Top Ten Obnoxious Creatures

Hey guys, Peyton here with another Top Ten list. This time, it’s the most annoying creatures to play against for a variety of formats. This short article will be the same as the last; it is just a small text version of the reasoning behind these choices. Make sure to watch the video for full details! As before, this is obviously not a complete list and doesn’t cover each format in entirety, so I want to know which creatures you guys hate the most in any format! Leave a comment here, or on the YouTube video itself. Let’s begin…

Honorable Mentions

[c]Laboratory Maniac[/c] – Only annoying in Breakfast decks since he is the win condition. Other than that, nobody really uses this guy, so not worth a full hate rant.

[c]Ith, High Arcanist[/c] – In all honesty, Ith sucks. His cmc is way too high, and he’s not a groundbreaking creature. Nobody plays this card because Maze of Ith is far better.

[c]Phage the Untouchable[/c] – Phage is a scary creature to play against if you have no removal. That being said, Phage is not a mainstream card, and shouldn’t be a threat anyways to many decks if they have countermagic or removal of any kind. (Hint: Oblivion Ring Phage, then kill your own ring to win the game :))

10. [c]Sin Collector[/c] (Standard) – This card is a staple in many Esper control lists in standard right now. It deals with an annoying surprise lying in wait, then pokes the opponent to death with that magical stick thing. In a control mirror, whomever can resolve the most Sin Collectors pretty much wins.

9. [c]Nimble Mongoose[/c] (Legacy) – Nimble Mongoose is a big part of RUG and BUG Delver lists in legacy. In the latter half of the game, it is usually a 3/3 Shroud for only G. It can’t be targeted, and is very solid in creature combat. A Liliana of the Veil or a creature holding a sword can usually best this guy, but he’s obnoxious nonetheless.

8. [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] (Modern/Legacy) – Snappy Griller, as I call him, is a known quantity in many decks in Legacy and Modern. A toolbox-on-a-stick that can allow a player to utilize the Cryptic Command, Lightning Bolt, and Path to Exile in their graveyard is powerful, but also annoying because of his versatility.

7. [c]Delver of Secrets[/c]/Insectile Aberration (Pauper/Legacy) – Delver is a crazy card. a 3/2 flyer for 1 mana? Jeez! There are decks in both Pauper and Legacy named after this guy. Sure, he dies to Shock, but that constant evasive poking if you don’t have an answer is very obnoxious. Some people rejoiced when he cycled out of standard, others cried because they were going to stop winning so easily.

6. [c]Voice of Resurgence[/c] (Standard/Legacy) – Voice is nice. It makes counterspells come with a price, and it replaces itself when it kicks the bucket. It was once a $50 card that was a staple in standard. All of these factors contribute to how annoying it is… Decks like Maverick run a copy or two in addition to the standard decks using it.

5. [c]Norin the Wary[/c] (EDH) – Norin is the only EDH general to be featured here. While some may argue that Zur the Enchanter decks are more annoying, I think that Norin is more so in many instances. For starters, Norin is a pain in the ass to get rid of, since he blinks every time a spell is cast or a creatures attacks, but he can be taken out by creature effects and the like. Norin decks also tend to have lots of annoying interactions that prevent the opponent from being productive while giving the Norin player lots of advantages. Norin decks also have a tendency to just durdle around until the win practically out of nowhere, no matter what the board position may be. No matter what, don’t let the Norin player resolve a Purphoros, God of the Forge, Genesis Chamber, Warstorm Surge, Confusion in the Ranks… The list goes on.

4. [c]Lodestone Golem[/c] (Vintage) – The only vintage card on this list, Lodestone Golem is what makes MUD a tier deck in Vintage. He can be played turn 1 in MUD, and really messes with the opponent’s strategy without changing the MUD player’s curve at all. That 5 power attacking on turn 2 is significant, and the Tinker player gets very unhappy when this dude comes into play.

3. [c]Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker[/c] (Modern) – Good old Kiki-Jiki is one of the founding members of the Splinter Twin and Kiki-Pod combo decks. They are both very good, widely known decks, because they can be some of the most annoying decks to play against out there. Kiki her(him?)self is also a pain to deal with because her haste means she can do her business in response to a kill spell, so she must be countered if the opponent has a Pestermite so that you don’t end up murdered by a bunch of 2/1′s.

2. [c]Young Pyromancer[/c] (Almost every format in which he is legal) – This little guy has made himself known universally since he was printed. He has found his place in Delver decks in legacy, in all kinds of standard decks, modern, silverblack… You have probably played against him, and know how annoying that ability is. Every single instant/sorcery is converted into small creatures that rapidly swarm the board and take over. Without an answer to him, he goes crazy and just wins the game. Even if he gets killed, all of his progeny remain to poke at your life total until you die.

1. Once again, watch the video to find out what the #1 MOST ANNOYING creature is! This card became a legacy staple overnight, and was printed very recently… That’s all :)

Thank you guys for reading and watching!

Any top ten suggestions? Comment below!

Polymorph – The Budget Legacy Player’s Sneaky Show

DECK TECH VIDEO HERE:

Introduction

Hi there, Peyton here. I am back after a fairly lengthy hiatus with a deck Dan was excited about a few months ago. For those of you who are unfamiliar with my content, I love Legacy and EDH. I feature many budget decks, and produce videos on these as well. I am not incredible at modern, but I enjoy playing it and have made several videos on modern as well.

Polymorph is a legacy deck that runs in a similar way to Sneaky Show, hoping to easily cheat in fatties for very little mana. [c]Polymorph[/c] works in a similar way to SS decks, except the key cards tend to be a great deal cheaper. [c]Show and Tell[/c] is $67.50 US on MTGOtraders as of January 2, while the card Polymorph only runs $0.05 US! That’s a massive difference.

Otherwise, the key principles of the two decks are exactly the same. Slap a giant 15/15 killer on the board as fast as humanly possible. Turn 3 or 4 [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] is easily doable, although keep in mind an Emrakul at any time in a fairly budget deck is a great thing! Plus, ‘Morphing doesn’t net your opponent anything from their hand, whereas Show and Tell can give your opponent something to fight back with. Keep in mind they still need something totally unfeasible, along the lines of a [c]Tower of Calamities[/c] + [c]Ghostfire[/c] to smite your beast!

Basically, if you want to let out your inner Timmy on almost any deck that doesn’t run Force of Will (And some that do), for a reasonable amount, this deck is for you!

MTGOtraders Price (January 2, 2014): $112.39 US

General Strategies

Obviously, the goal of the deck is to win! End of story.

[c]Polymorph[/c] is the star. It easily tutors Emrakul by destroying a “pseudo-creature”- one that can be targeted by Polymorph while on the battlefield, but isn’t actually a creature card while in the library. This means Polymorph will ONLY hit an Emrakul, even if one is in your hand. The deck packs cantrips and a few safeguards to make sure that Emrakul will hit.

Key Cards

Digging

[c]Ponder[/c] is the best draw fixer in the deck. For 1 mana, it digs through three cards with the option to shuffle if nothing is helpful. It is worth using a playset to get board presence ASAP. [c]Preordain[/c] is another effective cantrip. It doesn’t dig as deep as Ponder, but definitely has value to set up the kill. [c]Brainstorm[/c] is a classic cantrip that sees play in many Legacy decks. It’s a great card, worth 4 copies, but it cannot remove unnecessary cards, so it is ranked #3 among our diggers.

Ramping

[c]Chrome Mox[/c] is a must-have. It often acts like a free land, removing any superfluous junk and turning it into usable mana. This version of the deck only runs 3 copies, for budget reasons. [c]Lotus Petal[/c] is another great 0-cost artifact. It isn’t reusable like Chrome Mox, but neither does it exile a card from one’s hand. Ergo it is easily a 4-of to propel the strategy a turn early.

Making the Deck Work

Obviously, a playset of Polymorph is needed to make this deck function. Fortunately Polymorph has his little buddy, [c]Proteus Staff[/c], to help him find giant Eldrazi. Proteus Staff is a 3-of that can be activated at instant speed; its effect isn’t the same as Polymorph‘s, but it can be useful for pulling out Emrakul in response to a threat, or to help Emrakul dodge a badly-timed Oblivion Ring or Journey to Nowhere.

Business ‘Creatures’

These guys are killed off to Polymorph to bring out our main man (Thing?). [c]Flayer Husk[/c] is the 1-drop living weapon from Mirrodin Besieged that proves its worth as a 1/1 drone. [c]Wind Zendikon[/c] will turn any island into a 2/2 flyer for a mere U. It always returns the land, which is useful because there are only 11 Islands main-decked. The final pseudo-creature is [c]Mishra’s Factory[/c], the land that animates into a 2/2 for 1 colorless mana. Any man-land that costs 1 to animate is fine, but Mishra’s Factory is far cheaper than [c]Mutavault[/c]. If you own a playset of Mutavault, it is absolutely usable, but by all means, do NOT spend money if you don’t have to.

