MTG Arena Budget Standard Decks for Beginners – September 2021

MTG Arena Budget Standard Decks - June 2021
Clever Lumimancer Art by Lie Setiawan

If you’re new to MTG Arena, building a cheap budget competitive deck can be challenging, especially if you’re looking to spend as little real-world gold as you can! Magic’s myriad different cards can be overwhelming, and Wildcards are a precious resource that you can’t always afford to waste on the wrong decks, no matter how enticing! Placing small bets on crafting and gradually opening cards until you find an expensive deck you’re sure you’ll love is the best way to go, at least while your resources are so limited.

Innistrad Standard post-rotation has been an absolute blast to play, but admittedly, it’s not the easiest on the Wildcards. It’s much better than previous Standard environments in my opinion, but for those who don’t have large collections, it could still be a struggle. Well fret not! I spent hours upon hours making a large amount of budget decks that can be easily made no matter your collection size and the most competitive version of the deck you can make as well!

In this guide, you’ll find our exclusive curated list of some fantastic budget Standard decks from various archetypes, with a brief explanation of the deck, an upgrade guide, and sample decklists for each one. Visit our Standard deck page if you’d like to see what some of the finished products look like. You can also go straight to the Budget deck section itself for the complete list, and for more ideas, be sure to visit our Standard Artisan section (a format where you are only allowed commons and uncommons). For our Standard 2022 guide that was released prior to the release of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and only uses the four sets, click here:

Historic is a format where your cards never rotate out, but has a much wider card pool and can be intimidating for players that wish to start out. Click here for our dedicated guide to Historic Budget decks!

If you need any help, you can always join the MTG Arena Zone Discord server, leave a question in the comments, or follow the site’s Twitter to catch up on any updates!

Budget Deck Aims

Here’s a set of parameters we build our budget Standard decks around, to ensure they’re at their most useful to you:

  • The base deck will aim to have as few rares as possible, but if one or two different cards are exceptionally important to the archetype and there’s no easy replacement, then you might see them. For each deck, we provide pathways or a link to upgrade into more competitive versions. Upgrades depend on your collection and Wildcard availability, so we’ll provide different options to tailor to your specific needs!
  • Each deck is geared towards best-of-one, and players can now have up to seven cards in their sideboard. This makes the new Learn mechanic and Lesson cards quite powerful – include them where you can! For best-of-three, do check out our budget sideboard guide at the end to help you build a sideboard.
  • Here are the sets in Standard right now, which all these cards come from:
    • Zendikar Rising
    • Kaldheim
    • Strixhaven: School of Mages
    • Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
    • Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

How do I Decide What to Craft?

Faceless Haven Art by Titus Lunter
Faceless Haven Art by Titus Lunter

This is a great question that doesn’t have a concrete answer, but I believe there’s an order you should upgrade your decks in. In totality, you should look to craft the most ubiquitous cards first and then keep going until you’re crafting highly specific cards to finish your particular deck. With that in mind, we can go even more specific.

1. Lands

Lands should always be your first priority as those are generally going to be the most ubiquitous cards in Standard. The Pathways are all excellent and invaluable moving forward as is Faceless Haven so crafting 4 of each is an extremely safe craft.

The creature lands from AFR, the Pathways, and the new Innistrad duals are also extremely safe crafts. However, the creature lands and Innistrad duals don’t always need 4 depending on what deck you’re building, so keep that in mind.

The last in the lands are the Snarls which unfortunately are pretty weak. For the most part you can avoid crafting these entirely for now as they see play in so few decks, but making a specific Snarl to make your deck run a bit more smoothly is perfectly fine as well.

2. Ubiquitous Rares

This is a pretty general category, but what I mean here is to next craft Rares you see in multiple decklists. Examples of this could include Esika’s Chariot or Luminarch Aspirant as they see play in functionally any deck that can cast them. Furthermore you want to start with Rares as Mythics are going to be much harder to stockpile.

3. Ubiquitous Mythic Rares

Although you generally want to avoid crafting Mythics if you’re just upgrading budget decks, there are plenty of Mythics that see so much play they are very safe crafts. The most popular ones that come to mind are something like Alrund’s Epiphany or Goldspan Dragon cards that have literally no replacement.

4. Specific Rares

These are Rares that may see minimal play or some small amounts of play, but are really just for the deck you are making such as Werewolf Pack Leader or Orcus, Prince of Undeath.

