The Pauper Brewer’s Cup, Week 9: Interlude

brewerscup01-wide

Deck submissions are over, but I still need you guys to vote on your favorite toolbox lists, so don’t go anywhere! Next week will begin the gauntlet, where your innovative brews will fight it out for fame and glory. Our good friends at Cardhoarder are sponsoring the event with 50 store credits, so there will definitely be some prizes on the line.

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.

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

Week Seven Winner

Our vote count shot back up this week (thanks, Reddit!) and we had another close race.

In the end, honkbonkington edged out han.s0lo by just 2 votes to secure the win, while marvin02’s Morselhoarder list brought up a distant third.

Congrats to honkbonkington. His UW Manifest combo list is now the 7th list to move into the gauntlet!

Voting for Week Eight

We went out with a bang, by which I mean to say that I *loved* the toolbox lists you guys submitted. I was a bit surprised [c]Heliod’s Pilgrim[/c] didn’t make an appearance, though Trinket Mage was there and I was glad to see a bunch of Transmute enabling. It is, after all, an uncounterable way to tutor, if a bit slow. Even here, though, I was also surprised that none of the “Transmute 2″ toolboxes ran white; getting the right CoP out of the sideboard can straight up win some matches. My surprise aside, though, you guys submitted good lists. Here are my three favorites to vote on.

[d title=”5 Color Tricksy Transmutations by Shnuffles”]

Lands
4 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Evolving Wilds
5 Snow-Covered Island
3 Snow-Covered Mountain
3 Snow-Covered Swamp
1 Snow-Covered Plains
1 Snow-Covered Forest
1 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Izzet Boilerworks
1 Rupture Spire
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Haunted Fengraf
CMC 1 Removal & Preordain
2 Preordain
3 Innocent Blood
4 Skred
CMC 2 Transmuters
3 Dimir Infiltrator
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Shred Memory
CMC 2 Toolbox
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Train of Thought
1 Augur of Skulls
1 Chainer’s Edict
1 Terminate
1 Sprout Swarm
1 Quiet Disrepair
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Prismatic Lens
1 Prophetic Prism
1 Death Denied
1 Rolling Thunder
1 Overrule
CMC 4 Good Stuff
2 Evincar’s Justice
1 Mystical Teachings
CMC 5 Card Advantage
3 Izzet Chronarch
2 Mulldrifter
Sideboard
3 Lone Missionary
2 Negate
1 Journey to Nowhere
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Circle of Protection: Green
1 Moment’s Peace
1 Diabolic Edict
1 Electrickery
1 Scouring Sands
1 Ancient Grudge
1 Shattering Pulse
1 Allay [/d]

A longtime pet project of Shnuffles, this five-color toolbox list does (despite what I said earlier) include the two most important CoPs in the sideboard, and has a lot more going for it besides. With five transmute cards and thirteen cards in the “box”, there are plenty of choices to make. [c]Izzet Cronarch[/c] means you can get a spell back or get back a transmute card to find a new spell, and the sideboard is a whole other 2-CMC toolbox. This list is well-thought out and seems quite powerful, especially in games where you can make the mana work.

[d title=”Tortured Transmuter by rremedio”]

Lands
1 Vault of Whispers
3 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Bojuka Bog
4 Dismal Backwater
3 Evolving Wilds
3 Island
1 Seat of the Synod
6 Swamp
Fetch Things
3 Dimir Infiltrator
2 Shred Memory
2 Dimir House Guard
3 Perplex
1 Exhume
1 Archaeomancer
3 Tortured Existence
2 Dizzy Spell
1 Trinket Mage
2 Grave Scrabbler
Creatures
1 Flayer Husk
2 Stinkweed Imp
2 Ulamog’s Crusher
3 Fume Spitter
1 Vampire Hounds
1 Bloodflow Connoisseur
1 Corpse Hauler
1 Parasitic Strix
Spells
1 Executioner’s Capsule
1 Deep Analysis
1 Chainer’s Edict
1 Murder
1 Sylvok Lifestaff
1 Doom Blade
Sideboard
1 Duress
2 Augur of Skulls
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Waterfront Bouncer
2 Shrivel
2 Faerie Macabre
1 Parasitic Strix
1 Disciple of Phenax
1 Agony Warp
1 Victim of Night
1 Tragic Slip
1 Repeal [/d]

