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Budget Magic: $90 Simic Snow Stompy (Modern)


Salve, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! A couple of weeks ago on Against the Odds, we played Sultai Narfi Snow. The deck was super sweet and convinced me that snow had a lot of potential in Modern. It also made me realize that many of the best snow payoffs, like Abominable Treefolk and Marit Lage's Slumber, are pretty budget-friendly. As such, today, we're playing a different and very budget-friendly take on snow in Modern: Simic Snow Stompy! The primary goal is to smash our opponent with massive snow creatures, although we still have an absurd amount of snow-based card draw and other tricks. How good is snow in Modern 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: Simic Snow Stompy

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The Deck

Simic Snow Stompy is an aggressive snow-themed midrange deck. The primary plan is to play threats that get massive based on the number of snow permanents we have, like Abominable Treefolk and Conifer Wurm, and hopefully beat our opponent down quickly before they get a chance to recover!

The Payoffs

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When it comes to killing our opponent, our two best threats are Abominable Treefolk and Conifer Wurm. Both have trample, and they often end up truly massive in a deck with 50 snow permanents like ours does. The floor on Abominable Treefolk is being a four-mana 5/5 trample the turn it comes into play, but if we can precede it with some other snow creatures, it often starts as a 6/6 or 7/7 that can easily grow to 10+ power and toughness in short order. Toss in the fact that it can tap down a blocker for a turn, and it's not just the biggest creature on the battlefield but also usually is large enough that we can kill our opponent with just a couple of attacks. Meanwhile, Conifer Wurm is a bad backup version of Abominable Treefolk since we need to use mana to pump it based on the number of snow permanents we control, but it is also one of our best ways to finish off our opponent. Even with just one pump, we can often turn it into a 12/12 or better, and if we can pump it twice in the same turn, it usually turns into a 30+ power trampler!

The other upside of both threats is that they are pretty resilient against a lot of the popular Modern removal. Lightning Bolt doesn't kill either, and Fatal Push can't kill Conifer Wurm even with revolt, which makes them really difficult for some decks to deal with, increasing the odds that they can jank out the opponent with just a couple of big attacks!

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Our other big finisher is Marit Lage's Slumber. In theory, we can get 10 snow permanents on the battlefield as early as Turn 5, rewarding us with a 20/20 Marit Lage on our next upkeep. More importantly, we don't need to actually make a Marit Lage for Marit Lage's Slumber to be effective. Just the threat of Marit Lage is often enough to push the game in our favor, making our opponent kill random underpowered snow creatures to keep us below 10 snow permanents. Meanwhile, because our deck is almost exclusively snow permanents, once we get Marit Lage's Slumber on the battlefield, we're usually scrying multiple times each turn, helping us find our removal and powerful finishers and pushing unneeded lands to the bottom of our deck. 

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While Glacial Revelation might not kill our opponent, it is really good at finding us the cards in our deck that can kill our opponent. Since we only have 10 cards in our deck that are not snow permanents (including Glacial Revelation), we'll draw five or more cards with Glacial Revelation nearly 80% of the time and draw the full six 35% of the time. Basically, Glacial Revelation is pretty close to "three mana, draw a new hand" in our deck, which is an absurd amount of value. While there is a cost to Glacial Revelation (you need to play nearly all snow permanents), the reward is turning Glacial Revelation into the best card-draw spell in all of Modern!

Other Snow Stuff

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The rest of the deck is overflowing with snow cards because our main payoffs want as many snow permanents in our deck (and on the battlefield) as possible. Frost Augur gives us a backup source of card advantage, and since we only have six non-snow cards in our main deck, it's pretty close to being "pay one mana, draw a card," which is great value on a one-drop. Ice-Fang Coatl is our best defensive creature, often taking down big attackers thanks to deathtouch while also keeping our hand full with its card-drawing enters-the-battlefield trigger. Finally, The Three Seasons is in the deck to give us some grindy graveyard value, although whether it is worth it or not is up for debate since even though it cares about snow cards, it isn't technically a snow card itself, so it doesn't power up our finishers, and we can't draw it with Frost Augur or Glacial Revelation

