Yes, I know what you are thinking.

"Golgari Rock is close to $1200. How the hell can you make this budget?"

It's a question I have been asked a lot since joining TCGplayer Infinite, and the answer is simple: "quite easily, but not without compromise." It is crucial to understand that you won't find a like-for-like replacement on the trademark staples Golgari Rock uses. Once you accept this, playing Golgari Rock on a budget is straightforward, not to mention fun. 

Compared to other budget walkthroughs I've done, there are more steps to upgrading Golgari Rock (and Jund) to the final, optimal build due to the steep price jump. While that may feel discouraging, by starting on this path, you are setting yourself up to play one of Modern's most loved, consistent, and wellsupported archetypes. Modern goes through periods with low levels of interaction, and it's within those linear metagames that disruptive midrange strategies can flourish. Even outside of those periods, midrange strategies are often reliable choices due to their absurdly high card quality. As a result, Jund and Golgari Rock have stood the test of time in Modern. 

What makes strategies such as Golgari Rock and Jund expensive is that they run a handful of cards that have been highly played in Modern for years—in some cases, since the format's inception. Cards such as Tarmogoyf, Liliana of the Veil, Verdant Catacombs and Dark Confidant can make up close to three-quarters of the strategy's overall price. When discussing Modern and its steep price of entry, Jund and Golgari Rock are often examples of how ridiculous the cost of decks can be. To build one of these decks on a budget, we have to avoid these big-ticket items. But that's just the beginning.

Budget Golgari Rock

I highly recommend working toward Golgari Rock instead of creating Jund from the get-go. Building a three-color manabase is expensive, and the red splash doesn't offer much as long as you're working on a budget. You're better off building a semi-optimal (or even optimal) version of Golgari Rock before extending into Jund. 

The upside is that you can build a budget version Golgari Rock for a tenth of the normal price. 

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Budget Modern Golgari Rock by Emmmzyne

'Budget Modern Golgari Rock' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Emmmzyne

Event:

Rank:

Freeform

Market Price: $88.96

Cards

Unearth

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191138_200w.jpg

Return target creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-horizons/unearth

Blooming Marsh

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $2.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122642_200w.jpg

Blooming Marsh enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or fewer other lands.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaladesh/blooming-marsh

Damping Sphere

Market Price: $1.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162250_200w.jpg

If a land is tapped for two or more mana, it produces {C} instead of any other type and amount.
Each spell a player casts costs {1} more to cast for each other spell that player has cast this turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/dominaria/damping-sphere

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126346_200w.jpg

Menace
Whenever Glint-Sleeve Siphoner enters the battlefield or attacks, you get {E} (an energy counter).
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may pay {E}{E}. If you do, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/aether-revolt/glint-sleeve-siphoner

Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199388_200w.jpg

Castle Locthwain enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp.
{T}: Add {B}.
{1}{B}{B}, {T}: Draw a card, then you lose life equal to the number of cards in your hand.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/throne-of-eldraine/castle-locthwain

Rain of Tears

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.52

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15267_200w.jpg

Destroy target land.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/10th-edition/rain-of-tears

Inquisition of Kozilek

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.53

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128476_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it with converted mana cost 3 or less. That player discards that card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-masters-2017/inquisition-of-kozilek

Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222820_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/swamp

Cast Down

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226354_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonlegendary creature.

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Fatal Push

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126331_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature if it has converted mana cost 2 or less.
Revolt — Destroy that creature if it has converted mana cost 4 or less instead if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

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Hissing Quagmire

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/110815_200w.jpg

Hissing Quagmire enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}.
{1}{B}{G}: Hissing Quagmire becomes a 2/2 black and green Elemental creature with deathtouch until end of turn. It's still a land.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/oath-of-the-gatewatch/hissing-quagmire

Scavenging Ooze

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215695_200w.jpg

{G}: Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, put a +1/+1 counter on Scavenging Ooze and you gain 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2021/scavenging-ooze

Eternal Witness

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227335_200w.jpg

When Eternal Witness enters the battlefield, you may return target card from your graveyard to your hand.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-legends/eternal-witness

Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227269_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187211_200w.jpg

