Mid-Week Pauper Meta Report: June 25, 2015 – Esper Nay

grave scrabbler art wide

About this article: This is a weekly report on the online pauper meta. The data it uses are from last Wednesday to this Wednesday. It looks at the data that /u/TomScud collects from a selection of dailies. He watches the replays on MTGO to figure out how each person did, not just the 3-1s and 4-0s that Wizards publishes. This allows us to see the whole iceberg and figure out how well each deck did in total. Now, this data is just for this week and just from the data Tom collects, so it does ignore the other 3-1/4-0 results which means it is not perfect. Additionally, the conclusions in this article are just based on this week, and as the meta is fluid, the top decks shift. This is intended to see what decks are performing well this week and is not necessarily a reflection of the deck’s overall strength.

This article uses data from the 6-18, 6-21 evening, and 6-23 dailies.

This week it is back to the recent normal in the metagame – MBC and Burn lead the rest of the decks in popularity. Burn continued to have dismal results, and more and more decks are going in with Burn in mind. On the other hand, MBC broke its streak of bad weeks and actually did quite decent. Other than that, Esper Fae Combo dropped a bit in popularity, which is to be expected. Last week was so much higher than normal that variance was expected to be a key factor. At that same point, Esper Fae has grown and is a force in the meta with multiple new players playing the deck. But first, lets look at the meta as a whole.

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The biggest take away from this graph is the dominance that Delver and Esper Fae have over the rest of the decks. MBC also did fantastic which is certainly a break from what I’ve come to expect from the deck. In addition, the other category shrunk for the first time in a while, meaning that the top decks did, on average, better than rogues.

pauper-meta-6-25-15-03

This graph shows a lot more variation between the decks than usual. Delver is the best with Esper Fae right on its tail. After that MBC and UR Fiend are close, both a decent bit above average. Affinity did ok and UB Angler and Burn both did terrible. The main mover this week was MBC. It did significantly better than normal. Everything else looks about the same as in weeks past.
With Esper Fae being such a hot topic in the community, I thought it would be interesting to look at how Esper Fae did in each of its games so I took its results from the 2 dailies I recorded and graphed them on the chart below (the 10 is for games with ending turn 10 or more).

pauper-meta-6-25-15-04

Now the turn where the games includes when people concede so some games may have actually taken a bit longer, but they were decided at this point. From the graph, it is clear that Esper Fae is a turn 6 combo deck, or at least that is where there is a strong chance that they are able to go off. If you want to beat the deck, your best chance is to get off to a start strong enough that they either die quickly, or put enough pressure that they have to focus on you and not going off. Affinity seems like a very strong to do this. Not only are they able to often put lethal on the board turn 4 or so, they have a decent bit of disruption and have the Atog/Fling combo that the deck must play around. Lastly, a major thing to note is that the deck only lost 2 matches to time. While that is something, it certainly is not a gameplan versus the deck. The deck timing itself out just did not seem to happen in most matches. Don’t rely on the clock to help you win, it rarely will. I’ll continue doing these for a little while to gain some more data in addition to finding matchup data which will hopefully gain more insight into how to properly attack Esper Fae.

Thanks for reading! -Najay1

Winners

1. Delver – Stats: 9.33% Prominence; 52.38% Cash Rate; 63.51% Win Rate. Again Delver is an amazing deck that put up great results. Interestingly, Delver was able to put up strong results in Wizard’s results as well. It probably helps that Stompy has not been as popular as Stompy is the best Gut Shot deck by far. I would expect Delver to continue to be a strong deck and expect this deck to only continue to be popular.

2. Stompy – Stats: 4.44% Prom; 50.00% Cash; 61.11% Win. Stompy did not have a huge amount of pilots, but those pilots did very well. Only 10 people played the list in the 3 dailies that were recorded (and 0 in one daily). I’ve looked into this a bit and I really do not believe that the list should be as underplayed as it is. It has the name recognition, it has the past success to back it up, it just got a new shiny sideboard card, etc. The deck has game, I would play it, but not plan to see much of it.

3. Esper Fae Combo – Stats: 7.56% Prom; 47.06 Cash; 56.14% Win. This is one of the better decks in the format over the past few weeks although it did not have the prominence that it was able to reach last week. As seen in the data earlier up, this is a turn 6 deck and in a format that is bound with control decks, a consistent combo deck is hard to beat. I do think that these results may not be at their ceiling and can grow as more people get more and more experience with the deck. This is the deck to fight and I think the best way to do that is just to be faster than them. Hate can be effective, but just 4 cards in the sideboard is not enough to stop this deck. You need to prepare throughout the deck. This is why decks that are loaded with disruption, or are just faster, are able to have success. Great deck, be ready to face it.

4. MBC – Stats: 11.11% Prom; 40.00% Cash; 54.76% Win. Lastly is one of the bigger surprises of the week in MBC. MBC has not had a great week in a long while and it needs a few more of these to really prove that it is a strong deck. This is one of the first weeks that has shown that the deck has the chance to be successful. Still, the results were not mind blowing this week with just an above average win rate. Personally, I need at least a few more weeks of strong finishes to believe that MBC deserves to be one of the most prominent decks.

Losers

1. Burn – Stats: 11.11% Prom; 12.00% Cash; 39.47% Win. Again the classic red lava wins deck has a pretty bad week. Considering Lone Missionary is the 9th most played creature in the format (in 11.16% of decks as a 4-of) and people are bringing out the hate. I’m not sure how much longer this deck can remain on top as people continue to run into hate and hate and hate. I think this next week will be the week Burn will start to subside. I think it has to at some point and I think this is the week. The deck is just not in the right place for a meta deck. If you want to attack the meta, I suggest doing so in other ways.

2. UB Angler – Stats: 8.44% Prom; 21.05% Cash; 50.75% Win. Again this deck has not performed up to expectations. Actually, the other Angler list – UB Teachings – had a breakout week really out of nowhere. With such a low cash and win rate, I would expect to see this list to start to subside as well. Really just not a huge fan of having less threats than MBC and Delver have answers. In addition, the deck really isn’t that fast which means it loses to most aggro decks. Just not right for the current meta.

