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Budget Magic: Rousing Rabble with $80 WB Tokens (Standard)


Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it's that time once again! A few weeks ago on stream, we played a Jetmir Tokens deck in Explorer. While the deck was sweet and won a lot of matches, the real takeaway was that Rabble Rousing is a pretty absurd card. Even apart from the hideaway value, the ability to go super wide with tokens can be very strong, allowing us to quickly overwhelm our opponent with little 1/1 tokens! As such, we're heading to Standard today to see what happens if we go all-in on building a token-fueled Rabble Rousing deck in the format on just an $80 budget! How good is Rabble Rousing in Standard? Can tokens work in a format where everyone is playing The Meathook Massacre? Let's get to the video and find out; then, we'll talk more about the deck!

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Budget Magic: WB Rabble Rousing Tokens

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The Deck

WB Rabble Rousing Tokens is a token deck. The goal is to go super wide with tokens, double up our tokens with Rabble Rousing, play things like Dramatic Finale and Wedding Announcement to turn our tokens into bigger threats,  and use them to kill our opponent with combat damage!

Token Payoffs

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Our deck can be broken down pretty neatly into three groups of cards: token payoffs, token producers, and interaction. There are three token payoffs, with the biggest and most exciting being Rabble Rousing. Rabble Rousing is a really interesting card. While it does cost five mana, which is a lot, it's incredibly powerful on the battlefield, giving us a 1/1 token whenever we attack with a creature. This leads to a snowballing effect. On the first turn we attack with a Rabble Rousing on the battlefield, we make some tokens; then, we can attack on the next turn with our original creature and the tokens, which will make even more tokens with Rabble Rousing. Eventually (usually within a couple of turns), this will build a big enough board that we can cast whatever we have hidden away under Rabble Rousing. While we don't have anything in our deck specifically to be cast for free with Rabble Rousing (unlike some other hideaway decks like Fight Rigging that are trying to get specific cards hidden away), free value is always good. Our best hits are usually something like Dramatic Finale to pump our tokens, more Rabble Rousings (things get absurd super quickly if we ever get two or three copies going), or even just a removal spell to deal with an opposing threat.

Backing up Rabble Rousing are two other token payoffs, both of which can also be token producers, which means they not only make our Rabble Rousing tokens better but also give us more bodies to trigger Rabble Rousing. Dramatic Finale is a card I've always liked, but it hasn't really seen any play, in part because of its harsh mana requirements. It offers a token anthem that can also make 2/1 flying Inkling tokens as our non-token creatures die. Meanwhile, Wedding Announcement needs no introduction—it's seen a lot of play in various midrange decks in Standard. But it's perfect for the deck, drawing us cards, making up to three 1/1 tokens for three mana, and then flipping into a Glorious Anthem to pump our team.

Token Producers

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Next up are the token producers, and our deck has a ton of them. We kick things off with our three non-token creatures (which can make Inklings with Dramatic Finale when they die), all of which make tokens in one way or another. Usher of the Fallen give us something to do on Turn 1, and thanks to boast, it can flood the board with 1/1 tokens slowly turn by turn. Adeline, Resplendent Cathar is pretty absurd in our deck, in part because it makes tokens and in part because its power and toughness is based on the number of creatures we control, which means it usually turns into a must-block one-shot-kill threat once we start snowballing with Rabble Rousing. Finally, Edgar, Charmed Groom gives us a solid four-drop that flips around to make some 1/1 Vampire tokens when it dies.

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We've also got a couple of odd non-creature token producers in the two-drop slot that often function as creatures. Citizen's Crowbar is interesting. It's technically a Grizzly Bears as a 2/2 for two, which isn't exciting, although, in a world with Fable of the Mirror-Breaker and Esika's Chariot, being able to sacrifice it to blow up an artifact or enchantment actually offers a lot of value in some matchups. Meanwhile, Reckoner Bankbuster gives us a source of card advantage, which is important in our grindy Standard format, while also eventually making a 1/1 Pilot token after all of its charge counters are removed. 

