The Pauper Brewers Cup, Week 11: Gauntlet, Round 1

The Gauntlet is underway and videos are publishing this week on the YouTube Channel. Follow this playlist for all the updates.

Some of these brews have piqued Dan’s interest as well, if you haven’t caught those matches, here you go.



Be sure to swing by and comment on those videos, especially if you have play and/or sideboard suggestions. Dan and I will be setting up our grudge matches for sure sometime this month and there will be honor and glory on the line, both for us and for you brewers.

Even lists that lost the first week will get to continue in the gauntlet (first week is a practice week of sorts), so we’ll get to see every list in action at least a couple more times. Who do you think will win? Let me know in the comments!

/bava

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup, Week Seven: Apprehension Engine

brewerscup01-wide

Wow, it’s the penultimate episode of the Pauper Brewer’s Cup, and either we’re losing steam or you you guys didn’t find much inspiration in the Tron / Ramp challenge. If it is the latter, my apologies. You have one more chance to send me suggestions for next week. After that we will jump into the “gauntlet” portion of this challenge, where your lists will fight for honor and glory.

By now you know the score. If you’re new here, don’t worry, I’ll go over it each week. This week’s article has two sections. First you get to vote on your favorite list from our top contenders last week. Second, you get to submit new lists around a new theme, which will be voted on next week. Here is a reminder of how this whole thing works.

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup

Here are some rules and stuff.

  1. Every week, I will offer some kind of constraint or challenge to our readers.
  2. Submit a fun, innovative, or powerful brew built around those constraints.
  3. Your submission must be legal for Pauper in Magic Online. Guidelines are here.
  4. I will select three lists out of your submissions, and you will get to vote for that week’s winner.
  5. After 8 weeks we will have 8 innovative brews, and they will enter the gauntlet portion of the Brewer’s Cup.
  6. Whoever owns (submitted) the deck that wins this gauntlet will be endowed with fabulous riches (to be determined) and great esteem.

If any of that doesn’t make sense, ask for clarifications in the comments. The idea is that we should have fun sharing ideas and brewing, maybe discover some new, powerful decks, and in general support and promote the format we love the most, Pauper.

If at any point you have a suggestion for a theme or challenge, send those along too. I will do my best, but I am relying upon the ingenuity of you guys to make this thing really successful. I know you won’t let me down!

So, rules and stuff aside, let’s get down to business.

Week Five Winner

Light votes this week, but we had a close race.

ModernFever secures the win with his “All Deaths Welcome” list, edging out obZen’s Grixis Go list by a single vote. Midnight_Memory brought up the rear but was just five votes back from second. Congratulations to Modern_Fever! All Deaths Welcome is not the fifth list to make it into the gauntlet portion of the Brewer’s Cup.

Voting for Week Six

We were light on submissions this week, but not on quality. The challenge was to brew a Tron or Ramp list, and you guys delivered. Here are my three favorites.

[d title=”Urza’s Rebellious Teenage Phase by Shnuffles”]

Lands
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower
1 Bojuka Bog
10 Plains
3 Expedition Map
Rebel Tutors
4 Ramosian Sergeant
4 Ramosian Lieutenant
4 Defiant Falcon
4 Amrou Scout
1 Blightspeaker
Utility Rebels
3 Zealot il-Vec
3 Aven Riftwatcher
1 Thermal Glider
1 Nightwind Glider
1 Amrou Seekers
1 Children of Korlis
Removal
3 Journey to Nowhere
4 Bound in Silence
Sideboard
2 Samite Censer-Bearer
1 Errant Doomsayers
1 Aven Riftwatcher
2 Lightbringer
1 Nightwind Glider
2 Thermal Glider
1 Zealot il-Vec
3 Oblivion Ring
2 Gravepurge [/d]

I like the title, and rebels + tron lands makes good sense. Aside from using Tron, it isn’t the most innovative Rebels list in the world, but still looks like it would be good fun to play and could be a competitor. Never underestimate the power of the rebellion!

[d title=”Artificial Sweetener by Icepick23″]

Lands
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Tower
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Plains
4 Ancient Den
Recur Engine
4 Remember the Fallen
3 Salvage Scout
3 Sanctum Gargoyle
Recur Targets
3 Arcbound Bruiser
4 Arcbound Worker
2 Arcbound Stinger
2 Guardian Automaton
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Origin Spellbomb
Utility Cards
4 Auriok Sunchaser
3 Thermal Navigator
4 Whispersilk Cloak
Sideboard
1 Circle of Protection: Green
2 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Circle of Protection: Blue
2 Vulshok Morningstar
2 Disenchant
3 Oblivion Ring
2 Dust to Dust
1 Mana Tithe
1 Sunbeam Spellbomb [/d]

Using the modular guys with recursion is interesting, and you have a sac outlet in [c]Thermal Navigator[/c] to push modular bonuses as needed. 4x [c]Whispersilk Cloak[/c] feels like too many, but otherwise the list seems solid enough. Icepick submitted a second list, but he dropped the land count to 17 and added in some Expedition Maps. I like maps, but generally you don’t want to replace land with them, especially not down to 17. It’s weird how greedy people get with mana in Pauper. Even with the Tron lands, I’d probably run 22 or so, adding in some dual-purpose lands like [c]Haunted Fengraf[/c] or [c]Quicksand[/c].