At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, if that player has one or fewer cards in hand, Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage deals 2 damage to them.
−1: Target player discards a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/war-of-the-spark/davriel-rogue-shadowmage

Collector Ouphe

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $3.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191057_200w.jpg

Activated abilities of artifacts can't be activated.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-horizons/collector-ouphe

Golgari Charm

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180903_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn.
• Destroy target enchantment.
• Regenerate each creature you control.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ultimate-masters/golgari-charm

Nihil Spellbomb

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161909_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Nihil Spellbomb: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.
When Nihil Spellbomb is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/masters-25/nihil-spellbomb

Agonizing Remorse

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.30

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/207044_200w.jpg

Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it or a card from their graveyard. Exile that card. You lose 1 life.

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Woodland Cemetery

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $3.55

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162123_200w.jpg

Woodland Cemetery enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp or a Forest.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}.

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Maelstrom Pulse

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $1.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219026_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonland permanent and all other permanents with the same name as that permanent.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/double-masters/maelstrom-pulse

Ashiok, Dream Render

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.55

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188627_200w.jpg

Spells and abilities your opponents control can't cause their controller to search their library.
−1: Target player mills four cards. Then exile each opponent's graveyard.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/war-of-the-spark/ashiok-dream-render

Treetop Village

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162880_200w.jpg

Treetop Village enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {G}.
{1}{G}: Treetop Village becomes a 3/3 green Ape creature with trample until end of turn. It's still a land. (It can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/duel-decks-elves-vs-inventors/treetop-village

Thrun, the Last Troll

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $3.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/39052_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Hexproof (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.)
{1}{G}: Regenerate Thrun, the Last Troll.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/mirrodin-besieged/thrun-the-last-troll

Grafdigger's Cage

Market Price: $1.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192909_200w.jpg

Creature cards in graveyards and libraries can't enter the battlefield.
Players can't cast spells from graveyards or libraries.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2020/grafdiggers-cage

Tireless Tracker

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $5.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/115943_200w.jpg

Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, investigate. (Create a colorless Clue artifact token with "{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.")
Whenever you sacrifice a Clue, put a +1/+1 counter on Tireless Tracker.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/shadows-over-innistrad/tireless-tracker

Field of Ruin

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206646_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Field of Ruin: Destroy target nonbasic land an opponent controls. Each player searches their library for a basic land card, puts it onto the battlefield, then shuffles their library.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/theros-beyond-death/field-of-ruin

Putrid Leech

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79988_200w.jpg

Pay 2 life: Putrid Leech gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Activate this ability only once each turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/duel-decks-jace-vs-vraska/putrid-leech

Vraska, Golgari Queen

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $1.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176436_200w.jpg

+2: You may sacrifice another permanent. If you do, you gain 1 life and draw a card.
−3: Destroy target nonland permanent with converted mana cost 3 or less.
−9: You get an emblem with "Whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game."

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/guilds-of-ravnica/vraska-golgari-queen

Eliminate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.41

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215516_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or planeswalker with converted mana cost 3 or less.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2021/eliminate

Nissa, Vital Force

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $5.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122700_200w.jpg

+1: Untap target land you control. Until your next turn, it becomes a 5/5 Elemental creature with haste. It's still a land.
−3: Return target permanent card from your graveyard to your hand.
−6: You get an emblem with "Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may draw a card."

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaladesh/nissa-vital-force

Plague Engineer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.54

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190985_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
As Plague Engineer enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
Creatures of the chosen type your opponents control get -1/-1.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-horizons/plague-engineer

Since Tarmogoyf is absurdly expensive (despite falling to its lowest price in years), there are a few options to use as a placeholder. 

Skinshifter can work, but often feels like a three-mana creature due to its activated ability. While versatile, you have to sink mana to get value from it, which can get in the way of playing Golgari Rock's excellent disruption package. Skinshifter is better in aggressive green-based strategies with Strangleroot Geist than in a midrange shell. 

Tasigur, the Golden Fang is another option. However if you play a full four copies, they tends to get stuck in your hand. You can only have one Tasigur out at a time due to the Legendary mechanic, and if you delve out the first one, you may not have enough cards in your graveyard to delve out another. Still, Tasigur's ability offers additional value, and running one or two copies within the build can work, especially if you want stats that can compete with Tarmogoyf.

