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Budget Magic: $82 Gleeful 8 Whack (Modern)

Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! We've played a lot of Phyrexia: All Will Be One in Standard lately, but today, we're shifting our focus to Modern for the return of a classic budget archetype: 8 Whack! While we've played 8 Whack several times in the past, and it's widely considered to be one of the best budget decks in the Modern format, today's build is very different. We're built around the new Phyrexia: All Will Be One uncommon Gleeful Demolition as well as Kuldotha Rebirth. Both cards let us blow up an artifact we control to make three 1/1 Goblin tokens for a single mana, which is an absurd rate! This allows us to flood the board with creatures faster than ever and then use Goblin Bushwhacker and Reckless Bushwhacker to force through oodles of damage. Because both Gleeful Demolition and Kuldotha Rebirth require artifacts to work, we have a bunch of free artifacts like Ornithopter and Memnite in our deck, which not only support our Whack plan but also let us play Shrapnel Blast alongside Goblin Grenade, giving us some of the most powerful burn spells of all time to close out the game! How good is Gleeful 8 Whack in Modern? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck! 

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Budget Magic: Gleeful 8 Whack

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The Deck

Gleeful 8 Whack is an aggro deck. The goal is to get in as much damage as possible with cheap creatures, tokens, and Whacks and then close out the game with powerful burn spells like Shrapnel Blast and Goblin Grenade!

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By far the most important cards in our deck are our two Whacks: Goblin Bushwhacker and Reckless Bushwhacker. While the two cards work slightly differently, they basically do the same thing: for two mana, they give all of our creatures +1/+0 and haste until the end of the turn. Our deck is really good at making small creatures quickly, but they are mostly 1/1s, which usually isn't enough to close out the game. Being able to buff them and attack by surprise thanks to our 8 Whacks turns our little creatures into super-scary and potentially game-ending threats.

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We've played 8 Whack before but normally in a Goblin Tribal shell. What make Gleeful Whack unique are Gleeful Demolition and Kuldotha Rebirth. If we blow up one of our own artifacts, either card gives us three 1/1 Goblin tokens for a single mana, which is an absurd rate. Our deck has a bunch of free artifacts, so in our ideal world, we'll be making three 1/1s on Turn 1 and then following up with a Whack on Turn 2, which should let us attack for at least 8 damage and possibly more. This means that if we can follow up the next turn with another Whack or some big burn spells, we should be able to close out the game as early as Turn 3!

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Of course, for this plan to work, we need an artifact to blow up with Gleeful Demolition or Kuldotha Rebirth. For this, we turn to three free artifacts: Memnite, Ornithopter, and Mishra's Bauble. While the primary purpose of all these cards is to turn on our Gleeful Demolitions and Kuldotha Rebirths to make a bunch of tokens, they have some other upsides as well. All three are really helpful when it comes to surging Reckless Bushwhacker (which needs us to cast another spell on the same turn we cast it to get the Whack effect), Memnite and Ornithopter give us more cheap bodies to power up our Whacks, and if we don't have a Gleeful Demolition or Kuldotha Rebirth, we can always use Mishra's Bauble to draw a card.

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The other unique part of Gleeful 8 Whack is that since we're playing a bunch of cheap artifacts to turn on Gleeful Demolition and Kuldotha Rebirth, we also get to play Shrapnel Blast! Goblin Grenade has long been one of the best cards in 8 Whack since five damage for one mana is super above the curve, making it a great way to finish off the game if we can't deal all 20 damage with our creatures. Shrapnel Blast isn't quite as efficient, costing two mana rather than one, but it does have the upside of being instant speed, making it more or less extra copies of Goblin Grenade in our deck. Thanks to these cards, we usually don't have to kill our opponent with our creatures. If we can get our opponent down to five or even 10 life in combat, we should be able to finish the game with direct damage!

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Rounding out the non-lands in our main deck are two one-drops. Foundry Street Denizen works really well with Gleeful Demolition and Kuldotha Rebirth. If we play Foundry Street Denizen on Turn 1 and one of our token producers on Turn 2, the three Goblin tokens will pump Foundry Street Denizen to a 4/1, giving us another way to force through a bunch of damage early in the game. Meanwhile, Signal Pest is basically a bad Whack—it pumps the rest of our attacking creatures by +1/+0 if it attacks—but with the upside that it's also an artifact, so in a pinch, we can sacrifice it to Gleeful Demolition, Kuldotha Rebirth, or Shrapnel Blast. While it's not great as a Whack or as sacrifice fodder, its flexibility in doing both jobs at once makes it a solid addition to our deck.

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One of the easiest ways to lose with Gleeful 8 Whack is to flood out and draw too many lands. Ideally, we want three lands but can function pretty well with two or four. Any more than four lands, and things get sketchy because we probably won't have enough action to close out the game. As such, our mana base is designed to minimize the pain of flooding out. If we draw too many lands, we can use Castle Embereth to pump our creatures (sort of making it a land Whack) or deal a bit of direct damage with Ramunap Ruins. While we'd still rather draw three lands, these cards at least give us something to do with our extra mana when things don't go to plan.


Record-wise, we played a Modern league with Gleeful 8 Whack and came oh so close to the 5-0, going 4-0 before dropping our last match to Five-Color Rhinos. Along the way, we took down Izzet Murktide, Indomitable Creativity, Bant Spirits, and Jeskai Control—some of the best decks in Modern. While 8 Whack is usually decent, Gleeful 8 Whack was even better than I expected!

The biggest upside of Gleeful 8 Whack as compared to past builds is that it's super fast. The ability to consistently have three 1/1s on the battlefield is huge for the deck, greatly increasing our odds of being able to win by Turn 3, which is super important in current Modern, where Turn 3 tends to be the turn when decks do their big thing. Perhaps more surprising was the deck's ability to fight through adversity. The best example was the game where we got our board wrathed by Engineered Explosives on Turn 3 and still managed to pick up the win! While fast wins are the reason to play the deck, having six five-damage burn spells in the deck really helps our ability to win in the late game if things go wrong.

So, should you play Gleeful 8 Whack in Modern? I think the answer is yes! 8 Whack has long been one of the best budget decks in Modern, and I think that Gleeful 8 Whack is the best version of the deck thanks to the speed the artifact plan offers. If you already have an older build of 8 Whack, it should be pretty cheap and easy to update. And if you're looking for something super cheap that can actually compete with all of the super-strong decks in Modern, Gleeful 8 Whack is likely one of the best options!

Ultra-/Non-Budget 8 Whack

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No full ultra or non-budget builds this week. If you want to make the deck cheaper, the only real option is cutting Legion Loyalist from the sideboard, which would save about $30 and drop the price of the deck down to around $50. The only problem is that Legion Loyalist is really important for beating Urza's Saga tokens. It doesn't come in from the sideboard all that often, but in the games where it does, it's a lifesaver. Cutting it is fine—just be warned that matchups against decks with tokens will get meaningfully worse.

As far as non-budget Gleeful 8 Whack, there really isn't much to change. 8 Whack is one of those archetypes that just happens to be cheap even in its optimal form. Some slight sideboard tweaks might be possible, and adding a couple of card-drawing Horizon lands to the mana base is probably a solid plan. But in general, I would mostly keep the deck the same, even if we had an infinite budget to work with.


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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