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Budget Magic: $32 Orzhov Roles (Wilds of Eldraine Standard)


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Wilds of Eldraine Standard is here! While the set officially drops tomorrow, we got a chance to check it out early during the early-access event with a free account from Wizards, and there are some super-interesting cards in the new set! Take, for example, the role mechanic. At a glance, it looks sort of underpowered—the role auras themselves have minimal effects. But there are some really strong payoffs for having a bunch of creatures with auras on them, like Archon of the Wild Rose, A Tale for the Ages, and Eriette of the Charmed Apple. Can these cards make it worthwhile to jam a bunch of role cards together in the same deck? What if we try to do it all on just a $30 budget? Let's get to the video and find out on today's Budget Magic. Oh yeah, a quick reminder that if you enjoy Budget Magic and the other content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Budget Magic: $30 Orzhov Roles

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The Deck

Orzhov Roles is an enchantment / aura aggro deck built around the role mechanic, which incidentally puts auras on our creatures. The idea is to curve out with creatures and use the role mechanic to get an aura on each of them, which unlocks some very powerful payoffs!

Roles

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We have four cards in our deck that can put role auras on our creatures, which are all extremely important to our game plan since, for our deck to function optimally, we want to make sure that all of our creatures are wearing an aura every turn. Spiteful Hexmage might be one of the most underrated cards from Wilds of Eldraine. While it looks like a one-mana 1/1 since it will often put a Cursed Role on itself (which gives it a base power and toughness of 1/1), one of the quirks of the role mechanic is that each creature can only have one of our roles on it, so we often play Spiteful Hexmage on Turn 1 as a 1/1 but use something like Lord Skitter's Blessing or Conceited Witch on Turn 2 to role-rule away the Cursed Role and replace it with a Wicked Role, making Spiteful Hexmage a 4/3 attacker on Turn 2! Spellbook Vendor is a bit slow, but it can add a role to a creature (including itself) each turn. Conceited Witch isn't a great creature, but the adventure mode of adding a wicked role to one of our creatures for just one mana is super synergistic in our deck. Finally, Lord Skitter's Blessing walks the line between being a role creature and a payoff for roles. It makes a Wicked Role when it comes into play but, more importantly, also works as a two-mana Phyrexian Arena while on the battlefield as long as we have an enchanted creature, giving us an extra card each turn, which is quite powerful. 

Other Stuff

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Before getting to our big payoffs, we have three other support cards. Slumbering Keepguard doesn't make a role, but it is extremely important to our deck. Lord Skitter's Blessing really, really wants us to play a one-drop on Turn 1 so we can play it on Turn 2 and put the Wicked Role on the one-drop. Slumbering Keepguard is just the most synergistic one-drop for this job, scrying as enchantments enter the battlefield (which makes it a great way to dig for lands when we need them or to get rid of extra lands when we don't). Later in the game, the ability to pump equal to the number of enchantments we control for just three mana means Slumbering Keepguard often ends up attacking for five or more. Not bad for just one mana. Meanwhile, Cooped Up and Ossification give us some aura-based removal. The deck is playing more Cooped Ups than Ossifications, mostly because I wanted to see just how strong the upgraded Pacifism felt, but the numbers should probably be reversed. Ossification does everything Cooped Up does in our deck but is better against cards like Sheoldred, the Apocalypse that have static abilities that work even if they can't attack or block. 

The Payoffs

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As you've seen, our role creatures themselves are sort of medium in terms of power, but that's okay because our payoffs are so strong it doesn't really matter. All in all, we have three primary payoffs for getting an aura on each of our creatures. The first two, in A Tale for the Ages and Archon of the Wild Rose, grow our role creatures. A Tale for the Ages gives all of our enchanted creatures +2/+2, which is an absurd deal for just two mana. We've seen Tempered Steel be a legit Standard staple in the past, and A Tale for the Ages is similar but even cheaper. Once it hits the battlefield, our Spiteful Hexmage is at least a 3/3, Spellbook Vendor is a 5/5, and Conceited Witch is a 5/6—basically, all of our small role creatures become massive threats. In some ways, Archon of the Wild Rose does the same thing but even better. It turns all of our enchanted creatures into 4/4s with flying, which often allows us to kill our opponent with just one or two evasive attacks!

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Last and, sadly, least, we have Eriette of the Charmed Apple—the mythic for the role archetype. Unfortunately, Eriette felt like the worst card in our main deck. While its ability to drain equal to the number of auras we control on our end step looks like a solid way to close out the game with direct damage, in practice, we often only have two or three auras on the battlefield at once, which makes Eriette super slow in our deck. While I think Eriette still has the potential to be a strong card, it just isn't aggressive enough for what our deck is trying to do. Next time I play the deck, I play on cutting down to just one or two copies and play some additional removal. Along with (hopefully) improving the deck, this also makes the deck even cheaper. While $32 is already incredibly cheap for a Standard deck, our playset of Eriette is currently about half of the deck's cost. If we cut back on the mythic, we could easily get the price of the deck down under $20, which is an absurd deal!

The Lands

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The mana is where you can really see the budget aspect of the deck, with a bunch of basics and just one tapped dual land. If you have some rare Orzhov dual lands, throw them into the deck—any and all of them will improve the deck's consistency. While the current budget mana base is functional enough, we do occasionally have to mulligan because we have only one color of mana, which is annoying. Playing eight or 12 rare duals would be optimal, but any that you happen to have in your collection will help.

Wrap-Up

While I don't put much weight into a deck's record during early access, we were right around a 50% win rate with the deck, which is solid enough for an ultra-budget option. The deck can be incredibly explosive, and the payoffs felt strong, but it can also struggle against decks playing a ton of removal and sweepers. 

If you do decide to pick up the deck, there's a lot of upgrade potential. Outside of directly upgrading Orzhov Roles, there's potential for both Abzan Roles and Mardu Roles, which would add some additional rare role creatures like Charming Scoundrel and Faunsbane Troll. This will obviously increase the deck's cost quite a bit because of the mana base but also will also up the power quite a bit. Basically, think of Orzhov Roles as the base, budget shell of the role archetype, and feel free to build off of it by branching into other colors.

So, should you play Orzhov Roles in Wilds of Eldraine Standard? If you are looking for an ultra-budget deck, I think the answer is yes! At right around $30, you can't beat the price, and the deck certainly has the ability to pick up a lot of very explosive aggro wins. Just how it matches up against the top tier of the Standard meta remains to be seen. But at worst, the archetype has the potential to be a potent budget option for Wilds of Eldraine Standard, and with some upgrades, it could be even more!

Non-Budget Abzan Roles

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As I mentioned before, there are multiple upgrade paths for Orzhov Roles, but here's the build of Abzan Roles I had some success with during the early-access event. It's similar to the deck we played in the video, but going into green adds Royal Treatment and Faunsbane Troll along with some interesting sideboard and removal options. While it costs a ton more, mostly because we need a ton of rare dual lands to make the mana work, going into green offers a noticeable increase in power and flexibility, so it's worth it if budget isn't a concern. 

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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