Putrid Leech is likely the closest imitation of Tarmogoyf we will see in a budget environment. As I said, you have to make compromises to build this strategy on a budget. I've included Putrid Leech in my list because it can attack as a 4/4 on turn three, replicating stats similar to Tarmogoyf. Trading 2 life to grow Putrid Leech is often a non-issue, since if you're going aggressive, you don't care much about your own life total. You can take advantage of Putrid Leech's ability to create favorable attacks or blocks against your opponent. Overall, it's a highly versatile card that offers the inevitability that this strategy requires.

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner is a budget alternative to Dark Confidant. A steady stream of card draw enables the attrition that Golgari Rock is known for.

While Pain Seer is a valid option, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner is better at attacking thanks to menace. Getting to two energy is easy to achieve if you run multiple copies. 

Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage is a fine placeholder for Liliana of the Veil. Featured in Modern 8-Rack strategies, Davriel complements the disruption theme, though it struggles to remove tricky threats compared to the powerful planeswalker. However, with the introduction of Core 2021, there may be a better choice.

If you want something closer to the real thing, Liliana, Waker of the Dead is a fantastic alternative. While the ultimate is far from game-ending, you can control the board with its plus and minus abilities, which feel similar to Liliana of the Veil herself. Like her predecessor, I expect to Liliana, Waker of the Dead to not feature much in Standard but have a more substantial impact on Modern and Pioneer. I would recommend holding off on buying Waker of the Dead for a little while, as this is a Mythic in a freshly released set, but I don't expect the price to be too high once it's in circulation. In the meantime, Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage does the job. 

Semi-Optimal Golgari Rock 

I would begin with the cheaper upgrades and not focus on the staple Golgari Rock cards I mentioned in the introduction. You have to utilize your budget optimally, and it's far more impactful to pick up multiple, cheaper cards than one costly card.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Semi-Optimal Modern Golgari Rock by Emmmzyne

'Semi-Optimal Modern Golgari Rock' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Emmmzyne

Event:

Rank:

Freeform

Market Price: $166.29

Cards

Treetop Village

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162880_200w.jpg

Treetop Village enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {G}.
{1}{G}: Treetop Village becomes a 3/3 green Ape creature with trample until end of turn. It's still a land. (It can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/duel-decks-elves-vs-inventors/treetop-village

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126346_200w.jpg

Menace
Whenever Glint-Sleeve Siphoner enters the battlefield or attacks, you get {E} (an energy counter).
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may pay {E}{E}. If you do, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/aether-revolt/glint-sleeve-siphoner

Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222820_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/swamp

Hissing Quagmire

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/110815_200w.jpg

Hissing Quagmire enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}.
{1}{B}{G}: Hissing Quagmire becomes a 2/2 black and green Elemental creature with deathtouch until end of turn. It's still a land.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/oath-of-the-gatewatch/hissing-quagmire

Ashiok, Dream Render

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.55

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188627_200w.jpg

Spells and abilities your opponents control can't cause their controller to search their library.
−1: Target player mills four cards. Then exile each opponent's graveyard.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/war-of-the-spark/ashiok-dream-render

Nihil Spellbomb

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161909_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Nihil Spellbomb: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.
When Nihil Spellbomb is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, draw a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/masters-25/nihil-spellbomb

Plague Engineer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.54

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190985_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
As Plague Engineer enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
Creatures of the chosen type your opponents control get -1/-1.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-horizons/plague-engineer

Scavenging Ooze

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215695_200w.jpg

{G}: Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, put a +1/+1 counter on Scavenging Ooze and you gain 1 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/core-set-2021/scavenging-ooze

Golgari Charm

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180903_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn.
• Destroy target enchantment.
• Regenerate each creature you control.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/ultimate-masters/golgari-charm

Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227269_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/commander-legends/forest

Collective Brutality

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/120116_200w.jpg

Escalate—Discard a card. (Pay this cost for each mode chosen beyond the first.)
Choose one or more —
• Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose an instant or sorcery card from it. That player discards that card.
• Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
• Target opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/eldritch-moon/collective-brutality

