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Budget Magic: $86 (46 tix) Standard Bounce'n'Blink


Вітаю Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. This week we had a strange, eldritch situation on Budget Magic. Towards the middle of last week I built a pretty sweet Standard Eldrazi list using Bearer of Silence, Eldrazi Obligator, Matter Reshaper, and Reality Smasher and started recording the videos. While the deck wasn't format breaking or anything like that, it was pretty fun, and we got to play some cool cards. Then, halfway through recording the videos, Pro Tour Oath of the Gatewatch happened. Highlighted by the complete and utter dominance of Eldrazi, suddenly the deck was no longer budget. 

As such, I decided to go a different direction this week and shelve the Eldrazi list until after prices normalize in a couple weeks. To that end I'm glad I did because our deck, Bounce'n'Blink, ended up super sweet. Not only can it win some matches, but getting one or more Reflector Mage triggers each turn has to be one of the most fun (for us) and demoralizing (for our opponents) things to do in Oath of the Gatewatch Standard!

Let's get to the videos, then I'll talk more about Blink'n'Bounce. 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.

Blink'n'Bounce Intro

Blink'n'Bounce vs RB Dragons

Blink'n'Bounce vs Eldrazi

Blink'n'Bounce vs Abzan Blue

Blink'n'Bounce vs Displacer Combo

Blink'n'Bounce vs Four-Color Rally

The basic idea of Blink'n'Bounce is simple. We bounce our opponent's creatures over and over again. While our opponent can keep replaying creatures, we gain a bunch of tempo, since recasting a creature eats up a lot of mana. In the meantime, we are beating down with our creatures, and hopefully finishing off our opponent before they have a chance to stabilize. 

The Bounce

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Let's start with Reflector Mage, perhaps the most powerful "bounce" creature ever printed and the reason I built Bounce'n'Blink to begin with. The card is extremely powerful. For one thing, having three toughness makes it a relevant blocker, something other bounce creatures have been missing. More importantly, not allowing our opponent to immediately recast the creature is a huge deal. Take for example Siege Rhino. Typically we'd never want to bounce it because it has a powerful "enters the battlefield" trigger. However, the "you have to wait a turn to recast" part of Reflector Mage changes the equation significantly. It allows us to leave up mana the following turn to counter the Siege Rhino on its way back down. 

While not as powerful, Harbinger of the Tides does a similar thing at instant speed. We bounce the tapped creature and then leave up mana to counter it on the way back down. The only real drawback is the "tapped" clause, which isn't a big deal because even creatures that normally don't attack (e.g. Jace, Vryn's Prodigy or Hangarback Walker) have activated abilities that require tapping. 

Sidisi's Faithful is easily the worst of the bunch, mostly because it is difficult to abuse with Eldrazi Displacer, thanks to exploit. It is cheap, and we can always sac it to itself, which allows us to get it back with Ojutai's Command or delve it away with Treasure Cruise.

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While it doesn't bounce anything, Knight of the White Orchid has a pretty strong enters the battlefield ability. It sometimes takes a bit of work to get behind on lands, but searching up a Plains and having it enter the battlefield untapped is a meaningful payoff. Plus first strike makes it a decent blocker, especially in multiples. 

The Blink

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Yes, we are playing a deck that contains Eldrazi Displacer for the second week in a row, but I just couldn't help it. The card is so powerful and so much fun. Unlike last week's infinite combo deck, in this week's deck we are playing Eldrazi Displacer as a value card. The basic idea is once we resolve a Reflector Mage or Harbinger of the Tides, we can use Eldrazi Displacer to blink it repeatedly. Every time the Reflector Mage or Harbinger of the Tides enters the battlefield, we can return one of our opponent's creature to his or her hand, generating an insurmountable advantage over the course of a few turns. 

The Finishers

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While it might not be obvious at first glance, Icefall Regent synergizes well with the "blink" part of our plan. Since we can blink the Icefall Regent to reset which creature it's tapped down, we can use it to control any creature our opponent has on the battlefield. If our opponent plays something better in the future, we can always blink the Icefall Regent and change the target. One matchup where Icefall Regent is especially good is against Eldrazi Ramp, where it can tap down a Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or Kozilek, the Great Distortion. Plus, it's a reasonable clock that can help us close games quickly once we work ourselves into a winning position. 

