Hey there, Budget Magic lovers, it’s that time once again! Standard is new again thanks to The Meathook Massacre‘s banning, but a ton of black decks are running around still. So today, we’re going to see if we can go over the top of all the silly Tenacious Underdogs and Graveyard Trespassers on just a $60 budget with the help of The World Spell! The idea is simple: ramp aggressively to seven mana; cast The World Spell; and use it to dump massive, game-ending creatures like Hullbreaker Horror and Titan of Industry into play! Can the plan work on just a $60 budget? How good is The World Spell in Standard? Let’s get to the video and find out; then, we’ll talk more about the deck!
Budget Magic: The World Spell
The World Spell is a ramp deck. Our main goal is to get up to seven mana as quickly as possible, which is the mana value of all of our big finishers: The World Tree, Titan of Industry, and Hullbreaker Horror. Once we get there, we slam as many massive threats as possible and trust that they will take over the game!
Our deck’s goal is simple: get to seven mana as quickly as possible, at which point we can slam some of the biggest haymakers in Standard. Our namesake The World Spell is absurd in our deck. If we don’t have another finisher in hand, we can use the first two lore counters to dig for Titan of Industry and Hullbreaker Horror, which we can put into play with the third lore counter. If we already have two finishers in hand, we can read ahead to chapter three and put two copies of Titan of Industry and / or Hullbreaker Horror into play, essentially doubling our mana! While slamming a Titan of Industry into play with The World Spell is pretty much the same as casting it, using it to cheat a Hullbreaker Horror into play has some sneaky upside since we’ll have all of our mana available so we can cast some spells to bounce our opponent’s permanents or, worst case, to bounce Hullbreaker Horror itself in response to a removal spell so we can play it again the next turn. Of course, if we don’t have The World Spell, we can simply cast Titan of Industry or Hullbreaker Horror, both of which are absurdly powerful ways to finish the game.
While not a finisher in the same way as Titan of Industry or The World Spell is, Silver Scrutiny is another huge payoff for ramping a bunch. In the early game, we can often cast it as a Concentrate or Jace’s Ingenuity to draw a few cards; then, later in the game, we can dump all of our mana into it to draw a new hand. It’s a great way to make sure our hand is always full of action or to find finishers to put into play with The World Spell.
As far as ramp, we have three options, each with a unique upside. Joint Exploration is basically a more expensive Growth Spiral but with the upside that it’s also a more expensive Preordain. The biggest upside is that it’s an instant, which makes it great with Hullbreaker Horror. Topiary Stomper ramps on Turn 3 and then eventually turns into a 4/4 vigilant threat. Finally, The Weatherseed Treaty offers ramp on Turn 3 and a 1/1 chump blocker the next turn, but the last chapter is the surprisingly all-star. Since we only have Forests and Islands in our deck, it gives +2/+2 and trample, which might not sound like much, but in reality, it won us multiple games by allowing a Hullbreaker Horror or a Rhino token to trample over blockers for a lethal attack.
One drawback of being a Simic deck is that we don’t have much hard removal, so instead, we have to rely on bounce spells to slow our opponent down. Fading Hope bounces opposing creatures early in the game and later can let us reuse a Titan of Industry or protect a Hullbreaker Horror. Finally, Consuming Tide is pretty bad, but it feels like a necessary evil to slow down go-wide aggro decks. Ideally, bouncing almost everything will buy us enough time to get to our seven-mana finishers, although in practice, it’s the card that we sideboard out most often.
Playing the Deck
In general, playing The World Spell is pretty simple—ramp, ramp, ramp, cast massive things, and win—although I wanted to mention a couple of specific tricks.
First and foremost, Hullbreaker Horror can do some sweet things with The World Spell‘s last chapter. Even though The World Spell sacrifices itself once the third chapter resolves, it puts a trigger on the stack (letting us put two permanents into play) first. This gives us a window to cast an instant like Fading Hope or Joint Exploration to bounce The World Spell with Hullbreaker Horror so we can cast it again and restart the process of digging for finishers and putting them into play.