[d title=”GR Tron Control by Marvin02″]

Lands
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower
8 Forest
1 Rugged Highlands
1 Bojuka Bog
Creatures
4 Tinder Wall
4 Satyr Wayfinder
2 Ulamog’s Crusher
Spells
2 Lotus Petal
4 Crop Rotation
4 Faithless Looting
4 Firebolt
1 Flame Jab
2 Prophetic Prism
4 Mulch
1 Morgue Theft
4 Earth Rift
2 Swirling Sandstorm
Sideboard
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Canopy Claws
1 Electrickery
2 Fangren Marauder
2 Moment’s Peace
3 Pyroblast
2 Serene Heart
2 Swirling Sandstorm [/d]

This is both a Tron deck AND a ramp deck, so it fits the brief twice over. I love [c]Swirling Sandstorm[/c] and it makes me happy to see it in use here. I’m not sure about the “retrace vs card draw” idea, since there isn’t a lot of retrace in here, but I approve of the list nonetheless.

Vote Here!

Alright, which of these three lists do you like the most? Submit your votes by the end of the week. One vote per reader, please.

Week Seven: Apprehension Engine

I’m reading Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway right now, and in the story there is a device called the Apprehension Engine. What it actually does is somewhat mysterious at this point, but the gist seems to be that it removes all mystery, granting perfect knowledge and banishing the unknown. Or something like that. There are tiny, golden mechanical bees. They go off and unlock more bees. And more bees. And more bees. Essentially it is a chain reaction that may (or may not) lead to an armageddon of some kind. All of which is a roundabout way of getting to my point, which is that your deck should cause a chain reaction of some kind that should lead to armageddon for your opponent.

tl;dr build me an awesome Pauper combo deck.

There are lot of unexplored combos in Pauper. If you have seen my [c]Blessing of Leeches[/c] videos on the channel, you know that some are jankier than others. Even so, there is a TON of unexplored space, here; okay, so maybe not in terms of tier 1 potential, but plenty of solid t2 stuff that might be ready for its moment to shine. Your combo list doesn’t need to be “infinite” but it should do something powerful when it goes off. For instance, one-land spy is not an infinite combo, but generally does enough to kill your opponent. Same with [c]Songs of the Damned[/c]. Infinite combos are in no way discouraged, of course, just so long as they do something worthwhile. Infinitely playing and bouncing creatures, to no other effect, isn’t very impressive.

  1. Brew up a fun, interesting, powerful, janky, or otherwise underexplored Combo list for Classic Pauper.

I am willing to consider that [c]Kiln Fiend[/c] “combos” with cantrips, and that infect combos with pump spells, but it better be more “interesting” than that or it won’t pass muster.

Submissions will be judged on power, innovation, and how well you work within the constraints.

This is a brewing contest, so creativity is paramount.

Submit your brews and ideas

That’s it! Submit your lists in the comments below. Yes, that means other people can see your stuff and copy it or adapt it, but I do really want this to be an opportunity for us to discuss and brew together for Pauper.

Lists need to be submitted before next Tuesday, August 4, to be considered.

I will pick three submissions to highlight in next week’s article, and you guys will get to vote to decide the winner.

Our Forum Guidelines and Style Guide are available here, so you can make your decklist look like a list. Please use it.

Other thoughts, comments, or concerns? Suggestions for a weekly challenge? Leave those in the comments too!

Last but not least, if you like this challenge or any of our other content, please consider supporting us via our Patreon.

Happy brewing!

/bava

 

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup, Week Four: The Wrong Tribe

brewerscup01-wide

Welcome back to another thrilling week of the Pauper Brewer’s Cup. Some super-interesting submissions last week, and another deck secures its spot in the gauntlet. As always, if you have theme suggestions, don’t hesitate to suggest them!

By now you know the score. If you’re new here, don’t worry, I’ll go over it each week. This week’s article has two sections. First you get to vote on your favorite list from our top contenders last week. Second, you get to submit new lists around a new theme, which will be voted on next week. Here is a reminder of how this whole thing works.

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup

Here are some rules and stuff.

  1. Every week, I will offer some kind of constraint or challenge to our readers.
  2. Submit a fun, innovative, or powerful brew built around those constraints.
  3. Your submission must be legal for Pauper in Magic Online. Guidelines are here.
  4. I will select three lists out of your submissions, and you will get to vote for that week’s winner.
  5. After 8 weeks we will have 8 innovative brews, and they will enter the gauntlet portion of the Brewer’s Cup.
  6. Whoever owns (submitted) the deck that wins this gauntlet will be endowed with fabulous riches (to be determined) and great esteem.

If any of that doesn’t make sense, ask for clarifications in the comments. The idea is that we should have fun sharing ideas and brewing, maybe discover some new, powerful decks, and in general support and promote the format we love the most, Pauper.

If at any point you have a suggestion for a theme or challenge, send those along too. I will do my best, but I am relying upon the ingenuity of you guys to make this thing really successful. I know you won’t let me down!

So, rules and stuff aside, let’s get down to business.

Week Two Winner

Wow! We tallied 70 votes over the week for your favorite Blades of Alara lists.

This was a close one! Brick’s Esper Blink-ifacts list edged out Heltoupee’s Bant Sword and Shield list to take the win, securing 29 votes to Bant’s 26. Zturchan’s Jund list brought up the rear with 16 votes.

