Bruce’s Combat Step- Pauper League

PauperHey folks! I hope you have started 2016 off well and are in full  swing for the new year.  I want to apologize for not adding much to the site  for a while.  It’s been a slow start to the year for me, but I’m getting things back in line and am starting to get back into the business of writing again.  With that said, I wanted to add my two cents to the recent combat phase that the boys were going on about because I too have been battling some Magic.

I have had to turn my attention to playing MTGO for the time being because I can’t get out to my LGS very often.  The nice part is that MTGO is pretty convenient, and it can help you to stay sharp and improve your technical play, but it lacks the personal interaction that is afforded while playing in person.  Also, previously, the need to have 3-4 hours of time just to play an event is pretty prohibitive most nights.  With the fairly recent implementation of Leagues you can now play in a sanctioned and meaningful environment (for prizes) at your leisure and when it is convenient for you.  That’s a pretty big development and is something pretty nice.

Now, I ventured into this brave new world of Leagues for the first time with a Pauper deck.  Some people scoff at the idea of playing Pauper and think that playing only commons can’t be powerful.  Well, I can truly disagree because there are plenty of powerful things you can do across the history of Magic and the format is extremely competitive and difficult to negotiate. However, I started with Pauper because it is much more affordable an entry point instead of playing Standard or Modern.

Now, there are lots of viable archetypes in Pauper and the one I opted to use as a jumping off point was this Black/Green Delve deck. All the cards have been recently in print meaning they are readily available and inexpensive.  However, the most important piece is that they do something that is unfair.  If you look across the various archetypes of Magic, in any format, many decks are looking to try and be unfair in some direction or another.  This particular deck is looking to try and cheat on the mana by using the Delve mechanic to power out over powered (and seemingly under cost) creatures. Now, with a few little updates I’ve got myself a Pauper deck that I can take into these leagues and rumble against many of the top decks in the format. Here’s my List:

B/G Pauper Delve

4 Satyr Wayfinder
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Sultai Scavenger
4 Hooting Mandrills
4 Gurmag Angler
3 Shambling Attendant

4 Grisly Salvage
2 Commune with the Gods
3 Tragic Slip
3 Epic Confrontation
2 Duress
1 Rakshasa’s Secret
1 Read the Bones

4 Jungle Hollow
4 Evolving Wild
6 Swamp
7 Forest

I’ve seen this deck played before, and have even tried it out against Standard decks, with varying degrees of success, but I have never taken this into an actual Pauper event and tried to play it.  I was a little nervous playing my first round, but quickly got the swing of things.  In my first foray in league play I defeated B/U  Angler Delver, Mono Blue Delver, and a Kuldotha Jeskai build, while losing to a Tron deck and a Mono Black Control deck.  Those are all tier 1 archetypes in the format and for this deck to have gone 3-2 in the first go around is pretty nice.

I feel like the deck is reasonably strong and the fact that I am looking to use my graveyard simply as a source of mana truly confounds most opponents.  I think most opponents are really thinking that I am a reanimator deck and side in graveyard hate, but don’t use it aggressively enough to keep me off my game plan.  The Relic of Progenitus is a good piece of sideboard tech, but if you remove only a single card at a time I will often have enough cards to burn through to toss my Hooting Mandrills on the table and commence the beat down.

However, I really like my chances post sideboard.  As I am learning, Pauper is much more about generating card advantage than anything else and many of the decks playing Blue want to stock up their hands with things like Mulldrifter, Think Twice, Gush, and that sort of card advantage can spell doom for my deck.  Black and Green have limited ways to draw more cards…so the way to generate card advantage is by doing things that make your opponent lose two cards for every one you play. This is where you strategically side out some questionable or redundant cards and put in all the hand destruction you can play. Duress and Rakshasa’s Secret are my primary weapons and I feel really good about my chances when I side those cards in.  In fact, in most sideboarded games I want to see a Duress on Turn 1, Grisly Salvage on Turn 2, cast a creature on Turn 3, and then Rakshasa’s Secret my opponent on turn 4 hopefully leaving them with very little in hand to fight me with.  I’ve never really been the sort of guy who likes hand disruption, but I might be prepared to change my tune.

Well, that’s what I’ve been battling recently and have been enjoying it.  I’m really looking forward to getting a chance to play a little more in the near future. However, before that happens there are a few other details I need to settle and some report cards that need to be written.  Thanks very much for stopping in to read and good luck wherever you play Magic.

Bruce Gray

1 thought on “Bruce’s Combat Step- Pauper League”

  1. Good to see someone writing about Pauper, a format I haven’t spent nearly enough time with. People really underestimate how powerful some commons are.


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