How Cheap Can You Build Priest of Fell Rites In Modern?

Discussion Modern 
Genoslugcs · January 20, 2023 · 5 min
How Cheap Can You Build Priest of Fell Rites In Modern?

Priest of Fell Ritesimage is a card that I've been fond of since it was released. As an avid Orzhov player, the card falls right into my wheelhouse. Others see the power of the card as well and there are several Modern decks built around it. That said, many of the top lists play high dollar reanimation targets like Griefimage ($15), Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobiteimage ($25), and Archon of Crueltyimage ($14). However, Priest of Fell Ritesimage itself is only about $0.28. So, if you replaced the expensive pieces, how cheap can you build Priest of Fell Rites in Modern? About $7. Here's how.

brain-pry

I broke the deck down into three categories. First, is the Reanimation Spells - These are things that bring your creatures back from the graveyard. Next, are the Reanimation Targets - These are the threats that you want to be bringing back. Lastly, there is Mill and Discard Spells - These are going to enable the deck to put threats into the graveyard. With this out of the way, let's jump right into the cards and their prices.

Note: The prices in the deck list are for those particular versions - I'll include the prices I was able to get the cards for at their cheapest as I go over each one.

Priest of Fell Rites (Budget)

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Reanimation Spells

These are the spells that we'll be using to reanimate creatures from the graveyard.

Priest of Fell Rites - ($0.19)

image

Priest of Fell Ritesimage is at the core of the deck and is the main means of Reanimating things. So, four copies are a given. You want a turn-two priest on board whenever it's possible to do so. If you do play this out on curve and can put something good in the graveyard the next turn, you can reanimate as early as turn three.

Unburial Rites - ($0.16)

Moving on from that we also have four copies of Unburial Ritesimage. It's a more costly (mana value wise) way to recur a threat but it gets the job done all the same. Furthermore, the flashback means that it can be cast a second time. This is also useful because it can be discarded and you can get still get some value from it.

Reanimation Targets

For this ultra-budget build, this was the most important category by far. First, because this is the main area that needed to change. Next, is because it had to generate some value the turn it was reanimated. Let me elaborate. Take a card like Archon of Crueltyimage as an example.

It has a massive enter-the-battlefield trigger that affects the board and the game as a whole, as soon as it enters. There isn't a $0.10 version of this effect but I wanted to capture the same concept. Reanimating a large, do-nothing creature on turn three wasn't going to cut it if you had to just sit back and hope you untap with it.

Cragplate Baloth - ($0.8)

image

So, I opted first for four copies of Cragplate Balothimage. The combination of Haste, Hexproof, and being uncounterable means that it can come down and immediately attack while being able to blank most removal. Obviously, it can be blocked but at least that changes the board and will still be around the next turn.

End-Raze Forerunners - ($0.16)

image

Next, I added four copies of End-Raze Forerunnersimage. This doesn't have Hexproof to protect it but it still has the Haste. And unlike Cragplate Balothimage, it can't simply be chump blocked thanks to Trample. So, depending on the matchup, each has its pros and cons. That said, if you ever reanimate Cragplate Balothimage and then End-Raze Forerunnersimage, they'll both have Trample.

The only real downside to running these is that on a budget mana base, you'll never be able to naturally cast either of these spells.

Mill and Discard Spells

This was an equally important part of the deck to get right if it was going to be playable. Getting the cards mentioned above into the graveyard quickly and consistently is imperative. However, considering I wanted to make it as cheap as possible, it had to be done without slightly more expensive cards like Unmarked Graveimage ($1.50).

So, we have a total of 21 ways to put a card(s) into the graveyard - 16 of which are two-mana or lower. Two mana or lower is the sweet spot as it allows for a turn-three reanimation. This number may seem high but a great deal of the cards have discard as a secondary function.

Mire Triton - ($0.10)

image

First up we have a playset of Mire Tritonimage. This does everything I could ever want for only a dime. It mills two cards and gains two life when it enters. After that, it's an amazing chump blocker thanks to Deathtouch.

Raffine's Informant - ($0.2)

image

Then there are four copies of Raffine's Informantimage. It pulls a ton of weight and is perfect for ditching reanimation targets that you have trapped in your hand. Furthermore, it allows you to draw a card as well. Considering the draw happens before the discard, you can get lucky and draw into something to discard. Lastly, as long as you don't discard a land, you'll have a 3/2 blocker/attacker as well.

Bone Shards - ($0.6)

image

Next, is a playset of Bone Shardsimage, which pulls double duty here. It is a cheap way to pitch a threat into the graveyard but it is also one of the ways to deal with opposing threats. You have to have some interaction in your decks and all the better when it has some added value.

Brain Pry - ($0.7)

image

Brain Pryimage is my personal favorite card in the deck. On turn three, you can name your own Cragplate Balothimage or End-Raze Forerunnersimage and discard it. Or you can take a guess at a card an opponent may have (this isn't too hard if you know their archetype) and use this as hand disruption. If you're wrong, this becomes a cantrip and replaces itself.

Funeral Rites ($0.2)

image

I wanted to have some amount of card draw in the deck, so there are four copies of Funeral Ritesimage. For three mana, you''ll draw two cards, lose two life, and Mill two cards. For just two cents, I couldn't really ask for more value out of this card. Plus, it's a major flavor win for all you Vorthos out there.

Angel of Suffering ($1.16)

image

Here we have the most expensive card in the deck - As a result, it is a one-of. Regardless of price, I think that's all you need. It's in the Mill section because that's what it does best but it is also a decent reanimation target as well. First off, a 5/3 flyer is a clock.

Secondly, it negates all the damage that would be dealt to you. This can be heartbreaking to opponents that are trying to race with you. However, you have to be careful not to Mill your entire library. But, if you've negated that much damage without finding an answer you still lived longer than you should have.

Lands

This is the only area I feel I splurged on the budget. Hypothetically you could run all basic and get the price even lower. However, having Black and White mana come turn two is very important. So, I opted to run a total of eight dual lands to help this along. I included four Caves of Koilosimage (0.36 each) and four Scoured Barrensimage. Aside from those, there are 16 basic lands.

 Conclusion

I love to build cheap decks and this was a fun one. I have to say, I'm a little surprised at just how well this thing played given the budget. If you've already got a mana base or Modern staples like Thoughtsieze for B/W, you could have an extremely solid list for the price of a Starbucks coffee. I hope you've enjoyed looking at this as much as I did brewing it.

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