Island, Preordain, Neurok Commando, Lightning Bolt, Staggershock, and Scroll Thief. My opponent cast an Inquisition of Kozilek off a Darkslick Shores and took my Lightning Bolt. I cast Preordain, didn't find a Mountain, put both cards on the bottom, and drew the Mountain I was looking for. My opponent cast a Stoneforge Mystic and searched his library for a Batterskull. I drew another Staggershock, played my land, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Creeping Tar Pit and passed the turn with a Plains and a Darkslick Shores up. I drew Forked Bolt, cast Neurok Commando, and passed the turn, and my opponent used Stoneforge Mystic's activated ability to drop the Batterskull down on my end step. He attacked with the Germ token for 5 damage and went to 24, then cast a Spellskite and passed the turn. I drew an Island, played it, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked me for 4 and went to 28, then passed the turn with five mana open. I cast Staggershock targeting my opponent's Stoneforge Mystic on his end step, and he redirected it to his Spellskite. On the rebound I again targeted the Stoneforge Mystic with my Staggershock, and it hit the Spellskite again. I drew a Mountain, played it, cast another Staggershock to finish off the Spellskite, cast a Lightning Bolt to deal with Stoneforge Mystic, and passed the turn. My opponent attacked for another 4 lifelinking damage, cast Jace, the Mind Sculptor, looked at my top card, left it there, and passed the turn. I drew an Island, played it, cast Scroll Thief, and passed the turn. I couldn't see a way out from under the Batterskull and I conceded after my opponent Brainstormed with Jace and cast a pair of Spellskites the next turn.

Sideboarding: -4 Kiln Fiend, -2 Forked Bolt, +3 Crush, +1 Manic Vandal, +2 Spell Pierce

I mulliganed and kept Mountain, Island, Preordain, Crush, Lightning Bolt, and Scroll Thief. I played my Island, cast Preordain, kept an Island and a Mana Leak on top, drew the Island, and passed the turn. My opponent cast a Despise and took my Scroll Thief. I drew the Mana Leak, played my land, and passed the turn. My opponent played a Celestial Colonnade and passed the turn. I drew a Gitaxian Probe, cast it for 2 life, and saw a hand with 2 Stoneforge Mystic, Marsh Flats, Spell Pierce, Creeping Tar Pit, and Sword of War and Peace. I thought about scooping on the spot, but figured I'd play the game out. I drew a Staggershock off the Probe, then played my land and passed the turn.

My opponent played a land and cast Stoneforge Mystic—which I was forced to allow because I knew he had the Spell Pierce—and fetched up his Batterskull. He cast an Inquisition of Kozilek and took my Crush. I draw an Island, played it, Staggershocked the Stoneforge Mystic, and passed the turn. My opponent played Creeping Tar Pit, cast Spellskite, and passed the turn. I shot the Spellskite with the rebound, then drew a Burst Lightning and finished off the Spellskite before passing back. My opponent played a Marsh Flats, cracked it, cast Batterskull, and passed the turn. I drew a Mountain, played it, and passed. My opponent cast a Sword of War and Peace, equipped it to the Batterskull Germ token, and attacked with the 6/6 vigilance lifelink protection from red monster. I conceded.

Rareless and Careless still has what it takes to compete in the current Standard environment. Yes, the deck has issues with Batterskull, but the same can be said for every non-combo deck in the format. If you're looking to start playing Constructed with cards you probably already have (that are easy to get if you don't), then this is the perfect deck for you!

Be sure to hit the forums or shoot me an email with any suggestions or feedback.

Happy brewing!

Latest Building on a Budget Articles

Daily MTG

June 27, 2012

War Falcon by, Jacob Van Lunen

The Magic 2013 core set is going to be on the shelves of your local game shop in less than three weeks. Many powerful cards have already been announced. I can't begin to explain how excit...

Learn More

Building on a Budget

June 20, 2012

Solving the Control Conundrum by, Jacob Van Lunen

ello and welcome back to another edition of Building on a Budget. I've been working on a new deck for Standard over the past two weeks and I'm excited to share it with you guys today! In ...

Learn More



Building on a Budget Archive

Consult the archives for more articles!

See All