Building_on_a_Budget

Expanding Ideas

  • Boards
  • Print
Author Image

The letter L!ast week I worked on a rareless deck that had the ability to compete with some of the most established decks in the metagame. Since that column, a lot of you have sent me emails asking what rares I would add to the deck if I was not overly concerned with keeping the rareless theme.

This week, I'm going to take the rareless deck from last week and upgrade it with a few different rare cards. We'll start by taking a look at the deck from last week:

Rareless Aggro-Control
Standard

Main Deck

60 cards

Evolving Wilds
Island
Mountain
Terramorphic Expanse

23 lands

Æther Adept
Kiln Fiend
Neurok Commando

12 creatures

Arc Trail
Deprive
Forked Bolt
Lightning Bolt
Mana Leak
Searing Blaze
Staggershock

25 other spells

Sideboard
Deprive
Flashfreeze
Mana Leak
Narcolepsy
Spreading Seas

15 sideboard cards



The original version of "Rareless and Careless" did very well in games where it drew Neurok Commando. It stole other games with Kiln Fiend, but the Neurok Commando draws seemed like the games where the deck functioned the way we wanted it to. The deck had trouble with Gideon Jura and Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle. The deck did very well against players whose decks were full of non-Titan creatures.

I set out to find another Neurok Commando in the format. Scroll Thief and Surrakar Spellblade seem like the obvious choices. Jace Beleren is also a nice stand-in. Preordain will help us find the key uncommon with a greater level of consistency.

Cheap burn is very well positioned right now, especially if you can back it up with a card advantage engine. Searing Blaze is a powerful spell and works very well with Kiln Fiend, but it suffers a bunch of problems in the deck as it's currently configured. You see, there aren't any red-blue dual lands easily available to us right now. If I cast a Searing Blaze on turn two, then there's absolutely no way for me to cast a Neurok Commando on the third turn, my ideal play. I've been shaving the numbers on this card as it was. I'd much rather have additional copies of Burst Lightning or Staggershock.

I found that the Kiln Fiends in the main deck were a bit of a mistake. Even if Caw-Blade doesn't pack much removal, most people have anywhere from four to eight spot removal spells. Kiln Fiend gives people a target for their Lightning Bolts, Condemns, Go for the Throats, and Doom Blades. If I cut the Kiln Fiend, then Æther Adept is the only targetable creature in the main. To all the Kiln Fiend lovers: Don't worry! The Kiln Fiends will still be in the sideboard, as they become a lot better when your opponents don't have any removal spells left after sideboarding.

Once the Kiln Fiends are gone, it seems safe to take it a step further. Æther Adept is good, but it may be better as another card.

Now we're doing work! We've got some extra slots to work with and we know what we want our deck to do. Now that we've cut all the targetable creatures it's safe to say that our extra copies of Neurok Commando (numbers five through seven) should be Jace Belerens. Jace Beleren has been printed in a few sets now and shouldn't be too difficult to acquire three copies of.


Here's the new main deck. It may not look special, but it does a great job fixing the leaks in the original rareless version of the deck.

Budget Aggro-Control
Standard

Main Deck

60 cards

Evolving Wilds
10  Island
Mountain
Terramorphic Expanse

23 lands

Neurok Commando

4 creatures

Arc Trail
Burst Lightning
Deprive
Forked Bolt
Jace Beleren
Lightning Bolt
Mana Leak
Preordain
Staggershock

33 other spells



The new sideboard is where the real magic happens. Your opponents won't see any creatures for their removal spells to hit, which gives you a great opportunity to side in the absurdly powerful—if they take out their removalSurrakar Spellblade.

Think about it: You've just sideboarded out all your spot removal. Your opponent casts a Surrakar Spellblade or Kiln Fiend. You just lost the game as long as your opponent has a few burn spells to force it through. And this deck has no shortage of burn spells.

The rest of the sideboard is consistent with last week's. I still want Perilous Myr and Narcolepsy as answers to Kor Firewalker, and I still need a playset of Flashfreezes to help the Valakut matchup. Here's the final sideboard.

2 Narcolepsy
4 Flashfreeze
4 Kiln Fiend
2 Surrakar Spellblade
3 Perilous Myr

I brought the deck into the tournament practice room to battle for a few matches.