Other Stuff

Two copies of [c]Emrakul, the Aeons Torn[/c] are the beaters this deck employs. A playset of [c]Spell Pierce[/c] is the main-deck answer to simple threats like [c]AEther Vial[/c] and [c]Force of Will[/c] that threaten the combo or are a nuisance in general. The Sideboard packs plenty of extra protection and countermagic.

Land

[c]Ancient Tomb[/c] act as more ramp, but the card is very expensive at the moment. Therefore this list only runs 2 copies. Eleven Islands provide ample blue mana to run the deck. The playset of Mishra’s Factory has been mentioned earlier. Finally, 3 [c]Ghost Quarter[/c] acts as a poor man’s Wasteland, although they can be replaced by Islands if desired. Some Legacy decks run no basics whatsoever, which can make Ghost Quarter the equivalent of a Wasteland. Although the number of decks that run none is limited, there are some that run only 2 or 3, which means Ghost Quarter decently limits the opponent’s mana base by taking out a dual.

Decklist:

This is my decklist. Earlier I produced a video of Polymorph vs. Ad Nauseam Tendrils. This list is different than the one I used in that video; I have honestly no idea where I found that list.

[d title=”Polymorph by Peyton (Legacy)”]
Creatures
2 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

Spells
4 Brainstorm
3 Chrome mox
4 Flayer Husk
4 Lotus Petal
4 Polymorph
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
3 Proteus Staff
4 Spell Pierce
4 Wind Zendikon

Lands
2 Ancient Tomb
11 Island
4 Mishra’s Factory
3 Ghost Quarter

Sideboard
4 Daze
1 Proteus Staff
2 Island
3 Sleight of Hand
2 Woodfall Primus
3 Mana Leak [/d]

Sideboard Choices

As always, I am an advocate of changing one’s sideboard based on the current metagame and location of the user. This sideboard, however, is a decent all-around sideboard that can be used in a variety of situations. If draw fixing and assembling the combo are a problem, [c]Sleight of Hand[/c] can be added. There is an extra Proteus Staff in the sideboard in case firing off a Polymorph or Staff is difficult. Two extra Islands can be substituted for Ancient Tombs and Ghost Quarters if Wasteland becomes an issue, or if you find yourself frequently color-screwed (although this shouldn’t happen!).

The extra protection in the sideboard comes from [c]Mana Leak[/c] and [c]Daze[/c]. These two can be invaluable against control-heavy decks, especially Daze. Keep in mind that Daze is also quite expensive, especially for a sideboard card. See the “Removing Money” section.

Last, but not least is [c]Woodfall Primus[/c]. This huge treefolk is the only other fatty in the 75. As an 6/6 with trample, he can do some damage against many decks, but his main application comes from his ability to snipe obnoxious permanents. [c]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/c] giving you grief? Gone! [c]Smokestack[/c] hurting your chances for success? Bye-bye! If it isn’t a creature, Primus can kill it. His Persist also is a neat interaction with Polymorph. You can kill Primus to Polymorph to bring out an Emrakul, or another Primus, and he persists back in to kill another permanent. Keep in mind that there is an element of luck when switching in Primus. It is impossible to know whether or not a Polymorph is going to hit an Emrakul or a Primus when both are present without using a draw-fixer just before ‘Morph. It is still a solid, budget choice for removing permanents, even with the small unreliability.

Removing Money

This deck is VERY cheap to begin with, but the cost of the 75 can be slashed a little more. Chrome Moxes can be removed in favor of more lands or draw fixers. Ancient Tombs have spiked recently, and could be replaced by Islands and/or another Ghost Quarter. If you have 3 extra islands and really don’t want to drop $0.45 US for 3 Ghost Quarters on MTGOtraders, they can be replaced as well. Brainstorm isn’t very expensive, but you can save a few bucks by replacing it with Index, or something similar.

For the Sideboard, Daze is very expensive, although it has dropped quite a bit. Daze can be replaced by Mana Leak, Counterspell and any other budget blue protection you might have. I went ahead and priced a 75-card cheap edition of this deck that did most of the major changes above, and it came out to $30.69 US. Wow! Using the $5.10 Emrakul promos in both places means maximum money saved. The budgetized version is not as effective, but it could be a fun little deck to play your friends with.

However, even after creating a $30 version, I went further. I removed more money, and switched a few cards, and came up with a Polymorph concept that costs a mere $20. As ridiculous as that may seem, $20 Polymorph is a viable legacy option! Here is a link to a youtube video in which I play $20 Polymorph for the first time, and absolutely smite elves 2-0 in less than 15 minutes!

[d title=”$20 Polymorph List (Legacy)”]
Creatures
2 Progenitus

Other Spells
4 Index
3 Spell Snare
4 Flayer Husk
4 Lotus Petal
4 Polymorph
4 Ponder
4 Preordain
3 Proteus Staff
4 Spell Pierce
4 Wind Zendikon

Land
16 Island
4 Mishra’s Factory

Sideboard
1 Proteus Staff
4 Sleight of Hand
2 Woodfall Primus
4 Mana Leak
1 Spell Snare
3 Counterspell [/d]

Another viable deck option that is still in testing is Green-Blue Polymorph. It runs in a similar fashion to normal Polymorph, but the splash of green adds flavor and options. [c]Awakening Zone[/c] became a good choice for spawning extra tokens, and also can provide a little extra mana or chump blockers when necessary.

I originally had a playset main-deck, but I cut it down to three for the sake of the mana curve. [c]Moment’s Peace[/c] also became a viable option for stopping damage from aggro decks, and came in handy against a zoo match I played. Obviously, the neat interaction of [c]Khalni Garden[/c] and [c]Crop Rotation[/c] to get a plant token was included, at Drinkard’s suggestion. Other than that, there are no major changes, except to the land base and sideboard.

Here is the Deck List:

[d title=”Green-Blue Polymorph (Legacy)”]
Creatures
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Progenitus

Other Spells
4 Crop Rotation
4 Flayer Husk
3 Awakening Zone
4 Polymorph
3 Proteus Staff
4 Spell Pierce
2 Moment’s Peace
4 Lotus Petal
3 Chrome Mox
4 Ponder

Land
3 Breeding Pool
4 Khalni Garden
4 Mishra’s Factory
3 Breeding Pool
5 Forest
7 Island

Sideboard
1 Iona, Shield of Emeria
1 Terastodon
4 Mana Leak
1 Proteus Staff
4 Daze
2 Moment’s Peace
2 Preordain [/d]

I am currently 2-3 with the deck, so it is a work in progress. Its worst loss was to Pox, so I’m working on ways to help avoid discard (possibly something like [c]Leyline of Sanctity[/c], but that’s not a budget card) and the like. Thank you Drinkard, this has been a fun little deck to play :)

Adding Money

To make the deck more efficient, you can add all kinds of expensive goodies. Force of Will, maindecking Daze permanently, and popping in a Show and Tell to deal with the Emrakul stuck in your hand would all be great ways to increase the potential of this deck. Also, Woodfall Primus in the Sideboard can be replaced with [c]Terastodon[/c] for more destruction.

Adding Terastodon adds a trivial amount of money; it costs around $0.30 US instead of $0.12 US. The other downside is those Elephant tokens, but those tend not to matter too much in most cases. Thanks to Mean_Duck for this suggestion! If lots of non-creatures are a problem, Terastodon is far better than Primus. Sadly, you do lose that nice interaction of Polymorph + Persist.

I priced the full version of this deck out on January 2, and it came out to: $112.39 US.

This is an impressive number, given that this deck slaps out Emrakul with ease as feasibly early as turn 3. Turns 1 and 2 are possible, but ridiculously unlikely. Even a turn 4 drop is impressive. If you try it, and have successes, please let me know! Be sure to check out the deck tech video that is linked in the beginning of the article, featuring the $112 version as well as the $20 version, and the Blue-Green rendition that Drinkard suggested.

BONUS DECK!!!

As a thank-you for reading this far, I have included one of my favorite EDH decks below. Enjoy!

[d title=”Ashling EDH”]
General
1 Ashling the Pilgrim

Land
99 Mountain [/d]

Thank you for reading!

1-Land Spy Tournament Report and Deck Discussion

balustrade-spy

This last weekend I participated in an 8-man tournament put on by JustSin over at MTGOAcademy. I convinced my fellow brewer obZen to join too. We both played 1-land Spy. While ultimately we were both taken down by the same Delver pilot, we both prized and both had some pretty cool stories to tell. I will start with a little recap, and then delve deep into the inner workings of the deck.