Brew of the Week

[d title=”Abzan Torture by Bjornarprytz – June 18, 2015″]
Creatures
4 Arrogant Wurm
4 Grave Scrabbler
4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Wild Mongrel
3 Golgari Brownscale
1 Auramancer
1 Carrion Feeder
1 Crypt Rats
1 Mesmeric Fiend
1 Plagued Rusalka
1 Qasali Pridemage
1 Stinkweed Imp
1 Tilling Treefolk
1 Vampire Hounds

Spells
4 Commune with the Gods
4 Tortured Existence

Lands
8 Swamp
4 Blossoming Sands
4 Jungle Hollow
2 Forest
2 Golgari Guildgate
2 Scoured Barrens
2 Tranquil Thicket

Sideboard
3 Mesmeric Fiend
3 Spore Frog
2 Crypt Rats
2 Qasali Pridemage
2 Faerie Macabre
1 Golgari Brownscale
1 Gnaw to the Bone
1 Okiba-Gang Shinobi [/d]

This is one of the few Tortured Existence lists to have success really in the past few years. Muuchan’s Jund list is really the only TE list to find continual success. The main problem I have with this list is that it seems to be very weak to aggro decks that just get in tons of damage quick (like Burn) if it isn’t able to find its Golgari Brownscales (which is only 2 life). In addition the mana is not great (like any 3 color deck in pauper) and it leaves a lot to be desired. At that same point it seems to have lots of potential lines of play with many different cards and has a decent toolbox to play into different situations. I would look to this deck to be streamlined and maybe have a chance in the future.

Data

Thanks to Tom Scud! Check out his Facebook and his Spreadsheet.

pauper-meta-6-25-15-05

PCT Results

The PCT is a weekly tournament hosted on Gatherling.com by LongTimeGone. It occurs Tuesday at 8 pm est.

pauper-meta-6-25-15-06

 

Mid-Week Pauper Meta Report: June 18, 2015 – The Beauties and the Beast

About this article: This is a weekly report on the online Pauper meta. The data it uses are from last Wednesday to this Wednesday. It looks at the data that Tom the Scud collects from a selection of dailies. He watches the replays on MTGO to figure out how each person did, not just the 3-1s and 4-0s that Wizards publishes. This allows us to see the whole iceberg and figure out how well each deck did in total. Now, this data is just for this week and just from the data Tom collects, so it does ignore the other 3-1/4-0 results which means it is not perfect. Additionally, the conclusions in this article are just based on this week, and as the meta is fluid, the top decks shift. This is intended to see what decks are performing well this week and is not necessarily a reflection of the deck’s overall strength.

This article uses data from the 6/11, 6-14 evening, and 6-15 dailies

I doubt most of you are huge fans of Disney’s 1991 classic Beauty and the Beast, or the fairy tale that it originated from, but I think we have a very similar story this week. Well, more accurately we have beauties and a beast. For those that don’t know the story, it basically goes like this: A young beautiful bookworm has to go to a castle to find her father. In the castle she finds the most feared beast in all of the land. After some tribulations, they both start to develop feelings for each other and fall in love. Then, a broad and buff hunter, who loves the girl, kills the beast out of jealousy. The beast is revived as a prince and they live happily ever after.

The beauties in the case are Mono-Black Control and Burn. Both decks look appealing (the beauty part), they appear to be smart choices, and they love the beast in the metagame. So who is the beast? Esper Fae Combo, the seemingly unstoppable and mysterious threat that kills you out of nowhere. Now, more so than ever, the deck is running up the numbers and unlike past days there is a large amount of pilots for this deck. In fact, all 3 decks were about as popular this week. On the surface, it would appear that both of the beauties would hate the beast. It’s a scary deck that can come out of nowhere. But, with time, it becomes clear that they actually love the deck. This is because Esper Fae Combo is not a bad matchup for either deck. MBC has its choice of how to stop the deck – discard, disruption, land destruction, and/or removal. Burn has the ability to race the deck, or it can just kill one of the key creatures to stop it from going off. Neither are amazing against the deck, but both have serious game. They both like the deck in the format, which is why they fall in love with the beast.

The beast is significantly more tormented than the beauties. MBC and Burn are some of its worst matchups (even if they are 50/50). But the beast still loves the beauty. This is because of what that beauties do to the metagame. They let decks in that are bad against Esper Fae. Decks such as UG/Bant Turbofog, W Tokens, RB Control, and UB Angler (most of these are most a response to MBC). Not only does it let these decks into the meta, it allows them to get to the higher tables as both MBC and Burn were not well represented in the beast’s hunting fields (The 3-1 and 4-0 decks). In addition to all of that, these decks take up more sideboard space (Burn as the main culprit) which could have been allocated to fight Esper Fae (although it could be argued that this would happen no matter the top decks). Overall, it seems that both the beauties and the beast want the others presence, a rare happening in a metagame.

So how do we kill the beast and turn it into a much less dangerous prince (or a less threatening deck)? The key to that lies in the hands of the beauties. They either need to focus on getting rid of the beast themselves, or like in the story, have the men that are pursuing them start to hunt the beast instead. Simply, if the beauties stop glimmering in the eye of the deckbuilders, and decline in popularity, then the beast can take the spot of public enemy number one, and be hated into a much less dominant prince.

pauper-meta-6-18-15-01pauper-meta-6-18-15-02

As always, I look at all the decks that had more than 5% prominence in the last week. The main highlight from these graphs is the lead that the beauties and the beast have in the first graph and the drop-off the beauties have in the second graph. In addition, UB Control has a bad day whereas the rest all do quite well. Another important note are the decks that are missing, UR Fiend and Stompy. I think Stompy will be back and this was just a product of variance whereas UR Fiend may be indicative of something more. Lastly, for another week in a row the “other” decks did better than the top decks, certainly something to be aware of.

pauper-meta-6-18-15-03

The dismal results of Burn, MBC, and UB Control are very evident in this graph. On the flip side, Affinity, Delver, and Esper Fae all put up decent above average finishes, but nobody on the winning side really puts up insane numbers. The real crazy thing is just how bad Burn and MBC did in the past week. I am surprised that it is as bad as it is, but it clearly shows that these decks are not what you want to be playing right now.

So the intro was just a bit different this week, I’d love to hear what you thought about it!