I lose the roll and keep Evolving Wilds, Island, Lightning Bolt, Preordain, Jace Beleren, and 2 Mana Leak. My opponent plays a Darkslick Shores, casts a Preordain, and passes the turn. I draw an Island, play my Evolving Wilds, and pass the turn. My opponent plays a land and passes back, and I crack my Terramorphic Expanse and find a Mountain. I draw another Island, play it, and pass the turn. My opponent plays a third land and attempts to cast Phyrexian Crusader, which I Mana Leak. I draw Neurok Commando and cast it. My opponent casts a Tumble Magnet, plays a fourth land, and passes the turn. I draw a Mountain, play it, attack with Neurok Commando, draw Arc Trail, cast Jace Beleren, use his -1, draw a Staggershock, and pass the turn.

My opponent plays a fifth land and taps out for Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon. I draw an Island, play my land, use the -1 on Jace Beleren, draw Burst Lightning, cast Burst Lightning, kicked, on Skithiryx, attack with Neurok Commando, draw another Neurok Commando, and pass the turn. My opponent casts another Tumble Magnet and passes the turn. I draw a Mountain, attack with Neurok Commando, draw a Lightning Bolt, cast another Neurok Commando, give Jace +2 to draw a Deprive, and pass the turn. My opponent casts a Phyrexian Crusader and I cast Deprive to counter it, my opponent passes the turn. I draw a Burst Lightning, attack with both Commandos, draw the second Deprive and a land, give Jace -1, draw an Arc Trail, and pass the turn. My opponent concedes after his draw step.

Sideboarding: +2 Surrakar Spellblade, +2 Narcolepsy, -4 Arc Trail


I keep Mountain, Island, Terramorphic Expanse, Narcolepsy, Surrakar Spellblade, and 2 Lightning Bolt. My opponent starts out with a Creeping Tar Pit. I draw an Island, play my Terramorphic Expanse, and pass the turn. My opponent plays another Creeping Tar Pit, casts Preordain, and passes the turn. I crack my Terramorphic Expanse during the end step, then draw a Staggershock, play my land, and pass the turn. My opponent casts Phyrexian Crusader and passes the turn. I draw a Mana Leak, cast Surrakar Spellblade, and pass the turn. My opponent casts a Phyrexian Vatmother and attacks for two poison counters with Phyrexian Crusader.

I draw a Burst Lightning, cast Burst Lightning and Lightning Bolt on the Phyrexian Vatmother to kill it, attack for 2 with Surrakar Spellblade, draw a Staggershock and a Mana Leak, cast Narcolepsy on the Phyrexian Crusader, and pass the turn. My opponent taps out for Skithiryx, the Blight Dragon again and passes the turn. I draw a Deprive and cast Lightning Bolt and Forked Bolt to dispatch the Blight Dragon and get my opponent for 1. I then attack with Surrakar Spellblade and draw four cards. I pass back to my opponent, who attempts to cast a Phyrexian Crusader, but I have the Mana Leak. My opponent passes and tries to Go for the Throat my Surrakar Spellblade during my upkeep, but I cast Deprive to counter. I draw a Mountain, play it, unload a bunch of burn on my tapped-out opponent, and draw a whole new grip. My opponent draws and concedes the match.



I win the roll and keep 2 Island, 2 Preordain, Jace Beleren, Forked Bolt, and Arc Trail. I play my Island, cast Preordain, leave a Mountain on top and put an Evolving Wilds to the bottom, draw the Mountain, and pass the turn. My opponent casts a Quest for the Holy Relic, casts a Memnite, casts an Ornithopter, and passes the turn. I draw a Lightning Bolt, cast Arc Trail, destroying both artifact creatures, and passing the turn. My opponent plays a Plains and passes the turn back, strongly suggesting a few copies of Glint Hawk trapped in hand. I draw a Mountain, play my Island, cast Jace Beleren, use his -1, draw Staggershock, and pass the turn. My opponent draws, plays a land, casts what I can only assume is an off-the-top Squadron Hawk, putting a third counter on Quest for the Holy Relic, and passes the turn. I draw a Neurok Commando, give Jace -1, draw a Mana Leak, play my land, cast Preordain, put two cards on the bottom, draw an Island, and pass the turn.

My opponent casts an Ornithopter. I let it resolve, and now there are four counters on the Quest for the Holy Relic. My opponent casts a Glint Hawk. In response, I cast Staggershock on the Ornithopter and Lightning Bolt on the Squadron Hawk. My opponent now has an active Quest, but still needs something to attach Equipment to. My opponent casts a Squadron Hawk, pops the Quest for the Holy Relic for Argentum Armor, and suits up the Squadron Hawk before passing. I draw an Island, play it, cast Neurok Commando, give Jace +2, draw a Lightning Bolt, and pass the turn. My opponent attacks for 7 and destroys one of my Mountains with the Armor, then plays a fourth land, casts a pair of Squadron Hawks, and passes the turn. I draw a Mountain, give Jace -1, and draw an Island. Things look pretty bad.

