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Making Cheap Casual Decks
By Alex Makhovykh
Making Cheap Casual Decks

I wrote this article to help people construct cheaper casual decks. I myself never had much money to spend on cards, so I know how it feels: looking at decks that are over 300 bucks and dreaming that someday youíll be able to afford them and kick your friendsí a**. I have around 20 decks, most of which I build from cheap cards, with maybe a few rares. Iíll try express my ideas through this article.

The first thing that you need to know when building a casual deck is this:

All cards are replaceable.

Yes all of them. Each and every single card can be replaced by another one- perhaps not as good as the original one, but a card that will serve the same role. Except basic lands.

The second thing you need to know:

If you buy a pack, and you get a crappy rare, or a rare that you know you wonít use, trade it for something that you will use, even if it is commons and/or uncommons. For example: John plays a red land destruction deck. He open a booster of Nemesis and gets a Lin-Sivvi as a rare. Since John is not playing white, he can proceed to trade Lin-Sivvi for, letís say, a Seismic Mage and a Pillage or two. Since both Pillage and the Seismic Mage are found in boosters of a big set, John made a great deal: he got 2 or 3 cards for his land destruction deck that would be hard to find otherwise. All for a Nemesis rare that he got in a booster.

Of course you wonít always get an expensive and wanted rare in a booster, so when you get a crappy one, chances are that people will still trade you a few uncommons and/or commons that you could use.

Cheap decks, even if they arenít going to win tournaments, should never suck. If you ever have a problem with your deck, or find that your deck could perform better without expensive rares, e-mail me at superguy98@hotmail.com and Iíll do my best to help you.

Hereís an example of my cheap "Forbiddian"

Card Drawing/Library Manipulation:
Thieving Magpie x4
Ophidian x4
Gush x1
Accumulated Knowledge x4
Opt x3
Feldonís Cane x1 (You wouldnít imagine how many times I ran out of cards)

Creature Control:
Wash Out x1
Capsize x1
Flood x2
Propaganda x1

Countering:
Spiketail Drake x2
Forbid x4
Counterspell x4
Dismiss x2
Exclude x2
Foil x1
Mana Leak x1
Lands:
Island x19
Faerie Conclave x2
Thawing Glaciers x1

Excuse the lone Thawing Glaciers, I got one almost for free and I had to put it in. But if you donít have one, you can instead put in an Island or a Faerie Conclave. Other than that the deck is all commons and uncommons, most of from recent sets. Obviously if you have better stuff put it in. If you have Morphlings you can put them in instead of Drakes. If you got more Thawing Glaciers- putíem in. If you have Mana Drain(which I seriously doubt) thereís always a place for that. If you have any Force of Wills (which I donít), they should automatically go in. I traded away my 2 Fact or Fictions for a Ring of Gix, but if you have them, they are amazing in this deck. If your group plays with a lot of enchantments or artifacts, put Annuls in. If you need more creature control, use more Propagandas. If you donít have some of the cards, remember, anything is replaceable. You can use Miscalculations, more Gushes, Mana Leaks, Dazes, Brainstorms, Prohibits or Arcane Denials. Any cheap cards that you think can replace cards in the deck that I gave you, you can put in.

The third thing you need to know:

Most of the cards you need to make a cheap deck can be found in a store for 10-25 cents each. Sometimes you may want to shell out a few bucks for a great card such as Fact or Fiction or a rare that fits amazingly well in your deck such as Hammer of Bogardan for red land destruction or Atalya, Samite Healer for a life gaining deck. Also, when working on a certain deck, you should always have some sort of a goal, a final decklist which you want to achieve. You probably donít have all the cards within it, or you wouldnít be reading this article, but try, at least for a while, to substitute cards you donít have with cards you do have. As your collection get larger and larger, you can put in newer and better cards that you didnít have before. If you are missing a Morphling in your deck, that doesnít mean that you should miss out on playing your deck until you get one! Simply, put in something else in its place which substitutes his place and goes with your strategy, like Spiketail Drake, Air Elemental, Dominate, or Control Magic. Just make sure not to make a big mistake, replacing that card with something thatís not good for your deck or goes against your decks principle. For example, if Morphling is your only way of beatdown, donít replace it with another counterspell. And never, ever, replace it with a Chimeric Idol. Countering and tapping out are two words that donít go well together. If you always make sure that your deck has enough offense and defense to handle most threats, and you should have a deck that is quite good. Also, as a final thought, remember the most important rule: HAVE FUN. That is the reason Magic was created in the first place.

Anyway, I hope that this article was helpful for some of you, and I hope that youíve learned something from reading it. Making a good casual deck is not hard or expensive, you just have to know what youíre doing!

For comments, suggestions, questions or if you need help with your deck, you can e-mail me at superguy98@hotmail.com
I appreciate any and all the input.

Until Next Week,
this is Superguy
a.k.a. Alex, Emperor of Squirrels.
"Hatred outlives the hateful."

Read More Articles by Alex Makhovykh!

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