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Budget Magic: $89 (30 tix) Mono-Blue Djinn (Modern)


Mirë dita, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week, we're heading to Modern for a sweet new Dominaria-influenced deck: Mono-Blue Djinn. Two of my favorite cards from Dominaria are the blue fliers Tempest Djinn and Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp. Both cards offer a ton of power and toughness for their mana cost, but both come with a bit of a deck-building restriction. Tempest Djinn's restriction is fairly simple: we just play all basic Islands to grow its power. On the other hand, Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp asks for a bit more, requiring enough artifacts so that we can consistently cast it for just four mana. Is it possible to build a Modern deck that can support both Tempest Djinn and Zahid, and do it all on a budget? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Mono-Blue Djinn (Standard)

The Deck

Mono-Blue Djinn is pretty straightforward: it's basically a unique artifact-heavy Favorable Winds deck designed to embrace the power of Tempest Djinn and Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp. Ideally, we'll curve out with fliers, play Favorable Winds to make them bigger, and then close out the game with both Tempest Djinn and Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp hitting for massive amounts of damage in the air!

The Djinn

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As we talked about in the intro, Tempest Djinn and Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp both offer huge, evasive bodies for a low, low cost, but both have additional requirements that make them a bit harder to use. For Tempest Djinn, we simply play all Islands, meaning it comes down at a 3/4 flier when we cast it on Turn 3, which is already solid, especially since four toughness allows it to dodge Lightning Bolt and Lightning Helix. Meanwhile, Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp takes a bit more work, requiring us to play a bunch of artifacts to be able to cast it for four mana. Thankfully, there are a bunch of powerful artifacts in Modern that fit the theme of the deck, so casting Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp on Turn 4 isn't as hard as it might seem. Together, Tempest Djinn and Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp give us huge, evasive threats to close out the game that also manage to dodge some of the soft removal spells in the format.

The Winds

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While Favorable Winds might be a bit win-more with Tempest Djinn and Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp specifically, it works really well with all of our support cards. Plus, it's not like making either of our Djinn bigger is a bad thing. Because Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp requires artifacts, the rest of our deck is stuffed full of cheap artifacts with flying. Turning all of our 1/1s into 2/2s is a pretty big deal and gives us a backup plan for closing out the game.

Other Fliers

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One of the main sub-themes of Mono-Blue Djinn is artifacts with flying, since we need to make sure we always have at least one artifact on the battlefield by Turn 4 to cast Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp. In the one-drop slot, we have Hope of Ghirapur and Vault Skirge. Hope of Ghirapur is basically just a 1/1 flier for one, with the downside of being legendary (which is why we only play two) and a very slight upside in some weird situations and matchups where we can buy an extra turn against a combo deck by keeping our opponent from casting non-creatures for a turn. Meanwhile, Vault Skirge is always one mana and two life for us to cast because our mana base is 100% Islands, Thankfully, we quickly gain back the life we pay thanks to Vault Skirge's lifelink, which is also surprisingly helpful against aggro decks, especially once we get down a Favorable Winds and start gaining two life a turn. Together, Vault Skirge and Hope of Ghirapur give us a ton of Turn 1 plays to help ensure that we are always starting our curve at one, while also providing random artifact bodies to tap for Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp on Turn 4.

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Judge's Familiar doesn't actually help us cast our Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp, but it's simply too good of a one-drop to pass up in a deck with Favorable Winds. While the main purpose of the bird is to beat down for two in the air, the biggest upside of Judge's Familiar is the weird Force Spike-on-a-body ability. While the fact that Judge's Familiar is sitting on the battlefield means that it doesn't actually counter a spell all that often, it does force a lot of decks to play off curve and occasionally just locks sweepers like Damnation and Anger of the Gods out of the game for a turn or two, which is often just long enough for us to steal the win with our Tempest Djinn and Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp. Even just countering a removal spell targeted at one of our bigger, more important fliers is a pretty big swing in our favor. As such, the combination of a cheap flying body and the upside of the Force Spike ability makes Judge's Familiar amazing in our deck, even though it doesn't really work with the artifact sub-theme.

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Signal Pest is a bit weird in our deck. While it plays like it has flying, technically it doesn't, so it doesn't benefit from Favorable Winds. However, it almost works like a backup Favorable Winds thanks to battle cry pumping all of our other creatures when we go attacking. Plus, it's an artifact we can tap for Zahid. While we only have one copy of Signal Pest thanks to the anti-synergy with Favorable Winds, it's still fine as an extra artifact one-drop, and it's occasionally great when we have a big board of cheap fliers.

