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 Post subject: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-21 1:27 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
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Well, here I am again, making another budget deck.

Honestly, this deck was supposed to be heavily leaning towards a Stax strategy. After pulling out cards to build this deck, I didn't even get close. This is kind of your run-of-the-mill control deck now. You see, Stax is about the only strategy I really haven't built in EDH. I'm definitely capable of it and I own the cards to do so...I just think I'll have to force myself to build the deck. Very few people find Stax fun in the least, which makes it difficult for me to justify spending the time designing one.

I'm happy to hear from people who want a more Stax--yet still competitive--build for Brago. Until then, I'm posting this deck just to have it out there for posterity's sake.

Thank you for spending your time reading this.


Creature (30)
1x AEthersnipe
1x Angel of Deliverance
1x Angel of Serenity
1x Archaeomancer
1x Augury Owl
1x Custodi Squire
1x Djinn of Wishes
1x Emeria Shepherd
1x Frost Titan
1x Geist-Honored Monk
1x Ixidron
1x Jeering Homunculus
1x Jeskai Infiltrator
1x Keeper of Keys
1x Lavinia of the Tenth
1x Luminate Primordial
1x Man-o'-War
1x Mnemonic Wall
1x Mulldrifter
1x Nevermaker
1x Palace Jailer
1x Peregrine Drake
1x Sea Gate Oracle
1x Stonecloaker
1x Survivor of the Unseen
1x Sustaining Spirit
1x Treasure Mage
1x Triskelavus
1x Twilight Shepherd
1x Workhorse

Planeswalker (1)
1x Jace, Architect of Thought

Artifact (8)
1x Azorius Signet
1x Darksteel Ingot
1x Ichor Wellspring
1x Mycosynth Wellspring
1x Skeleton Key
1x Spine of Ish Sah
1x Strionic Resonator
1x Swiftfoot Boots

Enchantment (10)
1x Cloudform
1x Infinite Reflection
1x Journey to Nowhere
1x Lightform
1x Mastery of the Unseen
1x Mystic Remora
1x Oblivion Ring
1x Parallax Tide
1x Reality Acid
1x Steel of the Godhead

Instant (6)
1x Angelsong
1x Counterspell
1x Dream Fracture
1x Eerie Interlude
1x Familiar's Ruse
1x Scattering Stroke

Sorcery (5)
1x Open the Armory
1x Not Forgotten
1x Revoke Existence
1x Soul Summons
1x Write into Being

Land (39)
1x Azorius Chancery
1x Azorius Guildgate
1x Blighted Cataract
1x Blighted Steppe
1x Calciform Pools
1x Evolving Wilds
1x Haunted Fengraf
14x Island
13x Plains
1x Prahv, Spires of Order
1x Remote Farm
1x Rogue's Passage
1x Saprazzan Skerry
1x Terramorphic Expanse


One of the goals of this deck is to take advantage of the manifest ability to essentially cheat creatures onto the battlefield from the top of the library. Brago swings, exiles Cloudform/Lightform and the creature it's enchanting--the creature enters face up (if it is a creature), and the aura manifests a new card. Parallax Tide and Strionic Resonator is infinite mana/ETB effects, but there's currently no tutors for the combo to make it consistent.

The deck is probably weak for any mass removal, and I'm also rather lacking in protection/unblockability for Brago. The deck has 100 cards listed, but it's more or less preliminary. I've had this deck floating around for a while now, and just recently sat down to finish the preliminary building. The only card I don't have on hand for completion (as is) is Strionic Resonator. The whole deck is estimated at about $34 though, so there's that.

Brago vs Polukranos vs Queen Marchesa

The game started out evenly, with none of the decks getting too much advantage over the others. Polukranos was able to pop out Regal Behemoth, which was met with an Oblivion Ring from Brago. Brago started to generate its own ramp with Peregrine Drake, but a well-timed Impact Resonance from Queen Marchesa took it out. As the game wore on, Brago had received too much ramp from the Drake before it got removed, and locked up Polukranos enough while also taking out Queen Marchesa. It looked about over for Polukranos too, due to a nasty combination of Workhorse + Triskelavus and Geist-Honored Monk getting blinked for lots of creatures.

