Faithless Looting #16: A League of One’s Own

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

Week one of our third Community League is underway, and we’re playing Standard Pauper. The meta for the format is still shaking out a little bit, I think; which leaves interesting space to brew and counter the top strategies with better strategies. That said, the format has a boogeyman already. Thankfully it is not Dimir Mill; that deck is long gone. Instead, it is the somewhat more interesting to play against Izzet Control list. Or as Mundisv has deceptively named it: “I love me some Islands.”

The technically creatureless list controls the board with removal and counter-magic, and then plays Sorcery speed token generators to start the beatdowns. Do you like your tokens in minotaur or bird flavor? [c]Flurry of Horns[/c] will beat you down on the ground and the 2/3 bodies are surprisingly beefy in the format. For one mana more, [c]Rise of Eagles[/c] gives you a couple 2/2 tokens in the air, and even lets you Scry 1 when you cast it. I guess it must be the good view from up there.

Here is the list from Mundisv’s MPDC 27.04 win.

[d title=”Izzet Control (Standard Pauper) – Mundisv”]
4 Magma Spray
2 Traveler’s Amulet
4 Voyage’s End
4 Nullify
4 Flurry of Horns
4 Rise of Eagles
4 Lightning Strike
4 Treasure Cruise
2 Tormenting Voice
1 Crippling Chill
4 Divination

9 Island
5 Mountain
1 Scouring Sands
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Swiftwater Cliffs

3 Scouring Sands
2 Coral Barrier
3 Negate
4 Disdainful Stroke
1 Benthic Giant
1 Cancel
1 Tormenting Voice [/d]

It’s a strong deck, but is it really a boogeyman? With the meta still sorting itself out, actually, it is hard to tell. Gwyned wrote a great piece over on his blog about countering Izzet Control and recommended two possible courses of action. They may sound familiar.

Go under the deck with a fast, aggressive strategy. Outlast the deck with grindy control.

I say they may sound familiar because honestly these are the go-to strategies against most mean decks. Beat ’em before they stabilize or play the long con.

Izzet Control won MPDC 27.04 but Mundisv went 0-3 with the deck the following week. Maltercio took the list into 3rd place, but it was this grindy control list that won the day, featuring our favorite shady merchant, Gary.

[d title=”UB Gary Control (Standard Pauper) – Fimbulvetrr”]
4 Disciple of Phenax
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Disowned Ancestor
3 Mardu Skullhunter
3 Nimbus Naiad
3 Typhoid Rats
2 Benthic Giant

4 Debilitating Injury
3 Read the Bones
3 Treasure Cruise
2 Feast of Dreams
2 Pharika’s Cure
1 Font of Return

12 Swamp
4 Dismal Backwater
4 Evolving Wilds
3 Island

4 Negate
4 Mind Rot
2 Eternal Thirst
2 Feast of Dreams
2 Pharika’s Cure
1 Font of Return [/d]

I called in control, but UB Midrange might be more accurate. It has card draw and some removal, but there are plenty of creatures in there to beat down with, and plenty of black chits to turn on Gary as well.

I took a similar list into week 1 of the League, choosing to play Pie_Master’s list, “Gary’s Cruise,” which is a Golgari shell splashing Blue for Treasure Cruise, trying to get the absolute most value out of both TC and Gary, if possible. Those cards are both nuts, in my opinion, so any deck that can get full value out of them has no excuse not to win.

Funny enough, I made it through the entire match without casting Treasure Cruise, but I never needed it. Gary can do enough work on his own against any list not prepared to deal with him. Winning a game without ever attacking feels cheap, but since there are plenty of ways to disrupt it, it still feels more fair than Cruise.

My opponent in week 1 was Wisker, who has taken down his share of Standard Pauper events, but who brought RW Heroic to the table. I like the Heroic decks, but I feel like they may be too easy to disrupt in the current meta. I’d say more, but you can see how it played out for yourself below.


How was your first week of league? What did you play!?

Share your lists and experiences in the comments below!

Until next time, keep the faith.