Pauper Gauntlet, Season 2: It’s Time to Submit Your Brews

It’s time!

The Pauper Gauntlet begins today!

You can now submit your decks in the comments to the main article on mtgolibrar.com: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-pauper-gauntlet.html

Let me say that again: You can not submit your deck in the comments to this article, you have to go to the article named “The Pauper Gauntlet” on mtgolibrary.com here: http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-pauper-gauntlet.html

Gray_Merchant_of_Asphodel

Things to think about when you submit your deck on mtgolibary.com

You will need to submit a link to your deck list including a sideboard plan in the comments to the post on mtgolibrary.com

* Your deck is submitted for possible entry into the Pauper Gauntlet by posting in the comments on mtgolibrary.com (and nowhere else).

* Your deck must have a deck list available on a web site that I can link to. There are several such services. Here is one: http://tappedout.net/mtg-deck-builder/

* You should include a sideboard plan to help me play the deck. The better you make the sideboard plan, the better my chances are to win with the deck. Remember that a majority of Magic duels are played after sideboarding. Here is a good example of a template for a sideboard plan: http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-13-stompy/

* Your deck is more likely to be approved if it is unique (no similar deck is already approved), if it has community interest, if it has achieved results in Daily Events or Premier Events, if you have a sideboard plan and if you have tips about playing the deck.

* You can submit a deck until noon GMT+2 September 10th in the comments on mtgolibrary.com. If you submit later, your deck will not be in the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet.

* I have the final say whether a deck is approved or not.

* The list of all the decks approved for the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet will be posted on mtgolibrary’s blog on September 14th 2014.

* You do not have to have access to Magic Online to submit a deck. In fact, several brewers were not on Magic Online for the last season. After all, you don’t play your own deck in the Pauper Gauntlet. I play all decks.

Once again – submit your decks in the comments to my article on mtgolibrary.com and not here.

The prequalified decks

23 decks were prequalified for the Gauntlet.

Those are, in the order they will play round 1:

Deck #1: Illusory Tricks
http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/06/illusory-tricks-better-than-second-place/

Deck #2: Love Train
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/06/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-2-love-train.html

Deck #3: Exhume Control
http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/07/exhume-and-crush-a-primer/

Deck #4: Izzet Control
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-4-izzet.html

Deck #5: The Green One
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-5-green-one.html

Deck #6: DelverFiend
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/the-pauper-gauntlet-competitor-6.html

Deck #7: Delver
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/07/the-pauper-gauntlet-competitor-7-delver.html

Deck #8: BeastDown
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-8-beastdown.html

Deck #9: Goblins
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-9-goblins.html

Deck #10: Tron
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-10-rug-tron.html

Deck #11: Trinket
http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-11-ub-trinket-control/

Deck #12: BorosKitty
http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/06/boros-kitty-a-primer-in-two-parts/

Deck #13: Stompy
http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/07/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-13-stompy/

Deck #14: AzoriusKitty Shaffa Style
http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-14-azoriuskitty-by-shaffawaffa5/

Deck #15: MBC
http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-15-mono-black-control/

Deck #16: AzoriusKitty Power Style
http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/08/pauper-gauntlet-competitor-15-azoriuskitty-by-power_t/

Deck #17: MUC
http://magicgatheringstrat.com/2014/08/pauper-gauntet-competitor-17-mono-blue-control/

Deck #18: White Hot Hottie
List is presented later in this article

Deck #19: Icy Hot Hottie
http://puremtgo.com/articles/rogue-side-episode-4-icy-hot-hottie-and-young-pyromancer

Deck #20: Familiars Sparow style
http://archive.wizards.com/Magic/Digital/MagicOnlineTourn.aspx?x=mtg/digital/magiconline/tourn/6767329

Deck #21: Five Color Green
http://mtgostrat.com/2013/04/1984/

Deck #22: Burn
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2013/11/the-top-decks-of-pauper-burn.html

Deck #23: Affinity
http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.se/2013/11/the-top-decks-of-pauper-affinity.html

White Hot Hottie
jphsnake’s deck Icy Hot Hottie earned a spot in this years Gauntlet by making it far in the first season of the Pauper Gauntlet. He did not feel comfortable with the list in a post-Temporal Fissure environment so he remade the deck into Icy Hot Hottie. I felt that this list was quite different, so I simply allowed both decks to enter the Gauntlet.

[d title=”White Hot Hottie by jphsnake”]
Land
6 Plains
5 Mountain
1 Island
1 Swamp
1 Forest
1 Evolving Wilds
2 Boros Garrison
2 Dimir Aqueduct
4 Terramorphic Expanse

Creatures
4 Mulldrifter
3 Mournwhelk
3 Kor Skyfisher
3 Auramancer
2 Walker of the Grove

Spells
4 Angelic Renewal
3 Seal of Fire
1 Rush of Knowledge
4 Journey to Nowhere
4 Flame Slash
3 Darksteel Ingot
3 Cloudshift

Sideboard
1 Rush of Knowledge
4 Ingot Chewer
1 Kor Sanctifiers
3 Lone Missionary
4 Pyroblast
2 Faultgrinder[/d]

Looking forward to your deck submissions!

For more about what the Pauper Gauntlet is, check out this video

Submit your decks here:

http://mtgolibrary.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-pauper-gauntlet.html

Green Eggs and Morph: Brewing with Khans of Tarkir

Hi all,

At the time of this article’s writing, 31 cards out of 269 have been spoiled from the upcoming set Khans of Tarkir, and 20 of those are basic lands. In particular, I have my eye on two: [c]Jeskai Elder[/c] and [c]Thousand Winds[/c]; it’s not for the cards themselves but what they represent in their keyword mechanics. It’s strange; blue stuff typically doesn’t catch my eye, but here we are nonetheless.

jeskai elderJeskai Elder, AKA reverse [c]Storm Entity[/c]

Prowess is an interesting mechanic. It reads “Whenever you cast a noncreature spell, this creature gets +1/+1 until end of turn). We have seen things like it before, in the earliest days of Extended with [c]Quirion Dryad[/c] Miracle-Gro, ever-present in Pauper ever since Return to Ravnica brought us [c]Nivix Cyclops[/c], and with the aforementioned [c]Storm Entity[/c]. Essentially, prowess is a storm mechanic, rewarding you for playing many spells in one turn.

Unfortunately, the rest of Jeskai Elder’s text, to draw a card and discard a card whenever you deal combat damage to a player, is counterintuitive to how we have used the Prowess-like effects before. Jeskai Elder’s Prowess effect wants to be taken advantage of in one turn, like [c]Kiln Fiend[/c] and [c]Wee Dragonauts[/c], but his triggered ability wants to go long. When we went for an incremental advantage in [c]Quirion Dryad[/c], the +1/+1 did not go away at the end of turn, so it made more sense than Elder.

So why is Prowess interesting, then? Well, two things set it apart: it works with enchantments, with green spells, and with artifacts, and we can go mono-blue with the [c]Quirion Dryad[/c], cantrip deck.

If we want to recur an enchantment, I don’t think we can get better than [c]Auratog[/c] and [c]Rancor[/c], when format limitations allow. We can bypass that until we see more cards.

[c]Quirion Dryad[/c] was never particularly hungry for green spells that weren’t [c]Berserk[/c], either. So where can we go with [c]Jeskai Elder[/c], then? Eggs, of course! Rip through your deck and attack with a big dude. Fortunately, the power boosts will replace themselves, so an all-in strike isn’t as risky as others could be.

Jeskai Elder in Legacy

Here is an early draft for Legacy.

[d title=”Jeskai Egger (Legacy)”]
Land
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Archaeological Dig
4 Island
4 Seat of the Synod

Creature
4 Etherium Sculptor
4 Jeskai Elder

Artifact
4 Aether Spellbomb
4 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Helm of Awakening
4 Sensei’s Divining Top
4 Shadowblood Egg
4 Skycloud Egg
4 Sungrass Egg[/d]

So here we aim to play [c]Jeskai Elder[/c] as fast as possible (the cantrips will help us draw into him) and have either [c]Helm of Awakening[/c] or [c]Etherium Sculptor[/c] to draw through our deck. We can find 2 [c]Sensei’s Divining Top[/c] to go infinite, and [c]Aether Spellbomb[/c] to clear any blockers.

We have to ask ourselves: is Elder better than [c]Brain Freeze[/c]? Probably not, because we have to untap with him in play, whereas we can draw into the latter as we combo. Still, we bookmark the idea, and we move into Modern where the storm instant isn’t an option.

Jeskai Elder in Modern

[d title=”Modern Eggers (Modern)”]
Land
4 Island
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

Creature
4 Etherium Sculptor
4 Jeskai Elder

Artifact
3 Aether Spellbomb
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Chromatic Star
4 Cloud Key
3 Cloudstone Curio
3 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks
4 Mind Stone
1 Spine of Ish Shah
2 Terrarion[/d]

Once again, go big or go home. We play our eggs until we have Elder in play, we assemble [c]Cloudstone Curio[/c] and either [c]Cloud Key[/c] or [c]Etherium Sculptor[/c], and we attack for approximately 7,000,000. It’s a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.

