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The Cheapskate's Guide to Magic Deckbuilding: Invasion Block

Although most Magic players want at least one of each card in existence and four of each playable one, not all players have succumbed to the collectibility of the game. Some people only get commons and play with those. They're easy enough to get, a lot of online shops will sell large collections of commons at about 100 for one dollar. The best place by far to look for cheap commons is eBay. You can get them even cheaper if one of your friends buys too many booster boxes looking for those elusive rares and ends up with several dozen of each common. He or she will usually be happy to get rid of a few. Who says Magic: the Gathering has to be an expensive hobby?

Of course there's a downside to this tactic as well. It's harder to build good decks if you only have access to about a third of the number of cards as your opponents. On top of that, commons are usually not the most interesting cards in a set. Most of the time, only straight-forward decks can be made with only commons, because the tricky cards are usually uncommon or rare. But those decks can still be very fun to play, if designed right.

This series of articles is meant to help people get started building decks with only commons. Each article will focus on one block of cards, along with the occasional common from the basic sets.

The Cheapskate's Guide to Magic Deckbuilding: Invasion Block

For the first deck, I noted that Gaea's Skyfolk is very cheap at 2 mana for a 2/2 flier and can do quite a bit of damage if it's backed up with tempo cards like Temporal Spring and Repulse and a few Counterspells.

Clods in the Clouds
4x Gaea's Skyfolk
4x Coastal Drake
4x Dream Thrush
2x Whirlpool Rider

4x Temporal Spring
4x Repulse
4x Exclude
4x Counterspell

4x Explosive Growth
2x Tranquil Path
2x Sleeping Potion

13x Island
9x Forest

Playing this deck shouldn't be too hard. Cast one or two cheap fliers and stall your opponent by making him replay his big spells a few times or just countering them outright. Sleeping Potion and Explosive Growth are additional ways to immobilize opposing creatures long enough to win. Tranquil Paths get rid of bad enchantments when needed.

The only cards that are tough to play are the Whirlpool Riders. They're not there as additional creatures, but as a way to get rid of a bad hand. This deck can stall pretty bad if you don't draw enough creatures or if you draw too much land, so keep the Whirlpool Riders in your hand and start holding back extra lands and unneeded creatures. Then use up all your tempo and counterspells and play a Rider to fill up on them again.

I built the second deck around the interaction of Cavern Harpy and creatures with useful comes-into-play abilities. The idea is to cast and recast creatures like Ravenous Rats, Gravedigger and Phyrexian Rager.

When Harpies Attack
4x Cavern Harpy
4x Nightscape Apprentice
4x Ravenous Rats
4x Phyrexian Rager
4x Gravedigger
2x Vodalian Merchant
2x Vodalian Zombie

2x Urborg Uprising
3x Soul Burn
3x Recoil
4x Terror

16x Swamp
8x Island

This deck is harder to play than the previous one. Use the cavern Harpies to reuse the other creatures' comes-into-play abilities repeatedly. Depending on the situation, you can draw cards, make your opponent discard or reuse creatures from your graveyard. Get as many cards as possible out of it, so you can keep playing lands and finally finish up with a big Soul Burn, which will also replenish the life you lost through your Cavern Harpies and Phyrexian Ragers.

The Nightscape Apprentice is there as a backup to your Harpies. You can use it to save your creatures from removal or to reuse comes-into-play abilities, but without the inherent card advantage from the Harpies. Finally, a turn one Nightscape Apprentice makes a turn two Cavern Harpy possible, which can win the game all by itself if your opponent is low on aerial defense.

Also, keep in mind that Gravediggers are great blockers if you have two of them. Anytime one of them dies, cast the second one to get the first one back into your hand and you've restored the situation to exactly the way it was. A useful way to keep big creatures at bay until you draw into some removal.

The final deck is a domain deck, which uses green land searchers to quickly get a lot of different basic lands into play and cast spells like Tribal Flames to take advantage of that.

4x Harrow
4x Lay of the Land

4x Kavu Scout
2x Samite Pilgrim
4x Thornscape Apprentice
4x Thornscape Familiar
3x Quirion Sentinel

4x Gaea's Might
4x Tribal Flames
3x Strength of Unity
2x Armadillo Cloak
2x Orim's Thunder

2x Swamp
2x Island
3x Mountain
3x Plains
10x Forest

When playing this deck, first get a few weenies into play and then start searching for one of each basic land. When you get to four or five types, you'll be able to get rid of any blockers by burning them with Tribal Flames or simply slamming through them with a surprise Gaea's Might. Orim's Thunder, Strength of Unity and Armadillo Cloak are backups for this strategy.

These three decks are probably not the strongest that can be made with Invasion block commons, but they're a good start. Don't be afraid to experiment by adding new cards and taking out cards that aren't doing well for you. That'll also keep your opponents unsure of what to expect even if you've been playing the deck for a while. There's nothing more damaging to a deck than being predictable.

Have fun!

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Onslaught continues the story of Kamahl, who struggles to cope with what it means to be a druid. At the same time, he has to help his sister, Jeska, who has been transformed into Phage, a being that can kill with a mere touch. At the same time Ixidor, an illusionist with the ability to shape reality is out to kill Phage for killing his one true love. Who will find her first?

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