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.
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”]
The first ten Pauper Gauntlet competitors will be presented on mtgolibrary.blogspot.com. They will play the first two rounds in the order they are given by their numbers, so AzoriusKitty by Power_T will be the 15th deck played. AzoriusKitty was created by David Shaffer but modified by Power_T. That means there are two versions of this deck. Both created by favorite pauper players of mine. Both excellent. Both with great documentation and sideboard plans. So what should I do? Well, I decided to play BOTH lists in the Pauper Gauntlet this time. Here is David’s list.
When playing this deck, the same principles apply as when playing David’s list.
This is the deck list:
[d title=”AzoriusKitty by Power_T (Pauper)”]
4 Kabira Crossroads
3 Azorius Chancery
2 Evolving Wilds
The first ten Pauper Gauntlet competitors will be presented on mtgolibrary.blogspot.com. They will play the first two rounds in the order they are given by their numbers, so MBC will be the 15th deck played.
The decks that will start first on August 31st are
Mono Black Control is one of the strongest deck in the Pauper format today. The idea is just to gain life, card advantage and value by playing ETB creatures combined with powerful removal spells. It is a tap-out control deck more than it is a midrange deck. The printing of Gray Merchant of Asphodel brought this already powerful deck to the very top tier of Pauper.
I sent out a request for a captain for MBC on the YouTube channel and WitchKingx5 stepped up to the challenge. This is his list. As the captain of the deck, he has all the responsibilities of a brewer but less of the glory of inventing a totally orginal deck.
WitchKingx5 has promised to deliver a sideboard plan before actual gameplay in the Gauntlet starts on September 14th.
This is the deck list:
[d title=”Mono Black Control by WitchKingx5″]
4 Geth’s Verdict
4 Sign in Blood
3 Tendrils of Corruption
2 Dead Weight
1 Death Denied
4 Wrench Mind
2 Rancid Earth
2 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Echoing Decay
1 Diabolic Edict
The captain has a few words to say about the deck: This version is very oldschool-grindy, but it’s still a beast. [c]Death Denied[/c] is the ultimate late-game card in Pauper, if you top-deck or draw it on Turn 10+ you’re pretty much guaranteed to win if it resolves. This version has a lot more Lifegain, and the Corrupts go pretty much always to the face. We are playing only Swamps, as we don’t want to loose out on any tempo and we have a total of 10 cards that get better with more lands.
This version is much more solid, it usually doesn’t disappoint. Our Sideboard let’s us change the style of the Deck completely, depending on what we need, against Combo and Control, we have 8 Hand disruption pieces which is really nice. This Deck is made to beat creature Decks, but still has a decent shot against the rest of the field.
1 Heat Ray
1 Sign in Blood
1 Inferno Fist
1 Lightning Strike
1 Stoke the Flames
1 Haunted Platemail
2 Flesh to Dust
1 Chandra, Pyromaster
My creature count is low but as most of the other cards are removal spells, I am fine with that. As usual I play zero non-removal enchantments to avoid getting 2-for-1:ed. I tried to be very careful when I cast [c]Inferno Fist[/c] so I would not get blown out. Card advantage is more important in Sealed Deck than in Draft, IMHO.
In retrospect I should not have played [c]Paragon of Open Graves[/c] with so few black creatures. He ended up getting sideboarded out a lot.
The big surprise of the deck was [c]Altac Bloodseeker[/c] who is really good in the archetype. At one point he attacked for six points of first strike damage. Not bad.
Here you can see me build this deck in four minutes. I have played a lot of BR in these events, so I knew exactly what I was looking for.
A little something about the cards I did not include in the deck
[c]Festergloom[/c]: After a few tournaments I stopped maindecking this. Excellent sideboard card, though, but a little worse than usual with all my red small guys this time. [c]Leeching Sliver[/c]: Too expensive [c]Meteorite[/c]: I maindecked this far too many times. But this time I managed not to. [c]Mind Rot[/c]: Sideboard card. Ended up getting boarded in a lot. Maybe it is better in a prerelease where you know that everyone has a free bomb. [c]Miner’s Bane[/c]: He is just too vulnerable for a six-drop. Getting him struck by lightning is the worst. [c]Ornithopter[/c]: A trap. Never play it. [c]Unmake the Graves[/c]: Too slow and situational [c]Wall of Fire[/c]: Sideboard card against the green decks.
Do you disagree with my build? Let me know in the comments below.
