Three MTG Arena Decks You Already Probably Own

One of my favorite experiences when playing MTG Arena is importing a deck I’ve spotted online and being pleasantly surprised by the fact that I already have all the cards for it. Often, I’ll see a sweet list somewhere, and be disappointed to find that I’m ten or twelve rares or mythics away from playing it—and who can afford to burn Wildcards, especially in this economy?

Today I want to share some lists that you—hopefully—will be able to import into your MTG Arena account and have them appear fully-formed and ready to go. Failing that, these decks are principally composed of rares and mythics that are useful in a wide range of other decks—so crafting them isn’t too high a cost to pay. Finally, if all else fails, I’ll suggest some substitutions for a few of the less flexible rares. Let’s get to it!

Izzet Control

Gabriel Nassif put up a strong 8-4 finish with his Izzet Control deck at the most recent Mythic Championship. “Control” may even be a bit of a misnomer—it’s closer to a tempo deck, in many respects, as it can clock the opponent very quickly while strongly disrupting their game plan. This isn’t a slow, boring Teferi control deck—this deck will get ’em dead nice and quick.

Izzet Control

8 Island
4 Mountain
1 Blast Zone
2 Castle Vantress
2 Fabled Passage
4 Steam Vents
3 Temple of Epiphany
4 Brineborn Cutthroat
4 Bonecrusher Giant/Stomp
4 Brazen Borrower/Petty Theft
4 Gadwick, the Wizened
2 Shock
2 Negate
2 Scorching Dragonfire
4 Sinister Sabotage
3 Ral’s Outburst
4 Opt
3 Quench

3 Aether Gust
2 Lava Coil
3 Flame Sweep
4 Mystical Dispute
3 Crackling Drake

Happily, the bulk of the deck comprises of commons and uncommons, with so many burn spells and counterspells. Sinister Sabotage isn’t usually what these decks play—Ionize is both easier on the mana and pressures opposing life totals—but between that, Opt, Scorching Dragonfire, and Limited all-star Ral’s Outburst, much of this deck won’t impact your Wildcard budget. If you’ve got copies of Ionize laying around, however, bung ’em in.

Where it does, however, it doesn’t hit too hard. Lands don’t factor into it—you need dual lands to play Standard, and you shouldn’t hesitate to craft them. Bonecrusher Giant is played in everything from Jund Adventures to Mono-Red Aggro, while Brazen Borrower is one of the most powerful cards in Standard and well worth crafting. Both of these flexible, interactive spells will see a lot of play between now and when they rotate out in 2021, so you’ll get your money’s worth there.

Gadwick, the Wizened is a little less flexible, it’s true, and you might be able to shave a copy for something like Chemister’s Insight if you want to cheap out. There’s no shame in that—Wildcards are a precious commodity, and cutting corners wherever you can will pay dividends.

If you want to see the deck in action, check out Gabriel’s YouTube channel to see him grind games out on MTGA—you can find a couple of videos with the deck that he uploaded very recently.

Mardu Knights

I was happy to see a mate of mine, Ryan Cubit, make the Top 8 of GP Brisbane with his Mardu Knights deck. Ryan is one of the best players in Australia and is also a rusted-on Mardu mage, so it wasn’t a surprise to see him combine his three favorite colors to get it done in Queensland. Even better, it’s another showcase of Magic’s best tribe—Knights!

Mardu Knights by Ryan Cubit

4 Mountain
3 Swamp
4 Tournament Grounds
4 Godless Shrine
4 Blood Crypt
4 Sacred Foundry
4 Venerable Knight
4 Fervent Champion
4 Inspiring Veteran
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
1 Weaselback Redcap
4 Skyknight Vanguard
4 Blacklance Paragon
1 Judith, the Scourge Diva
4 Rotting Regisaur
2 Venerated Loxodon
1 Angrath, Captain of Chaos
4 Embercleave

1 Bonecrusher Giant/Stomp
2 Drill Bit
3 Duress
4 Embereth Shieldbreaker/Battle Display
1 Epic Downfall
1 Noxious Grasp
3 Unchained Berserker

Here we have another deck that isn’t too painful on the old Wildcard budget (especially when set against the top dogs of the Standard format). Embercleave is a staple played in any creature deck looking to go big, and much like Brazen Borrower is a safe place to invest mythic Wildcards—it’ll see high-level play until it rotates out, guaranteed.