While obZen brought a slightly different deck than me, this is roughly the list we both played:

[d title=”1-Land Spy (Pauper)”]
Land
1 Forest

Creatures
4 Balustrade Spy
1 Anarchist
3 Deadshot Minotaur
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Street Wraith
4 Tinder Wall
4 Wild Cantor
1 Wirewood Guardian

Spells
4 Cabal Ritual
2 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Dark Ritual
2 Destroy the Evidence
1 Haunting Misery
4 Land Grant
4 Lotus Petal
4 Manamorphose
2 Morgue Theft
4 Songs of the Damned
3 Springleaf Drum
Sideboard
2 Basking Rootwalla
4 Duress
1 Flaring Pain
4 Fog
3 Ingot Chewer
1 Crypt Rats [/d]

Tournament Report

In round one, I played against Trinket Control. Trinket plays out a lot like playing against monoB, except they don’t have [c]Gray Merchant[c]/ so you don’t have to worry too much about opposing life gain. While they do run [c]Augur of Skulls[/c], their discard suite is not as difficult to deal with either. So game one I had a considerable amount of time, but could not find a [c]Land Grant[/c]. Eventually I realized that I could try to go off despite not having the land.

What you need to do when you don’t have the land is you have to spy yourself twice. Since my last article, obZen and I have adopted a lot of the Oninaka list that I posted in my last article. We are running 2x [c]Morgue Theft[/c], [c]Anarchist[/c], and [c]Songs of the Damned[/c]. At this particular time I had a Morgue Theft in the graveyard, and both a songs and a [c]Conjurer’s Bauble[/c] in hand. I figured if I could [c]Balustrade Spy[/c] myself into another Balustrade Spy I’d probably have enough creatures to songs for an additional 7 mana required to fight through the land.

I was successful.

(1-0)

Game two my opponent mulled to four and did very little besides get out an Island and a Swamp. Now unlike most decks, if my opponent mulls a bunch that could be very bad for me, because they may be mulling into countermagic. That’s exactly what happened here – I got Negated. But since I had won game 1, and Trinket usually doesn’t run [c]Negate[/c], I figured I’d make him show it to me before I brought in [c]Duress[/c].

(1-1)

At this point I realized that my opponent was on the mull to Negate plan, so I brought in all four Duress. My opponent again mulled, but this time I believe it was just once. I got a pretty quick start with [c]Springleaf Drum[/c], [c]Land Grant[/c], and two [c]Tinder Wall[/c]. After my opponent passed turn 3 without playing a land, and I had not drawn a Duress,I realized it was time to switch plans.

My opponent’s plan was to just sit on [c]Negate[/c]. But he only had two land. So I did what any sane 1-land combo player would do, and I started going into beat down mode. I cast Street Wraith, Simian Spirit Guide, and Balustrade Spy targeting my opponent. I even retained a Tinder Wall in order to play around edicts. My opponent was still on three lands by the time the team swung sideways for lethal.

(2-1)

obZen’s opponent was on turbofog, and while that is probably a bye for 1-land combo, it was a super bye, because obZen’s opponent apparently DCed into oblivion.

(4-1)

The next round I played against Delver, and there is not much to say there. It is hard to beat counter magic decks, but Delver is the most challenging because they also apply pressure. A couple of Delver flips later, and I’m out of the tournament.

(4-3)

But this is where obZen’s story gets cool. 1-land spy can go off quickly. I’ve even turn 1’ed before with the Songs of the Damned win. In round 2 obZen showed a Tron player the meaning of going off quickly. He was able to go off on turn two twice. Game one, the opposing Tron player got to play a tron piece and a trinket, before obZen killed him.

Game 2 his opponent was on the play, so he got to cast a few more things, but again obZen T-2ed. The Songs of the Damned win condition makes the list really robust, and I’ll go into it more below.

(6-3)

obZen almost had a T-1 against the Delver opponent. But this Delver player’s ability to flip a turn on Delver every game made it exceptionally difficult to win.

(6-5)

So overall we went just slightly better than .500. But we managed to string enough wins together to make 6 tickets between the two of us in this free tournament. We also got a lot of people excited about the list. Since [c]Empty the Warrens[/c], [c]Grapeshot[/c], and [c]Invigorate[/c] got banned turn two wins just don’t happen anymore. obZen did it twice.

Discussing the Deck

Community Involvement

So what is the Oninaka win? Why are we playing Anarchist, Songs of the Damned, and 2x Morgue Theft? When JustSin told me about Oninaka playing the list in a daily, I watched his videos and he would get up to 5 mana when his Forest was in play. Then he would cast Balustrade Spy, targeting himself, of course. With the last mana he would cast Songs of the Damned, making 25 mana, because all of his creatures are in the graveyard. Then he would Morgue Theft back, both Blood Celebrant, and Mnemonic Wall. Next he would cast Blood Celebrant, convert a black mana to a blue mana, and cast Mnemonic Wall targeting Haunting Misery, and Misery his opponent for the win. It was a bit convoluted, but resulted in fast wins.

After playing the deck a little bit I realized we could switch Mnemonic Wall out for Anarchist and add Manaforge Cinder over Blood Celebrant to save some life. But then after a couple of test runs, obZen informed me that we could just get back a Simian Spirit Guide with Morgue Theft. There was no longer a need for two new creatures for this combo.

I believe Oninaka and his friends took our list and improved upon it. We then took Oninaka’s list and further improved upon it. This process has taught me that the community brews better than any individual.

Other people have worked on this list too. As I mentioned in my last article, I started working on this list before spy even came out. It is a cool card, and this deck is a rough port of the Legacy deck “Ooops All Spells”, and “ManaLess Dredge” has run Spy in the past as well. People have come up with this idea independently of me, and I’m not surprised. I am pleased.

In the last article Tom The Scud pointed me in the direction of a PDCMagic page that details his work on the list. In the thread other people chime in with other ideas on how to tweak the deck as well. It is a real community experience, and a good read.

I encourage you to pick up the deck and try to figure out a solution to one of the remaining problems.

The Problems

As the tournament report suggests, countermagic is still difficult. obZen has been running 4x Pyroblast, and 4x Duress in his sideboard. I’m not sure we’ll ever get around this problem, but I encourage you to hit it head on. Maybe you can figure out some way to get around blue mages.

Another problem is life gain. My list runs 25 creatures. That means that if I go for the Oninaka Anarchist win, I will have to use at least one Simian Spirit Guide, one Balustrade Spy, and Anarchist.

These all subtract from our final Haunting Misery count. If we go this route our maximum damage is 22. I actually made a mistake earlier this week when I took this list to a daily. I had a few creatures stuck in my hand, and took out a creature for my 4x Duress. As a result, I could only zap my opponent for 19. This illustrates that 20 damage is hard enough sometimes, imagine if your opponent goes Kabira Crossroads into Lone Missionary.

obZen has tried to mitigate the impact of lifegain by adding a singleton copy of Crypt Rats to the sideboard. Assuming he can float a red mana somewhere, obZen can go for the Oninaka win but use a Morgue Theft on Crypt Rats. The Crypt Rats can use the remaining black mana to do additional damage, while wiping your board, and thereby increasing your final Misery Count.

While the Crypt Rats plan is nice, it doesn’t allow you to win via Conjurer’s Bauble. This is still a problem that hopefully one of you can figure out.

The third problem is still inconsistency. I’ve won on turn 1, obZen won back to back games on turn 2, but the deck is still inconsistent. We’ve tried Gitaxian Probe, Read the Bones, and Sign in Blood. But we’ve ditched all of these overtime. I need your help to figure out some form of increased consistency that doesn’t require life loss.

If you look at the comments on the link Tom the Scud posted you’ll see that user FlxEx said “I can’t imagine playing less than 4 Gitaxian Probe is correct.” Well the more I play this deck the more I am convinced FlxEx is totally wrong. While Gitaxian Probe costs no mana it is not free in our deck. It takes up two valuable resources.

  1. Our primary resource is life. We only have 20 of it, and so using 10% of your life to draw a card is not worth it, when your opponent is trying to kill you before you go off.
  2. It takes away from the creature count. This is why Street Wraith is still in the deck. This deck is 60 cards and 1 land, but sometimes it is hard to fit everything you need into the list. You need a lot of creatures to make this deck work, and if you play Gitaxian Probe you lose 4 potential creature slots.

In short, life loss in exchange for cards seems like a good idea on paper, but when you’re playing against burn you’d almost rather just say go than give them 2 damage so you can cycle.

