Browse > Home / Strategy / Articles / Amonkhet Budget Magic Updates

Amonkhet Budget Magic Updates


Amonkhet's officially part of Standard. Felidar Guardian is dead. Life is good. As such, it's time for us to dig deep into the new Standard format from a budget perspective and update some old lists! While buying cards cheaply and managing your collection wisely get most of the coverage when it comes to playing Magic on the cheap, just as important is making your decks as good as possible for as long as possible. While running out to buy a new deck when a set releases is great, being able to update your old favorites to keep them fresh, fun, and competitive in the new formats is a great way to stretch a finite number of Magic dollars. 

So today, we are going to be looking back over all of our Standard Budget Magic decks since the release of Kaladesh and upgrading them for Amonkhet Standard. In the past when we've done these articles, I've gone really in-depth on some of the changes, but this time, things are going to be a bit different, since we have a ton of decks to talk about and update (15, to be exact). So rather than long, rambling explanations of the deck, the plan is to have the updated list, a summary of the changes, the cost of the updates, and a short explanation of why the changes were made; then, we'll move on to the next deck. If you have further questions or need a more in-depth explanation of something, make sure to check out the link to the original article on the deck and the videos of the game play, and / or ask me in the comments and I'll do my best to give you an answer!

A few quick things before we get to the decks. First, all of the updates have been made with budget in mind, so don't expect Gideon of the Trials and the other expensive Amonkhet cards to show up often, even though they could be good additions to some of the decks. Second, the list of changes should include everything that was cut / added to the main deck. There may be some sideboard changes as well, but they won't be written out because sideboards are so fluid and we don't really know what the metagame will look like yet. As for the order, we'll be starting with the oldest decks (the ones right from after Kaladesh released) and moving chronologically forward until we reach Amonkhet. Anyway, we've got a lot of ground to cover today, so let's get to it!

Temur Summonings

See the original list and watch the videos here!

Cuts: 3 Cultivator's Caravan, 1 Natural Connection, 2 Glimmer of Genius.

Additions: +4 Spring // Mind, +2 Pull from Tomorrow.

Cost of Upgrades: $9

Temur Summonings doesn't get a ton of new toys from Amonkhet, but the couple of additions it did get are very good for the deck. First, we have Spring // Mind, which is basically a Cultivator's Caravan that triggers Metallurgic Summonings and can be flashed back from the graveyard to not only draw a couple of cards but also make a 6/6 Construct token. Second, and no less important, is Pull from Tomorrow, which replaces a couple of copies of Glimmer of Genius. While Pull from Tomorrow is worse at four mana, once we get our ramp going, it can easily draw us an entirely new hand and makes a massive token to boot. I'd love to put four in the deck, but I'm not exactly sure what to cut, and we already have a lot of expensive stuff, with four copies of Nissa's Renewal and four Part the Waterveils. The other card I'm interested in is Commit // Memory, which seems great with Metallurgic Summonings, making a 4/4 on the front half and a 6/6 (while refilling our hand) from the graveyard, but like Pull from Tomorrow, it suffers from the fact that our deck is already overloaded with good top-end plays.

Poisonless Infect (GR Pummeler)

See the original list and watch the videos here!

Cuts: 4 Uncaged Fury, 4 Larger than Life, 2 Harnessed Lightning.

Additions: Blue mana, +4 Rogue Refiner, +2 Longtusk Cub, +2 Arlinn Kord, +2 Fling.

