The Pauper Brewer’s Cup, Week Six: A Tron of One’s Own


Welcome back to another thrilling week of the Pauper Brewer’s Cup. We had some good Extended Pauper submissions last week, and hopefully some of you decided to sign up for the league as well. League registration runs through this Thursday. 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 Four Winner

We had a respectable 59 votes cast this week, and a clear winner.

GreaterGerardon secures the win with his Distant Spirits list, bringing in 30 votes. Distant Spirits is now the fourth list that will play in the brewer’s gauntlet.

Heltoupee almost got his back to back wins, but only brought in 21 votes for his UB Zombies list, while RRemedio brought up the rear with his wizards at 9 votes.

Voting for Week Five

Our constraint in week five was to brew an Extended Pauper list, using cards in Standard-rotation sets from Innistrad through Origins. This was a crossover with our league event that starts this Friday, so hopefully some of you were inspired to join. There were some excellent submissions, and here are my three picks for you to vote on.

[d title=”A Cruel, Beautiful World by midnight_memory”]
4 Doomed Traveler
4 Ravenous Rats
4 Seller of Songbirds
2 Kingpin’s Pet
1 Tragic Slip
4 Gather the Townsfolk
4 Raise the Alarm
4 Kytheon’s Tactics
2 Read the Bones
4 Harsh Sustenance
1 Inspired Charge
3 Triplicate Spirits
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Orzhov Guildgate
4 Scoured Barrens
5 Plains
5 Swamp
4 Revoke Existence
4 Beckon Apparition
4 Duress
2 Tragic Slip
1 Rootborn Defenses [/d]

From my play-testing, going wide could certainly work in this format, just so long as you don’t get hit by a Shrivel or Electrickery. I like this BW tokens list with the requisite [c]Harsh Sustenance[/c] (also a card I would like to see played more). I like the name, too.

[d title=”All Deaths Welcome by ModernFever”]
4 Falkenrath Torturer
4 Doomed Traveler
3 Bloodflow Connoisseur
3 Unruly Mob
3 Qarsi Sadist
3 Cathedral Sanctifier
3 Vulturous Aven
2 Loyal Cathar
4 Tragic Slip
4 Gather the Townsfolk
3 Gods Willing
2 Reave Soul
2 Bone Splinters
3 Scoured Barrens
8 Swamp
9 Plains
3 Spare from Evil
3 Crypt Incursion
3 Revoke Existence
2 Reave Soul
2 Pharika’s Cure
2 Devour Flesh [/d]

I keep trying to make Exploit work in Classic Pauper, so far with no luck. I definitely think it has a home in this format, though (my one personal favorite list right now is Mono Black Exploit), and I chose this list by ModernFever to represent. Despite the stunning originality of the 13-card sideboard presented, I went ahead and added 2x [c]Devour Flesh[/c] to “flesh” things out a bit.

[d title=”Grixis-Go by obZen”]

4 Dismal Backwater
4 Evolving Wilds
6 Island
4 Mountain
4 Swamp
4 Swiftwater Cliffs
4 Cancel
4 Contradict
4 Devour Flesh
4 Font of Fortunes
2 Murder
4 Think Twice
4 Twin Bolt
2 Archaeomancer
4 Omenspeaker
2 Prescient Chimera
1 Benthic Giant
1 Murder
2 Negate
1 Essence Scatter
1 Crypt Incursion
2 Magma Spray
2 Hooded Assassin
3 Stormbound Geist
1 Disdainful Stroke
1 Harvest Pyre [/d]

obZen hates you and doesn’t want you to enjoy Magic. We’ve had our fair share of “durdly” lists so far in this thing, but this is more just “straight-up control” than durdly. I do have concerns about “getting there” with only 8 creatures, only 2 of which have evasion. [c]Curse of the Bloody Tome[/c] might be a good sideboard add for the control mirror. [c]Whirlwind Adept[/c] could also find a home in here, somewhere.

A hat tip, here, to Roberto and Han and bigdumbgreen. I liked all three lists, but there are only so many spots to fill. Keep on submitting, though!