I like Heltoupee’s comment best: “That is beautiful. You can literally recur everything. You don’t just have a toolbox of parts, you have a workshop full of engines! Bravo! It almost looks like what would happen if a Pauper deck and an EDH deck got together and had a baby.”

Roberto adds: “… if you can ‘quickstart’ the deck from one of the many engines it runs early enough, you are on for a very fun ride. The sweet spot is having Tortured Existence on the board and Archaeomancer in the hand or graveyard.”

Looks fun!

[d title=”Empathic Toolbox by Aught3″]
Creatures:
4 Aurochs Herd
4 Copper Myr
3 Fangren Marauder
4 Fierce Empath
4 Krosan Tusker
1 Maul Splicer
3 Ulamog’s Crusher
Spells:
4 Ancient Stirrings
4 Crop Rotation
4 Expedition Map
2 Reap and Sow
1 Serrated Arrows
Lands:
4 Forest
1 Khalni Garden
1 Slippery Karst
4 Tree of Tales
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower
Sideboard:
1 Fangren Marauder
1 Humbler of Mortals
1 Maul Splicer
3 Moment’s Peace
2 Reap and Sow
2 Relic of Progenitus
1 Serrated Arrows
1 Tangle Spider
1 Ulamog’s Crusher
2 Wickerbough Elder [/d]

A mono-green ramp list featuring [c]Fierce Empath[/c] to tutor fatties, which a good toolbox of fatties to choose from. This is definitely more of a toolbox approach to the Fierce Empath list than we usually see, and I love that.

Pauper does not, unfortunately, have the most interesting variety of CMC6+ dudes to tutor for. Aught3 has included the best of these in Marauder, Tusker, Crusher, Herd, and Splicer. Finding a fat spider to block flyers seems good, but I think I would pick [c]Jungle Weaver[/c] over Tangle Spider since the former kills Spire Golems.

You could sneak in a Morselhoarder combo here, since Empath will fetch it, but that would probably be a different list entirely; likely a UG list running Empath, Hoarder, Trinket Mage, Sinking Feeling, and a Longbow or three. Quick, someone built that!

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.

The Brewing is Over!

The brewing portion of the cup is over. Let’s take this opportunity to reflect, instead. What was your favorite challenge? Which list do you think will win the gauntlet portion of the event? What should we do differently next time?

Next week will reveal the final list to make it into the gauntlet, and I’ll outline the rules on how that part will work. I will reveal, here, that the Gauntlet will include three challenges, and that Dan has agreed to play against me for one of those challenges, so you will get double-video coverage for some of it, and the joy of watching Dan try and figure out some of these complicated lists you guys have submitted.

A big thanks to everyone who has participated in the event so far. You guys are awesome and I really appreciate the fun brews and interactive comments we’ve had here on the site.

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

Thanks!

/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 Five: Extended Crossover

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 Three Winner

Jeez, guys. We tallied 70 votes again and man were the results close! No, like really close! Like one vote between first and second, and then just three votes down to third. What a split!

Heltoupee’s perseverence paid off this week, edging out BrocoLee with 25 votes to 24. Honkbonkington’s list pulled a respectable 21 votes, riding into third with its pride intact.

Congratulations to Heltoupee and his Little Heroic Boros list! This is now the third 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. And man, this thing is going to be a contender.

Voting for Week Four

Our constraint in week four was to brew a non-Elves list with 3-4x [c]Distant Melody[/c]. I was super happy with the variety of tribes presented, from the Kor, to Birds, to Elementals and more. Thanks, everyone, for putting on your fun brewing hats! There were some excellent submissions, and here are my three picks for you to vote on.

