Filling The Romeo Void: Budget Decks For Multiplayer!

I’ve been playing a lot of multiplayer Magic lately…with college students. You know what that means if you’re a working stiff like me? You get to see supposedly-grown “men” cry like four-year-olds when you pull out your $300, forty-eight rare Sneak Attack deck.

“That’s no fair!” they cry dejectedly. “You can afford all those good cards, while all of us combined only own a tenth what you have!” So I then showed them that I can win without rare-filled decks… And so can you!

I’ve been playing a lot of multiplayer Magic lately…with college students. You know what that means if you’re a working stiff like me? You get to see supposedly grown “men” cry like four-year-olds when you pull out your $300, forty-eight rare Sneak Attack deck.

“That’s no fair!” they cry dejectedly. “You can afford all those good cards, while all of us combined only own a tenth what you have!”

So I tell them: “You know what? I’d give all of this up if I could be in your shoes and start dating some of those babes I’ve seen at your school…which all of you should be doing instead of playing here today!” That actually shuts ’em up pretty effectively – but don’t worry, guys. Those babes are still out there, and those guys are still buying cards from this here site here – double plus plus for all of us!

And they are still crying like man-children.

After thinking about what they said for a while, though, I took it as a challenge to show them that I can win without using rare-filled decks. I went through my extra card boxes and pulled out stuff I either haven’t used for ages or hadn’t thought about using previously, and before I got halfway through my blue and artifact card collection I had assembled two pretty mean multiplayer decks. I took them down to the store and proceeded to continue caving faces – and their tune promptly changed to:

“Waaaahhh…*sniffle sniff*…you’re no fair! You have time to think about this stuff and build good decks, and we have to take tests and go to class!”

And I said, “Well, I’ve got time to entertain those babes. I’ll give you these decks if you can set me up.”

I’m still waiting…

The upshot of all this tinkering is that after maxing out my credit cards downloading porn, I used my extra time designing quite a number of really cheap, effective low-and norare multiplayer decks that I’ll start posting here for you guys. All I’ll ask for in return is that if I ever play against you, that you don’t cry like a four-year-old, bucktoothed, freckle-faced redheaded stepchild when I chew you up like Mike Tyson feasting on Foreman-grilled Tyson chicken ears (which actually takes a lot of imagination…chickens not having external ears and all).

(Heh. Chicken. Have I got a story…and it’s both sick and funny as hell! Let’s just say that Dave Price was right…*)

I see myself filling a “Romeo Void” in the cheap-ass multiplayer world for the next several months, and you should have much more than bad music and porn-star moustaches to show for it before I’m finished. In fact, if I truly have my way with you, you’ll soon be munching on tofu burgers and burning all your signed Buford Pusser posters while playing my decks and giving me first dibs on all your babes. After all, winning all your games goes a long ways toward satisfying your most basic biological urges.

You’ll just have to trust me on this…

Enough of the mindless rambling; it’s time to present the deck lists. These are built with (fairly) easy-to-get commons and uncommons, and I’ll explain how to play each deck. The first one has the most recent cards, and I call it:

Screaming for Vengeance

4 Spawning Pit

4 Genesis Chamber

4 Shrieking Drake

4 Thunderstaff

1 Tinker

1 Fabricate

4 Quicksilver Behemoth

4 Lumengrid Sentinel

4 Man-o’-War

4 Arcbound Crusher

2 Capsize

4 Seat of the Synod

4 Darksteel Citadel

16 Islands

This deck is all about Genesis Chamber. What’s not to like about getting free creatures each time you cast a non-token creature? Okay, the fact that your opponent gets the same benefit sucks – but what if I told you that this could be overcome quite easily, and that you should always have far more tokens to play with than your opponents?

When playing this deck, the first thing you should concentrate on is getting a Genesis Chamber into play, as it is the centerpiece for success. Most of the other cards in the deck are quite weak without the Chamber. I’ve added Tinker and Fabricate to help in finding the Chamber (if you don’t have Tinker, use another Fabricate instead). In fact it might be worth it to find room for more Fabricates, as it is that critical. This is also why I kept the deck at sixty cards, as I usually like to run more in my multiplayer decks. I’ll give you a detailed explanation of the nuts-and-bolts and how to play the deck.

The obvious token-generating combo should be screaming at you (literally): Genesis Chamber and Shrieking Drake. For each blue mana you use, you can create a Myr token by casting the Drake – which you can then return to your hand to repeat as needed. The Drake is instrumental in really breaking the deck, but the Quicksilver Behemoths and Man-o’-Wars can fill in as token creators if needed. If you have several artifacts in play, the Behemoth can be cast cheaply after each attack or block (if it survives combat), while the Man-o’-War can pick itself up to be recast for only three mana, and it also serves as emergency creature control.

(If you don’t have Man-o’-Wars, you can use Echo Tracers – but you need six mana to cast and bounce them the same turn. One benefit of the Tracer over Man-o’-War is that you can block and return him to your hand before damage.)

