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Budget Magic: $46 (20 tix) Standard Mono-Green Aurora


Werte, Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week, we are heading back to Standard for my new favorite Budget Magic of Shadows over Innistrad Standard: Mono-Green Aurora! Lately, people have been playing The Great Aurora for value, usually as a one-of in various Seasons Past decks, but these decks don't really do The Great Aurora justice. The card is incredibly powerful, enough that some have compared it to Upheaval, one of the most broken cards of all time. Just like Upheaval, the trick of The Great Aurora is to break the symmetry of the card's effect. Admittedly, this is a little trickier with The Great Aurora, since our opponent gets to put all the lands they draw into play, just like us. Because of this, our goal is to leave nothing to chance and win before we give out opponent a chance to untap and make use of their lands!

Let's get to the videos; then, I'll talk more about Mono-Green Aurora. A quick reminder: if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Mono-Green Aurora: Deck Tech

Mono-Green Aurora vs. Naya Midrange

Mono-Green Aurora vs. GW Tokens

Mono-Green Aurora vs. Jund Midrange

Mono-Green Aurora vs. Accursed Control

Mono-Green Aurora vs. Abzan Ramp

The Deck

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The Great Aurora is a very unique card. It often draws us somewhere between 15 and 40 cards, but it has the potential to benefit our opponent even more if we aren't careful, since it's symmetrical. The way we go about breaking the symmetry in this deck is by playing a ton of cards that put multiple permanents on the battlefield (most often lands or Clue tokens), which means that over the course of the game, The Great Aurora draws us many more cards than our opponent. Most of the time, the effect of The Great Aurora is cumulative. The first one often draw us only a few more cards than our opponent, the second one increases the advantage, and by the third The Great Aurora, we typically draw two or three times as many cards as our opponent. 

The second part of The Great Aurora is that it allows us to put any lands we draw from it into play right away, and since all of the lands in our deck enter the battlefield untapped, we generally have a bunch of mana to use on the same turn as The Great Aurora. Plus, we are playing 27 lands, so even if we are drawing the same number of cards as our opponent, we should end up with more lands on the battlefield when The Great Aurora finishes resolving. Finally, remember that we can float mana before casting The Great Aurora, so even though all of our lands get shuffled back into our deck, we still have access to the mana those lands produce. The end game of this process is a turn where we have access to up to 28 mana (sometimes by casting multiple copies of The Great Aurora in the same turn, floating all our mana in between), which is the exact amount of mana we need to play all four copies of our finisher. 

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The eureka moment for Mono-Green Aurora was when Gaea's Revenge became the finisher (which allowed the deck to be mono-Green, helping with the budget and also making sure we'd have good mana while exclusively playing lands that enter the battlefield untapped). As I was working on the deck, I cycled through several options for closing out the game after The Great Aurora. My first thoughts were Part the Waterveil or an X burn spell, but the problem was that both of these plans scooped to Negate. Since The Great Aurora gives our opponent a bunch of untapped lands and cards, and because a lot of decks are running Negate, I was worried that we'd resolve The Great Aurora and our opponent would simply counter our follow up. 

Another option was playing things like Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger and World Breaker, and while these cards are powerful, they give the opponent the opportunity to untap with a handful of cards, so sorcery-speed removal like Declaration in Stone would ruin all of our work. Eventually, I realized that what we needed was something that was uncounterable and also had haste, to get around both the untapping and Negate problems. 

Gaea's Revenge meets all of the criteria, plus it essentially has Hexproof, which means that we won't get blown out by instant-speed removal like Ultimate Price. Even better, we can just ramp into it naturally, which is extremely helpful against control decks. Basically, by resolving several copies of The Great Aurora, we can generate enough mana to play three or even four copies of Gaea's Revenge in the same turn as The Great Aurora, which is an almost guaranteed way to win the game on the spot (the main out an opponent has is Secure the Wastes to make a bunch of chump blockers). 