Winners

1. Esper Fae Combo – Stats: 10.42% Prominence; 40.00% Cash Rate; 58.57% Win Rate. This may be one of the first weeks ever that Esper Fae Combo was one of the most popular decks. In order to get there, the amount of players picking up the deck also had to be quite large. For a deck that is as skill intensive as this, I am not surprised to see the results dip this week likely as a result of more people playing the deck. If these players stick with the deck, I would not be surprised to see Esper Fae’s results grow alongside an increase in prominence as people figure out how to beat it.

2. Affinity – Stats: 8.33% Prominence; 37.50% Cash Rate; 56.14% Win Rate. Interesting to see a jump in popularity for the silver bullet. On the other hand, I am also not surprised to see it get better results. Esper Fae Combo is one of Affinity’s best matches (in my experience) and I think that if Esper Fae keeps up a high level of popularity, Affinity can also keep up. Lastly, Burn and MBC are both not great matchups and if those decks peter off, expect Affinity to make a resurgence.

3. Delver – Stats: 10.42% Prominence; 40.00% Cash Rate; 54.17% Win Rate. As always, Delver pops up on the winner’s list. Not good for Delver is that Gut Shot is becoming more and more of an accepted sideboard option. Yet, it is still not played enough to really have a major effect on the deck. I don’t think Delver’s position has changed too much, but I would be wary of a potentially dangerous meta for the aberration.

Losers

1. MBC – Stats: 11.98% Prominence; 8.70% Cash Rate; 41.89% Win Rate. Ah, we meet again. At this point I’m pretty confident in my statement that Mono Black Control is not where you want to be as a deck. The deck has consistently kept people out of the cash, even though they seem to often come close. Also, its prominence has steadily dropped for a few weeks in a row and I would not be surprised to see that happen again. Prepare for this deck, but I would not want to be the one playing it.

2. UB Control – Stats: 5.21% Prominence; 10.00% Cash Rate; 38.71% Win Rate. I haven’t touched too much on the UB Control list simply because it has been consistently tier two for a while. Interestingly, this week it got up to a decent size. Not I think that is simply because of variance, the list is usually a bit below 5% and this week it went above that. Yet, as usual, the deck did not do well. With a low cash and win rate, I do not see this deck as a major competitor. I thought the deck was better pre-cruise, but we are quite a bit past that era. Not a fan of this list right now.

3. Burn – Stats: 10.94% Prominence; 14.29% Cash Rate; 44.29% Win Rate. As predicted last week, Burn is stayed with a high prominence, but it did not do well. I think that this may be the last week where Burn is popular. Hate is common among top decks and many are preparing for the deck mainboard. For a deck that really can’t take too much hate, this is certainly a hostile metagame for this beauty.

Deck to Watch For

Hexproof – Stats: 3.65% Prominence; 57.14% Cash Rate; 60.00% Win Rate. Now that MBC is starting to relinquish control of the metagame, this may be the place for Hexproof to strike. It has earned strong results recently and I think that Hexproof will be a serious contender in the next weeks. I would be prepared for this matchup. Hexproof is good against Burn, Esper Fae, Delver, Affinity, etc. Think could be the deck that explodes in popularity, be ready for it.

Brew of the Week

[d title=”RB Control by HopeOf130 – June 13, 2015 (Pauper)”]
Creatures
4 Chittering Rats
4 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
4 Phyrexian Rager

Spells
4 Blightning
4 Chainer’s Edict
4 Firebolt
4 Sign in Blood
3 Diabolic Edict
3 Lightning Bolt
2 Oubliette
1 Faithless Looting
1 Raven’s Crime

Lands
5 Swamp
4 Great Furnance
4 Vault of Whispers
4 Bloodfell Caves
2 Mountain
2 Rakdos Carnarium
1 Bojuka Bog

Sideboard
4 Pyroblast
2 Choking Sands
2 Electrickery
2 Gorilla Shaman
1 Evincar’s Justice
1 Nihil Spellbomb
1 Rancid Earth
1 Reaping he Graves
1 Rolling Thunder [/d]

Here is the link to MTGGoldfish . This is one of the more interesting lists to come out of the recent meta. It is really just MBC with burn and Blightning. One of the more interesting choices is 4 Firebolt and only 3 Lightning Bolt. As there is very few 3 toughness creatures in the meta right now. At that same point, instant speed and 3 damage is so valuable that it may be better than the ability to use the spell twice. In fact, most decks think it is. Interesting decklist and it has done quite decently over the past few weeks.

Data

With thanks to Tom the Scud. Check out his Facebook and his Spreadsheet.

pauper-meta-6-18-15-04

PCT Results

The PCT is a weekly tournament hosted on Gatherling.com by LongTimeGone. It occurs Tuesday at 8 pm Eastern.

pauper-meta-6-18-15-05

 

Mid-Week Pauper Meta Report: June 4, 2015

gut shot art

About this article: This is a weekly report on the online Pauper meta. The data it uses are from last Wednesday to this Wednesday. It looks at the data that Tom the Scud collects from a selection of dailies. He watches the replays on MTGO to figure out how each person did, not just the 3-1s and 4-0s that Wizards publishes. This allows us to see the whole iceberg and figure out how well each deck did in total. Now, this data is just for this week and just from the data Tom collects, so it does ignore the other 3-1/4-0 results which means it is not perfect. Additionally, the conclusions in this article are just based on this week, and as the meta is fluid, the top decks shift. This is intended to see what decks are performing well this week and is not necessarily a reflection of the deck’s overall strength.

