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MTG Budget Deck

Building a Budget Deck - First off . . . Some general rules of thumb.

Rule # 1 : A chase-rare bomb and the most expensive card or deck does not guarantee a match win.

Rule # 2 : Use uncommons and commons as the foundation to your deck and add the rares only as accessories.

Rule # 3 : Think 'outside the box' by developing new or underused synergies and combinations.

The main reason why I develop budget decks is rather obvious . . . I have not yet won the lottery. Priorities are to provide the basic essentials for my three kids. After scrapping together a budget deck soon after a set's release, I continue to evolve it by replacing the less-expensive 'downgraded' cards with the more-expensive rares. I then begin to substitute cards and slowly over the months upgrade my deck.

The second reason I really do not mind playing a budget deck is the fun factor. By using wit, thiftiness, and brilliance (which do not come often enough to me), I am able to 'MacGyver' a deck through to a win much to the noticeable chagrin of my opponent who has a deck sets of rare awesomeness which fizzled.

Pulling a desired rare out of a booster pack is something akin to winning a scratch lottery ticket or perhaps (if you are Canadian), like winning a gas-guzzling SUV on a Tim Horton's roll-up the rim to win.

Here is a bit of a break down on the chances of getting that rare you wanted if you did not want to pay for a single or trade with a fellow player . . .

Booster Pack - $ 5 : This nets you one Rare, three Uncommons, ten Commons, and 1 Basic Land. There is a solid chance of getting a foil card in this mix which may be any card from the set.
Sealed Tournament deck - $ 15 : This will typically give you three Rares, ten Uncommons, thirty-two Commons, 30 basic lands
This means that three Booster Packs are roughly equivalent to one Tournament Pack
Remember that Mythic Rares replace approximately 1 in every 8 Rares.

My EPIC WIN . . .
I was playing at an FNM a few weeks ago, got a booster pack which I promptly opened. I like going through the commons first, and then the uncommons. Just like desert after a dinner, I look at the rare (which was decent) and then saw the foil . . . A foil Elspeth, Knight-Errant ! ! The non-foil versions are going for about $ 28 and the foil ones (if you can find any) for almost $ 60. This indeed was winning the MTG lottery.

Here is a bit of a break-down of the more expensive Shards of Alara cards. Remember that, just like any commodity, the prices of these cards are subject to supply and demand and will change and these are approximate prices only.

Sarkhan Vol - $ 30
Elspeth, Knight-Errant - $ 28 (I actually have two of these!)
Tezzeret the Seeker - $ 25
Rafiq of the Many - $ 13
Hellkite Overlord $ 10
Ajani Vengeant - $ 10
Empyrial Archangel - $ 8 (I have one)
Master of Etherium - $ 8
Sharuum the Hegemon - $8
Stoic Angel - $ 8 (I have one)

Hey - On a side note, if you are a store owner / supplier, I am quite willing to plug your business for any of these cards - -> drop me a line at CopySix (at) gmail dot com.

While we are yattering about prices, here is some interesting facts about the values of sets (from Lorwyn foreward) as pegged by StarCity Games. (Prices in USD)
Set Value:
Lorwyn - $ 174.99
Morningtide - $ 134.99
Shadowmoor - $ 184.99
Eventide - $ 139.99
Shards of Alara - $ 224.99

Further on to this discussion of comparison, here is a quick run-down of the number of rares worth more than $ 5 from each set.
Lorwyn - 16 / 80
Morningtide - 5 / 50
Shadowmoor - 15 / 80
Eventide - 13 / 60
Shards of Alara - 15 / 68 (this includes 11 mythic rares)


caponeous said...

just browsing on this site and noticed the article. im not sure if u are aware of this but the "rule of thumb" term is very offensive. in the not so distant past , it was "legal" for a man to beat his wife with a stick as long as it was no bigger around then the mans thumb. hence the term "rule of thumb"just food for thought :o)

Anonymous said...

Dude, shut up.

Johan Du Plessis said...

This is where people all over the globe read your post and go "nooooobody caaaaaares."
Nobody cares.
(Referring of course to your douchebaggy need to raise such an anal opinion)

Anonymous said...

Hmm...I enjoy both casual & tournament play. I don't do the tournaments anymore mainly because of no real competition in this area and I sold off my collection after my manager started being a bitch and scheduling me for game nights. Getting a good collection going isn't very hard though, I think at my peak I had about $2100 worth of $10+ cards working a part-time job at pizza hut when our minimum wage was $5.50 lol. I believe it was right after planar chaos.