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 Post subject: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-27 2:09 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
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I've lately been on a kick of taking semi-competitive/full competitive commanders and building budget decks from them. I don't have a working definition of "budget," just getting it as low as possible while still being fully functioning.

Today, my goal is to build Marath, Will of the Wild. I was initially drawn to the commander after Duel Commander amusingly banned it for being too good for the format. That's a story for another day. Marath is can be straightforward, but appears to have a lot of cogs working in tandem to create powerful token/damage engines. The goal is to boil down these combos to few, cheap cards to continue to give the deck some bite. Controlling the board is also very important, and requires a combination of deathtouch effects and artifact/enchantment destruction. I've added in Glare of Subdual to give Marath a little backup. Without any further ado, the decklist.

Enchantment (21)
1x Arrest
1x Aura of Silence
1x Cathars' Crusade
1x Chained to the Rocks
1x Cryptolith Rite
1x Diversionary Tactics
1x Fertile Ground
1x Fires of Yavimaya
1x Five-Alarm Fire
1x Glare of Subdual
1x Hardened Scales
1x Impact Tremors
1x Mana Echoes
1x Martyr's Cause
1x Oblivion Ring
1x Spirit Loop
1x Stasis Snare
1x Suppression Bonds
1x Symbiotic Deployment
1x Utopia Sprawl
1x Weirding Wood

Artifact (8)
1x Codex Shredder
1x Gorgon Flail
1x Gorgon's Head
1x Gruul Signet
1x Illusionist's Bracers
1x Ring of Kalonia
1x Selesnya Signet
1x Thopter Squadron

Creature (17)
1x Acidic Slime
1x Avacyn's Pilgrim
1x Druid of the Anima
1x Dualcaster Mage
1x Elvish Mystic
1x Elvish Pioneer
1x Femeref Enchantress
1x Fertilid
1x Gyre Sage
1x Ivy Lane Denizen
1x Llanowar Elves
1x Mesa Enchantress
1x Nightshade Peddler
1x Nullmage Shepherd
1x Skyshroud Ranger
1x Verduran Enchantress
1x Wild Cantor

Instant (8)
1x Clip Wings
1x Fresh Meat
1x Krosan Grip
1x Pyroblast
1x Signal the Clans
1x Sundering Growth
1x Tribute to the Wild
1x Wear / Tear

Sorcery (7)
1x Farseek
1x Hurricane
1x Open the Armory
1x Rampant Growth
1x Search for Tomorrow
1x Shamanic Revelation
1x Sylvan Scrying

Land (38)
1x Blighted Woodland
1x Boros Garrison
1x Evolving Wilds
11x Forest
1x Fungal Reaches
1x Grasslands
1x Gruul Turf
1x Jungle Shrine
8x Mountain
1x Mountain Valley
9x Plains
1x Selesnya Sanctuary
1x Terramorphic Expanse


The power level of the deck is meant to be a little stronger.

I'm happy to hear any suggestions or potential includes, but keep the budget in mind. The deck is currently hovering around the $46 mark, which I don't especially want to increase any further. There's really three cards holding this cost so high, being Mana Echoes, Cryptolith Rite, and Utopia Sprawl. The Sprawl is probably the only of these three I'm willing to switch out, as the other two do too much good with Marath's abilities to give up; however, Sprawl provides the pilot more redundancy for pushing Marath out by the second turn and is still useful later on in the game for an extra mana. I'm beginning to believe I really need Sprawl just as much as Rite and Echoes. Thanks for staying awake through my rambling!

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Last edited by Segrus on 2016-Aug-12 5:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-27 3:01 pm 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Atlanta, GA
I really don't know how you feel about infinites (I don't mind them myself, long as they finish the game), but it is stupidly easy to go infinite or otherwise break Marath in half with Mana Echoes. When I was trying to keep my deck under control, I tried so hard to find a way to make the card work fair in there, but I wound up just having to cut it. Again, if that's the power level you're going for, great, but otherwise you might want to keep an eye on it.

Cathars' Crusade, Beastmaster Ascension, and Aura Shards are never not good in Marath. Powershot effects like Warstorm Surge are also solid. Marath actually plays nice with a lot of different enchantments, and his ability to vomit out creatures means you can keep your creature count relatively low. A subtheme worth considering, I think.

Symbiotic Deployment looks like it's going to get you into trouble. It draws parallel to Dragon Appeasement in Prossh: it seems great until it finally backfires on you, and when it does, it backfires hard. Probably want to drop this.

Mayael's Aria is a fun one. Surprisingly effective. Draws a lot of hate for a card that's probably never going to trigger its AWC, but to be fair, better they drop a K-grip on that than your Cathars' Crusade.

Ashnod's Altar is great in here.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-27 9:03 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
Zirilan of the Claw wrote:
I really don't know how you feel about infinites (I don't mind them myself, long as they finish the game), but it is stupidly easy to go infinite or otherwise break Marath in half with Mana Echoes. When I was trying to keep my deck under control, I tried so hard to find a way to make the card work fair in there, but I wound up just having to cut it. Again, if that's the power level you're going for, great, but otherwise you might want to keep an eye on it.

