About Jason Moore
Jason Moore is 25 years old, and a resident of Los Angeles
California. He began playing Magic seriously in 2010, and has developed a
strong interest in MTGO and the Pauper format. He is one of the hosts of the
podcast Pauper's Cage, and has covered Pauper on other
websites and his YouTube page. His other interests include acting,
writing and playing guitar.
New Year’s Deck Pollution
Hello boys and girls!
My poor brain. My poor Pauper-loving little brain. Sometimes it just feels like the thing is polluted with decks! And it’s really true. Over the past year I’ve brewed, written about and attempted to pilot a whole host of lists and strategies.
This has definitely taken its toll, as my results have dropped off noticeably and my enjoyment of the game has not always been at its highest. Nevertheless, I still find the process of Pauper brewing, testing and writing very enjoyable. But at the end of the day, we all can stand to improve a bit, can't we? What better time than the new year to clean up some of this pollution and focus on one or two solid deck choices?
As a content contributor, switching back and forth between decks sort of comes with the territory. However, I don’t think I need to reach out for unique decks (in an attempt to be different) nearly as often as I do. If it’s all the same to you guys, I’m going to try and dial things down a bit in terms of deck variation. This will give me the chance to provide some deeper (and more practical) insight on the decks that I do choose to play on a regular basis.
Let’s go ahead and look at a few deck choices that I think make logical sense for me to try learning and/or running matches with in 2014.
The First and Most Obvious Choice
The first choice for me is quite simply the deck that I know “the best,” and can pilot to a reasonably competent degree. In other words, the first choice for me is: White Weenie!
Here is a 1st place White Weenie list that recently terrorized a Pauper Constructed Queue on MTGO:
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This style of deck sometimes catches heat for being overly straightforward and “fair.” Fairness could be considered one of its weaknesses, since a number of other decks in the format have broken draws and the occasional “free win” to offer. In some ways, it’s also running on a linear that people will expect (I mean who’s really going to be surprised if they get attacked by creatures?), though White Weenie does have tools that aren’t available to other decks.
It appears to me that _Tezzeret’s version is hoping to face as much Mono Black Control as possible. You will probably notice that a full playset of Order of Leitbur have been placed in the main deck, as well as two copies of Guardian of the Guildpact. These cards bypass all of the non-edict removal, in addition to all of the blockers. Throw in a couple Benevolent Bodyguards, and the combination has the potential to be quite devastating. Ditto for when a Bonesplitter or two enters the mix.
The notably high number of removal spells (four Journey to Nowhere and three Unmake) can also be utilized for removing Cuombajj Witches, one of the more problematic “anti-weenie” creatures.
After sideboarding, an additional two “hate bears” (in the form of Obsidian Acolyte) can be loosed onto the battlefield. I’m assuming these come in for the two main deck Lone Missionary slots, which probably act as an added buffer against decks like Mono Red Burn.
There are technically 10 Turn 1 plays in the deck between Bonesplitter, Benevolent Bodyguard and Icatian Javelineers, which is a good thing. What’s sadly missing from this list is Loyal Cathar. I’ve long considered Cathar a staple of White Weenie in Pauper, though perhaps it may be time to reconsider this. I still think the value available to us is more than worthwhile, but I could be incorrect.
Without Doomed Traveler or Loyal Cathar in this list, it’s clear that the overall plan hinges more on protection than it does on recursion. If you think about it, these plans are somewhat comparable, since they both intend to marginalize antagonistic spot removal and combat damage.
_Tezzeret’s sideboard is only sporting a single copy of Standard Bearer, which I’m not sure about. Bearer can come in against Hexproof decks, Nivix Cyclops and Mono Green Stompy. Additional copies of Prismatic Strands could also be employed against these decks.
These are just my personal observations, and should be taken with a grain of salt. Ultimately it all comes down to what matchups we’re expecting to see the most, and what our overall sideboard plans are for those matchups.
Here is a White Weenie list I’ve been testing with, and will have videos of at the end of this article!
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I’m going to give you guys a bit of a “deck tech” in written form for the sake of mixing things up!
I’m basically opting for the low curve War Falcon-centered aggression made popular before the banning of Cloudpost and Temporal Fissure. This could very well be obsolete, but I’m going to give it a fair shake because I think it deserves one.
The biggest weakness here is the inherent frailty of our x/1 creatures, and our overall vulnerability to Cuombajj Witches, Electrickery, Scattershot Archer and Shrivel. I’m highly considering the inclusion of Veteran Armorer to help mitigate some of these shortcomings.
For the sake of today’s testing, however, we’re sleeving up a full four Leonin Skyhunters and a pair of Order of Leitbur. I too would like to earn some percentage points against Mono Black Control, and Order can push around x/2s (Kiln Fiend Mulldrifter, Phyrexian Rager, etc.) with just a small mana investment while we’re at it.
There’s nothing else really noteworthy about the main deck, but I do want to note that I’m playing 20 lands because of the low curve I’m sporting, not because I wanted to fit a bunch of creatures and effects into my deck. If I were to play a non-Falcon list (with four drops and multiple mana sinks), I would definitely play 22 lands minimum.
Now onto the sideboard. Please be advised that a couple of cards are in the board merely for testing and appraisal purposes.
Guardians' Pledge can come in whenever Prismatic Strands is “dead” (so pretty much whenever we aren’t getting attacked very much), namely versus controlling decks or combo decks that we‘d like to kill quickly. We want Dust to Dust in order to keep Affinity off of big creatures, or even lands. The strangest inclusion has to got to be Martyr of Sands, which I’m trying out against the hyper-aggressive Burn and Goblins matchups, since gaining 15-18 life for two mana is a better rate than most cards can hope to provide. Rune of Protection: Red is also meant to counteract Burn, hence the fact that it’s a mere one-of.
Obsidian Acolyte serves a slightly different purpose than Order of Leitbur. It’s not a dedicated beater like Order is(though it can be pushed into service as one if we’ve got a Bonesplitter handy), but is quite solid as a pseudo-Mother of Runes). I think the diversification of pro-black threats is nice, but both are answerable thanks to Geth’s Verdict and Serrated Arrows.
I think that’s enough focus on White Weenie for one article, don’t you?
The Other, Equally Obvious Choice
It’s been called the best deck in Pauper by some. It’s crushed Daily Events and Constructed Queues through much of 2013. It’s thrived in spite of bans and shifting metagames. It also annoys the heck out of people by flipping Delver of Secrets on Turn 2! That’s right, it’s Mono Blue Delver!
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This deck is more intricate and dynamic than White Weenie, since it contains more card selection, permission and tempo elements.
While I’ve never been particularly impressive as a Delver pilot, it certainly is a deck worth exploring and getting really good at. The one thing that keeps me from doing so? Mirror matches. I just don’t like the prospect of playing multiple Delver mirrors (but who knows, maybe I’ll like it).
This list is pretty straightforward, however its card selection split of two Brainstorm, two Ponder and three Preordain is a bit unique. Typically I’m a fan of playing four Spire Golems, but I’ve seen many lists that feature three only. These lists are probably correct, as they’re backed up by a considerable amount of experience.
I think the countermagic suite in the main is solid, but the additional counters in the sideboard might be in need of adjustment.
At any rate, Delver is a long-lasting staple of the Pauper format, and truly a no-brainer for experimentation in 2014.
Happy New Year
It would be great to get some more deck suggestions for the upcoming year. I like being proactive, so slower control strategies probably won’t work too well for me. If you can think anything up, please don’t hesitate to let me know with a comment. Have a great 2014 everyone! As always, thanks for reading, and enjoy the videos!