Jeskai Elder in Standard

If this archetype is to be a thing in Standard, then it will be on the back of [c]Chief Engineer[/c]. That deck will be awkward, though, because you’re looking to cast creatures to enable Convoke, but the creatures won’t grant the power boost.

The things that makes me most excited about Prowess is that if there is an ability on the Prowess creature that goes well with Prowess – unlike [c]Jeskai Elder[/c] – making it more accessible to the all-in strategy, or a keyword plus number effect like Prowess 2 or, much less imaginable, Prowess 3. If Prowess sees play, there are three things we all will want to be holding onto:

  1. Phyrexian Mana Spells: [c]Dismember[/c] and [c]Gut Shot[/c] will be good for clearing blockers. [c]Mutagenic Growth[/c] and [c]Gitaxian Probe[/c] will boost the power and toughness for free, and all of this will happen for free-to-little cost.
  2. Alternative cost spells or untap lands spells: [c]Daze[/c] and [c]Force of Will[/c] will protect our large creature in their formats, and [c]Snap[/c] and [c]Snapback[/c] will make way for the big swing.
  3. Things that double power: We’ve seen [c]Assault Strobe[/c] before, but there is a slew of them, including artifacts which boost Prowess and double power such as [c]Inquisitor’s Flail[/c] and [c]Fireshrieker[/c]. Look for [c]Berserk[/c], [c]Tainted Strike[/c], and [c]Psychotic Fury[/c] to be correlative in power to Prowess.

thousand winds[c]Thousand Winds[/c], as in, Modern Morph may have a chance

This card is okay. It will certainly be an early pick in limited pack one because it is a big flyer, and later on it will be less enticing. In constructed, I can’t see it shaking up anything. Still, now that I see Morph, I see potential.

There was a Pauper list that combined cards like [c]Undying Evil[/c] and [c]Otherworldly Journey[/c] with [c]Treespring Lorian[/c] and other big beaters. In Modern there are so many cards that can reset a Morph creature, but there is only one creature to take advantage of: [c]Akroma, Angel of Fury[/c]. We have seen it in Death and Taxes lists, and it has actually gone 3-1 and even 4-0 a number of times. There are even some lists that max out on the red inferior Akroma along with [c]Flickerwisp[/c] and [c]Cloudshift[/c]. If there is just one more solid morph guy that we can cheat in for four mana, I will be really happy. If there are multiples, then look out. We have [c]Venser, the Sojourner[/c], [c]Ghostly Flicker[/c], [c]Restoration Angel[/c], and many more cards for the necessary blink effect.

As it is, let’s say [c]Thousand Winds[/c] is the best we get. Is it worth cheating in a 5/6 flyer? We’ll see. Here’s my first draft. As soon as something better is spoiled, go ahead and sub him in.

[d title=”Modern Morphin Power Rangers (Modern)”]
Land
4 Flagstones of Trokair
4 Ghost Quarter
13 Plains
2 Tectonic Edge

Creatures
4 Akroma, Angel of Fury
4 Blade Splicer
4 Epochrasite
4 Flickerwisp
2 Kitchen Finks
4 Restoration Angel
4 Thousand Winds

Other Spells
4 Cloudshift
4 Path to Exile
3 Otherworldly Journey[/d]

So I’ve converted a Death and Taxes list into a strictly blink and enter the battlefield deck, as Modern Death and Taxes often has so little of the latter. We keep the bare minimum of disruption and life-gain so that we don’t throw away some of our good match-ups, and we emphasize the “Death” element of the namesake. A more all-in approach could be to play G/W with mana elves for the turn 3 swing using a big beater, but I don’t particularly see a reason for that just yet.

I hope you enjoy the couple of brews and ideas, and that you can be excited about the direction of this set with me!

-drinkard

Standard Pauper Show, Issue 8

Section 1: I’m having a crisis of faith…

Standard Pauper is super fun. Without it, I would have probably installed MTGO, try to play something in the JFF room, been beaten horribly over and over, and then uninstalled MTGO. I would have never met you guys. I would have deprived myself of the opportunity to interact with some of the coolest folks I’ve ever virtually met.

I owe a lot to the format. So it pains me to admit that I just don’t feel the same about Standard Pauper. It’s not you, it’s me. We are just in different places right now in our lives. I feel I need to see other formats. I think we are both mature enough to remain friends.

What’s that? You don’t mind? Woah, you’re into this too? You mean, this whole time I could have been doubling up on formats and you would have been cool with that? Well, why didn’t you say something? This is awesome! We can hook up like any time and we can both go play with whomever we want on the side. You’re the best format ever!

Well, it’s official. I am changing my format status to available.

IFWT_Relationship-Status1

So, now that that is out, let’s discuss where to begin.

I will still be covering Standard Pauper. But the show will now be branching out into other budgetary formats. Commander, Cube, SilverBlack, Proxy Card making/tournaments (yes, there are entire proxy tournaments!) Be on the look out for a new era of deck promiscuity. I hope you will enjoy watching!

Section 2: This week in review


MPDC 26.03
25 August 2014
Standard · 20 Players
17 Decks · 85% Reported
3 rounds Swiss
Top 8 playoff
Hosted by gwyned

1st WB Aura* by beatnik bobby
2nd ETB* by MyGalaxy
T4 Rapid Red* by ByeBye
T4 WW Tokens* by gwyned
T8 RDW* by Carnuz
T8 BUG Defender Mill by hero1141
T8 Beasts by MisterMróz
T8 Creatureless Dimir Mill* by Muzac

Section 3: The winning deck!

WB AURA
Standard · Aggro-Control
1st by beatnik bobby in MPDC 26.03 (5-1)

Actually, this will cover the runner up. Unfortunately, the deck app on PDCMagic still does not have Journey Into Nyx and M15 cards so I can’t reliably put together the winning deck by Beatnik Bobby.

ETB

Standard · Aggro-Control
2nd by MyGalaxy in MPDC 26.03 (4-2)

[d]
Creatures
4 Invasive Species
4 Centaur Healer
4 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Keening Apparition
4 Sunspire Gatekeepers
4 Ubul Sar Gatekeepers
3 Saruli Gatekeepers

Spells
3 Negate
3 Peel from Reality
3 Prophetic Prism
2 Duress

Lands
3 Selesnya Guildgate
3 Simic Guildgate
2 Azorius Guildgate
2 Evolving Wilds
2 Forest
2 Orzhov Guildgate
1 Dimir Guildgate
1 Golgari Guildgate
1 Island
1 Plains
1 Swamp
1 Transguild Promenade
2 Radiant fountain

SIDEBOARD
4 Revoke Existence
4 Razortip Whip
3 Dispel
1 Duress
3 Pillar of Light
[/d]

Wow, another name for this deck could have been “Nope, no Theros!” Not one, except for Revoke Existence (which isn’t a new card.)

This is a crazy attempt at Flickergate. I like it. It has moxy! Could you imagine Moxen in standard? That would be nuts, everyone would run the full set in any deck because why wouldn’t you?

Let’s look at a sample opening hand:

As it is my biggest concern with decks like this, I had to mulligan a 1-lander. The six cards above were well worth the mulligan. You have an enchantment killing bear, a recursions tool, and a ETB creature. And mana to cast them all.

Now let’s look at the next six cards:

These six weird me out, it is almost an exact repeat of the first six. This set has the Recur Bug so that’s a huge plus. You will be sitting in a great spot after you gain a ton of life and have 3/3 blockers at the ready. This deck should make Sam pretty happy. Also, I feel like this is a more “fair” version of Flickergate. [c]Ghostly Flicker[/c] should have never been common.

MyGalaxy mentions that the biggest issues facing this deck are Voltron and RDW. The biggest of the two threats is Voltron as he only has peel to deal with large creatures. As we have seen, this is less effective with Bestow as they just get a ton of extra creatures when you peel the Black Lion.
What do you think about this deck?

Section 3: Podcasting

Still working on this. Unbeknownst to me, Apple does not make it easy to do this. I see why MTGCast has such a hold on market. We rednecks don’t take kindly to being told what to do. Therefore, I do not feel that MTGCast and me would get along very well.

Community Participation League #2: Launch

Hello Ladies and Gentlenerds!

It’s over, it’s all over. The large lady has hummed her tune, the smoke has cleared, the fires have been extinguished and we have crowned a winner.

Congratulations Sirpoptart, you did the impossible and won the League. You climbed the mountain of competition, leaving destruction in your wake, and that’s amazing.

You get the prizes, you get to pick the format for the second league, you get the glory. Bask in it, sir. Bask.

Okay, enough basking. Get your cards in order, Mr. Tart, because it’s time to start up League #2.

League #2 Format

Formats are important. Everyone has their favorite format, one that really lights their fire. Sirpoptart got to pick the format and he said, “Let the community decide.” You guys definitely had a favorite, and that was Classic Pauper! This was like a 2-0 landslide victory. Other formats never even got to play a land. Just a massive vote turn out for Classic Pauper.

And like lightning down from the heavens, the format swept across the blearily land, bringing joy and revelry to us lowly peasants.

Good old Classic Pauper. The most expensive budget format ever. 10 tix commons. 60 tix decks. All commons all the time!