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 Six: A Tron of One’s Own

Since [c]Cloudpost[/c] was banned, Pauper has had only one set of ramp lands, the classic tron pieces. Tron is big in Modern right now, but how is it fairing in Pauper? RUG Tron, the most popular Pauper list, has been in decline. UW Tron only ever had the briefest moment in the spotlight. I have seen Simic Tron as well, and I wonder what other variations of Tron there may be yet undiscovered. Here are your constraints this week:

  1. Brew up your best “Ramp” list in Classic Pauper.
  2. Tron lists are encouraged, but I will consider non-Tron ramp as well.

I don’t want to be too strict, so while I am advocating for Tron lists, specifically, I will consider interesting and creative ramp lists as well.

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 28, 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!



Paupers and Kings, Ep. 4: Blue Tron

platinum angel In its heart lies the secret of immortality.

Hi everyone, and welcome to the fourth episode of Paupers & Kings, my series on porting Pauper decks into the Modern format while staying on a budget.

Part of the idea behind this series is that if you find a list you like to play in one format, you can take that enjoyment and your skill with that list into another format. Using last week as an example, if you love playing and are good with Living End in Modern, I reasoned that you would also enjoy and be good at playing Damned Rats in Pauper.

For my own part, I’ve found this concept to hold true during my play-testing. I enjoy the lists similarly and skills from one transfer across to the other. This week, though, was a little strange. While the lists this week play similarly, I enjoyed playing one much more than the other. Perhaps it was just my own limited experience, the large number of play mistakes I made, and the weird, grindy match-ups I endured, but I had a hard time enjoying Magic playing Rhystic Tron in Pauper. It is slow, finicky, and packs a whopping three win conditions which, hey, better hit or you’re looking at beating your opponent only through sheer force of will and superior patience.

I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, though. I started out this week wanting to build Tron in both formats. I could have done RUG Tron in Pauper and RG Tron in Modern, but the latter is prohibitively expensive for this, an article about building on a budget. Rhystic Tron has been the hot new Tron list in Pauper, so I went with Blue Tron in Modern, and couldn’t be happier with how the two relate. In many ways, they are very similar.

Modern does have its own UW Tron which utilizes [c]Gifts Ungiven[/c] and also looks like loads of fun but is, again, significantly more expensive. We’ll look at variants in each format as we go.

Let’s take a closer look at our Pauper list this week.

UW Tron in Pauper

Most of the conversation I’ve seen about this list has been over on Reddit. MTGO user d1n0sauR claims credit for the original idea, but Saibod / obZen has seen the most success with it in PCT and Daily play. I chose to use one of Saibod’s lists since I am familiar with his abilities as a brewer and tinkerer and his successes with the list are a good marker of its power.

Rhystic Tron seeks to get Tron online, stay alive with Rhystic Circle, and, eventually, win. Somehow.

It is fairly good at accomplishing the first two goals. RUG Tron is better at getting Tron online (as is RG Tron in Modern), which is part of the reason UW Tron packs Signets in Pauper (and Talismans in Modern). These allow you to ramp up faster than your opponent, regardless of whether or not you get your Tron online.

[d title=”UW Rhystic Tron by Saibod (Pauper)”]
1 Remote Isle
2 Swiftwater Cliffs
1 Island
1 Mountain
1 Plains
1 Haunted Fengraf
1 Quicksand
4 Tranquil Cove
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

4 Expedition Map
4 Azorius Signet
2 Izzet Signet
1 Relic of Progenitus

Win Conditions
2 Ulamog’s Crusher
1 Kaervek’s Torch

Card Draw
4 Compulsive Research
2 Impulse
2 Deep Analysis

2 Fade Away
4 Condescend
4 Journey to Nowhere
4 Rhystic Circle

2 Fade Away
4 Earth Rift
2 Gorilla Shaman
2 Hydroblast
1 Capsize
3 Pyroblast
1 Orim’s Thunder [/d]

The win conditions themselves are fine, except for when they’re not. Crusher doesn’t do anything when it hits the board and, as the saying goes, it dies to removal. MBC will never, ever let it live. In fact, they’ll be so happy they get to blow up a creature with all the removal they’ve been sitting on.