This article uses data from the 5/28, 5/29 evening, 5/31 afternoon, and 5/31 evening (courtesy of Patrick Johnson) results

Welcome to the new season! As Modern Masters 2015 was officially added for Pauper this week, and new cards are available, decks can really shift in the meta. The big story out of MMA2015 was [C]Gut Shot[/C], yet the ping spell did not seem to ping into decklists as it was in 0 of the 29 Wizards reported 4-0 lists (which is a different data set than the one looked at here). One of the main reasons for this is because of the graphs below. Gut Shot is not good versus 5 of the top 8 decks (MBC, Burn, Affinity, Boros Kitty, and UB Angler) which make up 50% of the meta. The deck it is arguably best against (Delver) only made up 6% of the meta. Still, the card is new and I would expect it to grow in popularity as more people get their hands on the card and test it out.

pauper-meta-report-6-4-15-01pauper-meta-report-6-4-15-02

There are 4 really large takeaways from these graphs. First, Burn has moved up to being a dominant presence in the meta, but did not advance to the cash as much as it did previously. Second, Esper Fae Combo again had a huge week as the 7th most popular deck in total, but was the 3rd most popular deck from the 3-1s and 4-0s which is a massive jump. Third, and potentially the strangest, is that the other decks actually improved from the total to the cash, something very rarely seen. As the other category often includes suboptimal decks that go 0-2 or new brews, the most established decks in the category really had a huge week. A ton of interest decks cashed like Bant Midrange, Rhystic Tron, Grixis Contrl, Infect, RB Control, etc. This means that the meta is ripe for innovation and for rogue decks to do really well. Lastly, UR Fiend and W Tokens dropped under the 5% mark and were not included in these graphs. W Tokens is unsurprising, but UR Fiend just barely was under the limit with only 2 less copies than UB Angler. It’ll be here again. The last graph looks at how the best decks did in terms of cash rate and win rate last week.

pauper-meta-report-6-4-15-03

This really demonstrates how much Esper Fae and Delver were ahead of the curve this week, despite being two of the decks most vulnerable to Gut Shot. The rest of the top decks all did a bit under the curve with all of them (excluding the newcomer Boros Kitty) getting less than a 30% cash rate and under 50% win rates, but just by a bit. That means that all of these decks were slightly below average, or in UB Angler’s case, way below average. This was a week that was taken by the rogue decks and it begs the question – is this variance, or just how the meta will go?

Thanks for reading! -Najay1

Winners

1. Esper Fae Combo – Making up only 5.39% of the meta, this continual force put up a 62.50% cash rate and a 71.19% win rate. This deck has been consistently above par, but still faces a major problem in dealing with it. The deck is potentially the best deck in the format (it has been recently), but rarely picks up new players and makes it so that its popularity is low enough that it may be correct not to sideboard for the matchup. That way it is hard to devote slots against a deck when it isn’t seen all that often. It is probably best to have cards that are good against this deck, but also great against other top decks if you want to beat it. If Gut Shot can be more popular, it may make the deck a bit worse, but until something happens, expect Esper Fae to continue comboing off into the winner’s circle.

2. Goblins – The old red force has not been seen too much of recently, but was able to get 4.38% of the meta this week (similar to past weeks) and put up very strong results. With a 53.85% cash rate and 62.22% win rate, the deck put up very strong results through 13 pilots. Despite the strong results, I doubt the deck will put up better results than this week. With a deck very reliant on having 2-3 lands, if it draws too many, or too few, the deck can be screwed. A very similar deck is Affinity, but Affinity has a much higher power level when working full speed – and is much harder to get a great start. I like the deck, and it deserves to be a solid T2 deck, but I doubt it will dominate the meta anytime soon.

3. Delver – Another strong week for one of the best decks in Pauper. Although it remained low in popularity, the deck put up a 47.37% cash rate and a 60.56% win rate. With 16 decks between 4-0 and 2-X, and only 3 worse, this deck looks to be one of the best in the metagame. Yet, there is a problem. A new problem. Gut Shot. This is the deck that stands to lose the most from having the card in the meta. Yet, as long as MBC and Burn stay atop the meta, and Delver isn’t very popular, this deck can continue having success as Gut Shot may not be a good meta call. Unlike the past, I doubt this deck will become number one in popularity anytime soon, yet the deck still seems like a strong choice until Gut Shot becomes popular and right now it is not. Still a great choice to play Delver.

Losers

1. UB Angler – With so many decks doing badly this week, UB Angler managed to counter its growing popularity with shrinking success. Clocking in with a 12.50% cash rate and a 43.14% win rate, the deck had only 2 pilots make the cash out of its 16 pilots. It did, however, have 5 decks at 2-X and have a win rate much higher than the cash rate, suggesting that this week’s failure was at least a bit related to luck. It could be argued that the deck just cannot stand up to the decks at the higher levels, but crush more decks lower on which gives it so many more decks close to the winner’s circle, but not in it. As past results do not support that too much, I would be surprised if that is the case. Either way, this is a deck that has had high highs and low lows recently. I am not yet sure where it will land.

2. MBC – The king of the format only this week got a serious challenge to its popularity, but it still managed to be the most popular deck by one with 47 pilots. As has been the trend though, it did not put up equally dominant results. With a 27.66% cash rate and 45.89% win rate, the deck again put up slightly below average numbers. With more players at each 1-X and 0-X than in the cash, the deck seems to again put up lower results through this data. Despite that, the addition of Gut Shot may help the deck up a bit. As more people play a card that is terrible against this deck, MBC will gain some amount of percentage points. On the other hand, it is important to look at the decks that Gut Shot does well against and how MBC fares against those decks. Most of the decks that are bad against Gut Shot are bad against MBC which means that Gut Shot may not actually be great for the deck. Either way, the effect will probably be small and the much larger impact is the surging growth of Burn. Burn is one of this deck’s worst matchups and it now is about as popular as MBC. For MBC, it is good that Burn will probably subside and MBC has a higher outlook in the future. Last season 2 different decks rose up to fight MBC, and MBC has withstood through both of them, it has done so with mostly losing records. I would expect to face a lot of MBC, but would not be excited to play it.

3. Burn – This is a deck that has grown in popularity in direct response to MBC and looks to have reached the tipping point. The deck has striking similarities to the path W Tokens took just a bit ago. It grew from a small deck to one of the best decks with great success, but then the hate cards started flowing in. Burn, as W Tokens, is very bad against certain cards and decks and once people notice its presence, they start preparing more for the deck. People have noticed, and Burn had bad results with a 26.09% cash rate and a 48.37% win rate. It still was not as bad as MBC (with less 0-X results and significantly more 2-X and 1-X results), but the deck was not able to put up as strong of results as usual. This indicated Burn has reached the tipping point, the moment in which the deck is hated too much to be successful. As with W Tokens, I believe the deck has a small amount of weeks as a very prominent deck. The popularity may not dip too much this week, and should still be hated upon, but in 2-3 weeks, the deck will fall to be just one of the top decks. Right now is not the time to be a Burn player, but it is still time to plan to beat this deck. The deck will subside soon, the tipping point has been reached.