Congratulations to Brick and his Esper Blink-ifacts list! Esper Blink-ifacts is now officially the second list that will go into the gauntlet portion of the Brewer’s Cup where it will have the opportunity to fight for glory and riches.

Voting for Week Three

Our constraint in week three was that almost everything had to be castable with one mana. On the surface this seemed quite straight-forward, but with Delve, Suspend, and other tricks, you guys found ways to introduce variety into the submissions. Nicely done! There were some excellent submissions, and here are my three picks for you to vote on.

[d title=”Little Heroic Boros by Heltoupee”]

Instant
3 Brute Force
4 Defiant Strike
2 Gods Willing
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Titan’s Strength
Sorcery
2 Assault Strobe
2 Firebolt
3 Reckless Charge
Enchantment
2 Dragon Mantle
Creature
3 Akroan Crusader
2 Deftblade Elite
4 Kiln Fiend
4 Lagonna-Band Trailblazer
4 Satyr Hoplite
Land
4 Boros Garrison
9 Mountain
4 Plains
Sideboard
2 Doomed Traveler
2 Electrickery
2 Erase
2 Gods Willing
4 Pyroblast
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Smelt [/d]

Representing the aggro portion of the one-cost lists, Heltoupee has another chance to make it into the gauntlet with this Boros Heroic list. I’ve played similar lists in Standard Pauper and loved them, but we don’t have a list like this working in Pauper. Perhaps now is the time? I disagree with [c]Boros Garrison[/c] since the list only runs 17 lands and any hand with just Garrison is a mulligan, while any other land would let you keep. It’s the eternal problem of multi-color aggro decks in Pauper, though. Nothing new.

I considered Boros Metalcraft and Red Heroic for this spot, but both are very similar to lists we’ve seen place in Daily events.

[d title=”BR Lowrider by BrocoLee”]

Land
8 Mountain
7 Swamp
4 Evolving Wilds
2 Terramorphic Expanse
Creatures
4 Gurmag Angler
4 Sultai Scavenger
4 Kiln Fiend
Spells
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Duress
2 Ostracize
1 Ghastly Demise
2 Faithless Looting
2 Raven’s Crime
2 Disfigure
1 Gut Shot
4 Crack the Earth
3 Raze
Sideboard
2 Duress
2 Ostracize
3 Ghastly Demise
3 Electrickery
1 Gut Shot
2 Lightning Axe
2 Smelt [/d]

BrocoLee presented this midrange list with plenty of disruption and gas, and a number of threats that need to be answered or will take over the game. There were a couple good Angler lists presented, but I like this one for how it lets us trade resources we don’t care about (lands) and use them later to fuel big Delve dudes.

[d title=”Jund Suspenders by Honkbonkington”]

Land
4 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Evolving Wilds
2 Swamp
3 Forest
3 Mountain
2 Bloodfell Caves
2 Rugged Highlands
Creatures
4 Rift Elemental
2 Jhoira’s Timebug
2 Keldon Halberdier
4 Durkwood Baloth
3 Gurmag Angler
Sorcery
4 Raze
4 Rift Bolt
2 Search for Tomorrow
3 Innocent Blood
3 Crack the Earth
3 Duress
Instant
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Terminate
Sideboard
3 Mindstab
4 Pyroblast
2 Nature’s Claim
3 Electrickery
3 Ostracize [/d]

I had a rough time picking a third list. In the end, while I feel like Suspend lists just plain “don’t work” I still liked the creativity displayed here. Red Heroic nearly nabbed this spot again (sorry Scion!) but since it is a brewing contest, I want to reward creativity as much as playability. In any case, the disruption here could work to hold the game off until some of the suspended fatties can come in and impact the game.

Vote Here!

Alright, which of these three lists do you like the most? Submit your votes by the end of the week. One vote per reader, please.

Week Four: The Wrong Tribe

Not everyone gets to be an elf or a goblin. Some creatures are relegated to obscure tribes like Kithkin, Giants, Oozes, and others. This week’s challenge inspired by a suggestion from Tom Scud.

Here are your constraints this week:

  1. You have to run 3-4x [c]Distant Melody[/c].
  2. At least 16x creatures of the same creature type. No elves.

Submissions will be judged on power, innovation, and how well you work within the constraints.

This is a brewing contest, so creativity is paramount.

Submit your brews and ideas

That’s it! Submit your lists in the comments below. Yes, that means other people can see your stuff and copy it or adapt it, but I do really want this to be an opportunity for us to discuss and brew together for Pauper.

Lists need to be submitted before next Tuesday, July 14, to be considered.

I will pick three submissions to highlight in next week’s article, and you guys will get to vote to decide the winner.

Our Forum Guidelines and Style Guide are available here, so you can make your decklist look like a list. Please use it.

Other thoughts, comments, or concerns? Suggestions for a weekly challenge? Leave those in the comments too!

Last but not least, if you like this challenge or any of our other content, please consider supporting us via our Patreon.

Happy brewing!

/bava

 

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup, Week Three: The Chosen One

brewerscup01-wide

Welcome back, everyone, and thanks for making the Brewer’s Cup such a fun event so far. I’ve loved reading your submissions and watching conversations happen in the comments. How are you guys liking the event so far? Anything I should change?