Decks with red removal will have a harder time dealing with the 8/8, but those decks are mostly running blue now as well and likely have more counterspells than we do. White lists usually have [c]Journey to Nowhere[/c] and even Affinity can throw down a [c]Doom Blade[/c] or two [c]Galvanic Blast[/c]s. We do have [c]Condescend[/c]s to keep the crushers alive, but they still feel pretty fragile.

Kaervek’s Torch is harder to disrupt, but it can be hard to get around decks with multiple counterspells or too much life gain. As a 1-of, you also run the risk of finding it at the very bottom of your deck, even with all your card draw.

One synergy I really enjoy is [c]Rhystic Circle[/c] and [c]Fade Away[/c]. Since your opponent will likely be tapping a lot of mana to get some damage through on their turn, Fade Away can do some serious work when you cast it on your turn, disrupting their mana and destroying their permanents like nobody’s business. This works best against aggressive creatures strategies, though, which are not at their most popular in Pauper right now.

Ultimately, I feel like Rhystic Tron is focused too much on reacting to what your opponent is doing and not enough on “being the problem.”

RUG Tron is ultimately the stronger deck in Pauper and is much better at being the problem. It’s also about half the cost, since we can cut [c]Hydroblast[/c] and [c]Gorilla Shaman[/c] from the sideboard, as [c]Fangren Marauder[/c] nulls the need for that particular SB tech.

Now let’s take a look at Modern.

Blue Tron in Modern

If you are interested in seeing how successful Mono Blue Tron can be in Modern, you need look no further than Shoktroopa’s daily results. Premier results, too. That’s a whole lot of wins and quite a few are undefeated.

The list I chose to run is inspired by Shoktroopa’s successes and explained in good detail in Jacob Van Lunen’s article on ChannelFireball. The plan here hinges more around: get [c]Platinum Angel[/c] into play, protect [c]Platinum Angel[/c], profit. It’s a classic three-step plan to fame and riches. Here’s the list.

[d title=”Mono Blue Tron – Van Lunen (Modern)”]
1 Oboro, Palace in the Clouds
1 Tolaria West
1 Tectonic Edge
1 Academy Ruins
7 Island
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

3 Solemn Simulacrum
2 Treasure Mage
3 Platinum Angel
1 Wurmcoil Engine

4 Talisman of Dominance
4 Expedition Map
1 Mindslaver

Draw and Control
4 Remand
4 Condescend
3 Repeal
1 Spell Burst
3 Pact of Negation
4 Thirst for Knowledge

1 Tectonic Edge
1 Cyclonic Rift
2 Negate
1 Oblivion Stone
2 Dismember
2 Squelch
1 Sundering Titan
1 Aetherize
1 Island
1 Wurmcoil Engine
2 Bottle Gnomes [/d]

The amount of card draw and scrying in the list help make it very consistent and unlike RG Tron, it’s very resilient against having its Tron pieces removed. Being just one color, mana constraints are easy to get around, and the base itself is very simple. Angel wins against most strategies, especially with ample counter protection. Wurmcoil beats the rest, including Jund, especially with [c]Academy Ruins[/c] in play.

[c]Mindslaver[/c] lock is also a very real win condition but, as Dan reminded me, you need something else in play to actually win with it. Some creature, some card draw, some something. You’re using your draw every turn to get the Mindslaver back, so you don’t get any new cards to work with. You can hope your opponent draws into something interesting that you can use against him, but even then, without some way to do damage, all you can do is stall the game forever. (Edit: poopgobbler69 illuminated me in the comments that since you’re not drawing from your deck anymore – you just keep drawing Mindslaver – you will eventually Mill your opponent out. So the lock is a win-con all on its own!)

I had a blast playing with this list and it felt really powerful. Even though it was mentioned in Van Lunen’s article, I didn’t catch on how good [c]Pact of Negation[/c] is with Platinum Angel in play. It makes [c]Force of Will[/c] look like a bad card. [c]Tolaria West[/c] can transmute for a Pact in a pinch, and you can grab it with a Map, making it pretty easy to secure more counterspell backup in a pinch.