Upgrade Cost: $26

Poisonless Infect (probably better known as GR Energy or GR Pummeler) is one of the easiest decks to update because it's still a real tournament-level deck. While there are some card changes, the biggest update is to play style—instead of being all-in on pump spells and Electrostatic Pummeler, the more recent builds of the deck tend to be more resilient Temur energy decks that occasionally win with the combo. Clearly the biggest addition is blue mana, which gives the deck access to Rogue Refiner and sideboard cards like Negate. Otherwise, the deck plays Longtusk Cub and Arlinn Kord over pump spells like Uncaged Fury and Larger than Life

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

The sweetest addition to the deck is Fling, which takes advantage of the additional energy we get from Rogue Refiner to provide an instant-speed combo kill with Electrostatic Pummeler. This is helpful because we can go for it while the opponent is tapped out and also avoid some annoying removal like Blessed Alliance, which can be a huge blowout when our plan is to attack with a massive Electrostatic Pummeler

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

As for additional options, the biggest one is Rhonas the Indomitable, which has been showing up as a two-of in recent lists. Not only is it a major threat, but giving creatures trample is helpful in closing out the game. More importantly, the pump ability replaces some of the pump spells we cut like Larger than Life when it comes time to combo with Electrostatic Pummeler. With just 12 energy and five mana, one Rhonas the Indomitable activation on Electrostatic Pummeler plus Fling is lethal. While I didn't add Rhonas the Indomitable to the deck because it's a bit expensive for the budget, the ideal list would play two copies and likely cut two Longtusk Cubs. 

Energy Fog

See the original list and watch the videos here!

Cuts: 4 Fateful Showdown, 3 Repel the Abominable, 3 Deadlock Trap, 4 Dynavolt Tower, 1 Wildest Dreams, 2 Glimmer of Genius, 1 Tranquil Expanse.
Additions: +4 Haze of Pollen, +2 Approach of the Second Sun, +4 Cast Out, +4 Commit // Memory, +4 Bounty of the Luxa, +1 Pull from Tomorrow, +1 Scattered Groves.

Upgrade Cost: $20

I'm pretty sure that Energy Fog will end up being the most updated deck on our entire list, with a whopping 18 cards being cut and replaced by new Amonkhet options. In fact, the changes are so massive that the deck isn't really Energy Fog anymore, instead morphing into more of a Turbo Fog list. So, why did we drop the energy plan? Basically, energy tends to be an all-or-nothing mechanic, which makes it difficult to cut just some energy cards, and there were some energy cards we really needed to cut to make room for some really sweet new Amonkhet options. So, let's see if we can break down all of these changes in a way that makes sense. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Fateful Showdown and Dynavolt Tower were our finishers in the original build of the deck, and while Dynavolt Tower is still fine in the deck, thanks to Amonkhet, we now have better options for closing out the game in Approach of the Second Sun and Commit // Memory. Commit // Memory specifically is amazing for our deck for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it draws us seven cards while also shuffling all of our Fogs (including Haze of Pollen, a strict upgrade over Repel the Abominable) back into our deck, which makes sure we don't run out of ways to stay alive (this also lets us cut Wildest Dreams, which was our old "get Fogs back from the graveyard" card.) Commit // Memory also refills our opponent's hand, which might seem counterintuitive but make the Fevered Visions plan even more lethal by making it almost impossible for the opponent to stay empty handed. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Otherwise, Cast Out gives us a great answer to non-creature permanents (like planeswalkers), which makes Deadlock Trap unnecessary. Glimmer of Genius gets the axe because we have Bounty of the Luxa, which is a great, repeatable source of card advantage that makes sure we keep drawing Fogs while also ramping us into our Approach of the Second Sun finish, and because we get a copy of Pull from Tomorrow, we generates a ton of card advantage in the late game. Finally, we even get a cycling land to replace Tranquil Expanse! All in all, this is one of the decks I'm most excited to play with because it gets so many changes that it will almost feel like a brand-new deck (even though the general idea of casting a Fog every turn remains the same).

WB Fabricate

See the original list and watch the videos here!