By now you know the score. If you’re new here, don’t worry, I’ll go over it each week. This week’s article has two sections. First you get to vote on your favorite list from our top contenders last week. Second, you get to submit new lists around a new theme, which will be voted on next week. Here is a reminder of how this whole thing works.

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup

Here are some rules and stuff.

  1. Every week, I will offer some kind of constraint or challenge to our readers.
  2. Submit a fun, innovative, or powerful brew built around those constraints.
  3. Your submission must be legal for Pauper in Magic Online. Guidelines are here.
  4. I will select three lists out of your submissions, and you will get to vote for that week’s winner.
  5. After 8 weeks we will have 8 innovative brews, and they will enter the gauntlet portion of the Brewer’s Cup.
  6. Whoever owns (submitted) the deck that wins this gauntlet will be endowed with fabulous riches (to be determined) and great esteem.

If any of that doesn’t make sense, ask for clarifications in the comments. The idea is that we should have fun sharing ideas and brewing, maybe discover some new, powerful decks, and in general support and promote the format we love the most, Pauper.

If at any point you have a suggestion for a theme or challenge, send those along too. I will do my best, but I am relying upon the ingenuity of you guys to make this thing really successful. I know you won’t let me down!

So, rules and stuff aside, let’s get down to business.

Week One Winner

Wow! We tallied 65 votes over the week for your favorite [c]Cavern Harpy[/c] lists.

The sure winner with 36 votes was Tomscud with his Eidolon and On list. Congratulations! Eidolon and On is now officially the first list that will go into the gauntlet portion of the Brewer’s Cup where it will have the opportunity to fight for glory and riches.

Rremedio grabbed second place with 19 votes for his Harpy Control list while Gerge brought in a solid 10 votes for his Dimir Shinobi list.

Voting for Week Two

Our constraint in week two was to include 4x of one of the following: [c]Bant Sureblade[/c] | [c]Esper Stormblade[/c] | [c]Grixis Grimblade[/c] | [c]Jund Hackblade[/c] | [c]Naya Hushblade[/c] and to only use the colors of the shard you had chosen. This challenge is quite hard because, as someone noted, the Blades all want to be in an aggro deck, but multi-colored aggro decks are an issue in Pauper due to our clunky mana bases. That said, there were some excellent submissions, and here are my three picks for you to vote on.

[d title=”Esper Blink-ifacts by brick (Pauper)”]

Creatures
4 Esper Stormblade
4 Ethercaste Knight
4 Ethersworn Shieldmage
4 Court Homunculus
4 Glassdust Hulk
2 Sanctum Gargoyle
3 Mulldrifter

Spells
4 Brainstorm
3 Mystical Teachings
3 Momentary Blink
3 Mana Leak
2 Doom Blade

Mana Makers
2 Azorius Signet
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Plains
5 Island
1 Swamp

Sideboard
2 Vedalken Outlander
2 Diabolic Edict
2 Prismatic Strands
1 Echoing Decay
2 Holy Light
1 Grim Harvest
1 Doom Blade
1 Crypt Incursion
2 Dismantling Blow
1 Swamp [/d]

Brick took feedback from his first submission and tuned it into this list, highlighting a [c]Mystical Teachings[/c] package that can grab anything from the spell toolbox or [c]Ethersworn Shieldmage[/c]. I like the idea of grabbing Flash creatures with Teachings, and the deck looks solid overall. It also fit the shard requirement, which many lists did not. I’m willing to be flexible, but lists that follow the rules get bonus points.

[d title=”Bant Sword and Shield by heltoupee (Pauper)”]

Enchantment
2 Armadillo Cloak
2 Cho-Manno’s Blessing
1 Crystallization
2 Curse of Chains
1 Favor of the Overbeing
3 Shield of the Oversoul
1 Steel of the Godhead

Artifact
2 Fieldmist Borderpost
2 Wildfield Borderpost

Creature
4 Bant Sureblade
4 Heliod’s Pilgrim
3 Mulldrifter
4 Qasali Pridemage
2 Safehold Elite
4 Slippery Bogle
4 Steward of Valeron

Land
4 Evolving Wilds
7 Forest
1 Island
7 Plains

Sideboard
3 Dispel
2 Gleeful Sabotage
3 Prismatic Strands
1 Relic of Progenitus
3 Scattershot Archer
3 Standard Bearer [/d]

Another list that follows this rules, this time in Bant colors. Heltoupee resubmitted his list to make sure it fit the guidelines, and the result is a great looking Bant list with a solid [c]Heliod’s Pilgrim[/c] aura package. With the 4x pilgrims I feel like the SB could benefit from some situational auras, though otherwise it looks pretty balanced.

[d title=”Jund Hack and Slash by zturchan (Pauper)”]

Creatures
4 Jund Hackblade
4 Putrid Leech
4 Horned Kavu
4 Manaforge Cinder
2 Desecrator Hag
4 Blood Ogre

Spells
4 Lightning Bolt
3 Terminate
3 Riot Spikes
4 Searing Blaze
4 Chain Lightning

Mana Sources/Lands
3 Firewild Borderpost
2 Veinfire Borderpost
4 Forest
4 Swamp
7 Mountain

Sideboard
3 Ancient Grudge
3 Electrickery
3 Molten Rain
3 Duress
3 Pyroblast [/d]

There is plenty to love in this Jund list. Stick a fat, undercosted creature like Leech or Kavu, protect it with tons of removal, and swing for the fences. I can see this list doing well against creature decks, but imagine it has issues with more controlling lists.

