Budget Ruses: Going 4-0 With inspire

When people think about playing Competitive Standard, they normally expect that they’ll be paying out a couple hundred dollars, or at the very least making quite a few trades. But what if I told you that it was possible to be competitive for around $15? Would you believe me? Probably not, but a 4-0 finish at my local LGS says otherwise.

So I knew I’d do pretty well with this deck but I was not expecting the results I got out of the deck to be so powerful, ending the night with a total game record of 8-2. The deck might start off slow some games, drawing that King Macar, the Gold-Cursed or Daring Thief in your opening hand can be pretty key, but overall the deck played solidly in all stages of the game: early, mid, and late.



  • Round One: vs. BW Humans

The main concept of the deck I played against Round One was a straightforward aggressive strategy with some decent utility. Aggressive creatures such as Soldier of the Pantheon and Xathrid Necromancer hit the table early. And while these creatures may be a problem for some other decks, I had no issue stalling my opponent out with a Vortex Elemental, keeping my opponent from swinging all out to save his valuable creatures.

King Macar became an all-star game one, due to my opponent running main-board Doom Blade, and soon enough, Daring Theif hit the board, allowing me to stack triggers to exchange control of creatures, and leaving my opponent empty handed by exiling the creature they had just received in the exchange.

After sideboard, the game went similarly, and while the aggressive Humans build was threatening, my deck simply controlled the board state and led me to my first win. A truly Inspiring first round.


  • Round Two: vs. UB Heroic

The second round, I ended up fighting another silly deck I made for a friend (she went 2-1-1). It runs Black/Blue Heroic cards like Hidden Strings to super trigger Agent of Fates and control the board. Her deck focuses more around countering control spells with things like Dispel in order to better handle kill spells that would otherwise deal with Agent of Fates. I more then once stole the aforementioned Agents and utilized them for my own benefit. The entire round ended up being an intense war of attrition between King Macar and Agent of Fates, seeing who could make better use of their removal to dominate the game.

  • Round Three: vs. Mono-Black Devotion

Mono-Black was by far the hardest matchup I faced that night. The Meta-Mono-Black deck of infinite removal and One-Hit Wonder Win Cons was certainly a tough fight. Pack Rats, if left alone, simply win games, so they simply must be handled. Game one I managed the cumulative Rat Swarm decently, keeping my opponent off of cards using Siren of the Silent Song. He couldn’t discard to Pack Rat if he didn’t have the cards. He held off on playing most of his creatures until he knew they could survive, but this allowed me to get much too far ahead.

My opponent made his sideboard changes, bringing in Dark Betrayals to deal with Macar, and I handily lost game two to a turn two Pack Rat.

Game three, I ended up stealing his Pack Rat with Daring Thief, and overwhelmed him with his own army, using Far//Away to deal with the tokens on his side of the board.

  • Round Four: BW Devotion

This was another Black/White build, more so focused on the Black, that played around Gray Merchant in an attempt to drain me out of the game. Daring Thief was the power in this matchup, allowing me to exchange control of things like Springleaf Drum for his Whip of Erebos. Both games went as expected, stealing his permanents with Daring Thief and exiling what I gave him in return with King Macar.

  • After the fact

I went into FNM that night skeptical to say the least. Going into a tournament, even an FNM, with a budget deck can be a little unnerving, but it’s what I do, so I’m used to the feeling. Overall, the deck performed phenomenally. Proving to a number of people that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for a competitive build. Budget rares like King Macar, the Gold-Cursed and Daring Thief more than proved their mettle in the mainboard, and sideboard cards like Notion Theif and Perplexing Chimera proved that you should never overlook those unassuming rares, while Crypsis gave much needed protection and enabled Inspired.


As always, thank you for reading. Look forward to more content in the coming weeks. Make sure to leave you comments, feedback, and ideas in the comment section below.


Austin Sutherland

Author: Austin Sutherland

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