Welcome back everyone, and I apologize for the delay in articles. I have had some personal things to take care of and will hopefully be back on track soon. Today we are going to talk about Strixhaven cards that are cheap with room to grow long-term. As usual, at the very least you should consider picking up a playset to have in your binder. Before we get started, I wanted to start spotlighting cards of interest you should keep an eye on due to market moves, and here are some examples.
- Unravel the Aether Foil - up from $1.98 to $29.00 (probably going to go down, but it is worth noting)
- Cryptolith Fragment Foil - up from $1.56 to $2.73
- Soulflayer Foil - up from $5.99 to $7.11
- Vampire Nocturnus Foil - down from $17.62 to $11.49
- Minions' Murmurs Foil - down from $3.69 to $2.35
The first card on our agenda is one that technically is not a budget card, but it is reasonable to trade into. Wandering Archaic is coming in at $11.73 for the non-foils, $21.37 for the non-foils, $17.39 for the extended art non-foils, and $45.99 for the extended art foils(mtgstocks.com). The non-foil would be the one to target in this situation, and trade into them versus buying if you are able to.
At first glance, this seems to fit in Pioneer Mono-Green since it taxes our opponents any time they either target a permanent or counter a spell we cast. It might not seem like a big deal, but control players do not want to spend any more mana than required during their own turns. If they have mana available to play a card on their turn and a counter on your turn, they might need to reconsider due to the tax. If they do not pay the tax all you would need to do is copy the counter spell and target theirs. Another thing to consider is that any burn or ramping style brews would have to methodically choose how they play their spells. In the optimal situation of having two of these on the board. This would almost lock our opponents out from wanting to cast certain spells. We also have the option to cast the sorcery side of the card, but the creature is where the most upside lies. Here is an example of where this could benefit being played in.
Green Devotion | Pioneer | Coly2, MTGO Pioneer Preliminary
- Creature (26)
- 1 Elder Gargathon
- 2 Scavenging Ooze
- 3 Llanowar Visionary
- 4 Burning-Tree Emissary
- 4 Elvish Mystic
- 4 Llanowar Elves
- 4 Voracious Hydra
- 4 Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
- Enchantments (4)
- 4 Oath of Nissa
Sedgemoor Witch is the next card we are going to go over. The current price is $5.99 for the non-foils, $6.97 for the foils, $8.43 for the prerelease foils, $9.33 for the extended art non-foil, and $18.55 for the extended art foils (mtgstocks.com). This looks like it could fit in about any combination of colors, whether multicolored or mono! The biggest advantage here is the concept of creating tokens by casting instant or sorcery spells. The primary ability is nice, as it forces our opponent to use life in addition to removing it. This can come in clutch later in a game if they are on the ropes and cannot afford to lose any more life.
A strategy that immediately came to mind was Jund (Red, Black, and Green) Cavalcade. Jund offers us the quickest way to ramp in land, damage, and other resources. I threw together a deck concept that is mainly budget friendly to illustrate my thinking. You can always change things to make it more/less costly based on your budget! Without breaking down every individual card's reason for being there, here are the cliff notes.
- Ramp into lands and creatures
- Use chumpy (1/*) creatures to activate Cavalcade of Calamity
- Use Dina, Soul Steeper for additional damage with creatures that have Lifelink, Extort, Zulaport Cutthroat ability, and tokens made from Sedgemoor Witch.
- Obtain card advantage with both creature and non-creature spells.
- Utilize board control cards to allow you to build up a base.
Jund Deck Draft | Pioneer | Axel Stone
- Creatures (20)
- 1 Efreet Flamepainter
- 1 Young Pyromancer
- 2 Indulgent Aristocrat
- 2 Prophetic Flamespeaker
- 2 Thrull Parasite
- 2 Vampire Cutthroat
- 2 Vampire of the Dire Moon
- 2 Zulaport Cutthroat
- 3 Dina, Soul Steeper
- 3 Sedgemoor Witch
- Planeswalkers (3)
- 3 Chandra, Acolyte of Flame
- Enchantments (3)
- 3 Cavalcade of Calamity
The next card we are looking into is Culling Ritual. The current price is $2.24 for the non-foils, $2.63 for the foils, $6.37 for the prerelease foils, $4.03 for the extended art non-foils, and $10.61 for the extended art foils. This one is rather straight forward, as Commander seems to be a solid fit. It is narrow on what it can wipe, but in the Commander format we can accumulate a lot of mana. Commander being the way it is, we could use all that accrued mana to cast larger spells we might otherwise not be able to. It might not seem like much at first glance, but any board wipe with potential upside should be a suitor for anybody's collection. Given the current price of this card, I would personally wait to see how far down the non-foils go before buying into it.
Next up is Strict Proctor. The current price for the non-foils are $1.10, the foil copies are $1.33, $2.26 for the extended art non-foils, $4.83 for the extended art foils, and $4.43 for the pre-release foil copies. The fact this is a spirit immediately draws my attention. Pioneer spirits would be a great spot for this card, at the very least in the sideboard given its ability. Any opposing deck that utilizes creature or other permanent etb (enter the battlefield) effects would be immediately slowed down by this card. It doesn't need to be isolated to a spirit deck alone, though. We could use this in any sort of control deck that could make use of a tax card. This could also compliment anyone on a budget looking to add something to their current commander deck for cheap control. With a cost of only two, the card holds way more upside than downside given its 3 toughness.
Leonin Lightscribe is going to be the last card we discuss today. Its current price is $0.80 for the non-foils, $1.00 for the foils, $2.28 on for the pre-release foils, $1.25 for the extended art non-foil, and $2.60 for the foil extended art version. This card is a compliment to any sort of burn deck, or any other deck that utilizes instants and sorcery spells, not to mention bolstering this up with other prowess creatures. Depending on the board state, we can potentially end games quickly with the ability. This one is currently being used in both the Modern and Standard formats, but Pioneer players should consider using this in any Boros styled build. A quick example to show how this could affect a board state early on, for those that do not follow meta, would be as followed:
- Turn one Monastery Swiftspear
- Turn two Leonin Lightscribe
- Turn three Shock, Light up the Stage, play land for turn, and Shock again.
Obviously, this is a scenario where our opponent didn't have any removal to use on either creature; but, given these plays, our Monastery Swiftspear would be buffed up +6/+6 and the Leonin Lightscribe would be buffed +3/+3. That would be a tough pill for any opponent to swallow going into combat if they only have one blocker available, or potentially none if we use the Shocks to burn them out. This is a huge bargain at the current price, and I suggest anyone that has the means to acquire them to do so!
That's all I have for today! Thank you for reading and I will see you next time!