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Budget Magic: $94 Egon Stompy (Modern)


Salve, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! This week, we're heading back to Modern to play another deck built around a Kaldheim card: Egon Stompy! The goal of the deck is pretty simple: curve out with cheap black creatures, play either Egon, God of Death or Rotting Regisaur on Turn 3, stick a Demonic Embrace on it, and win the game with just one or two evasive attacks! How good is Egon, God of Death in Modern? Can a mono-black aggro deck compete in our post-ban format? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: Egon Stompy

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The Deck 

Egon Stompy is basically an all-in black aggro deck. We have a ton of recursive one-drops to chip in for damage early and two massive three-drops in Egon, God of Death and Rotting Regisaur, which can close out the game in just one or two attacks with the help of Demonic Embrace. Our main plan is to beat our opponent down quickly, although we can also play a longer game thanks to the looting power of Smuggler's Copter and a bunch of threats that can come back from the graveyard.

The Three-Drops

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Egon, God of Death and Rotting Regisaur are the two most important creatures in our deck. Both are extremely above the curve for three-drops, although both come with a drawback, with Rotting Regisaur making us discard a card each turn and Egon, God of Death needing cards in our graveyard to stick around. Thankfully, playing both cards together helps to minimize these drawbacks since we can discard cards to Rotting Regisaur to keep our graveyard full for Egon. While it's hard for our deck to keep Egon, God of Death around for a bunch of turns, we usually don't need to. If we can get a Demonic Embrace (which happens to be another good option to discard to Rotting Regisaur since we can play it from the graveyard) on either Egon or Rotting Regisaur, we'll have a nine- or 10-power flier, which should be a two-turn clock in just about every matchup. (Egon, God of Death needs a couple of extra points of damage to win in two attacks with Demonic Embrace, but thanks to our other threats and the fact that most Modern decks lose some life to fetch lands and shock lands, in practice, two Egon attacks usually is lethal.)

While we typically play the front half of Egon, God of Death, the Throne of Death backside is a nice bonus. If our graveyard is empty, we can play our first Egon and Throne of Death to start filling our graveyard for future copies. Plus, self-mill is actually pretty strong in our deck since we have Demonic Embrace and several other cards that can come into play from the graveyard.

The Two-Drops

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In our two-drop slot, we have three synergistic options. Smuggler's Copter is great in our deck because we can loot away cards like Bloodsoaked Champion, Dread Wanderer, and Gutterbones for free since they can come into play from the graveyard. Even outside of discarding recursive threats, Smuggler's Copter offers another way to stock our graveyard with cards to keep Egon, God of Death alive for a few turns, all while being another evasive threat. 

Asylum Visitor takes advantage of the fact that our curve ends at three, which means we can often get empty-handed pretty early in the game, turning Asylum Visitor into a higher-powered version of Dark Confidant. It's also another good discard target thanks to madness, offering another way to turn Smuggler's Copter into a card-advantage engine and fuel for Rotting Regisaur. The only drawback is that it only has one toughness, which means it gets blown out by Lava Dart and Wrenn and Six, although its power makes it worth the risk.

Finally, Gifted Aetherborn is one of our best creatures against aggro and burn, giving us some incidental lifegain to stay out of the danger zone, while deathtouch allows us to trade up with bigger threats on defense. While it isn't the most aggressive card in our deck, it is flexible enough to be worth a few slots in the main.

The One-Drops

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Our one-drops are all essentially different versions of the same cards: black Savannah Lions that are bad on defense, since they either come into play tapped or can't block at all, but can return themselves from the graveyard into play. These cards serve two purposes in our deck. First, they push through a lot of damage in the early game. Sometimes, we play a one-drop on Turn 1, play two more on Turn 2, and essentially pick up a free win if our opponent stumbles a bit on mana or answers. Second, their recursive natures make Bloodsoaked Champion, Dread Wanderer, and Gutterbones super synergistic with cards like Rotting Regisaur and Smuggler's Copter since we can discard them and then get them into play later. Together, they can be extremely difficult for some control decks to beat, even without help from our bigger finishers, since they are so difficult to kill. Even if our opponent can wrath away our board, we're often just a couple of turns away from rebuilding from our graveyard. 

Removal

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While we have some additional options in the sideboard, our only removal spell in our main deck is Fatal Push. While it occasionally can be difficult to trigger revolt because we are a budget deck and don't have access to fetch lands, Fatal Push still gets the job done in most matchups since we're mostly interested in clearing away early blockers on the cheap so we can force through damage and hopefully close out the game quickly.

The Mana

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The other place where Egon Stompy generates value is with its lands. Playing a bunch of Mono-White Aggro in Standard convinced me that Faceless Haven is at least worth trying in Modern, and while dying to Lightning Bolt and Fatal Push does make it worse than in Standard, it's still solid, especially for a budget deck that can't afford Mutavault. Having a threat that survives a sweeper is super helpful against control and can help put our opponent in some awkward situations where they risk losing to the 4/3 land if they tap out for sorcery-speed removal. Meanwhile, Castle Locthwain, combined with Throne of Death and Smuggler's Copter, gives our aggro deck a surprising amount of card draw to help us fight through the removal of midrange and control decks. 

