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Budget Magic: 94-Mountain Laelia (Historic Brawl)


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Today, we're heading to Historic Brawl to play one of the cheapest decks ever on a Budget Magic: a build of Laelia, the Blade Reforged that takes just two rares to put together because it's playing a massive 94 basic lands! Can a deck that's nearly all basic lands actually work? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck! But first, a quick reminder that if you enjoy Budget Magic and the other content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Budget Magic: 94-Mountain Laelia

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The Deck

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Our deck today is hilarious. Do you remember Zombie Hunt? The infamous budget deck where you play just Treasure Hunt and Zombie Infestation alongside an absurd number of lands, mulligan until you find a Treasure Hunt (or run out of mulligans), and hope for the best? Well, this is basically the Historic Brawl version of Zombie Hunt. 

Our plan today revolves around our commander, Laelia, the Blade Reforged. Laelia does a few different things, but the most important for our deck is that we put a +1/+1 counter on it whenever we exile a card from our library or graveyard. The idea is to abuse this ability in conjunction with cascade and discover.

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Since we're playing 94 basic Mountains, this leaves room for five nonland cards in our deck, all of which have either cascade or discover. We must have one of these cards in our opening hand—we'll literally mulligan all the way down to one card to find them, which does happen somewhat regularly with the deck. The good news is we don't care which one of these cards we have in our hand (although generally, cheaper is better) because they'll all do the same thing: cascade or discover into our finisher...

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Our end game is to resolve an Etali's Favor on Laelia, the Blade Reforged. We can either just draw Etali's Favor naturally or else play any of our other discover or cascade cards, which will eventually find the Etali's Favor. Along with giving the enchanted creature (Laelia) trample and +1/+1, Etali's Favor also discovers—except we don't have any other cards in our deck with mana value three or less, which is exactly what we want.

The trick in our deck is how cascade and discover work. When we resolve a cascade or discover card, we'll exile cards from the top of our library until we hit a card with the proper mana value. Since there's nothing in our deck Etali's Favor can discover into, it will exile our entire deck before shuffling it back into our library. More importantly, since Laelia gets a +1/+1 counter for each card that goes into exile from our library, our commander will end up as something like a 90/90 trampler, which lets us kill our opponent with a single attack, most often on Turn 4!

It's even more explosive if we happen to start our combo turn with one of our other discover cards. For example, we can cast a Trumpeting Carnosaur, discover into a Geological Appraiser (and get a ton of +1/+1 counters on Laelia), Appraiser will discover into Etali's Favor (and add a bunch more +1/+1 counters to Laelia), and finally, Etali's Favor will discover into nothing, giving us even more +1/+1 counters, this time equal to the number of cards left in our deck!

Wrap-Up

Heading into our matches, I figured we'd get a couple of hilarious wins with 94-Mountain Laelia but that the deck wouldn't actually be very good. While we did get some hilarious wins, it turns out that the deck is also surprisingly powerful. We played 12 matches with the deck (in like 40 minutes since matches go by incredibly quickly with this deck) and won nine, giving us a 75% win percentage with a deck playing 94 basic lands! 

While the deck won a shocking amount, the losses are probably more interesting. In our 12 games, we had two where we mulliganed to one, never found a discover or cascade spell, and died without really doing anything, which is a risk of the deck. This won't happen very often thanks to the current mulligan rule, but it will happen on occasion. It's also worth mentioning that we can very easily win on a mulligan to one, assuming the one card we keep has cascade or discover. 

The other loss came to our opponent having instant-speed removal to shut down Laelia, the Blade Reforged, which is a risk. All our opponents really need to do to beat our deck is leave up an instant-speed removal spell to cast in response to Etali's Favor, which leaves us in a position where it is basically impossible to recover or win the game. The thing is, almost none of our opponents did this, although once people realize how the deck works, I expect it will get worse because players will start to play around the combo kill. But for now, 94-Mountain Laelia is oddly effective.

So, should you play 94-Mountain Laelia in Historic Brawl? I think the answer is yes for two different reasons. First, the deck is essentially free to put together since it only takes two rares and is mostly basic lands, which are free on Magic Arena. I wouldn't want 94-Mountain Laelia to be my only Historic Brawl deck—the play pattern is hilarious but also super repetitive, which means it will end up getting super boring after a few days or weeks. But 94-Mountain Laelia is perfect as a second, third, or fourth Historic Brawl deck that you pull out now and then for a few funny, meme-filled games! The other use of this deck is to grind rewards in special Historic Brawl events when they come along. The deck wins (or loses) so quickly that it's the perfect option if you don't really feel like playing Historic Brawl but need to pick up a few quick wins to hit your rewards. Basically, the deck is super funny, super cheap, and super fast but also super repetitive, which means it likely doesn't have all that much replayability. But all in all, 94-Mountain Laelia is awesome and works way, way better than I ever would have guessed!

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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