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Budget Magic: $30 Rise of the Varmints (Standard)


Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Budget Magic! This week we're heading to Outlaws of Thunder Junction Standard to see just how many Varmints it takes to win a game of Magic. One of the most unique build around uncommons from the set is Rise of the Varmints. The four mana plot sorcery makes a 2/1 Varmint creature token for each creature in our graveyard. This means if we can aggressively self mill a single Rise of the Varmints can make a lethal board of creatures. More importantly, since many of the self-mill cards we need to fill our graveyard are cheap commons and uncommons Rise of the Varmints is a perfect budget deck, in fact the build we're playing today costs just $30 or, on Magic Arena, just eight total rares! How good is Rise of the Varmints in Standard? Let's find out on today's Budget Magic!

Budget Magic: Rise of the Varmints

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The Deck

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Rise of the Varmints is a super interesting card. For just four mana it can easily make 20 or more power worth of 2/1 Varmint creatures, assuming we have enough creatures in our graveyard. Even better, Rise of the Varmints has plot of just three mana, which is super relevant in our deck. We can plot Rise of the Varmints as early as turn three, spend a few more turns filling our graveyard and when it's nice and full we can cast Rise of the Varmints for free, leaving our mana available to protect it, while also making a lethal board full of Varmints!

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Of course, for our plan to work we need to be able to fill our graveyard with creatures to power up Rise of the Varmints. We've got a bunch of self-mill cards in our deck, but the two best and most important are Fallaji Archaeologist and Picklock Prankster, which not only fill our graveyard but if they happen to mill a Rise of the Varmints (or one of the few other instants or sorceries we have in our deck) we get to put it into our hand, which makes them both a way to increase the number of Varmints our namesake sorcery makes and to find Rise of the Varmints itself. 

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Rounding out our self-mill package we have a few more milling creatures. Gnawing Vermin is solid against aggro, milling a couple of cards and potentially trading up in combat. Aftermath Analyst might be the funniest card in the deck. We're playing it super fairly to mill a few cards and occasionally ramp a little, but thanks to the Temur Anlyist combo decks opponents find the two-drop incredibly scary and often spend their premium removal spells on it even though it's pretty bad in our deck. Lastly we have Cruel Somnophage which mills four and often ends up the biggest creature on the battlefield, making it a reasonable backup plan for games when we can't resolve a Rise of the Varmints

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Next up we have a couple of cards to help make sure we can find Rise of the Varmints consistently. When I first built the deck I didn't have either of these cards and ran into some games where I milled all of the copies of Rise of the Varmints and simply couldn't win the game. Dryad's Revival and Shigeki, Jukai Visionary solve this problem. Thanks to flashback we can simply mill Dryad's Revival and then flash it back to return Rise of the Varmints to our hand. Even better, if we have enough mana we can can use Dryad's Revival to get back Shigeki and then channel Shigeki to return multiple copies of Rise of the Varmints to our hand!

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Last but not least we have Ertai Resurrected, which serves a very important purpose in our deck, important enough that we're spending fully half of our eight rare budget on the four-drop. The idea of Ertai is to protect our Rise of the Varmints. One of the biggest issues with Rise of the Varmints is that the creatures it makes don't have haste which means we sometimes cast it, make 20 or 30 power of Varmints only for our opponent to answer them all at once with a sweeper or wrath. Ertai Resurrected's job is to counter the wrath. We can plot Rise of the Varmints so we have our mana avaliable to cast Ertai, make a huge board of Varmints and if our opponent has a way to interact with our mob of ground squirrels we can use Ertai to protect them and force through a lethal attack!

Wrap Up and Odds

Record wise we went exactly 50/50 with the deck, with 11 wins and 11 losses, which is pretty solid for an ultra-budget build. In general we aren't going to beat graveyard hate (which is why we're playing best of one - in best of three decks are super prepared for graveyard decks thanks to the popularity of Aftermath Analyst combo decks - don't play this deck in best of three, you'll get wrecked) and control is tough because of their endless counters and sweepers to interact with Rise of the Varmints, although we can win if we play careful and save an Ertai Resurrected for the right moment. On the other hand, the deck performs really well against aggro and midrange. Against these decks we have a ton of janky blockers to gum up the board and eventually Rise of the Varmints overwhelms our opponent. 

So should you play Rise of the Varmints in Standard? If you are looking for an ultra-budget deck, I think the answer is yes, but only in best of one. As I mentioned a minute ago, in best of three there are simply too many Rest in Peaces running around for the plan to work consistently. The deck is oddly consistent and surprisingly powerful. If you like graveyard decks or just happen to be a big fan of Varmints for some reason, this just might be the Outlaws of Thunder Junction Standard budget deck for you!

Ultra-Budget Rise of the Varmints

No ultra-budget build this week since the deck is already super cheap, although if you are looking to cut the cost of the deck further on Magic Arena you can drop the two copies of Cruel Somnophage for two more copies of Aftermath Analyst

Non-Budget Rise of the Varmints

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The biggest upgrade for our non-budget build of the deck is the manabase. While the fetchland and basic land manabase was sold enough for the budget built, we don't really get enough value from [[Aftermath Analyst] to make it worth if it we have an unlimited budget. Instead we play a pretty typical Standard manabase of fastlands, Innistrad lands and channel lands. Otherwise, we run the deck back more or less the same, but cutting the couple of copies of Analyst for another Cruel Somnophage and a Vilespawn Spider

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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