I cast Forked Bolt to kill both Hawks and get in for 2 with my Neurok Commando. I draw a Staggershock, play my land, and pass the turn. My opponent attacks and destroys a red source again, then casts a Stoneforge Mystic and finds a Sword of Feast and Famine. I can't deal with the Argentum Armor and we're off to Game 2.

Sideboarding: +2 Narcolepsy, +1 Surrakar Spellblade, +3 Perilous Myr, -4 Mana Leak, -2 Deprive


I keep Mountain, Island, Perilous Myr, Arc Trail, Forked Bolt, Neurok Commando, and Preordain. I play my Island, cast Preordain, leave an Island on top, draw it, and pass the turn. My opponent casts a Signal Pest, a Memnite, and an Ornithopter and passes the turn. I draw another Preordain, cast it, leave a Lightning Bolt on top, draw it, cast Forked Bolt on the Signal Pest and Memnite, and pass the turn. My opponent casts a Kor Firewalker, and passes the turn. I draw an Island, play it, cast Perilous Myr, and pass the turn. My opponent misses a land drop, casts Stoneforge Mystic, finds a Sword of Feast and Famine, and passes the turn. I cast Neurok Commando and pass the turn. My opponent simply passes the turn with the intention of using Stoneforge Mystic to drop the Sword onto the battlefield.

I draw a Lightning Bolt and cast Arc Trail, dealing 1 to my own Perilous Myr and 2 to the Stoneforge Mystic. My opponent puts Sword of Feast and Famine onto the battlefield, and I use the Perilous Myr's triggered ability to kill the Kor Firewalker. I attack with Neurok Commando, draw a Mountain, play it, and pass the turn. My opponent tries to equip his Ornithopter with the sword, but I have the bolt ready. I draw a Jace Beleren, attack, draw a Neurok Commando, cast Neurok Commando, and pass the turn. My opponent casts another Stoneforge Mystic, finds a Sword of Body and Mind, and passes the turn. I draw a Forked Bolt, aim it at the Stoneforge Mystic to kill it, attack with both Neurok Commandos, draw a Staggershock and a Mountain, play the Mountain, cast Jace Beleren, use his -1, draw a Burst Lightning, and pass the turn.

My opponent casts a Kor Firewalker and passes the turn. I draw another Jace Beleren and attack with both Neurok Commandos. My opponent blocks one, and I draw a Narcolepsy, give Jace -1, draw a Lightning Bolt, and pass the turn. My opponent casts a Signal Pest then attempts to cast a Glint Hawk, but I cast Staggershock on the Pest. I rebound the Staggershock during my upkeep, draw a Mountain, attack with Neurok Commando, draw Surrakar Spellblade, give Jace -1 to zero him out, draw a Perilous Myr, cast another Jace Beleren, give him -1 as well, draw a Lightning Bolt, attack for 2, draw a Mountain, play it, and pass the turn. My opponent is completely out of steam and concedes to the wave of card advantage.


I mulligan and keep 2 Mountain, Island, Lightning Bolt, Arc Trail, and Jace Beleren. My opponent cast a Quest for the Holy Relic, casts a Memnite, and passes the turn. I draw an Island, play my Mountain, and pass the turn. My opponent casts Ornithopter, cast Glint Hawk, returns Ornithopter, replays Ornithopter, and casts Signal Pest. I respond to the counter going on the Quest by Lightning Bolting the Memnite. My opponent passes the turn with an active Quest.

I draw a Jace Beleren, play my land, and cast Arc Trail, dealing 2 to Glint Hawk and 1 to Signal Pest, but my opponent correctly cracks the quest and finds Argentum Armor to put on Signal Pest, then attacks with Signal Pest and destroys my Island. I draw a Neurok Commando, play my land, and pass the turn. My opponent attacks and destroys another Island. I draw a Surrakar Spellblade, and my opponent wins the game.


The upgraded version of last week's rareless deck still performs very well against top tier decks. I tried to showcase a few different opposing decks this week. I'd love to hear your feedback on this deck development series.

Happy brewing!

  • Planeswalker Points
  • Facebook Twitter
  • Gatherer: The Magic Card Database
  • Forums: Connect with the Magic Community
  • Magic Locator