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Budget Magic: $83 (15 tix) QuasidupliDrake (Standard, Magic Online)


Wesaþ hāle, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! As you might know by now, I'm pretty much addicted to Quasiduplicate, which in a weird way is as close as it gets to playing Panharmonicon in our current Standard. Despite the Panharmonicon comparison, the truth is that Quasiduplicate actually does some things that Panharmonicon can't, like copying creatures without enters-the-battlefield triggers. Today's deck looks to take advantage of this aspect of Quasiduplicate, with our primary plan being to copy either Murmuring Mystic or Crackling Drake repeatedly until we overwhelm our opponent with a board full of massive fliers or Bird tokens! Unlike Dimir Quasiduplicate, which was overloaded on creatures to copy, QuasidupliDrake is actually a spell-focused deck, with only a couple of good Quasiduplicate targets. How many Crackling Drakes and Murmuring Mystics does it take to win in Standard? Let's get to the videos and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: QuasidupliDrake (Standard)

The Deck

QuasidupliDrake shares a lot of similarities with Izzet Phoenix, since it cares about a lot of the same things: having lots of cheap spells to enable our payoffs, Murmuring Mystic and Crackling Drake. This being said, the plan of the deck is a lot different, since we aren't playing Arclight Phoenix itself, so rather than focusing on stocking our graveyard at lightning speed, we're mostly digging for three cards—Murmuring Mystic, Crackling Drake, and Quasiduplicate—which will hopefully allow us to take over the game with a huge board of fliers in just a couple of turns!

QuasidupliDrakes

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The foundation of QuasidupliDrakes is simple: four Crackling Drakes, four Murmuring Mystics, and four Quasiduplicates. While both Crackling Drake and Murmuring Mystic are powerful cards in a spell-heavy deck, they get even crazier when we copy them a few times with Quasiduplicate. Crackling Drake is often at least a 4/4 flier and sometimes way bigger later in the game; plus, it draws us a card when it enters the battlefield, which makes it especially good with Quasiduplicate, since every copy digs to find more Drakes and Quasiduplicates. Meanwhile, Murmuring Mystic is almost the exact opposite of Crackling Drake. Rather than allowing us to go tall with a couple of massive fliers, it enables us to go wide with a bunch of 1/1 Bird tokens. With one Murmuring Mystic, we can slowly generate a lot of value, but once we have two or three Murmuring Mystics thanks to Quasiduplicate, we can often make an entire board full of Bird tokens in just a single turn and kill our opponent quickly. 

More importantly, since Quasiduplicate itself is a spell, it supports both of our payoffs. In the graveyard or in exile, it grows our Crackling Drakes, and when we cast it, we get a Bird token for each copy of Murmuring Mystic we have on the battlefield. This helps to minimize the drawback of Quasiduplicate (that if our opponent can kill the creature in response, we sort of two-for-one ourselves). 

Speaking of two-for-oneing ourselves, one of the reasons why Quasiduplicate is so strong at the moment is because the most heavily played removal spells in Standard aren't very good at interacting with it. Lava Coil, Deafening Clarion, Plaguecrafter, Conclave Tribunal, Ravenous Chupacabra, and various planeswalkers are all sorcery speed, while Shock, Lightning Strike, and Wizard's Lightning] don't deal enough damage to kill any of our creatures. This means we only really need to worry about Vraska's Contempt and maybe the odd Cast Out killing our creatures at instant speed. As such, in most matchups, we can fire off our Quasiduplicates without any real worry about getting two-for-oned. 

Basically, the plan of our deck is to play a Crackling Drake and / or Murmuring Mystic, copy it as many times as possible with Quasiduplicate, and trust that this will be enough to win the game!

Support Creatures

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Rounding out our creature package are four copies of Goblin Electromancer and a single Beamsplitter Mage. Goblin Electromancer is great with Quasiduplicate, allowing us to cast it and jump-start it in the same turn for just four mana. One of the most powerful things our deck can do is cast a Crackling Drake or Murmuring Mystic on Turn 4, untap on Turn 5, and cast Quasiduplicate twice. Furthermore, with a Goblin Electromancer on the battlefield, if we wait until Turn 6, we can cast a Crackling Drake or Murmuring Mystic and immediately Quasiduplicate to get a second copy!

As for Beamsplitter Mage, it's just a one-of, and the main reason it's in the deck is because I knew I'd get yelled at if I didn't include it. While Beamsplitter Mage is very powerful with Quasiduplicate, allowing us to get a free copy of Beamsplitter Mage along with copying a Drake or Mystic, the problem is that Quasiduplicate is the only spell in our deck that works with Beamsplitter Mage, so in most situations, it's just a 2/2 for two that dies easily and doesn't block well. This being said, Beamsplitter Mage is a fine one-of. We see a lot of our deck thanks to all of our cheap cantrip spells, so we'll find it eventually, and in the mid- to late game, Beamsplitter Mage is cheap enough that we can cast it and also cast a Quasiduplicate in the same turn.