Vote Here!

Alright, which of these three lists do you like the most? Submit your votes by the end of the week. One vote per reader, please.

Week Three: The Chosen One

I had some good suggestions for themes in last week’s comments, and I will probably use them in the future. For now, I want to mix things up and, with an eye to not always creating clunky, multi-colored midrange lists, this week’s challenge will be sleek and streamlined.

Here are your constraints this week:

  1. All but 4 cards in your list have to be castable with only one mana.
  2. Your 4 exceptions can have any mana cost you like.

Yep, it’s a one-drop challenge. Note that the way I have worded the rules does allow for cards like [c]Vault Skirge[/c] and [c]Rift Bolt[/c]. I am also willing to consider Convoke and Delve in your list but I have to believe that those cards are realistically only going to cost one mana when you cast them.

Submissions will be judged on power, innovation, and how well you work within the constraints.

Submit your brews and ideas

That’s it! Submit your lists in the comments below. Yes, that means other people can see your stuff and copy it or adapt it, but I do really want this to be an opportunity for us to discuss and brew together for Pauper.

Lists need to be submitted before next Tuesday, July 7, to be considered.

I will pick three submissions to highlight in next week’s article, and you guys will get to vote to decide the winner.

Our Forum Guidelines and Style Guide are available here, so you can make your decklist look like a list. Please use it.

Other thoughts, comments, or concerns? Suggestions for a weekly challenge? Leave those in the comments too!

Last but not least, if you like this challenge or any of our other content, please consider supporting us via our Patreon.

Happy brewing!

/bava

 

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup, Week Two: Blades of Alara

brewerscup01-wide

Week one was a great success, and I loved the submissions! Thanks to everyone who participated!

This week’s article has two sections. First you get to vote on your favorite list from our top contenders last week. Second, you get to submit new lists around a new theme, which will be voted on next week. Here is a reminder of how this whole thing works.

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup

Here are some rules and stuff.

  1. Every week, I will offer some kind of constraint or challenge to our readers.
  2. Submit a fun, innovative, or powerful brew built around those constraints.
  3. Your submission must be legal for Pauper in Magic Online. Guidelines are here.
  4. I will select three lists out of your submissions, and you will get to vote for that week’s winner.
  5. After 8 weeks we will have 8 innovative brews, and they will enter the gauntlet portion of the Brewer’s Cup.
  6. Whoever owns (submitted) the deck that wins this gauntlet will be endowed with fabulous riches (to be determined) and great esteem.

If any of that doesn’t make sense, ask for clarifications in the comments. The idea is that we should have fun sharing ideas and brewing, maybe discover some new, powerful decks, and in general support and promote the format we love the most, Pauper.

If at any point you have a suggestion for a theme or challenge, send those along too. I will do my best, but I am relying upon the ingenuity of you guys to make this thing really successful. I know you won’t let me down!

So, rules and stuff aside, let’s get down to business.

Voting for Week One

Our constraint in week one was to include at least 3x [c]Cavern Harpy[/c] in your lists. ETB shenanigans was the name of the game, making it somewhat hard to pick three lists to put to the vote. One list stands out for being quite different, while the other two seemed like the “best” in their class. Here are the lists, you can vote on your favorite down below.

[d title=”Eidolon and On by Tom the Scud (Pauper)”]
Mana rocks and lands
4 Dimir Signet
2 Dimir Guildgate
4 Dismal Backwater
4 Dimir Aqueduct
6 Swamp
6 Island

Engine part 1
3 Cavern Harpy
3 Tortured Existence
4 Vampire Hounds

Engine part 2
4 Enigma Eidolon
4 Entropic Eidolon
2 Aurora Eidolon

Infiltrator toolbox
3 Dimir Infiltrator
1 Cloud of Faeries
2 Looter il-Kor
2 Prohibit
1 Think Twice
1 Chainer’s Edict
3 Agony Warp
1 Echoing Decay

Sideboard
3 Negate
2 Doom Blade
2 Shrivel
2 Bottle Gnomes
1 Tortured Existence
3 Chainer’s Edict
1 Echoing Decay
1 Prohibit [/d]

This “outside the box” list uses some undiscovered Eidolon magic to create a strong recursion engine and eventually grind your opponents to dust.

[d title=”Mono Harpy Control by RRemedio (Pauper)”]
Lands
1 Bojuka Bog
3 Dimir Aqueduct
8 Swamp
4 Dismal Backwater
3 Island
4 Evolving Wilds

Juice
1 Cadaver Imp
3 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
2 Liliana’s Specter
1 Mnemonic Wall
4 Ravenous Rats
3 Mulldrifter
4 Phyrexian Rager
1 Gurmag Angler
1 Man-o’-War
1 Parasitic Strix
1 Sedraxis Alchemist

Enablers
3 Ghostly Flicker
3 Cavern Harpy

Removal
3 Diabolic Edict
3 Disfigure
1 Tragic Slip
1 Victim of Night
1 Devour Flesh

Sideboard
1 Choking Sands
2 Shrivel
1 Repeal
1 Negate
1 Evincar’s Justice
2 Pharika’s Cure
2 Wrench Mind
1 Devour Flesh
1 Parasitic Strix
1 Man-o’-War
2 Sedraxis Alchemist [/d]

Roberto put together a real Harpy toolbox list, and while I wonder at the absence of [c]Chittering Rats[/c], I like some of the other inclusions. I have to admit, though, that the sideboard feels a bit all over the place.

