Greetings! I have a deck list for you today, and I hope it will satisfy two goals:
1) Explore an archetype that is not severely nerfed by budget constraints — one that feels complete without a digital fistful of $20+ cards.
2) Create a deck list for a reasonable cost that will not only be a fun deck, but that will also include some staple cards for a fledgling 100 Card Singleton collection.
Point number 2 is intended to remind you that you can gradually chip away at the staples for the 100 Card Singleton format over time and find yourself building non-budget decks. 100CS is uniquely empowering in this regard, because your staples never expire, and you only need one of each.
The enchant-creature themed deck in this article will make good use of a certain category of staple cards:
Tutors are one class of 100CS staples that are worth investing in early on. They provide the easiest way to improve the consistency of your deck in an inherently random format. Some of the key tutor cards and their approximate costs are listed below. I’d guess that the four most prolific 100CS tournament tutors (other than fetch lands) are Mystical Tutor, Mystical Teachings, Enlightened Tutor, and Eladamris Call.
This is only a partial list of the most general tutors. Apart from those, you can also use the more specific tutors, like Imperial Recruiter, Steelshapers Gift, Time of Need, etc. You can look for “search your library” in Gatherer or the MTGO client to find which tutors are available for a given deck.
For the most part, the deck for today has little need for expensive planeswalkers, expensive creatures, or expensive Control cards (see Goal #1). What it does need are a bunch of mostly cheap strategy specific cards and some good tutors. The mana will be an issue, but that is true of any multicolored budget deck. Overall, I think this is an archetype that makes good use of a lot of fun, inexpensive cards without making you ache for $100 worth of cards that you don’t have.
(To load a .txt deck into Magic: Online’s Deck Editor, click “Load”, select “Local Text Deck”, find the location of the downloaded deck file and double-click the deck.)
A Head Start
This list goes for about 45 tickets, but there’s a way to lower part of that cost: start with the Rubinia Enchantress Theme Deck ($19.99). You get a whole bunch of good cards with the deck, including about $20 of cards from this article’s featured deck list. If you do the math from that previous sentence, the extra Rubinia deck cards not used in today’s deck list are basically free.
Here are the cards, along with approximate prices, from the Rubinia theme deck that are also in this article’s featured deck list:
(click to show cost list — Enchantress Rubinia Theme Deck cards)
Enlightened Tutor $10
Armadillo Cloak $2.75
Sterling Grove $2.5
Mirari’s Wake $2
Fact or Fiction $1
Swords to Plowshares $1
Treva’s Ruins $0.35
Sakura-Tribe Elder $0.25
Seaside Citadel $0.2
Azorius Chancery $0.08
Oblivion Ring $0.08
Phantom Centaur $0.05
Krosan Tusker $0.05
Prison Term $0.05
Rupture Spire $0.05
Selesnya Sanctuary $0.05
Terramorphic Expanse $0.05
Yavimaya Enchantress $0.05
Faith’s Fetters $0.04
Simic Growth Chamber $0.04
Bant Panorama $0.03
Fertile Ground $0.03
Here are some of the other notable cards from the Enchantress Rubinia Theme Deck:
Miren, the Moaning Well
Decree of Justice
Seal of Cleansing*
*Those last three cards are currently only available in this theme deck, and they’d cost you something like 15 tickets to buy as singles. Yes, they’re a pretty sweet bonus on top of the other good cards you get.
If desired, you can trade those extra cards for tickets to offset part of the theme deck’s cost, which could potentially reduce this article’s deck cost to 30 or so tickets.
