Essential Magic Articles


Budget Building: Episode 7 - Puca's Pacifier

by Kevin Weber

In the RG-Beats article I wrote, I got a bit of flack about the prices I quoted being too low.  One thing to keep in mind is, the site's managers are busy people, and these articles usually have a month or two processing time before they appear on the site.  And card prices are never static - case in point, several I included in my RG-Beats article rose significantly in price between when I submitted it and when it got posted (the biggest example being Kitchen Finks, which more than doubled in price.)

In case anyone is wondering, I have a rough price list when I start making an article (to give me direction on which cards I can or can't include) - and then after I finish, I get another fresh price list and update the deck list prices right before I submit the article.

Actually, I view this "Prices rise after submission" as a good thing.  It means I'm using cards that are good and are currently undervalued by the Magic community - which is one of the goals of being a budget deckbuilder.

Oh, one last thing... this article's deck is annoying.  VERY annoying.  Feel free to spring it on your friends, but don't be surprised if they come after you with pitchforks...

The Idea

Puca's Mischief is a card with a very rich history, beginning with a humble looking card called Donate.  Donate was originally dismissed as a jank rare with little to no practical application.  Then Illusions of Grandeur came along, and suddenly one of the most potent combo decks in the history of Magic was born: Trix.  Trix would give an opponent Illusions of Grandeur that, when they failed to pay the cumulative upkeep, would suddenly lose them 20 life.

Puca's Mischief has a few things going against it.  It requires both players to have a permanent, it requires the opponent's permanent to be something cheaper than what we want to donate, and to cap it all off, it doesn't even take effect immediately!

It does, however, have one perk: besides giving the opponent something, we get to steal something as well.

So, the first question is, what stuff would we love to hand off to the opponent, or even merely not mind?

Cumulative Upkeep would seem to be a good place to start - after all, that's what Trix used.  The two cards that immediately stand out are Phyrexian Etchings and Krovikan Whispers.  So, what kind of deck would make the best use of these two cards?  Both of them, when we hand them off to the opponent, are basically burn spells to the dome; the opponent can't pay the upkeep and thus takes a certain amount of damage.  Also, both basically increase our "Gas" count, either by drawing us additional cards or stealing an opponent's creature to suppliment our own.  In other words, it would point to a {B}/{U} quick-aggro deck.  Feel free to try something like:

4 Prickly Boggart
4 Nightshade Stinger
4 Inkfathom Infiltrator
4 Dauthi Slayer
4 Oona's Prowler
4 Phyrexian Etchings
3 Krovikan Whispers
3 Puca's Mischief
7 Other Spells
23 B/u Lands

... only reason I'm not doing so this article?  Building quick aggro decks that aren't monocolored is tricky budgetwise.  You can't afford CIP-tapped lands nearly as well as slower decks, and the dual lands that provide both without the tempo loss aren't cheap.

So, those two are out.  What else would be nice?

Colfenor's Plans is absolutely hilarious.  We drop it down, steal a few spells from it, and then donate it away to the opponent.  Darn, they're locked out of the draw step for the rest of the game.

However, we're going to go for something a bit simpler: Pacify effects.

After all, most Pacify effects don't care who actually controls them.  Unless the Aura itself has an activated or triggered ability (such as Prison Term) then it doens't matter if it changes hands.  The great thing is, there are a lot of these, each with different flavors.  Do we want Pacifism, or maybe Temporal Isolation, or perhaps Oblivion Ring?

Last edited 10/23/2008 1:43:28 PM Page 1 of 9  Prev  Next  Go to page:

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