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Budget Magic: $97 WB Discard (Standard, Magic Arena)


Ç'kemi, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! Last week while playing Rakdos Reanimator for Budget Magic, we got absolutely stomped by an Orzhov deck overloaded with discard spells. While I was skeptical about the deck at first, it was intriguing enough that I decided to build a version of it and see how it played. After playing a bunch of games with the deck, I became convinced that the deck wasn't just good but might actually be great! More importantly for Budget Magic purposes, it's also pretty cheap to put together. As such, we're heading to Standard today to see if we can clear some opponents' hands with endless discard spells! Just how good is discard in our current Standard format? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: WB Discard (Standard)

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The Deck

In some sense, WB Discard is a metagame deck. Right now, Throne of Eldraine Standard 3.0 has two major archetypes (with a decent amount of variation within these archetypes): Cat Food decks (based on Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven) and Fires of Invention decks. The goal of WB Discard is to be very good in both of these matchups and hopefully be good enough against other random decks to be a solid choice overall. The deck's main goal is to empty our opponent's hand with creatures that force our opponent to discard when they enter the battlefield. And once we pinch our opponent's resources with discard, we can take over the game in any number of ways—winning after our opponent has no cards is the easy part!

The Discard

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The core of our discard plan is a pile of two-mana creatures. For our purposes, Burglar Rat and Yarok's Fenlurker are essentially the same card, as two-mana 1/1s that make our opponent discard (or exile) a card when they come into play. While the 1/1 bodies aren't all that impressive, they do provide early-game roadblocks against aggro. But the main reason we have both of these creatures is to start attacking the number of cards in our opponent's hand. 

Meanwhile, Charming Prince is usually a discard creature as well. While it requires a Burglar Rat or Yarok's Fenlurker, assuming we have one of our literal discard creatures, we can use Charming Prince to flicker it and make our opponent discard another card. The other upside of Charming Prince is that unlike our other discard creatures, it's actually a fine draw later in the game, after our opponent is empty-handed, since in the worst case, we can scry two to look for action or gain three life (which is especially helpful against aggro).

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At the top end of our discard curve is Basilica Bell-Haunt, which not only forces our opponent to discard but also gains us some life along the way, making it solid against control (where discard is key) and aggro (where the lifegain is great). Most importantly, Basilica Bell-Haunt helps to fill out our discard curve. With eight two-drop discard creatures, Charming Prince and Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage as three-mana discard spells, and Basilica Bell-Haunt on Turn 4, we often have games where starting on Turn 2, we make our opponent discard each turn until they are empty-handed. This curve, almost by itself, is often enough to stifle various Fires decks and is very good against control as well.

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Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage is our highest-variance discard spell. Against control and Fires decks, Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage is one of the best cards in our deck, usually making our opponent discard two or three cards for just three mana and then dealing some damage once we get our opponent low on cards. On the other hand, against more aggressive decks with cheap creatures, Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage is a lot worse, usually just making our opponent discard a single card before dying to creature beats thanks to its low loyalty. While it is good enough to be in our main deck and occasionally wins us games on its own, especially against slower, more controlling decks, we usually sideboard it out againts aggro decks, where it dies too often.

Removal

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While making our opponent discard cards is great, we also need to be able to answer cards that happen to hit the battlefield before we can make our opponent discard them. Doom Foretold and Cavalier of Dawn are especially powerful in our deck since they can kill anything, which means they not only deal with creatures against aggro and midrange but also cleanly answer things like Fires of Invention, Wilderness Reclamation, and planeswalkers as well. Doom Foretold also has the upside of giving our random discard creatures even more value. Cards like Burglar Rat and Yarok's Fenlurker aren't worth all that much once they are on the battlefield, which makes them perfect sacrifice fodder to keep Doom Foretold on the battlefield for a few turns. Meanwhile, apart from giving us a big body to close out the game, Cavalier of Dawn can add even more power to the battlefield if we use it to upgrade something like Burglar Rat or Yarok's Fenlurker into a 3/3 Golem, and it can even get a Doom Foretold or Ethereal Absolution back from the graveyard once it dies.

