Illusory Tricks in the Pauper Gauntlet S3


Illusory Tricks placed second in the first season of the Pauper Gauntlet and tied for 15th place in season 2. Now it’s back and ready to win or die trying!

Here is the Season 3 list, updated November 12, 2015.

[d title=”Illusory Tricks by Bava (Pauper)”]
20 Island

4 Krovikan Mist
4 Dream Stalker
4 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Spire Golem
2 Phantasmal Bear
3 Fathom Seer
2 Stormbound Geist

4 Counterspell
4 Vapor Snag
4 Preordain
2 Deprive
1 Oona’s Grace

2 Bonesplitter

2 Stormbound Geist
4 Hydroblast
4 Mulldrifter
2 Serrated Arrows
2 Spell Pierce
1 Viridian Longbow [/d]

Just a few changes from last year. We upped the land count to 20 and removed the Quicksand because starting without U was just awful every time. All the Mulldrifters are in the SB now but we did up the Spire Golem count to 4 in the main, reflecting our increased number of Islands. Oona’s Grace also comes in to help just in case we flood.

I took the anti-green tech out of the SB (it was never that great anyway) and added a Longbow for anti-weenie and Spell Pierce for a number of match-ups including Burn, Familiars, and Delverfiend. We lost Piracy Charm entirely which is a shame since it was originally one of the “tricks” that gave the list its name, but too often wasn’t doing enough.

At heart the list remains a U Flyers list with Illusion synergies, a Cloudfin Raptor / Dream Stalker mini-combo, and some countermagic backup.

So, let’s look at a new sideboard plan.

Delver: One of our best match-ups and THE REASON to play Illusory Tricks. We have a superior airforce and Dream Stalker to stop Ninjas for days. We have less countermagic but can usually stick it out long enough to either completely clog or take over the board. We lose to the super-fast Delver start, but who doesn’t. Watch the clock especially if it looks like the board is going to get congested. We board in some more flyers and control elements while taking out bounce and ground stuff.

+2 Stormbound Geist, +2 Mulldrifter, +2 Serrated Arrows, +1 Viridian Longbow | -2 Phantasmal Bear, -4 Vapor Snag, -1 Fathom Seer

Esper Familiar: Boo to Familiars. Bring in stuff to kill CoF but otherwise try and keep a fast clock in the air if possible.

+2 Serrated Arrows, +1 Viridian Longbow, +2 Spell Pierce, +2 Stormbound Geist | -1 Oona’s Grace, -4 Vapor Snag, -2 Phantasmal Bear

MBC: Another good match-up. Make sure to leave up counters for Gary and we can usually win.

+2 Stormbound Geist, +4 Mulldrifter | -4 Vapor Snag, -2 Phantasmal Bear

Delverfiend: This is a tough one. We are the control deck, for sure. Fathom Seer as a morph creature can frustrate unblockability caused by Apostle’s Blessing.

+4 Hydroblast, +2 Spell Pierce, +2 Stormbound Geist | -2 Phantasmal Bear, -1 Oona’s Grace, -4 Krovikan Mist, -1 Fathom Seer

Boros/Jeskai-Kitty: Their 2/3 flyers are particularly frustrating. We’re the aggro deck but will go mid-range. Dream Stalker with a Bonesplitter can be great in this match-up.

+2 Stormbound Geist, +4 Mulldrifter, +1 Viridian Longbow | -4 Vapor Snag, -2 Phantasmal Bear, -1 Fathom Seer

Stompy: This is 50/50 for me, or just slightly under. They often forget that Stormbound Geist can’t block their dudes. We’re the control deck. Trade early when you can.

+1 Viridian Longbow, +2 Spell Pierce | -1 Oona’s Grace, -2 Stormbound Geist

Elves: Counter the important elves, ignore the mana dorks. If we stop them from going wide / drawing cards, they run out of steam pretty quickly.

+2 Serrated Arrows, +1 Viridian Longbow | -1 Oona’s Grace, -2 Phantasmal Bear

Goblins: Counters are less good here, but big ground creatures even better. Dream Stalker is MVP so long as we don’t get rolled too early.

+4 Hydroblast, +2 Serrated Arrows, +1 Viridian Longbow | -4 Vapor Snag, -1 Oona’s Grace, -2 Stormbound Geist

RUG Tron: We’re the aggro deck though we have some range. Counter/Snag the Fangren Marauders.

+2 Stormbound Geist, +4 Mulldrifter | -3 Fathom Seer, -1 Krovikan Mist, -2 Bonesplitter

Burn: This is a race but generally a good match-up for us.

+2 Stormbound Geist, +4 Hydroblast, +2 Spell Pierce | -1 Oona’s Grace, -4 Vapor Snag, -2 Bonesplitter, -1 Cloudfin Raptor

White Weenie: Kill the weenies, win the war. Watch the clock.

+2 Serrated Arrows, +1 Viridian Longbow, +4 Mulldrifter | -2 Stormbound Geist, -4 Vapor Snag, -1 Deprive

Affinity: Because of Dream Stalker we can generally do fine against 4/4s but lose to Atog/Fling. NEVER let the Atog hit the table if you can help it.

+4 Hydroblast, +2 Stormbound Geist | -1 Oona’s Grace, -4 Vapor Snag, -1 Fathom Seer

UB Angler: This deck is stupid. Vapor Snag their Anglers and win with your superior airforce.

+4 Mulldrifter, +2 Stormbound Geist | -2 Phantasmal Bear, -2 Bonesplitter, -1 Fathom Seer, -1 Krovikan Mist

Other Aggro: If you’re dealing with a go-wide approach, the arrows and longbow are good. If it is a buff approach (Hexproof, Stompy) then relying on your blockers while you chip in through the air is generally better.

Other Control / Midrange: All the Stormbound Geists and Mulldrifters, every time. Figure out what their key spells are for winning and save your counters for those.

Other Combo: Vapor Snag is often great vs combo, as are the counterspells. Take out some of the slower cards if you can.