For reference, here is a list of the approximate price of each card, in order of descending value (all prices in Event Tickets)
Enlightened Tutor 10
Eladamri’s Cal l5.50
Worldly Tutor 3.5
Uril, the Miststalker 3.25
Armadillo Cloak 2.75
Sterling Grove 2.5
Mirari’s Wake 2
Privileged Position 1.75
Sigil of the Empty Throne 1.75
Zur the Enchanter 1.75
Troll Ascetic 1.15
Fact or Fiction 1
Swords to Plowshares 1
Sensei’s Divining Top 0.75
Celestial Ancient 0.40
Sovereigns of Lost Alara 0.35
Treva’s Ruins 0.35
Grand Coliseum 0.30
Utopia Tree 0.30
Jungle Shrine 0.25
Kodama’s Reach 0.25
Sakura-Tribe Elder 0.25
Savage Lands 0.25
Moldervine Cloak 0.20
Seaside Citadel 0.2
Verduran Enchantress 0.20
Nomad Mythmaker 0.12
Plated Slagwurm 0.12
Verdant Embrace 0.12
Vivid Grove 0.12
Vivid Meadow 0.12
Elephant Guide 0.10
Epic Proportions 0.10
Mesa Enchantress 0.10
Mythic Proportions 0.10
Shape of the Wiitigo 0.10
Three Dreams 0.10
Wurmweaver Coil 0.10
Azorius Chancery 0.08
Griffin Guide 0.08
Journey to Nowhere 0.08
Oblivion Ring 0.08
Phantom Centaur 0.08
Borderland Ranger 0.05
Congregation at Dawn 0.05
Gemhide Sliver 0.05
Krosan Tusker 0.05
Prison Term 0.05
Rupture Spire 0.05
Selesnya Sanctuary 0.05
Silhana Ledgewalker 0.05
Slippery Bogle 0.05
Temporal Isolation 0.05
Terramorphic Expanse 0.05
Yavimaya Enchantress 0.05
Auratouched Mage 0.04
Drove of Elves 0.04
Faith’s Fetters 0.04
Indrik Stomphowler 0.04
Lost Auramancers 0.04
Simic Growth Chamber 0.04
Bant Panorama 0.03
Civic Wayfinder 0.03
Farhaven Elf 0.03
Fertile Ground 0.03
Naya Panorama 0.03
Shimmering Grotto 0.03
Cage of Hands 0.02
Shielding Plax 0.02
It’s interesting to note just now many useful cards cost less than a quarter of a ticket — this deck includes only about twenty cards that cost more than that. If we really wanted to, we could create a version of this deck for ten or fifteen tickets.
The Rubinia deck doesn’t come with a great mana base, so I did a bit of work on it. Since it is Green-based, we have some good options. The low cost mana base I settled on features a bunch of creatures that produce mana and fetch basic lands, and I also added some cheap dual lands and multi-lands.
We can attack this mana base in a variety of ways, so let’s look at two general strategies. I encourage you to mess with this mana base according to what you have in your binder. The cheapest build (the build I used in my list) would focus on the following class of cards:
Search for Tomorrow
Lay of the Land
Edge of Autumn
Journey of Discovery
Basic land searchers require no expensive lands, and you can easily add a splash color. Our deck really wants to have Uril, the Miststalker and Sovereigns of Lost Alara, and it’s easy to include them using cheap mana. It even runs Zur the Enchanter, which might be a bit of a stretch since he requires two splash colors. But gosh, is he ever fun to attack with.
You can also build a mana base centered around finding Forests, similar to the one in the Saprolings deck that I wrote about previously (http://www.mtgoacademy.com/budget-cuts-fun-guy/). That’s more expensive, because you need a few pricey dual lands to make it work. Before you write off that possibility, however, consider how many cards search for it and how many of your future decks could use it. If you’ve never played with dual lands before, you’d probably be surprised how often you get to use them.
Spoils of Victory
I repeat: please don’t rule out spending a few bucks to get, for example, the four Forest Ravica block dual lands plus the four Forest fetch lands. Those eight cards cost about fifty tickets total (a not-insignificant sum), but they offer a pretty serious upgrade to a myriad of really neat decks.
How the Deck Works
This deck’s many enchantments form the basis of its main theme.
Naturally, the deck includes a suite of enchantment cards that act as removal. The deck’s only non-enchantment removal spell is Swords to Plowshares.
Journey to Nowhere
Cage of Hands
The largest share of the deck’s enchantments are “enchant creature” auras. Since the big, splashy ones are pretty fun and game-changing, I included as many of those as I could find, and Green has plenty to offer.
