Last year’s Pauper Gauntlet was a lot of fun, and Illusory Tricks, the only deck I’ve ever brewed that is worth mentioning, came in second. This year, though … this year.

Runner-up isn’t good enough.

I maintain that Illusory Tricks is the best 19-land deck in Pauper Magic. In fact, it might be the best Pauper deck out there.

Yeah, sure. BorosKitty won the Pauper Gauntlet last year. And yeah, I’ve never beaten BorosKitty with Illusory Tricks. None of that matters, though. This year, Tricks are going to be played, and we’re going to take home the gold. How, you ask? By being meaner and more resilient than ever. Here is the current deck list.

Illusory Tricks, v.4

Land (19)
18 Island
Quicksand

Creatures (23)
Krovikan Mist
Dream Stalker
Cloudfin Raptor
Phantasmal Bear
Fathom Seer
Spire Golem
Stormbound Geist
Mulldrifter

Spells (16)
Counterspell
Vapor Snag
Preordain
Piracy Charm
Deprive

Artifacts (2)
Bonesplitter
Sideboard (15)
Stormbound Geist
Hydroblast
Coral Net
Curse of Chains
Mulldrifter
Serrated Arrows

The current list is a collaborative effort between Chris Weaver (cweaver) and Ahniwa Ferrari (bava). It no longer folds to control like it once did, and it still plays great matches against most decks in the meta. The hardest match-ups are Hexproof and other evasive decks like Green One. Affinity can also be tough. None of those are unwinnable, but they can be challenging.

But then, what’s life without a challenge?

Dan played Illusory Tricks recently in a Pauper Playthrough against MBC. The match highlights just how well Tricks deals with control these days.

 

And here is a recent match I played against Affinity.

 

And here is Chris playing in a 2-man against Hexproof.

 

So as you can see, even in its toughest match-ups, Tricks has game. Will it be enough to win this year’s Gauntlet? I say YES, but we’ll all have to watch and find out.

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