Budget/unpowered decks in 2019

I play Mono Red Moon and its great. If you want something different try Brassman's Survival list with Serum Power in place of Bazaar. You'll get aggro hands and be able to maximize the turn one Survival hands.

"2019 Christmas Beatings.dec !"

@stuart so I’ve been looking online for a updated Jacodrazi list, and all I can find are from couple years ago. Are there any updated lists out there ?

@chikararyuu have you had a chance to test this list? It looks really sweet!

@popedeuce37 As far as I can tell, no. I assume there must be a way to incorporate Karn the Great Creator, though he does kind of contract the deck's purpose (breaking Null Rod's symmetry) and can't get powered out that quickly. It's also possible the deck should be messing around with cards like Walking Ballista.

@englishnh do you have a decklist for G Eldrazi?

@stuart what delver variants are good when unpowered? UR would be my top pick.


Here is what I have right now. Definitely a work in progress. I have been testing with Emerald and Lotus, but you could replace with Sol Ring and Mana Crypt or lands.

4 Ancient Tomb
4 Wasteland
4 Eldrazi Temple
3 Cavern of Souls
1 Strip Mine
7 Forest
4 Elvish Spirit Guide
1 Sol Ring
1 Mana Crypt
1 Channel

4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Collector Ouphe
4 Phyrexian Revoker
4 Reality Smasher
4 Thought-Knot Seer
4 Matter Reshaper

4 Karn, the Great Creator
2 Karn, Scion of Urza


4 Force of Vigor
3 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Mycosynth Lattice
1 Ensnaring Bridge
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Sorcerous Spyglass
1 Walking Ballista

@brass-man the problem is these decks REALLY need moxen even off color ones to deploy their hate cards on turn 1

@iamactuallylvl1 I agree that's traditionally an issue, but I think that may be LESS true now specifically because of Force of Vigor. In Survival decks I've been wanting to run fewer and fewer moxes. Maybe there's a different approach to a budget deck that better gets around the 2-drop hatebear problem? There's plenty of turn 1 interaction when you look outside of hate bears, particularly in black (discard) and blue (counters).

Budget questions are difficult because everyone has a different definition for what counts as a budget deck. Some people consider Dredge a budget deck, others want their collection to cost less than a single Bazaar. Can you run Dual Lands? Force of Wills? Survival of the Fittest? Wastelands? Do you already happen to own some expensive card that changes the calculus? I can brainstorm ideas for days but I have no idea what's actually feasible for any particular person to own.

Here are some half-baked budget ideas that I'm curious about, which I haven't seen anyone put work into:

UG(x) Delver - heavy on free and one-drop threats and disruption to get around the mox problem. Maybe this would look like old Legacy Threshold decks. Obviously this deck would WANT Time Walk and Ancestral, but I've always felt Delver's consistency/redundancy make it less power-reliant than other blue decks.

BG(x) Death's Shadow - Love me some Death's Shadow. All of the cards you want are 0s and 1s anyway which make moxes worse (Thoughtseize, Mental Misstep, Street Wraith), and you get to cut your Dual lands for Shocklands.

(there's probably a U/G/B Shadowfish deck that combines both of these, but I bet it stretches the budget requirements)

Elves! - Modern/Legacy Elf combo, if you can actually figure out how to play it, is already pretty consistent. Force of Vigor gives it a level of interaction it never had access to in Vintage before. I'm not sure how much of a difference that makes but I'd love to know.

Bazaarless Survival - This has to be a thing. I'd have to spend some time to figure out exactly what the implications are (there could be many). Cutting Bazaar makes Hollow One worse but it makes your mana more consistent and frees up a lot of space. Maybe this deck is G/U or G/R for looting effects and some additional one-drops. You know you want to play G/R Bazaarless Faithless Survival. Admit it.

@brass-man said in Budget/unpowered decks in 2019:

Bazaarless Survival - This has to be a thing. I'd have to spend some time to figure out exactly what the implications are (there could be many). Cutting Bazaar makes Hollow One worse but it makes your mana more consistent and frees up a lot of space. Maybe this deck is G/U or G/R for looting effects and some additional one-drops. You know you want to play G/R Bazaarless Faithless Survival. Admit it.