Polukranos had a secret weapon, however: The Great Aurora. It was an incredibly risky move--due to Polukranos having 19 permanents to Brago's 32--but Polukranos was getting Regal Behemoth back in the exchange. Within Polukranos' 19 new cards, there were tons of lands (including Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx), Garruk Wildspeaker, Garruk, Caller of Beasts, Zendikar Resurgent, and Mana Reflection. Polukranos had Zendikar Resurgent countered, but Mana Reflection and Garruk Wildspeaker stuck. There was then enough mana to cast Vigor, Archetype of Endurance, Magus of the Library, and the other Garruk. Brago was not looking good.

Brago, however, was prepared. Angelsong + Archaeomancer stopped the massive damage, and then Ixidron kept Polukranos (literally) from abusing abilities. Polukranos tried to recover by using Garruk, Caller of Beasts' ultimate to seek out Creeperhulk so the 2/2 face-down creatures would still deal a lot of damage...but Brago drew into Parallax Tide + Strionic Resonator for the win--that's sort of what happens when you get a third of your deck from an Aurora.

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Last edited by Segrus on 2016-Sep-28 8:35 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-21 8:15 pm 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
I'd love to build Brago, it's one of the few UW decks that appeals to me.

Have you considered Eldrazi Displacer in the deck? Colourless makes an extra mana requirement but it's a good repeatable blink outlet that protects from targetted removal and clears tokens & blockers if needed.

For Wrath protection, I always thought that, thematically, Ghostway & other "slow blink" types of effects were the way to go with Brago rather than counterspells and indestructability (though nothing stops you from using both) Wasn't there a second mass slow-blink in a recent set?

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-21 10:21 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
zimagic wrote:
I'd love to build Brago, it's one of the few UW decks that appeals to me.

Have you considered Eldrazi Displacer in the deck? Colourless makes an extra mana requirement but it's a good repeatable blink outlet that protects from targetted removal and clears tokens & blockers if needed.

For Wrath protection, I always thought that, thematically, Ghostway & other "slow blink" types of effects were the way to go with Brago rather than counterspells and indestructability (though nothing stops you from using both) Wasn't there a second mass slow-blink in a recent set?

Eldrazi Displacer could be good, but the problem is the $4- $5 price tag. Ghostway is the same, at about $7. I'm not asserting an absolute boundary for what is or isn't budget, but my goal is to make the deck as cheap as possible while still being functional and somewhat competitive. A sort of goal with these decks is to show that building cheap decks doesn't mean you have to sacrifice strong plays. In other words I'm currently hesitant about these two cards since I really need them to be key components for the deck to function in order to justify cost.

Eerie Interlude is probably the other one you were thinking of, and it is already in the deck. Parallax Wave is sort of another, as well as Sudden Disappearance; however they are not quite as good. Do you have any more good ideas? I set this deck aside too long so now I'm not quite as interested in Bravo as I was when picking out cards. So I'm very happy to have interest already.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-22 1:06 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I love Mystic Remora in this deck. Super sweet that you get the free reset on cumulative upkeep.

I would probably play Sea Gate Oracle over Pilgrim's Eye. I would also really like Cryptic Annelid and Augury Owl to go with your Manifest cards and to generally give you more plays early in the game. (The deck seems to be very top-heavy overall.) I also like Geist-Honored Monk a lot. Whole army of flying blockers every turn.

Faith's Fetters and Flight of Fancy also go well with Brago and add some utility to your Open the Armory.

Jace, Architect of Thought is actually very cheap (I'm not sure why, since he sees occasional Modern play - unlike many more expensive walkers), and he is great with Brago.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-22 3:21 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
crokaycete wrote:
I love Mystic Remora in this deck. Super sweet that you get the free reset on cumulative upkeep.

I would probably play Sea Gate Oracle over Pilgrim's Eye. I would also really like Cryptic Annelid and Augury Owl to go with your Manifest cards and to generally give you more plays early in the game. (The deck seems to be very top-heavy overall.) I also like Geist-Honored Monk a lot. Whole army of flying blockers every turn.

Faith's Fetters and Flight of Fancy also go well with Brago and add some utility to your Open the Armory.

Jace, Architect of Thought is actually very cheap (I'm not sure why, since he sees occasional Modern play - unlike many more expensive walkers), and he is great with Brago.

Wow, thank you for chiming in. New things to think about.

I have very high expectations for the cumulative upkeep cards (the other two being Sustaining Spirit and Inner Sanctum). These ones are so good and I think I'll have a lot of fun keeping them going. I should really look and see if...wait a sec. I'm not running Dreams of the Dead! Stupid me...

