Welcome back to the second half of Historic on a Budget! In the first half, we looked at decks for White, Blue, and Black. This time we’ll take a look at the final three decks: Red, Green, and . . . Colorless?

Since the last article, Jumpstart has landed on Arena; while it’s currently proving difficult to acquire specific cards from it outside of taking part in the special event several times, it’s already making waves in the Historic format. These lists are fully updated to include any upgrades that came from this set, and I’ll talk about the improvements they bring to the strategies as we encounter them.

The other big change to the format since our last article was the Banned and Restricted announcement last Monday, which saw all currently suspended cards banned (Fires of Invention, Agent of Treachery, Winona, Joiner of Forces), Nexus of Fate banned, and Burning-Tree Emissary suspended. This is generally a good thing for most decks, as slower strategies had an extremely hard time beating Nexus, and Gruul was proving to be too explosive. Each of the decks we’re exploring today have benefited from this change, so they’re more playable now than ever before!

The first deck we’ll look at today is an old favorite whose Modern counterpart has just risen to the top of the metagame: Goblins!

Mono Red Goblins—16 R, 27 U, 11 C

Creatures (36)
Fanatical Firebrand
Skirk Prospector
Conspicuous Snoop
Goblin Cratermaker
Goblin Instigator
Gempalm Incinerator
Goblin Chainwhirler
Goblin Chieftain
Goblin Matron
Goblin Warchief
Goblin Ringleader
Goblin Trashmaster
Krenko, Mob Boss
Lands (24)
Castle Embereth
21 Mountain

Sideboard (15)
Redcap Melee
Soul-Guide Lantern
Goblin Cratermaker
Goblin Ruinblaster
Goblin Trashmaster
Siege-Gang Commander

Goblins are beloved by many, from new players to the most seasoned pros, and rightly so. These adorable little creatures tend to lean towards a more controlling, value-based strategy than you’d initially expect, and are frequently underestimated in their ability to shrug off removal and grind with the best of them.

As goblins tend to be slightly top-heavy in terms of curve, we need to be able to accelerate to them quickly. Skirk Prospector allows us to sacrifice goblins for mana, and Goblin Warchief reduces their initial costs. Between these two we can push our game plan ahead by a full turn, which can be critical in many matchups.

Despite having no noncreature spells, we have plenty of removal. Fanatical Firebrand is great to finish off creatures or low-loyalty planeswalkers; Goblin Chainwhirler is like its bigger, more lethal cousin, often cutting through swathes of minions while providing a formidable fighter. Goblin Cratermaker offers extreme versatility; it can kill many different creatures, blow up artifacts, and even take down Ugin, the Spirit Dragon! Rounding out our removal suite is Gempalm Incinerator, whose cycling ability acts as efficient, uncounterable removal, that also happens to replace itself. Never leave home without the playset!

Not only can this deck grind, but it can adapt to any situation thanks to Goblin Matron. They can tutor for any nonland card in the deck, while also providing a small blocker; we have a wide range of situationally powerful targets available to us. Conspicuous Snoop acts like a discounted Experimental Frenzy on a stick, Goblin Ringleader can completely refill our grip, and Krenko, Mob Boss is capable of flooding the board with tokens. Mix this with either Goblin Chieftain or Goblin Trashmaster, and you’re looking at a force capable of closing the game at a blistering pace.

The mana base is all Mountains, except for a few copies of Castle Embereth to help close out games. If it ain’t broke!

The sideboard contains . . . surprise, more goblins! There are some non-goblin cards here too, so beware of bringing too many of them in and making your Conspicuous Snoops less effective.

If you like your aggro decks to have a bit more thought to them, and if you want to learn something new every time you play, then Goblins is the deck for you. However, if you prefer swarming the board rather than controlling it, then you’ll love the next deck.

Mono Green Elves—2 M, 33 R, 14 U, 8 C

Creatures (39)
Allosaurus Shepherd
Llanowar Elves
Rhys the Redeemed
Elvish Clancaller
Elvish Visionary
Fauna Shaman
Paradise Druid
Elvish Archdruid
Imperious Perfect
Marwyn, the Nurturer
Reclamation Sage
Beast Whisperer
Craterhoof Behemoth
Lands (21)
Castle Garenbrig
18 Forest

Sideboard (15)
Shapers' Sanctuary
Kraul Harpooner
Scavenging Ooze
Sorcerous Spyglass
Reclamation Sage
Vivien, Champion of the Wilds
Shifting Ceratops

Another favorite that’s prominent in eternal formats, Elves are a little bit aggro, a little bit ramp, and a little bit combo. They look to flood the board with mana dorks as quickly as possible, and usually close the game out with a combo finish. They’re almost the antithesis to Goblins in that they’re almost completely non-interactive, and they care much more about their game plan than their opponents’.

The heart of the Elves deck is their mana production. Arguably the most important creature in the deck is Llanowar Elves; it’s the ideal opening play. Unlike other formats, we don’t have any other mana dorks at the one-mana slot, so we’ve to make do with Paradise Druid instead. Elvish Archdruid and Marwyn, the Nurturer are our most powerful mana producers, and will snowball out of control if left unchecked. To ensure that we can keep the ball rolling, we have a playset of both Elvish Visionary and Beast Whisperer to keep our hands stocked.

