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Budget Magic: 15 Rare Primeval Titan Gates (Historic)


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Gates has long been one of my favorite budget decks. We've played it in Standard, Pioneer, and even Modern over the year. But thanks to a recent Historic Anthology 7 addition to Magic Arena, the best format for Gates is likely Historic. If you've never seen a Gate deck in action, the plan is pretty simple: ramp as aggressively as possible to get up to 10 lands (including a bunch of differently named Gates) so we can win the game by activating Maze's End. If that doesn't work, we can take advantage of some super-strong Gate payoffs like Gates Ablaze, Guild Summit, and Gatebreaker Ram. How strong is Gates on a 15-rare budget now that we have Primeval Titan to turbo-ramp into the Maze's End kill? Let's find out on this week's Budget Magic!

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Budget Magic: Primeval Gates

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The Deck

Gates is essentially a combo-ramp deck. Our "combo" is getting enough different Gates on the battlefield to win with Maze's End.

The Win Con

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Our deck's primary goal is simple: win with Maze's End. To do this, we need at least 10 different lands on the battlefield—nine differently named Gates and Maze's End—which lets us activate Maze's End to grab our tenth different Gate and win the game! Of course, we need to play a bunch of different Gates in our deck for this plan to work, but this isn't really an issue. We have 14 different Gates in our deck, and in all honesty, most of them aren't really that exciting—they just fix our mana while supporting our Maze's End kill and other synergies. Baldur's Gate deserves mention as a Gate Cabal Coffers that can make an absurd amount of mana and lead to some incredibly explosive turns. 

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Budget-wise, the biggest upside to Gates is that playing a bunch of normally horrible tapped dual lands is actually optimal. Outside of Baldur's Gate, all of our Gates are commons and uncommons, which means even with a couple of Maze's Ends and Plaza of Harmony, our mana base is super cheap and easy to put together.

The Ramp

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Considering our win con requires us to get up to 10 lands, ramping aggressively is super important. Playing a land each turn and trying to win with Maze's End is simply way too slow to be competitive. As such, our deck is overloaded with ramp spells. Explore and Growth Spiral offer extra land drops while also drawing us a card. Escape to the Wilds gives us an extra land drop while temporarily drawing us a massive five cards. Meanwhile, Circuitous Route doesn't draw us cards, but it can snag any two Gates we are missing, which not only makes sure we have nine different Gates for the Maze's End kill but also allows us to snag Baldur's Gate to make a huge amount of mana.

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While all of those ramp spells are great, the best ramp spell in our deck by far is Primeval Titan. The Giant is almost unspeakably perfect for our deck. Remember, we need 10 lands on the battlefield to win the game: nine different Gates and Maze's End. As such, the math on Primeval Titan lines up amazingly well with the Maze's End kill. If we are casting a Primeval Titan, we'll have six lands on the battlefield. The Giant's enters-the-battlefield trigger will grab lands seven and eight, and, on the next turn, it can attack to tutor up lands nine and 10, the exact number we need to win the game with Maze's End. Basically, assuming Primeval Titan lives for a single turn, we're pretty likely to win the game with Maze's End the turn after it hits the battlefield. Oh yeah, it's also a 6/6 trampler, which makes it a reasonable backup plan if we can't win with Maze's End and need to try to win by attacking.

The Gate Payoffs

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If we do end up on our backup plan of needing to win by attacking, Gatebreaker Ram is essential. The three-mana 2/2 gets +1/+1 for each Gate we control, which means it's often a three-mana 10/10 (and we even had it up to an 18/18 in one game) with trample and vigilance, which is absurd. That said, I'm very tempted to move Gatebreaker Ram to the sideboard. While it is incredibly powerful if it lives, the Historic meta is super removal-heavy at the moment, with Rakdos and Jund being the most popular archetypes in the format. Because the only other creature in our deck is Primeval Titan, Gatebreaker Ram tends to die a lot, mostly because our opponent doesn't have anything else to target with their removal. While it is absurd if we run into red, green, or blue decks without hard removal and quickly dominates the battlefield, we end up sideboarding Gatebreaker Ram out much of the time. Next time I play the deck, I think I'm going to move it to the sideboard and bring Tear Asunder to the main deck, with the idea being that our opponent will likely sideboard out their cheap removal, and we can bring in Gatebreaker Ram in matchups where it's less likely to die.