[d title=”Stonybrook Wizards by RRemedio”]

Lands
2 Dismal Backwater
3 Tranquil Cove
3 Evolving Wilds
1 Plains
1 Swamp
10 Island

Wizards
4 Spellstutter Sprite
2 Vedalken Aethermage
3 Sea Gate Oracle
4 Stonybrook Banneret
2 Apprentice Wizard
1 Dawnglare Invoker
1 Archaeomancer
2 AEther Adept
2 Deputy of Acquittals
2 Stonybrook Schoolmaster

Card Draw
3 Distant Melody
3 Preordain

Utility
2 Harsh Sustenance
1 Capsize
2 Counterspell
3 Cloud of Faeries
3 Springleaf Drum

Sideboard
1 Wizard Replica
1 Distant Melody
1 Counterspell
4 Dispel
1 Vedalken Æthermage
1 Ghostly Flicker
1 Bonesplitter
3 Faerie Macabre
2 Narcolepsy [/d]

Tribal wizards? Yes, please! This deck looks ridiculous and, honestly, a bit janky. But Roberto likes that kind of thing and sometimes it even works. The epitome of tribal tempo.

[d title=”Decaying Melody by Heltoupee”]
Creature
3 Headless Skaab
3 Armored Skaab
4 Gurmag Angler
3 Makeshift Mauler
3 Necromancer’s Assistant
4 Screeching Skaab
4 Stitched Drake
3 Sultai Emissary

Spells
3 Distant Melody
3 Brainstorm
2 Disfigure
2 Ghastly Demise
3 Thought Scour

Land
4 Evolving Wilds
10 Island
4 Swamp
2 Terramorphic Expanse

Sideboard
2 Diabolic Edict
2 Echoing Truth
3 Ghoulcaller’s Chant
3 Nameless Inversion
3 Negate
2 Shrivel [/d]

Innistrad zombies weren’t like other zombies, and it’s cool to see them in use here. Bust open the graveyard, power out fatties, draw lots of cards, and do it again. As he said in his desription: “The ‘Distant Melody’ your opponents will hear is nothing but the hollow moaning of your decaying, reanimated army!”

[d title=”Distant Spirits by GreaterGerardon”]
Engine
4 Hana Kami
2 Death Denied
2 Soulless Revival

Benefitters
4 Thief of Hope
4 Petalmane Baku
2 Elder Pine of Jukai

Arcane Value Cards
3 Kodama’s Reach
4 Rend Flesh
1 Devouring Greed

Value Spirits
3 Nameless Inversion
3 Disowned Ancestor
3 Shimmering Glasskite

Card Draw
3 Distant Melody

Lands
3 Evolving Wilds
3 Terramorphic Expanse
2 Jungle Hollow
5 Forest
7 Swamp
2 Island

Sideboard
1 Devouring Greed
3 Moss Kami
1 Nameless Inversion
3 Spidersilk Armor
4 Waking Nightmare
1 Horobi’s Whisper
1 Kaervek’s Torch
1 Shinen of Life’s Roar [/d]

It’s worth reading the comment in detail if you haven’t already, because it’s obvious a lot of thought went into this list. I love a Spirits list and, even though there is only 1x in the SB, the idea of casting [c]Devouring Greed[/c] for a zillion is way too fun to pass up.

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 Five: Extended Pauper

This past Friday I announced our sixth Community League, and the format is Extended Pauper. This means every set that was in Standard Rotation from Innistrad through Origins. In honor of that event, and to help drum up some interesting ideas for people who want to play in that event, we’re having an event crossover.

Here are your constraints this week:

  1. Brew up your best Extended Pauper list.
  2. [c]Treasure Cruise [/c] is banned.

Check out the league article for a break-down of the rules and sign-up if you haven’t already! I have personally been enjoying brewing within this format, and have come up with some fun, interesting lists.

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 21, 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