Cuts: 1 Vampiric Rites, 1 Stasis Snare, 1 Anguished Unmaking, 4 Bygone Bishop, 3 Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim, 1 Grasp of Darkness
Additions: +1 Bontu the Glorified, +2 Cast Out, +4 Anointed Procession, +4 Hidden Stockpile

Upgrade Cost: $13

WB Aristocrats gets two huge upgrades and a couple of smaller ones as well. First, we get the combo of Anointed Procession and Hidden Stockpile, as suggested by a video on The Mana Source. My first impression of the deck is that it was a fun, casual idea, but I quickly changed my mind after getting destroyed by Hidden Stockpile making two, three, or four tokens each turn with Anointed Procession. The good news is that both cards work well with the rest of our deck, with Hidden Stockpile letting us scry for more action, while Anointed Procession doubles the tokens from Thraben Inspector, Weaponcraft Enthusiast, Angel of Invention, and Marionette Master. Otherwise, the deck gets a single copy of Bontu the Glorified, which seems great but isn't really a card you want to draw multiples of, since it's legendary (although two could be correct), and Cast Out, which manages to be both a less painful Anguished Unmaking and a less conditional Stasis Snare with the additional flexibility of cycling in the early game.

Combustible Ramp

See the original list and watch the videos here!

Cuts: 4 Deathcap Cultivator
Additions: +4 Naga Vitalist

Upgrade Cost: $0

Only a single change to the main deck for Combustible Ramp, with Naga Vitalist replacing Deathcap Cultivator. The new mana dork is an upgrade for a couple of reasons, not only adding red mana to help us cast our Combustible Gearhulks but also having an additional toughness to survive things like Liliana, the Last Hope's +1 ability. Otherwise, the sideboard gets a major reworking with Sweltering Suns, Magma Spray, and By Force, so make sure to update there as well to have better answers to the current meta.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

As for other options, Amonkhet doesn't offer many expensive green or red creatures to power up our Combustible Gearhulk, but if you have some copies sitting around (or doing mind spending an extra $35) Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger would be great in the Bedlam Reveler slot, offering 10 damage when we mill it to Combustible Gearhulk and also being a great additional finisher when we hard cast it.

Reckless Panharmonicon

See original list and watch the videos here!.

No changes to the main deck of Reckless Panharmonicon. Amonkhet, while an amazing set, didn't really offer any new artifacts (instead just a ton of good ways to deal with artifacts). As a result, we'll stick with the Aether Revolt update version of Reckless Panharmonicon as the most to-date list. That said, the sideboard is much different, with Magma Spray over Shock (a change you should make to just about any of your decks) along with cards like By Force and some Negates to deal with Aetherworks Marvel and fight through control. Of course, as I mentioned earlier, the sideboard slots are really fluid, and we'll know much more in another week once we see how Pro Tour Amonkhet shakes out, but the above sideboard seems fine for the moment.

UB Key Control

Cuts: 1 From Under the Floorboards 1 Ruinous Path, 4 Void Shatter, 3 Welcome to the Fold
Additions: +1 Cryptbreaker, +1 Never // Return, +4 Censor, +3 Drake Haven, +1 Archfiend of Ifnir, +4 Fetid Pools.

Upgrade Cost: $30

UB Key Control got a ton of new toys from Amonkhet thanks to the set's focus on discarding and cycling in the set. Probably the most exciting is Drake Haven, which replaces Welcome to the Fold as the secondary finisher. With the combination of Haunted Dead, Key to the City, and now a copy of Cryptbreaker, one thing that UB Key Control is really good at is discarding cards for free, which makes it super easy to trigger Drake Haven repeatedly and make a sky full of 2/2 Drakes. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Further supporting this plan is cycling, which is easy to slot into the deck. We have one Archfiend of Ifnir in the main deck because it can be a bit match-up dependent, but we have a couple more in the sideboard to bring in against decks with a bunch of small creatures, while Censor becomes the counterspell of choice and Fetid Pools finds a home in the mana base. All of these cards are fine on their own and have the additional upside of cycling to make a 2/2 Drake with Drake Haven

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Finally, Never // Return replaces Ruinous Path, and after playing a lot with both of the cards, I view this as a strict upgrade, not just for UB Key Control but for most decks. While I was super harsh on aftermath during the previews, having a free card (even a really bad free card like Return) in the graveyard counts as an upside, especially in a deck like UB Key Control that is looking to discard cards for value. 

Gearhulk Stompy

See the original list and watch the videos here!

