Budget/Unpowered options in 2018

In our group chat, several Goyf teammates are trying to figure out unpowered decks they could play at Vintage Champs. The immediate options we outlined were:

  • Moon Stompy
  • Jacodrazi
  • Hatebears
  • UR Delver
  • Merfolk

But I thought I'd throw it out here to TMD. What unpowered/budget decks do you guys think are currently viable? (If you have lists, post them!)

dredge is unpowered, but not what you have in mind per budget.

unpowered standstill should be possible.

Dredge is the best option, if you are willing to spring for Bazaars. It's not even close.

After that, it's Jacodrazi. That deck is doing something legitimately busted, and doesn't want power. It's just better without.

0 Power Landstill works, but it's worse than having Acall and Time Walk in your deck. The Moxen are less necessary, but still good.

Hatebears is probably your next best bet, but again--it benefits a lot from moxes and pooping out Thalia on turn 1.

I think there are three overlapping categories these could go into:

Unpowered - What it says on the tin, though some people consider Dredge to be powered
Budget - Even keeping in mind that Vintage has a much higher cost than other formats, some "budget" decks certainly aren't that.
Easy to build with an existing Legacy collection - EG, Jacodrazi is real cheap when you've already got the lands and resistors from a Legacy stompy deck. A lot of dudesweats decks can fall here.

last edited by thecravenone

I played around with a multi-color humans deck that was unpowered and I had OK results. It has some hard match ups against combo but stable against shops and blue decks. You have to run 8 spirit guides or play chrome mox and neither option is good

Cheers guys. I should have clarified, but I'm essentially looking for decks someone with a reasonable Legacy collection could play, so Dredge is out. If you have access to Bazaar that's clearly the best deck, but a playset is like $3-4K.

@moorebrother1 Post a list!

Maybe Skullclamp elves? That should be fine against fair decks. Mono-Blood Moon sounds interesting, especially with Gorilla Shaman and Wheel of Fortune (since Ensnaring Bridge isn’t too important vs half the field).

You could build a reasonable Oath of Druids deck that wouldn't break the bank. Oath of Druids is under $2 and Forbidden Orchard is around $7. Most of the rest of the deck is pretty much legacy staples and you can customize the list to the cards you have access to.

Here's an example that assumes you have Force of Wills, duals, and fetches.

2 Flooded Strand
4 Forbidden Orchard
1 Forest
1 Island
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Polluted Delta
2 Scalding Tarn
1 Strip Mine
2 Tropical Island
2 Volcanic Island

1 Ancient Grudge
1 Arlinn Kord
1 Brainstorm
1 Chain of Vapor
1 Dack Fayden
1 Damping Sphere
1 Deep Analysis
1 Dig Through Time
1 Fire / Ice
2 Flusterstorm
4 Force of Will
1 Gitaxian Probe
1 Griselbrand
1 Gush
1 Hurkyl's Recall
2 Inferno Titan
1 Izzet Charm
1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
4 Mental Misstep
1 Merchant Scroll
1 Mindbreak Trap
1 Nissa, Steward of Elements
4 Oath of Druids
1 Ponder
4 Preordain
1 Pyroblast
1 Sylvan Library
1 Treasure Cruise

2 Ancient Grudge
1 Carnage Tyrant
1 Damping Sphere
1 Firespout
1 Hurkyl's Recall
1 Nature's Claim
1 Null Rod
1 Pyroblast
1 Relic of Progenitus
1 Sorceress Spyglass
1 Thrun, the Last Troll
3 Tormod's Crypt

Note: It might need more lands - I just compiled a list based on cards that see play in this kind of deck.

last edited by dataspot

I took it apart a little while ago but it was close to this

3 Null Rod
1 Thorn of Amethyst
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Elvish Spirit Guide
4 Simian Spirit Guide
2 Kitesail Freebooter
2 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
3 Thalia, Heretic Cathar
4 Containment Priest
4 Dark Confidant
4 Mayor of Avabruck
4 Phyrexian Revoker
4 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
1 Strip Mine
1 Ancient Ziggurat
3 Mana Confluence
4 Unclaimed Territory
4 Cavern of Souls
4 Wasteland

My questionable cards were Harsh Mentor and Scab-Clan Berserker are not good. I also played around with Shardless Agent and Chrome Mox, which was mixed at best.

last edited by moorebrother1

I would choose a deck where you could turn your otherwise disadvantage into an advantage:

  • If you loose moxen and lotus run main board Stony Silence to punish those who do (and that will mess with both Shops and various storm variants too)
  • Without fast mana you potentially loose the ability to play many spells in the same (and early) rounds. Punish other decks that thrive on doing that - I'd go with a Human based deck where you have access hatebears that tick that box. If you mix with Spirits you have access to Thalia, Spirit of the Labyrinth, Eidolon of Rhetoric, Eidolon of the Great Reveal, etc., etc.

Humans are still vulnerable to storm so I typically run Spirit Guides that can help get that bear on the board in your first round. They can double as a stick later in the game.

I think main board stony silence and 6+ spirit guides with hatebears is a workable strategy for budget constraints, however, be aware that when you don't have stony/null rod, walking ballista is very good against you. Have a plan for not losing to shops critters.

Hatebear unpowered is a 50/50 deck at best. I built one for my brother back 2016 and he played it at Eternal Weekend to a 5-4 record. Every game was a grind. Humans is aggro and you can push past the grind. Damping Sphere can help this deck and give you an edge.

I am curious if there is a Death and Taxes build for Vintage. I think losing Aether Vial hurts a little bit but you make up for it with more disruptive creatures.

If you go with Hatebears you need very early disruption and now you need removal. Dredge and Shops are just too aggressive and PO decks are very fast. The midrange decks have less outs but those are now about 20% - 30% of the meta.

There may also be a UR Delver deck that could be played. You only lose 4 cards (Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, Mox Sapphire, Mox Ruby) . You can play Simian Spirit Guide to accelerate if you want or just push into more hate with Pulverize and Spell Pierce.

@moorebrother1 said in Budget/Unpowered options in 2018:

There may also be a UR Delver deck that could be played. You only lose 4 cards (Ancestral Recall, Time Walk, Mox Sapphire, Mox Ruby) . You can play Simian Spirit Guide to accelerate if you want or just push into more hate with Pulverize and Spell Pierce.

I really think this is a strong route to go based off my experiences playing it at SCGCon; I was playing 4 Daze, which were fucking awful, and the deck still felt pretty solid. I agree that you want to ratchet up cards like Spell Pierce and artifact destruction. Also, I'm convinced 1-2 Price of Progress would be an absolute beating in this format.

A friend and I are brewing up some way to resolve a shared fate in a bad powerless deck. That way you get to play power, and your opponent gets junk

At ET NA champs budget decks can NOT have bazaar, the moxen, or black lotus. Maybe twister.
At least that's what it was last year if I remember correctly.

Just for clarification, I'm pasting the deck construction restrictions to be competing in the "budget" category.

Budget prizes are awarded to the highest placing decks without any of the following cards:
any "Power Nine", Bazaar of Baghdad, Mishra's Workshop or Library of Alexandria

The change from last year I can see is you can no longer run Library of Alexandria, but you can run Time Vault.

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