Here are the official Pauper Deck Construction Rules.

Basically as long as a card has even been printed (online) as a common, you can play it. Minus this ban list:

  • [c]Cloudpost[/c]
  • [c]Cranial Plating[/c]
  • [c]Empty the Warrens[/c]
  • [c]Frantic Search[/c]
  • [c]Grapeshot[/c]
  • [c]Invigorate[/c]
  • [c]Temporal Fissure[/c]

League Two Registration begins now!

Sign up is as simple as can be. First, if you have not registered an account on the site, do that. Make sure to use a valid email address, because some communication about the league will happen via email.

Second, leave a comment in this thread that includes your: preferred name, MTGO username, and time zone. It should look something like this:

“Hey, I am signing up for the league. My name is Sam, my MTGO handle is Vaultboyhunter, and I am in CST (GMT -6).”

It is important that we know which time zone you are in. I didn’t know how important that was last League until like week 4, and by then it was just too late. I need that info for the spreadsheet so even if you played in the first league please let me know. I don’t need to know what your address is, or city or state, just the time zone. So if you live in Sweden you would tell me you are GMT +2 or whatever you are.

The last step is that if you are new to the League this time, be welcome! It’s a fun time, we’re all pretty nice, and we all look forward to playing you.

And that’s it! League #2 in a nutshell!

Registration is OPEN for about 12 days, until September 8 at 9pm CST, so a few days longer then the first league.

Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell your parents, your children, and your childhood crush. Let’s get a ton of people involved and playing folks, and let’s share the awesome format that is Classic Pauper!

I was going to do my Wrap-Up for League #1 this week, but with all this good information about League #2 to share I wanted to focus on that. Next Monday I’ll provide an update on how we are doing for registration, and will include a League #1 wrap-up including decklists and my thoughts on how the first league went! In the we do have a spot in the forum to talk about the League and share lists, so check it out!

As for Pauper lists, Bava wrote a great article last week with a metric carp-ton of lists. That’s a lot. We’ve also got a topic set up to discuss League #2, and a whole section devoted to Pauper. Go nuts!

And that’s it everyone, you guys did amazing in the first league and I cannot wait for the second one to start. Pauper is a great format, and I love it. I cannot wait to play you guys soon.

Sam AKA Vaultboyhunter

A Bite Out of Modern 1: Affinity

Hi all,

If anyone has conducted any research on playing a format on a budget, then he has seen many decks that do one of the following two things:

1) Skimps on the mana-base. After all, a playset of [c]Scalding Tarn[/c] or [c]Misty Rainforest[/c] will run you well over the cost of several regularly-cashing decks. Now that Return to Ravnica and M15 have brought us shockland and painland reprints, let’s run a full complement of those instead! I am rather guilty of this, playing UG Infect with [c]Yavimaya Coast[/c] and [c]Breeding Pool[/c] with no Mistys and Bogles with no [c]Horizon Canopy[/c] to a few finishes.

2) Clocks in on a budget even after optimization. This means to play a deck that, at its optimized level, is still relatively cheap. Examples of this are Mono-Blue Tron, Burn, and Soul Sisters, but others tend to pop up from time to time.

Very rarely do you find someone who replaces core, non-mana base cards with others that are more budget-friendly. In fact, most readers are advised against it. Personally, I believe as writers and players we owe it to ourselves at least to examine the decks that succeed even while playing “sub-par” cards. So, throwing caution and traditional advice out to the wind, let’s look at them! That’s what this series is about.

As such, I will find them and present them to you.

I am not so interested in discussing decks that replace [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] with [c]Avacyn’s Pilgrim[/c]. It is functionally similar while being strictly inferior. Another example are the frequent Burn decks that play no [c]Goblin Guide[/c] or [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c]. Often these creatures are replaced with more burn spells, but none of these spells remotely equal the power of these two creatures that serve the same purpose.

What I enjoy finding, then, are those lists that replace an expensive card with a card that serves a totally different purpose. When I do find them, I can actually look at what the deck loses and what the deck gains in the process.

Take, for example, this 100 ticket Affinity list that MTGO player zbishop carried to a 3-1 finish in a daily.

[d title =zbishop Affinity]
Land
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus
3 Island

Creatures
4 Arcbound Ravager
2 Etched Champion
2 Master of Etherium
4 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
4 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge

Other Spells
4 Cranial Plating
4 Springleaf Drum
3 Thoughtcast
2 Welding Jar

Sideboard
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Etched Champion
2 Galvanic Blast
1 Ghost Quarter
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Rule of Law
2 Spell Pierce
1 Wear/Tear
1 Welding Jar
1 Whipflare
[/d]

Compare this list to another from the same day that costs $400 in tickets today. This list also went 3-1.

[d title=Traditional Affinity]
Land
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus
1 Island

Creatures
4 Arcbound Ravager
3 Etched Champion
1 Master of Etherium
2 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
4 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge

Other Spells
4 Cranial Plating
4 Mox Opal
4 Springleaf Drum
2 Thoughtcast
2 Thoughtseize
1 Welding Jar

Sideboard
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Blood Moon
1 Dismember
1 Etched Champion
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Gut Shot
1 Master of Etherium
1 Rule of Law
2 Spellskite
1 Thoughtseize
1 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Whipflare
[/d]

When I say “traditional,” I mean moreso, and of that time.

So, then, what is Affinity?

After all, its namesake doesn’t exist as a keyword on any of its cards. When Mirrodin block came out, here are some things Affinity changed:

  1. Affinity changed what players’ perception of a warped metagame was. You had Affinity decks and decks that played lots of artifact hate in their 60.
  2. Affinity made every artifact land into an [c]Ancient Tomb[/c] without a drawback and that produced colored mana.
  3. Affinity changed how Wizards approached blocks because it was so awkward to have Affinity alongside Onslaught block’s tribes. Since then, they have worked much harder at giving some flow between blocks and making standard smoother.

Affinity is ever-present in Pauper, where you actually do see some cost reductions, and [c]Myr Enforcer[/c] comes down for free. It’s seen play in Vintage as a mono-brown archetype, sometimes including [c]Arcbound Crusher[/c] and [c]Genesis Chamber[/c] (which, in my day, was my paper Vintage deck). In Modern, though, color-producing artifact lands are banned, and the only recognizable feature of Affinity after Mirrodin 2.0 is the [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c].

Still, Affinity is a lightning fast and very consistent combo deck that attacks from a few different angles: [c]Signal Pest[/c] and [c]Steel Overseer[/c] swarm, [c]Cranial Plating[/c] and [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c]-pumped flyers, and [c]Galvanic Blast[/c] burn. Just when you think you have the answer in [c]Stony Silence[/c] or [c]Suppression Field[/c], the Affinity player has an [c]Etched Champion[/c] to go long.

At this point, its core most likely looks something like this:

[d title=”Affinity core cards”]
Land
1 Basic Land
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Darksteel Citadel
2-4 Glimmervoid
4 Inkmoth Nexus

Creatures
4 Arcbound Ravager
2 Etched Champion
1 Master of Etherium
2 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Signal Pest
2-4 Steel Overseer
4 Vault Skirge

Other Spells
4 Cranial Plating
2 Galvanic Blast
4 Mox Opal
4 Springleaf Drum
2 Thoughtcast
[/d]

For a total of about 55 cards that are difficult to argue. Yes, I even include [c]Mox Opal[/c] in there, even though the whole point is to highlight a deck that got there without it.

Each of these articles will examine what the decks keep, what the decks lose, and what the decks gain. Let’s look at the differences between the 100 ticket deck and the 350 ticket deck of its time.

+2 [c]Island[/c]
-1 [c]Etched Champion[/c]
+1 [c]Master of Etherium[/c]
+2 [c]Memnite[/c]
-4 [c]Mox Opal[/c]
+1 [c]Thoughtcast[/c]
-2 [c]Thoughtseize[/c]
+1 [c]Welding Jar[/c]
Those out of the main, and the sideboard saves big losing [c]Blood Moon[/c], [c]Dismember[/c] and 2 [c]Spellskite[/c].

Now what I want to stress here is that the player didn’t lose the 4 [c]Mox Opal[/c] and simply port in four mana sources that are cheap. The land count is only two extra in the budget list. Also he didn’t add something ridiculous like [c]Talisman of Dominance[/c] like some budget advisers may do. The cards work together differently, now, so let’s look at what we have.

What the deck keeps

100 Ticket Affinity is still fast. Two lands and a [c]Springleaf Drum[/c] still allow for a turn 2 [c]Cranial Plating[/c] activation and attack with [c]Memnite[/c] and [c]Ornithopter[/c]. Losing the Opals probably cost a half turn. It plays an extra [c]Master of Etherium[/c] to add some more bite to the additional two [c]Memnite[/c] cards, since they are often lackluster in game play.

Finally, there are certain snapshots of MTGO and metagames where you will expect to see [c]Path to Exile[/c], perhaps even in multiples. The additional [c]Island[/c] are good here and when you get Path’d when the land is in play or in your hand. It is awful, playing traditional Affinity, for [c]Path to Exile[/c] to have no drawback. Finally, you have a little more insurance against [c]Blood Moon[/c], for what it’s worth.

