3 Ikoria Arena Budget Decks to Get You Started

MTG_Joe April 19, 2020 2 min

The latest set of MTG is upon us in Ikoria: Lair of the Behemoth, and it's proving to be a monster sized amount of fun (okay, no more puns haha). One thing I try to do on my YouTube/Twitch channel every set release is come up with a variety of semi-competitive Arena "budget" decklists. The general premise of these decks are that they contain around 10-12 Rare or Mythic wildcards at max for a full mainboard and sideboard. Later into the standard season, I do try to model these as budget tier 1 themed decks, but around release time, the decks usually focus on cool new mechanics or cards.

While I continue to work on more lists on the channel, today I'm sharing the first 3 that were fun to play and took down some legitmate decks during their stream. I've included the gameplay video for all the decks listed which includes a decktech explaining card choices and ways in which we sideboard for specific matchups.


[IKO] Budget Blue Flash (4R/4M WC)

Main 60 cards (13 distinct)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (19)
Creature (20)
Land (21)
Side 15 cards (6 distinct)

Gameplay for Budget Mono Blue Tempo Flash

The first deck up comes in at only 4 Rares and 4 Mythics - Mono Blue Tempo Flash. This shell can provide the starting point to take the deck into Simic, Dimir, Izzet or even some 3 color combinations. Pretty much the entirety of this deck can be played at instant speed, where we look to drop down an early threat then disrupt their removal/plays until we win.

Ikoria provided two superb cards for this archetype: 


2-Mana flash creature that reduces the casting cost of our other flash threats and makes them uncounterable. 


Basically Curious Obsessionimage stapled onto a creature. Example of a play is Spectral Sailorimage on 1, mutate this ontop to create a 2/2 flying creature that draws cards when deals damage. This card allows you to have a reoccuring card engine while you interupt your opponent.


The major weakness to this deck will be heavy aggro decks and Shifting Ceratopsimage. While you can tempo out aggro at times and could potentially have a well timed Aether Gustimage for ceratop ons the stack, lack of hard removal may limit the deck. Here is an example of a Dimir Flash list that I played during the Ikoria Early Streamer event last week.


[IKO] Arena Budget Izzet Ominous Seas

Main 60 cards (16 distinct)
Creature (10)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (26)
Planeswalker (2)
Land (22)
Side 15 cards (5 distinct)

Gameplay for Izzet Sea of Spells

Next deck was a heavily requested build around for the card Ominous Seasimage. Ominous Seas allows you to put a counter on it whenever you draw a card, remove 8 and get a 8/8 Kraken token. The deck looks to cycle through a bunch of card draw spells to maximize how quick we can get tokens.

Since we are playing an izzet "spells" deck, I included Crackling Drakeimage as a big beater and two new creatures from Ikoria:


Hasty 1/1 flyer that gets a +1/+1 counter every time we play a non-creature spell. 


Similar to Crackling Drakeimage, Rielle's power is equal to the number of instants and sorceries in your graveyard, with the added bonus that when we discard a card with something like The Royal Scionsimage or thrill of possibilities we get an extra draw.

This deck actually played really well in my sample of matches vs Gyruda decks, since the mill the deck generates powers up the drakes. It also helps find Maximize Velocityimage which can surprise haste out a big threat.

[IKO] Budget BW Sacrifice (12R WC)

Main 60 cards (15 distinct)
Instant, Sorcery, Enchantment, Artifact (10)
Creature (26)
Land (24)
Side 15 cards (5 distinct)

Gameplay for BW Sacrifice

This deck is looking to abuse death triggers to drain out the opponent through Cruel Celebrantimage and Bastion of Remembranceimage. Midnight Reaperimage can refill our hand as our creatures die, and Lurrus of the Dream-Denimage in the mainboard can allow creatures to be cast from the graveyard. There are times with the deck that you can basically lock your opponent, where if they kill your creature, the drain will kill them. There is also the ability with Woe Striderimage to just sacrifice your board and drain them out.

That wraps up this set of budget decks - let me know if there are any decks you want to see in the future. 


About MTG_Joe:


I am a part time content creator on YouTube playing everything from budget brews to Tier 1 lists. I enjoy focusing on build guides and explaining strategy through my videos to help our newer and returning players. I am also very engaged in the Arena Subreddit community, also happy to chat MTG.

Youtube & Twitch: MTG_Joe

Twitter & Instagram: MTG_Joe2


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