[d title=”Dimir Shinobi by Gerge (Pauper)”]
Land
3 Dimir Aqueduct
4 Dismal Backwater
2 Evolving Wilds
4 Island
8 Swamp

Creature
3 Cavern Harpy
4 Chittering Rats
3 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
3 Mulldrifter
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
2 Okiba-Gang Shinobi

Sorcery
4 Chainer’s Edict
4 Consult the Necrosages

Instant
3 Agony Warp
2 Diabolic Edict
1 Snuff Out
4 Undying Evil

Enchantment
2 Oubliette

Sideboard
4 Counterspell
2 Crypt Rats
3 Cuombajj Witches
2 Diabolic Edict
1 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
3 Spidersilk Net [/d]

This was a hard choice, but I like Ninjas (who doesn’t) and the removal package seems decent enough to stay alive and get the engine online. 4x [c]Undying Evil[/c] seems like too many, but hey, that card is just mean when it works. Ninjas may prefer Specter over rats, in this case, opposite of Roberto’s list.

Vote Here!

Alright, which of these three lists do you like the most? Submit your votes by the end of the week. One vote per reader, please.

Week Two: Blades of Alara

Inspiration for this week’s theme goes to Deluxeicoff. I’ve always liked this cycle and I think there is plenty of space to brew here.

Here are your constraints this week:

  1. 4x of one of the following:
    • [c]Bant Sureblade[/c] | [c]Esper Stormblade[/c] | [c]Grixis Grimblade[/c] | [c]Jund Hackblade[/c] | [c]Naya Hushblade[/c]
  2. Your list may only use the colors of the shard you choose and should use all three colors in some way.

Submissions will be judged on power, innovation, and how well you work within the constraints.

Submit your brews and ideas

That’s it! Submit your lists in the comments below. Yes, that means other people can see your stuff and copy it or adapt it, but I do really want this to be an opportunity for us to discuss and brew together for Pauper.

Lists need to be submitted before next Tuesday, June 30, to be considered.

I will pick three submissions to highlight in next week’s article, and you guys will get to vote to decide the winner.

Our Forum Guidelines and Style Guide are available here, so you can make your decklist look like a list. Please use it.

Other thoughts, comments, or concerns? Suggestions for a weekly challenge? Leave those in the comments too!

Last but not least, if you like this challenge or any of our other content, please consider supporting us via our Patreon.

Happy brewing!

/bava

 

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup, Week One: Cavern Harpy

brewerscup01-wide

After teasing this on Reddit and receiving a great response, I figured, “Why wait?” Let’s launch this thing now! What thing, you ask? This thing.

The Pauper Brewer’s Cup

Here are some rules and stuff.

  1. Every week, I will offer some kind of constraint or challenge to our readers.
  2. Submit a fun, innovative, or powerful brew built around those constraints.
  3. Your submission must be legal for Pauper in Magic Online. Guidelines are here.
  4. I will select three lists out of your submissions, and you will get to vote for that week’s winner.
  5. After 8 weeks we will have 8 innovative brews, and they will enter the gauntlet portion of the Brewer’s Cup.
  6. Whoever owns (submitted) the deck that wins this gauntlet will be endowed with fabulous riches (to be determined) and great esteem.

If any of that doesn’t make sense, ask for clarifications in the comments. The idea is that we should have fun sharing ideas and brewing, maybe discover some new, powerful decks, and in general support and promote the format we love the most, Pauper.

If at any point you have a suggestion for a theme or challenge, send those along too. I will do my best, but I am relying upon the ingenuity of you guys to make this thing really successful. I know you won’t let me down!

So, rules and stuff aside, let’s get down to business.

Week One: Cavern Harpy

Back when Casting Commons was more active they had a series of Pauper Challenges. The idea was that if you made it into the Top 8 of a Pauper Premier Event with a list that met their conditions, you would win a prize. As far as I know, nobody ever won any of the five challenges, which is a shame because some of them were quite good. We’re going to borrow from CC today and their first challenge, which involved a certain harpy.

Here are your constraints this week:

  • 3x [c]Cavern Harpy[/c] in the maindeck.

That’s it. The original challenge called for EtB effects, but I think that’s a given, and hey, if you can think of a deck that somehow fully utilizes Harpy without EtB triggers, more power to you. I’d love to see it.

*edit* I have reduced this from the original 4x copies required, thanks to your generous feedback.

Submit your brews and ideas

That’s it! Submit your lists in the comments below. Yes, that means other people can see your stuff and copy it or adapt it, but I do really want this to be an opportunity for us to discuss and brew together for Pauper.

Lists need to be submitted before next Tuesday, June 23, to be considered.

I will pick three submissions to highlight in next week’s article, and you guys will get to vote to decide the winner. Yes, I’m making you guys do all the work, but only because I hold you all in such high esteem.

