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MTG Arena Budget Standard Decks – October 2019

Cavalcade-of-Calamity-Ravnica-Allegiance-Art

If you are new to MTG Arena, building a cheap and competitive deck can be challenging. This is especially true if you are a beginner and/or free-to-play because the amount of cards in Magic: The Gathering can be overwhelming! Wildcards are a precious resource that you want to save up as much as possible. Sometimes, you also just want to try a different kind of deck without having to pay up. In this guide, you will find our best budget Standard decks, a brief explanation on how to play and upgrade each one (and a link to the full guide if available), and a budget sideboard guide at the end as well if you want to hone your best-of-three game.

Looking for more competitive Standard decks? Check out our metagame tier list!

Budget Deck Requirements and Goals

Our budget Standard decks will generally have the following requirements and aim to meet the following goals for players that play these decks:

  • The base deck will have no rares or mythic rares at all, unless you can obtain them via the 15 New Player Experience starter decks.
  • Some decks are based on past or current Standard meta decks, or are upgrades of the New Player Experience decks. Naturally, some decks are more powerful than others the closer to the meta deck they are. We have included our subjective ranking on these decks below.
  • These decks aim to get you into at least Gold ranking on the ladder, enough wins on the Constructed Events and good enough to use on other play queues to complete Daily Wins and Daily Quests.
  • Provide pathways to upgrade into more competitive decks as well as sideboard options, taking into account the cards that may be useful elsewhere as well. Please refer to our Wildcard Crafting Guide for more in-depth explanations on individual cards.
  • Become the baseline decks to use in the upcoming Festival of the Fae Artisan event (however, note that Cavalcade of Calamity and Cauldron of Familiar will be banned).
  • The rare dual lands (e.g. Godless Shrine) are more important than it looks – they will go every deck that can play those colors, and will improve the consistency of your deck’s mana. You will find out as you play the decks below! Make crafting the lands a high priority as you progress in game.

Budget Standard Decks – October 2019

  • November 18, 2019: Rakdos Sacrifice Deck Guide added.

Budget Mono Red Cavalcade

2 Tibalt, Rakish Instigator (WAR) 146
4 Scorch Spitter (M20) 159
4 Shock (M19) 156
4 Gingerbrute (ELD) 219
4 Torch Courier (GRN) 119
4 Tin Street Dodger (RNA) 120
4 Chandra's Spitfire (M20) 132
4 Rimrock Knight (ELD) 137
2 Ember Hauler (M20) 137
4 Light Up the Stage (RNA) 107
4 Cavalcade of Calamity (RNA) 95
18 Mountain (XLN) 273
2 Dwarven Mine (ELD) 243

Mono Red decks are currently the go-to option when recommending decks to beginners, due to meeting the balance of being cheap and strong – especially in best-of-one games. Mono Red Cavalcade is a version that is based around the card Cavalcade of Calamity and creatures with mainly one power and is by the cheapest option in Throne of Eldraine Standard.

In this budget version of the deck, you are more focused on killing the opponent more quickly with the explosiveness of Chandra’s Spitfire. Torch Courier is a great option to catch your opponent off guard. The deck does have its weaknesses, such as Oko, Thief of Crowns and control decks that can wipe out your creatures as your deck relies on them heavily.

You can upgrade this deck with Chandra, Acolyte of Flame which is a great fit for this deck. Bonecrusher Giant is also a great card to increase the quality of your creatures. A full set of Castle Embereth is particularly good here as it can buff your smaller creatures after they attack. Suggested changes:

Note that Fervent Champion is marginally better than Gingerbrute but should not be crafted for the sole purpose of this deck. You can also aim for a more creature-centric build such as Lee Shi Tian’s Mythic Championship V deck.