What the deck loses

[c]Mox Opal[/c] is not just about speed of a big attack on turn 2. No, it also provides colored mana for cards like [c]Thoughtseize[/c] which are essential to slow the opponent down one turn or eliminate the myriad cards that hate Affinity so strongly. Opal is also a reliable source of 2 mana for [c]Thoughtcast[/c] which one can expect budget Affinity may have trouble playing its additional copy. Having the additional artifact that is likely to stick around is much better for your metalcraft cards as well; the 3rd [c]Etched Champion[/c] in the more expensive list is much stronger than a 3rd in the budget version; if [c]Welding Jar[/c] must be activated, or [c]Memnite[/c] chumps, you don’t want your great white hope to lose protection.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the deck loses its ability to equip [c]Cranial Plating[/c] at instant speed with any consistency. Affinity wins so many games this way, but the black mana just isn’t there often enough without Opal.

What the deck gains

The additional [c]Thoughtcast[/c] and [c]Welding Jar[/c] are a nice little package. [c]Thoughtcast[/c] will ensure that if a game goes long, you still have gas by the end, and [c]Welding Jar[/c] provides fuel for the draw engine to keep going at a lower cost in addition to protecting your key elements. One of the worst things to happen is to have someone [c]Lightning Bolt[/c] your [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] in response to a desperation sacrifice from [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c], before the counters can get it out of range. Jar is valuable insurance here.

Our take-aways from this are that established decks are so for a reason: they play insanely powerful cards with strong synergies when used together. They are the brick wall that shape the format, and sometimes a few bricks can be removed for the wall to remain standing. The 100 ticket list won as many Theros block packs as the much more expensive one, and I think it could continue to do so.

How to move on with it?

Well, since then, Affinity has received a nice little gift in [c]Ensoul Artifact[/c]. ChannelFireball writers have suggested that perhaps the enchantment could replace some number of [c]Steel Overseer[/c], as the latter is weak at times and does nothing to impact the board state. How sweet is it to target [c]Vault Skirge[/c], [c]Ornithopter[/c], or even [c]Inkmoth Nexus[/c] at times with the aura and make them 5/5 flyers, sometimes with great abilities tacked on? If not a big flyer, then why not an indestructible [c]Darksteel Citadel[/c] for fun and profit? If nothing else, just throw it on a [c]Springleaf Drum[/c] with your empty hand, as it now has nothing better to do than finish your opponent off.

Wanna go really big with budget considerations while playing the powerful established list? Well, try a substitution of 4 [c]Steel Overseer[/c] with 4 [c]Ensoul Artifact[/c]! I am, and hopefully you’ll see my name published here shortly.

Hope you enjoyed. There are lots of lists like this out there if you scour the results pages. I’ll keep feeding you more as the weeks come though.

-drinkard

Highlights from GP Kobe

So, last week I talked about the best cards in Theros, and I ended up saying [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] was my favourite one, because it would help Burn a lot. Surprisingly enough, I was right. I tend to make awful predictions.

Burn was already getting more and more important in the online metagame, but lacked real life results to back it up. Well, here they are. There were two mono red decks in the top 8 of GP Kobe, and both sported a cool playset of Eidolons. Why am I happy Burn became important in Modern? Because I think it is a healthy deck for any format. It regulates the game, feeding on greedy manabases, thoughtseizes, and big cards that you can’t do anything about. No, I am not a fan of BGx decks. Plus, with Burn you get to see this:

bxDj6K5

This is a Burn mirror with both players placing a [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c] on the table before the game started. A sight to behold. One of them ended up being unable to draw. If only he had played an [c]Elixir of Immortality[/c]! Anyway, Burn was not the only surprise in Kobe, as was to be expected: Japanese players tend to be inventive brewers. Let’s see what transpired.

The other finalist: No Affinity

The deck is a rather unconventional Affinity deck (even though I’ve been told it isn’t completely original and has already showed up in other occasions). It’s called No Affinity because there is no card with the keyword printed. Is it Affinity then? In a way.

[d title=”No Affinity, Yuusei Gotou (Modern)”]
Land
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
4 Glimmervoid
2 Mana Confluence

Creatures
4 Ornithopter
4 Memnite
4 Vault Skirge
4 Tarmogoyf

Sorceries
2 Thoughtseize

Instants
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Shrapnel Blast

Artifacts
4 Mox Opal
4 Springleaf Drum
4 Chromatic Star
4 Cranial Plating
4 Darksteel Citadel

Enchantments
4 Ensoul Artifact

Sideboard
1 Thoughtseize
2 Sunbeam Spellbomb
2 Path to Exile
2 Wear & Tear
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Whipflare
2 Spellskite
2 Aven Mindcensor[/d]

I love this deck, and not only because of the beautiful round numbers. Looks incredibly solid, and the results showed it is. [c]Ensoul Artifact[/c] is here to stay, it seems. [c]Shrapnel Blast[/c] seems incredibly fun too: I don’t really know if it was popular already, but it is a fantastic spell. [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] is the midgame: rather more difficult to remove than the other critters, efficient, dodges artifact hate, and [c]Cranial Plating[/c] suits him perfectly. A beautiful list. I must try this deck. I really must. The important thing here is this deck isn’t just swapping [c]Arcbound Ravager[/c] or [c]Etched Champion[/c] for [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]: it’s a rather different animal.

Another interesting list in the Top 16 was this one:

[d title=”WUR Midrange, Tamura Ryo (Modern)”]
Land
3 Mountain
1 Island
1 Plains
4 Arid Mesa
1 Hallowed Fountain
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Seachrome Coast
2 Steam Vents
1 Sulfur Falls
1 Sacred Foundry

Creatures
4 Young Pyromancer
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Geist of Saint Traft

Sorceries
4 Serum Visions
4 Gitaxian Probe

Instants
3 Path to Exile
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Lightning Helix
3 Remand
2 Electrolyze
2 Spell Snare
1 Izzet Charm

Sideboard
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Aven Mindcensor
1 Magma Spray
1 Shattering Spree
1 Counterflux
1 Negate
1 Combust
1 Vendilion Clique
1 Dispel
1 Wear+Tear
1 Stony Silence
1 Izzet Staticaster
1 Spellskite
1 Relic of Progenitus[/d]

This is what happens when you think about the weaknesses of UR Delver (which is a great deck) and try to solve them. There have been green splashes for [c]Tarmogoyf[/c], and URW midrange with [c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c] exists, but this is a new thing.

It worked, too: Top 16 out of more than 2,000 players is quite a feat. I am not quite sold, as the greedy manabase makes playing [c]Blood Moon[/c] impossible, and this deck vs the UR version gives a lot of free wins thanks to [c]Blood Moon[/c]. Also, you necessarily have to reduce the number of counterspells, including [c]Remand[/c], which works wonders on the regular version. On the other hand, [c]Path to Exile[/c] is a very powerful removal, [c]Lightning Helix[/c] is a fantastic card, and [c]Geist of Saint Traft[/c] is the strong threat this deck normally lacks, one that is very difficult to deal with. In all, an interesting experiment.

And then we’ve got this:

[d title=”Eggs, Taisuke Ishii (Modern)”]
Land
1 Glimmervoid
1 Tendo Ice Bridge
4 Blinkmoth Nexus
2 Mystic Gate
1 Adarkar Wastes
4 Plains
3 Island

Creatures
1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Sorceries
4 Open the Vaults
1 Polymorph

Instants
2 Remand

Artifacts
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Mox Opal
1 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Chromatic Star
4 Terrarion
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Prophetic Prism
3 Mind Stone
3 Thopter Foundry
4 Krark-Clan Ironworks

Sideboard
2 Hurkyl’s Recall
3 Erase
2 Path to Exile
2 Supreme Verdict
3 Leyline of Sanctity
1 Silence
1 Pyroclasm
1 Seal of Primordium[/d]

The deck is not so surprising per se, but the few refinements and changes are. [c]Krark-Clan Ironworks[/c] is a known deck I have had to suffer occasionally, but [c]Thopter Foundry[/c] is a such a great fit in this deck I am surprised I haven’t seen this yet. Generates tokens, it’s a sacrifice outlet, the tokens can be fodder for the Ironworks, and occasionally one of these tokens becomes an [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c]. Such a beautiful list. Not that I have any intention of running anything resembling Eggs, but if I were, it would probably be very, very similar to this list.

So, that’s it. Three interesting decklists that have recently placed well in an important tournament. You can access the top 8 here, the top 9-16 here, and the top 17-32 here. Should you see anything interesting, don’t hesitate to leave a comment.

See you next week!

Legacy on Tuesdays, No. 8: Fooling Around with Artifacts

Welcome Back!