In round one I faced a really good UW Tempo deck. I thought UW Tempo wasn’t a real thing, but it turned out that it was. Watch duel two if you watch nothing else – it was super intense!
In round two I went against a nice Simic deck with Jace that I am sure tried to abuse bouncing ETB creatures. It did not work out for him as Chandra just ran him over.
UB Control seems like a hard archetype to get together, mainly because Blue seems so weak (it did not help that they got the worst of the prerelease cards). Here is a very competent player trying to control my Black Red anger.
In the final match I faced the best deck – Black Red! I told myself that I had to remember to save my removal for [c]Indulgent Tormentor[/c] and I would come out on top. Watch the mirror match here and then you know why BR decks dominated the prerelease.
More Magic 2015 Limited
You can see all the prerelease events that I, VaultBoyHunter and Anomulus0 played in the below playlist:
I sure hope that they give us more of these Phantom Points events at some point.
As you might know, I was very hooked to M13 and M14 (I did 100 videos with M14!) and I think I will fall in love with the core set again.
So, now, tell me what happened to you at the M15 Prerelease? Did you play? How did you do? Did you choose any other color than black?
The first ten Pauper Gauntlet competitors will be presented on mtgolibrary.blogspot.com. They will play the first two rounds in the order they are given by their numbers, so Stompy will be the 13th deck played.
Stompy was one of the top 10 decks last year and is thus automatically qualified for the second season of the Pauper Gauntlet.
I was thinking hard about which list to use but eventually decided to go with Chris Weaver’s list as published this year before he quit Magic Online. I still miss him as an online buddy and video maker and feels that this is a way to honor his contribution to MagicGatheringStrat – oh, that, and the fact that it is a very strong list.
I will need help with the sideboard plan. See the end of the article.
Here is Chris’s Deck Tech Video for the list. It explains the basic strategy of the deck.
This is the deck list:
[d title=”Stompy by cweaver”]
4 Quirion Ranger
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Young Wolf
4 Skarrgan Pit-Skulk
4 Garruk’s Companion
2 Shinen of Life’s Roar
3 Wild Mongrel
4 Vines of Vastwood
3 Gather Courage
3 Hunger of the Howlpack
This is a work in progress. I have two old sideboard plans for other lists to work from, but I am going to need your help as well.
Let me know if any common deck is missing from this list.
Affinity: +1 Bonesplitter, +3 Gleeful, -1 Skarrgan, -3 Groundswell (Mamurphy, one old Stompy legend, felt that it was correct to take out one Skarrgan here)
Affinity is always close, if they come out strong AND have the shaman, it’s pretty hard to win, but it’s also hard for them to recover many times as they have to sac SO many so early. Just need to not overextend, which isn’t a problem with stompy, as the instants make the attack, not the volume as seen in goblins. Shinen and ranger make them have to trigger the shaman/disciples asap. Usually a skargaan or ledgewalker takes the game for me. You swing for 8, they do, repeat, and fog. Even if they ‘play around’ fog, you still get the fog benefit of buying you time for your unblockables to go to the dome.
Generally, playing against a competent Affinity player is a nightmare, even though the Perilous Affinity lists are a little bit easier to win against.
Elves: +1 Longbow, -1 Groundswell. This is extremely hard.
Freed from the real combo/Love Train:
Goblins: +3 Spore Frog, -3 Vines of Vastwood
Hexproof: I am sorry, you are just dead. This is the #1 matchup Hexproof wants to face.
Deluxeicoff in early 2013: It is simply unwinnable vs. hexchant – I’ve lost 3 games in 100…all of those have been to really bad draws, and my opponents having a great hand.
Wizards promise to bring back leagues this year. This makes me very excited.
Wizards promised to bring back leagues in 2011. That did not happen.
I choose to still remain excited.
Before I talk about why I used to love the MTGO Leagues, I must mention our own league.
The Magicgatheringstrat league
As you may know, VaultBoyHunter has launched a league here on MagicGatheringStrat.com. Thanks, Sam! That is quite amazing.
I was a bit skeptical about the format – I thought it would turn away people – but it turns out that Modern Silverblack (only commons and uncommons legal in Modern) is a great format. 50 players signed up for the League!
One reason to launch this league was that we simply could not wait for the official leagues.
The official MTGO Leagues coming this year
(That is assuming that Wizards did not lie to us again, but I remain hopeful).
