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$100 Standard Deck: Mardu Rush


Mardu Rush takes advantages of low cost, highly efficient cards in the hopes of destroying your opponent before their deck even has a chance to come online. Midrange decks start out slow and come online turn 4-5.  In an environment where midrange is the majority, Mardu Rush attempts to bring our opponents from 20 to 0 life as quickly as possible rather than emphasize a long-term game plan.

How can Mardu Rush do all this and still keep its budget at $100?  Let's take a look.

 

Bloodsoaked Champion, Soldier of the Pantheon, and Tormented Hero are all 2/1 creatures for 1.  They're the ideal turn one drop, each with their own added boost as well. Bloodsoaked Champion can return to the battlefield with raid; very handy, especially if we plan to have a lot of creature sacrifice later… and we do.

 

The Soldier of the Pantheon has protection from multicolored built in, and anytime your opponents casts a multicolored spells you gain a life.

 

 

Finally, the Tormented Hero takes a life from your opponent and gives it to you whenever you target it with a spell.  What spell might we be targeting him this deck? Titan's Strength, of course. If your Tormented Hero attacks and is unblocked and you cast Titan's Strength on him, then your opponent stands to lose six life. The one life gain is icing on the cake, not to mention the Scry ability.  Potentially Losing 6 on turn 2 puts your opponent immediately on a ticking clock.

 

Chief of the Edge [KTK] War-Name Aspirant [KTK]


Our choices for two drops are either a Chief of the Edge, who will give our other warriors +1/+0.  Both the Bloodsoaked Warrior and the Tormented Hero are warriors so by casting a Chief of the Edge on turn two, our one drop warrior is now swinging for three damage. War-Name Aspirant (also a warrior) is a 3/2 for only two if you can trigger raid.  Your attack doesn't even need to hit, just attacking regardless of success ensures we're bringing out a 3/2 on turn 2.  The fact creatures that creatures with power 1 or less can’t block War-Name Aspirant means everything from Sylvan Caryatid to those pesky Nyx-Fleece Ram won't be able to get between us and our opponents.

 

Mardu Ascendancy [KTK] Crackling Doom [KTK]


So right about now most midrange players are probably shouting Anger of the Gods at their computer screens.  And it's true that Anger of the Gods is one of our biggest threats because it is going to wipe our board clean.  Luckily, turn 3 is when we begin to protect ourselves. Mardu Ascendency should essentially read "Sacrifice to counter Anger of the Gods." Giving our creatures a +0/+3 ensures our army isn't getting wiped as long as we can successfully cast this turn 3.


If we are not defending against Anger of the Gods, then we can go on the offense with Crackling Doom.  This can also be saved for turn 5 or so where their big baddies are likely going to start showing up and putting major pressure on us.


Lightning Strike, gives us the ability to fry early game threats like a Fleecemane Lion, or to hold in hand for that last bit of blast to finish our opponents off.


So here we are at turn four, hopefully having given our opponents a solid thrashing before much has managed to come online.  No, we're not going to wait for a turn 5 [Stormbreath Dragon]]. That's right, in Mardu Rush, Stormbreath Dragon is too slow!  Turn 4 is when our finisher drops: the Butcher of the Horde.
With an army of warriors we've amassed, or tokens from Mardu Ascendency, it should be no trouble at all to sacrifice for haste, sacrifice for lifelink, and even sacrifice for vigilance if need be.


Bloodsoaked Champion and Butcher of the Horde are best friends.  Technically, if your mana is available, you sacrifice the Bloodsoaked Champion to Butcher of the Horde, attack with Butcher of the Horde, and then before it hits, you can now use Raid to bring Bloodsoaked Champion back to the battlefield at instant speed, only to sacrifice it again to give Butcher of the Horde another perk.

 

Finally, we have a surprise for if our board somehow stalls out:  Tymaret, the Murder King is a 2 of, not that bringing him in early is that disappointing seeing as he's still a 2/2 for two.  But his ability to sacrifice creatures to shock our opponents for only 2 mana is often the last little push we need to finish the game.

 

 


Like previous budget decks, the biggest cuts are in the mana base.  It is absolutely critical that we have black and white mana available turn one, as those are the color of our turn 1 drops, so I am going to say a complete playset of Caves of Koilos, as well as some Swamps and Plains, are something we can't afford to scrimp on.
And even though it is $10 dollars, I'm going to include a Battlefield Forge.  Taking a point of damage to ensure we don't miss any of the mana we need for early game rush is just so crucial to this deck.


This is also the first place you are going to turn to for upgrades.  Ideally there should be playsets of the Battlefield Forge as well as a playset of Bloodstained Mire, and maybe even a few Mana Confluence.  But that's not budget and only something to do if you already own a few of those lands.
If I were a gambling man, which I'm not, I'd bet my money that Mardu sees more play over the next year as a control deck rather than a midrange aggro.
But in the meantime, if red white and black are the colors you dream of, raid the battlefield and not your wallet, with a Mardu Rush deck to outrun your midrange opponents.


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