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Budget Magic: $42 (13 tix) Marshmallow Tutelage


Dy bannee diu, Ta shiu/oo cheet! Budget Magic lovers! It's that time once again. This week we are going back to Standard for a deck I find super fun to play, Blue-White Marshmallow Tutelage. As you'll see in the videos, we don't win fast, but our inevitability is impressive. When I showed the list to Richard he said, "Oh, so you're basically playing Standard Lantern Control." After thinking about it for a minute, it's a great description of the deck. We put our opponent in a position of complete and utter helplessness, but unlike Lantern Control in Modern, they still have the illusion that if they draw well enough, they can still win the game. All the while our opponent will watch their library trickle away, turn-by-turn, until they ask, like the great Dr. Seuss: "How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon. December is here before it's June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?"

We'll break down the deck in a minute, but first let's get to the videos. A quick reminder, if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, subscribe to the MTGGoldfish Youtube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Marshmallow Tutelage Intro

Marshmallow Tutelage vs Abzan Red

Marshmallow Tutelage vs Esper Control

Marshmallow Tutelage vs The Great Aurora

Marshmallow Tutelage vs Jund

You're probably wondering why the deck is called Marshmallow Tutelage. When I first built the deck, I referred to it as Blue White Tutelage, but I wasn't especially happy with the name. It didn't capture the essence of how the deck played. Then one morning while drinking copious amounts of coffee (which is every morning), it struck me. What the deck is trying to do is stick a Sphinx's Tutelage and then play a bunch of marshmallows — White enchantments that don't kill our opponent's creatures and planeswalkers, but soften their blows and bog them down in stickiness. Sooner or later they eat their way out, but that's fine; the damage will already be done. Plus, I like the image of a charging Siege Rhino with a big marshmallow stuck to its horn. It's still fierce, and if it ever gets out from under the marshmallow, watch out. But for the time being even its most ferocious charge is harmless. 

The Finisher

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

We've seen Sphinx's Tutelage decks before, mostly notably the deck Andrew Cueno played at Pro Tour Magic Origins (and was later featured on Budget Magic). These decks have almost always been Turbo Tutelage / Mill / Fog type decks which look to mill an opponent's library in one or two big turns with Treasure Cruise and Magmatic Insight. Our deck plays Sphinx's Tutelage fairly (for the most part) and instead of stalling the game just long enough to draw a ton of cards and mill our opponent's library in one shot, we look to stall the game for 15 or 20 turns, while our opponent's library slowly drips away during our draw step. 

We don't play a single creature in the main deck (Arashin Cleric is in the sideboard for life gain), meaning Sphinx's Tutelage is quite literally our only way of winning the game. Not playing any creatures is one of my favorite aspects of the deck. It allows us to blank all of our opponent's removal. At times our Esper Control opponents will end up boarding in Arashin Cleric because they have so many dead cards. When you see an opponent boarding in horrible cards because they need to replace cards that are somehow worse than horrible, you know you've built a good deck. 

Creature-Mallows

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Pacifism and Silkwrap are very close to the same card in our deck. Their main purpose is to control our opponent's early creatures and allow us to get Sphinx's Tutelage online. After playing the deck for a while, I'm not sure which is better. Pacifism is horrible against any creature with an activated or triggered ability like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy or Zulaport Cutthroat. It makes up for this deficiency by hitting Siege Rhino, Tasigur, the Golden Fang, and expensive Dragons. The other problem with Pacifism is that it's not very good with Planar Outburst. Hitting a Deathmist Raptor or Den Protector on turn three is great... until we get in a position where we need to wipe the board and our opponent can use their graveyard as a resource. Silkwrap is awesome against Jace, Vryn's Prodigy, but bad against some control and midrange builds. 

Bottom line: choosing which marshmallow to play in the early game is important and requires some knowledge of the matchup and the threats you are likely to face later in the game. 

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Stasis Snare is clearly the best creature removal spell in our deck since it takes down a Dragonlord Kolaghan, Shambling Vent, or animated Gideon, Ally of Zendikar at instant speed. We really don't want to "waste" a Stasis Snare on a creature that could be handled by a Pacifism or Silkwrap. In fact, it is often better to take a few hits from a Den Protector or Deathmist Raptor in hopes of drawing a less powerful removal spell than firing off a Stasis Snare right away. Citadel Siege also handles hasty and hard to deal with threats that our other marshmallows miss. Citadel Siege takes some of the pressure off our other removal spells, tapping down our opponent's most troublesome creature every turn.