Shape of the Wiitigo
We have some sweet, and mostly inexpensive, support cards for the enchantments in this deck:
Sovereigns of Lost Alara
Sigil of the Empty Throne
Zur, the Enchanter
You’ll notice that the first five cards interact exclusively with auras. They can do a lot to reverse the inherent card disadvantage associated with auras. Those aura-specific cards can all be a blast to play with, particularly when they create a big splash for the win. I love the surprise aspect from something like Retether or Sovereigns of Lost Alara — it’s a rude wakeup call when you’re suddenly facing an attacking creature with Mythical Proportions.
Sigil of the Empty Throne is a real game changer. If your opponent doesn’t kill you before you start churning out 4/4 angels every time you cast an enchantment, it’s going to be pretty tough to beat you.
I’d say that this block of enchantment support cards is the source of its most exciting wins.
Having a large enough number of creatures in this deck is a real challenge. It has to be carefully balanced with the number of auras and the amount of mana fixing. One way to improve that situation is to use a bunch of creatures that find lands or produce mana, so I included the following:
I also included two utility creatures: Duplicant and Indrik Stomphowler. Their presence in the deck allows me to use my three creature tutors to find them when necessary. Duplicant is also a creature that can be fetched with Enlightened Tutor, which is nice in a situation in which I need to kill an opposing creature and I have a big aura in my hand.
This deck’s most important creatures are the ones that the opponent can’t target. Magic has exactly six creatures with the following ability: “cannot be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.” This deck runs all of them. These guys are amazing with our huge auras. I even included Shielding Plax and Privileged Position for good measure.
Drove of Elves
Uril, the Miststalker
As you can probably imagine, it’s a fairly significant problem for your opponent any time you come up with Troll Ascetic + Epic Proportions. You really want to get one of these guys every game. This is where the deck gets most of its wins.
Other than those six, I also included one other creature, Phantom Centaur, whose sole purpose is to receive huge auras. That’s because a) he doesn’t ever die from damage when he has any toughness boosting Aura, b) he is immune to Black spot removal, and c) he is in the Rubinia theme deck, so we might as well use him.
Several enchantment-deck-specific tutoring abilities can be found above in the Enchantment Support section. Other than those, I selected the following more general tutors for inclusion in this deck:
Congregation at Dawn
This is where the list spends the most tickets — these tutors represent close to half the cost of the deck. That’s a worthwhile investment, because every deck wants some tutors, and these will reduce the cost of future decks. I went with three creature tutors, because the worst thing in the world for this deck is to have a bunch of enchantments and no creatures to go with them. These tutors let you fetch the untargetable creatures. Congregation at Dawn is a nice play in this deck — if you fetch, say, Uril, the Miststalker, Sovereigns of Lost Alara, and Zur the Enchanter… well, your opponent had better come up with some answers, or things will get out of hand quickly.
The two enchantment tutors, of course, were already in the Rubinia deck, so there was no reason not to include them. They can fetch Sigil of the Empty Throne or a big aura when I’m in a position to marshal some serious offense, or something like Oblivion Ring when I’m desperate for an answer.
Honorable Mentions: Cards Not Included
I left out some cards from the final version that I might have liked to include. But I couldn’t include everything. Here are some thoughts on a number of cards that did not make the final list:
As noted above, the deck needs to find its creatures worse than it needs to find enchantments. Also, Idyllic Tutor is annoyingly slow at 3 mana and sorcery speed. But don’t get me wrong — at a price of, say, 0.50 tickets, I’d have probably throw it into the deck.
At first blush it seems like a really cool card for this deck, but upon reflection I don’t feel bad about leaving it out. It has a few downfalls: 1) you can’t put multiple enchantments on one creature once you have it out, 2) the opponent can kill your creatures with instant speed removal before you enchant them, and 3) it is redundant because of the untargetable creatures this deck runs. I like Privileged Position better since it doesn’t suffer from those first two problems and it’s a less pricey card. Also, it protects your saucy creatures (Sovereigns of Lost Alara, Zur the Enchanter, Nomad Mythmaker, etc) even when they have no aura attached
This would be a solid inclusion, but it still costs 4+ tickets since it’s only available in the Garruk theme deck. It only grants a bonus of +2/+0, so it’s not as influential as the cards I’d have to take out to free up those four tickets.
