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By: DimeCollectoR, Jason Moore
Sep 04 2017 12:00pm
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Hi folks!


SteveJeltz strikes again.


About a month and a half ago, he came up with some interesting Pauper brews. Naturally, his controlling UR deck was the one that immediately caught my eye.


Here is his initial list.


Seeing a full set of Augur of Bolas right next to a full set of Sea Gate Oracle surprised me, in a good way. Until now, I've been so paranoid about making Augurs “sub-optimal” that I've relegated them to decks where they're literally the only creature. Decks like UR Puzzle and UB Teachings.


Moreover, it's easy to frame Augur and Oracle as a false “either/or” dilemma. One is more appropriate for our deck than the other, and that's the end of that. Unless you're in Value Town.


In Value Town, we want all the Augurs. We want all the Oracles. We want all the cards!


It takes very, very little to get me play a variant of UR Control. With this deck, however, there are some additional deck attributes to consider. SteveJeltz made this clear in his article, which I'll briefly quote:


Blue Red Value town plays similar to Dimir Flicker and my own Red Black Midrange deck that you leverage trading resources until all your inherent two-for-ones put you in a control player driver seat.


I used to play a similar build to this right before the Peregrine Drake menace ruined Pauper. The lack of flash combo-kill like we saw with Drake makes this deck much more playable again.”


So here we have a strategy that wins the way I typically like to: via a war of attrition. Practically every spell in the deck is used to acquire resources or take resources away from our opponent.


You'll notice that this take on UR lines up very well with some of the theory ideas I discussed in “The X Factor (Part One).” It's a deck that is capable of addressing short-term and long-term interests, to be sure.


So now for my take on the strategy. Many of the differences between my list and the original stem from issues of card availability or card preference. Other changes were made after testing the deck out in Pauper matches. I'll go over some individual cards more closely in a moment.


First, where I'm at currently.

Looking at my manabases, you've probably noticed that (outside of an old-school deck like Azorius Kitty) I tend to favor guildgates over Karoo lands. I can't definitively say that my option is the superlative one, since so many people see 5-0 success while maxing out on Karoos.


I will say that I prefer having “fast” mana, or more simply put a manabase that supports my early game (moreso than one that doesn't, but adds value to my late game). As I've stated earlier, I may get around to writing a full article dealing with the bounce lands one day.


As far as the disparities in spell choice go, I'd say in general I've cut down on draw effects in order to include specialized removal spells, preferred countermagic and faster ways to close out the game.


It became clear that swifter victories were going to be a must after playing just a couple of matches. With two thirds of our creature threats only able to poke away for 1 damage, we can end up feeling quite anemic in the red zone.


Both lists have shored this up somewhat with Kaervek's Torch and Rolling Thunder respectively, but I wanted to go a bit further. This is where the single copy of Flurry of Horns comes into play. I wrote recently about Flurry's ability to grant controlling UR strategies a degree of sudden explosive offense. This feels like something Value Town could certainly benefit from.




Likely the most unusual card choice in my main deck is Curfew. Honestly the card hasn't been bad!


It repurchases one of our value guys, is a surprise Game 1 vs. Hexproof, gets around Apostle's Blessing and Vines of Vastwood, and might even do well against the newer Exhume decks wanting to cheat a 5/5 with hexproof into play.


Curse of the Pierced Heart


Additionally I've added a pair of Curse of the Pierced Heart to the sideboard. A number of decks are superior to us in the late game (namely Tron decks). This prompts us to try and win before the late game rolls around. I'm hoping Curse, Flurry, our creature threats, burn spells and protection will help us do that.


There is some debate as to whether or not Curse of the Bloody Tome makes for a better Game Two and Three option. It does a great job of turning matchup dynamics on their head: foes now have to beat us before the enchantment mills out all of their relevant cards. With Pierced Heart, they merely have to gain enough life to mitigate its clock.


For now, I'm liking the fact that Pierced Heart can come down on Turn 2 before the opponent's permission, and that the second copy can also be cast fairly early with Counterspell backup.


In terms of other sideboard slots, I've kept the double Electrickery and double Relic of Progenitus, but have shaved a Hydroblast and pair of Pyroblasts to incorporate cards for other matchups.


I'm also not playing Gorilla Shaman, partly due to card price and partly due to the fact that Echoing Ruin is a spell I'd like to try, can be scooped up by (Augur of Bolast) and can also be used against artifact creatures like Spire Golem.


I've added a Curse of Chains and a Serrated Arrows, both of which can answer Atog and, strangely enough, Guardian of the Guildpact (the one creature that has completely obliterated my deck so far).


Arrows can do other neat things, like shrink a 5/5 into Flame Slash or Flurry of Horns block-and-kill range. It also kills off the new, slightly popular Firebrand Archer. That being said, there's no guarantee it will stay in the board. It needs further testing, like many of the other sideboard pieces.


Dime's Up


Which version of the deck would you play? How can each list be improved? Let me know if you think of anything!


You can also follow me on Twitter (@DimecollectorSC) for MTG-related updates and info!


Bye for now!




Whoops! The card missing from by DimeCollectoR at Mon, 09/04/2017 - 19:17
DimeCollectoR's picture

Whoops! The card missing from my main deck is 1 Magma Spray.

Jason- Thanks for taking on by SteveJeltz at Tue, 09/05/2017 - 09:29
SteveJeltz's picture

Jason- Thanks for taking on my build! I like that you are finding improvements I hadn't thought of. The maindeck Curfew is brilliant. Harvest Pyre has made a number of my variants of this deck since outside of Skred, its important to shore up UR's weakness of dealing with large creatures. Curse of Chains is a great silver bullet as well, and you're right that its multi-color nature gives it an odd edge over Narcolepsy.

I think a couple of cards though on the original list though bear their merits:
1. Izzet Boilerworks: This is the big one. While you need to put an upper cap on your ETBT lands, karoo lands follow your deck's plan exactly since all of them have the hidden text, "draw a land", letting you get three mana from 2 cards. Being able to replay a ETB land is also such a valuable effect that I would even consider running an off-color Bojuka Bog in deck with good enough fixing since being able to rebuy it with your karoo lands is a great way to hedge against graveyard strategies without using up other valuable 75 slots.

2. Rolling Thunder vs. Kaverek's Torch: I go back and forth on these. The Thunder is helpful since you can use it as an expensive sweeper in an emergency, but since a vast majority of your games end with the X spell to the face, I prefer the Torch since it has built in counter protection.

3. Gorilla Shaman vs. Echoing Ruin: Cost is an issue, but Shaman is the best there is at what it does. I can see how Ruin has added utility vs. cards like Spire Golem and Pristine Talisman, but I prefer Shaman vs. Affinity and Boros Midrange.

4. Curse of the Pierced Heart: You're right that having a backup win condition could be a good idea. But the decks you'll need it against tend to be better at padding their life total vs a slow bleed than their library. I think this could be Jace's Erasure or Curse of the Bloody Tome and be more successful. Just be careful milling vs. Tron as you tend to be aiding the enemy unless you have a way to additionally exile the cards that hit the graveyard.

Maybe I'll return the favor and take one of your decks for a spin after we finish Modern Cube season.

- SteveJeltz

Hi SteveJeltz, Couldn't by DimeCollectoR at Tue, 09/05/2017 - 13:23
DimeCollectoR's picture

Hi SteveJeltz,

Couldn't resist trying out this strategy. I appreciate the kind words.

Your card suggestions are solid! I'm going to toy around with them when I can.