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Smuggler's Copter is amazing in Mono-Blue Djinn, working as both a payoff and a support card. It's pretty easy to crew thanks to all of our one-mana creatures, and once we get in a couple of attacks, the ability to loot away useless lands to dig for more threats is a huge boon. Plus, Smuggler's Copter is also an artifact, so along with giving us a solid threat, it can also take a turn off to help us pay the alternate casting cost of Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp. Even better, Smuggler's Copter dodges Lightning Bolt with Favorable Winds on the battlefield, which is a pretty huge deal, since Lightning Bolt is heavily played and a natural answer to the Vehicle. In the end, this means that while Tempest Djinn and Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp get all of the glory and are our best ways of closing out the game, Smuggler's Copter might actually be the best all-around card in our deck.

Other Stuff

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For removal, we have a pretty straightforward package of four copies of Remand and four Vapor Snags. While this means we don't have any hard removal, for the most part, that doesn't matter, since we can usually close the game out pretty quickly with our fliers, so our temporary bounce-based removal is usually good enough. Plus, both of our removal spells come with upside. Remand is sometimes a Time Walk, and the card draw keeps us churning through our deck to find our big finishers. Meanwhile, while it doesn't seem like much on paper, the one point of life our opponent loses from Vapor Snag is sometimes very relevant and never bad, since we are a fairly aggressive deck and every point of damage counts. Together, Vapor Snag and Remand give us a bit of interaction, although if you play the deck, it's important to remember that we can be a bit selective with our targets, since all of our creatures fly. Random ground creatures typically aren't a big deal unless they are going to kill us quickly, so try to hang onto the Vapor Snags and Remands for spells that are somehow messing up our game plan of beating down in the air with Djinn.

Wrap-Up

As for the record, we finished 3-2, which is pretty reasonable for a Modern budget deck. Even more impressively, we beat some of the best decks in Modern along the way, including RB Hollow One, Counters Company, and Grixis Control. The combination of a fast, evasive clock and just a bit of disruption seemed like a solid recipe for competing in Modern, although our losses did show us some of the issues with the deck. First, things are a bit hit or miss against fast combo like Grishoalbrand or Storm. While our clock is fast, it isn't going to race Turn 3 combo kills, and while we have some counters in the main deck and a bunch more in the sideboard, there's not much we can do if we don't draw them at the right time. Thankfully, this problem isn't unique to Mono-Blue Djinn—a lot of solid Modern decks lose to the best draws of combo decks. Second, Lingering Souls is annoying. While our Djinn don't really care about 1/1s and Favorable Winds means that our opponent can't simply beat all of our early-game creatures with Spirit tokens, the four flying blockers slow the game down a lot, giving our opponent extra time to draw into removal and other answers. It might be worth adding some copies of Ratchet Bomb to the sideboard as a budget-friendly answer.

As for changes I'd make to the budget build now that we've played some games (apart from adding a couple of Ratchet Bombs to the sideboard, I'm not sure there are a ton. Signal Pest was the least impressive creature in the deck, so you can play basically any sweet one-of you want in that slot. Otherwise, we have a lot of the best artifact-based fliers in the Modern format, so there really isn't a ton to change with the budget build.

All in all, Mono-Blue Djinn was fun and surprisingly competitive. Tempest Djinn specifically felt great in a deck with all Islands, not just being a big flying threat but also dodging a lot of removal as well. If you're looking for a fun, new twist on a Favorable Winds deck in Modern, give Mono-Blue Djinn a shot! It has a ton of sweet new cards and is competitive enough to compete with a lot of the best decks in the format!

The ultra-budget build of Mono-Blue Djinn is pretty simple: we can get the deck all the way down to under $40 just by changing one card in the main deck and two in the sideboard. As for the main-deck change, we drop Remand for Mana Leak. While this is a pretty big downgrade in terms of power, mostly because the ability to draw a card is so good, Mana Leak is still passable in the deck. Otherwise, we drop Relic of Progenitus in the sideboard for Tormod's Crypt and Spreading Seas for Boomerang. Both of these changes make the deck worse in specific matchups. Boomerang can bounce a Tron land to buy us a turn, but it isn't as permanent of an answer as Spreading Seas (although it comes with the upside of bouncing other things as well). As a whole, the budget version is a downgrade, but it's more than fine as a fun kitchen table deck.

The non-budget version of Mono-Blue Djinn is a bit strange, mostly because we already have the best fliers available for the deck, considering that we need a critical mass of artifacts for Zahid, Djinn of the Lamp. As such, rather than a full-on rebuild, we just make some light changes to the main deck and sideboard. In the main deck, the biggest addition is Cryptic Command, which gives us a do-everything instant on the top end of the curve. Not only does it counter and bounce, but it gives us a main-deckable answer to Lingering Souls (since we can tap all of our opponent's creatures and attack for lethal). Otherwise, the sideboard gets a handful of changes, although most aren't too expensive, with the biggest being the Ratchet Bomb we should have played in the budget build of the deck. All in all, this deck seems like a slight upgrade, and if you have Cryptic Commands, you should definitely give them a shot in the deck, but I'm not sure the improvements are enough to rush out and buy a playset of Cryptic Command if you don't already have them in your collection.

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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