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Oddly enough, Dampening Pulse was the reason I built this deck in the first place. I figured that by stacking Dampening Pulse and Orbs of Warding, you could lock down 99% of Standard (the 1% remaining being Ugin, the Spirit Dragon). Unfortunately, the idea worked better in theory than in practice. I went from four copies of Dampening Pulse down to two, and finally one. Maybe zero is the right number. It's great against a narrow subset of cards like Hordeling Outburst and Secure the Wastes, but making Siege Rhino or Wingmate Roc slightly smaller doesn't win us the game. I expect the next time I play this deck, Dampening Pulse will be replaced with a third Negate or a fourth Quarantine Field

Planeswalker-Mallows

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While neutralizing every creature our opponents play is great, marshmallowing a Siege Rhino doesn't do all that much good if we just die to Ob Nixilis Reignited or Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Between Suppression Bonds and Quarantine Field, we have six ways to lock down planeswalkers. This amount is usually plenty since half of the best planeswalkers in Standard get hit by Stasis Snare or Silkwrap. While we can use Suppression Bonds and Quarantine Field to take a creature out in a pinch, it's best to hold them to deal with your opponent's planeswalkers. 

A little part of me dies every time I cast Suppression Bonds because it's not Faith's Fetters (one of the best marshmallows of all time). Quarantine Field, on the other hand, is super powerful. When I saw the card in the Battle for Zendikar spoiler, I wasn't impressed. It looked like an expensive Oblivion Ring. Then I cast it for eight mana exiling an Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger, Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, and Orbs of Warding and my opinion quickly changed. 

Now that we have all the marshmallows, let's talk briefly about the hierarchy. Pacifism and Silkwrap can be thrown away willy-nilly at just about anything our opponent plays. Stasis Snare should be held onto to take care of a hasty creature, a creature-land, or an animated Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. We will use Stasis Snare to exile a Siege Rhino before we use Suppression Bonds or Quarantine Field. The last two are gold because they can hit planeswalkers as well as creatures. Remember, we don't have creatures of our own. Holding onto cards that can deal with planeswalkers is a must. 

The Rest of the Deck

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Ugin's Insight isn't a very good card. It works in our deck because, unlike a typically control deck, we aren't leaving up mana for counterspells. As such, tapping out to draw three is usually fine. Plus, our marshmallows ensure we scry for three or four before we draw. Blighted Cataract is awesome. It allow us to play four Divinations without taking a slot in our deck. Sure, playing four colorless lands can be awkward, but the manabase hasn't given me too much trouble. Both cards provide extra Sphinx's Tutelage triggers. While we are not a Turbo Tutelage list; milling a few extra cards every now and then can be the difference between winning and losing. 

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We are running main deck Negates for one reason: we scoop to a resolved Ugin, the Spirit Dragon. Yes, we can lock it down with a Suppression Bonds or Quarantine Field, but by then the damage is already done. Our opponent gets back everything hiding under Stasis Snare, Quarantine Field, and Silkwrap. The first, second, and third rule of Negate is as follows: if there is more than a zero percent chance your opponent has Ugin, the Spirit Dragon in his or her deck, don't Negate anything except Ugin, the Spirit DragonThat Dromoka's Command about to kill your Pacifism? Don't do it. A Dig Through Time? Nope. The Great Aurora? Well, I guess there are a few exceptions. Seriously though, save your Negates for Ugin, the Spirit Dragon if at all possible. 

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

I just couldn't get away from Starfield of Nyx. A deck stuffed full of enchantments seemed like a natural home for a copy. In this deck we aren't planning to beat down with animated enchantments. Instead, our one copy of Starfield of Nyx is mostly used to get back a Pacifism or Sphinx's Tutelage in the late game. Monastery Siege is a way to control our draw step, although getting an extra Sphinx's Tutelage trigger every turn isn't a bad deal either. 

Ultra Budget Marshmallow Tutelage

I almost didn't include an ultra-budget option this week. $42 is fairly cheap, but I figured I might as well see how low I could get the price tag. The biggest difference here is we trade some of our marshmallows for Blue enchantments, which aren't bad but certainly worse than Silkwrap, Stasis Snare, and Quarantine Field. I encourage you to "splurge" and put together the $42 because I think the difference in competitiveness between to two builds is far more than $15. This said, if your goal is to build the cheapest version possible, let this be your starting point.

Non-Budget Marshmallow Tutelage

The non-budget version of Marshmallow Tutelage is basically the same as the one played in the videos, except it has a souped-up manabase. Personally, I don't think the wins you gain are worth $150 extra dollars (they will be few and far between), but if you have some extra copies of Flooded Strand, Prairie Steam, and Polluted Delta laying around, you might as well throw them in the deck. They'll make the mana slightly more consistent, although the mana in the regular version of the deck works just fine. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. Do you have any suggestion on improving the deck? Did I miss any "auto include" cards? Is playing Sphinx's Tutelage "fairly" a legitimate game plan for Standard? As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive. 


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