So far I've enjoyed sharing a bunch of fun and fringe decks with you, some of which are my own design. And while the Dredge deck I wrote about a few weeks ago was a fairly budget option at the time, I haven't set out to specifically bring you a budget deck, something I know a lot of Modern players are very interested in.
That changes this week.
One of my goals with this series isn't just to bring you new and innovative Modern decks you may not have heard of, it's to get the brewing juices flowing ourselves whenever possible. And so that's what I set out to do.
Working on a budget Modern deck for my article on @MTGatTCGplayer. Which of these do you want me to explore?— Corbin Hosler (@Chosler88) May 31, 2016
In what I considered a bit of an upset, Tribal Humans won out over Allies for this week's challenge (be sure to follow me on Twitter @Chosler88 for more like this in the future). With Thalia's Lieutenant making a splash in Standard these days, I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that people are excited to see it at work in Modern.
There are a lot of options for tribal Humans. I started with white/blue to take advantage of a pet card of mine: Lyev Skyknight. While that build of the deck wasn't bad, it also didn't feel unique — more of a bad knockoff of the current Jeskai Geist of Saint Traft decks — so I looked elsewhere.
The next place to try was green/white, with Mayor of Avabruck and Hamlet Captain having great synergy with the core of Champion of the Parish, Gather the Townsfolk and Thalia's Lieutenant. I thought this build was pretty solid, but as sweet as Dromoka's Command and Path to Exile were, I still felt like the deck lacked the punch it needed.
That was when Lightning Bolt entered the picture. Red gave a lot of reach that other colors didn't have thanks to the Lightning Bolts and Lightning Helixes, and this is where I ended up.
This deck definitely has the power to compete with some of the top tier decks. And the best part?
It's only 115 tix on Magic Online. While the deck is pricier in paper (closer to $300), most of that cost is eaten up by the lands, and you can bring it down quite a bit if you Simplify the mana base. Or you can go the other direction and add in Arid Mesa if you have them.
No matter what route you choose, this deck has legs. We supplement the Human core with the Soul Sisters core; Soul Warden and Soul's Attendant not only allow you to go big with Ajani's Pridemate, but they're also humans to trigger Champion of the Parish and Thalia's Lieutenant!
Jamming those 12 cards into our deck has a lot of benefits. The aggressive matchups become easier. You add another explosive start in soul sister into Ajani's Pridemate into a token spell like Gather the Townsfolk or a particular explosive inclusion in Thatcher Revolt, which does absolutely silly things with Champion and Lieutenant. In addition, Thalia's Lieutenant buffs the Soul Sisters, and Hero of Oxid Ridge serves as a curve-topper that turns those creatures into threats all on their own. And Lightning Helix is more than just a great removal spell here — it's more ways to pump Ajani's Pridemate.
This deck can end games in the blink of eye. Here's one of my favorite lines we can pull off.
Turn 1: Champion of the Parish
Turn 2: Thalia's Lieutenant (swing for 3)
Turn 3: Thatcher Revolt (swing for 13)
Sure, living in MagicalChristmasLand is exciting, but the best part about this deck is that there are a bunch of redundant pieces. Even if you don't live the Champion-Lieutenant dream, you can substitute an Ajani's Pridemate-fueled start in instead, or simply flood the board with creatures and then swarm in with Hero of Oxid Ridge.
I feel like we're only scratching the surface of what Champion and Lieutenant can do in Modern. For instance, Norin the Wary is a human, and that can certainly get crazy fast. While I felt that direction was more explosive but less consistent than the build I ultimately played in the videos, it goes to show how much can be done in Modern with this core.
Moving forward, I think the Grim Lavamancer could easily be cut, especially if you aren't running Arid Mesa. The Kytheon, Hero of Akros could also be just about anything, and while I opted for two additional one-drops with it and Grim Lavamancer, another card to consider is Mentor of the Meek, which trades some of the explosiveness for some long-term card advantage.
I hope you enjoy this week's deck, and if you're looking to compete on a budget in Modern, I believe this is a great option. I would love to hear any feedback you have about the deck or how you'd like to see me tackle budget builds in the future.
As always, thanks for reading,
@Chosler88 on Twitter/Twitch