Similarly, Fervent Champion is a top-tier aggressive option for any red deck, Knights or not, and is another easy place to dump Wildcards if you’re looking for a good return. Knight of the Ebon Legion is similar, as it sees play in a multitude of decks (including the next one to be featured!), but it’s worth remembering it will rotate out in less than a year.

The other rares are a little trickier, I’ll admit. Blacklance Paragon is only really playable in dedicated Knight decks, and perhaps isn’t worth crafting if you’re (for some reason) not a fan of those archetypes. You could maybe substitute something like Order of Midnight for it, which will help your late game at the expense of combat interaction.

Rotting Regisaur, however, is a pretty critical way to go tall in this deck, and your win rate will suffer if you cut it. Murderous Rider is a rare with more flexibility and greater staying power in terms of format legality and playability, but will slow the deck down considerably. While Rotting Regisaur is undoubtedly the better card in this deck, you might be able to get away with Murderous Rider instead.

Golgari Adventures

Golgari Adventures is my favorite deck with which to grind rank on the ladder. It’s by no means the best deck in Standard, but it’s powerful, flexible, and a ton of fun. I’ve written about the deck before, and while the Once Upon a Time ban knocked us down a peg or two, the list is otherwise every bit as sweet as before.

Golgari Adventures

4 Forest
8 Swamp
2 Castle Locthwain
2 Fabled Passage
4 Overgrown Tomb
4 Knight of the Ebon Legion
4 Edgewall Innkeeper
4 Foulmire Knight/Profane Insight
4 Order of Midnight/Alter Fate
4 Blacklance Paragon
4 Smitten Swordmaster/Curry Favor
4 Midnight Reaper
4 Murderous Rider/Swift End
4 Beanstalk Giant/Fertile Footsteps
4 Lucky Clover

4 Duress
2 Epic Downfall
2 Noxious Grasp
3 Thrashing Brontodon
2 Return to Nature
2 Assassin's Trophy

Like the Izzet deck, the bulk of this list is made up of commons and uncommons. Most of the key Adventure cards—both enablers and payoffs—are uncommon, so putting together the core of the deck is a trifling matter. Edgewall Innkeeper and Lucky Clover have a much higher power level in this deck than their rarity suggests, while Smitten Swordmaster often wins games single-handedly.

Murderous Rider, as I mentioned, is right up there with dual lands in terms of being a card you should want to craft, and apart from that, Blacklance Paragon once again is the only really inflexible rare. Midnight Reaper isn’t ideal, I suppose, seeing as it rotates out next year—if you’re looking for alternatives, you could instead go for Lovestruck Beast (Midnight Reaper is by no means essential to the deck).

I’ve been enjoying Beanstalk Giant—particularly in conjunction with Lucky Clover—but I don’t think it’s necessarily the best option. Both Questing Beast and Rankle, Master of Pranks probably represent better top-end, but as they’re mythics and I’m a sucker for Rampant Growth, I’m happy to stick with Beanstalk Giant. Sometimes they just can’t beat a 7/7.

Wildcards are Precious

Magic is an expensive hobby, and there’s no shame whatsoever in trying to “get value” by being careful with how you spend your Wildcards. As I mentioned, I always love coming across decks I can play with minimal or even no investment, and I always do my best to make sure I get the most out of the Wildcards I do burn. It’s no good crafting a set of Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, if you’re only going to play Jund Food for a month and then set it aside.

I hope these decks help you out in finding ways to maximize your resources on MTG Arena—if you’ve got similarly “cheap” lists, please let me know so I can have a look at them! The best place to do this is on Twitter: @rileyquarytower.

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