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Budget Magic: $43 Dimir Draw Two (Standard)


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week, we're heading to Standard to try a budget deck I've been wanting to build since The Brothers' War spoiler season: Dimir "Draw Two." The idea is to overload on cards that reward us for drawing our second card for a turn, like Gixian Puppeteer, Gurgling Anointer, Faerie Vandal, and Evangel of Synthesis, and then...you guessed it...draw a bunch of cards! The best part is that the deck is super cheap everywhere, coming in at just $42 in paper and with just 16 total rares and mythics (with half of the being eight dual lands) on Magic Arena! Is drawing at least two cards a turn a legit budget plan in Standard? Is Gixian Puppeteer just Sheoldred, the Apocalypse in disguise? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Dimir Draw Two

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The Deck

Dimir Draw Two is an aggro-ish, tempo-y midrange deck. The goal is to play creatures that do something when we draw our second card for the turn and then draw a bunch of cards to trigger our creatures, hopefully overwhelming our opponent with grindy card-draw value!

The Creatures

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So, why play a deck built around trying to draw at least two cards each turn? The answer here is two specific creatures: Gixian Puppeteer and Gurgling Anointer, both of which are solid payoffs for drawing our second card of each turn. Gixian Puppeteer is basically Sheoldred at home, draining for two whenever we draw our second card of a turn, which helps keep our life total high and also gives us a way to burn our opponent out of the game without attacking. Meanwhile, Gurgling Anointer starts off as a 1/3 flier for three, which isn't great. But it grows with a +1/+1 counter whenever we draw our second card for the turn, which quickly turns it into a solid evasive threat. Most importantly, both of these creatures reanimate something when they die. Gixian Puppeteer can reanimate any other creature in our deck, while Gurgling Anointer can also potentially reanimate anything if we can grow its power enough before it dies. This gives us a grindy game plan that helps us fight through removal, with Puppeteer reanimating Gurgling Anointer; later, Anointer can potentially reanimate Gixian Puppeteer to keep the reanimation train on the tracks.

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In the two-drop slot are two more draw-two creatures in Faerie Vandal and Evangel of Synthesis. While not as strong as our big payoffs, both are solid enough and work well with our deck's theme. Faerie Vandal can grow into a massive flier as we draw extra cards each turn, while Evangel of Synthesis is usually a menacing 3/3 attacker for two that also triggers all of our "draw a second card" creatures when we play it, making it a decent threat and a solid support card.

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Last but not least, in the one-drop slot is Evolved Sleeper, which isn't technically a "draw-two" card, but it's very important to our deck for two reasons. First, Gurgling Anointer reanimates a creature with mana value equal to its power, which means if we play it and it immediately dies, it can reanimate a one-drop, which makes having something it can reanimate essential. While, in our ideal world, we'll grow it a bit before it dies so we can reanimate something bigger, this isn't always possible, and getting no reanimation value from its death is brutal. All this is to say, our deck really needs at least one one-drop for Gurgling Anointer purposes. Second, if we can level up Evolved Sleeper, it gives us a way to draw extra cards for three mana at instant speed. This is actually very important in the late game. During our turn, we can activate Evolved Sleeper once and trigger all of our "draw a second card" effects, and during our opponent's turn, we potentially can activate it twice to trigger our stuff, if we have enough mana. 

Initially, I tried Delver of Secrets in this slot as a way to cut down on rares (the only nonland rares in our deck are Gixian Puppeteer, which is our best creature, and Evolved Sleeper), but it just wasn't good enough. At this point, I think Evolved Sleeper is more or less uncuttable unless you are on an extremely tight budget. Thankfully, you might already have Evolved Sleeper if you play Arena since it sees play in various tier black decks, so hopefully you won't have to spend wildcards to get it.

Drawing Two

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Of course, for any of our creatures to do anything, we need to make sure that we are consistently drawing at least two cards each turn. Actually, in our ideal world, we'll be drawing two cards during our turn and then two more during our opponents' turn so we can double-trigger all of our "when you draw your second card" creatures each turn cycle. Consider helps smooth out our draws in the early game; then, once we have some "draw-two" creatures on the battlefield, we can cast it during our turn (taking advantage of the fact that we get to draw one card during our draw step) to trigger all of our payoffs. Meanwhile, Tainted Indulgence and Thirst for Discovery each draw at least two cards at instant speed, so all by themselves, they can trigger all of our payoffs during our turn or at instant speed during our opponent's turn. 