Support Spells

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The rest of our deck is cheap spells. Both Crackling Drake and Murmuring Mystic want a lot of cheap instants and sorceries to grow or make Birds, which is where cards like Opt and Radical Idea come into play. Beyond simply growing our Crackling Drakes and making a ton of Birds with Murmuring Mystic, having a ton of cheap cantrips means that our deck is incredibly consistent. Even though we only have a handful of threats and a playset of Quasiduplicate, thanks to our endless cheap card draw, we can usually find our payoffs without much trouble.

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Chart a Course and Tormenting Voice are more of the same, except they are basically double cantrips, allowing us to essentially discard two cards to draw two new ones. Both work really well with our jump-start cards by giving us a free discard, and both are great at digging through our deck to find our big finishers. Plus, in the late game, these cards give us a sort of combo finisher where, especially with a Goblin Electromancer on the battlefield, we can chain together a bunch of cantrips in the same turn to grow our Crackling Drakes into game-ending threats or flood the board with Bird tokens from Murmuring Mystic

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Finally, we have Shock and Lava Coil for removal. Both spells are cheap enough that they work well with our Murmuring Mystic and Crackling Drake plan, while also offering us a way to deal with our opponent's early-game threats. Plus, thanks to our jump-start cards, Chart a Course, and Tormenting Voice, if we happen to run into a matchup where the cards are bad, we can simply discard them for value!

The Mana

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The mana of QuasidupliDrake is straightforward: eight dual lands and a bunch of basic lands. So why are we talking about it? Well, just a playset each of Steam Vents and Sulfur Falls is nearly $90, making the tier Izzet mana base too expensive for a budget deck. As a result, we're playing Steam Vents plus Izzet Guildgate as our secondary dual land. While this can lead to some slightly clunky hands, for the most part, it works out fine, especially since we can discard clunky Izzet Guildgates to jump-start or our looting effects if we already have enough lands. Still, if you have Sulfur Falls in your collection, trading Izzet Guildgate for it is one of the quickest and easiest upgrades you can make to the deck.

Wrap-Up

All in all, we played five matches with QuasidupliDrake and came super close to finishing with the perfect 5-0, losing to just Mono-Red Aggro in a three-game match that we could have won if we had played slightly differently. Apparently, copying Crackling Drake and Murmuring Mystic over and over again is a pretty legitimate plan in Standard! In all of our matches, I think we got blown out once by instant-speed removal, while we had a bunch of games that ended with three or four massive threats on the battlefield thanks to Quasiduplicate

One additional thing I wanted to mention is the niche that QuasidupliDrake fills. I've seen quite a few people ask about playing Izzet Phoenix / Izzet Drakes without Arclight Phoenix for budget purposes, and QuasidupliDrake seems like a perfect option. Outside of the playset of Steam Vents, the deck is incredibly cheap, and thanks to Quasiduplicate, we don't really need Arclight Phoenix to win.

Speaking of playing without Arclight Phoenix, QuasidupliDrake is also budget friendly on Arena. In fact, the deck only has eight rares (four Quasiduplicate and four Steam Vents) in the main deck and zero mythics. While the sideboard does add a few more rares, this seems like a really solid option if you're looking for a budget version of Izzet Drakes for Magic Arena!

In sum, QuasidupliDrake felt great. Quasiduplicate itself is quickly becoming my favorite card in Standard, and both Crackling Drake and Murmuring Mystic are great creatures to copy. Back that up with a ton of cheap cantrips to make the deck consistent and power up our finisher, and the end result is a really powerful budget option that can also be upgraded into one of the best decks in Standard (although personally, I plan on sticking with Quasiduplicate over Arclight Phoenix). If you like slinging spells and copying creatures, give QuasidupliDrake a shot—you won't be disappointed!

Since the only expensive card in QuasidupliDrake is Steam Vents, getting the deck down into the ultra-budget price range is pretty easy. We simply cut the rare land and replace it with Highland Lake. While having eight tapped lands is a bit annoying and can slow the deck down, for less than $40, this build should be fine for the kitchen table or casual play on Magic Arena.

When it comes to upgrading QuasidupliDrake, there are basically two options. One is to drop Quasiduplicate itself and simply play the tier build of the deck. While I've had a ton of success with Quasiduplicate, considering I'm pretty much the only person who plays the card, odds are that the rest of the world is right and I'm wrong, if the goal is to win a Grand Prix or SCG Open. The second plan is to keep the deck basically the same as what we played in the videos and make a few small upgrades, like adding Sulfur Falls to the mana base and a couple of additional sideboard cards like Ral, Izzet Viceroy and Banefire. Regardless, one of the biggest upsides of the build we played in the videos is that no matter what upgrade path you choose, nearly all of the money you spend on the budget deck will go toward the optimal build as well!

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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