Budget Rakdos Aristocrats

4 Cauldron Familiar (ELD) 81
4 Footlight Fiend (RNA) 216
2 Knight of the Ebon Legion (M20) 105
4 Mayhem Devil (WAR) 204
3 Fireblade Artist (RNA) 172
1 Midnight Reaper (GRN) 77
2 Mask of Immolation (M20) 151
2 Light Up the Stage (RNA) 107
1 Judith, the Scourge Diva (RNA) 185
1 Dreadhorde Butcher (WAR) 194
4 Claim the Firstborn (ELD) 118
3 Angrath's Rampage (WAR) 185
4 Witch's Oven (ELD) 237
1 Spawn of Mayhem (RNA) 85
7 Mountain (XLN) 273
10 Swamp (XLN) 269
1 Blood Crypt (RNA) 245
2 Rakdos Guildgate (RNA) 255
2 Dwarven Mine (ELD) 243
2 Witch's Cottage (ELD) 249

Check out the full deck guide for this decklist here!

Cauldron Familiar and Witch’s Oven is a powerful combo that you can use as a core to build a sacrifice deck. Claim the Firstborn even allows you to steal your opponent’s creatures and sacrifice them with Witch’s Oven or Fireblade Artist. Mayhem Devil is also an excellent card that can allow you to deal damage without having to attack into your opponent. Read the full deck guide for details on how to play the deck and how to upgrade the deck!

Izzet Control – Standard Artisan

Deck
4 Pteramander (RNA) 47
4 Brineborn Cutthroat (M20) 50
4 Crackling Drake (GRN) 163
1 Essence Capture (RNA) 37
1 Evolving Wilds (M20) 246
2 Mystical Dispute (ELD) 58
1 Negate (RIX) 44
4 Opt (XLN) 65
3 Quench (RNA) 48
4 Ral's Outburst (WAR) 212
4 Shock (M19) 156
1 Mystic Sanctuary (ELD) 247
9 Island (ELD) 254
5 Mountain (ELD) 262
4 Swiftwater Cliffs (M20) 252
4 Izzet Guildgate (GRN) 251
1 Maximize Velocity (GRN) 111
4 Scorching Dragonfire (ELD) 139  

Check out the full deck guide for this decklist here!

Budget Selesnya Adventures

4 Edgewall Innkeeper (ELD) 151
4 Faerie Guidemother (ELD) 11
2 Flaxen Intruder (ELD) 155
1 Knight of Autumn (GRN) 183
3 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
4 Shepherd of the Flock (ELD) 28
1 Venerated Loxodon (GRN) 30
2 Oakhame Ranger (ELD) 212
8 Forest (XLN) 277
12 Plains (XLN) 261
4 Raise the Alarm (M20) 34
1 Temple Garden (GRN) 258
3 Blossoming Sands (M20) 243
4 Flower // Flourish (GRN) 226
1 Emmara, Soul of the Accord (GRN) 168
1 March of the Multitudes (GRN) 188
3 Conclave Tribunal (GRN) 6
1 Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves (WAR) 224
1 Assure // Assemble (GRN) 221

Selesnya Adventures deck is a great deck to start your collection off with, with green being the core color. Edgewall Innkeeper is a fantastic card to build around and is poised to be a strong deck for the foreseeable future. The deck is also not too complex – vomit out your creatures, play around board wipes and swing!

The main upgrades this deck you want to focus on are green; you want to focus on getting an end product similar to this deck. Questing Beast, Lovestruck Beast and Once Upon a Time will be your most powerful upgrades that you can also use elsewhere. Venerated Loxodon, March of the Multitudes and Trostani Discordant also fit the theme of the deck well. Adding cards like Unbreakable Formation and Gideon Blackblade adds resilience to the deck. You will also want to add all copies of Castle Ardenvale if you plan to use the deck longer.