Deck to Watch For

Boros Kitty – A deck that has consistently put up strong results, but never shown up in numbers, I was very surprised when the deck made up 6.06% of the meta. It put up decent results with a 33.33% cash rate and a 53.97% win rate, still better than every top deck except Delver and Esper Fae. I think this deck is very well positioned right now as it has great matchups versus MBC and some other top decks. I would not be surprised to see the deck going up or down in the near future, as this week’s spike in popularity was unexpected, but I hope it to continue as it seems to be a solid choice in the upcoming meta.

Brew of the Week

Bant Midrange – One of the more innovative decks I have seen have success in a while, this list runs a lot of cards that are not seen too often, or at all. It is mainly a UW grindy list that is splashing green for Armadillo Cloak. Some of the key cards are Squadron Hawk, Mulldrifter, Trinket Mage, Brainstorm, and lots of counters/removal. The deck interestingly does not play 4 of any spell, partially because of Trinket Mage, but that suggests to me that the list needs to be streamlined a bit more. It packs a Trinket Mage package, some removal, some counters (including 3 Hindering Light), and some bounce. In a world of Burn, I can see how this had success with 3 Last Breath, 2 Radiant Fountain, and 2 Armadillo Cloak (along with interesting Affinity tech Divine Offering). Intriguing, but the deck needs to be improved before it is truly competitive.

Data

Thanks to Tom the Scud. Check out his Facebook and his Spreadsheet.

pauper-meta-report-6-4-15-04

PCT Results

The PCT is a weekly tournament hosted on Gatherling.com by LongTimeGone. It occurs Tuesday at 8 pm est.

pauper-meta-report-6-4-15-05

 

Mid-Week Pauper Meta Report: May 21, 2015

ghostly flicker art

About this article

This is a weekly report on the online pauper meta. The data it uses are from last Wednesday to this Wednesday. It looks at the data that Tom the Scud collects from a selection of dailies. He watches the replays on MTGO to figure out how each person did, not just the 3-1s and 4-0s that Wizards publishes. This allows us to see the whole iceberg and figure out how well each deck did in total. Now, this data is just for this week and just from the data Tom collects, so it does ignore the other 3-1/4-0 results which means it is not perfect. Additionally, the conclusions in this article are just based on this week, and as the meta is fluid, the top decks shift. This is intended to see what decks are performing well this week and is not necessarily a reflection of the deck’s overall strength.

The large story of the last few weeks had been the explosion in popularity in W Tokens. The deck shot up to the 2nd most popular deck last week, but as the deck got more popular, the hate made its way in. This week, the legion of 1/1s regressed to the 7th most played list. MBC also continued its reign as the most popular list and Burn became a much more dominant force after having one of the worst weeks ever a few weeks ago. The chart on the left below shows the percentage of the meta (from the entire daily) each of the top decks make up (decks that had >5% of the meta). The one on the right shows those same decks prominence in the 3-1 and 4-0 results.

pauper-meta-5-20-01pauper-meta-5-20-02

As seen, MBC takes he biggest hit from deck prominence to cash prominence at a loss of 8% and the other decks lose 9% (which is to be expected as many are not established decks). Stompy and Esper Fae Combo took the majority of that, each gaining ~7%, making up equal portions of the cash prominence. There appears to be a lot of diversity from the top lists here, and a decent spread between the top lists. The next graph looks at the same top decks and their cash and win rates (as a note, ~31.5% is the average for cash rate).

pauper-meta-5-20-03

I like this as a nice way to really visualize the results from the week. If you have any other graphs that you would like to see make sure to let me know!

Lastly, these are going up on MagicGatheringStrat solely which simplifies things a lot for me and allows the use of visuals in a much better and more streamlined way. Thanks for reading!

Winners

1. Stompy – This is a strong week for the Green Machine in a slightly unexpected position. Based on the amount of hate that W Tokens has attracted to the format, Stompy would have seemed to be only a decent option this week. That proved not to be the case as it had a 64.3% cash rate and 61.7% win rate. It had 9 people in the cash out of 14 pilots, compare that to MBC’s 10 pilots in the cash out of 47 tries. A little concerning is that only one of those pilots 4-0ed, which is not fantastic out of 9 appearances. Either way, I believe that Stompy is the best aggro deck in the format right now and should be played more than it is right now. If it can survive a week with as much hate as there was for W Tokens (although the hate isn’t close to as good v. Stompy), it can do well in the future.

2. Esper Fae Combo – The former dominant power, the explosive combo deck had a surprisingly large 16 pilots for a 7.3% prominence. Of those 16 pilots, 9 made it into the cash and 2 of those 4-0ed. The deck then had 3 0-X, 1 1-X, and 3 X-2. This is an interesting split and could come just from the learning curve of playing the deck, or also just variance. It had a 56.3% cash rate and 63.2% win rate. Esper Fae has been putting up better numbers as of late after a slump at the beginning of the season. I’m really surprised that the popularity grew in decent numbers – and had great success. As this deck has a massive learning curve, it is difficult for it to sustain great numbers if more people pick up the deck. A good sign for a deck that has been trending up.

3. Delver – With 18 pilots for the aggro-control deck, it made up 8.3% of the meta. With 4 pilots at each 4-0, 3-1, and 2-X, the deck had a very strong week with a 44.4% cash rate and 60.7% win rate. The 4 decks at 4-0 is really interesting. It is rare that a deck does so well reaching the 4-0 stage. In general, I don’t look too much into the difference in 4-0 and 3-1s because in just 3 dailies, there is a large amount of variance and without something too outstanding, it is difficult to take too much from 1 4-0 v. 2. Yet, when a deck is so successful at reaching 4-0 (as Delver was this week), it says something about the quality of the deck and its position in the meta. Even though there was a 20% difference in cash rate between Stompy and Delver, their win rates only differ by 1%. This is a much more even distribution for Delver which could be interpreted various ways. My theory is that it shows a lower variance deck, which could also mean greater rewards for better play. In general, the rewards for being a strong control player can be greater than a strong aggro player because if you make more correct decisions over a longer game, you have a better chance of winning. Delver is a strong choice (as it usually is), and the rewards are great if you get good at this deck and continue to improve.