The benefits

This deck has plenty of benefits. First, it is really fun to play. It is not every day that you play a deck with one land and feel like you can win. Second, you can beat any deck that doesn’t pack excessive lifegain or countermagic. This means with a bit of luck you can beat any aggressive strategy, Tron, mono-black, and Trinket Control. Third, it rewards people as blessed as Oninaka.

When I asked Oninaka why he was playing the deck he responded with three words. He wrote back “I’m very lucky.” If you’re more lucky than good, then maybe this deck is for you too.

A 1-Land Pauper Combo Deck

balustrade-spy

Hello everyone, I know I usually write on Wednesdays and in the Competitive section but I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries about my 1-land combo deck. Seeing as how the deck is okay, but is currently not something I’d recommend for a daily, I figured I’d put it here. The deck is super fun though.

This is my current list:
[d title=”Miserable Spy (Pauper)”]
Land
1 Forest
Creatures
4 Balustrade Spy
3 Deadshot Minotaur
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Street Wraith
4 Tinder Wall
4 Wild Cantor
1 Wirewood Guardian
Spells
4 Cabal Ritual
1 Commune with Nature
4 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Dark Ritual
1 Destroy the Evidence
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Haunting Misery
4 Land Grant
4 Lotus Petal
4 Manamorphose
4 Springleaf Drum
Sideboard
1 Pyroblast
4 Duress
1 Flaring Pain
4 Spore Frog
4 Ingot Chewer
1 Ray of Revelation [/d]

So the way this deck works is you get your Forest out with Land Grant.Then you cast some rituals to get out your Balustrade Spy and target yourself. Now that your library is in your graveyard, you Conjurer’s Bauble the Haunting Misery and it pops into your hand. You then shoot your opponent with a lethal Misery.

I don’t recommend this deck as competitive because you have a cap on how much damage you can do, and it just auto-loses to counter magic. But it is extremely fun, and really gets your brain moving. It is hard to play and hard to tweak. You have only one land but the list is choked full of cards you need to keep.

Today I got wind of a player named Oninaka who had taken my initial list that I assume I disseminated to his friends (unless they came up with this entirely independently of my work, which is a total possibility), and they made it even better. Here is a picture of his list. See if you can spot the insane-o changes they made, and figure out why the changes are so good. He went 2-2 in this tournament, winning the first two matches. So they deck is capable of winning competitive matches, but you probably won’t win all that many haha.

The nice part about a deck that mills itself is that it is easy to get the exact maindeck.

Here is another version by obZen. He took interest in my initial build and has been going a different route, using a culling the weak and creatures he dubs “Tall men”:

[d title=”Tall-Men Miserable Spy (Pauper)”]
Land
1 Forest

Creatures
4 Balustrade Spy
4 Elves of Deep Shadow
1 Crimson Kobolds
1 Crookshank Kobolds
4 Shield Sphere
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Street Wraith
4 Wild Cantor
4 Phyrexian Walker

Spells
4 Cabal Ritual
4 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Culling the Weak
4 Dark Ritual
1 Haunting Misery
4 Land Grant
4 Lotus Petal
4 Read the Bones [/d]

Feel free to post your tweaks below.

I don’t have a bunch of time right now to post all the nuances of this deck, but I will a bit later on today or this weekend.

Editor’s note (February 26, 2016) – Since they can be challenging to find (heck, these articles have been lost for many months until now), here is a list of One-Land Spy articles and resources from around the time of the original brewing in late 2013.

Enjoy! /bava

Post Standard Pauper Rotation Grief Counseling, Part 1

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross & David Kessler explained the transformation of grief in “Five Stages of Grief”. This concept is hard to understand unless you have experienced such pain. I don’t want to bring the house down so let’s see if the Simpsons can show us the way. With that, lets watch Homer go through all 5 stages of grief.

Denial, Anger, Fear, Bargaining, and Acceptance.

Standard pauper is about to change forever. Its rotation time and that means we are losing an entire block.

Denial:

This won’t be a huge change right? Not much is really going to be different.

Let’s look at the data provided by PDC’s standard pauper events. Of the sampling provided, there are 10 decks that make a consistent showing.

Dimir_Mill – Black Blue creatureless deck that uses harsh control and removal to wear down the opponent. The major win condition is Curse of the Bloody Tome.

Drakeird and MonoBlue Fliers – These decks use the consistent mana base of mono blue to get out tough fliers and overwhelm the opponent along with a bit of control to power the creatures through.

Gateflicker –This deck uses the synergy between Ghostly Flicker and the Black and Green Gatekeepers to lock the opponent out the game through removal and near infinite life. This is accomplished by recursion of ghostly flicker.

GW Midrange – A Selesnya deck that has a life gain sub-theme.

Hexproof – Much like classic pauper, this hexproof deck uses the hexproof ability and auras to assemble a Voltron creature and beat down.

Izzet – Red Blue agro control. Fun, fast and lots of burn. Nivix Cyclops is win condition with all the red and blue spells in this deck.

MonoGreen – The standard version of stomp. Efficient creatures and ramp keep this deck moving.

RDW – Mono red deck with burn and fast creatures for quick wins.

White_Warriors – The fancy term for White Weenie. Mostly because of the abundance of Soldiers and knights.

Using the decks listed above, here is a list of every unique card represented:

Abundant Growth Fortify Ranger’s Guile
Act of Treason Foundry Street Denizen Ravenous Rats
Aerial Predation Frostburn Weird Ray of Revelation
Ajani’s Sunstriker Gatecreeper Vine Rubblebelt Maaka
Ambush Viper Ghostly Flicker Safe Passage
Arbor Elf Gladecover Scout Saruli Gatekeepers
Archaeomancer Goblin Arsonist Scatter Arc
Attended Knight Golgari Guildgate Scrapskin Drake
Auramancer Gore-House Chainwalker Searing Spear
Avacyn’s Pilgrim Grave Exchange Selesnya Guildgate
Azorius Arrester Gravepurge Sensory Deprivation
Basilica Screecher Gruul Guildgate Sentinel Spider
Beckon Apparition Gryff Vanguard Seraph of Dawn
Bloodhunter Bat Hands of Binding Shimmering Grotto
Borderland Ranger Harvest Pyre Shock
Brimstone Volley Haunted Fengraf Shrivel
Centaur Healer Inaction Injunction Silent Departure
Claustrophobia Island Simic Guildgate
Clinging Mists Izzet Guildgate Smelt-Ward Gatekeepers
Cloudfin Raptor Kessig Recluse Spectral Flight
Cloudshift Loyal Cathar Splatter Thug
Crocanura Madcap Skills Stitched Drake
Crypt Incursion Mark of the Vampire Stormbound Geist
Curse of the Bloody Tome Mind Sculpt Sundering Growth
Dead Weight Mist Raven Sunspire Griffin
Deadly Recluse Mizzium Skin Swamp
Death’s Approach Mogg Flunkies Syndic of Tithes
Delver of Secrets Mountain Think Twice
Deviant Glee Murder Thought Scour
Devour Flesh Naturalize Thunderbolt
Dimir Guildgate Negate Tragic Slip
Dispel Nephalia Seakite Traitorous Blood
Disperse One-Eyed Scarecrow Transguild Promenade
Divination Outwit Travel Preparations
Doomed Traveler Pacifism Trestle Troll
Elgaud Shieldmate Pilfered Plans Tricks of the Trade
Elvish Visionary Pillar of Flame Ubul Sar Gatekeepers
Erdwal Ripper Plains Uncovered Clues
Essence Scatter Plummet Victim of Night
Ethereal Armor Prey Upon Volcanic Strength
Evolving Wilds Primal Huntbeast War Falcon
Faithless Looting Prophetic Prism Watercourser
Fog Psychic Strike Welkin Tern
Forbidden Alchemy Rakdos Guildgate
Forest Rakdos Shred-Freak
133 unique cards

That is not an insignificant number of cards. I can see how you may think the soup will never thin. Now let’s look at it after rotation:

Act of Treason Essence Scatter Naturalize Simic Guildgate
Aerial Predation Ethereal Armor Negate Smelt-Ward Gatekeepers
Archaeomancer Fog Nephalia Seakite Splatter Thug
Auramancer Forest Pacifism Sundering Growth
Azorius Arrester Fortify Pilfered Plans Sunspire Griffin
Basilica Screecher Foundry Street Denizen Plains Swamp
Beckon Apparition Frostburn Weird Plummet Syndic of Tithes
Centaur Healer Gatecreeper Vine Prophetic Prism Transguild Promenade
Claustrophobia Gladecover Scout Psychic Strike Trestle Troll
Cloudfin Raptor Golgari Guildgate Rakdos Guildgate Ubul Sar Gatekeepers
Crocanura Gore-House Chainwalker Rakdos Shred-Freak Uncovered Clues
Crypt Incursion Gruul Guildgate Ranger’s Guile
Deadly Recluse Hands of Binding Rubblebelt Maaka
Death’s Approach Inaction Injunction Saruli Gatekeepers
Deviant Glee Island Scatter Arc
Devour Flesh Izzet Guildgate Selesnya Guildgate
Dimir Guildgate Madcap Skills Sensory Deprivation
Dispel Mark of the Vampire Shimmering Grotto
Disperse Mizzium Skin Shock
Divination Mountain Shrivel

71 cards. That is almost half of what’s currently used.