Our Forum Guidelines and Style Guide are available here, so you can make your decklist look like a list. Please use it.

Other thoughts, comments, or concerns? Suggestions for a weekly challenge? Leave those in the comments too!

Last but not least, if you like this challenge or any of our other content, please consider supporting us via our Patreon.

Happy brewing!

/bava

 

On Stephen Speck, Deck Attribution, and Identity

summer bloom art

Hi all,

Some of these thoughts have been ruminating in my head for a long time, and with this past Pro Tour lousy with controversy, game losses, and outright cheating, I wanted to share some with you. This is not an article about Modern, or even about strategy or design of Magic: The Gathering. It is more of a warning and advice about how to approach the game.

The majority of last year’s Best Movie Oscar nominees seemed to have a common thread running through them. In order to avoid spoilers, I’ll stick only to what I know from previews. In Whiplash, we have a boy who psychotically beats through his drumset during practice and breaks off from his girlfriend in order to be great. Michael Keaton’s character in Birdman wants to get back in the limelight and is driven insane by his past greatness; the character he used to play tells him to do things. The Office’s beloved Steve Carrell plays a man who, innocently enough, wants his family’s ranch to be the national wrestling team’s training site. This drive eventually corrupts him, and we see him carry a gun into a gym.

This debilitating desire seems to pop itself up in the Magic community as well.

At Pro Tour: Dragons of Tarkir, there was a lot of discussion over Patrick Chapin playing two lands in a turn and failing to resolve [c]Ajani, Mentor of Heroes[/c] correctly. He placed a creature card in his hand before placing the three other cards on the bottom of his library, and he did not reveal [c]Tasigur, the Golden Fang[/c] as the planeswalker stated he must. This has gotten a lot of discussion because Chapin is a hall of fame player, and this is a high stakes event.

What hasn’t gotten quite as much discussion is what happened with Stephen Speck. Perhaps this is because of the name disparity, or perhaps it is because the incident was not featured on camera. In fact, I only have accounts from Twitter as to what happened. Here is a vague but official statement from Wizards.

What accounts from players at the Pro Tour suggest is that Speck offered 53 cards to his opponent and had 7 cards aside ready to stack on top of the deck once his opponent finished shuffling and cutting. Where Wizards says that Speck had a “plausible” opening ready elsewhere, players present say instead that he had a “perfect” opening seven ready to go.

So while some may say, “Good, he got disqualified, and we’re all square,” we must remember that Speck has been gaining a lot of traction lately by performing well in Modern tournaments with Bloom Titan. This deck is capable of broken openings that kill the opponent on turn one, even on the draw and through a piece of disruption. Many players, including myself, have been hoping for a ban of [c]Summer Bloom[/c] because the deck breaks the fundamental Modern turn four rule. Proponents of Bloom Titan, mostly its grinders, say that winning before turn four is the exception, and it requires a god-hand.

Well, Speck had a lot of these god-hands in his career, and five of them came at Grand Prix Omaha. After reading about his disqualification, I remembered reading a GP Omaha report where a Merfolk player lost a match to Speck that guaranteed his entry into the Top 8. Here is the report of the match.

So now we have evidence that Speck is manipulating his opening hands, and he is playing a deck with 1 [c]Simian Spirit Guide[/c] that, because of the spirit monkey, can produce turn 1 kills, and we see that he was able to do this a number of times in one event.

I question this. I’m no mathematician, but I know he beat the odds.

Because the news traveled primarily via the Twitter medium, many viewed Speck’s account with tweets dating back in February. These words stood out to me the most:

“I’m about to get [The Bloom Titan] deck banned.”

I’m.

Speck wanted to be the guy who took a rogue deck and broke the format with it. It’s good to be discovered, to have notoriety, and in that way, achieve a sense of fame. And when you place your sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and even identity in such a niche aspect of a card game, some weird things are going to happen. Things may not go to plan, and your sense of self depends on cheating.

nivix-cyclops1

People may read this and think it’s getting a little flimsy. After all, Speck may not have cheated. There is a fraction of a percent of likelihood that, as he argued at Pro Tour: Dragons of Tarkir, the seven cards placed elsewhere while his opponent shuffled and cut his deck were “an unfortunate mistake.” Maybe no such unfortunate mistakes happened during his successful run with Bloom Titam, and maybe he never intentionally placed seven card, turn-one-game-winning hands on top of his deck.

So I’ll approach this from another angle. Have you ever looked at a Magic forum regarding a breakout deck? Often, there are a number of users that want to claim authorship of that deck. The most hostile environment like this that I can recall took place over the discussion of who created Izzet Blitz, Eye Candy, Wee Fiend, or the [c]Kiln Fiend[/c], [c]Nivix Cyclops[/c] combo deck in Pauper. Before the printing of [c]Nivix Cyclops[/c], a feeble iteration of the deck had existed with [c]Wee Dragonauts[/c] in its place. Wizards handed the community a treat, and like dogs, they scrapped for the treat at its best. There are as many people who claim to have created the deck as there are absurd titles for it.

Again, people want to be immortalized over this game. It’s a crazy good game, and there is such a community around it. But still, when a player looks for fulfillment in it, they start to act bizarre.

