Budget Deck for Standard: BUGrove Elder

Just on the heels of my complaints about Magic: The Gathering becoming too expensive, Star City Games and Wizards of the Coast both post articles about budget decks for standard. On the official WotC site, Jacob Van Lunen walks us through his ideas for a blue/black deck that abuses Gravitational Shift. Over on Star City Games, AJ Kerrigan doesn't go into as much depth, but he tosses out four deck ideas... several of which are quick enough for potential turn 3/4 wins with the right draws.

Because I am the rogue deck builder that I am, I can't be satisfied using somebody else's list... so I wanted to get in on the action and share a budget deck that I've been working on myself. It clocks in at just under $80 using the prices at Star City Games (and we all know that you can snag cards a lot cheaper if you work at it on eBay).

Sooo... what deck can you think of that gets to swing with a 8/6 trample, first strike, vigilance, haste, lifelink, deathtouch, hexproof creature to win the game? This deck can do it fairly consistently (and 8/6 is a conservative number). This deck is a Timmy's dream come true... and with an average converted mana cost of 2.79 (and Phyrexian mana letting you play things even cheaper when need be), it is fast enough to compete with the best decks in standard.

BUGrove Elder 
Lands (23)
14 Forest
4 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Halimar Depths
1 Swamp
1 Island

4 Vault Skirge
4 Sylvan Ranger
4 Viridian Emissary
4 Dungrove Elder
3 Trinket Mage
3 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Acidic Slime

3 Sword of Vengeance
1 Basilisk Collar
1 Accorder's Shield

4 Dismember
3 Into the Roil

(Click here to download this deck in Magic Workstation format)

I don't have a sideboard for this yet, but I've played some test games in Magic Workstation, and my initial results have been surprisingly competitive. There is enough life gain to pull away from Vampires and Kuldotha Red, enough instant speed disruption to give Splinter Twin a headache, and enough threats with built-in card advantage to beat control.

The best thing about this deck (aside from how much fun it is to play) is that the cards you do have to spend a little bit of cash on are "safe." By safe, I mean that they are powerful and versatile cards that aren't rotating out of standard for quite some time... Dismember and Wurmcoil Engine. Everything else in the deck costs less than $5, and I got my Dismembers for less than $5 on eBay.

If you decide to give this deck (or something similar) a shot, please let me know... and as always, feel free to post comments and critiques.
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