We are getting Leagues in 2014 and we are not getting only the Limited leagues (the only leagues there ever were before) but we are also getting Constructed leagues. Exactly how many players these Leagues will take, what their format will be, how long they will last etc remain unknown at this point.
I think Constructed Leagues will revive Pauper, but I have said that already many times. That is assuming we get Pauper as a format for the Leagues.
Did I tell you that I am excited Leagues are coming back? I understated it. I AM REALLY EXCITED LEAGUES ARE COMING BACK!
Why am I so excited?
My League experiences on Magic Online
The original leagues were all limited. There were no constructed leagues.
First, during the Magic Online Beta (2002 – a very happy time – you got 4 new boosters every day and could play for free and trade for the cards you needed) I played several leagues. The beta leagues had 1024 participants. That and the fact that people did not really care when nothing was on the line made them quite suboptimal. I realize now why they could not do 1024 people leagues (as they wanted them to fill even for less popular formats) but I was truly disappointed when the v1 client launched and the leagues were capped at 256 people.
The original leagues (not counting the release leagues that appeared later) ran for four weeks. It started with a starter pack (roughly equivalent to three boosters) and then two extra boosters. If you were playing a full block, the starter was of the fall set (such as Odyssey) and the two boosters were from the winter and spring set (such as Torment and Judgment). Roughly this was equivalent to a Sealed Deck tournament. The biggest difference was that you had an unlimited time to build your deck, which was quite fantastic. I made extensive documents for every league. I wish I could publish them here (I still have them – all 34 of them) but they are in Swedish sadly. At the time, I thought I never would be a magic writer again.
OK, week one, deck built. Then you played five matches. That was your score for the week. Avoiding the good decks in the leagues as your counting opponents was an art form – it was very much part of winning. Scouting was also very important (as you could observe played matches). Whenever I played someone I usually knew what their bombs and removal spells were. It paid off. I had some really good results in Leagues.
After your regular matches – to help the people who had not got in their matches yet – you could play for tiebreakers. This could get quite horrible. If you had a 5-0 record, you knew your tiebreakers would be extremely important if you wanted to make top 8. So you had to play a lot. In my best league – 2nd place out of 256 – I think I played 150 tiebreaker matches. In the end, I took a week off from work to play tiebreaker matches. That was a major flaw in the structure.
When week two started, you could buy an extra booster (which you always did), then rebuild the deck. And then play five more matches plus however many tiebreaker matches you could stomach.
After four weeks the league was done. I reached 18-2 and 17-3 several times, which proved to me that all my preparation paid off. If I had a 15-5 score, I was a bit disappointed, but I usually got some sort of price.
In addition to the current expert level block, there were Core Set leagues and there were also Mirage leagues during the period when they released old sets on Magic Online.
So why did I not play more leagues when I could? Well, they were horribly expensive. Despite having two 3rd places and one 2nd place, my 34-league run cost me 517 dollars. But if I split that on the number of matches (including tiebreakers) that I played, well, I sure got a lot of entertainment for my money.
In the end, I think it was corruption that killed the leagues. Cheating was rampant (starting with multiple accounts). I am not sure why people did that. It seemed very hard to make a profit even if you cheated as the price structure wasn’t very generous. I know that has been a major concern regarding the re-release of leagues. I am sure Wizards now have a plan to handle collusion and cheating.
I forgot one thing that I can’t stress enough – I played that many leagues and paid those dollar because Leagues were awesome. They were quite casual and a fantastic way to play limited magic. I have missed them since 2005.
See you in our league and the official leagues, whichever year they actually reappear.
The first ten Pauper Gauntlet competitors will be presented on mtgolibrary.blogspot.com (and some of them in more depth here). They will play the first two rounds in the order they are given by their numbers, so UB Trinket Control is the eleventh deck played.
Oh, and by the way, the sideboard plan is still secret (and updated). Sorry about that.
UB Trinket Control FAQ
Question: How do you adjust this deck for Peasant or any other format allowing [c]Hymn to Tourach[/c]?
Answer by Power_T: The list is made for a format that does not allow Hymn. If it was allowed, I would probably take out 1-2 chittering, 0-1 Undying Evil and 1-2 Augur for them, and maybe put 1-2 Augur in the sideboard (instead of Distress I guess). I have not tested this at all though, so I am not sure how great the change is.
Question: Why is this deck not played that much now?