You're probably right about some filter cards to make manifest better. Some of the weaker ETB creatures could be switched out for this. I just checked and the average CMC for the deck is 3.98, which is a little high. I guess I'm hedging my bets that manifest bypasses that issue...so I'll do some adjusting and see how it turns out. The creatures you've mentioned are ones I think I have on hand, I just need to go back through cards. Didn't go all the way through the collection for this deck. Thus why Flight of Fancy didn't make it in.

I actually had that Jace picked out for a spot, but ended up taking it out in the process of narrowing down the massive pile I'd build up. I guess I just wasn't sure the half-Fact or Fiction each turn was as good as consistently setting an opponent back a turn through bounce effects. Happy to hear your opinion on that.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-22 5:11 am 

Joined: 2011-Sep-30 6:08 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I think Jace is quite good. Being able to +1 twice each turn is actually nothing to sneeze at depending on how your meta feels about token swarms. And getting +1 and the best of your top 3 cards every turn I would definitely value over most etb effects. (For example, if Court Hussar didn't kill itself, it would be a snap include in this style of deck. Think of Jace as a Court Hussar with upside.)

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-22 12:36 pm 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
crokaycete wrote:
I think Jace is quite good. Being able to +1 twice each turn is actually nothing to sneeze at depending on how your meta feels about token swarms. And getting +1 and the best of your top 3 cards every turn I would definitely value over most etb effects. (For example, if Court Hussar didn't kill itself, it would be a snap include in this style of deck. Think of Jace as a Court Hussar with upside.)

Okay, well the card was on the line for getting put in before anyway, so I'll play it out instead of one of the other 'fence' cards and see how it goes. Thank you for the input! It really makes checking up on the forum more enjoyable.

So I spent part of this evening digging up the part of my collection, and figured out I need to continue organizing that crap pile. Here's the changes I'm considering making:

Custodi Soulbinders--getting replaced with a slightly better token generator, Geist-Honored Monk. Soulbinders is probably fine, but the mana cost is possibly going to be too much of a downside compared to the free tokens the Monk brings.

Hoverguard Sweepers--big janky card just isn't really good enough. I really like the idea of this guy getting throw into battle through manifest and then just yoinking things left and right...but considering my chances of just drawing it and then holding onto it for the whole game bothers me slightly. Sorry Sweepers...maybe next time...

Jace's Mindseeker--no guarantees this guy will ever hit anything, and I'm just as likely to power up someone else's graveyard doing this in the process. With so little real graveyard removal, I'm just putting myself in danger.

Rishadan Footpad--another janky card I wanted to make good use out of. Infinite Footpad triggers? Please just scoop already. Except, of course, having no guarantee I'll be going infinite in any one game, so this spot is better used for something else.

Pilgrim's Eye--recommendation from above.

Geist-Honored Monk--adding this in place of the Soulbinders. Free tokens are quite good, and this was another fence card for me. That being said, if another planeswalker or two go down in price somewhat...

Jace, Architect of Thought--...I'd probably consider taking out the Monk for Oath of Gideon to make the planeswalkers even better (although it's likely I'd just have both). Alas, this Jace is one of the few which remains so cheap (although there is a Gideon who is cheap, but we don't like to talk about that card).
Also a recommendation from above.

Reality Acid--I didn't have Faith's Fetters or Flight of Fancy, but Reality Acid will quite do. Brago makes this card terrifying.

Augury Owl & Sea Gate Oracle--early scry and such, but gets better when repeated. Another recommendation: thanks crokaycete.


These changes represent a slight increase in cost, but it'll still be essentially around $34, which is pretty cool.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-22 5:02 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
Segrus wrote:
The deck is probably weak for any mass removal, and I'm also rather lacking in protection/unblockability for Brago.


Glory maybe?

It's a little worse here 'cause you have less draw-then-discard effects than some other blue lists, but it still protects you from red sweepers, protects Brago, and forces through damage when you're ready to attack en masse...

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-23 12:44 am 

Joined: 2008-Aug-08 6:34 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Rouen, France
No idea what your single card price limit is or if you're lucky during pre-release but putting a Panharmonicon into this deck seems like it would be good. Silly, but good.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-23 2:09 am 
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Joined: 2012-Nov-27 4:39 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
Kemev wrote:
Segrus wrote:
The deck is probably weak for any mass removal, and I'm also rather lacking in protection/unblockability for Brago.


Glory maybe?