After all of those long articles about long [c]High Tide[/c] and the longevity of Legacy, I wanted to do something shorter. This week I want to share a simple idea that I had with the community. This deck is indubitably not competitive; the title of the article includes “fooling around!” I was trying to get some serious use and abuse out of [c]Mycosynth Golem[/c] in a Legacy environment. The big man himself requires an insane number of artifacts to be in play to be free, and allows the deck to freely cast all kinds of other broken threats once he hits play. Check out this list:

[d title=”Legacy Mycosynth Golem, aka Big Affinity”]

Artifacts
4 Welding Jar
2 Scale of Chiss-Goria
4 Tooth of Chiss-Goria
4 Mox Opal
Creatures
2 Platinum Angel
4 Shield Sphere
4 Darksteel Juggernaut
4 Mycosynth Golem
4 Phyrexian Walker
4 Memnite
4 Ornithopter
4 Frogmite
4 Myr Enforcer
Lands
4 Darksteel Citadel
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Tree of Tales
Sideboard
4 Great Furnace
3 Vault of Whispers
4 Steel Overseer
4 Signal Pest

[/d]

There it is. A crazy attempt to abuse [c]Mycosynth Golem[/c]. There are a few casual players out there who use the Golem in a similar manner, albeit without lands. This gives the deck a “no mana” feel, and doesn’t really amount to much in any given semi-competitive environment. I have attempted a few improvements; please allow me to elaborate.

Upping the Ante

Unlike most lists that use [c]Mycosynth Golem[/c], I have opted for artifact lands. These serve two puposes – firstly, they are artifacts, and up the affinity count for Golem and friends. Secondly, the provide an extra mana to cast anything for which there are not enough artifacts to cast for free via affinity. Playing [c]Myr Enforcer[/c] with only 5 total artifacts in play courtesy of a couple of artifact lands is always a good thing. That lofty {11} for Golem is rather difficult to reach in just a few turns, even with a ton of free spells. [c]Mox Opal[/c] serves the same purpose as the artifact lands for this reason; it nets an extra mana while being a free artifact. [c]Lotus Bloom[/c] is a possibility, but is non-functional as both an artifact and mana source until turn three at the earliest.

As far as actually winning the game, this is quite difficult without a [c]Mycosynth Golem[/c]. Most other casual Golem lists find it completely impossible to win without him, but this version enables the occasional poking to death with lots of little dudes and assistance from [c]Tooth of Chiss-Goria[/c]. There are plenty of potential win conditions with massive artifact dudes… For this list, I opted for [c]Darksteel Juggernaut[/c]. It is almost certainly going to come down the same turn as a [c]Mycosynth Golem[/c], and be a huge indestructible beater that the opponent will likely always have to block. [c]Blightsteel Colossus[/c] is also a possibility, and is more commonly used among casual lists, but he will almost never be cast the same turn as a Golem. [c]Platinum Angel[/c] was my other choice for a win con; she can swing for 4 in the air each turn, and prevents untimely loss from decks like ANT, provided she can be cast early enough. Both of these are more practical than the usually employed Blighty from a mana and win standpoint.

The sideboard is definitely rough. The [c]Steel Overseer[/c]s and [c]Signal Pest[/c]s in the board make poking the opponent to death much easier… However, they cost mana. A few extra artifact lands can supplement these two. Other than that, I believe that there is not much to do in the board.

Problems

The deck is slow. Slower than molasses in winter. The Canadian winter in the Yukon. Yeah… it is not on the same level that affinity is for speed. It is possible to play a [c]Mycosynth Golem[/c] within the first five or so turns of a game. Any longer and most decks will have killed you. Any unfair or combo deck will beat this one senseless. The little dorks can stall for time against creature decks, but this will ultimately just slow the deck down as it loses artifacts. Fortunately, a 9/9 Juggernaut or [c]Platinum Angel[/c] will usually win, but without them it can be painful.

The deck also goes topdecking very quickly. After dumping artifacts, there is not much to do. This goes along with a big, huge point of total impracticality. This deck could work if it was very cheap to put together and could find a metagame niche. It is expensive. [c]Mox Opal[/c]s alone are $80+ a piece. The deck is totally clunky and unrealiable. I wish this was an easy Legacy newbie deck, but it isn’t.

That’s all for this week! Please leave a comment as to what you think about the playability and usefulness of weird cards in this diverse format, or if you have any suggestions for this deck. Thanks for reading and hope to see you soon!

/Peyton

Faithless Looting #4: Catching Mono

Welcome back to Faithless Looting, my weekly look at budget lists and budget formats.

Last week I wrote a Classic Pauper Decklist Extravaganza to honor the return of Pauper Daily Events. This week I’m going to go over the contest stuff and then we’ll look at a few of the “rogue decklists” I didn’t mention that went either 3-1 or 4-0 in an event this past weekend. No dilly-dallying this week, either, we’re going to make it short and sweet.

Faithless Contest #3: Winner!

The guidelines for contest #3 was to submit an innovative, interesting, fun, or powerful deck for Classic Pauper. I got some really cool submissions and ended up playing four decklists on video. I’ll link the videos below. I honestly really liked all four decks, so thanks everyone for submitting them. They were really fun to play.

The winner this week, for his Creatureless Black-blue Control list (“0C-BuC”) is linsane47, aka Jlai47 on MTGO.

Congratulations! You will receive two items, randomly selected, from my current Loot Crate stash!

Here is the winning decklist.

[d title=”Creatureless Black-blue Control, e.g. ‘0C-BuC’ (Pauper)”]
Land
2 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Island
4 Dimir Aqueduct
4 Dimir Guildgate
2 Bojuka Bog
12 Swamp

Spells
4 Innocent Blood
4 Chainer’s Edict
4 Pristine Talisman
4 Probe
4 Deep Analysis
4 Evincar’s Justice
4 Serrated Arrows
4 Consume Spirit
3 Drain Life

Sideboard
3 Curse of the Bloody Tome
4 Distress
4 Choking Sands
4 Befoul
[/d]

Even though I broke my rule and changed the deck before playing it, it felt really powerful and, perhaps most telling, my opponents kept quitting mid-game when they realized how hopeless it was to oppose me. It filled me with a sense of malicious glee. Check out the video below:

 

The other decks I played included Thallid Party from reader Archivold:

 

Gerge’s “Death Deluxe” list:

 

And Yummy-To-The-Bones from reader Magachef:

 

Thanks everyone! Let’s check out the contest for next week.

Faithless Contest #4: Rules

I hate shelling out cash for land. Even [c]Mutavault[/c]. So today’s challenge is an homage to the (generally) affordable land bases of mono-color decks.

1. Design me a fun, innovative, or powerful budget mono-colored deck.

2. Post it in the comments below.

3. Submissions due before Monday, September 1.

Clarifications

  • Decks may be for ANY format. I will give an edge to budget decklists submitted for non-budget formats.
  • Your lists can’t include any land that cost more than $1 on MTGOTraders.
  • I will highlight the most interesting decks in next week’s article, and may play some on video for the YouTube channel. One lucky winner will get two items, randomly selected, from my current LootCrate stash. Check out the videos at the bottom of this post to see what’s available.
  • I’m still not getting a ton of submissions, so your chances of winning just for playing are still pretty high!

Faithless Decks #4: Pauper Rogues

Here are some of the rogue decklists that went 3-1 or 4-0 in the first daily events this past weekend.

From the event on August 23.


[d title=”Golgari Tortured Existence (muuchan) – 4-0″]
Land
3 Barren Moor
4 Evolving Wilds
3 Forest
1 Golgari Rot Farm
9 Swamp
4 Terramorphic Expanse

Creatures
1 Battlefield Scrounger
4 Crypt Rats
2 Golgari Brownscale
1 Krosan Tusker
2 Predatory Nightstalker
4 Putrid Leech
4 Satyr Wayfinder
3 Stinkweed Imp
1 Thrull Surgeon
2 Tilling Treefolk
3 Werebear

Spells
3 Commune with the Gods
2 Gnaw to the Bone
4 Tortured Existence

Sideboard
1 Gnaw to the Bone
3 Duress
1 Faerie Macabre
1 Festercreep
2 Nightshade Peddler
3 Snuff Out
2 Spore Frog
2 Wickerbough Elder
[/d]

Decks have been trying to abuse [c]Tortured Existence[/c] since the card was printed. Some recent reprints, along with the M15 addition of [c]Satyr Wayfinder[/c], make the deck more viable. My opinion is that TE decks can do well until they become too big a part of the meta and get hated out. They rely strongly on the signature enchantment and if it is destroyed they don’t work nearly as well.

I will be the first to admit that I am not an expert on Tortured Existence decks, however, so do feel free to ignore me and win even through the hate. It’s a cool deck and I like seeing it place in the big events.


[d title=”Love Train (cmhhss1) – 3-1″]
Land
6 Forest
6 Island
2 Seat of the Synod
4 Simic Guildgate
2 Terramorphic Expanse
1 Tree of Tales

Creatures
4 Axebane Guardian
2 Drift of Phantasms
3 Gatecreeper Vine
4 Mulldrifter
4 Overgrown Battlement
4 Trinket Mage
4 Wall of Roots

Spells
3 Counterspell
3 Freed from the Real
2 Train of Thought
3 Vines of Vastwood
3 Viridian Longbow

Sideboard
4 Aurochs Herd
3 Deadly Recluse
3 Hydroblast
3 Nylea’s Disciple
2 Wickerbough Elder [/d]

This is one of the more resilient combo decks in Pauper. I don’t know why, exactly, but it did really well in season 1 of Dan’s Pauper Gauntlet. The idea, of course, is to get infinite mana via [c]Axebane Guardian[/c] and [c]Freed from the Real[/c]. You can use the mana to draw your entire deck via [c]Train of Thought[/c] (then play your entire deck), and eventually ping your opponent to death with [c]Viridian Longbow[/c]. Some decks also use a big burn spell as a finisher, but I approve of the Longbow wincon.