The Myr tokens themselves interact positively with the rest of the cards in the deck. Not only do they serve the necessary function of chump blocking; they serve as beat sticks, Icy Manipulators, and Berserks (when they’re pumping the Crusher).

I discovered the hard way that you often need to protect yourself from your own Genesis Chamber. To shore up that loose end, I added both the Thunderstaff and Lumengrid Sentinels to fend off opposing Myr tokens. The Sentinels don’t do much on their own, but each time a Myr token comes into play you can use the Sentinel’s ability to tap an opposing permanent every time you cast an artifact or create a Myr token. You can open holes in their blocking lines for your creatures to swarm through! Just as importantly, you can use the Sentinel’s ability to tap your own Genesis Chamber before passing your turn – so that your opponent can’t create Myr tokens!

If you don’t like the Sentinels, you can substitute Icy Manipulators instead to tap the Chamber at end of turn, and they double as creature control as well. I like the Sentinels because once I get going I can reliably tap several permanents each turn with the multiple Myr tokens coming into play.

The Thunderstaff serves a two-fold purpose: it can pump your creatures while attacking, or completely neutralize opposing weenie armies! A bunch of 1/1 dorks might not scare many people, but a swarm of 2/1s will make them take notice, I promise you!

The real meat of the deck lies in the Arcbound Crushers, however. For every artifact that comes into play, you get to add a +1/+1 counter to it – whether it’s your artifact or your opponents! I often get this guy up to 10/10+ within a couple of turns and end the game shortly thereafter due to his trampling ability. He usually doesn’t last too long, however. I’ve noticed he has a way of soaking up Shatters and Dark Banishings

The next deck uses so many bad cards that it leaves a bad taste in your opponent’s mouth when it beats them!

Onion Breath

2 Deep Spawn

4 Apprentice Wizard

4 Scornful Egotist

4 Shoreline Ranger

4 Illusionary Forces

4 Peregrine Drake

4 Sunken City

4 Rush of Knowledge

2 Puppet Master

4 Homarid Spawning Bed

4 Lonely Sandbar

20 Island

This deck is built around a long-forgotten “rare” (or, more accurately, “Uncommon 1”) from Fallen Empires: Homarid Spawning Bed. This card allows you to sacrifice a blue creature to produce a number of 1/1 Camarid tokens equal to the creature’s casting cost. Looking through my collection, I found a number of decent sacrificial candidates – the best being the worst 1/1 creature ever printed, Scornful Egotist! Saccing his worthless hide will give you eight 1/1 tokens – not a bad trade for all of seven mana. Fear the Camarids!

The other creatures in the deck are pretty awful, too, but two of them pay for themselves: Apprentice Wizard and Peregrine Drake. The Wizard not only ramps up your mana, but can sac himself in a pinch for three tokens and give you mana in the process. The Drake untaps five lands when he comes into play, allowing you to sacrifice him immediately to a Spawning Bed.

The other creatures in the deck play a supporting role, with the Shoreline Raiders helping early with mana development and later giving you a hefty body for sacrificing to the Bed. The Illusionary Forces are there for early beats and defense, and when their upkeep becomes a liability you can trade them in for tokens. The Deep Spawns give you a couple beefy tramplers that also are good Camarid makers.

The supporting spells include Sunken Cities, which can make your Camarid forces pretty scary; Puppet Masters, which allows you to keep sacrificing the same creature over and over again once you have enough mana; and Rush of Knowledge, which combos well with the Egotists to keep your hands full.

The best thing about this deck, though, is that if you can’t find a Spawning Bed you can just shift into beatdown mode with your air force! I’ve won several games with multiple Sunken Cities and several fliers out, and even a couple with the Deep Spawns. This is truly a fun deck to play!

There are a lot of possibilities for this deck, though – so experiment! One variant I’m working with that is pretty cool is a deck splashing black for reanimation, since I’ve found I wind up with a pretty full graveyard.

If you want to add a bit of money to the above decks, probably the best possible card you can add would be Day of the Dragons. What’s not to like about sacrificing a bunch of dorky 1/1 Myr or Camarid tokens and beating down with sixteen 5/5 dragons?!

Bonus section: I’ve got another cheap Blue/Artifact deck that does pretty well in multiplayer games, but it’s pretty cheesy. It utilizes Isochron Scepter and all the usual one- and two- mana blue instants to help control the board and draw cards. I use Shoreline Raiders, Air Elementals, and Faerie Conclaves for win conditions. The deck is pretty easy to play, but be prepared to hear a lot of moaning when you get a Counterspell on your Scepter!

Blue By You

4 Isochron Scepter

4 Boomerang

4 Unsummon

4 Brainstorm

4 Counterspell

4 Mana Leak

4 Accumulated Knowledge

4 Merchant Scroll

4 Shoreline Ranger

4 Air Elemental

2 Ice Floe

4 Faerie Conclave

16 Island

That’s it for now, but keep checking back as I’ll occasionally post some more cheap-but-effective multiplayer decks. Until then, enjoy beating down with multiple 5/5 dragons!

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy dating your women.

Tony Costa

[email protected]