Greatness, at any cost – Budget Bobs

Arran Sahota | 22nd November 2018

As we all know the card Dark Confidant (Aka Bob). When your opponent has one down and is drawing two cards a turn (always hitting land) except the odd close call with Bloodbraid Elf.

This one single card has been a staple since the start of Jund / B/G decks in Modern. Evey Magic player had asked themselves the age-old question “Why play this when you’re losing life each upkeep”. Look at both Jund and The Rock deck lists three / four drops are the highest the deck will go and then there are 24 lands in the decks, making a drastic life loss a rare occurance.

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Dark Confident gives the player a reliable card draw each turn and also a small body which has a cheap CMC so you can sneak him in against control match-ups. Though of course, it’s all well and good raving about how good of a card he is, but you’d like to think so with a hefty price tag of $64.99 each, and you’d hardly ever play less than 4. The first printing was in Ravina: City of Guilds and has been reprinted in Modern Masters 2013 and Modern Masters 2015. With no re-print in the Ultimate Masters spoilers.

So today is going to be about looking at other cards which could be decent budget options.

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Pain Seer does the same thing as Dark Confident but there is the condition that it pretty much has to attack for his ability to then trigger – “Inspired” which is when it becomes untapped you get to reveal the top card of your library and lose life equal to that card’s CMC. This is kind of cool with something like Smugglers Copter as you can crew on your opponents end step to then draw a card on your upkeep, it also kind of gives you more control when your life total is too low and you don’t want to take any more. This card has better status being a 2/2 not a 2/1 and is the same CMC. 

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Dark Tutelage is pretty much the same as Dark Confident without the body and costs one more mana to cast. This is a good option, although you might fall into the trap when you’re super low on life and you need to get rid of the effect but you can’t destroy it. Being also three mana brings me to believe that a control deck can have the mana up to counter the spell, even if it is a Remand it puts you back a turn and they can draw a card. This a really good option but riskier as you don’t have easy ways to destroy it. 

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Phyrexian Arena is very similar to  Dark Tutelage but not having to the life lost from the convert mana cost but instead just losing a life on upkeep. Removing this card from play as from the fear of death doesn’t fight as hard as Dark Tutelage as you are able to give more of an idea of how many turns you have left.  The big downside is double black meaning you would have to be in a more of black base lands in your deck to cast it with ease. 

Ruin Raider; also known as reverse Bob, this happens at the end step by the Raid trigger which is when you have attacked with a creature this turn. This a super odd compared to the rest as this happens at the end step so you lose having that card in your hand for your whole turn which is just losing information for your turn. 3/2 stats are nice as it will trade upwards but the one more mana in the cost can hurt as there is so much removal out there. Ruin Raider is good if you are playing more removal then creatures as you will have a lot of removal at instant speed. 

Blood Scrivener is super helpful in grindy matchups as hands tend to go empty pretty quickly from all the one mana discards or cheap removal spells. Though what happens if you draw two lands your kind of stuck if you can’t remove it from your hand. Meeting this demand can be hard and you will have to build your deck with cheap spells to make this effective which can be easily done but do you limit yourself too much?. Blood Scrivener is very powerful in its own right and you lose one life on upkeep instead of the convert mana cost of the card drawn and then when your too low chump block with it or remove it yourself. 

All the options have their downsides and nothing compares up to the Bob but when you need card draw you will have Greatness, at any cost. 

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