[d title=”UR Delver (Fueitei) – 3-1″]
Land
2 Great Furnace
10 Island
3 Izzet Guildgate
1 Mountain
2 Terramorphic Expanse

Creatures
4 Cloud of Faeries
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
4 Spellstutter Sprite
2 Stitched Drake

Spells
4 Counterspell
3 Daze
4 Flame Slash
2 Lightning Bolt
3 Mana Leak
4 Ponder
4 Preordain

Sideboard
2 Curse of the Pierced Heart
2 Electrickery
2 Electrostatic Bolt
2 Gorilla Shaman
2 Hydroblast
3 Pyroblast
2 Sea Sprite [/d]

Not to be confused with the UR Control list that I posted last week. People are always trying to get a more aggro/tempo version of UR Delver to work. Sometimes it does, but in general I recommend against trying. Mono-Blue Delver is generally going to be a better bet.


From the event on August 24.


[d title=”UB Teachings (obZen) – 4-0″]
Land
4 Dimir Guildgate
2 Evolving Wilds
8 Island
4 Swamp
4 Terramorphic Expanse

Creatures
2 Crypt Rats
1 Mulldrifter
1 Twisted Abomination

Spells
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
1 Crypt Incursion
2 Disfigure
4 Exclude
1 Ghastly Demise
1 Grim Harvest
4 Innocent Blood
3 Mystical Teachings
4 Prohibit
1 Repeal
1 Wail of the Nim

Sideboard
1 Ghastly Demise
1 Capsize
3 Circle of Protection: Red
2 Diabolic Edict
1 Disenchant
4 Jace’s Erasure
1 Negate
1 Plains
1 Rest for the Weary [/d]

I did mention UB Teachings last week, but just as a link under the UB Trinket list I posted. UB Trinket went 3-1 in this event as well, so UB Control in general was well-represented. [c]Mystical Teachings[/c] is an incredibly powerful card and still deserves play even though Izzet Post is not a thing anymore.


[d title=”White Weenie Tokens (Nata_tsuki) – 3-1″]
Land
20 Plains
2 Secluded Steppe

Creatures
4 Icatian Javelineers
2 Selfless Cathar
4 Squadron Hawk
4 Veteran Armorer

Spells
4 Guardians’ Pledge
4 Journey to Nowhere
2 Prismatic Strands
4 Raise the Alarm
3 Sunlance
3 Triplicate Spirits
4 Battle Screech

Sideboard
2 Beckon Apparition
3 Rune of Protection: Red
4 Standard Bearer
2 Sundering Growth
4 Suture Priest [/d]

We looked at a couple White Weenie lists last week, but none that made good use of our new token tech, [c]Battle Screech[/c], which became common with Vintage Masters, and [c]Triplicate Spirits[/c] from M15. This list has both and is probably a good example of what White Weenie decks will look like in more events to come.


Those are the rogues. Other than that, we saw a lot of Delver and MBC, some Tron, some MUC, some Familiar Combo, and quite a few of the other decks from our article last week. No huge surprises. I’m still expecting a Madness deck to sneak into a 3-1 spot at some point.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to submit your mono-color budget lists in the comments. I look forward to seeing them!

Until next time, keep on looting!

/bava

How I Tried, and Failed, to Create an Index of Magic Articles

It’s worth mentioning from the get-go that my professional background is as a librarian. I have a Masters in Library Science degree from a prestigious university, and I’ve been working in and around libraries for more than ten years now. I mention this background because I want it to be clear than when I set out to create an “index” of Magic articles, I had a lot education and experience behind me. I knew the Index was a thing that could be very useful, and I knew, more or less, what needed to happen for it to come to fruition.

I still think an Index is a great idea and would be useful, but I also realize now that I don’t really have the capacity, even with the help of a few capable individuals, to make it happen the way it needs to. If I worked on it myself full-time I could do it, but I’m not at a point in my life where I’m willing or able to do so. More is the pity.

In this article I’ll talk a little bit about what an Index is, why I thought it would be good, and why it failed.

What the Index?

In research, indexes are traditionally finding aids. The index in a book, for instance, helps you find other information in that book, listing key words alphabetically and pointing you to page numbers where whose words appeared. In academia, there are entire sets (like 10-20 giant books sometimes) that are subject indexes; you look for a subject, or an author, or another specific entry point, and it will point you to additional resources, often articles or books, to help you complete your research. Since most research happens online these days, many of the paper indexes have been phased out, but electronic ones still exist and are useful.

Whatever the subject or medium of an index, the purpose is the same: collect either a selective or exhaustive list of resources on a particular subject, or by a particular author, or in a particular domain, and then add consistent data to those lists items to make those resources easy to find. The data added, called metadata, might include the obvious things: author, title, source, etc; but could also include additional fields, such as: publishing date, publishing city, subject, peer-review status, # of citations, and more. The more metadata you add to an index, the more ways your users have to find the resources they need.

Why an Index?

The purpose of an index of MTG Articles, then, should start to become apparent. Take ALL the articles written about Magic on a daily basis and start keeping a list. Then, to that list, add consistent metadata so that people who use the index can search and find articles effectively. In this case the metadata would include format (Modern, Standard, Pauper etc), site of publication, and author. After that it would also have any pertinent subjects, tags, or cards that were covered. Articles about Commander, for instance, would always be indexed with the name of the Commander card itself. That way, over time, anyone could use the index to find all the Commander articles about [c]Mayael the Anima[/c] decks, or whichever Commander interested them the most. No matter who wrote them. No matter where they were published.

There are examples of MTG Indexes out there that are basically glorified RSS feeds, and they don’t do any of the things that an index should really do. They don’t add metadata, most importantly, and they don’t apply consistent standards across articles and sources. If you pull a site’s metadata with their articles, for instance, you might end up with some sites sending you articles tagged “Pauper”, some tagged “Classic Pauper”, and some tagged “Pauper and other budget formats.” Plenty won’t come tagged by format at all. The only way to do this is by hand; there’s no automated way in the world to pull in articles and sort them by format, especially if they aren’t already tagged that way.

Feedreaders are great. I used Google Reader for years, and I use InoReader now, and they are incredibly useful for keeping up on articles. They aren’t great, though, for finding articles from the past, and they don’t organize articles for you in any meaningful way. If I was going to create an index, it had to be something different, and more useful, than an RSS feed.

How an Index?

I started off trying to find ways to do the whole thing myself. I’m pretty good at finding efficient ways to accomplish routine tasks (e.g. tasks where you are basically doing the same thing over and over again). The trick is that every minute you shave off the process can save you an hour or two in the long run, so it’s well worth it to be as efficient as possible.

I started by collecting as many Magic feeds as I could find. Seriously, I have THE list of sites publishing Magic articles. I won’t claim it’s complete, but it is very large. Since some sites didn’t / don’t have feeds, I had to use online tools to make feeds out of site content. PucaTrade, for instance, has fine articles, but since it’s not originally a blogging platform, there are no feeds.

Once I had my list, and my feeds set up, I tried an RSS-to-Post converter for WordPress. This took the articles from my feeds and automatically created WordPress posts for each of them. I figured all I would have to do then is cut the description down to “snippet” length, add some data, and I’d be set. The problem was that I got a lot of junk data that came over with the articles, and I often still had to skim the articles themselves to figure out the topic, so I wasn’t saving much time with the whole “importing” process. By the time I got rid of the junk data and added good data, I was probably down time from doing it manually.

So I switched to doing it manually. To index an article I would select one from the feed. Then I would either copy the article description used in the feed or use the initial paragraph of the article as a “snippet” or description for the index. Then I would add the author information at the top, and the link under the description telling viewers to “Read the original story at LINK”. Then I would add a category for the format, e.g. Pauper, and tags for all the other pertinent info, e.g. “commander, mayael the anima, josh, cmdr decks, uriah oxford, gatheringmagic.” That example used this article as a source, and you can see an issue that’s common in the process, the author information is hard to find. Uriah Oxford edits the CMDR Decks series, great. But Josh put this decklist together, and his name never shows up in full on the site. I’d like to give Josh credit, but who is he? What’s his last name? Having a tag for just “josh” doesn’t seem very helpful, but if I send time trying to track down every little citation mystery, the process becomes far less efficient.

I realized pretty quickly that I wasn’t going to able to do the whole index by myself. I needed help and I needed a good way to break things down so everyone’s workload was manageable. I put the whole thing aside, actually, for quite a few months. Then I started this website, MagicGatheringStrat.com. With the site came authors who were willing to contribute to the Index, so I created some guidelines, broke the index down by format, and let them loose. For the most part, they did a really great job, but there were problems.

