For the record: I do think Modern is too expensive. Jund costs around 2000 dollars and that is prohibitive. I would rather have people being able to play the best deck instead of the best decks being out of their reach, because they can’t afford the cards or are not stupid enough put 2000 dollars into cardboard.
That being said…
When you can’t get the best deck, you need to find options. Playing the best deck nerfed with weaker cards just isn’t a choice, if you want to play seriously. You can’t just get a set of [card]Pain Seer[/card]s or [card]Ruin Raider[/card]s in lieu of your [card]Dark Confidant[/card]s. Dropping your power level even a bit is very bad for you. The manabases are quite delicate and you can’t just skimp on those Fetches or Shocks.
So, what do you do? Instead of looking for cheaper options for cards, you should look for cheaper decks. Now, Modern has a wide array of cards. It’s about 50 sets. All of them, I would imagine, have at least a few playable cards in the format (I didn’t really check this, but one would assume). That means hundreds of playable cards. Well, I have no idea how many exactly.
But let’s look at something like Lantern Control. It plays quite a few cards that are not played anywhere else. Now, how did that come about? As far as I understand it (and I didn’t research this one bit), Zac Elsik honed this deck for quite a while and after a time, a group of enthusiasts started to develop the deck further. It probably wasn’t an issue for all of them, or even most of them, but the thing is, it’s a cheap deck. Of course, the price has risen since the beginning, as many of the cards have had more demand after this deck has gained popularity (of sorts).
But… necessity does breed creativity. If you want to play, but don’t want to put a lot of money into it, you need to come up with something different. Of couse, the manabase is still going to cost quite a bit, but you can save money even there by avoiding certain color combinations. (As far as I know) Orzhov is a much cheaper combination than Izzet.
With so many options available, you will find a playable deck for each color combination. Are they all good? No. At least not Tier 1, but maybe close. Let’s take a look at all the guilds:
Azorius – Control
Orzhov – Tokens, Eldrazi
Boros – Burn
Selesnya – Various aggro decks with possible combo finishes, Hate Bears
Dimir – Control, I think there was even a two colored Death’s Shadow at some point
Izzet – Control
Simic – Okay, this one I don’t know, as the Merfolk didn’t really pan out
Rakdos – Hollow One
Golgari – Rock
Gruul – Ponza, Ramp
Things shift, so decks rise and fall as well. If you find the right moment, your strange brew just might make it big. Every deck is a brew at some point.
So, what I’m saying is that part of why Modern is so popular right now, is that you have a wide variety of decks to play against. Last time I was at a Modern GP (which was a while ago), I didn’t play against the same deck twice (granted, I played only seven rounds, but in a similar Standard tournament, I would probably see three, maybe four different decks). The variety of decks, in turn, has happened due to the expense of putting a deck together.
In the end, I would rather have an affordable format…