Essential Magic Articles

Budget Building: Episode 4 - Artifice

by Kevin Weber

A few quick notes before the article.  I was asked whether I would try my hand at other formats than Standard, and so I'm giving a shot at developing an Extended Deck.  I only started during Ravnica, and while I know of some of the more important extended cards and how some of the extended decks work (in general terms) I'm pretty sure I won't come up with an optimized deck, simply because there are elements of the card pool that I won't know about (Gatherer or EM's search tool can only help you out so far.)

So look at the final deck, not really as "final" - but a jumping off point.  And hopefully if you're more familiar with the extended environment, you'll be able to use your understanding of the opponent's decks better than I do.

In addition, the opponents are going to be a bit... messed up.  See, my friends play Standard, so it's going to take a bit of fudging to put this deck up against foes.  Just think of it as a casual environment this time around.

Finally, I'm pretty happy with how this deck ends up, but more than that, it's an extremely budget-friendly extended deck (which is quite rare - extended decks are notorious for being budget-eating monsters.)  The final deck, including the sideboard, clocks in at less than $70 (~41 tickets) - and less than half of that sticker price comes from rares.  And if you really want to stretch your dollar, if you don't bother with a sideboard (which a lot of casual players do) and take the budgetizing option, it gets down under $50.


The Idea

I remember what a Wizards writer once said when Mishra, Aritificer Prodigy first came out - that they half expected it to just show up at some tournament and do something completely broken.  I half expected it myself.  After all, a good deal of the "broken" cards that end up banned or restricted are low (to no) cost artifacts.

Making such talk even more intriguing was Sensei's Diving Top.  Together with Mishra, it basically was a 1-cost artifact with the ability "{1}: Draw a card."  After all, when you play the first one, you get a second free.  Tap both and the end result is that you draw a card and get a Top returned to your hand.  Since Mishra shuffles the deck, you can keep repeating as long as you have the mana to afford to replay the Top.

However, it ended up not happening - Mishra didn't make any sort of tournament.  Not for any lack of collective deckbuilding efforts, but simply because all the pieces weren't there to break Mishra in half.  Are they there now?  Probably not.  But is there enough to tempt me to try?  Absolutely.

So, what stuff has come out that promises to help out?

Cloud Key

Cloud Key is usually a pretty dismal card.  The problem is, reducing a cost from 3 to 2 or such isn't going to make a huge difference most of the time, and the colored requirements themselves aren't cut down.  If it cost {3}{W}{W} before, you still have to find a double-white cost afterwards.

However, with artifacts, that changes immensely.  Instead of changing {2}{U} into {1}{U}, you can make something that costs {1} cost nothing at all.

And, more importantly, it's works perfectly with Mishra, Artificer Prodigy and Sensei's Divining Top.  The three of them together will effectively let you draw your entire library for free.  After all, the Mishra + Top combo only required mana to cast Divining Top over and over again.  If the Top costs {0}, then it's basically "{0}: Draw a card."  To sum it up: Mishra, Artificer Prodigy + Sensei's Divining Top + Cloud Key = Draw as much as you want for free.

Last edited 5/14/2008 9:52:49 AM Page 1 of 11  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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