Budget Simic Flash

4 Brineborn Cutthroat (M20) 50
4 Frilled Mystic (RNA) 174
4 Nightpack Ambusher (M20) 185
4 Spectral Sailor (M20) 76
7 Forest (XLN) 277
12 Island (XLN) 265
1 Breeding Pool (RNA) 246
4 Thornwood Falls (M20) 258
2 Negate (RIX) 44
2 Essence Capture (RNA) 37
4 Opt (XLN) 65
4 Quench (RNA) 48
4 Sinister Sabotage (GRN) 54
4 Unsummon (M20) 78

Here’s a decent budget deck that is also popular. However, we had to break the rules a little bit with this deck as it contains rares – Nightpack Ambusher. The deck will suffer a lot without it as this card will act as your finisher. The goal of the deck is counter your opponents spells and play your creatures at the end of their turn and attack into an empty board. You will aim for the final deck to look something like this.

If you can find the Wildcards for it, then the deck is mostly ready to go. You will find that you want to increase the Breeding Pool and Temple of Mystery numbers as soon as possible, as the manabase can be a bit sketchy without the full playset. The next card you want is Brazen Borrower – ideally a full playset if you enjoy the deck. The card is definitely good enough for other decks. Wildborn Preserver would be the next card on the list, but you don’t need a full playset. This is the suggested changes:

The deck definitely suffers in a metagame full of Teferi, Time Raveler, so be on the look out and consider playing Mystical Dispute in the mainboard if that becomes an issue.

Budget Azorius Flyers

2 Tranquil Cove (M20) 259
1 Hallowed Fountain (RNA) 251
9 Island (XLN) 265
9 Plains (XLN) 261
4 Healer's Hawk (GRN) 14
4 Faerie Miscreant (M20) 58
4 Loyal Pegasus (M20) 28
4 Spectral Sailor (M20) 76
4 Winged Words (M20) 80
4 Faerie Guidemother (ELD) 11
3 Conclave Tribunal (GRN) 6
4 Empyrean Eagle (M20) 208
3 Depose // Deploy (RNA) 225
1 Warrant // Warden (RNA) 230
4 Rally of Wings (WAR) 27 

This deck is also another excellent budget deck choice. Your creatures all have flying and will not have a difficult time dealing damage to your opponent. You can then use Rally of Wings (the key card in this deck) to finish off your unsuspecting opponent, which makes the deck decent for best-of-one play. While by no means a top tier deck, like Mono Red Cavalcade it is susceptible disruption, though not many players are playing cards like Cry of the Carnarium these days.

Upgrades to this deck include Sephara, Sky’s Blade that can protect your creatures from board wipes and allow the deck to have some explosive starts. Hanged Executioner can also double up as removal. Venerated Loxodon is also another alternative to Sephara, and it may be a smarter craft as its ability is more broad and can be included in other decks.

Budget Dimir Control

2 Tomebound Lich (M20) 219
4 Tyrant's Scorn (WAR) 225
4 Discovery // Dispersal (GRN) 223
3 Nightveil Predator (GRN) 191
1 Doom Whisperer (GRN) 69
4 Sinister Sabotage (GRN) 54
4 Opt (ELD) 59
1 God-Eternal Kefnet (WAR) 53
1 Covetous Urge (ELD) 207
3 Chemister's Insight (GRN) 32
1 Watery Grave (GRN) 259
8 Island (WAR) 255
9 Swamp (WAR) 258
3 Disinformation Campaign (GRN) 167
4 Dismal Backwater (M20) 245
1 Thief of Sanity (GRN) 205
4 Thought Erasure (GRN) 206
1 Witch's Cottage (ELD) 249
2 Mystic Sanctuary (ELD) 247

This deck is not the most powerful of the bunch, but can be a strong foundation to build a control deck on down the track. The core synergy of this version of the deck uses the Surveil mechanic, but you can also transform this into a midrange deck like this one here. The graveyard mechanic featuring cards like Vantress Gargoyle and Drown in the Loch from Throne of Eldraine are great cards to build around. Rankle, Master of Pranks and Murderous Rider are black cards you can add to the deck and also use elsewhere.

