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Budget Magic: $34 (15-Rare) Doppelgang (MKM Standard)

Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Murders at Karlov Manor is here, and today, we're getting our first taste of our new Standard format with a deck built around one of my favorite cards from the set: Doppelgang! The deck's idea is simple: ramp, ramp, ramp, ramp, ramp. Cast a Doppelgang to copy some stuff, including hopefully some more lands, and then use Colossal Skyturtle or Shigeki, Jukai Visionary to get Doppelgang back from the graveyard. Cast it again to copy even more stuff until we eventually use Doppelgang to make a bunch of copies of everything until we eventually win the game! The best part? The deck is almost free to put together, costing just $34 in paper, 2 tix on Magic Online, and 15 total rares and mythics on Magic Arena! What absurd things can Doppelgang do in Standard? How many copies can we make with the new sorcery? Let's find out! But first, 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: Doppelgang

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The Deck

Doppelgang is basically a ramp deck built to get as much mana on the battlefield as possible and then cast a Doppelgang each turn until we eventually overwhelm our opponent with the most absurd board of tokens imaginable. Here's the plan!

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First off, we need to ramp as much as possible for our deck to do anything cool. While we can technically cast Doppelgang for five mana, it's pretty bad there, only giving us a single copy of a single permanent. In reality, we want eight, 11, or even more mana before we start the Doppelgang snowball. We have a bunch of different ramp options, ranging from Glimpse the Core to the triple-Cave ramp of Cosmium Confluence. But our two best ramp spells are Spelunking and Invasion of Zendikar since they are permanents that sit out on the battlefield, which means we can copy them with Doppelgang for even more ramp later.

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We also have a couple of copies of Virtue of Strength, which triples the mana from our basics—roughly half of our lands. While we don't need Virtue of Strength to do crazy things with Doppelgang, our most absurd games involve the enchantment, which lets us cast Doppelgang with a massive X cost to copy all of the permanents on the battlefield. Oh yeah, and like Spelunking and Invasion of Zendikar, Virtue of Strength is a permanent, so we can copy it with Doppelgang. We had one game where we ended up with nine copies on the battlefield, meaning each of our basic lands tapped for 19,683 mana!

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The real fun begins once we get up to eight or 11 mana: Doppelgang! Doppelgang is an interesting card. For five mana, it's downright bad, copying a single permanent. For eight mana, it makes two copies of two permanents. For 11 mana, it makes three copies of three permanents, and so on. The trick of Doppelgang is that it can copy any permanent on the battlefield, including lands, so our deck's goal isn't just to cast one Doppelgang but to cast a Doppelgang every turn in the late game once we get up to eight or 11 mana. Let's say we start at eight mana and cast Doppelgang for X = 2. The trick here is we can use the first Doppelgang to copy some lands or, if we have them on the battlefield, Invasion of Zendikar or Spelunking (along with the best creature or nonland permanent on the battlefield for fun) to make even more mana. Thanks to the extra mana, the next Doppelgang we cast can be for X = 3 or X = 4. If we copy lands or ramp again, we'll add another six or even 12 mana to the battlefield, which means the third Doppelgang can be for something like X = 8. Once we get to this point, Doppelgang actually generates mana, and before long, we're casting Doppelgangs big enough to make X copies of every permanent on the battlefield. It gets really wild!

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The last piece of the puzzle is Colossal Skyturtle and Shigeki, Jukai Visionary. These let us return Doppelgang from our graveyard to our hand, which is how we can keep casting a copy each turn. With enough mana and both cards, we actually go infinite, with Colossal Skyturtle getting back Shigeki, which can channel itself to get back Colossal Skyturtle and Doppelgang (and anything else we need from our graveyard). Honestly, once we get to this point, we're also probably reaching the token limit on Magic Arena with the biggest, most hilarious board imaginable!


Record-wise, Doppelgang was mediocre, winning less than 50% of the time and especially struggling against super-aggro decks like Mono-Red. As such, if your primary goal is to rank up on the ladder, this probably isn't the budget deck for you. On the other hand, the games we did win with Doppelgang were hilariously epic. 

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One possible way to improve the deck is to focus more on the Cave plan. Right now, we're not really a Cave deck; instead, we're just playing Caves so we can turn on Cosmium Confluence. But if we went full-on Cave Doppelgang, we could add in Calamitous Cave-In to help against aggro and maybe even Bat Colony to make some chump blockers. While we'd have to cut Virtue of Strength and some ramp to make room, which would make our Doppelgangs a bit less explosive, the deck might be more competitive overall thanks to the improved aggro matchup and would look something like this:

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All in all, I had a ton of fun playing Doppelgang. It's my kind of card. Sure, it might not win all that much, but it's super cheap to put together, and when it does win, it does so in super-spectacular fashion! If you're looking to rank up fast, you're probably better off playing something else, but if you want to do some of the biggest, splashiest, coolest things possible in Standard, Doppelgang just might be the budget deck for you!


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

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