It's a little worse here 'cause you have less draw-then-discard effects than some other blue lists, but it still protects you from red sweepers, protects Brago, and forces through damage when you're ready to attack en masse...

It's a possibility. Thank you for the suggestion. It's apparent in my above possible changes that I haven't given a lot of time towards protection and such .
zimagic wrote:
No idea what your single card price limit is or if you're lucky during pre-release but putting a Panharmonicon into this deck seems like it would be good. Silly, but good.

I don't necessarily have a price limit per say, just and overall goal of keeping the deck very cheap while still being subjectively good.

Panharmonicicon would be very fun, although it might be on the verge of win-more. The current isn't too high though, which is nice. I'm going to be ordering cards online for Kaladesh, and this one is already on there. Thanks for reminding me about it.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-23 12:36 pm 

Joined: 2008-Sep-21 11:51 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Some dirt cheap ideas I run in my Brago deck

Kor Cartographer dirt cheap and mana accel
Act of Authority dirt cheap and it kills gods
Mycosynth Wellspring card advantage
Ichor Wellspring card advantage


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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-23 1:04 pm 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
odit wrote:
Some dirt cheap ideas I run in my Brago deck

Kor Cartographer dirt cheap and mana accel
Act of Authority dirt cheap and it kills gods
Mycosynth Wellspring card advantage
Ichor Wellspring card advantage

I ran into all of these except Act of Authority (didn't actually realize how cheap it is, but I'll have to consider it now) on my way through cards for the most recent changes I'm making.

Basically, Cartographer was just too expensive CMC for what I need right now (although for ramp, Cartographer can be decent). I know that sounds funny for a 4 CMC card, but consider that I was adding Jace, Architect of Thought at the time. Of the other 4 CMC cards in the deck, Archaeomancer has combo potential with Eerie Interlude (and possibly other cards in the future, like Faith's Reward), Nevermaker has the potential to lock a player entirely out of the game, Palace Jailer exiles and threat and draws me a card, Parallax Tide is combo city, and then there's a counter spell. It's tough in the 4 CMC spot right now. If something ends up underperforming, then it'll be back on the drawing board (if a mass removal spell doesn't make it there first... :( ).

The Wellsprings are very interesting, at least the Mycosynth Wellspring is. Ichor Wellspring drawing me a card just isn't worth the 2 CMC spot, but Mycosynth could possibly replace Mind Stone or Marble Diamond and plays very well later on with Emeria Shepherd. I think I'm leaning towards Marble Diamond, actually. Anyway, it's certainly a possibility I'm going to be looking at once I get a test game in or two.

I very appreciate the response! At a Brago player, do you like the deck as it stands?

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-24 10:01 am 

Joined: 2008-Sep-21 11:51 am
Age: Elder Dragon
Looks like a fun budget build, I would wonder how well it plays in your local group. For my group you would want to add graveyard hate, and exile effects. And then you have the ability to spend a decent amount of money on it as well, but you know that. Personally I like blinking and resetting my planes-walkers, but they're not close to budget usually.


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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-24 10:11 am 
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Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Midgard
odit wrote:
Looks like a fun budget build, I would wonder how well it plays in your local group. For my group you would want to add graveyard hate, and exile effects. And then you have the ability to spend a decent amount of money on it as well, but you know that. Personally I like blinking and resetting my planes-walkers, but they're not close to budget usually.

I'm glad you think so--meaning being at least somewhat fun. I'm not sure how well it will play in my local group. I aught to get one of those again someday...

I certainly could spend the money to super-duper this deck; it's more the challenge of showing that reasonable builds of commanders using a relatively low budget is possible. So often I'll hear people talk about how budget EDH isn't possible (at least that the only decks you'll be able to compete against are other budget decks). I don't think that's necessarily true.

There'll definitely be some adjustments over time, as this deck is still very preliminary. GY hate and other removal aren't impossible to add in, the deck just needs some more weeding of weaker cards before it's complete.

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 Post subject: Re: Budget Brago
AgePosted: 2016-Sep-25 6:42 am 

Joined: 2012-Mar-31 11:52 am
Age: Elder Dragon
I built an extreme budget Brago list to test how competitive I could be in my league, and it surprisingly held its own. Excluding Brago, nothing (at the time) was over $1 by SCG prices, and overall the deck was under $25 not including basic lands.

List here: http://www.mtgsalvation.com/forums/the- ... ?comment=3


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