4. Burn – Very polarized results this week as Burn also had a great week. It was very similar to Delver in that it had 18 pilots for 8.3% of the meta and had a 44.4% cash rate and a 59.7% win rate. The main difference in the results is that Burn was skewed slightly towards the losing end, but by a very small amount. Burn, just a few weeks ago, went 0-13 in dailies, probably the worst result I’ve seen since I started looking at the meta data. Yet, with such a strong MBC matchup, it got back into the game. In fact it went 12-0 v. MBC. Twelve wins and zero loses. On the other side of the coin, it went 0-6 v. Delver. As long as MBC is a player in the meta, the bolt deck can expect to do decently. I like this deck as a meta call for the near future.

Losers

1. MBC – With 21.6% of the meta and 47 results, MBC is dominating the meta in terms of numbers. Yet, it is not experiencing too much success in these dailies. With a 21.3% cash rate and 42.7% win rate, MBC again did not have a great week. One of the nice things about Tom’s collection is that it can give us the individual win rate of decks and see how they did in the matchup. One thing that can be noticed is that MBC played the mirror 15 times. Adjusting for that, MBC went 45-68 in non-mirror matches. That is a win rate of 39.8%. Not huge, but it means that the win rate is actually inflated when it plays the mirror, opposite of what happens when decks with a >50% play the mirror. While W Tokens isn’t a menace to the deck as much, Burn came in and gave the deck fits. This is the deck to beat in the current meta and it seems like a lot of decks are doing just that.

2. UB Angler – This is a deck that has been doing decently in recent weeks, and it was not close to as successful this week. The Delver list (as opposed to the Teachings version) really started to emerge as the favorite in recent weeks. It made up 4.6% of the meta with only 10 pilots (and there is some problems with smaller sample sizes such as this in terms of increased variance). Even so, the deck had a 20% cash rate and 37.9% win rate. 7 of the pilots went 0-X or 1-X, and the win rate suffered as a result. Despite that, the deck certainly isn’t done and I’m watching this one to see how well it does in the near future.

3. W Tokens – The main story of the past few weeks, the token machine has lost its meta momentum. With just 5.1% of the meta, W Tokens is receding back into a T2/T3 deck. It had a 18.2% cash rate and 42.3% win rate. Potentially more importantly, it went 1-3 against MBC and Burn has emerged as the MBC hate deck. Really I expect that this is on the heels of significant amounts of tokens hate. The deck generated a buzz in the past few weeks, but that buzz has slowly descended to a whisper. If you want to play this list, I would wait a few weeks when the hate goes away and then return to the deck. Right now, this is not where I want to be.

Deck to Watch For

Boros Kitty – The slow card advantage machine has gone under the radar for the past few weeks and it is high time that stops. This week, the deck went 3 for 3 in appearances, 4-0ing once and 3-1ing twice. This is one of the best decks that isn’t being played and it has consistently done this throughout the season. Since the banning, the deck has had a 64% win rate and a 53% cash rate. This deck has averaged getting in the money and 5 of the 16 cashing decks were 4-0. This deck should be played more than it is right now, the deck is just good.

Brew of the Week

UG Land Auras Fae Combo by DoGBiscuit – A variation on the Esper Fae Combo list, this list is mainly just 2 colors (although it is able to run black and red cards because of the fixing). One of the nice things about this list is that it uses enchantments to help it go off instead of familiars. This is significantly more resilient game one, although it does open the deck open to more hate post-sb. One of the other problems with this list is that it plans to go off with a one-of [c]Kaervek’s Torch[/c] cast off of a two-of [c]Fertile Ground[/c]. This means that it can take longer to go off than Esper Fae. There are some other differences as well (such as only needing two colors mainly), but those appear to be the main ones. Overall, this is an interesting list, although I do not think it is as strong as Esper Fae, but I’m not 100%.

Data

Thanks to Tom the Scud. Be sure to check out his Facebook and his Big Fat Spreadsheet.

pauper-meta-5-20-04

PCT Results

The PCT is a weekly tournament hosted on Gatherling.com by LongTimeGone. It occurs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM Eastern Time.

pauper-meta-5-20-05

 

Mid-Week Pauper Meta Report: May 6, 2015

doomed traveler art

This article courtesy Najay1 and is reprinted with his permission.

About this article

This is a weekly report on the online pauper meta. The data it uses are from last Wednesday to this Wednesday (May 6). It looks at the data that Tom the Scud collects from a selection of dailies. He watches the replays on MTGO to figure out how each person did, not just the 3-1s and 4-0s that Wizards publishes. This allows us to see the whole iceberg and figure out how well each deck did in total. Now, this data is just for this week and just from the data Tom collects, so it does ignore the other 3-1/4-0 results which means it is not perfect. Additionally, the conclusions in this article are just based on this week, and as the meta is fluid, the top decks shift. This is intended to see what decks are performing well this week and is not necessarily a reflection of the deck’s overall strength.

This week is a bit unique, as I am putting 3 losers and only 2 winners. Really, only 2 decks stood out as being above the curve, whereas a lot of decks had pretty bad weeks. The amount of decks that 3-1ed or 4-0 is really quite impressive. Yet, it seems that the meta has really started to even out a little bit. 8 decks made up 5% of the meta or more – Affinity, Delver, Stompy, UR Fiend, MBC, Goblins, W Tokens, and Burn. Together they made up about 68%.

Enjoy, and thanks for reading!

Winners

1. W Tokens – The definite winner of the week was the token deck. After it exploded on the scene last week, it has continued to play a role tying for the 5th most prominent deck at 7.1% this week. Not only did it see popularity, it had great success. With a 61.5% cash rate and a 64.1% win rate – both great numbers. It even only had 1 deck at each 1-X and 0-X (out of 13 entries). Interestingly, it looks like the Wu version has basically disappeared which is not that surprising. People really need to start packing more Crypt Rats in MBC, as tokens went 6-0 v. MBC, although because of the price I’m not sure that it’ll happen. For now, tokens remains a great meta call.