This one was in the deck for a while until I realized that it doesn’t grant any form of evasion, so the ability is usually just +3/+3 for 6 mana.
Shield of the Oversoul
At a certain point, I decided to go all out in the direction of big auras, and that was when I removed this card from the deck. Shield of the Oversoul is impressive on Uril, the Miststalker, but it doesn’t do enough on most of the deck’s other creatures.
This would be really neat in some situations, but it basically requires that you already have an untargetable creature with an aura on it. Otherwise you either can’t cast it, or it’s going to get killed for a three card loss in a hurry. If you already have your untargetable guy with an aura on it, you should be in pretty decent shape anyway.
This is actually the card I cut late in the process to add Privileged Position. It’s situationally good, but sometimes I top deck it with no other cards in hand. This is one to consider adding back in if the number of auras seems too low.
Gatherer of Graces, Auramancers Guise, Rabid Wombat
These cards might be fun in a deck where I knew I’d always have Privileged Position out, or if I knew my opponent would always be Mono-Green (no removal or bounce). My eccentric side wants to run these cards, but I think I would just lose too many games when the creatures get nuked. The frequency of that would outweigh the fun I’d have in the games when I actually got to attack. I might sound paranoid about that, but 100CS has tons of good spot removal, and most people use it. And when you’re only putting out one threat with multiple enchantments, it’s pretty easy for most decks to find one removal spell to kill it.
I can tell you from experience with an old casual extended deck that Plated Slagwurm + Followed Footsteps = Good Times. This deck doesn’t do well at producing double blue mana, but maybe a different version that features more blue would have fun with this aura.
Here is another interesting card that requires double Blue mana. I’d probably run this creature if I was using a more robost, more expensive mana base.
This is a simple, neat concept for a creature that I wanted to include. For a while, I had him in my list so I could search up a creature with my enchantment tutors and/or trigger the “when you cast an enchantment” clauses on certain cards. The trouble is, if you’re desperate for a creature, it really hurts when you tutor for Lucent Liminid with Enlightened Tutor or Sterling Grove, put an aura on it, then watch your opponent inevitably kill it. Your opponent just killed three cards and two or three of your turns with one cheap instant spell. That’s just painful, and it only took me one time to learn my lesson. Also, a 3/3 critter for 5 mana should do something nifty, and this one doesn’t.
This is a cool card, but I simply ran out of things I could cut in favor of stuff that I knew I wanted to have in the deck. If you can find a place to cram this in, be my guest.
Skull of Orm
I want this card to be better, but 8 mana is way too much to bring back a card. I remember thinking this was an awesome card when it came out in The Dark, because recursive effects were almost nonexistent. I wish they’d make a new version of this card with about half the mana costs.
Oath of Druids
Hey, maybe the price will dip below $25. On second thought, probably not. In a non-budget world, this is the card I’d want to fetch in situations in which I have no creatures, some big auras in my hand, and Enlightened Tutor or Sterling Grove available to dig for an enchantment. That situation does happen.
This is another card that might be good when I have an enchantment tutor and no creatures.
Casual Room Results
Here’s a look at how this deck fared in the Casual room. I played about 30-40 games with this deck, making various tweaks along the way. As a result, you will probably notice several cards that are not in my final deck list. I won about 45-50% of the games. That’s fine with me, because winning in style with an eccentric deck is really fun for me. Trust me when I say that having a high win percentage in the casual room is not my primary motivation for playing MTGO.
Note: I faced a number of tournament decks in my more recent games — I think we need to revive the campaign to keep the tournament decks in the tournament practice room. People complain justifiably about not being able to get a game in there, but that’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that we can avoid if people will just make the effort to go there and set up a game.
Anyway, what follows is a selection of some games that I found fun and interesting. Rest assured that I played my share of disappointing games where my opponent dominated me with a tournament deck, I couldn’t find the right cards for the situation, etc. I’m willing to slog through my share of those in exchange for the really fun games.