Which brings us to the next stage.

Anger

“Wizards sucks and doesn’t know how to make card games!” – 80% of everyone at Mtg Salvation.

This isn’t true and you know it. You know they will do their best to provide the highest quality gaming experience (even though I still do not buy the scry land argument). Why? Because they want your money. And guess what? You will give it to them. After you get over being mad, that’s when the fear sets in.

Fear

“Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

The Bene Gesserit litany is my favorite quotes in all of fiction. Fear is not an object. It cannot be touched or tasted. It is a mental construct. It exists only in our minds. Ok, getting too heavy again. The fear of change is very common. We get used to the way things are and we do not like to be disrupted. Routine and familiarity are what we crave. Rotation disrupts that and we must get past this mental block and move forward.

Here is how I can help you: Theros block is coming!

A new set with new possibilities! New mechanics to brew with! Devotion, Heroic, Monstrosity oh my! It makes this southern boys heart go pitter pat! Even though I am not that great at brewing, I love doing it. It’s a mental puzzle. Now comes the next stage.

Bargaining

“We use the new block to replace cards we are losing and everything will be great!” I have seen it everywhere. Even Chris Plummer from Pauper to the People mentioned he has seen this phenomenon as well. People want to keep the dream alive so badly. Can we patch it up and keep it running? Let’s look at one deck:

[d title=”BUG Flicker Gate (Standard Pauper)”]
Lands
2 Forest
3 Island
3 Swamp
4 Golgari Guildgate
4 Dimir Guildgate
4 Simic Guildgate
2 Haunted Fengraf

Creatures
2 Ravenous Rats
4 Elvish Visionary
1 Borderland Ranger
1 Mist Raven
4 Archaeomancer
1 Bloodhunter Bat
4 Gatecreeper Vine
4 Saruli Gatekeepers
4 Ubul Sar Gatekeepers

Spells
1 Prophetic Prism
1 Forbidden Alchemy
3 Victim of Night
1 Gravepurge
3 Murder
4 Ghostly Flicker

Sideboard
3 Naturalize
2 Beckon Apparition
3 Dispel
3 One-Eyed Scarecrow
1 Trestle Troll
1 Basilica Screecher
2 Devour Flesh [/d]

Deadly, efficient and sinister to the core. This deck usually vies for number one each time it enters a tournament. Why? Because it’s just plain good. Here is what it looks like after rotation:

[d title=”Terrible version of Flicker Gate”]
Lands
4 Dimir Guildgate
2 Forest
4 Golgari Guildgate
3 Island
4 Simic Guildgate
3 Swamp

Creatures
4 Gatecreeper Vine
4 Archaeomancer
4 Saruli Gatekeepers
4 Ubul Sar Gatekeepers

Spells
1 Prophetic Prism

Sideboard
3 Naturalize
2 Beckon Apparition
3 Dispel
1 Trestle Troll
1 Basilica Screecher
2 Devour Flesh [/d]

Wow, that’s a dramatic difference. What’s that I am hearing you tell me from the future? This is just one deck and of course it won’t last because ghostly flicker is going away and is not representative of the meta as a whole? Ok, let’s look at something simple like Mono Blue Fliers.

[d title=”Mono-Blue Flyers”]
Lands
19 Island
2 Haunted Fengraf

Creatures
4 Welkin Tern
4 Delver of Secrets
3 Stitched Drake
4 Stormbound Geist
1 Gryff Vanguard
4 Mist Raven
2 Scrapskin Drake
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Cloudfin Raptor

Spells
1 Negate
2 Divination
2 Silent Departure
2 Thought Scour
2 Hands of Binding

Sideboard
2 Claustrophobia
3 One-Eyed Scarecrow
2 Silent Departure
2 Mizzium Skin
2 Hands of Binding
4 Scatter Arc [/d]

That deck is awesome. You hit the ground running and you don’t stop! But once again I have to break your dreams:

[d title=”Post mortem MonoBlue Fliers”]
Lands
19 Island

Creatures
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Cloudfin Raptor

Spells
1 Negate
2 Divination
2 Hands of Binding

Sideboard
2 Claustrophobia
2 Mizzium Skin
2 Hands of Binding
4 Scatter Arc [/d]

I could keep doing this but I think the fourth stage has set in by now.

Depression

“But, but I could have… I never got to… it’s too late…” You’re right. The glory days are over. Flickering yourself into almost decking just before the time runs out has run its course. The door is closing and all you see is the bleak reality that is rotation.

Snap out of it! It’s time to move on to the last stage.

Acceptance

Now the fun begins. With only a fraction of the new set spoiled is too early to start brewing. Over the next few pages I am going to look at the archetypes I think will last and how we can prepare ourselves to adapt to the new landscape.

At the beginning of this article I discussed 10 dominate decks in standard pauper (don’t worry I won’t make you go back up and reread them.) In short, we have the follow archetypes:

  • Flicker Gate
  • MonoBlue Fliers
  • Dimir Control
  • Midrange Aggro (Selesnya and MonoGreen)
  • Hexproof
  • White Weenie
  • Izzet Aggro

Now we will have a mini set preview along with some post rotation deck tech.

Flicker Gate – This deck is dead. The gatekeepers still have a nice ETB but the engine that makes this thing churn will be gone. Rotation will gut the engine out of this deck. Therefore, you will have to go read my Flicker Gate in classic pauper articles! (Shameless self promotion)

MonoBlue Fliers – This deck is also dead (as of today.) The best fliers are gone and there is no more sweet undying recursion. However, this is where I want to discuss a new way of thinking about this deck. At its core, this is a Blue Weenies deck, albeit with a predominately flying motif. What we are left with is a core set of cards that lets us take this in a new direction. In order for this deck to work, I must preview a couple of cards that have already been spoiled on the Mother Ship.

Lets start with one I know will be making splashes in Standard and Classic Pauper:

[c]Omenspeaker[/c]

I really like this card. A 2 drop 1/3 with a very good ETB. Scry 2 lets you dig for your next draws or send them to the bottom in the hopes something better will arise. With a reasonable toughness to block some early aggro, this card will be able to hold its own. This card will enable our new engine for the revised MonoBlue deck, but more on that later.

The second card I want to talk about is:

[c]Nimbus Naiad[/c]

This naked little flier isn’t as nuts as Stormbound Geist or a Stitched Drake but it offers a different kind of value. The Bestow mechanic, in case you hate reading text on pictures, lets you put this card on a creature like an enchantment. It is kind of a combo of morph and the totem enchantments. If the target becomes invalid or dies, this mystical nudist will revert into a flying 2/2. That value not matter how you slice it.

Now for the last creature I plan on previewing (don’t worry, we have spells that need addressing to.)

[c]Wavecrash Triton[/c] (I say Wavecrash Tight Yum!)

Look at that dude. Wicked mohawk, totally buff quads, and Avatar Korra like water control. If I was into fish dudes, this guy would be on my list. The Heroic mechanic works each time he is targeted by a spell you control. If only we had some spells that we could trigger every turn… like maybe each time we damaged an opponent… where could I find such spells… (oh, I found some, don’t you fret.)

Now, what to do about the spells we lost.

Lets look at this one:

[c]Voyage’s End[/c]

The flavor text makes me laugh. This can replace silent departure. It might not have the flashback, but Scry 1 is nothing to sneeze at. You may also be thinking about Disperse. Keep that card in mind and lets move on to the next preview card

[c]Lost in a Labyrinth[/c]

Lost in a Labyrinth Theros Spoiler Instant, Target creature gets -3/-0 until end of turn. Scry 1. (Look at the top card of your library. You may put that card on the bottom of your library.)
This flavor text is a snooze fest. Anyway, this card is a combat trick plain and simple. It also lets us Scry 1. I will grant you that this is not necessary, but I think once you see the theme, you will like it.

What I want to show is a creature based control deck. We do not have a lot of catch all counter spells so we need a bit more engine to drive this deck to victory.