Cuts: 3 Loam Dryad, 4 Noose Constrictor, 2 Clear Shot, 1 Woodland Wanderer, 1 Tireless Tracker, 3 Holdout Settlement, 1 Forest
Additions: +3 Channeler Initiate, +1 Manglehorn, +2 Rhonas the Indomitable, +4 Aether Hub, +4 Prey Upon

Upgrade Cost: $49

So I cheated a bit with this one. Since Gearhulk Stompy is already over budget (thanks to the price increase of Verdurous Gearhulk), I figured we might as well go all the way and add in Rhonas the Indomitable as well, which is amazing in the deck but fairly expensive at over $35 for just two copies. The upside is that Rhonas the Indomitable gives us another massive threat, lets us finish the game by trampling up our team, and turns Prey Upon (another new addition) into the green Swords to Plowshares.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Apart from Rhonas the Indomitable, we upgrade the mana with Aether Hub over Holdout Settlement and Channeler Initiate over Loam Dryad. Speaking of Channeler Initiate, Gearhulk Stompy seems like a great shell for the card, since we don't really need to produce mana over and over again because our plan is to close out the game quickly, and after the counters are removed, Channeler Initiate turns into a real threat that can go on the beatdown. Finally, we toss in a Manglehorn to kill those annoying Heart of Kirans and revamp the sideboard. 

Paradox Engine

Cuts: 4 Cogworker's Puzzleknot, 1 Whir of Invention, 2 Glimmer of Genius.
Additions: +4 Pyramid of the Pantheon, +3 Pull from Tomorrow, +1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger.

Upgrade Cost: $32

 

The changes to Paradox Engine combo are small in number but high in power. First, we get rid of Cogworker's Puzzleknot and replace it with Pyramid of the Pantheon, which is not only another early-game artifact to power up Whir of Invention but also turns into the best mana rock in our deck after we get enough brick counters. More importantly, we can get the brick counters all in one turn by tapping and untapping it with Paradox Engine itself as we combo off. The other big upside of Pyramid of the Pantheon is that it's only one mana, which probably doesn't seem like a big deal but can be really important when we are comboing off by offering a super cheap way to untap all of our mana rocks with Paradox Engine

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

The second big addition is Pull from Tomorrow, which is basically a more flexible Glimmer of Genius. In theory, we can cast Pull from Tomorrow for just two mana to untap all of our mana rocks and start comboing off with Paradox Engine, and then once we are mid-combo, we have so much mana that we can draw our entire deck with a single copy. The last change doesn't come from Amonkhet but shores up a potential problem with the deck—the original build was 100% dependent on Aetherflux Reservoir to win the game, which is a bit risky in a world with Dispossess. As a result, we toss in a copy of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger as a backup finisher to make sure we have a way to win the game when everything goes wrong. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

The other potential addition is Commit // Memory, which seems game breaking with the Paradox Engine combo by untapping all of our mana rocks and refilling our hand to make sure we can continue to combo off. The problem is that I'm not sure it's better than Pull from Tomorrow in this role. However, it is probably worth trying out in some number because it feels powerful on paper, if we can find room.

Infinite Bantharmonicon

Watch the videos here!

For the sake of completion, we should probably talk about Infinite Bantharmonicon. Basically, with the banning of Felidar Guardian, the deck is dead. While you can theoretically pull off some combos (creature-blink-based interactions) with Wispweaver Angel, it's no longer possible to make infinite mana without going ultra jank (something like two Wispweaver Angels, a Panharmonicon, and a Hidden Herbalists for mana production). Plus, even if Wispweaver Angel could make infinite mana, the deck would probably be dead anyway thanks to the loss of redundancy and extra mana in the cost. While it's sad to lose some fun fringe decks that depended on Felidar Guardian, all in all, getting the combo cat out of the format is for the greater good, and Standard is now a lot more fun for everyone as a result.

Mono-White Servos 

See the original list and watch the videos here!