We’re looking at Modern, so let’s talk cost.

The list is already cheap out of the box. Shoktroopa’s list runs just $108 online and proves it is worth every penny. We can cut some costs without sacrificing too much, but some key money cards have to stick around.

One [c]Oblivion Stone[/c] should stay in the 75, as should two [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c]s. We can drop Oboro for an island in a pinch, and switch out the [c]Remand[/c]s for [c]Mana Leak[/c]s or possibly [c]Spell Snare[/c]s. Most of the other cards aren’t too spendy, though when you’re adding $1 here and $2 there, it can add up, especially if you’re used to Pauper prices. Still, if the deck appeals to you and you want to break into Modern, you would be hard-pressed to find a deck that packs as much punch for the dollar. And hey, if you can think of one, tell me about it!

On the Play

How did these lists fare in practice? Let’s take a look!


I mixed them up to switch off between Modern and Pauper lists, so you can get a better idea of how each plays. Skip around as you see fit. As I alluded to previously, I had much more fun playing the Modern list than the Pauper list. I did have some weird Pauper match-ups (and difficult ones for this list), so that could have something to do with it. If you have experience with either list and can weigh in on play mistakes or your own experiences, please do share!

Next week on Paupers and Kings

I’ve got some fun Soul Sisters lists lined up for next week’s article. As always, if you have ideas for Pauper / Modern crossovers or favorite lists to share, please do.

Until next week, may your angels always be platinum.


Thinking Outside the Circle: UW Tron in Pauper

It’s rare that new archetypes see play in the established, competitive metagame. UW Tron may not be a new archetype, per se — it is Tron, after all — but it is definitely a new take on Tron, featuring some cards that don’t see play very often. As for the pilot, Saibod, you may know him better as obZen, he is usually a master of UB Teachings; if he switches over to a new list, it’s worth taking note. Here is the 75 he went 3-1 with in the Saturday DE.

[d title=”UW Tron by Saibod (Pauper)”]
4 Azorius Guildgate
1 Haunted Fengraf
1 Island
1 Plains
1 Quicksand
4 Tranquil Cove
4 Urza’s Mine
4 Urza’s Power Plant
4 Urza’s Tower

4 Ulamog’s Crusher

4 Azorius Signet
1 Capsize
4 Compulsive Research
1 Curse of the Bloody Tome
4 Deep Analysis
4 Expedition Map
1 Fade Away
4 Journey to Nowhere
4 Memory Lapse
1 Power Sink
4 Rhystic Circle

1 Curse of the Bloody Tome
1 Fade Away
1 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Disenchant
1 Dispel
2 Dust to Dust
2 Hydroblast
2 Negate
1 Relic of Progenitus
3 Seraph of Dawn [/d]

His description from the list is: Using the Tron engine you can lock the opponent from damaging you ever again with Rhystic Circle, then you win with whatever is available to you.

That last bit cracks me up a little, because you are either winning with the 1x [c]Curse of the Bloody Tome[/c] or (much more likely) beating your opponent to death with [c]Ulamog’s Crusher[/c]. There really aren’t that many other options. I imagine most wins are actually concessions to getting the [c]Rhystic Circle[/c] online and capsizing the opponent’s stuff. Despair is a fine wincon, if you ask me.

[c]Memory Lapse[/c] is a fine counterspell all of the time and it is the best way to deal with [c]Treasure Cruise[/c] (or other Delve spells). [c]Power Sink[/c] seems beautiful in Tron and I’m a little surprised there aren’t more of them. I especially like the idea of shutting down Familiars with a well-timed Sink.

In general, Tron and Affinity have both been showing well in Daily Events, so if you’re looking for a fun deck to run, try one of those. Familiars are also placing well, but don’t play them unless you’re an asshole. There are better decks to play with that aren’t as annoying to play against.

All of the Affinity lists winning right now are the “new” variety, running [c]Perilous Research[/c]. Here is a sample list from Turbokitty’s 3-1 on Saturday.

