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Budget Magic: $47 (12 tix) Mono-White Sram Auras (Pioneer, Magic Online)

Happy holidays, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! A couple of weeks ago, we played Mono-Green Stompy, a deck that I think is the most competitive $100 deck in the Pioneer format. But what if $100 is too much for your budget? Well, today, we're playing a deck that might be the most competitive $50 ultra-budget build in Pioneer: Mono-White Sram Auras. The deck is somewhat similar to Bogles, except we don't actually have any hexproof creatures. Instead, we're looking to suit up creatures like Adanto Vanguard and Lagonna-Band Trailblazer with All That Glitters and Ethereal Armor and kill our opponent quickly before they get a chance to recover. Meanwhile, Sram, Senior Edificer gives us an insane card-draw engine, with almost every non-land card in our main deck having potential to trigger it since many of our creatures actually double as auras, thanks to the bestow mechanic. Can a $50 deck compete in Pioneer? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Mono-White Sram Auras (Pioneer)

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The Deck

Mono-White Sram Auras is basically a Voltron aggro deck. The main goal is to make one of our creatures into a massive, evasive threat by loading it up with cheap but powerful auras and use it to kill our opponent quickly before they can recover and find removal or sweepers.

The Engine

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Sram, Senior Edificer is the most powerful card in our deck. In our main deck, 29 cards are auras or equipment, which means once Sram, Senior Edificer hits the battlefield, it generates an absurd amount of card advantage. This not only helps us find our finishing auras but also makes sure that we can quickly rebuild our board if our opponent does have removal or a wrath to kill our first big threat. While we aren't dependent on Sram to the point where we need to mulligan until we find it, like with Sram O's in Modern, we're very happy to have it in our opening hand.

The Threats

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When it comes to creatures to load up with auras, our two best options are Lagonna-Band Trailblazer and Adanto Vanguard. While any of our creatures (including Sram, Senior Edificer) can win us the game with the help of cards like Gryff's Boon, All That Glitters, and Ethereal Armor, Lagonna-Band Trailblazer and Adanto Vanguard are the best of the bunch because they are fast clocks that are resilient to removal. Lagonna-Band Trailblazer dodges most red-based removal thanks to its four toughness, and it gets massive quickly thanks to heroic adding +1/+1 counters. Meanwhile, Adanto Vanguard dodges most of the removal in the Pioneer format by becoming indestructible, assuming we have four life to pay. 

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The rest of the creatures in our deck do double duty thanks to the bestow mechanic. Hopeful Eidolon and Nyxborn Shieldmate are not great creatures or great auras, but the flexibility of being a creature that we can load up with more powerful auras or being a bad aura that we can use to trigger Sram, Senior Edificer and grow Adanto Vanguard and Lagonna-Band Trailblazer makes both solid in our deck. The other upside of these cards is that even in creature form, they count as enchantments, which means even as lowly 1/1s and 1/2s, they grow All That Glitters, Ethereal Armor, and Helm of the Gods

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Eidolon of Countless Battles is the most powerful of our bestow creatures since its basically a Ethereal Armor attached to a body. If we don't have a creature on the battlefield, we can simply cast Eidolon of Countless Battles as a creature. And if we have something like Adanto Vanguard sitting around, we can wait a turn and bestow Eidolon of Countless Battles to get in what is essentially hasty damage. If given the choice, bestowing is ideal since if the creature the bestow creature is enchanting dies, Eidolon of Countless Battles turns into a creature, which makes it a strange way to protect against removal and wraths.

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As we talked about before, our main plan for closing out the game is a handful of powerful auras and equipment that give the enchanted creatures +1/+1 for each enchantment (or in the case of All That Glitters, enchantments and artifacts) you control. Thanks to a ton of cheap enchantments and enchantment creatures, this means that each of these cards usually ends up giving the enchanted/equipped creatures something like +5/+5, and sometimes way more. As such, we can build a creature that is close to 20 power as early as Turn 3 or 4! All that Glitters and Ethereal Armor are almost the exact same card in our deck, making Ethereal Armor the better of the two since it only costs a single mana. Meanwhile, Helm of the Gods is a bit awkward since it's an artifact, which means it doesn't do anything on its own (while cards like Ethereal Armor and All That Glitters power themselves up), although it makes up for this by being repeatable—if our opponent kills whatever creature we've equipped, we can always move it to another creature and keep on attacking.

Other Stuff

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Rounding out the deck are a couple of additional auras. Gryff's Boon is actually very important to our plan since it gives the enchanted creature flying. One of the downsides of our creatures is they are all ground-bound, which means even if we can grow a Adanto Vanguard into a 20/20, there's a risk that our opponent can simply chump block us for several turns, staying alive until they find removal and ruin our day. Gryff's Boon comes down, gives our biggest creature flying, and potentially allows us to just kill our opponent in one attack. Meanwhile, Cartouche of Solidarity gives us a buffer for edict effects by making a 1/1 token that we can sacrifice to something like Angrath's Rampage instead of our massive enchanted Adanto Vanguard or Lagonna-Band Trailblazer

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Banishing Light gives us a bit of removal that, as an enchantment, also buffs whatever creature is wearing Ethereal Armor or All That Glitters. Finally, Gods Willing is just a one-of but gives us a bit of additional protection against targeted removal, which is especially important if we are Voltroning up a creature other than Adanto Vanguard, which can protect itself from removal.


All in all, we finished 4-1 with Mono-White Sram Auras, with our only loss coming in a weird reverse–Against the Odds style with our opponent using Irencrag Feat to put God-Pharaoh's Gift into play and jank us out of the game. Otherwise, we took down two ramp builds, Mono-Green Stompy, and Gruul Midrange. 

The deck is absurdly explosive, and when things go right, it can win the game extremely quickly. We had some games where we hard an almost-20-power creature attacking on Turn 4, which is a lot for most Pioneer decks to deal with. Toss in Sram, Senior Edificer to fight through removal, and I'm pretty sure Mono-White Sram Auras is the most competitive ultra-budget build in the Pioneer format. 

The other upside of Mono-White Sram Auras is that it is basically optimal in its current ultra-budget form. It just happens to be an incredibly cheap deck, so you don't need to worry about adding a bunch of upgrades and money to the deck to make it truly competitive. While it's probably not a tier-one deck in Pioneer, it is a real deck in Pioneer, and you can certainly play the $50 build at something like a Grand Prix and be competitive. 

In the end, I believe that Mono-White Sram Auras is the type of Pioneer deck that pretty much everyone can get use from, assuming you like the play style. If you're someone who already has several Pioneer decks, Mono-White Sram Auras is a cheap way to grown your Pioneer collection, giving you another fun option when you get tired of playing your current deck. On the other hand, if you are brand new to Pioneer and looking for your first deck, it's unlikely you'll find a more competitive deck in the $50 price range, and there's almost no chance that anything from the deck will get banned, so your investment should be safe!

Ultra- / Nonbudget Builds

No ultra-budget build this week. The build we played for the videos already falls into the $50 price range. Likewise, no non-budget build this week since the deck just happens to be super cheap in optimal form!


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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