Answer by Power_T: The main reason people don’t play Trinket is probably simple. People just don’t understand the deck. They don’t understand that they always have to keep Grim Harvest safe, so they lose. They don’t understand how to use Undying Evil, so they lose. They play their lands in the wrong order, so they lose. They sideboard completely wrong, so they lose. And so on. I also know that a lot of people just won’t play decks that don’t have 4 of every card. They think that having 1-3 copies of a card is always bad – they think that it is bad for consistency or they think that decks with 1-3 copies are just random and not properly play-tested. In fact the opposite is usually true: A deck with 4 of everything is usually a prototype; a deck with different numbers is usually tested.
Forty-seven decks entered the first Pauper Gauntlet: an endurance match between Pauper decks where I tried to play each deck for as many matches as possible without losing. The two favorites at the time the Gauntlet started were Delver and Mono Blue Stormpost (Temporal Fissure).
There was a very rough first day. Read more about it here.
Soon afterwards I did Tier One day on Twitch. There were complications. These were the decks judged to be Tier One.
When the dust had settled, I was exhausted and the phenomenon of “sniping” was a word. Delver and Mono Blue Stormpost, among others, lay dead. The favorites had been eliminated in round 1. This won’t be able to happen in Season 2.
Thirty-five decks remained.
After having so many eliminations in round 1, I decided to play round 2 in the Just For Fun room. That did not really work out; opposition was quite uneven, causing some more good decks to lose while some questionable decks just cruised by. The JFF room will be handled quite differently this year.
After this round there was a vote-back; you guys got to decide which deck would be allowed to come back. Icy Hot Hottie, jphsnake’s smoking hot, ice cold, Elemental deck, made it back into the competition.
Nineteen decks remained.
Five decks died in round 3; Allies, Hexproof, RG Tempo, White Weenie, and Simic Storm.
After this round, Temporal Fissure was banned and Simic Stormpost died because of the ban.
Also, the remaining ten decks were auto-included in Season Two and will be played again.
This was a very victorious round, losing only DelverFiend.
In this round, Goblins and UB Trinket Control were eliminated.
The ratings of the decks to this point. I had two practice rounds before playing this round and I also rated the seven remaining decks in the order I thought it likely that they would win the Pauper Gauntlet:
Icy Hot Hottie
Five Color Green
Turns out, I was wrong.
MUC and Stompy died first. The People cried when Icy Hot Hottie stumbled and got crushed.
Love Train, Illusory Tricks, BorosKitty, and Five Color Green moved on to the seventh round.
BorosKitty could make an argument for being a tier two deck but overall these were all rogue decks.
BorosKitty: Purr!! Brewed by TurboKitty3000. Competition owner: Tom the Scud. Deck list.
Five-color Green: Brewed by Shyft4. Competition owner: Smashing. Deck list.
Illusory Tricks: Bava’s tempo deck. Competition owner: Greystone. Deck list
Love Train: There is love in the air. With love, anything can be accomplished. This is a Freed from the Real combo deck with extra love added. Brewer: jphsnake. Competition owner: Feyocan731 Deck list
In a million years, I don’t think anybody could have predicted this field of four as the top 4.
FINAL RESULT OF THE 1ST SEASON OF THE PAUPER GAUNTLET
1st place: BorosKitty
2nd place: Illusory Tricks
3rd place: Five Color Green, Love Train
5th place: MUC, Stompy, Icy Hot Hottie
8th place: Goblins, UB Trinket Control
10th place: DelverFiend
11th place: Simic Stormpost
12th place: Allies, Hexproof, RG Tempo, White Weenie and Simic Storm
PAUPER GAUNTLET SEASON TWO
Learn more about Season Two in this video. It starts on August 31st 2014.
I have been wondering why DelverFiend is not played more. It has an excellent Stormpost matchup. Maybe it has problems with Delver? Maybe it has problems with control? Maybe 8 creatures + 4 Delver of Secret is just not enough.
I think one of the fundamental problems of Delver Fiend is the low creature count. There are just no other good creatures.
You just have a hard time winning with DelverFiend as the opposing deck has more removal than you have creatures.
BUT WHAT IF YOU HAD 16 CREATURES?
I predict that if Temporal Fissure and Cloudpost is not banned DelverFiend will be a major contender. With 4 Lightning Bolts, DelverFiend even has the reach to finish the game (they also have Dispel) when Simic Stormpost sets up the Moment’s Peace wall.
Fun, fast games of Pauper ahead of us! And good times for Trinket, I hope.