This week I am switching formats! Recently, there has not been a ton of classic Pauper content on the channel. Also recently, I discovered a powerful pauper-legal two-card interaction that fits nicely into a MUC-type shell. Two and two make an article, right? First off, I do not have a ton of pauper brewing experience. I have only brewed maybe 3 decks before, and they were alright, but not even close to tier 1. Or two or three, for that matter. This deck is a little different; instead of brewing something totally new, I chose to take a known deck – Mono-Blue Control – and implement my discovery into it.
It took me quite some time to find someone else who had thought of this interaction, but eventually I found that someone on Gatherer had commented on one of the cards with a “notable synergy.” The interaction about which I speak is, of course, Curse of Chains/Narcolepsy and Betrayal to tap down an opponent’s creature during their upkeep and draw a card out of it. As with most combos and interactions, they are discovered separately by separate people, so it is hard to give anyone credit for the original combo. I am sure that more than one other person out there has thought of this one, but when my synapses first sparked with the idea, I had to brew around it. This is my prototype list:
Cursed with Betrayal by Peyton
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Spire Golem
4 Curse of Chains
1 Muddle the Mixture
2 Treasure Cruise
3 Stormbound Geist
2 Coral Net
2 Serrated Arrows
The nice thing about MUC is that there is no set, go-to list. It can be quite variable, and I like that in a shell. In this case, I went for a very counter-heavy list, with 14 counterspells of various types. Exclude is really amazing, and since the deck runs a mean 23 lands, it is easy to make room for the three-mana counterspell. Since Storm is out of the format, creatures are the deck’s biggest threats, and Exclude replaces itself while dealing with something relevant. The four Counterspell require no explanation. Prohibit deals with most threats that come down early, and is satisfactory later-game as well. The two singletons each have their merits. Deprive is really just Counterspell copy 5, but Muddle the Mixture will counter something like a Read the Bones or can go get a Curse of Chains to “remove” a creature or combo with a Betrayal. The choice of Curse over Narcolepsy is simple – Curse of Chains hits the nuisance that is Guardian of the Guildpact.
Having such an interaction (well, really just maindecking Curse of Chains) also mitigates the need for other soft removal such as bounce spells, but I still appreciate the place of a singleton Capsize that is a powerful piece of disruption. The presence said combo also enables the deck to play less raw card draw. While the engine is most effective when the two pieces are paired up, both are decent by themselves. That being said, I still want a couple of Treasure Cruise and four Preordain to help fix the hand and find relevant spells. As a Legacy player, I like to play spells from the get-go, and I have no turn 1 counterspells, so I want to either play a Delver of Secrets and start trying to flip it for pressure, or I want to make my hand a bit better and prepare for the coming turns. If in testing, Preordain just sucks, it may become 2 Condescend, 1 more Island, and another Muddle the Mixture. As usual, testing is mandated first.
For a threat suite, there is not much to say. Counter stuff, then resolve/flip a Delver or cast Spire Golem and attack until the game is over. I considered Fathom Seer just as a solid defensive dude who draws cards, but I do not want to cut the combo or counterspells for a pair of Seers. Possibly the Preordains, as stated earlier, could go in lieu of these. The sideboard has Stormbound Geist, of course, as well as some standard mono-blue fare for typical matchups. It can change based on the meta, as sideboards usually do.
That’s a basic rundown of my card choices, but like I said I am no pauper expert (looking at you, Deluxeicoff). If any of you have suggestions, please leave a comment below. It would be nice to see if this thing could place in a daily or something, but I doubt it will without tweaks.
Thank you for reading and hope to see you next week for some Legacy action!