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For removal, we have Soul Sear to hit Sheoldred and planeswalkers and Gates Ablaze, which is essentially just a three-mana hard sweeper in our deck since we are so good at flooding the battlefield with Gates quickly.

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Last but not least, we have Guild Summit, which is essentially just The One Ring except mostly better, and it costs $0.50 rather than $50. You might think I'm joking, but I'm really not. Sure, we don't get protection for a turn, but as far as card advantage is concerned, Guild Summit just outdraws The One Ring by a lot. Our deck is built to be playing at least two and often more Gates each turn, which means Guild Summit sits on the battlefield and draws us an absurd number of cards to make sure we find our Gates, removal, and eventually Maze's End for the win. The only downside of Guild Summit is that its card-draw ability isn't a "may," which means we sometimes get wrecked by Sheoldred, the Apocalypse or Orcish Bowmasters. If you are up against a black deck, make sure to save your removal for these creatures because they can jank us out and beat us all by themselves.

The Sideboard

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  • Flame-Blessed Bolt comes in against aggro to deal with small creatures. It's also a great answer to Orcish Bowmasters.
  • Relic of Progenitus rarely comes in, but it can be a lifesaver against graveyard combo decks like Reanimator or Greasefang.
  • Dovin's Veto is our control card. Against a deck like UW Control, we can remove Gates Ablaze and bring in the uncounterable counter to stop planeswalkers and other interaction.
  • Tear Asunder is the card one we bring in most often. It answers The One Ring for two mana and anything for four mana, which is fine in a deck like ours that ramps so much. It also answers Pithing Needle, which many decks will bring in to stop the Maze's End kill. As I mentioned before, Tear Asunder is so strong that I think it's worth moving it to the main deck and putting Gatebreaker Ram into the sideboard.
  • Farewell is great in the deck but is just a one-of because we were up against our 15-rare budget. If budget weren't a concern, the only thing I would change about the deck is adding another couple of rare sweepers like Farewell, Supreme Verdict, or Brotherhood's End to the sideboard.

Wrap-Up

So, Primeval Titan Gates is actually sort of busted—not just "good for a budget deck" busted, but I think it might actually be a legit top-tier deck in Historic. All in all, we went 11-2 with the deck, good for an absurd 85% match-win percentage through Diamond on Magic Arena to hit mythic with the deck! The deck laughs at The One Ring; has a weird win condition that most decks can't deal with; and has a strong game plan against aggro, control, and midrange. I legitimately think it is one of the best decks in Historic at the moment, and it costs just 15 rares to put together!

One funny note on the deck: originally, I was playing Breeding Pool and Lair of the Hydra in the mana base but replaced them with basic lands to get the deck down to just 15 rares and mythics, and it turns out that playing three basics was actually super helpful. We got hit by Field of Ruin effects multiple times, and having basics to tutor up ended up being super important in those matchups. So, what started off as a budget concession ended up being optimal in the deck. Also, don't play Arboreal Grazer. Please. Just don't.

Anyway, should you play Primeval Titan Gates in Historic? I think the answer is a super-easy yes. The deck is a blast to play, and it's a budget deck that can legitimately compete and get you to Mythic. The addition of Primeval Titan changes everything. Gates was a fun, third-tier budget deck before Prime Time hit Arena. But Primeval Titan's ramping speeds up the Maze's End kill by at least three turns while also improving our backup plan, which has made the deck into one of the strongest budget decks I've ever played in any format. If you want to hit Mythic on a 15-rare budget, this is the deck I'd recommend.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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