Players hit print screen and time stamp their posts whenever they come up with an idea. Even if the combo is fairly intuitive and an initial reaction to a card’s printing, they want to be the ones whose names are tagged beside it, and they want the name they gave the deck to be the name by which it is called. Names will be called, shots will be fired, and no one will achieve the fulfillment they desired.

The pros and content developers that actually are known for innovations teach us that it is not a goal worth aspiring to and fighting for to have your name tagged by a deck. If you follow Travis Woo on his Facebook page, you will see approximately bi-monthly musings on leaving the game, his stream, his articles, and other aspects of Magic. Conley Woods gets burned out from Magic. These are two of the most highly regarded deckbuilders in terms of innovations that the community can provide, and if you read between the lines, you will see “Being known for innovation and card-breaking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Here’s all I can say really: Take care of your family. Love people. Look for hope in this world. Treat people kindly. At the end of everything, you can find satisfaction and relief in these things. They won’t warp you into a cheater, a person who lashes out at others, a rager, and all these stereotypes that exist in the community. Instead, they will be stable and let you exercise more creative efforts that can get you further in the game than an obsession over one combo, interaction, or rogue build ever could.

Good luck, have fun.

-drinkard

Laws of Magic: Sutton’s

Willie Sutton was a notorious bankrobber during the early 20th century. Standing at 5’7″, he would dress as a maintenance worker, carry an unloaded tommy-gun, and arrive just before the bank opened to relieve its operators of its contents. Finally, after stealing over $2 million and being sentenced to a lifetime of prison for his fourth [caught] offense, he was asked by the media, “Why do you rob so many banks?” His legendary answer, and the reason he is a law’s namesake:

“Because that’s where all the money is.”

What else should he be robbing, if what he wants is money? If the goal were for him to get clothes, then he would rob a clothing store.

This principle is taught to medical students, not to encourage them to get into plastic surgery, but to teach them to focus on the obvious problems when diagnosing. No matter what someone may have learned from the TV show, House, if a patient is suffering from pain in the feet, a doctor should not conduct a lung x-ray or head scan. Look at the feet!

How can we apply this to Magic? And hint, this is not a finance article. Instead, I want to apply this to how we build decks. I think that players do themselves a disservice when they hope to win by finding a card, combo, or engine and say, “Let’s build around this.” They’re often looking in the wrong place for wins.

First, let’s review the ways to win a game of Magic: The Gathering:

1) Reduce your opponent’s life total to zero.
2) Give your opponent ten poison counters.
3) Force your opponent to draw a card when there are zero cards left in their library.
4) Trigger an alternate victory condition that reads, “You win the game.”

If you start your deck-building process with any goal other than one of these, then you are doing it wrong. You do not consistently win with a deck that aims to destroy all your opponent’s creatures. You do not consistently win by preventing creatures from attacking, or spells from being played, or lands from untapping. If you want to win, then look for where the wins are.

Build a deck around winning, not around a theme.

Before I go too far, let me specify that in this article, I’m really talking about Modern. In Legacy and Vintage, there are decks that are designed to lock your opponents out of the game, and they consistently succeed. The requisite number of design mistakes that make this possible in those formats do not exist yet in Modern.

Looking at the history of Modern, then, consider the Merfolk deck. Tribal strategies are easy to build. Wizards has practically done the work for us! People, for whatever reason, love tribal decks. They are aggressive, flavorful, and easy to pilot. Someone along the way said that they were going to build a deck with the goal of swarming with Merfolk, including the multiple 2-mana lords that boost each other member of the team.

Now, it could just be that the 2-mana lords put Merfolk over other tribes like Goblins and Elves. Or it could be that [c]Spreading Seas[/c] plus the Islandwalk ability from the Merfolk lords puts the tribe over the top. But Slivers have more two-mana lords than Merfolk do, and they have evasion that doesn’t require a combo. Goblins have access to [c]Blood Moon[/c] and [c]Goblin King[/c] for lordship and evasion, and we don’t see these cards in conjunction with one another.

No, I think that somewhere along the line, someone asked themselves what decisions they were making in deck-building that had to do with Merfolk and what decisions they were making for the sake of winning. This train of thought brings the question, “What is keeping me from winning?” and, instead of, “What Merfolk do we play?” they asked, “How can I keep winning?”

Do you see the subtle nuance? Today, [c]Kira, Great Glass Spinner[/c] is seen main-deck in Merfolk decks despite not being of the namesake tribe. Why? Because [c]Lightning Bolt[/c], [c]Path to Exile[/c], and [c]Dismember[/c] were the cards keeping Merfolk from winning, and someone started making better deck-building decisions. It is for this reason that I think Merfolk outperforms other tribal strategies in Modern.

So if you want to take your casual strategy to the next level, or if you’ve attempted to make something competitive out of a line of thinking that doesn’t start with how you’re winning, then whether you’re making the deckbuilding decisions in order to win or not is something for you to consider. Ask yourself questions like, “Does my Goblins deck need [c]Eidolon of the Great Revel[/c] in order to compete?” or maybe even, “Should Goblins be mid-range instead of all-out aggro?”

If your 4 [c]Funeral Charm[/c], 4 [c]Wrench Mind[/c], 4 [c]Inquisition of Kozilek[/c] deck isn’t getting results, ask yourself whether your deck is built to win or built to discard your opponents’ cards.

I hope this has helped you reconsider your brews, and that you get success as a result.

-drinkard