Game versus ShawM60 playing Green-White
I started out with some mana fixing and then cast Verduran Enchantress. From there I cast Sterling Grove and Empyrial Armor and found Sigil of the Empty Throne. Then Verdant Embrace, Journey to Nowhere, and my opponent conceded. He had Arashi, the Sky Asunder and a 3/5 flying kami card on defense, but my army of 4/4 fliers was too strong.
Game versus oshea_worley playing Rubinia Enchantress Theme Deck (!!)
It was ironic to run into this Rubinia deck in its pure form. I ended up winning with a Yavimaya Dryad with Shield of the Oversoul, Armadillo Cloak, and Gigantiform (which made it 11/11, not 8/8). He almost used Rubinia Soulsinger to steal it, but I had Enlightened Tutor to find Journey to Nowhere. â€¨â€¨My opponent said he was using the Rubinia deck to learn the 100CS format. Good plan!
Game versus Phiphel playing Green-Black Control
I was facing down his Ravenous Baloth (with Lightning Greaves) with my Borderland Ranger and Slippery Bogle. After I put out Griffin Guide and Verdant Embrace, he blew everything up with Oblivion Stone. Then I cast Farhaven Elf and Retether to end up with a 5/5 flier and a 3/3 flier plus some Saprolings. His Kokusho, the Evening Star met Swords to Plowshares (I should have used Crystalize or Pacifism to win a turn faster). I can basically thank Retether for this win, and I must say it’s a swingy card that’s really fun to pull out of your hat.
Game versus vs chantzmo playing Multicolor
The nice thing about the Sovereigns is that they have pseudo-haste. If my opponent has no instant speed removal or is tapped out, at a minimum I get to fetch one big aura onto the battlefield.
Game versus marcus.soares playing 5 Color Control
For the second game in a row, I was stuck starting with just one Basic Land and one Ravnica Block bounce Land, which amounts to a slow start. But it worked out again, as I got more mana and Sigil of the Empty Throne and started casting enchantments. In one interesting play, the opponent killed his own creature in response to Oblivion Ring (he had no other non-land permanents) while I had Sterling Grove in play. So I targeted the Grove (one of only two choices — either that or my 4/4 flying token) and fetched up Enchantresss Presence. Then he used Persuasion on my token that had Armadillo Cloak, but I had Enlightened Tutor to find Copy Enchantment to steal it back and trigger another 4/4 token. That forced the concession.
Game versus igotbeats playing Red-Black Aggro
At first I thought I was going to get hosed in this game, because he killed my Mesa Enchantress and used Rise/Fall to get me down to nothing but land and Miraris Wake in play and 1 land in hand. Then I drew and played Farhaven Elf, then Celestial Mantle, then Three Dreams. He conceded after I turned my Farhaven Elf up to an untargetable 10/10 trampling, life gaining, life doubling monstrosity. I had enough land to cast all three auras the same turn as Three Dreams. Full disclosure: my opponent was stuck on 2 land the whole game.
Game versus Deranged Wizard playing Green-White-Black Rock Control
Here was a fairly interesting game. I kept a two land hand with Borderland Ranger and top decked the third land I needed, then played out the Ranger followed by Fact or Fiction. My opponent let me keep Enchantresss Presence, Copy Enchantment, and Rhox War Monk (forcing me to discard two lands). I put out the two copies of Presence, but then he fetched Maelstrom Pulse to kill them both. I was just happy he didn’t go for Mind Twist, because I had a good hand. Anyway, I put out the Rhox War Monk, he cast Damnation, I picked off a Spearbreaker Behemoth with Swords to Plowshares, and then I topdecked what I needed: Slippery Bogle. I put Celestial Mantle and Mythic Proportions on that and cruised on for the win.
I had fun with this deck. My goal, though, has been to provide a few people with some ideas they can use to get started in the 100 Card Singleton format. I know that cost is an issue in this format, so I’m doing what I can to present less expensive decks. I’d be interested to know if $40 or so seems like a reasonable price for a 100CS budget deck. Honestly, it’s pretty tough to make a $40 deck without leaving out really important cards. That’s the nature of this format — hence my insistence on gradually accumulating a few staple cards along the way to mitigate that barrier in future decks.
Anyway, thanks for reading! Any and all feedback is welcome and appreciated.
Until Next Time,