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Budget Magic: I Solve the Case of the Filched Falcon


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! During Murders at Karlov Manor spoiler season, I completely overlooked Case of the Filched Falcon. It looked like a weird, expensive version of Ensoul Artifact, but I completely missed that the 4/4 creature it makes has flying. This makes the card absurdly powerful, especially backed by a bunch of cheap artifact-sacrifice synergies with cards like Gleaming Geardrake and Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender to form a weird artifact-centric aggro deck! As such, we're heading to Standard today to put on our detective hats and solve the Case of the Filched Falcon! How good is artifact sac aggro on a $71 budget? Is Case of the Filched Falcon legit? Let's find out on today's Budget Magic! 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: Izzet Artifacts

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The Deck

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Three big artifact payoffs allow today's deck to exist. The first is Case of the Filched Falcon, which we already talked about. It's strong—way stronger than I realized. For one mana, it makes a Clue. Later, once we have three or more artifacts on the battlefield (which is usually by Turn 2 or 3 in our deck), we can sacrifice it (even at instant speed!) to turn a noncreature artifact (like a Map, Clue, or even Subterranean Schooner) into a flying creature with four +1/+1 counters. (This means it's especially wild with Vehicles, which will have their base stats plus the counters.) With our best draws, we're attacking with the 4/4 flier on Turn 3, which is a super-aggressive start. Even better, as an artifact, it dodges Go for the Throat, which is one of the most popular removal spells in the format. Helping us solve the Case are Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender and Gleaming Geardrake, two-drops that grow with a +1/+1 counter whenever we sacrifice an artifact or have one go to the graveyard. While both cards are pretty similar, they also have different upsides: Syr Ginger is great against planeswalkers and occasionally gains us life against aggro, while Gleaming Geardrake gives us a Clue when it enters the battlefield and also has flying, which, combined with Case of the Filched Falcon, gives us a super-aggressive, evasive clock. Of course, we need a bunch of cheap, sacrificable artifacts on the battlefield for any of these payoffs to work. Thankfully, we've got a bunch of good options.

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Rounding out our creatures are two one-drops that make trinket artifacts when they enter the battlefield, with Spyglass Siren making a Map and Voldaren Epicure making a Blood, both of which are perfect for sacrificing to grow Syr Ginger, the Meal Ender or Gleaming Geardrake or to turn into creatures with Case of the Filched Falcon. We also have Subterranean Schooner, which is a solid card overall but is especially scary when Case of the Filched Falcon turns it into a 7/8 flyer! Together, these cards help make sure we have a steady stream of sacrificable artifacts on the battlefield to support our payoffs while also chipping in for some damage or soaking up an attack as a chump blocker. 

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For card advantage, we turn to Mishra's Research Desk, which can trigger Syr Ginger and Gleaming Geardrake twice while also churning us through our deck, and a single copy of Demand Answers. The biggest upside of Demand Answers is that it allows us to sacrifice an artifact at instant speed, which sometimes lets us get a blowout by growing our Geardrake or Syr Ginger during combat, after blockers are declared.

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Finally, we have some interaction, most of which also works with our deck's artifact theme. Voltage Surge offers early-game removal that can also sacrifice an artifact at instant speed to deal even more damage. Witchstalker Frenzy doesn't care about artifacts, but it does kill Sheoldred and other bigger creatures. Finally, Disruption Protocol gives us a way to deal with sweepers and other removal spells. Since our deck is so good at putting artifacts on the battlefield, it's often a literal Counterspell as early as Turn 2 thanks to cards like Spyglass Siren and Voldaren Epicure.

Wrap-Up

Record-wise, I played 14 matches with the deck and won seven, giving us a 50% match-win percentage, which is pretty solid for a budget deck. While we struggled a bit with Mono-Red, which mostly out-aggroed us, the deck performed pretty well in other matchups. Gleaming Geardrake and Syr Ginger offer a super-fast clock once they start growing, and Case of the Filched Falcon is sneakily the best card in our deck. 

While I wouldn't change anything about the budget build of the deck, I did want to mention that this kind of deck will reward you for practicing it a bunch. There are a ton of decision points—do we crack our Maps and Clues to grow our payoffs? Do we leave up mana for a counterspell? Do we add more threats to the board? While none of these decisions by themselves is all that meaningful, when you add them all together, they end up being the difference between winning and losing the game. Make sure to count up all your potential damage. Gleaming Geardrake specifically often surprised me with just how much damage it can deal if we start sacrificing our trinket artifacts. It's super easy to miss lethal with the deck if you aren't paying close attention!

So, should you play Izzet Artifact in Standard? I think the answer is yes if you like artifact decks or sneaky, synergistic aggro decks and are looking for a cheap option for Murders at Karlov Manor Standard. Oh yeah, one quick note on the budget: while the deck technically has 23 rares, which is a bit higher than I typically like in an Arena budget deck, 12 of those are lands (so if you have a typical Standard mana base, the deck is just 11 rares to build on Arena), and three more are Urabrask's Forges in the sideboard, which you won't need if you are a best-of-one player. This could get the cost of the deck all the way down to just eight rares, which would look a bit something like this:

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Conclusion

Anyway, that's all this week. 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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