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An Uncommon Budget: 24 Decks for Midweek Magic

Midweek Magic

For those who play Magic: the Gathering on MTG Arena, there is a weekly rotating format known as Midweek Magic, where players can play anything from Standard Singleton to All Access Historic. This coming week, the event is going to be Artisan! That means that players have to build decks entirely of Uncommon and Common cards. The catch is that the format will be in Alchemy. As many people who visit this site may not be as familiar with the cards present in Alchemy, this article can serve as a resource for people who want ideas for decks to build for the event.

These decks largely come as variations of Standard Artisan decks, and most of them have been tested thoroughly. Some decklists will be provided for theoretical, less-tested decks that at the very least can help spark ideas as you look for a deck to play in this week's event. I will specifically make mention if the deck is untested. I wish I could have been able to optimize these lists before the event, but I've been testing so many ideas that I have actually run out of Uncommon wildcards again.

I hope you enjoy these budget decklists and find something that fits your playstyle!

The Decklists


The best Commons and Uncommons tend to be cheap, and the format is best-of-1, so it's no surprise that there will be a lot of good Aggro decks for the event. What will be a surprise, however, is the variety of different ways you can play aggro in this format.

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If you're looking to quickly grind out wins without learning a new, complex deck, then this is the deck for you. The deck looks to play a bunch of fliers and turn them sideways. With enough one-drops and card advantage, the deck very quickly goes wide, and an Ambitious Assault effect can effectively be a burn spell for eight or more damage! It's a simple, redundant deck, and learning it should take no time at all.

Some people might be shocked that some powerful Izzet cards didn't make this list, however, those cards have an even better home in the next deck...

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Balmor, Battlemage Captain is easily one of the strongest Uncommons that Wizards of the Coast has printed in a while. Even with only one other creature on the battlefield, it makes instants and sorceries powerful, but add Third Path Iconoclast to the mix, and it's easy to see that this deck can kill its opponents quickly. The extremely low curve is also somewhat deceptive, as a lot of the spells in the deck help you draw into or conjure more spells to cast, letting you use your mana efficiently for a bit longer than you'd expect. If you are a fan of slinging some spells, then this is the deck for you.

Moving on beyond Izzet, we find another great Uncommon Legend that was printed recently...

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Yes, it's another Burn Bright deck, but before we get to that, let's look at Baird, Argivian Recruiter. Baird triggers at each end step if a creature has a higher power than its base power. Both Iron Apprentice and Kumano Faces Kakkazan let Baird start triggering as early as turn two, and in Artisan, making a 1/1 creature every turn is surprisingly powerful. But just to make sure those creatures are lethal threats, this deck is also running Ritual of Hope, a powerful card with mana value two that lets you triple their power. Going wide and pumping the team is a powerful way to build an Artisan deck, especially since most of your opponents won't be running sweepers. If you like Burn Bright effects, then this deck should be quite fun to play.

However, going wide isn't the only way to be aggressive. There's also a lot of potential for going tall...

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Before the last rotation, with Ingenious Smith, this deck was the deck to beat in Standard Artisan tournaments. While the deck now has to run some weaker choices, it still is powerful and has some incredible lines it can take. My personal favorite win with the deck involved using an upkeep stop to cast High-Speed Hoverbike, crewing it with Rabbit Battery, pumping it with the second lore counter of Michiko's Reign of Truth, and then equipping the tapped Rabbit Battery to it to make it a hasty, lethal threat. And I just want to point out that when you win so quickly, the Ward 2 on Patchwork Automaton feels like Hexproof. If you like an aggressive deck that still has card advantage and interesting decision-making, then I recommend this deck.

Instead of working with Artifacts, though, what if we worked with Enchantments...

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This is a commonly built deck as a budget option for players on the Ranked ladder. Generous Visitor snowballs surprisingly well for costing one, and Jukai Naturalist making Enchantments cheaper lets you play out your hand pretty quickly. The deck does have to run some more medium cards to fill the deck when you restrict yourself to Uncommons and Commons, but the core cards of Generous Visitor, Jukai Naturalist, and Michiko's Reign of Truth are strong enough to carry the deck. If you're a fan of Enchantress and already have all the cards for this, then this deck should come easily to you.

While Artifact and Enchantment theming makes for a synergistic deck, perhaps the most popular way to make a synergistic Aggro deck is to go Tribal...

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A recent Alchemy balance patch buffed a ton of the Common and Uncommon Samurai cards. The ones relevant for this deck are Akki Ronin, Eiganjo Exemplar, Imperial Subduer, and Peerless Samurai all costing one less mana (along with stat nerfs), Asari Captain costing two less mana (along with a stat nerf), and Ancestral Katana giving First Strike to attacking creatures. I have not actually had time to test this deck, but my experience with balances patches so far has been that if you shove all the improved cards together in a deck, it's going to be pretty good. If you want to see Samurai be much better than they are in Standard, I recommend you try this one out.