Even outside of triggering our payoffs, having a bunch of card draw is pretty powerful, letting us dig through our deck for removal and threats and making it super hard to flood out since, if we happen to draw too many lands, we can always discard them to Thirst for Discovery or Tainted Indulgence

Removal

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Finally, we've got a bit of removal. Not much to say about it other than that between Rona's Vortex, Go for the Throat, and Infernal Grasp (with more in the sideboard), our deck is pretty good at getting rid of creatures that bother us. This is especially important against Sheoldred, the Apocalypse, which is brutal for our deck since our game plan is built around drawing extra cards.

The Mana

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The mana of Dimir Draw Two is sold for a budget deck, with eight mostly untapped duals and a bunch of basics. Notably, Shipwreck Marsh and Underground River account for half of the 16 rares in our deck, so if you already have these cards on Arena, the cost of putting together the deck will be significantly less than its 16-rare price tag would suggest.

Playing the Deck

Really, there aren't too many tricks to playing Dimir Draw Two, other than that it is important to try to manage your card-draw spells in a way that lets us draw two cards in a turn as often as possible. For example, once we get some "draw a second card" creatures on the battlefield, it's usually best to cast Consider during our turn even though it's an instant since it, plus our draw step, will give us the two cards we need to trigger all of our payoffs. Meanwhile, if possible, it's usually best to try to cast Tainted Indulgence and Thirst for Discovery during our opponent's turn since either one will draw us at least two cards, triggering all of our payoffs.

The only other thing to keep in mind is the reanimation of Gixian Puppeteer and Gurgling Anointer. Having these creatures die and not having anything in the graveyard to reanimate hurts quite a bit, so in the early game, it is sometimes a good idea to try to discard a cheap creature like Evolved Sleeper or Faerie Vandal to Tainted Indulgence or Evangel of Synthesis so we'll have something in our graveyard to reanimate once our Puppeteers and Anointers start hitting the battlefield.

Wrap-Up

Record-wise, I'm 5-4 with Dimir Draw Two overall, which is a pretty solid record for a budget deck at Mythic. And the record is actually slightly better than it looks because at one point, I played Mono-Black four matches in a row and scooped the fourth one in game one. Having a bunch of card draw and recursion makes the deck surprisingly good at grinding through removal, and the janky-looking "draw a second card" creatures are actually surprisingly strong in a deck built to support them! While I think Dimir Draw Two ranks a bit behind Soldiers and Bogles as far as the most competitive budget decks in The Brothers' War Standard, it is competitive enough to post a winning record at mythic, and it's a blast to play if you like drawing cards!

Ultra-Budget Dimir Draw Two

While 16 rares isn't a bad price on Arena, especially considering that half of them are the eight dual lands, I'm not sure it's really possible to make the deck much cheaper than it is currently. You could replace the rare dual lands with some common tapped dual lands, and it would still function, but it would be less competitive because we'll have to play off-curve sometimes. Still, if you don't already have the rare duals, replacing them with Contaminated Aquifer and Dismal Backwater is a fine plan for the short term, although in the long term, you'll probably need to upgrade to compete at the higher ranks. On the other hand, I don't think either of the nonland rares is cuttable. Gixian Puppeteer is the best "draw two" card in Standard, and Evolved Sleeper ended up being surprisingly important to the deck.

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Finally, the non-budget build of Dimir Draw Two gets a few interesting options. Sheoldred, the Apocalypse seems solid in the deck, in part because it's one of the best creatures in Standard and in part because it is another payoff for drawing extra cards. Kaito Shizuki gives us another way to draw two cards during our turn, and Surge Engine potentially can be an instant-speed draw three if we can level it up. Outside of these upgrades, we get an improved mana base, with channel lands and Mishra's Foundry, and a few sideboard improvements, like Reckoner Bankbuster for more card draw against control and Unlicensed Hearse over Lantern of the Lost for graveyard hate.

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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