I want to make a point here if I may. This deck is a shell. We have not seen the full preview and I think more action may follow. I do feel this structure is viable and it should get you thinking about future builds.

Lets look MonoBlue Aggro Control or Super Scry Creature Feature

[d title=”Mono Blue Aggro”]
Lands
20 Island

Creatures
4 Cloudfin Raptor
4 Frostburn Weird
4 Wavecrash Triton
4 Omenspeaker
4 Nimbus Naiad
4 Seacoast Drake

Spells
2 Claustrophobia
2 Hands of Binding
2 Voyage’s End
3 Negate
4 Hidden Strings
3 Divination

Sideboard
3 Cancel
1 Voyage’s End
2 Mizzium Skin
2 Sensory Deprivation
3 Lost in a Labyrinth
4 Scatter Arc [/d]

Needless to say, I like this deck. Lets walk through it and discuss the finer points.

[c]Cloudfin Raptor[/c] – Pauper all-star. 1 cmc with limitless growth potential. He could be all yours for the low low cost of a single blue mana! Every other creature in the deck evolves it at least twice with a max, best case scenario of a 3/4 flyer after three creatures hit the board.

[c]Frostburn Weird[/c] – Another hold over from the previous MUF deck. 2CMC for a big butt that can go on the offensive. Solid card that will see play for a long time in classic.

[c]Wavecrash Triton[/c] – He can potentially lock down your opponent and is out of shock and “lightning” range. My goal is to use Hidden Strings to start up a crazy combo of constant tap down. Combine with Hands of Binding and Claustrophobia to send your opponent into frustration mode.

[c]Omenspeaker[/c] – Much like an Augur of Bolas or the dreaded Sea Gate Oracle, this card lets you block early attackers and has a handy Scry 2 attached! Now this does not let you draw a card, but I suspect card draw is on the horizon. This may make Scatter Arc a much more useful spell.

[c]Nimbus Naiad[/c] – A new mechanic! We have a 2/2 flyer for 3 cmc. Instead of undying, we get to Bestow +2/+2 and flying onto another creature. The reason I like this so much is that it acts like a totem armor and avoids target removal. The nice thing about a 2/2 is that it evolves the Cloudfin Raptor twice.

[c]Seacoast Drake[/c] – Evasion, out of shock range, can block if needed. Value town!

Now for the spells:

[c]Claustrophobia[/c], [c]Hands of Binding[/c], [c]Voyage’s End[/c] – These three cards will help control the pet population by spaying and neutering your opponents creatures. Voyage’s End has the extra special effect of Scry one for our trouble!

[c]Negate[/c] – This helps with the removal we are likely to see. However, murder and victim of night are out. My hunch is that we are going to get a few more removal cards as the block progresses. If not, that would be a very interesting move.

[c]Hidden Strings[/c] – This was the first card I thought of when I saw Wavecrash Triton. Imagine the perfect scenario. Triton is on the board, you cast Hidden Strings, target both untaps onto the hunter. Next you put both his triggers on opposing creatures. Then you cipher the strings on to what ever can make contact and swing in. Next put both the cipher triggers (oh yes, you do cast it so it works, my concern is if it works twice. Here’s to hoping.) back onto the hunter, therefore locking down another two creatures if needed! This combo is awesome but not 100% needed to make the deck work.

[c]Divination[/c] – This lets all the scry you have work to your advantage!

Sideboard time.

Each of these spells has a similar affect to spells we already use. I think of this sideboard as a supplemental draft. A pack of ideas if you will. Until we see the new meta fleshed out I think sideboarding is premature.

Well there you have it. Part 1 is done and I want you get your brew on and start thinking about the new cards.

Part two is in the works and features the White Weenie deck and how I think it can survive.

Introduction to Pauper part 2

by Chris Weaver

In Part 1, I talked about reasons to join Pauper along with the core deck archetypes. I went into strengths and weaknesses of the pure aggro decks. Today, I will be discussing the pure control choices available to you.

Control:

[d title=”Blue-Red Cloudpost(Finespoo)”]
Lands
4 Cloudpost
4 Glimmerpost
7 Island
3 Izzet Guildgate
6 Mountain

Creatures
2 Sea Gate Oracle
1 Mnemonic Wall
4 Mulldrifter

Spells
1 Condescend
1 Electrickery
1 Electrostatic Bolt
1 Firebolt
3 Flame Slash
1 Lightning Bolt
4 Preordain
1 Harvest Pyre
2 Mana Leak
4 Prophetic Prism
1 Rolling Thunder
1 Capsize
3 Compulsive Research
2 Ghostly Flicker
2 Mystical Teachings
1 Serrated Arrows

Sideboard
1 Firebolt
2 Hydroblast
2 Ancient Grudge
3 Stone Rain
4 Pyroblast
3 Earth Rift [/d]

[d title=”Mono Black Control(sneakattackkid)”]
Lands
4 Barren Moor
2 Polluted Mire
17 Swamp

Creatures
3 Augur of Skulls
3 Ravenous Rats
4 Chittering Rats
3 Crypt Rats
4 Phyrexian Rager
2 Okiba-Gang Shinobi

Spells
3 Dead Weight
2 Duress
3 Unearth
2 Echoing Decay
4 Geth’s Verdict
4 Sign in Blood

Sideboard
2 Tendrils of Corruption
2 Rendclaw Trow
1 Victim of Night
1 Snuff Out
2 Corrupt
1 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
1 Sorin’s Thirst
4 Choking Sands
1 Duress [/d]

[d title=”Blue-Black Trinket Control(Din_Mamma)”]
Lands
1 Barren Moor
1 Bojuka Bog
4 Dimir Aqueduct
1 Island
7 Swamp
4 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Vault of Whispers

Creatures
4 Fume Spitter
4 Augur of Skulls
2 Chittering Rats
3 Crypt Rats
3 Trinket Mage
4 Mulldrifter

Spells
2 Executioner’s Capsule
1 Sylvok Lifestaff
3 Tragic Slip
3 Undying Evil
4 Diabolic Edict
2 Grim Harvest
4 Sign in Blood

Sideboard
2 Chittering Rats
1 Crypt Rats
1 Sylvok Lifestaff
1 Nihil Spellbomb
4 Duress
1 Distress
1 Deep Analysis
2 Spinning Darkness
2 Geth’s Verdict [/d]

[d title=”Mono Blue Control(Shyft4)”]
Lands
18 Island
2 Quicksand

Creatures
4 Delver of Secrets
1 Frostburn Weird
4 Spire Golem

Spells
4 Portent
2 Brainstorm
2 Preordain
3 Thought Scour
4 Piracy Charm
4 Counterspell
3 Logic Knot
4 Memory Lapse
1 Exclude
2 Gush
2 Repeal

Sideboard
4 Dispel
4 Hydroblast
3 Coast Watcher
2 Weatherseed Faeries
2 Serrated Arrows [/d]

These decks all actively LIKE playing the long game. They eek out card advantage and board control and eventually win in turns 10 and up. Each deck has pros and cons, so we’ll break these down as before.

UR Cloudpost:

Pros: with an array of answers to multiple different situations, UR Post players seem to “have it all.” Their topdecks in late games are far more powerful than other decks, so when they’ve stabilized, they’ve actually usually won. It might take them awhile to get there, of course, but it’s a matter of time before they stick a threat or just straight bludgeon you with a huge Rolling Thunder. UR Post can generate more mana than any other fair deck via the Cloudpost engine, and can remove threats through counterspells or protection just because they have access to more mana and utility spells than opponents.

Cons: This deck can easily lose in the first few turns of the game because they don’t have the mana base ready to deal with a multitude of attackers in the early turns. They often spend the first 3 turns playing tapped lands or fixing their mana before they can take control. Post decks can also suffer against big tempo plays, such as an early Temporal Fissure or even just a simple Boomerang on a Cloudpost. The removal suite for the UR decks also has a major issue dealing with hexproof creatures, outside of Counterspelling them.

Mono Black Control:

Pros: Hand destruction and creature destruction are Black’s specialty throughout Magic’s history. MBC is no exception, attacking the board of opponents and their hand as well. Black has great sideboard options as well, including “free” kill spells like Snuff Out and Spinning Darkness, along with land destruction and more kill and discard spells!

Cons: MBC is incredibly slow, and opponents can fairly easily recover with a few good topdecks. MBC decks can’t provide reasonable clocks on opponents either: The creatures are all small and don’t protect themselves, dying to a simple Firebolt most of the time. If your only threat gets Bolted, you’re relying on topdecks to get you back into the game. Even if you get back into the game, another Bolt puts you back at square 1, relying on topdecks to get you back in. The lack of card draw other than Sign in Blood can also be hugely detrimental, and black has no way to generate lots of extra mana like Cloudpost does. MBC often loses just based on not topdecking well.