Lastly, no list of Aggro decks would ever be complete without the classic, reliable...

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Burn spells? Check. Hasty creatures? Check. Efficient Curve? Check. There's not much to say about this deck. Everything in it is designed to get your opponent's life total from twenty to zero. The Alchemy-exlusive cards in this deck are very powerful, with Ambergris, Citadel Agent providing some late-game card advantage and Mephit's Enthusiasm acting as a removal spell that also pumps up a creature. If you're the type of player who likes working hard to maximize their damage and just barely kill their opponents before they can stabilize, then this is the deck for you.


Some decks are looking to kill your opponent quickly, but they don't just make a lot of decent-sized creatures and swing in, so it felt wrong to classify them as being Aggro decks. For example, this first deck can play a very aggressive gameplan, but it also can slowly drain the opponent out of the game while grinding value.

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Oni-Cult Anvil is a menace. It is powerful on its own, but in multiples, it can be a nightmare to go up against. While there are a few different routes for building around the Anvil, a Blood Token theme is probably the best route to go if you want to close out the game quickly. Voldaren Epicure and Bloodtithe Harvester are both great cards if you're trying to get aggressive, but the card I feel like people are sleeping on the most here is actually Sanguine Statuette. With the amount of Artifact sacrificing that the deck does, starting turn three, that card is a 3/3 hasty creature for two mana that comes with the upside of making a sacrificeable token when played. Unlike many of the other decks we've looked at so far, though, this deck can grind out a long game if it needs to and has incredible reach. Very powerful deck, and if you are missing Deadly Dispute in Standard, I highly recommend you take it for a spin.

Speaking of decks with good reach, let's look at the master of reach itself...

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While the direct damage spells themselves are a little lackluster at the moment, the support cards are magnificent! Thermo-Alchemist and Kessig Flamebreather add an extra damage to your Instants and Sorceries, and Flame Channeler gives you card advantage for doing what your deck already naturally does. With lots of creatures with three toughness, the deck can usually stall the game just long enough to kill the opponent through direct damage. Burn decks are simple, but effective. If you like direct damage, this is the way to go.

For the two other Aggro-Adjacent decks, we are going to look at decks built around pump spells...

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This deck is an old classic for me, and I think it's still viable. The plan here is to get down a Double Strike creature like Illuminator Virtuoso and temporarily give it huge stats with something like Majestic Metamorphosis. Swing in over a few turns and you will kill your opponent pretty quickly. Very straightforward deck with a ton of redundancy that makes it feel like the deck only contains three different cards and lands. If you like ruining combat math, then this deck is great to play for a few rounds.

But why stop at making your creature a 5/5 Double Strike threat? What about a potential 10/10 Double Strike threat...

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Quick disclaimer: This deck will not anywhere near consistently deal twenty damage in one swing. It will certainly deal a lot, though. This deck is about building up a pile of cards in hand to cast all at once and make a creature into a lethal threat. This plan happens to work rather well with Werewolves like Spellrune Painter since we already sometimes decide to wait another turn before committing to anything, which causes it to turn to Night. Twinferno usually is essential to the most explosive wins, but sometimes just chipping away with powerful attacks a few times is enough. One interesting upgrade from Alchemy is Perilous Iteration, which is a tutor for Spellrune Painter, as it is the only card in our deck that costs more than two mana. Not a strong deck, but if you enjoy the loud smashing sound effect Arena plays when you hit an opponent with a powerful creature, then try this deck out.


Somewhat related to Aggro, but definitely distinct, are Tempo decks, which try to stick a few threats, then disrupt the opponent while riding those threats to victory. While Mono Blue Tempo is potentially a deck you can make, I haven't found it to be very viable. However, once you add White to the mix, you'll find there are two distinct Tempo decks you can make that are quite powerful.

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If you're going to talk about Tempo, then Delver of Secrets decks probably will spring to mind. This deck is extremely powerful. All four of the creatures in the deck are incredible in a Tempo deck, drawing cards, being evasive, and growing throughout the match. Instead of going heavy on counterspells, this deck tries to focus on protecting its threats, and if the opponent tries to race you, Revelation of Power can swing the race heavily in your favor (note that with Illuminator Virtuoso, Revelation of Power usually means you get at least eight evasive lifelinking damage). I wish Wings of the Cosmos was still in Alchemy so I could blow people out with a card they forgot existed. Oh well. If you are looking to win, then this deck is worth picking up and mastering.