Playing the Deck

On one hand, Egon Stompy is pretty simple: you dump a bunch of aggressive black creatures on the battlefield and try to win quickly before the opponent can find an answer or win the game with some sort of combo. However, there are a few things to be aware of if you do decide to pick it up.

First, Dread Wanderer and Gutterbones can be annoying with Smuggler's Copter because they come into play tapped, so they can't crew the vehicle immediately. Keep this in mind as you are planning out your first couple of turns.

Second, our deck isn't all that good at keeping Egon, God of Death around for more than two or three turns. While cards like Smuggler's Copter and Rotting Regisaur do help to stock our graveyard, and Throne of Death can also help if we draw multiple Egons, we aren't a self-mill deck, and we don't have fetch lands to get cards into our graveyard for free. As I mentioned before, this is usually fine because we can win the game quickly enough that we don't need Egon to stay on the battlefield in the long-term. 

Third, try to think about the matchup and what the opponent's deck is trying to do because it does have a pretty big influence on some of our choices. For example, against various control decks, our recursive one-drops are very strong while Egon, God of Death is pretty medium, which means we probably shouldn't exile our one-drops from the graveyard to keep Egon around. On the other hand, our one-drops get worse against decks with a bunch of cheap creatures since they aren't good at blocking and can end up getting stonewalled by the Tarmogoyfs and Thalia, Guardian of Thrabens of the world. In these matchups, we're mostly planning to win with our big three-drops, which means that aggressively exiling cards like Bloodsoaked Champion, Dread Wanderer, and Gutterbones to keep Egon, God of Death around often is worthwhile. 

Finally, it's important to remember that while our primary game plan is to win quickly, we can win the long game as well thanks to cards like Castle Locthwain, Faceless Haven, Smuggler's Copter, and our recursive threats, unlike some other aggro decks, which mostly fold to the first sweeper. While we usually start off a game looking to pick up a fast win, there are times when it's best to shift gears and start focusing on generating card advantage for the long game, rather than on dumping our hand to pick up fast wins.

Wrap-Up

Normally, we play the two-player queues for Budget Magic, but this week, we played a league and ended up going 3-2, which is a pretty solid record for a $94 deck! We lost to Jund and Humans (which managed to draw three Auriok Champions in game two, which is close to unbeatable for our deck) but took down Gruul Midrange, Izzet Control, and our archnemesis, Tron! The deck actually felt pretty solid and might actually be a competitive budget option in the format!

As far as changes to make to the deck now that we've played some games with it, the most questionable card in probably Asylum Visitor, which rarely drew us any cards (although we did get some sweet madness value, which was nice). The problem is that I'm not sure what to replace it with. Pack Rat was the other card I strongly considered for the slot, but it felt a bit slow and, as a budget deck, we don't have discard like Thoughtseize to protect it. That said, discarding cards is an upside in the deck, and as we saw on last week's Meme or Dream? an unchecked Pack Rat can win a game all by itself. At a minimum, it's probably worth testing Pack Rat, although I'm not 100% sure if it's better than Asylum Visitor or not.

All in all, Egon Stompy felt like a strong budget option for our post-ban Modern format. The combination of a quick, evasive clock and surprising resilience against removal gives it a decent chance in a lot of different matchups. If you're looking for something cheap to try in Modern that might actually be competitive, give it a shot!

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Getting Egon Stompy down near $50 isn't difficult, but it does require some painful cuts. The main problem is that the deck doesn't have any truly expensive cards, instead relying on a bunch of cards that are in the $2–3 range, which means it takes a lot of changes to drop the price. The most impactful ones come in the mana base, where we drop our snow lands, Faceless Haven, and Castle Locthwain for 20 Swamps. While this doesn't hurt our aggro plan much, it does take away some of our ability to play a long game against control decks. Otherwise, we switch up our removal spells, with Fatal Push and Go for the Throat becoming Bloodchief's Thirst and Victim of Night, and a couple of Mogis's Marauders sneak into the main deck over two Bloodsoaked Champions. While the ultra-budget build of Egon Stompy should be almost as effective at picking up fast wins, it will struggle the longer the game goes. So if you decide to start with the ultra-budget build, focusing on being fast will be more important than with the build we played for today's video.

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Finally, for our non-budget list, we go with a Zombie sub-theme. Stitcher's Supplier was a card I strongly considered for the budget build as a way to fill the graveyard for Egon, God of Death, but there were two problems. One is that Stitcher's Supplier itself is nearly $4 a copy, which would make it the most expensive card in our deck. Second, once we add Stitcher's Supplier, we really want Gravecrawler as one of our recursive one-drops, and Gravecrawler is even more expensive. In the non-budget list, we can play the Zombie package while also upgrading Asylum Visitor to the more consistent Dark Confidant, improve the mana with Mutavault over Faceless Haven, and add Thoughtseize to the sideboard over Duress. The end result is a deck that should play almost exactly like the one from the video but with a little bit of extra power and synergy. 

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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