We were toying with the idea of a casual level-up deck for the past few days. We had originally some serious concerns about levelling being too mana-expensive or just too slow - but - we like a challenge, more so if we can tweak out a (somewhat) budget deck out of it.
One challenge was that most of the levellers hit the battlefield as functional beaters for very little mana, but now present you with quite a few critical decisions during the following turns. Whether you play a new creature, or neutralise board threats (removal / spell counter), or invest your mana levelling up the critters you have out.
Some cards to consider is Time of Heroes. This card works well with other level up boosters such as Venerated Teacher and Training Grounds, which will enable you to dump level counters on your critters rapidly so they will grow up to be considerable board threats (you'll be such a proud father / mother). Another consideration for your mix is Champion's Drake which also does not level up but will certainly enjoy the synergy of your levelled creatures.
As for the expense part of it, Training Grounds is certainly a solid answer by giving you the Wal-Mart discount of 2 colourless mana off the price of all activated abilities of creatures you control. The only drawback here is that this will not reduce the mana cost to less than one. Not too bad at all.
The goal is to be able to play and keep alive cards such as Student of Warfare, Caravan Escort, Hedron-Field Purists, Kabira Vindicator, and even the defense oriented Ikiral Outrider to be able to put a dent in your opponent's life and hopefully win you the game.
One method of 'cheating' additional counters into play is using Kor Skyfisher of perhaps Narrow Escape to bounce Venerate Teacher back into your hand to play it again for its very lovely comes-into-play ability - rinse and repeat our friends.
You have a LOT of choices with regards to filling the ranks on your level-up deck.
Just ensure you have appropriate defenses in place to protect your leveller army. We are thinking along the lines of a blue / white deck : which way would you go ? > drop us a line or comment below.