Cathars' Crusade, Beastmaster Ascension, and Aura Shards are never not good in Marath. Powershot effects like Warstorm Surge are also solid. Marath actually plays nice with a lot of different enchantments, and his ability to vomit out creatures means you can keep your creature count relatively low. A subtheme worth considering, I think.

Symbiotic Deployment looks like it's going to get you into trouble. It draws parallel to Dragon Appeasement in Prossh: it seems great until it finally backfires on you, and when it does, it backfires hard. Probably want to drop this.

Mayael's Aria is a fun one. Surprisingly effective. Draws a lot of hate for a card that's probably never going to trigger its AWC, but to be fair, better they drop a K-grip on that than your Cathars' Crusade.

Ashnod's Altar is great in here.

Thanks for the reply. I'm currently well aware of Mana Echoes potency with Marath. Without a decent tutor to search it up, I'll have to rely on good 'ol card draw to find it which will reduce how degenerate the deck can get. I can't predict yet quite how much that reduces it, but I'll see the longer I play the deck. In the mean time I'm happy to have the deck at that power level.

Symbiotic Deployment is mostly a placeholder at the moment. It's potential for screwing me is a chasm of death, and its upside doesn't counterbalance this, but I don't want to sacrifice the spot for something other than card draw. All of the other unused cards I have were small, one-shot effects I've found play out worse than I'd like (Harmonize, for example, always seems solid but I find myself always disappointed by the effect). If I get another Shamanic Revelation at some point, I'll probably put it in instead since I've frequently draw tons of cards from it in the past.

The rest of your suggestions are cards I know are good and I've played before and I just don't have a free copy right now to possibly find a spot for, but I wanted to mentions both Mayael's Aria and Aura Shards--they really go over the money limit I'm implementing for the deck. There's not much wiggle room in the deck to keep it budget--and I dislike the deck costing around as high $45--and prices for those two cards are 'high,' meaning more than about a $1. I'm sure I could find some ebay seller willing to get me those cards super cheap, or use heavily played quality--I feel this is cheating. Mayael's Aria goes for $4.04 and Aura Shards goes for $6.80 at median price at tcgplayer. Unless I finally decide to take out Mana Echoes, or I go back through the deck and find $0.50 replacements for a number of the $1 cards, then neither of them will likely ever get included.

I do appreciate the suggestions, and I haven't stopped looking at building this deck.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Jul-28 10:40 am 
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Location: Midgard
The verdict is still out on Mana Echoes. I got a legitimate game in where I was able to play both Marath and Mana Echoes. It was at least turn 14 (although I believe it was more turn 16, but I missed some lands drops and ramped a little--in the end, I had 14 lands), and ended the game for only one opponent. My second opponent destroyed my Mana Echoes, and I had to dig myself out of a 6-life hole for the win.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-01 2:14 am 

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If you want to leverage things like Hardened Scales and/or Marath's ability to +1/+1 things. Perhaps consider Inspiring Call for card draw.

That's a nice board wipe ... be a shame if I just drew a bunch of cards instead.

Also ... out of curiosity ... why is Cradle of Vitality in there? The only way I see to trigger it is Spirit Loop. I think there are better (single card) ways to get counters on your creatures.

Thrive
Cathar's Crusade
Curse of Predation
Death's Presence

All fairly budget conscious, and get you counters ... ya know if you wanted them.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-01 7:55 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
AutoXCivic wrote:
If you want to leverage things like Hardened Scales and/or Marath's ability to +1/+1 things. Perhaps consider Inspiring Call for card draw.

That's a nice board wipe ... be a shame if I just drew a bunch of cards instead.

Also ... out of curiosity ... why is Cradle of Vitality in there? The only way I see to trigger it is Spirit Loop. I think there are better (single card) ways to get counters on your creatures.

Thrive
Cathar's Crusade
Curse of Predation
Death's Presence

All fairly budget conscious, and get you counters ... ya know if you wanted them.

Inspiring Call will mostly just be a cantrip, and I'd think a card with cycling would be better in that case. I do need more card draw though.

Yeah, I'm skeptical of Cradle of Vitality too. There was a couple more lifelink cards in the pile I was picking cards from for the deck, but they apparently didn't make it in. I still feel like Spirit Loop is a good card for the deck at the moment, but I'll think about what to put in its place. All the ones you listed are ones I won't have extras of until I look at ordering cards again (probably when the next Commander set comes out)--although Thrive is probably one I won't put in. Meadowboon would be a better card in that case.