It’s also important to note that Joint Exploration lets us put a land onto the battlefield untapped, which means we want to cast it on our main phase in some situations so we can take advantage of the extra mana to play something else at sorcery speed. We had one game where being able to Joint Exploration into Topiary Stomper on the same turn essentially won us the game by getting us up to seven lands to have Topiary Stomper as a blocker.
Oh yeah, I mentioned this one before, but it’s important enough to mention it again: the third chapter of The Weatherseed Treaty wins a lot of games by surprise. Don’t be afraid to read ahead aggressively, especially in the late game when we already have enough mana to cast all of our finishers and win the game.
Record-wise, The World Spell killed it. We ended up going 4-1, and the one match we lost was mostly a result of our deck running clunky (getting mana screwed and flooded with seven-drops) rather than our opponent beating us. It’s worth mentioning that because we have so many expensive cards in our deck, we will occasionally have games where we draw a bunch of Titan of Industry / Hullbreaker Horrors / The World Spells and no ramp and get run over without doing much of anything. While it doesn’t happen often, it will happen every once in a while. That’s the nature of the deck.
As far as changes to make to the budget build of the deck, the only card I really dislike is Consuming Tide, which played even worse than it looks, and it looks pretty bad. The problem is that I’m not sure what to replace it with. It needs to be something that can help keep us alive against aggro decks. Maybe a Workshop Warchief could fill that role? Regardless, feel free to experiment with that slot because Consuming Tide is decidedly not great.
So, should you play The World Spell in Standard? I think the answer is yes. While we did play all black-based decks (Esper twice, Jund twice, and Orzhov), that’s not a surprise in the current Standard. Plus, apart from our second match against Jund where we more or less lost to ourselves and our clunky running, we pretty much crushed all of those decks. The World Spell goes so far over the top of all the Tenacious Underdogs and Graveyard Trespassers of the Multiverse that outside of running poorly or Esper drawing a bunch of counters, it felt hard to lose to the black midrange decks—and those decks are most of Standard at the moment. If you like casting big splashy spells, drawing tons of cards, and having a ton of lands on the battlefield, The World Spell just might be the deck for you!
If there’s one downside to The World Spell, it’s that it’s not super budget friendly on Arena, with the original build coming in at just over 30 total rares and mythics. While this is less than most tier decks (which have closer to 50 rares / mythics), it’s still not cheap by any means. The good news is that we can get the deck down to just 12 rares and mythics (our three finishers). While the deck does get worse as a result, it still looks decent. The biggest loss is likely Silver Scrutiny. While we can replace it with Thirst for Discovery, Thirst will never refill our hand in the late game like Scrutiny can. Otherwise, we drop Consuming Tide for Blossom Prancer and turn Topiary Stomper into Greater Tanuki along with cutting all the rares from the mana base and sideboard. In general, most of these changes aren’t a huge deal, although all of them represent a downgrade in some way or another. If you feel like splurging a bit, try to get Silver Scrutiny back into the list—it’s amazing in the deck. Also, hilariously, all of these changes—cutting 18 rares and mythics from the deck—hardly have any impact on the paper price of the deck, with the total cost dropping just $10 from $60 to $50, so don’t buy this build in paper—the Arena economy is just really weird.
On the other hand, there is some good news: there really aren’t a ton of changes to make to the deck if you have an unlimited budget. While you can improve the mana base a bit with additional rare dual lands and a few channel lands, and there might be a couple of new sideboard options (maybe Wrenn and Seven for control, for example), there’s not much to do. That said, as we discussed before, next time I play the deck, I’m planning to cut Consuming Tide for Workshop Warchief to see if that’s good enough to keep us alive against aggro, although maybe teching for aggro isn’t necessary if we just play black midrange every match.
Anyway, that’s all for today. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.