[d title=”Perilous Affinity (Pauper)”]
1 Darksteel Citadel
4 Great Furnace
4 Seat of the Synod
4 Tree of Tales
4 Vault of Whispers

4 Atog
4 Carapace Forger
4 Frogmite
4 Myr Enforcer

2 Fling
4 Galvanic Blast
1 Lightning Bolt
3 Perilous Research

4 Chromatic Star
3 Ichor Wellspring
4 Springleaf Drum
2 Terrarion
4 Thoughtcast

4 Duress
4 Hydroblast
3 Krark-Clan Shaman
4 Pyroblast [/d]

UW Tron on Video

Shout out to Dillon (Saibod / obZen) for streaming and posting videos on YouTube. Watch his stream on and follow him on YouTube. Here is the playlist of his Pauper Daily Event run on Saturday. Enjoy!


Keep slinging commons!


Pauper Daily Event Breakdown #2: September 27-28

We’re back! Thanks for the good feedback last week; I’m enjoying doing this series and I’m glad y’all are getting something out of it too. I’m also happy to fill in some content on Fridays as well (a slow day for Pauper writing, generally); but we could always use more authors. If that’s you, get in touch.

Alright, let’s check out the Pauper metagame last weekend!


And here is the breakdown by archetype:


Links to the events on September 27 | September 28

Metagame Analysis

So the week before, Delver + MBC + Familiars equaled just under 50% of the metagame. Those three decks. This week it’s closer to 32%. What does that mean? Well, a slightly healthier, more balanced metagame, at least for the week, and more variety of decks for us to check out. It also means fewer Familiar Combo decks which is awesome because, honestly, fuck that deck.

White Weenie and Hexproof continue to be at the top of the stack and continue to be represented by very divergent lists.

For WW, AndreyS continues to be awesome. Running 4x [c]Order of Leitbur[/c] in the main is a big middle finger to MBC, and I love it. I ran this list against MBC in League and got demolished, though, so I think it is fair to say that pilot skill is a major factor. Skill and experience. If you want to win with any list, you need to practice, practice, practice. Then, when you’re done practicing, practice some more. It makes all the difference.

Naga_tsuki keeps doing well with WW Tokens, which is what I want to try next, if mostly because it has new, shiny Pauper tech ([c]Triplicate Spirits[/c] / [c]Battle Screech[/c]), and I love shiny. Also for WW, returning after a long hiatus, is former WW master, Torreth, who went 3-1 on Sunday, trampling over me and my Goblins in the process. Glad we could help.

For Hexproof, we’ve got three different pilots winning with three different lists. Meltiin went 3-1 again this weekend with his [c]Kor Skyfisher[/c] / card draw Hexproof engine, a list I really want to try out. Joannesp also continues to do well week after week with this list, which I call “all over the place” but which obviously has a method to its madness. [c]Rofellos’s Gift[/c] in the SB seems pretty awesome. Finally, Jikker_T went 3-1 on Saturday with what I would call the “traditional” Hexproof list.

Also this week, briefly, we saw more UR Delver / UR Control, more Tron, a Stompy list AND an Elves list (go green weenies!), and two neat rogue lists which I’ll cover more in a minute.

In my article last week, I suggested running decks that go under or over MBC; win early or outlast. I know it’s not my influence, but we did see an uptick in BorosKitty and Goblins lists this week, which I think it awesome. I love both those decks. PatrickJ wins with Boroskitty pretty much every weekend, and this time around we also saw Gui_BR win back-to-back events on Saturday and Sunday. Rockin’.

Rogues of the Week: Spy and Dredge

1-Land Spy never had its heydey, though it did garner some interest. Developed chiefly by David Shaffer (Shaffawaffa5) and obZen (with notable work by Tom the Scud and Oninaka, among others), it is a remarkable demonstration of community deck-building in practice. David talks about it more in depth in his article on MTGOStrat, JustSin highlighted it on MTGO Academy, and you can also pick up threads on Salvation and PDCMagic.

There is plenty to read about the deck, but it’s more fun to watch it go off on turn one:


Arnaud went 3-1 with the list on Saturday, making him my new, official, Magic hero this week.

Nice job, Arnaud!