2. Affinity – This deck has not seen too much success in the recent meta, but it was able to put up great results this week with a 46.7% cash rate and 54.3% win rate. It also won the PCT and had a T8 finish (with a combined W-L of 10-2). Affinity has been one of the decks that I have seen as worse since the meta change. This is one of the first weeks where it has put up really strong results. Affinity can have really strong, and really weak, weeks just based on the amount of inconsistency and raw power in the deck. The deck has strong matchups vs. MBC and Delver, but it significantly weaker versus Stompy, Burn, W Tokens, etc. This week it somehow went 3-0 v. Stompy and 2-0 v. Burn which indicated that it did get a bit lucky. Maybe I judged this one a bit too quickly though, it ones of the decks I really have my eye on coming up.

krenkos command art

Losers

1. Burn – By far the most surprising deck of the week was burn. It put up 0 results in the money from 13 entrants. It had a dismal win rate of only 25.5%. Now there were 4 people who 2-Xed, which means a 3-1 wasn’t far off, but a 25.5% win rate is just too bad to come up with excuses for. Looking at its matchups (with the data from Tom’s column Pauper Observed), it went 0-2 v. Affinity, 0-6 v. Delver, 0-3 v. Stompy, 0-3 v. W Tokens, and it only faced MBC 4 times for a record of 3-1. This was obviously to some extent luck, but going winless against 4 of the most popular decks is just inexcusable. Maybe the worst week of any deck I’ve seen since I started looking at the data.

2. Goblins – Goblins also had a terrible week even though it jumped up to 5.5% of the meta. It had just one 3-1 for a cash rate of 10% and an overall win rate of 30.8%. I started playing the deck last week and I’ve had decent success with it in the PCT and Tournament Practice room although I haven’t run it out in a daily. It also had 4 pilots at 2-X, so it was close to increase the cash rate, but such a low win rate is telling. I don’t think the deck is as bad as this week’s results indicate, but this is another deck that I will be watching closely to see how it develops.

3. Stompy – Stompy continue the trend of good decks doing really bad this week with an 18.2% cash rate and 34.7% win rate. It quite simply did not put up strong results 7 of the 11 decks went 0-X or 1. Why exactly it did so badly, I’m not certain. According to Tom’s data, the deck put up a losing record to every top deck except for burn. I wouldn’t expect this to be the same in the future and would anticipate the results going back up.

MBC

MBC is an interesting case. This week it was 14.8% of the meta with 27 results through the 3 dailies – 8 more than the next highest. Yet, it still was not able to put up results. It had a cash rate of 22.2% and a win rate of 45.3%. Again it put a huge amount of decks at 2-X (9), and it consistently has a ton of decks in that spot. It made up more than its fair share at 2-X with 9 out of the 34 decks, which means it made up 26.5% of the 2-X spots.

The deck seems to be just not strong enough to get to the top end. The other interesting thing with MBC is that it also had some great events this week that data wasn’t fully available for. It put up more than 5 decks into the cash in 4 events out of the 6 Wizards put out last week, none of which Tom looked at. This is one of the weird cases where the data conflicts heavily. Really a deck to watch in the next few weeks as its success is in question.

Deck to Watch For

UB Teachings & Turbo Angler – There are two main flavors of Angler going on. One of them is a Mystical Teachings deck that I have touched on earlier, but does have some game. The other is a more tempo-control list that packs a few more creatures (most importantly Delver) and a lot more enabler cards like Mental Note and Thought Scour. These decks have started to put up more and more real results in the recent weeks and placed 2 of its 3 entries into the cash in these dailies. This is a deck I wouldn’t be surprised if people jump on a bit as the last iteration of the list was very popular and UB Control tends to be a popular deck no matter how strong it is. I’m interested to see which version has more success in the coming weeks.

kor skyfisher art wide

Brew of the Week

No G Kitty – Now this is not the exact list, but Wizards didn’t release it and I can’t assume too many people are running this list so it should be similar at least (although the 4-0 list ran Gravedigger). Now it does have the mana to afford a splash with 4 Prophetic Prism, 3 Evolving Wilds (although no swamps which there really should be), and 4 black gain lands. Now that doesn’t mean the splash is necessary, but it really doesn’t need black mana until late in the game (as it is playing Grim Harvest and Angler, both cards that can be saved for late). I’m also not really sure why people feel the need to add more and more colors to Kitty, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a 5 color list in the future (probably not, Green doesn’t offer too much). We’ll see if this trend of more color kitty continues in the future.

Edit: http://i.imgur.com/nnAp6oY.jpg here is the list that 4-0ed (thanks DromarX). He does play 7 fetches and a swamp (along with 3 Prisms and 3 gain lands) so the black will be there if it is needed. He is playing the black for 3 Terminate and 2 Gravedigger which is interesting to say the least. I do like the Terminate, but Gravedigger seems just too slow for all of the aggro out there. I would rather have Grim Harvest as it is just a better long term plan. Very interesting deck, though.

Data

Thanks to Tom the Scud for providing the data for these reports. Check out his Facebook and his Big Fat Spreadsheet.

pauper-meta-may-6-15

PCT Results

The PCT is a free weekly tournament (with prize support from MTGOTraders) hosted on Gatherling.com by LongTimeGone. It occurs Tuesday at 8 pm EST.

pct-results-may-6-15

Mid-Week Pauper Meta Report: April 8, 2015

nettle sentinel

This article courtesy Najay1 and is reprinted with his permission from Reddit.

A new week and a whole new meta! I was very excited to look at the data this week and it certainly is telling. I’ll will try to focus more on what decks are really good right now in conjunction with the fluctuations from the recent bannings.

Yet there is a happy moment for the meta: UR Control is gone! Always an ok deck, it could get bailed out with cruise and sucked in many newer player. In the 3 dailies looked at there were 0 instances of UR Control in dailies (although there were 2 copies in the PCT).

The meta is fresh and really open for aggressive decks to take their place and also there is a lot of room to brew, but onto the cold hard stats.