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Tireless Tracker may be the most important card in the deck. One of the problems with playing cards like Nissa's Renewal, Nissa's Pilgrimage, and Explosive Vegetation is that it's really easy to draw the wrong half of the deck. Tireless Tracker fixes this problem because, when it's on the battlefield, every ramp spell is also generating Clue tokens we can sac to keep drawing cards and finding action. That said, the real reason Tireless Tracker is so good in our deck is because it generates a ton of permanents (in the form of Clue tokens), which help to power up and break the symmetry of The Great Aurora

Nissa's Renewal, Nissa's Pilgrimage, and Explosive Vegetation do three things in our deck. Most obviously, they help us ramp into The Great Aurora. Second, they synergize well with Tireless Tracker and help generate oodles of Clue tokens to power up The Great Aurora. Third, even without Tireless Tracker, each adds two or three permanents to the battlefield, which makes sure we are getting more benefit than our opponent when we finally resolve The Great Aurora

Here's a quick example of what I'm talking about. As I mentioned earlier, one of the main goals of our deck is to break the symmetry of The Great Aurora by getting more permanents on the battlefield than our opponent. Take, for example, Sylvan Advocate: while it's a very powerful card, it only adds a single card to the battlefield, which means that when we resolve The Great Aurora, we are essentially cycling Sylvan Advocate—we trade one card (Sylvan Advocate) for a random card in our deck. Explosive Vegetation, on the other hand, becomes Divination when we resolve The Great Aurora. We trade one card (Explosive Vegetation) for two random cards. If we have a Tireless Tracker on the battlefield when we resolve our Explosive Vegetation, we build our own Concentration, turning one card (Explosive Vegetation) into four draws. 

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Hedron Crawler and Leaf Gilder are our "bad" ramp cards. They die to removal, don't add multiple permanents to the battlefield for The Great Aurora, and simply aren't all that good in our deck. However, without them, our deck would be incredibly slow, and having some sort of ramp on Turn 2 feels like a necessary evil. While it might seem odd to have more copies of Hedron Crawler than Leaf Gilder, since it doesn't have any power and taps for colorless instead of Green, it is helpful for casting some important sideboard cards like Spatial Contortion and Warping Wail

Hedron Archive, on the other hand, isn't that bad. Its comparative lack of synergy with Tireless Tracker is troublesome, but the fact that we can turn it into two cards makes it passable. We often end up with 10, 15, or even 20 mana on the battlefield, so while paying 6 mana for a Divination may seem crazy, it really isn't that problematic for our deck. 

Sideboard

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Our sideboard is mostly built to help against aggressive decks, although in my experience with the deck, I rarely sideboard. Come to think of it, the only card I brought in over the course of our five matches was Revealing Wind, which is quite good, especially in instances where we resolve a copy of The Great Aurora and our opponent has Flash creatures like Archangel Avacyn or instants that make creatures like Secure the Wastes

While I like Spatial Contortion and Warping Wail in theory, in practice I had a hard time finding room for them in most matchups. As for Naturalize, four copies is certainly excessive, but green just doesn't have that many good budget sideboard cards at the moment. 

Ultra-Budget Mono-Green Aurora

No ultra-budget list this week. At $46 in paper and 20 tix online, the deck is already pretty cheap, and the only (somewhat) expensive card in the deck is Tireless Tracker, which is essential to the deck's success. 

Non-Budget GB Aurora

Honestly, as I was building Mono-Green Aurora, outside of the sideboard, there wasn't much I felt like I was leaving out. I'd probably switch the copies of Naturalize in the sideboard for World Breaker, but without splashing another color, there isn't all that much to upgrade in the deck. As such, for our non-budget list this week, we have GB Aurora. While it's more of a value deck and not nearly as reliant on The Great Aurora, several of the cards from our budget build are played in the deck, so if you are looking for something to build into, this is probably the direction to head. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. For some reason, Mono-Green Aurora crushed it, going 5-0 in matches while playing against several top-tier decks. It's also super fun to play, so if you are looking for something that is not only somewhat competitive but also super cheap, give it a shot. I don't think you'll be disappointed! 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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