5. Specific Mythic Rares

These are mythics that see minimal or small amounts of play. These are definitely the last thing you want to craft if you’re on a budget as these will be hard to use in other strategies like Galazeth Prismari or Turntimber Symbiosis.

This is more or less the strategy to go by. If you’re unsure where something lies, you can check out lists here to get an idea of what cards see the most play, but I’ll also give you my opinions as well. With that, let’s get into the decks.

Budget Standard Decks – September 2021


Mono White Aggro

Budget Monowhite Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
32 uncommon
28 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Mono White is one of the cornerstones of the format and even without the rares you can still make a really powerful deck. Use your small creatures to curve out and quickly overrun the opponent. If you’re looking to make upgrades to this deck, you can check out the list below.

Monowhite Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 3
3 mythic
19 rare
16 uncommon
22 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Intrepid Adversary – Specific Mythic
  • Reidane, God of the Worthy – Specific Rare
  • Luminarch Aspirant – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Elite Spellbinder – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Skyclave Apparition – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Adeline, Resplendent Cathar – Specific Rare
  • Legion Angel – Specific Rare

Mono Black Aggro

Budget Monoblack Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
26 uncommon
34 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Although less popular than the other aggro options, Mono Black can still pack a punch with it’s combination of a quick clock with solid interaction. If you’re looking to upgrade this deck, you can look to build toward this version which uses Zombies as the main fighting force.

Monoblack Zombies
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Tribal
best of 3
14 mythic
16 rare
7 uncommon
23 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Lolth, Spider Queen – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Champion of the Perished – Specific Rare
  • Tainted Adversary – Specific Mythic
  • Wight – Specific Rare
  • Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia – Specific Rare
  • Ebondeath, Dracolich – Specific Mythic
  • Agadeem’s Awakening – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Soul Shatter – Ubiquitous Rare

Mono Black Midrange

Budget Monoblack Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
20 uncommon
40 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Black based Control has been quickly gaining popularity in 2022 and you can start with this base for the most simple form of it. Control the opponent’s board, hand, and kill them with Dogged Pursuit. If you’re looking to upgrade, you can go for my build below.

Monoblack Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
7 mythic
16 rare
12 uncommon
25 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Lolth, Spider Queen – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Nighthawk Scavenger – Specific Rare
  • Ebondeath, Dracolich – Specific Mythic
  • Agadeem’s Awakening – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Soul Shatter – Ubquitous Rare
  • Blood on the Snow – Specific Rare
  • Mascot Exhibition – Ubiquitous Mythic in Bo1, Specific otherwise

Mono Red Burn

Budget Monored Burn
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Burn
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
30 uncommon
30 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Like Mono Black, Mono Red has mostly been outshined by it’s White and Green counterpart. Nevertheless, the deck is still relatively solid if you really enjoy playing Red aggro. If you’re looking to upgrade, I would look towards my build below. Although it’s not Burn, I think it’s the best direction Red aggro can go.

Monored Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
8 mythic
23 rare
8 uncommon
21 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Falkenrath Pit Fighter – Specific Rare
  • Dragonkin Berserker – Specific Rare
  • Kargan Intimidator – Specific Rare
  • Reckless Stormseeker – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Moonveil Regent – Specific Mythic
  • Goldspan Dragon – Ubiquitous Mythic

Mono Red Bombardment

Budget Monored Bombardment
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
24 uncommon
36 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Similar to the previous list, Mono Red Bombardment takes advantage of the powerful Raid Bombardment to quickly overrun the opponent. Also like the other Mono Red list, if you want to make this as competitive as possible I would look towards the build above.

Mono Green Aggro

Budget Monogreen Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
24 uncommon
36 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Mono Green Aggro is one of the best decks in 2022 and even completely budget versions of it can still be potent. If you’re looking to make this as competitive as possible, you can check out the list below.

Bo1 Monogreen Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
best of 1
0 mythic
32 rare
7 uncommon
21 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Kazandu Mammoth – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Swarm Shambler – Specific Rare
  • Werewolf Pack Leader – Very Specific Rare
  • Old-Growth Troll – Very Specific Rare
  • Gnarled Professor – Specific Rare
  • Esika’s Chariot – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Ranger Class – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Mascot Exhibition – Ubiquitous Mythic for Bo1, otherwise Specific

Selesnya Magecraft

Budget Selesnya Magecraft
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
24 uncommon
36 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

One of my favorite 2022 decks, Magecraft is both powerful and extremely budget friendly, even for the most competitive version of the deck! If you’re looking to make this entirely competitive, you can check out the list below.