Field of Ruin

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206646_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Field of Ruin: Destroy target nonbasic land an opponent controls. Each player searches their library for a basic land card, puts it onto the battlefield, then shuffles their library.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/theros-beyond-death/field-of-ruin

Thoughtseize

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $11.89

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218934_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card. You lose 2 life.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/double-masters/thoughtseize

Overgrown Tomb

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $7.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175196_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {G}.)
As Overgrown Tomb enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/guilds-of-ravnica/overgrown-tomb

Tireless Tracker

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $5.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/115943_200w.jpg

Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, investigate. (Create a colorless Clue artifact token with "{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.")
Whenever you sacrifice a Clue, put a +1/+1 counter on Tireless Tracker.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/shadows-over-innistrad/tireless-tracker

Fatal Push

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126331_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature if it has converted mana cost 2 or less.
Revolt — Destroy that creature if it has converted mana cost 4 or less instead if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/aether-revolt/fatal-push

Thrun, the Last Troll

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $3.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/39052_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Hexproof (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.)
{1}{G}: Regenerate Thrun, the Last Troll.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/mirrodin-besieged/thrun-the-last-troll

Putrid Leech

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79988_200w.jpg

Pay 2 life: Putrid Leech gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Activate this ability only once each turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/duel-decks-jace-vs-vraska/putrid-leech

Vraska, Golgari Queen

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $1.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176436_200w.jpg

+2: You may sacrifice another permanent. If you do, you gain 1 life and draw a card.
−3: Destroy target nonland permanent with converted mana cost 3 or less.
−9: You get an emblem with "Whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game."

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/guilds-of-ravnica/vraska-golgari-queen

Abrupt Decay

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $5.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128562_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Destroy target nonland permanent with converted mana cost 3 or less.

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Fulminator Mage

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $1.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218951_200w.jpg

Sacrifice Fulminator Mage: Destroy target nonbasic land.

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Collector Ouphe

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $3.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191057_200w.jpg

Activated abilities of artifacts can't be activated.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-horizons/collector-ouphe

Hexdrinker

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $6.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191589_200w.jpg

Level up {1} ({1}: Put a level counter on this. Level up only as a sorcery.)
LEVEL 3-7
4/4
Protection from instants
LEVEL 8+
6/6
Protection from everything

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/modern-horizons/hexdrinker

Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199388_200w.jpg

Castle Locthwain enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp.
{T}: Add {B}.
{1}{B}{B}, {T}: Draw a card, then you lose life equal to the number of cards in your hand.

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Inquisition of Kozilek

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.53

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128476_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it with converted mana cost 3 or less. That player discards that card.

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Damping Sphere

Market Price: $1.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162250_200w.jpg

If a land is tapped for two or more mana, it produces {C} instead of any other type and amount.
Each spell a player casts costs {1} more to cast for each other spell that player has cast this turn.

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Maelstrom Pulse

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $1.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219026_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonland permanent and all other permanents with the same name as that permanent.

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Unearth

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191138_200w.jpg

Return target creature card with converted mana cost 3 or less from your graveyard to the battlefield.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Eternal Witness

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227335_200w.jpg

When Eternal Witness enters the battlefield, you may return target card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Blooming Marsh

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $2.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122642_200w.jpg

Blooming Marsh enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or fewer other lands.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}.

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Nissa, Vital Force

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $5.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122700_200w.jpg

+1: Untap target land you control. Until your next turn, it becomes a 5/5 Elemental creature with haste. It's still a land.
−3: Return target permanent card from your graveyard to your hand.
−6: You get an emblem with "Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may draw a card."

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Grafdigger's Cage

Market Price: $1.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192909_200w.jpg

Creature cards in graveyards and libraries can't enter the battlefield.
Players can't cast spells from graveyards or libraries.

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Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187211_200w.jpg

At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, if that player has one or fewer cards in hand, Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage deals 2 damage to them.
−1: Target player discards a card.

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As you can see, I've made quite a few upgrades to the original list.