Problem #1: For an index to be useful, it has to be consistent

An index should either be exhaustive, trying to include EVERYTHING in its given domain, or it should be selective, carefully picking only the “best” things for inclusion. Either way, it should be clear to the reader which it is, and it should be consistent. Unfortunately, when people are working for free, and when they have busy lives and their own time constraints, it is difficult to ensure a consistent approach. We wanted to be exhaustive, but some articles were falling through the cracks, which was undermining the value of the entire thing.

Problem #2: An index should add to the value of the original resource

In this case, the idea was that the Index would point more readers to author’s articles, and they would be happy for the additional traffic. The issue was that, in some cases, indexers were including too much of the original article in their snippets / descriptions, and some authors of those original articles felt like the index was basically “stealing articles” for the our own profit. In every instance where too much of the original content was used, the issue was fixed within 24 hours. It never should have happened in the first place, but it did, and people noticed, and we lost some respect for a project that hadn’t even gotten its feet under it yet.

The byline was remove in the list, but still showed on the articles; I changed this to read “Index” and always included the byline of the original author first thing in the index entry, but byline issues occurred and also drew criticism.

Links to original articles sometimes didn’t show up. I checked these daily and added them, but it was just another consistency problem to add to the pile, and more tinder for our critics when it did occur.

Problem #3: An index should be easy to use and should provide reliable results

For the first month or so we had the index, the main idea was primarily to collect material, e.g. build the list, so that we had some entries to work with. This probably should have been done in private, really, but I wanted to have an easy way to see for myself and to show the progress we were making. It was, basically, just a list of articles other people had written. We had added subject categories for formats, and tags for sites and authors and content, but that was easy to ignore.

After that first month I looked at creating a search interface for the index. I was up to the task, but there were some hurdles. Namely, since the Index entries used a lot of the same metadata as our own original articles, separating the two was more challenging than I thought. WordPress is a great tool, but search options, even with plugins, are pretty lackluster. While I was fussing with getting search to work, indexers were going on vacation and missing articles, and I realized that all the work I was doing wasn’t go to make a difference. We weren’t consistent enough; articles would fall through the cracks and people who came to search the index for Mayael lists might only find 50%, maybe even 85%, of the articles published within our Index time-frame. The first time someone realized we had missed “X” article on a subject for our index, they would realize the index wasn’t reliable, and they would stop using it. And they’d be right.

So what?

So I scrapped working on search, and I scrapped the index, even though I think it would be useful if done right. Unfortunately, in the time we had it, we never got to show off the good side; we never got to demonstrate what the index was meant to be. All we did was have a list, for awhile, of Magic articles people on other sites wrote; all that did for us was draw ill will, despite our best intentions.

I haven’t given up on the idea of an index of MTG articles, but I need to find an even better way to go about it. It needs to be on its own site, probably, and it needs to launch with a full-functioned search tool. Most importantly it needs to be exhaustive, and that’s the hardest, most time-intensive part. I have an idea that I could get students in graduate school who are studying to be librarians, or even unemployed graduates who want experience, to work on the index. I’m still not sure that would be a consistent enough source of indexing, though. Interns come and go and its hard to get them really invested; the unemployed will only stick around until they get a paying job offer. Who can blame them?

For now, there’s an easy moral.

I set out to do something different and it didn’t work. I’m okay with that, but I’m disheartened that people saw the index as a way to capitalize on their work and not as the great tool it was meant to be. This article might not address all the concerns I heard along the way, but I wanted to provide some sense of transparency for the project, and its purpose, and, in the end, the reasons for its demise.

If you made it all the way down here, I congratulate you. Hopefully it was somewhat edifying, or interesting, or maybe even entertaining. If you have any questions about the Index. Any at all, you can post them in the comments, or feel free to send me an email.

Standard Tune-Ups: Mono Green Devotion

This week I went back to an old comfort zone for me, Mono Green Devotion. I did not start from someone else’s list nor did I actually change the deck much after jamming it through 5 dailies. The list I ended up with was this:

[d title=”Mono Green Devotion”]
Creatures:
4 Elvish Mystic
4 Sylvan Caryatid
4 Voyaging Satyr
4 Burning-Tree Emissary
4 Courser of Kruphix
4 Eidolon of Blossoms
2 Polukranos, World Eater
1 Nylea, God of the Hunt
1 Nylea’s Disciple
1 Soul of New Phyrexia
1 Hornet Queen
3 Genesis Hydra
Spells
3 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
2 Chord of Calling
Land
4 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
18 Forest

Sideboard:
1 Arbor Colossus
3 Nylea’s Disciple
2 Reclamation Sage
1 Polukranos, World Eater
4 Mistcutter Hydra
1 Phytotitan
2 Peregrination
1 Hunter’s Prowess
[/d]

As I brought up last week, one should always ask, “Why play X deck?” The answer to the question cannot just be, “Well [c]Polukranos, World Eater[/c] is good.” In this case, Mono Green Devotion has a number of strengths:

  • *The most powerful deck in Standard: The deck plays out like a combo deck trying to draw 6+ cards a turn and making giant monsters all the way
  • *The deck has some of the most powerful top decks: In a field full of [c]Thoughtseize[/c]s you want the top of your deck to have powerful cards (however you also have many duds, mana dorks, land, etc.)
  • *Powerful card advantage engines versus control: [c]Eidolon of Blossoms[/c] and [c]Garruk, Caller of Beasts[/c] both provide incredible amounts of card advantage allowing you to commit to the board while still continuing to draw cards
  • *[c]Soul of New Phyrexia[/c]: UW Planar Cleansing, Ivan Floch’s deck, cannot beat a resolved copy of this card if you can keep 5 mana up, 10 mana ideally.
  • *Deceptively solid sideboard cards: [c]Nylea’s Disciple[/c] gains a solid chunk of life versus burn, [c]Mistcutter Hydra[/c] stomps Mono Blue devotion, in addition to one-of bullets and a [c]Pereigrination[/c] plan versus Bx decks.

These are good answers to the questions of why, and should be what you are looking for when not playing a tier one deck.

WALKTHROUGH

The deck’s plan is deceptively simple.

Step One: Cast mana dorks. (Elvish Mystic, Sylvan Caryatid and Voyaging Satyr)

Step Two: Cast a card advantage generator using either normal mana or Nykthos mana (Courser of Kruphix, Eidolon of Blossoms, Garruk Caller of Beasts)
*A note on Courser, in general wait until you can actually play a land off of courser. In other words don’t play a land drop then cast Courser that defeats the purpose of generating advantage*

Step Three: Slam a threat. (Polukranos, Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt, Hornet Queen, Soul of New Phyrexia, or Large Genesis Hydras)

Step Four: Win.

However Magic is rarely that simple and the skill and fun of the deck is winning from situations which are not the easy four step game-plan.

Take for instance a situation which came up in a daily where I won on a mull to 5 and got 3 for 1ed on turn 4:

It is game two of the MGD (Mono Green Devotion) mirror. I am on the draw, and my 7 card hand was 2 Garruk, 2 Genesis Hydra, and 3 land. A hand obviously too slow to keep. My 6 card hand was 4 forests, Poly-K, and an Eidolon. The mirror is defined by speed and turn 4 poly-k isn’t going to cut it. My 5 card hand was forest, 2 Elvish Mysics, Garruk, and an Eidolon of Blossoms. I snap kept this hand and was happy with it considering it was a mull to five.

I will now go through the game log essentially:

Op-T1: Forest, Elvish Mystic

My-T1: Forest, Elvish Mystic (Draw step Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt)

Op-T2: Forest, Courser of Kruphix (Reveals a forest)

My-T2: Forest, Elvish Mystic x 2 (Draw step forest)

Op-T3: Forest, Voyaging Satyr, Attack for 2 (Reveals [c]Setessan Tactics[/c])

It is at this point I am clearly in trouble. I drew for the turn an Elvish Mystic. I resign myself to the three for one and think how best can I recover from this. I determine I need to hit my land drop and that if I play Eidolon he will fight it, effectively gaining me a land because a Mystic will live.

My-T3: Eidolon of Blossoms, Forest, Elvish Mystic

Op-T4: Draw Tactics, play forest off the drop reveal another land, cast tactics for 3, fight my Eidolon and two mystics.

My-T4: Draw Courser of Kruphix, Cast Courser, Reveal Nykthos, play Nykthos, cast caryatid.

Op-T5: Draw land reveal Genesis Hydra on top, cast two more satyrs

My-T5: Draw a land off the top reveal a Poly-K, cast Garruk, Hit 3 creatures.

I am going to stop here because after this Garruk draws about 10 cards and hit Genesis Hydra only hits another Courser. Now obviously I got a little lucky and my opponent unlucky, but it shows the importance of knowing what is important to your decks gameplan. MGD does not work without mana, period. Value developing your mana above all else in most games. Another note about Garruk, his minus three is a trap. Don’t do it. Unless it is the only way to survive the coming turn; the draw will be worth far more in the long run than cheating some mana here or there.

Sideboarding Guide:
UW Planar Control
-1 Sylvan Caryatid
-4 Burning Tree Emmissary
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
+4 Mistcutter Hydra
+1 Phytotitan
+1 Hunter’s Prowess

Explanation:
Burning-tree is just a 2/2 devotion bear that forces us into over committing to the board. We want a tad less mana so we Caryatid. We cut the Caryatid because UW lacks spot removal so Voyaging Satyr does the same thing while being able to attack and untap Nykthos, and keeping forests allows us to be more wrath resilient. Mistcutter’s are green fireballs that are uncounterable and can attack twice, Phytotitan provides constant pressure when they lack D-Sphere or Elspeth, and Hunter’s Prowess is a one time shot in the arm.