Thank you for the suggestions.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-01 6:02 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Nov-16 1:14 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Prague, Heart of Europe
In my eyes, Marath has the problem of essentially being Ghave lite. "Lite", as in "no black for Grave Pact effects". And I say "problem" because he's not that much weaker. That means it's one of the generals who, if you want to play them fairly, you have to learn all the ways they can be broken and unfun and then carefully avoid those. I fully expect to run into this very issue when I get to building the Derevi Bird Tribal I have stashed in my head :)

The enchantress focus is efinitely worth pursuing. One card I'm surprised I don't see in your list is Bow of Nylea, especially since you evidently don't shy off giving Marath deathtouch. I've seen a few Marath decks live myself and all of them ran it. Attack, wipe out blockers, smash face. Seems legit to me :)

Also, Strength of the Tajuru is a solid budget card for a build like this. On the risk of bringing this too close to your Polukranos list, how about Druids' Repository and Beastmaster Ascension?

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-01 11:05 pm 
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Antis, all the cards you've mentioned are ones I don't have an extra copy of, which is why they probably weren't included. Bow is fine, but currently at ~$2 it might be a little much when I would much rather reduce the price of the deck. I keep thinking Cathars' Crusade is like a $3 card for some reason.

I'm currently not afraid of going combo with this deck. It's going to happen with Marath. I'm of the belief that as I approach a smaller and smaller budget, the potential to abuse combos goes away. Already the lack of any real tutors in the deck keeps Mana Echoes and such at bay--and I haven't even comboed out with it yet. My goal is to balance this combo potential so the deck still functions correctly without going overboard.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-02 12:08 am 

Joined: 2014-Apr-03 3:46 am
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Why Codex Shredder?


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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-02 1:39 am 
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In very limited circumstances you can hurt someone's tutoring. Generally, it's cheap, colorless, non-specific recursion. I'm fairly limited in these effects, so it fills a good spot. Plus, budget is harder to pull off in three colors, so being colorless really helps.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-03 8:53 am 
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Maybe Ordeal of Nylea for some enchantment-based ramp?

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tempesteye wrote:
In my early teens I was a Timmy.
In my late teens I was a Spike.
In my 20's I was a Johnny.
Now, I just like to play.
'Active decks' list here.
Currently hiring servants for my palace, made from my own walls of text.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-03 12:00 pm 
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Antis wrote:
Maybe Ordeal of Nylea for some enchantment-based ramp?

I found a copy in my collection with the intention to give it a spot...but I ended up realizing I wanted most of my ramp to be Marath out quickly and the Ordeals only really work after Marath has already hit the board. Further, it's going to be placed on a creature I'm unlikely to get the chance to attack with very often (and get the Ordeal's effect).

I am going to squeeze my Thopter Squadron copy out of the Kurkesh deck and put it here (although I'm planning to get a couple more of these guys to put back into Kurkesh and into Feldon. It plays out exactly like Marath for all intents and purposes.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-05 1:43 am 

Joined: 2008-Nov-30 12:36 pm
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My list is hardly budget and has a bit of a different focus than yours, but feel free to peruse if you like. I'm largely oblivious to the current $ of cards I've owned for a long time, so while I know Kiki-Jiki is likely to be out of your range, I have no clue if, say, Trostani is budget or not. Just sharing because my list has been performing really well lately. To the best of my knowledge, it has no infinite combos, but I wouldn't be surprised to stumble upon one sooner or later.

The one card I can safely recommend as I know it's budget and I know you mentioned needing card draw is Shamanic Revelation. Harmonize is suitable, but the Rev is just fantastic.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-06 12:57 pm 
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thaumaturge wrote:
My list is hardly budget and has a bit of a different focus than yours, but feel free to peruse if you like. I'm largely oblivious to the current $ of cards I've owned for a long time, so while I know Kiki-Jiki is likely to be out of your range, I have no clue if, say, Trostani is budget or not. Just sharing because my list has been performing really well lately. To the best of my knowledge, it has no infinite combos, but I wouldn't be surprised to stumble upon one sooner or later.

The one card I can safely recommend as I know it's budget and I know you mentioned needing card draw is Shamanic Revelation. Harmonize is suitable, but the Rev is just fantastic.

Basically I've been having a lot of fun trying to make budget lists for semi-competitive/competitive commanders, because otherwise I wouldn't care about the price and just use whatever cards I have available. I took a short list on your link--pretty cool! There's certainly good cards there, and if I made Marath non-budget it'd look closer to what you have.

As I've said, I'm not really shying away from infinite combos since I'm limited by tutors being by and large too expensive. Plus, Marath really needs multiple cards to get to infinite (Mana Echoes, while disturbingly good alone, can't go infinite without another card like Hardened Scales).

Shamanic Revelation is actually on my list of cards to add. I've been putting the card in literally every Green deck I own, so I'm currently out. Hahaha

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Marath
AgePosted: 2016-Aug-08 1:15 am 

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Segrus wrote:
Shamanic Revelation is actually on my list of cards to add. I've been putting the card in literally every Green deck I own, so I'm currently out. Hahaha
I KNOW RIGHT! It's crazy good!

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