Cuts: 1 Animation Module, 3 Stasis Snare
Additions: +1 Anointed Procession, +3 Cast Out

Upgrade Costs: $5

Mono-White Servos is one of the least changed decks on our list, which makes sense—it's built around a tribe that didn't get any additional support from Amonkhet, which means the only cards that even have the potential to be upgrades are supplemental support pieces. In the end, we cut the underperforming Animation Module for a single copy of Anointed Procession, which can help us make a ton of tokens but suffers from coming down after a lot of our token producers like Servo Exhibition and Cogworker's Puzzleknot, and Cast Out, which is generally just better than Stasis Snare, since it can hit non-creatures and cycles in a pinch. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Otherwise, Anointer Priest is a fun sideboard option to battle aggressive decks, almost working like a Soul Warden, since so many of our creatures are tokens, but otherwise, there isn't much to consider. This could change with Hour of Devastation, of course—with the token theme in Amonkhet, it doesn't seem impossible that we will get an Intangible Virtue (or something similar), and a token anthem would really increase the power level of the deck.

Marvelous Paradox

Watch the videos here!

No Changes

Here, we have another "no changes" (to the main deck), which again is not surprising. The combination of having a combo deck without many flex slots and energy being an extremely parasitic mechanic means that there simply aren't any Amonkhet cards that work in the deck. If you think about Marvelous Paradox as a deck, every single card (outside of Paradox Engine, which is essential for the combo) produces energy in one way or another, and cutting energy producers for "normal" cards—even if they are strong cards—will decrease the consistency of the deck. I did double check for clones, which do work really well with the combo, since they can copy our big energy producers, but the only Amonkhet option is Vizier of Many Faces, which isn't especially exciting, since we don't really have a way to take advantage of embalm by getting it into our graveyard. As for the sideboard, we slot in Dissenter's Deliverance as the artifact removal spell of choice, since we can always cycle it away when we are comboing, and switch Shock to Magma Spray to fight against Zombies and recursive threats like Scrapheap Scrounger.

Sram Aid

See the original list and watch the videos here!

Cuts: 1 Gryff's Boon, 1 Skeleton Key

Additions: +1 Stitcher's Graft, +1 Inventor's Goggles.

Sram Aid cares about two things—artifacts (especially equipment) and improvise—and Amonkhet didn't offer much on either front. In fact, the only equipment in the set is Honed Khopesh, which is fine but not better than Stitcher's Graft or Inventor's Goggles, which are both extremely powerful in our deck. That said, since we are updating, we have a good opportunity to smooth out a couple of issues with non-Amonkhet cards by cutting a Gryff's Boon and a Skeleton Key for the fourth copies of Stitcher's Graft and Inventor's Goggles. While this is a small change, I'm pretty sure it improves the deck, and we probably should have been playing four of each of these cards since the beginning.

Inspiring U-Drazi

See the original list and watch the videos here!

Cuts: 1 Deadlock Trap, 1 Prophetic Prism, 2 Glimmer of Genius
Additions: +1 Essence Scatter, +1 Negate, +2 Pull from Tomorrow

Upgrade Costs: $7

We wrap up our updates with a handful of minor changes to Inspiring U-Drazi. Much like our last two decks, Inspiring U-Drazi is built around themes that didn't really get support in Amonkhet (in this instance, big non-artifact, colorless creatures and cheap artifacts). For the most part, we just change up the counterspell package, adding an Essence Scatter for early-game creatures and a Negate to counter Aetherworks Marvel (and fight control). That said, there is one card I am pretty excited about.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Pull from Tomorrow has my pick for best card in Standard. It's much closer to Sphinx's Revelation than people realize, and it's really, really difficult to lose after casting it for six or more mana. More important for Inspiring U-Drazi, the synergy with Inspiring Statuary is amazing, since we can tap all of our random artifacts to help pay for the "x" cost and draw even more cards. This upside means it's likely far better than Glimmer of Genius in the deck, especially considering that making energy isn't important, since we cut the single Deadlock Trap