Bo1 Selesnya Magecraft
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
3 mythic
14 rare
16 uncommon
27 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Leonin Lightscribe – Specific Rare
  • Dragonsguard Elite – Specific Rare
  • Mavinda, Students’ Advocate – Specific Mythic
  • Academic Probation – Specific Rare
  • Mascot Exhibition – Ubiquitous Mythic for 2022, otherwise Specific

Boros Warriors

Budget Boros Warriors
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Tribal
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
26 uncommon
34 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

A tribe always close to breaking out, Warriors has a lot going for it and just needs a little push to vault it into prevalence. The competitive deck does use a lot of Rares and Mythics, but you can definitely get a solid base starting from just commons and uncommons. If you wan to upgrade it, you can check out the list below.

Bo1 Boros Warrior
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Tribal
best of 1
6 mythic
32 rare
11 uncommon
11 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Falkenrath Pit Fighter – Specific Rare
  • Kargan Intimidator – Specific Rare
  • Resplendent Marshal – Specific Mythic
  • Legion Angel – Specific Rare
  • Shatterskull Smashing – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Maul of the Skyclaves – Specific Rare
  • Rally the Ranks – Specific Rare
  • Showdown of the Skalds – Specific Rare

Rakdos Sacrifice

Budget Rakdos Sacrifice
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
27 uncommon
33 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Rakdos Sacrifice has been a popular choice in many Standard formats and this is no exception. You have a lot of early game and plenty of late game to grind through any opponent. If you’re looking to upgrade this deck, you can check out the list below.

Bo1 Mardu Sacrifice
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
9 mythic
27 rare
14 uncommon
10 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Extus, Oriq Overlord – Specific Mythic
  • Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia – Specific Rare
  • Immersturm Predator – Specific Rare
  • Orcus, Prince of Undeath – Specific Rare
  • Goldspan Dragon – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Shatterskull Smashing – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Showdown of the Skalds – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Mascot Exhibition – Ubiquitous Mythic for Bo1, Specific otherwise

Golgari Pests

Budget Golgari Pests
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
23 uncommon
37 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Rakdos isn’t the only deck that can be a sacrifice deck! Golgari has plenty of tools to work with as well to make a deck capable of grinding through many of the format’s top decks. Furthermore, the competitive version of this is easily one of the most budget friendly decks out there! If you’re looking to upgrade this, I would check out this version.

Bo1 Golgari Pests
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
2 mythic
15 rare
19 uncommon
24 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia – Specific Rare
  • Sedgemoor Witch – Specific Rare
  • Hagra Mauling – Specific Rare
  • The Meathook Massacre – Specific Mythis
  • Mascot Exhibition – Ubiquitous Mythic in Bo1, otherwise Specific

Dimir Control

Budget Dimir Control
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Control
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
24 uncommon
36 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Another staple in Standard 2022, Dimir has been one of the top contenders since the format’s inception. Although the most competitive version is very Wildcard intensive, the budget version still packs most of the same interaction with just worse win conditions. If you are looking to upgrade this deck, you can check out the list below

Innistrad Dimir Control
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Control
best of 3
6 mythic
25 rare
13 uncommon
16 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Professor Onyx – Specific Mythic
  • Mordenkainen – Specific Mythic
  • Iymirth, Desert Doom – Specific Mythic
  • Siphon Insight – Specific Rare
  • Baleful Mastery – Specific Rare
  • Memory Deluge – Specific Rare
  • Crippling Fear – Specific Rare
  • Shadows’ Verdict – Specific Rare
  • The Meathook Massacre – Specific Mythic

Izzet Spells

Budget Izzet Spells
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Tempo
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
26 uncommon
34 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Izzet is one of the most popular guilds and for good reason, it can be fast, disruptive, and extremely proactive. If you want to upgrade this deck, you can check out the list below.

Bo1 Izzet Delver
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Tempo
best of 1
14 mythic
17 rare
13 uncommon
16 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Smoldering Egg – Specific Rare
  • Bloodthirsty Adversary – Specific Mythic
  • Galazeth Prismari – Specific Mythic
  • Goldspan Dragon – Specific Mythic
  • Shatterskull Smashing – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Prismari Command – Specific Rare
  • Alrund’s Epiphany – Ubiquitous Mythic

Simic Ramp

Budget Simic Ramp
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Ramp
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
23 uncommon
37 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

There aren’t many Ramp decks represented in 2022, but Simic is likely the best of them. With a combination of solid ramp, good late game, and interaction, this deck is a force to be reckoned with. If you’re looking to upgrade this deck, the most competitive version would likely look something like the list below.