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Rounding out our creature base are two more one-drops. Boreal Druid just ramps us into our big finishers like Abominable Treefolk and Conifer Wurm while also adding a snow permanent to the battlefield to power them up. Meanwhile, Ascendant Spirit is pretty high variance. In some matchups, it just always dies to a Fatal Push or Lightning Bolt. In others, it can dominate the battlefield if we can level it up into a 4/4 or 6/6 flier. The upside is that with Ascendant Spirit on the battlefield, we always have something to do with our mana. If we can't make a more impactful play, we can at least grow our Ascendant Spirit

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For removal, we have Blizzard Brawl, which works well with Ice-Fang Coatl's deathtouch along with massive snow creatures like Abominable Treefolk and Conifer Wurm, which are usually big enough to fight anything on our opponent's side of the battlefield. The only drawback is that while Blizzard Brawl is a snow card, it is not a snow permanent, which means we can't find it with Glacial Revelation. While Blizzard Brawl feels decent in the deck, after playing a bunch of matches with Simic Snow Stompy, it's possible that Winter's Rest is just a better main-deck removal spell for the archetype, even if it is lacking against things like Eidolon of the Great Revel and Dark Confidant that offer a lot of value even while tapped.

The Mana

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Our mana base is interesting. It's exclusively snow lands, which is a plan that comes with both benefits and drawbacks. The good news is that our mana base is super budget-friendly, and playing exclusively snow lands maximizes the power of cards like Abominable Treefolk and Glacial Revelation. The downside is that we only have a single dual land in Rimewood Falls. While our mana costs are super easy (we don't have any double-blue or double-green cards in our entire 75), on occasion, we do get hands that have all Snow-Covered Forests or all Snow-Covered Islands, which can be awkward. That said, we didn't have many mana issues during our games, so even though it looks like we're playing a mana base more at home in draft than in Modern, it seems to work (at least, most of the time).

Wrap-Up

All in all, we went 3-2 with Simic Snow Stompy (technically 3-3 with an additional loss to Dredge, which is apparently a thing again in Modern, meaning that we should probably have some graveyard hate in our sideboard). While Simic Snow Stompy can struggle to some extent with unfair combo decks (one of our other losses was to a unique take on Storm), it is quite powerful against fair decks! We actually got several Conifer Wurm wins. While the five-drop probably doesn't look especially Modern playable, it's actually really powerful, taking huge chunks out of our opponent's life total thanks to its pump ability, and Abominable Treefolk was just as good as we remembered. 

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, the only thing I'd change is switching Blizzard Brawl in the main deck for Winter's Rest and putting at least a couple of Blizzard Brawls in the sideboard, along with some graveyard hate, now that people are playing Dredge again in Modern. Otherwise, the deck was a blast to play and surprisingly powerful, especially for its cost!

So, should you play Simic Snow Stompy in Modern? I think the answer is yes. While our issues against unfair decks probably mean the budget build isn't ready to be a true top-tier deck, it does feel like a really solid budget option; plus, our issues against unfair decks likely can be fixed in non-budget form with cards like Force of Negation. If you like massive creatures, synergies, and weird cards that no one else plays, Simic Snow Stompy might be the perfect Modern budget deck for you!

Ultra-Budget Simic Snow Stompy

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Getting Simic Snow Stompy down near $50 is pretty easy, although it does require cutting one of our best snow creatures (and the only somewhat expensive card in our deck) Ice-Fang Coatl. In its place, we get Rime Tender, which isn't as powerful as Ice-Fang Coatl but might be even more synergistic in our deck since it can ramp us into Abominable Treefolk and Conifer Wurm, which are our most important cards. We also make some of the changes we talked about during the wrap-up, including adding Tormod's Crypt to the sideboard for graveyard hate and moving Winter's Rest to the main deck.

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Finally, our non-budget list is sort of a mashup between the list we played on Against the Odds and the one we played today, with a slight black splash for Dead of Winter in the sideboard and Jorn, God of Winter in the main deck. Otherwise, the biggest change is in the mana base, where we get a few fetch lands to help make sure we hit our colors consistently and hopefully eliminate the consistency issues we occasionally had with our basic-heavy budget mana base!

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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