A Word on Panharmonicon

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

While this is a Budget Magic update article, it's sort of traditional to talk about Panharmonicon on the way out the door, even though Five-Color Panharmonicon was an Against the Odds deck (videos here). The bad news is that Amonkhet is one of the worst Panharmonicon sets ever. Not only does it have comparatively few creatures with enters-the-battlefield abilities but of the few creatures that do have enters-the-battlefield abilities, most involve putting -1/-1 counters on your own creatures, which isn't the kind of trigger we want to double up with Panharmonicon. At this point, I don't expect to make any changes to my Panharmonicon deck, but here are the handful of creatures that might be worth considering.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Angel of Sanctions exiling two non-land permanents is sweet, but there are two problems. First, playing these types of effects is doubly risky with Panharmonicon because when Angel of Sanctions dies (and it dies to some common removal like Cast Out and Grasp of Darkness), the opponent gets back both things, which can lead to huge blowouts, especially during combat. The other problem is that Angel of Sanctions is on a horrible point on the curve, fighting with Panharmonicon all-stars Cloudblazer and Verdurous Gearhulk. While I could imagine playing Angel of Sanctions as a one-of, possibly out of the sideboard, I don't think it's better than the other options. Regal Caracal has the same issue—while making four 1/1 lifelink Cats is funny and fairly powerful, it's just not as good as drawing four cards (and gaining four life) or putting eight +1/+1 counters on our creatures.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This probably sounds weird, but Miasmic Mummy could be a good sideboard option. While it isn't especially powerful and we don't really want to play this and discard on Turn 2, after we draw a ton of cards with Panharmonicon, the easiest way we lose the game is our opponent having a sweeper (combined with removal on Panharmonicon) to reset the game. In theory, Miasmic Mummy can solve this problem by making our opponent discard two, three, or even four cards (while not really hurting us, because we are often discarding to hand size anyway post-Cloudblazer) to make sure they aren't holding an answer in hand.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Red gives us Heart-Piercer Manticore, which likely isn't very good but does seem pretty funny. Imagine playing a Verdurous Gearhulk as a 12/12 thanks to a couple of Panharmonicons doubling the counters and then playing a Heart-Piercer Manticore to sacrifice it and another big creature to 20 the opponent. The problem is that this is pretty much the definition of win-more. Once we have multiple Panharmonicons and are making 12/12 Verdurous Gearhulks, we don't really need Heart-Piercer Manticore to win the game. That said, if you are a fan of Flinging things at your opponent, you can slot in a copy of Heart-Piercer Manticore for fun.

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

Finally, we have a couple of sweet green cards that don't really fit in our current build of Panharmonicon but could make a really fun (but probably not very competitive) new build. The basic idea is to play an As Foretold, get down some Panharmonicons, and then use Maulfist Revolutionary and Quarry Hauler to keep doubling the counters on As Foretold to turn it into Omniscience and cast whatever we feel like for free (probably just more Cloudblazers). In theory, these cards can double up Verdurous Gearhulk counters too (also loyalty counters for Nissa, Steward of Elements and other planeswalkers) so maybe there's some really weird, fun counter-doubling build of Panharmonicon out there. While I don't have a list, if there's one thing we've learned about Panharmonicon, it's that the pan-sabilities are endless!

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Hopefully, this gives you some ideas for making use of some sweet Amonkhet cards in your Budget Magic decks! If you have some other ideas for upgrades, make sure to let me know in the comments! Also, if you have any questions, make sure to leave them as well, and I'll do my best to answer them. As always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


More in this Series

Show more ...


More on MTGGoldfish ...

video

Best Amonkhet Cards for Standard

against the odds

Against the Odds: Sunbird's Invocation (Standard)

instant deck tech

Instant Deck Tech: Carnage Tyrant Combo (Standard)

video

Possibility Storm #4: Ixalan


Next Article

Get Email Updates

Follow Us

  • S
  • S
  • S
  • S
  • S
  • S
  • S

Welcome to MTGGoldfish. We display prices for both ONLINE and PAPER magic. By default, what prices would you like to see?   

Online Paper