Budget Cuts: Fun Guy

Greetings!  I’m Zimbardo.  I started playing Magic during Revised and eventually quit, then started MTGO during Kamigawa block.  In the past several months I’ve become a big fan of 100 Card Singleton.  I’m not a tournament shark or an especially skilled competitive deck crafter, so I will focus on some other aspects of the format.  This will include building budget decks, casual play, and how to approach building a competitive 100CS collection.

Why 100 Card Singleton?

I now play this format almost exclusively.  In the past I used to play a lot of casual Standard and Extended, and I also played drafts / sealed / leagues.  I tried out Pauper for a while, too.  But 100 Card Singleton has trumped the other formats for me.  Here is why:

1)    Power and complexity of the card pool

100CS might be the most complex format in Magic.  It is not for people who are just learning the game, but it might be just the thing for those who lament the “dumbing down” of the game by WotC.  In 100CS, you get to play with all of the neat cards in MTGO’s history, minus a few banned cards.  Practically speaking, 100CS has the biggest card pool of any online format, as many of the cards that are considered staples aren’t often played in Classic.

2)    Fun and unpredictable games

100CS reminds me of Limited.  Games are usually won with creatures, the decks typically interact a lot with each other, and even the same strategy can play out a zillion different ways.  Limited is a popular but potentially expensive way to enjoy the game, especially if you are a fan of variance.  I often wonder how many of those people could get the same fix more cheaply by playing 100CS instead.

3)    Long term affordability

Your old cards never rotate out.  That and you only a single copy of any given card.  Therefore, you need less cards to update a deck when a new set comes out.

The thing to keep in mind is that one doesn’t need to build up an entire collection or even an entire deck all at once.  A bit of smart planning can allow you to gradually accumulate 100CS cards.  Most people aim to collect more cards over time anyway, but they often limit the growth of their collection by investing in Standard legal cards that lose value over time.  Investing in the Classic card pool instead is a far more long term approach.

Casual 100 Card Singleton

While 100CS tourney decks require a fairly significant investment, you can have a lot of fun playing casual 100CS on the cheap, just like in any other Constructed format.

One misconception that some people seem to have about casual 100CS is that you will continually face more powerful, competitive decks.  This depends on your definition of “competitive,” of course, but I find that I run into a refreshing variety of decks.  Only occasionally do I bump into heavy permission decks, for example.  In play testing my example deck for this article, I faced only one heavy permission deck out of 20 opponents, and that actually turned out to be a great game.  Apart from that, I only faced one other deck closely resembling a tournament deck (Gobbos).  A lot of people just put together some stuff that seems fun and see what happens.

Here’s a tip on how to avoid running up against more competitive decks: people who create matches are often playing more competitive decks than people who start single games.  People running actual tournament decks, or something very close, can find like-minded opponents in Tournament Practice.  Some of us in the 100CS community, including yours truly, have made a concerted effort to keep our tournament decks out of the casual room.

With that, let’s have a look at the casual deck featured in this article.  My objective was to put together a fun and inexpensive deck that most people could afford to build from scratch.   Essentially, this is one of many inexpensive ideas you could use to test drive the 100CS format.  I also wanted to choose a casual archetype that isn’t just a nerfed version of a tournament deck.

100Singleton Saprolings Click the arrow to download the above deck in .txt format

(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.)

I’ve listed cards along with their approximate current prices on the major bot chains.

Show Cost List – Creatures »

Show Cost List – Non-Creature »

Show Cost List – Lands »

Deck Overview

This deck primarily does three things: 1) Make tokens, 2) make your creatures bigger, and 3) remove opposing creatures.  It is a quintessentially casual deck.  That said, the deck is a respectable at a 11-11overall record in single games in the casual room.  Even several of the losses were good, close games.

My comments are organized by groups of cards, since that has worked well for some other 100CS writers.


Saproling Producers


Fortunately, there seem to be just enough Saproling and Thallid cards to stretch this into a legitimate 100 card deck.  Conveniently, nearly every one of those cards is dirt cheap.  You can get all the creatures in this deck for a total of about $4 on the major bot chains.

You might be pleasantly surprised by some of these dudes’ levels of effectiveness.  Pallid Mycoderm‘s ability to pump all of your saprolings and fungi is a beating, and even Thallid Devourer can be a pretty annoying.  Deathspore Thallid is a great guy to have on the board once you have your saprolings steadily churning.  Marrow Chomper is another creature that can be really rough.  I’ve had him out as an 11/11, and even gained 8 life once!  Verdeloth the Ancient is our deck’s fearless tribal lord.  I’ve played a few games where I have kicked him for 3 or more.  That’s usually bad for your opponent.  I never actually morphed Lord #2, Thelonite Hermit, with this deck, but I know from my experiences during Time Spiral Standard that he is similarly awesome.  As for the noncreature saproling producers, I’ve never been disappointed by Night Soil or Necrogenesis.

Did I mention that these cards are all cheap?

Pumps / Win Conditions

Now let’s talk about the stuff that can really smash face.  Overrun is your most efficient finisher, and Kamahl, Fist of Krosa is basically a second copy of that spell.  I also tossed in Overwhelm as copy #3 instead of the more expensive Garruk Wildspeaker.  Honestly, I haven’t drawn it a single time, but I think it’s fine for a casual deck.  Besides, this is about the only format where I can play that card with a straight face.  It’s the only format where I get to use a lot of cards, so I enjoy them where I can.