The main win condition for the deck is to deal an excess of combat damage, and Craterhoof Behemoth is the best single card for this task. Between the early mana production and the massive, game ending impact from The Hoof, the deck can often feel like a pseudo-combo deck. As it’s the kind of combo where we don’t want to draw our key card until we’re ready, we only have a single copy of the massive beast. We can use Fauna Shaman to tutor when we need it, which also allows us to run a small toolbox of creatures for different situations. Allosaurus Shepherd is excellent counter protection and an alternate win condition, Rhys the Redeemed can multiply our board state, and Reclamation Sage can take out pesky artifacts and enchantments.

While this Elves deck does have a combo finish, it has plenty of lords to build a substantial attacking force by themselves. Imperious Perfect, Elvish Clancaller, and the aforementioned Elvish Archdruid can all buff the team as well as provide additional strategic options in the form of activated abilities.

Another mono-colored deck, the mana base is almost entirely basic lands. The exception is Castle Garenbrig, which gives us even more ramp! These lands alone can speed us up by a whole turn in the right situation.

As a creature-based deck, removal is our worst enemy. In addition, we will lose to fliers as we have no evasion whatsoever. For our sideboard we have a few efficient ways to combat these weaknesses though, many of which can be tutored for with Fauna Shaman:

If you’re looking to run a combo deck but don’t want the added stigma that comes with it, then play Elves. It’s enjoyable, rewarding, and surprisingly respected among the majority of the community. But if you don’t care about what other people think, and you’re happy to be the villain, then maybe you’ll want to cast a turn three Karn.

Historic Tron???—10 M, 37 R, 18 U, 10 C

Creatures (13)
Stonecoil Serpent
Palladium Myr
Solemn Simulacrum
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Planeswalkers (11)
Karn, Scion of Urza
Karn, the Great Creator
Ugin, the Ineffable
Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Spells (11)
Mazemind Tome
Mind Stone
Chromatic Lantern
Mystic Forge
Lands (25)
Arch of Orazca
Blast Zone
Cryptic Caves
Field of the Dead
Ghost Quarter
Interplanar Beacon
Karn's Bastion
Mobilized District
Radiant Fountain
Reliquary Tower
Zhalfirin Void

Sideboard (15)
Stonecoil Serpent
Tormod's Crypt
Soul-Guide Lantern
Ratchet Bomb
Sorcerous Spyglass
Chromatic Lantern
Sparkhunter Masticore
Helm of the Host
Mystic Forge
Golos, Tireless Pilgrim
God-Pharaoh's Statue
The Immortal Sun
Meteor Golem
Platinum Angel

Okay, so that may have been a bit misleading, and it’s not really a budget deck; but this deck is still capable of casting a turn three Karn (it just isn’t Karn Liberated)! This started as a meme, but I’ve actually had reasonable success with it. The game plan of the deck is to stay alive long enough to end the game with a single haymaker, often in the form of Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon.

Just like traditional Tron, we plan to cheat on mana to accelerate towards our finishers, but we go about it in a slightly different way. We have playsets of Mind Stone and Palladium Myr, three Golos, Tireless Pilgrim, a pair of Solemn Simulacrum, and a single Chromatic Lantern (which also allows us to activate Golos’s ability). All of this ramp can get us to Ugin or Ulamog in just a few turns; while it’s slower than Modern Tron, we have many ways to protect ourselves while we work towards our early endgame.

We have a diverse suite of planeswalkers both to help us maintain control, and to keep the flow of cards running. There’s a pair of Karn, Scion of Urza, which are exceptional for both card advantage, and generating threats that grow as the game progresses. Being a Karn, Scion of Urza deck, our sideboard is dedicated to maximizing the silver golem’s power and flexibility. The final walker in our list (besides the previously mentioned Ugin, the Spirit Dragon, which I’m sure we’re all intimately familiar with by now) is Ugin, the Ineffable, which is secretly our best card. It reduces colorless spells by two mana, which is an astonishing reduction across our entire deck; this pairs particularly well with Mystic Forge, which will often allow us to spew our deck onto the board.

The remaining nonland cards are a singleton copy of Stonecoil Serpent and a playset of Mazemind Tome. The rock snake is a fantastic scaling threat, often dodging many planeswalkers, creatures, and removal spells. Mazemind Tome has also shown up in Modern Eldrazi Tron recently; its ability to fix early draws, gain life, and draw cards later on has been nothing short of stellar.

To the more eagle-eyed readers, you may have noticed that this is also a Field of the Dead deck. As we have no real color requirements, we’re free to take advantage of the many different utility lands available to us in Historic, so our zombie production is effortless. Most of the lands are self-explanatory, but the most important one is Blast Zone. This will win games and stabilize you more than any other card in the deck.

As I mentioned earlier, the sideboard is dedicated to being a Karn, the Great Creator toolbox; as such, it’s filled with either retrievable copies of cards from the main deck (like Golos or Mystic Forge), or are very situational pieces. Rather than go through every card in detail, I recommend taking this as a rough list, get some practice in and adjust as necessary.

This deck might have started life as part joke, part deckbuilding challenge, but I have it at a place that feels weirdly powerful. At the end of the day, if you end up casting an Ugin ahead of schedule, you’re probably winning anyway. So why not do it in style?

Historic is not only exciting and new, but it’s possibly the most open and diverse format in Magic right now. I hope that this two-part series has helped you to get into it; whether you take a list to start grinding with or take inspiration and get to brewing, there’s never been a better time to get playing!

Scott is an Irish content creator and head of the budget division of the Izzet League. His primary focuses are Pioneer, Modern, and Pauper, and he can be found storming off on Twitch and Youtube.

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