Mainboard

Sideboard

The upgrades are straightforward enough, and offer better answers to the threats of Modern. Abrupt Decay and Collective Brutality offer versatility in dealing with threats. Thoughtseize is the premier discard spell and is what makes Golgari Rock incredibly disruptive. Alternatively, you can opt for Duress, Despise, or even Specter's Shriek until you can acquire Thoughtseize if you want that one-drop disruption. I'm a big fan of Agonizing Remorse, and it's as close to Thoughtseize as we are going to get for under a dollar. The downside is it can be awkward to cast on turn two, especially if you want to deploy a threat.

At times, Golgari Rock can stumble on using all its mana, which is where Hexdrinker comes in. Hexdrinker can become out of hand quickly, and requires an answer immediately. You never want to run four Hexdrinker given the mana demands, but a two-of is ideal.

Rounding out the upgrades is Fulminator Mage for Rain of Tears to shore up the matchup against Tron, Scapeshift and Amulet Titan. Overgrown Tomb is a priority to improve mana consistency in the early turns, given you want access to both green and black by turn two.

After that, I would begin acquiring Assassin's Trophy, Twilight Mire and Nurturing Peatland before looking at the high-end cards.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Semi-Optimal Modern Golgari Rock (Part 2) by Emmmzyne

'Semi-Optimal Modern Golgari Rock (Part 2)' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Emmmzyne

Event:

Rank:

Modern

Market Price: $201.51

Cards

Collective Brutality

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/120116_200w.jpg

Escalate—Discard a card. (Pay this cost for each mode chosen beyond the first.)
Choose one or more —
• Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose an instant or sorcery card from it. That player discards that card.
• Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
• Target opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

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Thoughtseize

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $11.89

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218934_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card. You lose 2 life.

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Castle Locthwain

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.61

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/199388_200w.jpg

Castle Locthwain enters the battlefield tapped unless you control a Swamp.
{T}: Add {B}.
{1}{B}{B}, {T}: Draw a card, then you lose life equal to the number of cards in your hand.

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Plague Engineer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.54

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190985_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
As Plague Engineer enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
Creatures of the chosen type your opponents control get -1/-1.

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Abrupt Decay

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $5.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128562_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Destroy target nonland permanent with converted mana cost 3 or less.

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Assassin's Trophy

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $10.57

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175575_200w.jpg

Destroy target permanent an opponent controls. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle their library.

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Ashiok, Dream Render

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.55

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/188627_200w.jpg

Spells and abilities your opponents control can't cause their controller to search their library.
−1: Target player mills four cards. Then exile each opponent's graveyard.

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Thrun, the Last Troll

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $3.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/39052_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Hexproof (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.)
{1}{G}: Regenerate Thrun, the Last Troll.

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Twilight Mire

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $3.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219103_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{B/G}, {T}: Add {B}{B}, {B}{G}, or {G}{G}.

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Nihil Spellbomb

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161909_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Nihil Spellbomb: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.
When Nihil Spellbomb is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, draw a card.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/222820_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/zendikar-rising/swamp

Inquisition of Kozilek

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.53

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/128476_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it with converted mana cost 3 or less. That player discards that card.

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Vraska, Golgari Queen

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $1.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/176436_200w.jpg

+2: You may sacrifice another permanent. If you do, you gain 1 life and draw a card.
−3: Destroy target nonland permanent with converted mana cost 3 or less.
−9: You get an emblem with "Whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, that player loses the game."

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Grafdigger's Cage

Market Price: $1.62

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192909_200w.jpg

Creature cards in graveyards and libraries can't enter the battlefield.
Players can't cast spells from graveyards or libraries.

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Fatal Push

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126331_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature if it has converted mana cost 2 or less.
Revolt — Destroy that creature if it has converted mana cost 4 or less instead if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

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Collector Ouphe

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $3.47

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191057_200w.jpg

Activated abilities of artifacts can't be activated.

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Hissing Quagmire

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.80

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/110815_200w.jpg

Hissing Quagmire enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}.
{1}{B}{G}: Hissing Quagmire becomes a 2/2 black and green Elemental creature with deathtouch until end of turn. It's still a land.

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Hexdrinker

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $6.95

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/191589_200w.jpg

Level up {1} ({1}: Put a level counter on this. Level up only as a sorcery.)
LEVEL 3-7
4/4
Protection from instants
LEVEL 8+
6/6
Protection from everything

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Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/126346_200w.jpg

Menace
Whenever Glint-Sleeve Siphoner enters the battlefield or attacks, you get {E} (an energy counter).
At the beginning of your upkeep, you may pay {E}{E}. If you do, you draw a card and you lose 1 life.