[d title=”1-Land Spy, 3-1 by Arnaud (Pauper)”]
1 Forest

4 Balustrade Spy
1 Blood Celebrant
1 Cavern Harpy
1 Dimir House Guard
1 Elvish Aberration
1 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
2 Manaforge Cinder
1 Mnemonic Wall
2 Pit Keeper
4 Simian Spirit Guide
4 Street Wraith
3 Tinder Wall
4 Wild Cantor

4 Cabal Ritual
2 Conjurer’s Bauble
4 Dark Ritual
4 Gitaxian Probe
4 Land Grant
4 Lotus Petal
2 Manamorphose
2 Morgue Theft
4 Songs of the Damned

4 Exhume
4 Faithless Looting
3 Scattershot Archer
4 Ulamog’s Crusher [/d]

Arnaud’s list is different than any of those listed, but seems to take inspiration from some of the discussion on Salvation, and includes a transformative Exhume + Crusher SB for, if not a t1 kill, probably a t1 Concession from the opponent if you go off.

I’m less familiar with the provenance of the other rogue list this week, something I called Gruul Dredge Aggro, but which probably has a snappier name. Here is the list which Sssight took to 3-1 on Saturday.

[d title=”Gruul Dredge Aggro, 3-1 by Sssight (Pauper)”]
6 Forest
4 Gruul Guildgate
2 Khalni Garden
8 Mountain

2 Ghitu Slinger
4 Golgari Brownscale
4 Granger Guildmage
2 Leafcrown Dryad
3 Nacatl Outlander
4 Nightshade Peddler
4 Tin Street Hooligan
3 Yavimaya Barbarian

4 Burst Lightning
2 Electrickery
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Moldervine Cloak

1 Electrickery
4 Gleeful Sabotage
4 Raze
3 Relic of Progenitus
1 Reverent Silence
2 Stone Rain [/d]

This is an interesting list. I want to call it weird, but that seems rude when, with a 3-1, it obviously has some merit. It looks like it is crafted against Delver, Familiar Storm, and all things Blue with its 6x pro-blue dudes, but I’m not entirely sure how it beats MBC. [c]Nightshade Peddler[/c] is awesome with [c]Granger Guildmage[/c] and even works with [c]Ghitu Slinger[/c], and it’s a card I haven’t seen used much since Po Dragons. If you have any further insight into this list, send it my way. I’d love to better understand what makes it tick.

Suggestions for this weekend

Going over or under decks like MBC is still a good suggestion. White Weenie is seeing success because it is good against MBC with [c]Order of Leitbur[/c] in the main, strong against other creature strategies, and also really annoys Delver. Try any of the lists above; WW Tokens seems especially fun and resilient against edict effects. Otherwise my suggestions remain more or less the same: Boroskitty, Goblins, Burn, or Teachings are all still strong. Results suggest that Hexproof might work as well, but I find it to be hit-or-miss. Of course, if you’re really brave, you’ll give Spy a shot. Who doesn’t want to win before their opponent even gets to take a turn?

That’s it for this week! Thanks for reading and I hope it was useful. Remember to leave comments if you have a minute, both on videos and articles; they are like the manna from which author’s draw sustenance.

Until next time, may you always remember to play around [c]Tendrils of Corruption[/c] by putting down your [c]Goblin Sledder[/c] first.


Community Participation League #2: Week Four

Hello Ladies and Gentlenerds!

Welcome to the halfway point! The midway point. The dab smack middle of the Pauper league! It’s been great so far, and we have 4 more weeks left!

I got the BYE this week!! So I get my first win! A win is a win so I am happy to get it.

Here are the current standings.

This week I faced Jmlima playing little red men, and I got beat 1-2 playing Dimir Teachings. I love the Teachings deck, but I think I need a ton more practice with it. Fellow league member obZen has brought the deck back into the limelight, and my hats off to him, as I love control, and Dimir Teachings is a great example of control.