Card (price in tickets)

Overrun (0.25)

Kamahl, Fist of Krosa (0.50)

Overrun (0.04)

Coat of Arms (0.40)

Mirror Entity (1.00)

Mycoloth (0.25)

Muraganda Petroglyphs (0.40)

Mirror Entity and Coat of Arms enable similar beatings.  Even something as simple as Muraganda Petroglyphs can set you on your way.  One time I had that with Vitu-Ghazi, the City-Tree, and that was enough for a win.

Mycoloth is simply amazing in this deck as he’s both gigantic and a huge token producer.


This deck needs good creature removal to survive, but these colors have plenty of options.  Putrefy and Mortify are nice on any budget, as are Oblivion Ring, Faith’s Fetters, Condemn, Swords to Plowshares, and Journey to Nowhere.  I left out Path to Exile since it is expensive lately.  Seed Spark is nice utility removal, and sometimes it can really help you turn around a game.

Just for fun, I swapped Death Mutation into the deck for my last few games, and I got to cast it in the last one.  That card is perfect for this deck… except that its outrageous casting cost makes it awful.  Then again, this is casual.  We can do whatever makes us happy in casual, right?

Card Draw

Before I talk about mana, I’ll mention that I did include a couple of card drawing / deck manipulation spells.  Harmonize is solid, and Psychotrope Thallid makes good use of saprolings.  Primal Command is pretty nice, as it can tutor for a finisher plus a bonus effect of your choice.  Also note that Treefolk Harbinger can setup either a land or a late game stud (Verdeloth or Mirror Entity).  Senseis Divining Top should be in almost any 100CS deck, especially one with this many shuffling effects.


A fully loaded mana base for a BGW deck runs around $125, so our $18 mana base had to make certain concessions.  Even so, the mana is reasonably consistent.

Green is a nice color for your first 100CS deck, because it gives you a bunch of good, cheap basic land searching and Forest searching cards.  The Forest searchers are especially important, and this deck has eight of those, each of which can find Temple Garden or Murmuring Bosk (a budget gem).

“Forest Finder”

Temple Garden

Murmuring Bosk

Windswept Heath


Mountain Valley

Krosan Verge

Nature’s Lore

Three Visits

Treefolk Harbinger

Pale Recluse

Obviously, you’d like to have more dual lands and fetch lands in the deck.  Overgrown Tomb and the other three Forest fetch lands are the next cards I would add.  By the way, do hunt around for deals on your fetch lands and dual lands.

Some Saproling Experience Highlights

This deck has been really fun to mess around with.  Here are some selected fun games experiences that I had:

-    Winning big with Overrun and Kamahl, Fist of Krosa

-    Stopping a Boros deck cold with Marrow Chomper

-    Making lots of tokens with Sprout Swarm and then dropping Coat of Arms

-    Sticking it to a dedicated land destruction deck!

-    Going to town with Fungal Bloom

-    Drawing 5 thallids in a game and having / getting to do a surprising amount of thinking to optimize the use of their abilities

-    Swarming the opponent using Mycoloth

Final Thoughts

100CS decks can be expensive, but this deck shows that you can enjoy the format on a budget.  Having confronted some of the challenges of 100CS budget building in the past, I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun this deck was at a low price.  Playing 100CS competitively while on a budget is a harder nut to crack, but I want to eventually discuss that issue as well.  That requires some smart planning, but that topic will have to wait.

For now, thanks for reading!  All comments are welcome and appreciated.


  1. Nice article! I had several people asking me for a cheap way to enter the format. I was actually always thinking about building a deck like this for the casual room but never found the time. Will give it a try and see how it goes.

  2. Great budget article Zim!!!

    I like that you made a focused budget deck. So many people will just throw together piles of bad cards with the idea that the deck is budget, but that really isn’t a deck it is a pile of random cards.

  3. Nice deck, less blood thirst but more fun interactions.Btw grats to so many trolls who won the last weekend PE with a REC/SUR rock build, i am tempted to try it but i don’t understand alot of the interactions, for example…

    Hermit druid to mill guys in the GY to REC back?
    Krovikan Horror with ?
    Reveillark and Saffi Eriksdotter.. some interaction?
    Natural order as a 2nd copy of REC/SUR’s effect for a primus/progenitus?

    As you can see, i am pretty clueless about how this deck works.An article dissecting the deck would be absolutelely golden.


  4. Hah..just noticed you already had sprout swarm…

    man! are 100cs lists difficult to completely parse or what? :)

  5. I thought about including Verdant Force, and I agree that it seems like a lot of fun. I didn’t think of Gauntlet of Power, but that also seems fun. Good ideas, and I know that there are a whole bunch of other cards on top of those that would be fun. That’s part of the appeal of casual decks in this format. SO many cards to try out. I made a list of a lot of them, but ultimately I left it out of the article. People will have more fun if they get to dig up those cards on their own.

    If I wasn’t going for a budget article, I would have definitely thrown in Doubling Season and Englightened Tutor to fetch it. Thallids belong to that golden subset of cards that deal in both counters and tokens, so Doubling Season becomes Quadrupling Season. You don’t even want to know how often I used Doubling Season in casual Extended decks a couple of years ago.

  6. I just now noticed the inquiry about the deck I played this prior Saturday. Zimbardo is a man I not only respect but also fear, so I will answer your questions in my last article.

    Again, this is a really great piece, Zim. Were I your middle school softball coach, I’d shout, “Jolly good show, me pip!”