Four Letter Nerd

Magic; The Gathering: Building on a Budget


Greetings PlanesWalkers! Every article I write is related to deck building because I like to consider myself a “Deck Architect”. It may seem funny but I enjoy crafting and brewing decks more than I enjoy playing the actual game of Magic The Gathering. I love to sit around and ponder about which cards have synergy, and how they can work together in a certain deck. I am so excited to put this deck together and test it out, I rush to the local card shop swing open the front door and then reality hits. I stare blankly at my written deck list and think to myself, “I didn’t calculate how much this deck is going to cost.” As we all know Magic can cost a pretty penny. You may not be looking to spend astronomical amounts of money to build a deck, but still want to play with friends and have a good time. It is entirely possible to spend miniscule amounts of money to build pretty decent decks, you just have to look hard enough. Today’s article will be all about building on a budget. I will cover the steps to building a budget deck and even give you two examples of some of my favorite ones!

Step One: There are a lot of card websites that display pricing of cards as well as their descriptions. But I prefer to use Star City Games due to the fact that most retailers price their inventory based upon Star City pricing. When you visit the site near the top of the page hover over the “Magic Singles” tab, then select English. From here you can browse any set ever released! You can see the prices and description/image of any card. Scroll through desired sets and look for the commons, uncommons, and cheap rares. Also be sure to look through your dresser drawers and shoe boxes, because you never know what you will find!

Step Two: If you wish to see “Budget” decks that have already been constructed you can go to Tapped Out. At the top of the page click the tab labeled “Deck Builder”. In the “MTG Deck Builder” box click the pull down arrow thats located on the “Browse By Hub” bar. From there scroll through the list of options until you see the word “Budget”. After clicking “Budget” press the enter key. Tapped Out will then pull up a list of “Budget Decks” for you!

Step Three: After browsing through cards you would like to use, make a list of all the cards you would like to use in the deck. Calculate the costs of every card and add the costs of all the cards together. Only spend as much money as you would like to!

The three steps listed above will help you the most when you are looking to make a “Budget Deck”. Follow the steps and you will be sure to conserve your sweet cash, as well as build an awesome deck! I am going to post two “Budget Decks” below that I find really interesting fun to play. I will also include the total cost of each deck below. (Prices are quoted from Star City Games)

Centaur Stampede



4x Centaur BattleMaster

4x Elvish Mystic

2x Pheres Band Raiders

2x Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice


4x Giant Growth

4x God’s Willing

4x Rootborn Defenses

2x Druid’s Deliverance


4x Call of the Conclave


4x Unflinching Courage

4x Growing Ranks

2x Bow of Nylea


8x Forest

12x Plains

The total cost of this deck is 28.20. This deck is based around making “Centaur” Tokens with “Call of the Conclave” and “Pheres-Band Raiders”. After filling up the field with the mighty Centaurs you can “Populate” the tokens and create a massive army! “Growing Ranks” is a four drop enchantment that allows you to “Populate” every Upkeep. Multiple “Growing Ranks” can be in play at the same time, allowing to “Populate” as many times as you are able! Another card to help “Populate” is “Trostani, Selesnya’s Voice” Trostani allows you to pay three mana and “Populate”, her other ability is “Whenever a creature enters the battlefield under your control you gain life equal to that creatures toughness.” With her out as well as “Growing Ranks” you can create an army and gain massive amounts of life! Once the Centaurs have swarmed the field use cards such as “Unflinching Courage” and “Giant Growth” to make them hit the opponent hard! The pump spells and enchantments can also be used on “Centaur Battlemaster” to trigger his “Heroic” ability.

Gruul Smash!



4x Elvish Mystic

4x Burning Tree Emissarry

4x Fanatic of Xenagos

4x Ghor-Clan Rampager

4x Thunder Brute

2x Ruric Thar, the Unbowed

1x Borborygmos Enraged


4x Gruul Charm

4x Giant Growth

4x Flesh/Blood


4x Madcap Skills


10x Mountain

9x Forest

2x Gruul Guildgate

The total cost of this deck is 28.85. Ten dollars can be shaved off of the deck price if you choose an alternative card to replace “Burning Tree Emissary”. This Gruul deck is capable of a turn five victory. On turn three if you play “Fanatic of Xenagos” and the opponent pays his “Tribute” cost he becomes a 4/4. The card “Madcap Skills” gives target enchanted creature plus 3/0 and said creature must be blocked by two or more creatures. This makes “Fanatic” a 7/4 on turn four. On turn five you will have enough mana to unleash the finishing combo which goes in this order; swing in with “Fanatic of Xenagos” for seven, when you swing you will “Bloodrush” him with “Ghor-Clan Rampager”. The Bloodrush from “Ghor-Clan Rampager” will give the Fanatic +4+4 making him swing for 11. At this point you will cast “Giant Growth” giving the Fanatic an additional +3+3 making him swing for 14! Now the finisher is to play “Flesh/Blood” before the damage from “Fanatic of Xenagos” is applied to the opponent.   “Flesh/Blood” states that you can have target creature deal its power in damage to target creature or player. This means you just swung for fourteen damage and hit them for fourteen damage in the face. On turn five the opponent took twenty damage total! If the opponent has removal spells and you cannot finish them off early this deck has plenty of beefy creatures to close out the game. Cards of this nature would be “Ruric Thar, the Unbowed” and “Thunder Brute”. These big guys are meant to finish off the opponent when they hit the field, and they can do just that!

So there you have it, “Budget Decks” are inexpensive and pretty powerful! Some weeks articles will be dedicated to budget building so be on the lookout! Until next time this is Tyler McDuffee. May you walk the Planes with honor!

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