[d title=”obZen’s Dimir Teachings”]

2 Crypt Rats
1 Mulldrifter
1 Twisted Abomination

2 Chainer’s Edict
4 Innocent Blood

4 Accumulated Knowledge
4 Brainstorm
4 Counterspell
4 Exclude
3 Mystical Teachings
2 Prohibit
1 Remove Soul
1 Disfigure
1 Crypt Incursion
1 Ghastly Demise
1 Grim Harvest
1 Wail of the Nim
1 Diabolic Edict

3 Evolving Wilds
3 Terramorphic Expanse
4 Dimir Guildgate
4 Swamp
8 Island

2 Circle of Protection: Red
1 Plains
1 Ghastly Demise
3 Jace’s Erasure
1 Muddle the Mixture
1 Evincar’s Justice
1 Allay
1 Echoing Decay
1 Negate
1 Nausea
2 Circle of Protection: Black [/d]

Just an amazing deck. Counters. Kill Spells. Great creatures. Recursion. Tutors. A varied sideboard with lots of tech. Again I tip my hat to you obZen, as this is a great deck.

Another deck I am slowly, evilly falling in love with is Esper Familiars. I am not the strongest combo player, and I punt all the time, but the deck is fun to play, in its own way. Its own evil, evil way.

[d title=”Esper Familiars”]


4 Cloud of Faeries

4 Nightscape Familiar

4 Sunscape Familiar

4 Mulldrifter

3 Sea Gate Oracle

2 Sage’s Row Denizen

1 Lone Missionary

1 Archaeomancer

1 Mnemonic Wall


3 Compulsive Research

2 Deep Analysis

2 Forsee


4 Snap

2 Ghostly Flicker

1 Reaping the Graves


3 Azorius Chancery

3 Dimir Aqueduct

4 Evolving Wilds

7 Island

2 Plains

2 Swamp

1 Terramorphic Expanse


2 Echoing Decay

3 Prismatic Strands

1 Hoodwink

2 Fade Away

1 Reaping the Graves

3 Nihil Spellbomb

3 Trinket Mage [/d]

I updated the sideboard to include the Trinket Mages and the Spellbombs, as the deck is weak to graveyard based decks. I know there is a version of the deck without the Sage’s Row Denizen, but I can’t imagine playing this deck without a direct win condition like milling your opponent out.

Week 4 updates!

We have had 2 outs this week, outs due to people just being not responsive to emails or MTGO Client contacts.



Of course we welcome you to come back next league if you want to give it another go. Thanks for playing the matches you did this time.

Khans comes online this weekend everyone!! So if you plan on jamming in a bunch of Wedge based sealed games this weekend try and get your matches done before hand. Oh yeah, Khans will be League legal next week, if you can plumb the depths of spoiler to find anything Classic Pauper worthy. Plan ahead if you can this week! You may need to play more matches before the prereleases start on Friday.

That also means that Standard Pauper is rotating soon! And so many annoying decks will die! The format may become fun to play again! So looking forward to that. No more Dimir Mill equals sideways smiley face. No more Armor, Devour Flesh, Essence Scatter, Pacifism. It’s a brave new day folks, let’s greet it with a smile everyone!

Plugs and What Not

In case you don’t know it, Brennon and I have an ongoing show on the YouTube channel and iTunes called The Standard Pauper Show. We have been having Mr. Danofhistory on to talk about the Gauntlet the last three weeks. It’s a blast! Watch or listen, it’s casual, and fun, but still competitive. Look down, it’s a link to last week’s show!!!

Still a good amount of orphan decks left in the second Pauper Gauntlet. Claim them, and win some pretty cool prizes both online, and paper, all provided by our own Peyton. Mr Peypey really set some good stuff up. More linkage for you!

Week 4 Match-ups!


And that’s it guys, go out there and get your matches done, have fun, as I kick my feet up and enjoy my BYE week! Of course email me if you have any questions or need anything. You know how to reach me.

Till next week I hope if you are looking down a herd of little ugly red men you sideboard in all your removal, and not have to mulligan to 4 cards. Those little ugly red monsters will just eat you all up if that happens.

Sam Aka Vaultboyhunter

1-Land Spy Tournament Report and Deck Discussion


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)”]
1 Forest

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

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
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.


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].


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.