Dragonlord Ojutai, on the other hand, doesn't have any special synergy with our deck, but I was a bit worried about our ability to close out games in a reasonable amount of time since most of the creature in our deck are 2/x's or 3/x's. As such, I threw in one copy of the hexproof dragon as a way to finish off our opponent once they've been blinked into oblivion. 

Removal

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While bouncing our opponent's creature is fun and effective, it is risky to blink things like Siege Rhino, which have powerful enter the battlefield abilities. Stasis Snare gives us a good, clean answer to these types of creatures. It also offers a way to get rid of hasty threats like Reality Smasher and Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury at instant speed. 

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The downside of our bounce plan is that it really doesn't start doing anything until turn three. Against decks that are trying to curve out, this plan is a bit slow. Silkwrap gives us a way to deal with a Monastery Swiftspear or Zurgo Bellstriker on turn two while we are waiting to get enough mana to start casting our Reflector Mages and Harbinger of the Tides

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While Blink'n'Bounce is great at messing with our opponent's creatures, one area we are a soft to is planeswalkers. We can't return them to our opponent's hand with Reflector Mage or Harbinger of the Tides or blink them with Eldrazi Displacer. This area is where Quarantine Field comes in and cleans up whatever hard-to-deal-with threat our opponent has sitting around. While it can be a bit clunky, it's a necessary evil that keeps us alive against Ob Nixilis Reignited and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Other Stuff

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Ojutai's Command adds a ton of value to our deck. It offers a way to counter a creature when our opponent recasts it after we bounce it with Harbinger of the Tides or Reflector Mage. It can gain us life, which is very relevant in aggro matchups. It can get back a Harbinger of the Tides at instant speed to keep the bounce train running . Finally, when all else fails, it draws us a card, so it is never bad. I've been very impressed with Ojutai's Command in this deck, and if I was to build it over I'd likely be playing four. 

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Negate is pretty much another answer to planeswalkers, but it can also hit opposing counterspells, removal spells, and Dromoka's Command, which can be a blowout.

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Honestly, Treasure Cruise is only okay in our deck, considering we don't have a good way of fueling the graveyard. That said, I really wanted a way of drawing cards and Treasure Cruise is still the best option, despite its limitations. 

The bare-bones version of Blink'n'Bounce has a couple of problems. First, in an effort of save money, we lose Silkwrap and Knight of the White Orchid, which means we're short on early game plays. In their place we get Separatist Voidmage, which gives us even more bounce, but costs four mana, and Wall of Resurgence, which seems really sweet since it can turn all of our lands into 3/3's, but also comes with the risk of getting our lands kill by creature removal. This one might be okay for FNM level play, and will definitely be fun at the kitchen table, but the curve makes me weary of playing it competitively. 

Along with an improved mana base featuring 10 fetchlands, the non-budget version of Blink'n'Bounce gets two big additions. First, we get to go up to three copies of Dragonlord Ojutai, which means we'll have access to one far more often. Second, we get to play Thought-Knot Seer, which might be the best "blink" target in Standard. While it may seem odd, blinking Thought-Knot Seer is actually very profitable. Yes, every time we blink it our opponent gets to draw a card, but remember, we control which card is exiled from our opponent's hand. Essentially we get to exile the best card from our opponent's hand and replace it with a random card. Every time we blink a Thought-Knot Seer our opponent's hand gets slightly worse, until eventually we leave them with a grip full of lands. Better yet, we can do this on our opponent's draw step and take whatever their best play was going to be for the turn. Oh yeah, and it's a 4/4 for four! 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. All in all I think Blink'n'Bounce is extremely fun to play and fairly competitive. It has a lot of synergy, and Reflector Mage is quickly proving to be a busted card. Give it a try, I don't think you'll be disappointed. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments. You can reach me on Twitter (or MTGO) @SaffronOlive. 


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