A Guide to Budget Vintage


Hey all, there are some larger Vintage events coming up, including the first TCM event on 27th May and Eternal Masters on 10th June. Although there are fun and stupid things you can do with a fully powered decks we still would love for people to play even without access to these cards. Outlined below is a collection of decks – with no power – that are viable in the current metagame.

The term budget is something relative to the format in question. For a budget Legacy deck you may be able to port cheaply from Modern; in Vintage it might be something you can port from Legacy. While I have noted several mono-colored decks first , some decks will need you to have access to dual lands to operate optimally.

On the deck selection

As most people know, Vintage is defined by the presence of power. In most formats decks will progress through stages: set up, midgame and endgame/finishers. Through moxen and Black Lotus, Vintage decks will sometimes have access to up to six mana on turn one meaning some games someone can enter mid or late game this early. Most of the decks listed below fall into the category of hate decks, which means they focus on disrupting explosive starts through heavy disruptive elements, backed with cheap and efficient threats. As many powered Vintage decks are designed with having access to fast mana they will struggle to function if it’s cut off.

Your Legacy deck

Although some decks lose their viability due to not having access to four Brainstorm and Ponder, several decks are still able to be played competitively with little to no changes. If you decide to take this route I would recommend maximizing access to hate cards for artifacts and graveyard between the boards. The following are decks consider are:

  • Burn (with lots of smash to smithereens)
  • Dredge
  • Elves (with skull clamp)
  • Infect
  • Lands (auto win against shops for the most part)
  • Oops all spells
  • Painter
  • Reanimator
  • RG belcher (with your choice of draw 7s)


Merfolk is a tempo deck that is able to capitalise against desks that play islands through Lord of Atlantis and Master of the Pearl Trident, which can be forced out through Cavern of Souls. It also features multiple free counterspells in the form of Mental Misstep, Force of Will and Daze. It has a very similar play style to the Modern and Legacy versions , while also having access the hate cards Null Rod and Chalice of the Void.




Dark Times

Dark Times is a mono-black combo deck that focuses around Dark Depths. It features multiple ways to combo through Vampire Hexmage and Thespian Stage, using heavy discard elements and a full set of tutors.



Engineered PlagueBOB


Eldrazi (Jaco Drazi)

This is the same deck that got banned in Modern, ran around causing trouble in Legacy and yes it looks the same in Vintage. Considering the high CMC of some of the creatures, this can still be viable when running unpowered due to the use of sol lands. The deck runs four Null Rod in the main board as it’s main form of disruption – which often comes down turn one – and also has Thought-Knot Seer and Phyrexian Revoker for back up.




White Trash

A deck for fans of Death and Taxes in Legacy, this deck is also a mono-white creature deck featuring low costed hate bears which have the power to prevent your opponent from operating. This is backed up with Wasteland style effects; sometimes playing up to nine of them.

Spells (6)



RW Trash (Simian’s Mum)

This follows very much the same game plan as White Trash with the bonus of red, giving you access to Magus of the Moon to attack their mana base on multiple fronts. This particular version of the deck comes courtesy of Steven Stamopolous who used it to help win the team eternal event at Next Level Games Ringwood.




Fish (Hate Bears)

This covers a wide range of decks with a similar set of themes common in the mono-coloured decks outlined above: cheap disruption combined with pressure. The decks also uses one drop mana dorks like Noble Hierarch and Deathrite Shaman to have access to more mana earlier in the game. More colours means your mana base can be unstable, but it also gives you access to a wider range of threats. I’ve listed a couple of different combinations below: BUG Fish and Noble (UGW) Fish – both designed by myself – and Abzan Hate bears designed by Stephen Meade. These decks tend to focus on a specific deck type to beat: The UWG list focuses on beating Monastery Mentor and Storm, while the BUG list is more general using Abrupt Decay as a catch all removal.

Noble Fish (Those Meddling kids)

Lands (17)




BUG Fish

Lands (18)



Abzan Hatebears

Lands (22)





Ur Delver

Delver is a tempo deck operating in a similar manner to its Modern and Legacy counterparts. The aim is to resolve an early threat like Delver of Secrets or Young Pyromancer, which you protect with counterspells drawn by cantrips. There is also access to Lightning Bolt to burn your opponent out. The main advantage of this deck in Vintage is you have access to Gush – one of the best draw engines ever printed. Some variant which splash green for better artifact hate.



Sideboard (15)


Unpowered Oath

Oath is one of the few decks here that doesn’t function as a hate deck. This is a combo deck that works with having Oath of Druids in play while your opponent has a creature. Using Forbidden Orchard to forces your opponent to gain creatures, making this a two card combo deck. There are several options for your oath win: Blightsteel Colossus or Emrakul , the Aeons Torn combined with Dragon’s Breath; a controlling version playing Griselbrand and winning through overwhelming card advantage; or a more recent innovation of Sun Titan and using it to recur Saheeli Rai, making infinite copies to attack with.





Land still is a hard control deck. Its main engine is the card Standstill backed with Treasure Cruise, Dig Through Time, and Snapcaster Mage to recur them. This allows you to maintain a full hand and play counterspells. The deck wins through either beating down with creatures or manlands or by ultimating Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Creatures (4)





Thanks for reading, I hope this has given you some ideas or inspiration, if you have any thoughts or comments feel free to pass them on.


Graham “the King”

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