UB Trinket Control:

Pros: Trinket Control plays more like a MBC deck with the bonus of utilizing blue for card draw and card advantage. It abuses Mulldrifters and Trinket Mages to stabilize the board and fetch important artifacts. Evoking a Mulldrifter, then casting Undying Evil on it nets you +2 cards and a 3/3 flying body. It has good to favorable matchups against much of the format. It attacks opposing hands and boards just like MBC, and uses Blue to refill your hand.

Cons: Stormpost. Seriously. The deck isn’t fast enough to kill a Stormpost player before they go off, and doesn’t use Counterspells to disrupt the combo. Hand destruction is the only tool you have against Stormpost, and that’s not even very good when they can redraw their hand with a few Compulsive Researches and a Mulldrifter. It has at least a 50/50 matchup against every other deck in the format(except Burn, because once again, no Counterspells). You can play the matchup lottery and hope to not encounter Stormpost decks, but every other deck you have a good matchup against.

Mono Blue Control:

Pros: MUC is an older idea, long before Delver of Secrets got tossed into the Faerie deck to make the more common Mono U deck of the format. MUC is interesting though, and has the bonus of having all of the Counterspells be unconditional. This means you’ll never groan when an opponent plays a 3 mana spell when you have a Spellstutter in hand that’s 1 Faerie short. Your opponent can’t kill the Spellstutter to render the Counterspell trigger useless. Opponents will often sideboard against you assuming that you have Faeries in the deck, making some of their choices rather silly. You also get the bonus of almost never having dead cards in hand, like the Faeries variety often does. Ninja of the Deep Hours isn’t that impressive if opponents remove your creatures before you can Ninjitsu.

You also get premium card selection, since you get to pick and choose which cards you want with 1 mana cantrips, which coincidentally let you blind flip Delvers on turn 2 more often. On top of that, you get to manipulate opponents’ libraries with Portent, Memory Lapse, and Thought Scour. This lets you get rid of troublesome cards or make opponents draw dead.

Cons: It’s harder to deal with early threats like Nettle Sentinel and Mogg Conscripts because Piracy Charm doesn’t kill them. This means you’re relying on Spire Golem and Frostburn Weird defensively, and hoping to live long enough to get Counterspells effective. You can often get swarmed by opponents flooding the board. You also run a serious risk of just running out of Counterspells and not being able to counter critical Mulldrifters in the late game. It’s very easy to lose control quickly too. Opposing Cloudpost decks can resolve a Compulsive Research or Mulldrifter or two, and you just get out-carded by them.

-Chris

An Introduction to Pauper Part 1

by Chris Weaver

Definition of Pauper: Pauper is a Magic Online format in which all cards used must have been printed at the common rarity in a Magic Online set or product. Common promo cards are only legal if the card has been printed at the common rarity in a set or product. Other than that, the usual rules for Constructed decks apply (a minimum deck size of 60 cards in the main deck, an optional 15-card sideboard, and so on). If a common version of a particular card was ever released on Magic Online, any versions of that card printed at other rarities are also legal in this format.
Example: Counterspell was a common card in the Seventh Edition core set, which was released on Magic Online. Counterspell was reprinted in Masters Edition II with an uncommon expansion symbol. Both versions of the card can be used in the Pauper format.

Example: Hymn to Tourach, another uncommon from Masters Edition II, is not legal for use in the Magic Online Pauper format. Even though Hymn to Tourach was printed as a common in the Fallen Empires set, that set was never released on Magic Online.

The Pauper banned list is:
Cranial Plating
Empty the Warrens
Frantic Search
Grapeshot
Invigorate

So why play Pauper?

Pauper is an eternal format, which means you get to play with some of the most broken cards of all time. This also means your opponent has access to the same cards, of course. Being an eternal format though is a good long term investment: Once you buy in, you’re set as long as you own the cards to play.

It’s cheap! This is one of the primary reasons I got into Pauper, since I couldn’t keep up with the expense of Standard’s metagame. Every major deck in Pauper can be bought for the price of one Standard deck, excluding the relatively cheap Mono Red builds in Standard right now. If you get tired of your $40 Affinity deck, just spend another $40 to get a FULL Stompy deck. Decks pay for themselves with just two 3-1′s in Pauper Daily Events!

The metagame is stable at any random point in time. Fluctuations happen as with any format, but your deck isn’t obsolete the second Wizards prints a hate card. The cards are all there, and Wizards typically isn’t printing real hosers any longer. So your Goblins deck will likely be just as competive now as it will be after the next set release. Every once in awhile, Wizards even throws quite the bone to previous archetypes, reviving them(such as Foundry Street Denizen for Goblins).

There’s something for everyone in Pauper. If you like playing ultra-fast reckless aggression, we have a deck for that. If you like playing ultra heavy control drawing metric tons of cards and grinding out wins, we have a deck for that. If you like playing 20 spells in a single turn, turning a can’t win situation into a can’t lose situation, we have a deck for that!
The community is great! Barring a few bad peas in the pod, most Pauper players are friendly and will freely talk strategy and possible builds with you. They’ll tell you where you messed up and how you could have beaten them(after the fact, of course) if you ask them. I gladly answer any comments and questions posted on my articles and videos, and I love doing it.
When writing an introductory article, I like to start off with the basics. In Magic, there are 3 primary deck archetypes. This article will attempt to break down and dissect each archetype, and hopefully provide some insight into which archetype is right for you.

The 3 major players in any given format are: Aggro, Control, and Combo. I won’t go into which beats which, but let’s just say it’s a game of paper, rock, scissors.

Pauper is kind of an anomaly, because most major decktypes don’t fit into just 1 of these 3 categories. Pauper is an eternal format with tons of possibilities and deckbuilding potential, so most Pauper archetypes will sort of mesh 2 of the 3 archetypes. That being said, we can mostly say certain decks lend themselves more to one category than another. Almost as if it’s aggro splashing control, or control splashing combo.

Pure Aggro decks of the format:

[d title=”Stompy (hr_caldeira)”]

Lands
17 Forest

Creatures
4 Nettle Sentinel
4 Quirion Ranger
4 Skarrgan Pit-Skulk
4 Young Wolf
3 Shinen of Life’s Roar
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
2 Wild Mongrel

Spells
4 Gather Courage
4 Groundswell
3 Hunger of the Howlpack
4 Rancor
3 Vines of Vastwood

Sideboard
4 Scattershot Archer
4 Thermokarst
3 Faerie Macabre
4 Skyshroud Archer [/d]

[d title=”Goblins(DromarX)”]
Lands
17 Mountain

Creatures
4 Mogg Conscripts
4 Mogg Raider
4 Mogg War Marshal
4 Goblin Cohort
4 Goblin Sledder
4 Goblin Bushwhacker
4 Sparksmith
3 Goblin Arsonist
4 Foundry Street Denizen

Spells
2 Death Spark
2 Chain Lightning
4 Lightning Bolt

Sideboard
1 Electrickery
1 Sylvok Lifestaff
3 Pyroblast
2 Smash to Smithereens
3 Gorilla Shaman
2 Flame Slash
2 Flaring Pain
1 Flame Jab [/d]

[d title=”Burn (magicdownunder)”]
Lands
4 Forgotten Cave
15 Mountain

Creatures
4 Goblin Fireslinger
4 Kiln Fiend
4 Keldon Marauders

Spells
4 Rift Bolt
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Chain Lightning
4 Lava Spike
4 Needle Drop
4 Fireblast
1 Faithless Looting
4 Searing Blaze

Sideboard
4 Molten Rain
3 Smash to Smithereens
2 Martyr of Ashes
2 Electrickery
4 Curse of the Pierced Heart [/d]

[d title=”White Weenie(SteffenG)”]
Lands
2 Secluded Steppe
20 Plains

Creatures
3 Doomed Traveler
4 Icatian Javelineers
4 War Falcon
4 Kor Skyfisher
4 Loyal Cathar
4 Leonin Skyhunter
4 Veteran Armorer
2 Guardian of the Guildpact

Spells
4 Bonesplitter
3 Journey to Nowhere
2 Prismatic Strands

Sideboard
2 Patrician’s Scorn
2 Obsidian Acolyte
3 Dust to Dust
1 Divine Offering
3 Crimson Acolyte
4 Standard Bearer [/d]

These decks all attempt to win on turns 4-6, with some having significant late game reach. Each deck has its own pros and cons, so lets break these down.

