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Budget Magic: $24 (8 tix) Standard Bogles


Gbedoname Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week we head back to Battle for Zendikar Standard for the least expensive Budget Magic yet: Bogles! While it might be a stretch to call a deck without Slippery Bogle a Bogle deck, the deck plays a bunch of hexproof creatures and looks to buff them with enchantments. The play style is much like the Modern version of the deck. Of course it's a tad slower because we are lacking hexproof one-drops (or two-drops for that matter), but Standard isn't as fast and punishing as Modern. In all honesty, I was shocked by how well the deck performed. I was expecting a struggle just to reach a winning record, but instead we cruised to an easy 4-1. We could have easily been 5-0 with a bit of luck. 

Let's get to the videos, then we'll talk more about the deck. A quick reminder. If you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Standard Bogles Intro

Standard Bogles vs Four-Color Collected Company

Standard Bogles vs GR Landfall

Standard Bogles vs Villainous Ramp

Standard Bogles vs RB Dragons

Standard Bogles vs Land Destruction

The Deck

Standard Bogles breaks down into three simple parts: hexproof creatures (the Bogles), creature buffs, and defensive cards. Let's look at each of these groups individually. 

The Bogles

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Admittedly, the creatures in our deck are a motley crew. On their own, they range from not-good-enough-for-constructed to flat out putrid imp. On the other hand, they are the best hexproof creatures in Standard since we don't have access to Invisible Stalker, Slippery Bogle, or Geist of Saint Traft

Cloudform is easily the best of the bunch. A three mana 2/2 with flying and hexproof isn't a bad deal, especially in a deck built to abuse its powers. While it's more fragile than a true hexproof creature, in practice there's little distinction. Dromoka's Command is the most popular form of enchantment removal in the format and we typically have some do-nothing enchantments to sacrifice instead of Cloudform

Conifer Strider might be one of the worse creatures I've ever played in a constructed deck. Spending four-mana for a creature with one toughness isn't exciting. Thankfully our deck has plenty of ways to fix this problem. On the other hand, five power is pretty nice. It doesn't take many attack steps to finish off the game, and in the worse case it can trade with pretty much anything. 

Sagu Mauler is clearly the most powerful creature of the bunch. However, costing six-mana does mean the Mauler is incredibly clunky. Because of our abundance of hexproof creatures means our opponents rarely have targets for their removal, you almost never want to play Sagu Mauler face down for its morph cost. As such we are usually stuck paying the retail price for the 6/6. That said, once we resolve a Sagu Mauler (assuming we are not too far behind), we usually win the game in short order.

The Buffs

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Helm of the Gods was the card that made me want to build this deck in the first place. It wasn't that long ago that we were beating down with Ghostfire Blade, which has the same mana and equip cost as Helm of the Gods, but only gives +2/+2. In a deck built around flooding the board with enchantments, Helm of the Gods can do so much more. You can expect the Helm to regularly give +5/+5 or more. It also synergizes well with Cloudform, which is basically an enchantment creature and ups the enchantment count for Helm of the Gods. Helm of the Gods is costed in a way that it has potential to see constructed play — the trick is building a deck to support it. The combination of hexproof creatures and many enchantments gives the equipment a chance to shine. 

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And you thought our creatures were a motley crew! The enchantments we play to buff our hexproof creatures and Helm of the Gods are strange on paper, but they are actually very good in the deck. Stratus Walk is an all-star for two reasons. First, it doesn't cost a card, which makes it easier to flood the board with enchantments to power up Helm of the Gods. Second, it gives Conifer Strider or Sagu Mauler flying. This aspect not only allows us to get in damage over ground blockers (a flying Conifer Strider is a very fast clock), but also lets us to block opposing Dragons. There's nothing funnier that watching an opponent's Dragonlord Ojutai get stonewalled by a Conifer Strider enchanted by Stratus Walk

Retreat to Kazandu is important in more ways than one. Obviously, its most straightforward application is putting counters on our hexproof creatures while pumping Helm of the Gods. Early in the game, the lifegain the Retreat offers is essential. Unlike Modern Bogles, the Standard version is a bit slow. Even in the best case, we can't play a hexproof creature until turn three. We need ways to stabilize until we get a creature on the battlefield. Gaining two life from every land drop is a solid way to slow down the game while we wait to get our powerful midgame online. Once we cast a creature, we can shift gears, start adding counters, and build our motley crew into an unstoppable force. 