Moving away from Instants and Sorceries, we find another tempo deck built around Auras...

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This deck is fairly similar to the previous one, but one advantage it has is that it can go wide with Brine Comber and Nurturing Presence, making it less vulnerable to opponents who can force their removal through protection spells. However, the deck is not as strong at closing out the game, and it is not as disruptive of the opponent, meaning that a ocassionaly, it executes its gameplan, but that gameplan just isn't enough. Still a decent deck that you can try if you are a fan of suiting up a giant voltrony threat.


If you love value, then these might be the decks for you. Midrange decks in Artisan can be made in most color combinations as "goodstuff" decks, but as far as those types of decks go, I will only be sharing the one that I feel is most powerful.

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This deck is a beast. It may seem odd to play a three-color deck when mana fixing is so weak in Artisan, but this deck can easily stabilize after a slow start. A variety of removal from Cut Down to Tear Asunder cleans up early threats, and you can comfortably recover any lost life with anything from Urborg Repossession to Inspiring Overseer. But what makes this deck strong is its lategame potential. Almost every single card comes with another card attached to it. If you're empty-handed and draw Phyrexian Missionary, you can kick it to get a Blossom Prancer that finds another Blossom Prancer that finds an Inspiring Overseer that draws you a Rise of the Ants that you can then flashback. The only limit is your mana, and as you keep prolonging the game with lifegain, you play more and more lands until you completely overwhelm your opponent in value. Or, you can always just get Cruel Reality from Cursebound Witch and end the game a little more quickly. If you love grindy games and card advantage, then this deck will feel amazing to play.

While this next deck isn't as good against a fast start from the opponent, it's got a card advantage engine that may rival Abzan Midrange...

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This deck originated when Colossal Skyturtle was printed alongside Season of Renewal. Artisan players quickly realized that you could use Colossal Skyturtle to get back Season of Renewal, which could get back Colossal Skyturtle and any Enchantment or Creature you wanted (usually Binding the Old Gods). Pay three mana twice to get a card from your graveyard sounds expensive, but it worked. Now Season of Renewal has been replaced by Urborg Repossession, sacrificing Instant speed for lifegain, but the combo is functionally the same. Some players have tried to add a Micromancer package to the deck, but the Skydurdle expert of the Artisan Discord has recommended against it. I like this build of Skydurdle that also gets value out of Tainted Remedy. The deck uses Channel and Kicker abilities to have a decent curve despite having a fairly even spread of mana values. Not the most powerful Midrange deck, but if you've played the Shigeki and Skyturtle combo, this deck feels very similar.

If cards that come with other cards attached to them makes for a good Midrange deck, then maybe we should play cards that literally have an extra card on their backside...

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Once again, the latest Alchemy balance patch has heavily buffed an otherwise weak tribe. The biggest winner of the bunch, though, is Shipwreck Sifters, which now triggers whenever a Spirit enters your graveyard from anywhere. Creature dies? +1/+1 counter. Mill a creature? +1/+1 counter. Loot a creature? +1/+1 counter. This thing grows very fast and in some matchups, that's good enough. However, against more controlling opponents, the midrange gameplan comes into play. Despite the most expensive card in the deck costing only three mana (since Gutter Skulker got buffed), this deck never runs out of gas, since almost every card can be cast from the graveyard. A lot of people complain that Alchemy is an expensive format, but it seems like every balance patch makes a budget deck stronger. If you want to see how strong Artisan decks can be in Alchemy compared to Standard, this deck is a great place to test that.

While we're on the subject of Tribal decks, let's look at another one that never runs out of gas...

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Artisan is a slower format, so it is often fine to take turn four off to play Laid to Rest, and once you do, you will never run out of cards to play. You'll also occasionally gain life, but drawing a card whenever any Human dies (even if they die at the same time) is an incredible effect. The rest of the deck is a pile of some of the best humans, with the buffed version of Sigardian Paladin being solid even if it had no text on it. If you like tribal decks but don't want to be an Aggro deck, then this is a good deck to try.


Without Depopulate or Farewell or any Planeswalkers, it would seem very hard to make a functional Control deck for this event. However, there are still a few strong Control decks that definitely can compete with the rest of the meta.

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As far as Control decks go, this one is definitely geared towards a best-of-1 meta, and it will suffer against other Control decks, as it only has eleven cards in the deck that can actually deal damage to the opponent. However, the deck is very strong when it comes to controlling the earlygame, and in Artisan, dropping 3/3s and 5/5s is good enough to win, especially when you can keep your opponent's side clear. The Micromancer package here is simple but effective, with my favorite tutor target being Wash Away, which is only good because it is a tutorable hard counter. If you want to punish players everyone for playing Aggro in the event, then this deck will help you accomplish that.