Budget Golgari Midrange

4 Savvy Hunter (ELD) 200
4 Order of Midnight (ELD) 99
2 Knight of the Ebon Legion (M20) 105
2 Deathsprout (WAR) 189
1 Syr Konrad, the Grim (ELD) 107
4 Foulmire Knight (ELD) 90
4 Edgewall Innkeeper (ELD) 151
1 Midnight Reaper (GRN) 77
1 Find // Finality (GRN) 225
4 Smitten Swordmaster (ELD) 105
2 Deathless Knight (ELD) 208
1 Assassin's Trophy (GRN) 152
4 Jungle Hollow (M20) 248
8 Forest (XLN) 277
10 Swamp (XLN) 269
2 Witch's Cottage (ELD) 249
2 Lucky Clover (ELD) 226
1 Beanstalk Giant (ELD) 149
1 Izoni, Thousand-Eyed (GRN) 180
2 Disfigure (M20) 95

Golgari Adventures featuring Edgewall Innkeeper is a powerful deck archetype we can work towards with this deck, with upgrades that can be found via Questing Beast, Lovestruck Beast and Murderous Rider. This budget version uses Adventure cards and Knights as the creature base, and is more aggressive. Deathless Knight works well with Jungle Hollow and Savvy Hunter and is worth giving a try.

Budget Gruul Aggro

4 Wildwood Tracker (ELD) 183
1 Pelt Collector (GRN) 141
4 Zhur-Taa Goblin (RNA) 215
4 Grumgully, the Generous (ELD) 192
1 Living Twister (WAR) 203
2 Domri's Ambush (WAR) 192
1 Ravager Wurm (RNA) 200
1 Fling (ELD) 126
4 Rampart Smasher (ELD) 213
1 Thrash // Threat (RNA) 229
4 Paradise Druid (WAR) 171
2 Kraul Harpooner (GRN) 136
4 Shock (M19) 156
3 Collision // Colossus (RNA) 223
2 Rosethorn Halberd (ELD) 175
10 Forest (XLN) 277
9 Mountain (XLN) 273
1 Stomping Ground (RNA) 259
2 Gruul Guildgate (RNA) 249

Gruul Aggro is a deck type that uses bigger creatures to run over your opponent. Similar to the Azorius Flyers deck, your aim is to surprise your opponent with cards like Fling and Collision // Colossus as your individual card quality suffers until you can get better creatures.

There are a tonne of upgrade options for this deck, and you want to prioritize the creatures with haste. This includes Questing Beast, Skarrgan Hellkite and Gruul Spellbreaker. Embercleave and the full playset of Pelt Collector are also key cards.

Budget Sideboard Options

Sideboard cards are probably not going to be as important especially to new players as most farming can be done on best-of-one games. For those that want to learn about sideboards, it will deserve a whole guide on its own! Luckily, sideboard cards do not require a huge investment if you ever wanted to try best-of-three matches out. As an example, these are some core sideboard cards that are widely used and are easily accessible:

Core Set 2020 introduced some excellent sideboard cards at uncommon rarity that target the “enemy” colors. These will be used throughout their Standard cycle.

Throne of Eldraine also includes some “self” hate spells at uncommon, which are a bit more limited in nature (the white and green ones are not as good) but are still useful if you are looking for cards to fill the sideboard.

Wrapping Up

That’s all the decks we have to share so far, and remember you can view all our Standard decks here. If you have any feedback or suggestions, let us know in our Discord, Forum community, or leave a comment below! You can also follow us on Twitter to get all the latest news and updates on MTG Arena Zone.

4 Responses

  1. Trent says:

    Your Rakdos Aristocrats Upgrade guide seems to have a copy paste of the Mono-Reds bullet point for it’s second one. I’d love to know which cards you actually mean to replace.

  2. FastRiff says:

    I personally wouldn’t advice players on a budget to play lucky clover in adventure decks, since the copy always resolves first it’s usually the quickest way that targeting spells fizzle and land on the graveyard. Especially murderous rider

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