Winners

Stompy – Certainly a deck that has seen its ups and downs, the current meta is really stompy friendly. Without the grindy control decks that can shut them down, and with more MBC (a great matchup), the deck exploded in success. It cashed 6 out of 11 decks and it had a great win rate at 61%. This has probably overtaken Affinity as the best aggro deck in the format. I think it’ll solidify this spot.

UR Fiend – The other explosive deck that had a great week – UR fiend did not lose much in Treasure Cruise. It gained more when Temur Battle Rage (and potentially Elusive Spellfist) were printed and has only increased in popularity – for good reason. Yet, the high variance of the deck showed as it had a 37.5% cash rate and a 40% win rate. It put 9 people in the bank, but also gave 3-4 losses to 15 pilots. A lot win rate is often more indicative that cash so I am interested to see if the popularity and success of the deck continues.

Boros Kitty – After Stompy and UR Fiend this was the most popular deck to receive a 35% cash rate or better. It had a 50% cash rate and a 54% win rate. This is a deck, very similar to Azorius Kitty, that always seems to have a few pilots, but never goes up or down too much. Boros Kitty is one of the best at keeping a full grip in the current meta and always seems to have exactly what it needs. As Affinity loses popularity and the hate cards drip out the SB, the deck can grow (although the hate cards are never too bad for Kitty).

ninja of the deep hours

Losers

Delver – With significantly less entries this week, this deck still didn’t perform well. It had a 25% cash rate and a 35% win rate. Interesting that both dropped so much as it was a dominant force before cruise was printed and it still seems to be a top deck. Also, the pilots that kept playing were probably the higher skilled pilots that have played it for a long while. As the meta becomes more settled, this is the deck I am watching the most. It has been a pillar of the format since it was printed. Yet, it was not performing amazingly before the banning so it brings into question how strong the deck has always been. This is the deck to monitor and I am not sure where it will head, although I think down is the direction most people desire.

Fae Combo – Another dominator in the old meta, the main flavors of Fae (edit: esper and grixis, the combo/control and tron versions (which both went 3-1) were originally missed by me and stats are not included here) had a dismal week. It had only 1 in 8 pilots cash and a 28% win rate. It also had a combined 3-3 record in the PCT. This was perhaps the most surprising of any of the results this week and further pushes the question of whether Cloud of Fae is the problem. The deck preyed upon the slower decks that were rampant in the old meta and with many faster decks, it may see less success. Another main deck to watch as it develops and may see some color/strategy changes in the process.

Hexproof – This is here less so for its results and more so for the lack. It was most people pegged to get worse, but it lacked in showing and success. It had only 2 pilots who both went 0-X. No wins. The deck was shut out and for a deck that has been T2 for a long time that is very rare. I think this may just be a component of data size and I guess the holiday can help explain it, but really it’s an anomaly.

Deck to Watch For

GW Tokens – Certainly a deck that has been around the block, this combo-aggro deck is very explosive and not a glass cannon, but the combo itself is very fragile. One of the things that has happened more with the decks is the inclusion of Heliod’s Pilgrim effectively increasing the amount of combo pieces. Not only has the deck shown up more in dailies (and done well with 2/6 decks cashing), it has been more prominent in the Tournament Practice room. Make sure you prepare for this matchup as it seems to have made its way back into the meta, although it may not stick around for long.

azorius out for blood

Brew of the Week

Rhystic Tron – This is a deck that I personally love and started messing around with it recently. While not the newest brew, it was one of the few rogue decks to 4-0 a daily and it has some serious staying power. Even though the deck has a chance to shine, it does often feel like it needs one more piece to really be a top contender. Even so, I really do like the potential of the list and feel it has a place in the metagame.

Dailies Data

Thank you for the data Mr. Tom the Scud, this is only the data from the 3 dailies he recorded.

Deck

4-0 Results

Affinity

2

Boros Kitty

1

Goblins

1

GW Tokens

1

MBC

1

MUC

1

Rhystic Tron

1

Stompy

1

UR Fiend

1

W Metalcraft

1
Deck

3-1 Results

Affinity

2

Boros Kitty

2

Burn

1

Delver

3

Domain Zoo

1

Elves

3

Esper Fae Combo

1

GW Tokens

1

Jund Delve Tron

1

MBC

6

Rakdos Torture

1

RUG Tron

1

Stompy

5

UB Angler

1

UR Fae Combo/Control

1

UR Fiend

8

UR Tron Fae Combo

1

WW

1
Deck

2-X Results

Affinity

3

Burn

3

Delver

2

Esper Fae Combo

1

Goblins

1

Grixis Fae Combo

1

GW Tokens

2

MBC

4

MUC

1

Rhystic Tron

1

RUG Tron

2

Stompy

3

UB Angler

1

UB Mill Control

1

UB Trinket

1

UR Fiend

2

W Tokens

2
Deck

1-X Results

Affinity

4

Boros Kitty

3

Delver

4

Elves

2

Esper Fae Combo

2

Freed Combo

1

Goblins

2

Golgari Delve

2

Grixis Control

1

MBC

10

R Eldrazi/Kiln Fiend

1

Rakdos Torture

1

RUG Tron

1

Stompy

2

UB Angler

1

UG Ramp

1

UR Fiend

6

WW

1
Deck

0-X Results

4-color Tron

1

Affinity

3

Burn

1

Delver

3

Esper Fae Combo

1

Goblins

1

Golgari Torture

1

Golgari Zombies

1

Grixis Fae Combo

2

GW Tokens

2

Hexproof

2

Jund Eidolons

1

Jund Songs Combo

1

MBC

5

U Knack Combo

1

UB Control

3

UG Turbofog

1

UR Fiend

7

UR Tron

1

W Heroic

1

W Metalcraft

1

W Tokens

1

Pauper Classics Tuesday

This was a 3 round event followed by a top 8. It is held every Tuesday at 8pm EST. Check it out on Gatherling.com.

PCT Rank

Deck

1st

W Soldiers

2nd

WW

T4

Affinity

Goblin Tokens

T8

Delver

Esper Fae Combo

Rhystic Tron

Teachings

2-X

Elves

UR Control

GW Tokens

1-X

W Tokens

Elves

Burn

Affinity

MBC

Boros Kitty

0-X

GW Infect

UR Control

Acid Trip

Esper Fae Combo

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.