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Budget Decks Part 3: Blue Control August 18, 2009

Posted by James in : all, strategy, tips, constructed , trackback

The most powerful budget decks should be legal in legacy (Type 1.5), which is a tournament type that allows all cards from normal Magic sets except the most over-powered cards, such as the power 9. The most powerful color in magic is Blue, and it isn’t that hard to make a very powerful blue deck without spending a whole lot of money. A mono blue control deck will be a great way to make all of your friends very frustrated because it won’t let them do anything.

There are so many great blue cards that it shouldn’t be too hard to make a decent deck. I will give you five lists of cards: Decent, Good, better, best, and expensive cards. All of the cards can be found for around $1 or less unless they are on the expensive list.

The Best


Restricted to one card in Type 1 (Vintage) because it is the straw that broke the camel’s back, but it’s still legal in Legacy. Play it to save cards from discard, or to bury bad cards before shuffling your deck.


Another card that is restricted in type 1 because it simply made blue a little too good, but it’s not banned (or restricted) in anything else.


Counterspell is a must-have blue card for any mono blue deck.



In type 1 this is just about as good as counterspell if not better. It isn’t quite as good in legacy.

accumulated knowledge

Almost every deck seems to play this card.

mana leak

Mana Leak was the best counterspell we had in standard for a while. We still don’t have anything better (other than cyptic command).


Removing a card from the game is very important against some decks. This is probably the best card in Mirage. You might have a hard time finding Dissipates for a dollar each, but it is highly recommended.


I love two for ones for one mana.


spellstutter sprite

You usually this to counter 1 casting cost spells, but they can also end up being a win condition.


A potentially free Counterspell.

thirst for knowledge

Will be restricted in type 1, but it’s best used in a deck with artifacts.

control magic

A very powerful card against creatures, and a potential win condition.


One of the best win conditions in blue.


The cards on this decent list have made their way into powerful decks, but they aren’t quite up to par with the cards on the other lists.

Expensive Cards

Banned Cards

These two cards are great budget cards. You can play them in type 1, but not legacy. The tradeoff: Legacy decks tend to be weaker because the most powerful cards aren’t allowed in legacy, and you are allowed to play four Ponders and four Brainstorms in legacy.

Making a Deck

There are three main types of cards in blue: Searching (card draw/deck manipulation), counter spells, and win conditions. Blue is a champion at the first two, but the win conditions aren’t the best. Spellstutter Sprite and Mulldrifter are a couple of the best win conditions and you should probably put four of each of these into your deck.

You can make a very powerful blue deck without spending a lot of money and you can add some cards from the expensive list when you can. Spell Snare and Remand shouldn’t be too hard to get and are some of the better counterspells. Force of Will is the most important expensive card you can get. Mana Drain is the holy grail and it’s worth around $100, but you don’t need it.

Example Deck

4 Brainstorm
4 Ponder
4 Counterspell
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Negate
4 Mana Leak
4 Dissipate
4 Disrupt
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Mulldrifter
20 Island


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