What about making a more balanced Control deck? Well, the resident Artisan Control expert, EndlessNumber, recently said he'd be playing this list...

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I did not make this list, so any commentary I make on it is purely speculative. However, the deck looks quite strong. EndlessNumber has always been high on Ambition's Cost as a raw card advantage and uses some incidental lifegain to offset the life loss. Queza, Augur of Agonies is especially good with the card. EndlessNumber also always has a plan for Control mirrors and considers having either Devious Cover-Up or Witness the Future a must in any control deck to make sure you win the especially long games. Not much else to say besides the fact that he is very low on the card Kindred Denial and doesn't recommend it. If you are a die-hard Control fan who considers far more than just stabilizing the board, then this is the deck for you.

Lastly, I have a Control deck that is built around a new Alchemy card...

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This deck is untested, but should be solid against Aggro and Midrange. The main build-around is Pull of the Mist Moon, which is an Oblivion Ring that you can kick to turn another card in your hand into an Oblivion Ring. If you target something like a Borrowed Time, then when you play it, it will exile two of your opponent's permanents. While this deck generally relies on your opponent needing permanents to win, it does have a powerful way to close out the game in Celestial Vault. The spellbook for Vault is mostly big, dumb Angels, so if you pay into it for a few turns, you can crack it at any time to fill your hand with finishers. While this deck is weak to opposing Control decks that don't play many permanents, it seems very solid against anything else. If you are a Control lover who wants to embrace Alchemy for the event and draft some cards while applying perpetual effects to cards in your hand, then this is the deck for you.


Yes, there is an entire subsection dedicated to Sacrifice decks, mostly because Cursebound Witch and Xander's Wake are incredibly strong in Artisan. But even knowing that there are two main staples to build around, there are a couple of different ways to go about building around them.

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If we're going to talk Sacrifice, we should first look at a basic, all-in-on-Cursebound Witch-and-Xander's Wake sort of build. This deck has a ton of card draw, deathtouch, and removal to last until you find one of these cards. Cursebound Witch can then find a win condition (pray for Cruel Reality) or you can simply outvalue your opponent with an endless stream of junk from Xander's Wake. It's simple, but it works. The deck also has the wonderful engine of Shambling Ghast, Deadly Dispute, and Skullport Merchant. If you're a fan of sacrifice-based value, then this deck will be a lot of fun to play.

This next deck takes the same basic idea, but adds on another color and a hilarious twist...

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While this deck is not tested, I have tested a few decks built around You Are Already Dead, Bladebrand, and 1/1 creatures with valuable abilities when played. Compared to the previous deck, this runs less removal, but it has more win conditions in Monk of the Open Hand (which grows quickly) and Dokuchi Shadow-Walker (which also lets you reuse effects that happen upon being played). The mindgames that begin from the moment your opponent gets blown out by the first You Are Already Dead make the game a blast to play. If you want to play You Are Already Dead with a straight face, then this is the deck for you.

This last Sacrifice deck takes advantage of Alchemy even further by including a powerful buffed card...

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Skull Skaab in Alchemy triggers even if you Exploit a Token creature, meaning that if you can get multiple of them in play at once, they can start snowballing at an incredible rate. Stitched Assistant also costing only two mana is a huge buff for the deck. Once again, the core plan of sacrificing for value and drafting busted Rares and Mythics is in the deck, but this time, you also can start making an army of 2/2s along the way. If you are a fan of Zombies, then this deck should be right up your alley.


There is one more deck to look at, and oh boy is it an interesting one. I wasn't sure quite what to classify it as, so it gets its own category here at the end.

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This deck abuses the fact that when a Prototype Creature is exiled and returns, it will no longer be a Prototype. So for example, if on turn three I cast Combat Thresher as a Prototype, then on turn four I Channel Touch the Spirit Realm on it, then not only will I get to draw another card, but it will come back as a 3/3. This deck tries to do that very thing as consistently as possible. I have not tested this deck, and I wonder if Illuminator Virtuoso would be good in the deck simply because copying it with Hulking Metamorph would be so good (and Tawnos Endures is decent with it as well), but I felt that was too greedy and went for other creatures that are worth casting Planar Incision and such on. If you want to try a deck that puts big, dumb Artifact Creatures into play, then this is the deck for you.


Somewhere among all those decks I would expect you found one that called to you. But whether you did or you didn't here, I hope you find the right deck for you so you can enjoy this week's Midweek Magic! And even outside of Midweek Magic, I hope you found something that inspired you to make something creative yourself.

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