Stompy:

Pros – Amazingly versatile creatures and Rancor. The pump spells are also amazingly diverse, serving to save your own creatures, pump for lethal, or prevent opponents from doing shenanigans on their own creatures such as Snapping their Cloud of Faeries for mana acceleration or Ghostly Flickering their Mnemonic Walls for infinite mana or life loops. Stompy is generally considered favored against Delver, UR Cloudpost. It preys on the slower decks of the format by beating them down before they can get an endgame plan. Stompy also has roughly 50/50 matches against most of the rest of the format, depending of course on the skill of the pilots and the build of the Stompy deck.

Cons – Stompy can really only do damage via creatures. This makes cards like Prismatic Strands and Moment’s Peace almost an auto-win for opponents. Stompy also runs a relatively light creature package for an aggro deck, sitting somewhere around 24 creatures for any given deck. This makes creature removal particularly effective against Stompy decks. If you kill their creatures, opponents can often get stuck with multiple pump spells in hand without a target. Stompy attempts to remedy this problem by playing creatures like Young Wolf and Safehold Elite. Of course those cards only go so far when other decks draw way more cards than Stompy and can provide multiple answers.

Goblins:

Pros – Redundancy! Goblins decks play multiple copies of the same effective cards(Mogg Conscripts = Goblin Cohort, Mogg Raider = Goblin Sledder), along with just providing an endless stream of 30+ Goblins. Every deck is just swarming you with weenies, and the tricks provided with Mogg Raider and Goblin Sledder can threaten an unblocked creature becomes a 7/7. Goblins also has burn reach to plow through Fog effects like Moment’s Peace. Death Spark is huge, since you can eliminate pesky blockers or unflipped Delvers. Death Spark is an engine as well, costing you a measily Goblin to buy it back. I can’t tell you how many times I thought I had a Goblin deck held at bay with myself at 4 life, when he topdecks a Death Spark and proceeds to ping me to death. Goblin Bushwhacker is a beast, turning those 7 Goblins into straight up murder sticks threatening a whopping 16 damage on turn 4-5.

Cons – Alot of 1/1 creatures aren’t very threatening by themselves. The 2/2 creatures have drawbacks, requiring you to cast creatures to attack with them. This negates some combat tricks, such as Lightning Bolting a Spire Golem to get it off the table. Hydroblast is a VERY common sideboard hate card, and for 1 mana it counters a crucial Bushwhacker or kills a dude. The sideboard options are also pretty narrow and mostly reactive cards that thin out the Goblins deck’s critical plan of swarming with dudes and beating face in. In order to remove blockers, Goblins sometimes just HAS to 2-for-1 itself.

Burn:

Pros – Extremely fast and violent. The deck requires little thinking beyond how to count to 20, and represents a fast clock for any deck without Counterspells. Sometimes decks just can’t compete, since their decks are often packed with ways to deal with creatures. Burn decks don’t particularly care about their creatures, the 3 damage spells are far more important.

Cons – Against any deck packing mainboard counterspells and lifegain, playing as a burn player is an almost unwinnable proposition. The sideboard options are even more narrow than Goblins, since Goblins at least have resilient threats after you bring in sideboard hate cards like Pyroblast.

White Weenie:

Pros – Lots of powerful creatures with resilient and important abilities. Almost every creature is a threat that must be dealt with or countered by opponents, and many creatures provide massive card advantage. White Weenie will typically be a more difficult matchup for opposing aggro strategies, since cards like Doomed Traveler and Loyal Cathar can block and leave behind bodies as well as taking out opposing creatures or pump spells. White Weenie also has great utility spells such as Journey to Nowhere and Prismatic Strands to turn the tides. Guardian of the Guildpack is a huge threat in Pauper. Very few decks have ways to deal with a resolved Guardian.

Cons – White Weenie is a turn or two slower than the other aggro decks, and suffers from the same problem Stompy has. It can really only deal damage via creatures. You can’t alpha strike on turn 4. The creatures can also be readily killed, no matter how resilient they are, making your deck slower by another turn, which gives opponents more time to stabilize. In Pauper, white suffers a major problem: jack of all trades, master of none.

DelverFiend just became a lot better

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.

Consider this deck:

[d title=”DelverFiend (Pauper)”]
Lands
8 Island
6 Mountain
2 Evolving Wilds

Creatures
4 Nivix Cyclops
4 Kiln Fiend
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Wee Dragonauts

Spells
3 Assault Strobe
1 Brainstorm
1 Dispel
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Piracy Charm
3 Ponder
4 Preordain
3 Shadow Rift
3 Apostle’s Blessing

Sideboard
1 Electrostatic Bolt
3 Pyroblast
2 Hydroblast
2 Flame Slash
3 Dispel
2 Flaring Pain
2 Electrickery [/d]

This would not be one of mine articles if I did not have a video or two at the bottom, would it?

Here is me playing DelverFiend vs Dimir Post:

And here is DelverFiend vs Stompy

I think DelverFiend has a golden future ahead of it. And I guess Surucucu is the happiest player in Pauper now. He has been putting in so much time with the deck.

By the way, people were abandoning Delver for this deck when Izzet Post ruled the meta right after the bannings. So this deck has game is currently underplayed. As I said, I am not really sure why.

Go DelverFiend!

A Pauper Chat with Deluxeicoff (and some info on Hexproof)

Talking Pauper in general and Hexproof in detail with Deluxeicoff, one of the best pauper players on MTGO.

His Hexchant Hexproof deck –

[d title=”Hexchant by Deluxeicoff (Pauper)”]
Land
13 Forest
4 Selesnya Guildgate

Creatures
4 Slippery Bogle
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Aura Gnarlid
4 Silhana Ledgewalker
4 Bond Beetle

Enchantments
4 Abundant Growth
4 Ehtereal Armor
3 Ancestral Mask
4 Armadillo Cloak
4 Rancor
4 Utopia Sprawl

Sideboard
3 Asha’s Favor
4 Moment’s Peace
4 Standard Bearer
4 Thermokarst [/d]

Soul Sisters in Pauper

For a short while, Deluxeicoff was tearing up the Pauper Dailys in 2012 with this very different White Weenie deck.

Then he got bored and moved on.

I can’t stop loving it though. It beats any aggro deck in the format, including Stompy and Delver. It dies horribly to combo and was a dog to Storm. Maybe now its time has come again.

Here is a current list:

[d title=”Soul Sisters by Deluxeicoff (Pauper)”]
Lands
22 Plains

Creatures
4 Benevolent Bodyguard
2 Cenn’s Enlistment
4 Doomed Traveller
4 Kor Skyfisher
4 Loyal Cathar
4 Soul Warden
4 Soul’s Attendant
4 Suture Priest
4 Veteran Armorer

Spells
4 Guardian’s Pledge

Sideboard
4 Crimson Acolyte
4 Icatian Javelineers
4 Patrician’s Scorn
3 Prismatic Strands [/d]

There will be more info on this deck posted in the near future.

Next level Delver – Mezzel Delver

Delver Blue has long been a tier 1 deck in Pauper (even before the printing of Delver of Secrets, though that card was what brought it to the very top). The meta is now shifting away from the good matchups into weird and bad territory for Delver. Storm was a good matchup and you seldom saw the good Delver players complain about Infect, but they do fear Cloudpost, Temporal Fissure and Stompy.

So what are the weaknesses of this fantastic deck? Most lists play too few lands (16) and no true card advantage (only Ninja of the Deep Hours) and too many card sorting spells that takes mana and stops them from countering essential turn 2 and 3 plays from the other decks (the culprits are Preordain and Ponder).

So what do you need to do to win with Delver?

Enter: Mezzel, the guy who won the most packs on Magic Online in Pauper during 2011.

Here is his take on Delver, which solves all of the problems above.

[d title=”Mezzel Delver (Pauper)”]
Lands
17 Island
2 Quicksand

Creatures
4 Cloud of Faeries
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Ninja of the Deep Hours
2 Phantasmal Bear
4 Spellstutter Sprite
3 Spire Golem

Other spells
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
2 Exclude
2 Gush
1 Oona’s Grace
3 Piracy Charm
4 Snap

Sideboard
3 Boomerang
3 Dispel
4 Hydroblast
3 Steel Sabotage
2 Stitched Drake [/d]

I have been testing his deck a lot. I did it before the bannings and I will continue to do so after the bannings. It is slightly more complicated than the “regular” Delver decks, but I think it has what it takes to make Delver remain a top tier deck in the new meta.

Relevant links:

An interview with Mezzel

http://puremtgo.com/articles/common-kings-interview-pauper-pros

Alex Ullman writes an excellent article about playing Delver (pre-bannings):

http://www.starcitygames.com/magic/standard/25462-Delving-Deeper-Into-Pauper.html

This is a link to the Walkthrough video itself: