Nerdy Aggression

Budget

This time around I’ve thrown the budget out the window. Although I will comment briefly at the end on how you could approach this on a budget, I won’t be eliminating any cards for cost reasons. I just want to use my cards!

Accumulating Cards

Since I’m ignoring costs in this deck, I want to give a quick overview of how I have accumulated the cards necessary for a loaded 100 Card Singleton deck.

1) I decided to focus solely on 100CS, so I sold my extra copies of money cards. That allowed me to buy a lot of the staples for 100CS. I haven’t felt a loss, because I don’t have time for a bunch of formats anyway.
2) I avoid tournaments that I’m likely to lose money on. That means that I don’t spend my monthly MTGO budget on drafts.
3) When I do spend money, I mostly buy tickets and spend them directly on cards. This guarantees that I will accumulate cards and expand and improve my collection over time. It also allows me to target the cards I want the most rather than playing the lottery in drafts.
4) I try to be smart about the timing of when I buy and sell cards. I try to buy new chase cards near the end of the release events.
5) I got over the feeling that $10 or $20 is too much to spend on a single card. That allowed me to spend more of my money on GOOD stuff that I’m actually going to use a lot.
6) I admit it: I got lucky in the half a dozen or so ME2 drafts I played and used the spoils to pick up a bunch of money cards. Even though I’m not amazing at drafting, I knew that ME2 had good money rares and utterly ridiculous foil rares. The existence of $100+ foil rares appreciably improves the cost-benefit considerations of drafting. Hint: draft Mirage block when it comes up in the Nix Tix rotation.

Building from Previous Decks

I’ll mention one more budget related note before continuing: this deck uses a bunch of cards that one would already have if one built the two budget decks from my previous articles (Saprolings and Auras). Those include Enlightened Tutor, Worldly Tutor, Eladamris Call, Sterling Grove, Miraris Wake, Temple Garden, Windswept Heath, and others. Also, all three of the decks are heavily Green-based, so an investment into fetch lands and Green dual lands contributes significantly to all three decks. That’s how it works in 100 Card Singleton: if you invest some staples of the format, you can get a lot of mileage out of them in future decks.

The Deck

I got the idea for this deck when I set out to build a deck around the “power of 5 or greater” cards in Alara block, like Drumhunter and Mighty Emergence. But this deck doesn’t just ramp up mana and cast big creatures: it’s also a card advantage machine that has a bunch of tricks up its sleeve for the late game. The many interactions between this deck’s various enchantments and creature abilities make it a ton of fun to play!

"Sneaky Beasties", 100 Card Singleton by Zimbardo

Creatures (35)
Non-Creature Spells (25)
Lands (18)
Lands cont. (22)
Buy this Deck

Let’s start with the deck’s signature cards:

Call of the Wild is mana intensive, but it generates card advantage and allows your creatures to stay on the battlefield. It wants library manipulation for optimal use, but if you have mana and nothing else to do with it, you can still get lucky off the top of the deck.

Lurking Predators is expensive, but after that you never spend any more mana, and your creatures get to stay on the battlefield. If you have library manipulation and big creatures, this is a pretty killer card. When you have Lurking Predators and your opponent casts something, you especially like to have Worldly Tutor, which now reads, ” G: put any creature from your library onto the battlefield.”

Killer Instinct, like Lurking Predators, costs six mana and requires no subsequent mana costs to activate its triggered effect. But Killer Instinct makes you sacrifice your creature at the end of the turn, so it is best with creatures like Penumbra Wurm that give you a bonus when they die. If you use Killer Instinct with Mirris Guile, be sure to stack the Instinct trigger first unless you already know that you have a fat creature on top of your library.

Impromptu Raid is cheaper to cast than Killer Instinct, but it requires mana to activate. It does give you options to activate it on defense and activate it multiple times each turn. Otherwise it’s similar to Instinct. If you have the mana to activate it multiple times, Raid is nice with Cream of the Crop.

Mayael, the Anima is nice because she has built-in library manipulation. I’m sad to say, however, that I’ve not always found a big creature in my top five cards. Therefore, it’s still much nicer to have a Sylvan Library to verify that something good is coming up before you invest six mana into her activated ability. Usually Mayael gets nuked, but not always, and she provides some nice card advantage when she survives.

Elvish Piper uses cards in hand instead of the top of the library. Therefore, it provides speed and saves mana instead of generating card advantage. Usually it will just get killed, but this deck can put it to good use if it doesn’t. The piper is especially nice to have if you have Greater Good, because you’ll end up with more fat creatures than you can cast.

Sneak Attack has provided a welcome addition to this deck since Urza’s Saga was released online. This enchantment, like Elvish Piper, gives you speed and saves you mana. Since you have to sacrifice the creature at the end of the turn, Sneak Attack really likes to use creatures with death benefits. Those include Woodfall Primus, Twilight Shepherd, Penumbra Wurm, Protean Hulk, and Yosei, the Morning Star. Bogardan Hellkite is also not shabby with Sneak Attack, and Godsire leaves behind an 8/8 beast.

To give you an idea why Sneak Attack is, as ChrisKool puts it, “unfair, in a fair way,” here are a couple of board positions that I found myself in.

After a slow start on both sides, I put out a Turn Five Miraris Wake, then Sneak Attack and four hasty creatures on Turn Six. If you study this, not only am I sending 28 power worth of creatures into the Red Zone, but at the end of the turn I will still have a 9/9 beast token, a 5/5 persisted angel, and any 6 casting cost creature from my deck. I also get to put all three of my dead creature cards back into my hand and do it all again next turn. Or at least I would have, if my opponent hadn’t just let all of the damage through to end the pain.

In another instance, I had both Sneak Attack and Protean Hulk, so I threw out a hasty hulk and searched up Gleancrawler when it died at the end of the turn. Then next turn I snuck out Yosei, the Morning Star to assure that, with the help of Gleancrawler, my opponent would never untap again. That naturally drew a concession. I also had Krosan Tusker, Flameblast Dragon, and Mycoid Shepherd in hand.

Sneak Attack is really strong, but it was even better with Kavu Lair to keep my hand full of threats.

Neither of these scenarios even used Greater Good, which is probably the most ridiculous card in the deck after Sneak Attack. It’s an absolute superstar, even if all it does is give you serious card advantage when your opponent kills your creatures. It works well with just about all of your other effects. If you have hasty creatures that are going to die at the end of the turn anyway, you might as well refill your hand along the way. It’s also nice to have a sacrifice outlet to go with the deck’s nice “goes to the graveyard” effects.

By the way, this deck has three other sacrifice outlets: Ravenous Baloth (beasts only), Miren, the Moaning Well, and Greater Gargadon.

Moving on to the rest of the deck…

Library Manipulation

Cream of the Crop
Crown of Convergence
Mirris Guile
Orcish Librarian
Scroll Rack
Senseis Divining Top
Sylvan Library

These lynchpins of the deck not only help you pull off neat tricks with your enchantments, but they help you find said enchantments. This deck has about thirty shuffling effects to go with your library cards, so you should have no problem finding something good. Who said you have to play Blue to dig through a library? If these effects don’t find what you need, the deck’s tutors are there to back you up.

Tutors

Congregation at Dawn
Eladamris Call
Enlightened Tutor
Gamble
Idyllic Tutor
Sterling Grove
Worldly Tutor

Note that Congregation at Dawn and Worldly Tutor also manipulate the top card of your library, which makes some of your enchantments pretty happy. Gamble has been really good so far, although I have admittedly been really lucky about not losing my chosen card. I’m pretty sure I don’t need Primal Command in here, but I wonder if Summoners Pact would be a good move.

Tip: when using the enchantment tutors, go for Greater Good if possible!

That covers it for the non-creature toys. This deck could use a lot of other fun cards if it had room. Those include Wild Pair, Where Ancients Tread, Colfenors Urn, Fecundity, Mighty Emergence, Lifeline, Summoning Trap, Eureka, Hypergenesis, Wild Research, Gate to the Aether, Tooth and Nail, and Debtors Knell. It was hard to pare this list down to 100 cards, so I inevitably had to cut some cool stuff.

Special Note: Natural Order

This newly inducted member of the $40 club is pretty good in this deck. I even played with it for a good while, but I ultimately took it out of the list. I just feel like it’s not in character for this deck to pull out a quick Natural Order win – it’s not what I was aiming to do. So I took it out so I could free up a slot for something else that I felt was more closely entwined with the deck’s themes.

Mana Fixing

Before I get to the fat creatures, here’s the mana ramping suite. When possible, I think it’s best to cast these before any medium creatures that might be in your opening hand, because this deck is gunning for the long game.

Mana Fixing

Borderland Ranger
Civic Wayfinder
Coalition Relic
Drumhunter
Explosive Vegetation
Farhaven Elf
Kodamas Reach
Krosan Tusker
Miraris Wake
Sakura-Tribe Elder
Valley Rannet
Wood Elves
Yavimaya Dryad

I wanted as many of these cards as possible to provide card advantage. I can accelerate faster using mana elves and Natures Lore and some other cheap spells, but it’s pretty bad to be sitting with 4-5 mana and three spells in hand that I can’t cast. Six mana is a key number for this deck, so I think it’s worth using slower acceleration that gives me a better chance of getting there. I think even Sprouting Vines and Journey of Discovery are serviceable choices for this deck, despite the fact that I ultimately cut them out of the deck.

I included Krosan Verge and three Ravnica block bounce lands, all of which provide two mana for one card. The deck has 40 lands, 38 of which can produce or fetch colored mana.

The creatures are nice speed bumps to help me through the early game, and they can enter the battlefield via Killer Instinct et. al. Pilgrims Eye might also be a justifiable inclusion.

I love Miraris Wake in this deck — if you can get that out at the same time as Greater Good, watch out. The deck can really go to town once it has double mana and some card draw. Early in my testing, I had one string of games when I nearly always drew into Wake, and I’ve never been disappointed with it.

Fat Creatures

Which creatures to pick? Originally I was thinking of simply including lots of creatures that fit the following bill:

1) Beasts (for Onslaught block cards like Contested Cliffs and Krosan Warchief)
2) “Power of 5 or Greater” (for Alara block cards like Paleoloth and Mosstodon)
2) “Converted Mana Cost of 6 or More” (for Scourge cards like Krosan Drover and Dragon Breath)

One can easily find 30+ creatures that satisfy all three criteria, but I noticed that the “6 or more” theme from Scourge doesn’t include much of anything worth the bother. The “Power 5 or Greater” theme, on the other hand, includes some really cool stuff, so I tried to keep as many of the big creatures as possible in that category. Interestingly, beasts don’t have as much going for them as I thought. I only notice about five cards worth mentioning: Ravenous Baloth, Contested Cliffs, Krosan Warchief, Wirewood Savage, and Aether Charge. Of those, I only included the Baloth and the Cliffs in the deck. Warchief is intriguing, but I decided it was best to fetch a land with Civic Wayfinder and company instead.

After building the deck along these lines, I started running into occasional problems with flying creatures. Then I had to ask myself, “Why doesn’t this deck have dragons?” There’s no good answer to that, so I added some fliers. Then I played some more and started wondering why I was so attached to the beast theme, so I got away from that and added some of the good non-beast fatties you see in the list. Here is the cast of biggies that I settled on:

Fatbacks

Baneslayer Angel
Bogardan Hellkite
Duplicant
Eternal Dragon
Gleancrawler
Godsire
Greater Gargadon
Indrik Stomphowler
Krosan Tusker
Mycoid Shepherd
Paleoloth
Penumbra Wurm
Protean Hulk
Rampaging Baloths
Ravenous Baloth
Rith, the Awakener
Silvos, Rogue Elemental
Spearbreaker Behemoth
Spellbreaker Behemoth
Terra Stomper
Twilight Shepherd
Valley Rannet
Woodfall Primus
Woolly Thoctar
Yosei, the Morning Star

One thing to keep in mind about these creatures is that we’re dealing with something of a toolbox deck. This deck has several ways to search for a creature, so you want to choose wisely when you get those tutors. Your box includes the following tools:

• Creature Removal (Duplicant)
• Damage (Bogardan Hellkite, Flameblast Dragon)
• Noncreature Removal (Indrik Stomphowler, Woodfall Primus)
• Flying Creatures (dragons, Baneslayer Angel)
• Time Walk, with sacrifice outlet (Yosei, the Morning Star)
• Can’t Be Countered (Spellbreaker Behemoth, Terra Stomper)
• Life Gain (Ravenous Baloth, Mycoid Shepherd, Baneslayer Angel)
• Graveyard Recursion (Gleancrawler, Paleoloth)
• Hugeness (Godsire)

Honorable Mentions:

The creature possibilities for this deck are plentiful, so let me point out a few intriguing dudes that ultimately did not make the cut.

Archon of Justice
Akroma, Angel of Wrath
Brion Stoutarm
Bull Cerodon
Darksteel Colossus
Deadwood Treefolk
Dragon Tyrant
Eternal Witness
Flameblast Dragon
Flametongue Kavu
Genesis
Hellkite Charger
Iona, Shield of Emeria
Kalonian Behemoth
Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker
Meglonoth
Mosstodon
Panglacial Wurm
Phantom Nishoba
Progenitus
Reya Dawnbringer
Sundering Titan
Uril, the Miststalker
Vigor

So why didn’t I run Progenitus? I’m a little irrationally opposed to running Natural Order plus Progenitus in the Casual Room, for one. It just feels unfun to me, having not particularly enjoyed repeatedly losing to that combo in tournaments, so I just left out both cards. I also don’t like an uncastable card in my deck if I can help it. Then there’s the problem of Bribery. I really hate that card when I’m using this deck, but at least the blue player can’t pull Darksteel Colossus or Progenitus or Akroma or Iona from my deck and use it against me. Currently, I am sometimes able fight through a Bribery, because none of the creatures are automatic wins. If I was less worried about casting costs and Bribery, then I’d go ahead and add a handful of the really expensive, really powerful creatures. They would certainly make sense with the deck’s theme. Actually, one card that could a.) do lots of damage for me with Sneak Attack and b.) not be useful with Bribery would be Dragon Tyrant, since it dies unless you spend RRRR. But I left that out, because it’s still too expensive to cast in a normal situation.

Perhaps you’ve noted that some of the Eldrazi creatures will be fun in this deck in the near future. Yes, I’ll definitely be trying that. Once they come out, I might just say to hell with everything and put every overpowered creature in sight into one deck, then cross my fingers and hope I draw a card to cheat them onto the battlefield.

Anyway, adjust as you see fit! Be careful not to add too many creatures with really high casting costs, because often the deck wins by hard casting its threats.

Blue Splash?

I decided pretty early on that I wanted this to be a Naya colored deck, because those colors have everything I needed. But just for fun, let’s ask the question anyway: should this deck actually include a Blue splash? If I were to do that, here are the spells and creatures that I would be likely to include:

Brainstorm
Compulsive Research
Fact or Fiction
Empyrial Archangel
Keiga, the Tide Star
Simic Sky Swallower
Trinket Mage

Trinket Mage and Keiga are particularly appealing, given what this deck is trying to accomplish. I like this deck as a three color affair, so I’m leaving it as is, but I certainly wouldn’t fault anyone for adding a few carefully chosen Blue cards.

Budget Version

Here’s how I’ll approach a budget version of this thing: first, I’ll assume that the deck’s pilot is not starting completely from scratch — the builder will be somebody who already has a bit of a 100CS collection started. I will use my first two articles as a baseline. If you had the cards necessary to build those two decks and you only wanted to spend about 40 tickets to make this third deck, here’s how you could do it.

"Budget Sneaky Beasties", 100 Card Singleton by Zimbardo

My previous budget decks already have Temple Garden and Windswept Heath, so I’ve kept the Forest searching land scheme more or less intact by adding Stomping Ground and Wooded Foothills, which are a great investment into a 100CS collection. The gap left by the expensive lands is filled with cheaper lands, including some leftovers from the Saprolings and Aura deck lists.

A few expensive guys rotate out in favor of cheaper replacements, all of which are perfectly serviceable.

The deck’s consistency takes a blow due to the omission of Sylvan Library, Scroll Rack, and Idyllic Tutor. Fortunately, in exchange it gains some cool theme-relevant cards in Where Ancients Tread, Fecundity, and Mighty Emergence.

This list is worth about 80-85 tickets, or about 40 tickets if you already had the cards from my previous two budget deck lists. In my opinion, this is a good way to approach budget deck building: choose an amount you’re willing to spend in addition to the cards you already own. Then build a deck on that budget, and try to include a couple of format staples in that amount so the next deck will be that much easier to build. If you play with a given deck enough, then this becomes a form of entertainment with costs similar to leagues (remember those?). Of course, you don’t get prizes, which usually amounted to 1-2 packs. But you do get to choose which cards you’re adding to your collection.

If you wanted to build this entire thing from scratch for 30 tickets or so, that can be done, too. You would basically build the same deck as above, but take out the Ravnica dual lands, Onslaught fetch lands, Sneak Attack, and a couple of the tutors. After those cards come out, just about every other card in the list is pretty inexpensive.

Closing Thoughts

I had a great time messing with this deck — I’d say it’s the most fun I’ve had in the past year playing magic. This type of deck is my cup of tea — I like decks that have a big swirl of possible synergistic interactions amongst all of the cards. I hope you enjoyed it.

Thanks for reading!

Zimbardo

 
  1. Looks good – sneak attack is probably in the top 5 best “fun” cards ever, and I have been meaning to try and put something together, but just haven’t found the time. You touched on a few cards that definitely wouldn’t have found their way into my first attempt (had totally forgotten about killer instinct, and I wouldn’t have even thought of some of the Naya theme cards like mighty emergence), but they sparked some thoughts just reading through the article.

    I also like your approach “budget” and casual building a lot.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Not exactly my style deck for 100cs I love the fast aggro or control decks. It did bring back memories of when I first got into magic :D I just remember getting the biggest creatures I could and throwing them in a deck with a ton of accel. I would actually love to see a game played out with this deck though. It looks like it would be tons of fun.

    Maybe after my ban we could play some games :S

    Good article though forgot about some of those cards on the list.

  3. Thanks for the comments, guys.

    Owen: Definitely message me in game if you ever want to play against the deck.

    Ronin: The interesting thing is, I started this deck before Sneak Attack came out, having a great time with it, and I didn’t even realize that I was missing the funniest card in the deck (though I knew I’d be adding it when it came online). I was on MTG hiatus when Urza’s block came out, so this has been the first time I’ve had the privilege to play with that card. It’s fun!

  4. Zim, I love your content. Great frickin’ job, you majestic steed of a shadowy man!

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