I originally put this list together in response to a challenge issued by Deluxeicoff. It has fared surprisingly well in testing, so I thought I would submit it to season 3 of the Pauper Gauntlet, alongside Illusory Tricks. It could probably use some fine-tuning, but here is the list as it stands now.
[d title=”Spiteful Leeches by Bava (Pauper)”]
4 Crypt Rats
4 Cuombajj Witches
4 Heliod’s Pilgrim
4 Icatian Javelineers
4 Blessing of Leeches
2 Eternal Thirst
4 Guilty Conscience
2 Midnight Charm
4 Pharika’s Cure
4 Shred Memory
2 Spiteful Shadows
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Orzhov Guildgate
4 Scoured Barrens
1 Circle of Protection: Black
1 Circle of Protection: Blue
1 Circle of Protection: Green
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Circle of Protection: White
1 Contaminated Ground
1 Echoing Decay
4 Funeral Pyre
1 Leave No Trace
1 Rest for the Weary [/d]
This list is everything I like. It is both a janky combo deck and a toolbox deck, utilizing Heliod’s Pilgrim to fetch up the requisite auras and the transmute cards to fetch the requisite 2-drops. Note that while Pilgrim cannot fetch a CoP the transmute cards can, which is why there is one of each in the SB. The only non-one-off, non-two-drop in the board is Funeral Pyre, and that mainly just because if our opponent isn’t playing creatures then we can’t combo off. You can use Guilty Conscience as a piece of removal if you are desperate.
Deck strengths: Works very well as a control list. With all of the witches and rats in the main, aggro decks have a really hard time getting around us.
Deck weaknesses: Many opponents can protect their creatures or are willing to destroy them to stop us comboing off. Counter magic is a real pain, and control decks in general are very challenging for us to beat. Even so, if we land the right CoP we can often endure against many of these lists, though they often run Capsize or another bounce effect to ruin our plans.
Win Cons: Realistically there are three ways to win. We can occassionally control the board well enough to start beating down and win in a conventional manner. We can put Blessing of Leeches and Eternal Thirst on a Crypt Rats and go nuts. Or we can put Blessing of Leeches and Guilty Conscience and Spiteful Shadows on one of our opponent’s creatures, then do damage to it somehow to initiate the combo which is infinite death. For the last one, just don’t forget to stack your Blessing of Leeches regeneration shields beforehand (easier for you to stack them all at once). Your opponent will have to click on their creature and pick which regeneration shield they want to use, which is useful to know and point out since there is literally no indication of this on screen at the time.
Strategy Notes: Blessing of Leeches has flash! Cast it in response to burn spells to save your own guy (esp. Crypt Rats). If you Eternal Thirst the Rats then they will often try and burn in response, letting to respond with leeches and cackle. This also means that you *can* combo off with just 3 mana if you have a pinger on the board. Leech their creature during their end step, then add Shadows and Conscience during your turn, then ping. GG. When you can, stack your Crypt Rat triggers 1 damage at a time (holding priority) to avoid blowouts from Prot / Regen etc.
Delver: +1 Echoing Decay, +1 Castigate, +1 CoP Blue | -2 Blessing of Leeches, -1 Shred Memory
Esper Familiar: Shred Memory can wreck the GY here. Feel free to cast it when necessary. If Grixis then consider bringing in CoP Red. +1 Castigate, +1 Echoing Decay | -2 Eternal Thirst
MBC: CoP Black is key but Gary is tiresome. +1 CoP Black, +1 Castigate, +1 Echoing Decay | -2 Eternal Thirst, -1 Icatian Javilineers
Delverfiend: Stick a CoP Red and win (generally). +1 CoP Red, +1 CoP Blue, +1 Castigate | -2 Midnight Charm, -1 Blessing of Leeches
Boros/Jeskai-Kitty: They will bolt their own stuff. Jerks. Try and combo off when they are tapped out. We have plenty of time to build the combo in the early game, usually. If we stick the Blessing on their guy then bolts won’t matter but still have to watch out for Journey. Crypt Rat wincon is real, though Journey also ruins that. +1 CoP Red, +1 CoP White, +1 Castigate | -2 Midnight Charm, -1 Guilty Conscience
Stompy: CoP Green wins? Don’t die before you can get there. Crypt Rat win also very solid. +1 CoP Green, +1 Echoing Decay, +1 Rest for the Weary | -2 Midnight Charm, -1 Blessing of Leeches
Elves: Kill all their stuff, like, for real. Their lifegain doesn’t matter if we hit our combo, since it is infinite. +1 CoP Green, +1 Echoing Decay | -2 Midnight Charm
Goblins: Again, kill all their stuff! A leechy rat with lifegain is GG, watch out for burn. +1 CoP Red, +1 Echoing Decay, +1 Rest for the Weary | -2 Midnight Charm, -1 Guilty Conscience
RUG Tron: If they don’t have Capsize then you might be in okay shape. +1 CoP Green, +1 CoP Red, +1 Contaminated Ground | -2 Midnight Charm, -1 Blessing of Leeches
Burn: Get your protection down before they kill you. Forget the combo, generally. Use removal on your own guys to gain life if you need to. +1 CoP Red, +1 Rest for the Weary, +1 Castigate, +1 Leave No Trace (for Curses), +1 Exhume, +1 Contaminated Ground| -2 Spiteful Shadows, -4 Guilty Conscience
White Weenie: This should be a good match-up both for keeping their board clear and hitting our combo. Watch out for Journey and attacking into Celestial Flare if you have some awesome rats. +1 CoP White, +1 Echoing Decay | -1 Blessing of Leeches, -1 Guilty Conscience
Affinity: They can fling a guy in response to the combo. Super-annoying. Getting Super-Rats is the best win-con. +1 Castigate, +1 CoP Red | -2 Midnight Charm
UB Angler: Surprise them with the combo g1; go control g2-3. Rats good but die to Disfigure and Agony Warp, even with Leeches. They have no way to win if you land both CoPs. +1 Castigate, +1 CoP Blue, +1 CoP Black, +1 Echoing Decay | -2 Midnight Charm, -1 Blessing of Leeches, -1 Guilty Conscience
I almost forget I had some videos playing versions of this list. Enjoy!