UW Dsphere-Control
-1 Sylvan Caryatid
-4 Burning Tree Emmissary
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
+4 Mistcutter
+2 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
Same as above except we optimize versus sphere by having the two sages.

Mono Black
+2 Peregrination
+1 Arbor Collosus
+1 Hunter’s Prowess
+1 Poly-K
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-2 Chord of Calling
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt
-1 Forest

B/W Midrange
+2 Peregrination
+1 Arbor Collosus
+1 Hunter’s Prowess
+1 Poly-K
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-2 Chord of Calling
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
-1 Forest

Explanation:
Gerry T designed the Peregrination plan which basically hopes to be able to cast it and ramp to a fatty in one spell through the two lands and the scry. We cut Soul and Chord for being too clunky. Poly-K, Arbor Colossus and Hunter’s Prowess come in to increase threat density. We keep in Nylea’s Disciple vs Mono Black because of Grey Merchant and we leave in Nylea Goddess of the Hunt vs BW because of Elspeth’s tokens.

Rabblered
-3 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt
+3 Nylea’s Disciple
+1 Polukranos
+1 Reclemation Sage

Explanation:
We need a lower curve. Hence cutting big things and bringing in small things. We leave Hornet Queen because it was one of our few top end cards that can actually win the game.

Burn
-3 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt
-1 Hornet Queen
-1 Eidolon of Blossoms
+1 Arbor Colossus
+3 Nylea’s Disciple
+1 Polukranos
+2 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
Garruk, Soul, and Hornet Queen are too slow. Nylea’s Goddess of the Hunts abilities are irrelevant. Arbor Colossus and Poly-K are hard to kill and big, Nylea’s Disciple gains life, and Reclamation Sage hits [c]Satyr Firedancer[/c], [c]Eidolon of the Burning Revel[/c], [c]Chain to the Rocks[/c] and [c]Banishing Light[/c].

Mono Blue Devotion
-3 Garruk, Caller of Beasts
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the hunt
-2 Voyaging Satyr
+4 Mistcutter Hydra
+1 Poly-K
+2 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
Garruk and Soul are too slow, Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt doesn’t do much, and Voyaging Satyr can’t trade with [c]Tidebinder Mage[/c] and gets tapped by Tidebinger. Mistcutter Hydra is pro their deck, Reclamation Sage hits [c]Domestication[/c], trades well, and hits [c]Bident of Thasa[/c].

Jund Walkers
-2 Chord of Calling
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
+1 Poly-K
+1 Hunter’s Prowess/Arbor Colossus
+1 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
We cut awkward cards like Disciple and Chord for more singly powerful cards like Poly-K, Hunter’s Prowess/Arbor Colossus and Reclamation Sage.

Mirror
-1 Nylea’s Disciple
-1 Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt
-1 Soul of New Phyrexia
+1 Poly-K
+2 Reclamation Sage

Explanation:
Disciple does nothing relevant, Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt is also irrelevant, and Soul of New Phyrexia is irrelevant. We swap them for Poly-K and Reclamation Sage which interact with dorks and Courser/Eidolon respectively.

The deck still lacks consistency, but finally has reliable win conditions. The deck folds to itself more often than to its opponents deck, however with all this in mind if you want to win, look elsewhere. I try to avoid being one of those people who just say “Standard sucks, don’t play it,” but honestly when decks that aren’t UWx Control, Bx devotion, Jund Midrange, W/R/U aggro or Burn win or do well it is a fluke. Those four or five decks are absurdly powerful, consistent enough, and attack from so many different angles that anything that is not those decks will simply be annihilated by one, two or all of those decks. While it is great that these archetypes are distinct unique and separate there is very little room for tuning them due to Pro Tour M15 they have reached their refined point. The tuning is one or two cards and meta predictions. Due to this it is not economical right now for me to play Standard. While I know this is only the second week of the article, I need a break from Standard. You can hear it in my voice round after round as my excitement to play Magic decreases.

Standard is an oppressive environment that is just diverse enough to appear healthy, but you are often doing little more than rolling dice to see what your match up is. I may pick a deck that is very well positioned versus 75% of the field and play the 25% of the field I am terrible against. The terribleness though does not feel like Modern or other formats where you are at least playing Magic still but you simply get annihilated with very little interaction. You could play a sweet aggro deck but run in to UWx Control with 8+ wraths, or maybe you have a cool green-based blue well good luck versus 2/2s that kill one of your guys for 2/2 mana which curves into a 5/5 that makes their team unblockable ruining the point of running your own creatures. In essence I need a break from Standard. I have been grinding the format since GP Chicago in the early summer and the format has changed little since then. Occasionally I have had fun playing Standard, but this season and last is simply not worth my time and effort. Due to this until set rotation in Fall expect some awesome Modern, Pauper and other format decks from me! /end rant

For a hint of what is to come and because I am excited about the return of Pauper I will share a couple of the decks I have been working on.

[d title=”BG Deaddog”]
Creatures
4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Grave Scrabbler
4 Stinkweed Imp
1 Golgari Brownscale
2 Pit Keeper
2 Tilling Treefolk
1 Battlefield Scrounger
1 Krosan Tusker
4 Werebear
2 Crypt Rats
4 Tortured Existence
4 Commune with the Gods
1 Raven’s Crime
1 Gnaw to the Bone

Land
1 Haunted Fengraf
2 Evolving Wilds
3 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Tranquil Thicket
3 Barren Moor
5 Swamp
7 Forest
Sideboard
3 Spore Frog
3 Augur of Skulls
3 Festercreep
1 Battlefield Scrounger
2 Sylvok Replica
1 Brindle Boar
2 Gnaw to the Bone
[/d]

[d title=UB Teachings]
Creatures
2 Prescient Chimera
1 Trapjaw Kelpie

Spells
3 Mystical Teachings
4 Counterspell
1 Logic Knot
3 Exclude
1 Crypt Incursion
3 Diabolic Edict
1 Doom Blade
4 Accumulated Knowledge
2 Capsize
1 Repeal
2 Recoil
1 Wail of the Nim
2 Miscalculation
1 Agony Warp
1 Trapjaw Kelpie
2 Memory Lapse
1 Disrupt

Land
2 Lonely Sandbar
2 Barren Moor
5 Swamp
7 Island
4 Dimir Aqueduct
4 Dimir Guildgate

Sideboard
2 Wail of the Nim
1 Oona’s Grace
2 Think Twice
3 Dispel
3 Hydroblast
3 Curse of the Bloody Tome
1 Disrupt
[/d]

[d title=BUG Formerly Songs now Deaddog]
Creatures
4 Pit Keeper
2 Crypt Rats
4 Mulldrifter
1 Krosan Tusker
4 Street Wraith
4 Architects of Will
4 Stinkweed Imp
1 Golgari Brownscale
1 Brindle Boar
1 Battlefield Scrounger

Spells
4 Strategic Planning
2 Gnaw to the Bone
4 Tortured Existence
4 Commune with the Gods
2 Careful Study

Land
4 Golgari Guildgate
4 Dimir Guildgate
4 Simic Guildgate
2 Swamp
3 Island
1 Forest

Sideboard
2 Gnaw to the Bone
1 Brindle Boar
2 Crypt Rats
4 Augur of Skulls
1 Battlefield Scrounger
3 Stealer of Secrets
2 Fume Spitter
[/d]

Play Magic and Have Fun.
-Zach Raph aka ZTRMAN

Pauper Gauntet Competitor #17: Mono Blue Control

The Pauper Gauntlet deck submissions start on August 31st on mtgolibrary.com. Be prepared!

The first ten Pauper Gauntlet competitors will be presented on mtgolibrary.blogspot.com. The next ten Pauper Gauntlet competitors will be presented here on magicgatheringstrat.com The decks will play the first two rounds in the order they are given by their numbers, so MUC will be the 17th deck played.

Mono Blue Control did really well last year. This year I have decided to go with a list by someoldguy, who was the #1 player in the Premier Events earlier this year before they died out. It was the sheer amount of card draw that convinced me. I like drawing cards with my control lists.

I have replaced his Remove Souls with Nullifys.

accumulated knowledge

I will need help with the sideboard plan. See the end of the article.

This is the deck list:

[d title=”Mono Blue Control by someoldguy”]
Land
19 Island
4 Quicksand

Creatures
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Spire Golem

Spells
4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Counterspell
4 Exclude
4 Nullify
4 Snap
3 Oona’s Grace
3 Miscalculation
2 Piracy Charm
2 Muddle the Mixture

Sideboard
4 Hydroblast
3 Dispel
3 Relic of Progenitus
2 Coral net
2 Repeal
1 Echoing Truth

[/d]

Yes, that is 61 cards. Someoldguy often does this for some reason unknown to me. Maybe it is just to challenge himself.

The Sideboard Plan

I defintely need help here. How would you sideboard with this deck against the top decks of Pauper?