Temur Runemark is our most aggressive enchantment. Not only does it provide +2/+2, but considering the amount of Blue creatures and enchantments in our deck, it usually gives trample as well, which is important on the evasion-less Conifer Strider

Defense

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Claustrophobia and Singing Bell Strike are close to the same card in our deck. They tap down opposing attackers in the early game and blockers in the late game, while also pumping Helm of the Gods. Singing Bell Strike was particularly impressive over the course of our matches, being almost a hard removal spell on turn two against decks like RG Landfall or Atarka Red. I mean, is it really worth spending your entire turn to untap a Zurgo Bellstriker or Monastery Swiftspear? Most often the answer is no. If the game goes long, we can also use Singing Bell Strike as a very expensive form of vigilance. For example, we can attack with a Sagu Mauler, enchant it with Singing Bell Strike, and pay six to untap and block. 

Claustrophobia is pretty straight forward. It can deal with any threat in the format from Zurgo Bellstriker to Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger for the middling price of three-mana. When you are facing down a major threat across the board, Claustrophobia is always better than Singing Bell Strike. Remember, our opponents can use the vigilance trick too, so putting Singing Bell Strike on Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger is usually a bad plan.

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Although it does not fit in any of the categories, we should talk about Lumbering Falls for a minute. This card has grown on me immensely over the past couple weeks. Bogles is the perfect home for the hexproof creatureland. While it doesn't work well with our auras, it's great with Helm of the Gods. In fact, during one of our games we attacked with a 15/15 Lumbering Falls! Plus it can beat some control decks on its own, even unaided by our creature buffs.

Cards to Worry About

The good news is that most decks in Standard aren't prepared to deal with hexproof creatures. However, there are a couple cards that can ruin our day. If we expect them to show up in our opponent's deck, we should sideboard accordingly. 

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Crackling Doom and Self-Inflicted Wound have been on a bit of a downswing, currently showing up in only 13% of Standard decks. However, if you do run into Jeskai Black or Mardu, make sure to bring in Negate to counter their effects. Likewise, if you run into Eldrazi Ramp, it's usually a good idea to bring in cards to deal with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. While we can win the game before Ugin, the Spirit Dragon hits the battlefield, if the game goes long it will exile everything, making it impossible for us to come back. 

Cards We DON'T Have to Worry About (kind of)

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Part of the reason this deck works is that no one is playing Wrath of Gods in Standard. In fact, none of the cards above show up on the list of 50 most played spells in the format. If, however, your local meta is filled with Esper Control, you might want to skip Bogles since we are not fast enough to get under a Crux of Fate or resilient enough to replenish our board after a Planar Outburst

Ultra-Budget Bogles

While it might look silly to make an ultra-budget version of a deck that's already so cheap, if you are looking to play the absolutely cheapest version of the deck possible, here you go! Basically you lose out on Lumbering Falls (i.e. half the cost of the deck) and Yavimaya Coast. Instead you play Evolving Wilds and more basic lands. I think the Lumbering Falls are an essential part of the deck and wouldn't want to play without them, but this build is basically free online (less than 1 tix). If you are looking for a free deck to play in the just for fun room, this is a fine place to start. 

Non-Budget Bogles

The non-budget version of Standard Bogles looks a bit different, but the basic idea is the same. Buff up a hexproof creature with enchantments and go to town. We get the full fetchland and Battle for Zendikar dual land manabase which powers up Retreat to Kazandu. We get Jace, Vryn's Prodigy over Monastery Siege in the library selection slot. We get Dragonlord Ojutai over three copies of Sagu Mauler. While I haven't gotten a chance to test this build yet, it should be a fine jumping off point if you are looking to soup up the archetype in Standard. 

Conclusion

Anway, that's all for today. I was legitimately shocked by how well this deck performed. I expected it to be barely playable, but instead it ended up going 4-1 in matches. While I don't think there's any chance Standard Bogles is tier one, this performance gives me hope that it's playable at the FNM level. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, improvements, and suggestions in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive.


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