Welcome everyone to the first edition of a new series that I will be doing bi-weekly called Magic on a Budget. In this I will be rotating it with Modern Hero and go over budget decks for both Standard and Modern. Core Set 2019 drops tomorrow. And it features a lot of cards that will shake up standard a little bit and hopefully add some new archetypes to the field. I know personally I will be slinging some Zombies between now and rotation. Giving us Death Baron, Graveyard Marshall, Diregraf Ghoul, and Liliana, Untouched by Death has breathed new life into our little undead horde. But that is a different deck for a different time. Today we are going to be talking about Wizards of the Keld.
Standard is in my opinion in a pretty good spot. A quick look around at any of the sites that post deck lists with any consistency the Big Red menace has caused a change in standard that has allowed decks like UB Midrange, GPG, and Esper Control some room to climb the ladder. I know a lot of folks were hoping that the most recent B&R announcement was hoping to see the scourge of Goblin Chainwhirler to get his chain clipped. However, that was not to be. And its okay. There are plenty of answers to it and decks are starting to play around it causing it to lose a little popularity. It is a little restrictive as it makes players shy away from playing X/1’s. We still have the little guy and he slots really well into Wizards of Keld. Now this deck would still function without it even if it was banned. But since it was not we get the pleasure of jamming him on our boards. As I spoke on just a little bit above the format pre-Core 2019 was either your playing red and all its good cards. Or you are playing something to take it down be it going over it or straight up handling it.
Wizards of the Keld
The basis of this deck is in the title. We will be playing Wizard type creatures to go alongside of Wizard’s Lightning. Because, a pseudo Lightning Bolt is always fun in standard. And with Core 2019 we get a reprint of Shock and keep Lightning Strike as it is in Ixalan and reprinted in Core. Adding to the pair of those direct burn spells we have Wizard’s Lightning. Those 12 cards are the foundation of the deck. We need the reach to finish games or just to move pesky blockers out of the way. And with the printing of Viashino Pyromancer we have a semi-Shock on a 2/1 body. That is also a wizard. This deck is similar to Mono Red Aggro and BR Aggro as they share a few creatures. But this deck looks to go underneath all the control and combo decks. While also being slightly faster than the standard Mono Red/BR decks. We don’t play Hazoret, the Fervant, Rekindling Pheonix, or Chandra, Torch of Defiance. This is somewhat of a traditional Sligh deck from Magics origins. Cheap creatures and burn to finish the game. Lets take a look at the list.
The One Drops
Here we have [mtg_card]Bomat Courier, Ghitu Firerunner, and Soul-Scar Mage. The Courier chips in for early damage and refills the hand later assuming it gets that far. Ghitu Firerunner is a one drop that lives thru Chainwhirler and later becomes a pseudo Goblin Guide. It is also a wizard. Soul-Scar Mage also avoids Chainwhirlers wrath and also helps take down good old Hazoret, the Fervant among other targets. Also a wizard.
The Two Drops
Our twos are Earthshaker Khenra, Viashino Lavarunner, and Kari Zev, Skyship Raider. The two of Earthshaker Khenra are there because with 20 lands I don’t see us embalming it that often. If the land count was higher I might consider a full set. But we are trying to get underneath every other deck and kill fast. Viashino Lavarunner is a neat little ½ that becomes a Goblin Guide later in the game once you throw a couple burn spells around. And it’s a wizard that helps create a Lightning Bolt. Finally we have Kari Zev, Skyship Raider. A 1/3 with menace that spits out a 2/1 is a pretty good rate for 2 mana. Especially when a Flame of the Keld has hit chapter 3.
The Lone Three Drop
Goblin Chainwhirler… Not really much to say about this guy that hasn’t been said before. Solid 3/3 with first strike for 3 mana. Its enter the battlefield trigger is a quick way to mess up someones day.
Flame of the Keld
Partially the decks namesake. Wizards of the Keld is a super fast deck that seeks to go under everything else in the format. Flame of the Keld helps to put the game away after emptying out your hand by turn 4 or 5. It provides extra cards and then the bonus damage on chapter 3.
I didn’t include a sideboard as that is always reflective of your specific meta or depending on wether you are going to a big event. But here are some of the best cards for a sideboard
The deck between now and rotation
So between now and rotation this deck will see some play. It caters to most of the budget players given that the main deck itself costs only around 60 dollars or so. Figure a sideboard of everything not Chandra, Torch of Defiance would push the cost to around 75 dollars. This is pretty good for a deck that I believe will be a solid learning point for anyone looking to jump in and get some reps in before rotation.
That pretty much does it for me this week. Feel free to leave comments below and let me know what you think. I will be back next week with Modern Hero and have several tournaments to talk about and hopefully if all goes well more upgrades to the deck. Enjoy your weekend folks and we will catch up next week.