Certainly one could cut down to 1-2 Hollow One for such a build. I’d definitely play at least 1 Hogaak though. Probably interested in 4 ESG and maybe even stay as close to mono-green as possible?

I think the new RG Planeswalkers that gets land back from gy would be very strong in Eldrazi. Between the new canopy lands, and karplusan mountains, shouldn't be a Mana issue. Would be amazing for wasteland obv, alongside the new sac and draw lands, and pinging w ever can chump. Maybe worth the splash?

last edited by Serracollector

@serracollector I'm totally on board, I think that Wrenn and Six fits very nicely in with some traditional budget-style strategies, and think it could be real hot some hypothetical low-power R/G Survival, R/G Eldrazi, R/G tempo lists.

But it's $80 😛 I honestly have no idea what counts for budget or not anymore.

@wfain You could definetly go mono green. Don't get trapped in red for looting. Blue has careful study and a whole bunch of similar effects. The only downside of playing blue is that to be optimal you want a walk and an ancestral, -which can't really be swapped for spirit guides and a petal.

last edited by John Cox


I really haven't had a chance to test that rough draft just yet.

I do have a few more thoughts on the use of channel though.

One idea would be to utilize oath of nissa and channel to cast any/all planeswalkers. I also think a list like this could also use interplanar beacon from war.

Hi everyone, I played Jaco Drazi at Knight-Ware's pre-Eternal Weekend tournament. I've played the deck quite a few times and have top 4'd with it a few times, but it was not to be this time!

Here's a link to the results and deck lists:


We had three unpowered decks out of eight!

I like the deck and since I don't have power (nor even duals lands) it's great to have something to play that can be competitive.

I have a few minor tunings, mostly focused on turn 1 disruption via a Null Rod or Spyglass cast via the Ancient Tombs or the City of Traitors. I've found that unless it's a super-fast aggro hand (i.e., 3 or 4 Eldrazi Mimics turn one followed by a three-or-four drop turn two) the chances of winning are low unless the opponents deck is on the slower side.

During the tournament I made a few mistakes but I'm not at all sure they would have won me any more games or matches than I did win.

Here's what I played:

Round 1 was against Albert on an unpowered Delver/Arcanist build. Albert's a good player and he won it in three, with me being on the play in games 1 and 3. I got tripped by the Dazes twice and his Wastelands were brutal. I also love Delver so I'm to see it doing well. As others have said it's always an option for unpowered decks.

Round 2 was against Luke on a BUG deck. I've always felt like Jaco Drazi does well against BUG even though the 'Goyfs can too big to Dismember and bigger than the Eldrazi. The main deck wastes is there for Trophy and I got to search it out a few times. I won this one on three with Luke being on the play games 1 and 3. IIRC he had a Narset game 1 which didn't really do much other than net him a few filters/draws. I didn't bother to kill it. In game 1 I also had an early Chalice on 1 that I think slowed him down a bit. Game 2 I Spyglassed Wasteland which lasted for a while until the Spyglass was destroyed. Game 3 was pretty close with me at 6 life when I pulled it off. I might not keep the Wastes as the matchup against BUG feels pretty strong. Another Ghost Quarter or more likely the second Urborg is probably what I'll try next time.

Round 3 was against Ryan on Pitch Dredge. He won it in two. With Jaco Drazi I always feel like I have a chance to steal game 1 from Dredge but not this time! There are a lot of tricks - Metamorph copying nothing, sacrifice a Scion from Warping Wail and Endless One on X=0 to blow up Bridges from Below. Wastelands and Spyglass to handle the Bazaars, etc. I think my side board though needs a lot of adjustment now that FoV is so popular.

Overall I think it's still a deck with possibilities in a tournament and it seems like Null Rod is really good these days.

If anyone has any specific questions I'll try answer as best I can!


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