Top 5 Best Budget Decks of the Format
- Dario Çelmeta
Budget decks allow players to compete without having to break the bank, and they're often, by necessity, innovative. However, the term "budget deck" is subjective. These decks might include one or two expensive cards that are necessary to their strategy, while the core remains affordable to the casual collector.
What qualifies as budget is up for debate, to a degree, and may be different for each individual player. But let's be real, not all of us can afford a playset of Forbidden Droplet. On the other hand, avoiding each and every expensive card doesn't lead to viable decks. With this article, I've tried to strike a balance between affordable and competitive. Some of the following decks are undeniably better when built without budget limitations, but the core of their strategy can work even at a reasonable expense. Without further ado, here is the list of the best budget options for the March 2021 format, listed in no particular order.
Blind Going-Second Dinos
The core of this deck was printed in what is arguably the best structure deck ever—Dinosmasher's Fury. The most expensive card of the deck is Animadorned Archosaur, which is usually played at two copies. If you can afford two copies of the Archosaur, you can run the deck at full power. Going-Second Dinos are a one-turn-kill machine, they can break boards, can play through several negates, and they have the best boss monster in the game: Ultimate Conductor Tyranno, which can set the monsters on the opponent's field as well as attack all of them. Not to forget what is arguably the best protection card in the game, Miscellaneousaurus. The protection you get from Miscellaneousaurus, allows you to play freely through your opponent's board and most of the hand traps. This is one of the few decks that can get over Red-Eyes Dark Dragoon with more ease than other strategies.
Sky Striker is far from its glory days, but you should not count it out yet. The deck can still hold its own even though it requires a really skilled player to pilot it. The deck still tries to use its toolbox capabilities and switches out the still banned Sky Striker Mobilize - Engage! for Pot of Desires. The two most expensive cards you will need to buy to run this deck at full power are Sky Striker Ace - Roze as well as Accesscode Talker, the OTK enabler for the deck. Players have tried switching Talker out for other cards, but to be fair, it's what makes the deck viable in today's meta. But other than these two cards the rest of the core is fairly affordable and very easy to get. You could even play the deck without Sky Striker Ace - Roze, but it adds consistency to the deck being another sky striker name to link summon; you need ways to see a main deck sky striker monster to start your plays. Some players have been playing with two copies of Roze, but I prefer it at one.
Prank-Kids as a strategy always intrigued me. Previously, Prank-Kids biggest strength was the fact that opponents often had no idea what the deck did. We all knew about the high number of special summons in a turn, but mostly the players did not understand the end goal of the deck. That was until this format. Prank-Kids is booming and more and more players are playing the deck. The boss monster Prank-Kids Battle Butler is effectively a double Raigeki on board if you have a Prank-Kids Meow-Meow-Mu in the graveyard. Also, the deck has ways of winning in time through life point gain and burning your opponent with Prank-Kids Dropsies and Prank-Kids Lampsies, respectively. The deck is not dependent on any insanely expensive cards to win, and that's why it makes for a very good budget option.
Any deck that can stop your opponent from using one of the most powerful mechanics in the game—special summon—is bound to be strong. Anti-Meta Stun uses Fossil Dyna Pachycephalo to lock the opponent out of special summoning and Inspector Boarder to stop them from activating monster effects altogether—unless they waste resources in summoning different monster types of link, xyz, ritual, fusion, and synchro. The main focus of the deck is keeping these two cards on the field, attacking your opponent's life points turn after turn and protecting them with cards like Dogmatika Punishment, Solemn Judgment, and Mirror Force. The deck does not use overly expensive cards even though I would suggest investing in a playset of Pot of Extravagance as the deck relies on seeing the core monsters in hand.
When True King of All Calamities was banned, many people ruled out Virtual World as a strategy because the deck lost its main win condition. However, players yet again proved their skills of innovation and kept the deck viable. The core of the deck is not expensive and—although not as powerful as before—can still hold its own by setting up a multiple-negation board via cards like Ultimaya Tzolkin and Virtual World Kyubi - Shenshen, which will always be trouble for opponents whose deck needs access to the graveyard. Do not count Virtual World out yet, the deck still has high potential, and not to mention, is a lot of fun to pilot.
In conclusion, "budget deck" is a relative term as I mentioned before. However, all of the decks listed above can function and can hold their own without having to break the bank. I have to admit that there are variants of these decks that use cards like Triple Tactics Talent or Forbidden Droplet. But, strong as these cards may be, they aren't required for any of the strategies to work, unlike for example Animadorned Archosaur for the Dinos. When allocating our budget to invest in a deck, we as players sometimes have to make hard choices between cards that are absolutely necessary for a strategy and cards that are just plain powerful.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily Cardmarket.