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By: SteveJeltz, Rev. David Wright
Jul 11 2017 12:00pm
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People take magic too seriously.

I can't begin to tell you how many FMMs I've had ruined by bad beats, fighting over rules interpretation or petty squabbles over a $2 trade. 

The world of MTGO seems to avoid a lot of this. Ever since they hid the chat from the main screen, I've avoided 90% of the salt I used to face from sore sports who would call their opponent n00b or whatever alliterated curse word they could engineer without the chat automatically deleting it.

I have also had some really wonderful chat conversations on MTGO with folks I've never met IRL. And thanks to the wonder of MTGO League play, I've gotten to play games against magic celebrities like Brian Weissman (creator of “The Deck”), Reid Duke, NumotTheNummy (aka Kenji Egashira), and the wonderful ambassador of the game and overall human being who is Brian David-Marshall.

League play is a fantastic way to facilitate low stakes competition ensuring just enough prizes to avoid rage quits but no so much that a mana screw feels like divine retribution.

So here's my challenge to you: the next time you run your way through a MTGO league and put your 8 tickets on the line, run a silly deck.

Pauper is a great chance to run a silly deck since it won't set you back 100 tickets to build. 

Here's one of my favorite builds to get you a groan: 

- 75 Cards Total
3 Augur of Bolas
3 Ninja of the Deep Hours
2 Archaeomancer
8 cards

3 Force Spike
4 Boomerang
4 Hoodwink
3 Arcane Denial
1 Daze
2 Capsize
17 cards
4 Preordain
4 Eye of Nowhere
3 Fade Away
8 cards

3 Rhystic Study
3 cards
19 Island
2 Quicksand
21 cards

2 Curfew
2 Dispel
4 Hydroblast
4 Counterspell
1 Fade Away
2 Curse of the Bloody Tome
15 cards

How to Troll with Boomerang Blue

Your goal is to keep your opponent at the absolute minimal number of lands in play. If you bounce their land with 7 cards still in their hand, you can force them to discard, effectively destroying the land while building inevitability in tempo.

Because your opponent will barely have mana available to cast their spells, you also have the opportunity to take advantage of two counterspells that normally come with massive drawbacks and limitations on their usage: Force Spike and Arcane Denial. What's the value of drawing two more cards when you already are holding seven and will have to bin two cards anyway?

Because we've dedicated so many card slots to bounce spells, we need a way to recoup cards. You two card advantage engines are Rhystic Study and Ninja of the Deep Hours. The former will tax your opponent for mana or cards; the latter is good for an extra card per turn and can rebuy Augur of Bolas and Archaeomancer which can of course rebuy whatever gas we need. You also get to take advantage of blue’s “sweeper” in Fade Away. Time it right and you're getting a 3-for-1 and you won't care much if you’re killing lands or critters in the process. 


Winning with this deck is a little tricky since we have to dedicate so many spell slots to one-time bounce spells that risk giving us card disadvantage for the value of building tempo.

You have a couple of fringe ways to win: 

    Deal 20 damage by snowballing an unchallenged Ninja of the Deep Hours.

    Get six lands ahead of your opponent and Capsize lock them, ensuring they will never have a land in play again.

    Your back-up Sideboard mill plan via 2 copies of Curse of the Bloody Tome

Whichever way you aim to win, it may be a little slow going, and I readily admit your opponent might be able to claw their way back if they're able to disrupt you or you stumble on your own draws. But the times you win with this deck while your opponent helplessly discards down to hand size turn after turn? Now that's good times. 

Possible upgrades / changes:

There aren't a lot of newly released cards in this deck. Instead we're mostly taking advantage of cards that use effects that no longer see print.

Have you ever notice that every blue permanent-bounce spell that gets currently printed has a non-land clause, ala Disperse? That's because having your turn 1 turn bounced back to hand on your opponent's turn two is miserable magic, on par with Sinkhole, another miserable card they don't print for good reason. We're aiming to exploit this misery. 

We could however focus on being able to bounce more of our opponent's non-land permanents in which a card like Rushing River is pretty sweet as an instant speed way to bounce TWO permanents for only three mana. Or we could try to exploit the bounce self or bounce other clause on cards like Curfew and Peel From Reality to keep our opponent’s hand looking like while we rebuy value creatures like Augur of Bolas.

If we wanted to try a different approach to exploit the board presence tempo angle, we could through in the faerie package we see in Delver decks of Faerie Miscreant and Spellstutter Sprite. Backing these two up with cards like Boomerang does make for a pretty disruptive form of Aggro tempo attack even it's a slightly different game plan than our original game plan.

We could also go on the blow up lands route with cards like Reality Acid backed up with self-bounce effects as seen in Azorius Kitty decks.

Or if we wanted to push the flood then up with useless cards angle we could add cards like Words of Wisdom another seemingly useless spell that we can break its symmetrical Prosperity type effect by denying them the resources to cast their spells while we reload with Hoodwinks and Boomerangs.

But the variation build that is most intriguing to me is to splash for a second color, either Black or White,  so that we can exploit the new Monarch mechanic. Already there are a variety of Midrange decks designed around stabilizing to seize and hold the crown before burying their opponent in card advantage. Wouldn't mana denial also be a great home for this slam the door inevitability?

In rebuilding, we would need to be careful that we're only adding a light splash since it's crucially important than we be able to reliably hit UU on turn 2 so we can start bouncing lands. So which splash direction should we go: Black or White?

White gives us access to value creatures especially those who specialize in either bouncing or being bounced like Thraben Inspector and Kor Skyfisher. White also could help out our sideboard with damage prevention and life gain. One neat blue / white mana denial build I've seen centers around the card Rhystic Circle ensuring you don't take damage from anything since you always have more mana than your opponent.

But I'm going with the black splash. Black gives us access to disruption via hand attack and more importantly, it gives us hard creature removal which is important for those early plays that get through. Here's my U(b) rebuild:

Boomerang II!
bU Hoo - 7 Cards Total
3 Augur of Bolas
2 Archaeomancer
1 Ninja of the Deep Hours
2 Mulldrifter
1 Dinrova Horror
3 Thorn of the Black Rose
9 cards

2 Force Spike
2 Capsize
1 Ghastly Demise
4 Hoodwink
4 Boomerang
4 Counterspell
1 Ghostly Flicker
3 Recoil
19 cards
2 Preordain
1 Chainer's Edict
1 Deep Analysis
4 cards

2 Rhystic Study
2 cards
4 Dismal Backwater
4 Dimir Aqueduct
4 Evolving Wilds
1 Swamp
8 Island
21 cards

2 Curfew
4 Hydroblast
2 Fade Away
3 Duress
2 Chainer's Edict
2 Negate
15 cards


With this second build, we’re trading some of our speed up front for a bit more disruption, some hard removal, and another long game win condition of locking out the opponent with Ghostly Flicker loops of Archaeomancer with Mulldrifter, Augur of Bolas, and the lone Dinrova Horror, a bit like we see in Dimir Flicker and Dinrova Tron decks. I highly doubt this is the optimized version of this kind of build, but probably it’s a bit more balanced than the mono-blue build which kind of either does its thing gloriously or looks pretty futile trying.

What are your thoughts? Do you like seeing fun builds? Or are you a spike at heart and just want to know the best way to win? Send me your crazy ideas or leave a comment below.

Keep having fun out there.