As for Tribute to Horobi, it's one of the highest-risk and highest-reward cards in our deck. When things go well, it offers two 1/1 tokens and a 3/3 flying card-advantage engine for just two mana and a bit of life (from getting attacked by the Rats we temporarily give our opponent), which is absurd. The Saga's ceiling is super high. On the other hand, Tribute to Horobi can be literally unplayable when things go poorly. We ran into a deck playing Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second and ended up drawing three copies of Tribute to Horobi but couldn't cast any of them since Jinnie Fay, Jetmir's Second would turn them into Cats or Dogs our opponent would keep forever. We also gave one opponent a Rat only for them to use it to casualty a Mob Nixilis into play. There's also a chance that our opponent will wait until they get the Rats and then kill Tribute to Horobi, allowing them to keep the Rats forever (or at least until we draw and flip another copy of the Saga). In general, I think the upside and efficiency of Tribute make it worth the risk—just be warned that it'll the first card we sideboard out in some matchups.

Interaction

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One of the upsides of being in black and white is that we get some of the best interactive spells in Standard. Infernal Grasp and Vanishing Verse are great targeted removal spells, while Hagra Mauling and Pelakka Predation let us get a bit of extra value out of our mana base as MDFCs.

Wrap-Up

Record-wise, we ended up 3-3 with WB Tokens, which is a solid enough record for a budget deck. In general, we did well against creature-based aggro and midrange decks but struggled a bit against decks with a bunch of sweepers, which makes sense. One of the best ways to counter a deck looking to go super wide with tokens is to sweep their board. While we got lucky to mostly dodge The Meathook Massacre, we got to see what a sweeper-heavy matchup looked like against Simic Ramp, which kept bouncing our board, and it was rough. Thankfully, our sideboard is built with sweepers in mind, with a bunch of discard to hopefully minimize their impact, and we do have the ability to rebuild with Rabble Rousing (see: the game where we played Rabble Rousing with a single 1/1 being our only creature only to have Rabble Rousing snowball us into a huge board and a win). But in general, we'd rather be fighting Boros Aggro and various midrange piles than decks overloaded with Farewells, mass bounce, and The Meathook Massacre.

As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, I'm pretty happy with where we ended up in general. Citizen's Crowbar was a bit hit or miss, depending on the matchup, and could probably be upgraded into another two-drop, although it wasn't horrible, and we did manage to use it to snipe an Esika's Chariot. Like usual, the mana base could be upgraded with more rare dual lands, channel lands, and maybe more creaturelands, although these changes would increase the budget, so perhaps they are best left for the non-budget build.

So, should you play WB Tokens in Standard? I think the answer is yes. The deck felt like a solid budget-friendly (at least, in paper) option, and Rabble Rousing is insane! If you like going wide, snowballing, and making tons of tokens, WB Tokens seems like a fun option to mess around with as we wait for rotation. While we will lose Dramatic Finale at rotation, most of the important pieces will be sticking around for another year, which is a nice bonus!

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If there's a downside to WB Tokens, it's that it's mostly built around bulk rares, which means that while it's very affordable in paper, it's pretty expensive on Arena. The good news is that we can get the cost down to 15 rares and mythics on Arena with some cuts. This requires cutting all of the rares from the mana base and the sideboard and also trimming back some from the main deck, with Reckoner Bankbuster becoming Deadly Dispute and Clarion Spirit replacing some copies of Adeline, Resplendent Cathar and Edgar, Charmed Groom. While having 12 tapped lands in the mana base is a concern, and the deck is missing some power compared to the budget build, the deck should still be fine for casual play on Arena, although you'll likely need to make some upgrades if you are playing ranked and looking to progress up the ladder.

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Finally, we get a couple of big upgrades for our non-budget build. First, we get the tier Standard mana base. Second, we get Lolth, Spider Queen, which seems perfect for the deck, giving us another powerful token producer and source of card advantage. We also get one Starnheim Unleashed as a backup finisher. I also considered Blot Out the Sky, although I decided that blowing up all non-creature non-land permanents was probably too much of a cost in a deck with Dramatic Finale, Wedding Announcement, and Rabble Rousing. While this build of WB Rabble Rousing Tokens is more powerful, and it's what I would play in a tournament, I'm honestly not sure it's worth upgrading, considering that the non-budget build costs three times as much as the budget build, and a big chunk of that is going toward Lolth, Spider Queen, which will be rotating in a couple of months. 

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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