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As far as dealing with creatures, we have a couple more powerful removal spells. Kaya's Wrath gives us a way to clear the board, which is especially helpful against various Adventures decks, which, while not as popular as Fires or Cat Food, are still a pretty big part of the Throne of Eldraine Standard meta. Meanwhile, Murderous Rider gives us a way to deal with big creatures like Questing Beast while also offering an additional answer to planeswalkers. Plus, after we use it to kill something, it gives us a body on the battlefield that we can even sacrifice to Doom Foretold in a pinch.

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So far, we've talked a lot about how our deck is good against Fires and control, but what about Cauldron Familiar / Witch's Oven strategies? Here, we have a couple of different plans. First, Ethereal Absolution is a great way to stop Cat Food decks since giving all of our opponent's creatures 1/ 1 locks Cauldron Familiar (and other annoying threats like Gutterbones) out of the game forever. Then, once we get Cauldron Familiar in the graveyard, we can use Ethereal Absolution to exile it and even get a Spirit for our troubles. Apart from Cat Food decks, Ethereal Absolution is also insane against Adventure decks, as long as we can live long enough to get it on the battlefield, since it locks Edgewall Innkeeper, Lovestruck Beast tokens, and most Selesnya Adventure creatures out of the game.

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Our second Cat Food hate card is Karn, the Great Creator. By itself, Karn, the Great Creator shuts down Witch's Oven with its static ability (along with our opponent naturally sacrificing Food tokens), which is solid. However, the real power of Karn, the Great Creator is that it allows us to snag artifacts from our sideboard. This means that we can consistently find cards like Grafdigger's Cage and Sorcerous Spyglass, even in game one. And both of these cards are insane at shutting down the Cat Food combo, with Grafdigger's Cage keeping Cauldron Familiar from coming into play from the graveyard and Sorcerous Spyglass giving us another way to shut down Witch's Oven (and a lot of other things, like planeswalkers). Here's a quick list of our Karn board targets, along with what the cards are for.

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Wrap-Up

WB Discard felt great! We lost one match to Simic Ramp, which is a tough matchup since our opponent can flood the board quickly, and even after we get our opponent empty-handed, a topdecked Hydroid Krasis can undo a lot of our work. But we took down a Cat Food deck, Jeskai Fires, Rakdos Knights, and even Temur Reclamation! The plan was surprisingly effective. Decks like Temur Reclamation and Fires struggle with our discard, especially backed by Doom Foretold and Cavalier of Dawn to kill their namesake enchantments, while aggro couldn't keep up with our wraths and removal, and Cat Food couldn't beat our Karn board. 

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, I'm actually pretty happy with where it ended up. The sideboard could possibly use a few changes (Revenge of Ravens didn't seem very necessary). But otherwise, I'd run the deck back as-is, if budget is a concern. That said, if you have Godless Shrine in your collection, you should definitely add it to the mana base over Scoured Barrens. While the deck ran find with eight tapped dual lands, it would run better without them.

All in all, I think that WB Discard might actually be a very solid option in our current meta. It seems like it beats both Cat Food deck and Fires decks, which are the two most important decks in the format, and it seems to have a chance against a lot of other decks as well. If you're looking for a seemingly competitive budget option, or just like the discard theme, give WB Discard a shot!

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The goal for getting WB Discard down into the ultra-budget price range was to do it without cutting any of the deck's key aspects, which means Karn, the Great Creator stays, even though it eats up a big chunk of our budget. The biggest loss is Murderous Rider, although Conclave Tribunal is a decent replacement and comes with the extra upside of hitting things like Wilderness Reclamation and Fires of Invention along with creatures and planeswalkers. Otherwise, we turn Temple of Silence into Orzhov Guildgate, drop Stonecoil Serpent from the sideboard, and turn the two sideboard copies of Kaya's Wrath into Cry of the Carnarium (which is also good against Cat Food), and we're good to go!

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No massive changes for the non-budget list, which is still fairly cheap. The one expensive addition is Godless Shrine to the mana base, which not only gives us more untapped lands but also allows us to play more copies of Castle Locthwain and Castle Ardenvale by helping them come into play taped as well. Otherwise, we drop Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage for Kaya, Orzhov Usurper (which is solid against Cauldron Familiar and Witch's Oven, as well as Edgewall Inkeeper) and Oath of Kaya (which is good Doom Foretold fodder and works great with Bolas's Citadel thanks to the lifegain). Otherwise, the deck is basically the same as the one we played for the videos!

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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