Bo1 Simic Ramp
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Ramp
best of 1
13 mythic
12 rare
14 uncommon
21 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Wrenn and Seven – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Koma, Cosmos Serpent – Specific Mythic
  • Turntimber Symbiosis – Specific Mythic
  • Alrund’s Epiphany – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Basic Conjuration – Specific Rare
  • Mascot Summoning – Ubiquitous Mythic in Bo1, otherwise Specific

Gruul Aggro

Budget Gruul Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
31 uncommon
29 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

If you like to go fast, Gruul aggro looks to capitalize on the power of the Red and Green creatures. With a fast curve and really solid interaction, this deck is looking to under the competition. If you’re looking to upgrade, it would look something like the list below.

Gruul Aggro
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Aggro
best of 3
12 mythic
31 rare
4 uncommon
13 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Arlinn, the Pack’s Hope – Specific Mythic
  • Kazandu Mammoth – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Magda, Brazen Outlaw – Specific Rare
  • Reckless Stormseeker – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Primal Adversary – Specific Mythic
  • Moonveil Regent – Specific Mythic
  • Goldspan Dragon – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Shatterskull Smashing – Ubiquitous Mythic
  • Esika’s Chariot – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Ranger’s Class – Ubiquitous Rare

Azorius Midrange

Budget Azorius Midrange
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
20 uncommon
40 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Azorius is looking to take advantage of all the ETB creatures in those colors to produce an extremely satisfying midrange deck. There are no current tier Azorius decks, but the closest thing to the same play style would be the list below.

Azorius Spirits
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Tribal
best of 3
6 mythic
29 rare
8 uncommon
17 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+
  • Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset – Specific Mythic
  • Spectral Adversary – Specific Mythic
  • Dennickk, Pious Apprentice – Specific Rare
  • Skyclave Apparition – Ubiquitous Rare
  • Patrician Geist – Specific Rare
  • Rally the Ranks – Specific Rare
  • Monk Class – Specific Rare

Orzhov Sacrifice

Budget Orzhov Sacrifice
by DoggertQBones
Standard
Midrange
best of 1
0 mythic
0 rare
28 uncommon
32 common
0
1
2
3
4
5
6+

Orzhov Sacrifice is a less typical take on the classic Sacrifice shell. Instead of the typical Red, we use the White here to have more Sacrifice outlets to get more value out of your cards! Unfortunately, there are no tier Orzhov Sacrifice decks, so if you like this play style I would recommend going back to the Rakdos Sacrifice section and taking that upgrade list.

Thank you for reading! Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.

DoggertQBones

Robert "DoggertQBones" Lee is the content manager of MTGAZone and a high ranked Arena player. He has one GP Top 8 and pioneered popular archetypes like UB 8 Shark, UB Yorion, and GW Company in Historic. Beyond Magic, his passions are writing and coaching! Join our community on Twitch and Discord.

11 Responses

  1. 5dollarmtg says:

    Very cool list. I’d also add the Experimental Overload deck, which is surprisingly competitive without any rares. Overload does rotate out in September, though.

  2. DynastyStar says:

    budget decks my ass. I’ve been playing a few weeks now, and I have jackshit out of this list xD

  3. o3o says:

    Is a budget deck article in the works for the 2022 standard?

  4. NeZQuick says:

    Soooo big noob question coming up, am I correct thinking theese decks are gonna be viable for standard/traditional standard for the next year? or should i be looking for the 2022 lists? or am i completely wrong? pls educate me cause the standard rotation is one thing I just dont get xD

  5. DoggertQBones says:

    Not a problem at all! So Standard 2022 was a format where the sets that would be legal in 2022 are playable which were Battle for Zendikar, Kaldheim, Strixhaven, and the DnD set. This current Standard is that plus Innistrad. Most of these decks were based off the work I did in 2022 as that was 4/5 sets we have now.

    • NeZQuick says:

      okay so 2022 is actually the previous rotation that was a preview of what will actually be available in 2022 and currently theese here september 2021 lists are the currently legal ones which consist of the same sets +1 … untill the actual 2022 rotation comes up.. am I getting that right? its way confusing to me but from what I’m getting and please confirm – theese lists are going to be ‘legal’ untill next september?