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Maelstrom Pulse

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $1.22

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/219026_200w.jpg

Destroy target nonland permanent and all other permanents with the same name as that permanent.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/double-masters/maelstrom-pulse

Fulminator Mage

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $1.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/218951_200w.jpg

Sacrifice Fulminator Mage: Destroy target nonbasic land.

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Blooming Marsh

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $2.78

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122642_200w.jpg

Blooming Marsh enters the battlefield tapped unless you control two or fewer other lands.
{T}: Add {B} or {G}.

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Forest

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.20

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227269_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G}.)

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Tireless Tracker

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $5.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/115943_200w.jpg

Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, investigate. (Create a colorless Clue artifact token with "{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.")
Whenever you sacrifice a Clue, put a +1/+1 counter on Tireless Tracker.

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Field of Ruin

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/206646_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {C}.
{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Field of Ruin: Destroy target nonbasic land an opponent controls. Each player searches their library for a basic land card, puts it onto the battlefield, then shuffles their library.

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Treetop Village

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162880_200w.jpg

Treetop Village enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {G}.
{1}{G}: Treetop Village becomes a 3/3 green Ape creature with trample until end of turn. It's still a land. (It can deal excess combat damage to the player or planeswalker it's attacking.)

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Scavenging Ooze

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $1.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215695_200w.jpg

{G}: Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, put a +1/+1 counter on Scavenging Ooze and you gain 1 life.

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Eternal Witness

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227335_200w.jpg

When Eternal Witness enters the battlefield, you may return target card from your graveyard to your hand.

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Nurturing Peatland

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $6.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/190787_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life: Add {B} or {G}.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Nurturing Peatland: Draw a card.

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Golgari Charm

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.37

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/180903_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• All creatures get -1/-1 until end of turn.
• Destroy target enchantment.
• Regenerate each creature you control.

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Overgrown Tomb

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $7.35

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/175196_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {G}.)
As Overgrown Tomb enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Putrid Leech

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79988_200w.jpg

Pay 2 life: Putrid Leech gets +2/+2 until end of turn. Activate this ability only once each turn.

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Nissa, Vital Force

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $5.66

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/122700_200w.jpg

+1: Untap target land you control. Until your next turn, it becomes a 5/5 Elemental creature with haste. It's still a land.
−3: Return target permanent card from your graveyard to your hand.
−6: You get an emblem with "Whenever a land enters the battlefield under your control, you may draw a card."

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/kaladesh/nissa-vital-force

Damping Sphere

Market Price: $1.06

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/162250_200w.jpg

If a land is tapped for two or more mana, it produces {C} instead of any other type and amount.
Each spell a player casts costs {1} more to cast for each other spell that player has cast this turn.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/dominaria/damping-sphere

Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.29

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/187211_200w.jpg

At the beginning of each opponent's upkeep, if that player has one or fewer cards in hand, Davriel, Rogue Shadowmage deals 2 damage to them.
−1: Target player discards a card.

Buy This Card! https://shop.tcgplayer.com/magic/war-of-the-spark/davriel-rogue-shadowmage

Mainboard

Once you're ready to invest in the high-end cards, I would focus on Tarmogoyf and Liliana of the Veil first. You might think you need to pick up Verdant Catacombs next to improve your mana consistency. However, in a strategy such as Golgari Rock, you'll get more from improving your threats than from optimizing your mana. In Modern, players will often tell you to acquire fetch lands as soon as possible, and while I'm usually one of those players, I think Golgari Rock is the exception to the rule. Verdant Catacombs is unreasonably expensive right now, and likely to be reprinted in Commander Legends, which will lower the price. The addition of Nurturing Peatland and Twilight Mire will significantly offset any fixing issues you could encounter. 

Next week, I'll be looking at how to upgrade Golgari Rock into Jund with a viable upgrade path. Strategies such as Golgari Rock and Jund offer incredible flexibility due to their high card quality, and while these cards are often expensive, it's possible to make the same strategy work on a budget. Greatness does not always have to come at any cost.