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By: CZML, Cassie Mulholland-London
Dec 12 2016 1:00pm
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In last week's article, I gave you an introduction to one of my favorite decks in Pauper, Kuldotha Boros. In the week since, I played more than thirty additional matches with the deck. This week, I'm going to use what I've learned to provide you with an updated list and a complete sideboarding guide against the top decks in the format.

First, the list:


You'll notice that there aren't a tremendous number of changes between last week and this week, especially in the mainboard. That's because I was reasonably satisfied with how the deck was performing even before the changes. In fact, the only mainboard change is the swap of a Secluded Steppe and the basic Plains for the other two on-color artifact lands. I was having some trouble hitting Metalcraft, wasn't encountering many Gorilla Shamans, and wanted the deck to deploy slightly more quickly, so the switch made sense for a number of small reasons.

The sideboard has undergone a number of alterations. First is the exchange of the third Flame Slash for an additional Journey to Nowhere. This improves our matchup against Affinity, where Atog is the most important card by miles--more on that later. The switch also improves our chances of removing Fangren Marauder and Ulamog's Crusher against Tron and Gurmag Angler against a few decks, most notably Mono Black Control.

In order to make the deck struggle less against Affinity and Burn, I also swapped out both copies of Lone Missionary for three copies of Circle of Protection: Red. This ties into the fact that Atog and Fling are the Affinity deck's best ways to beat us. Circle of Protection: Red is also a nice way to stop Kiln Fiend decks from comboing us, although it's important to remember that if a single hit represents lethal, Temur Battle Rage requires two activations to protect against fully.

The final change was the addition of the full playset of Molten Rain. The two decks I struggled against the most were Tron and UB Control, both decks that rely tremendously on their mana development and where Boros is the aggressor. Ideally, we cast Molten Rain on our opponent's only copy of a Tron land or on a Dimir Aqueduct, dealing them two damage in the process.

The cuts to the sideboard came mostly in the form of the artifact and enchantment removal spells. We don't really care about any opposing artifacts, and there are very few Hexproof decks in the metagame, so I almost never needed those cards.

That's the list! If you have any questions or want to suggest a change, let me know in the comments.

As far as sideboarding goes, you primarily want to turn into a better-adjusted version of the maindeck. Kuldotha Boros relies on small edges in practically every matchup, and in a format as relatively open as Pauper, sideboard real estate is at a premium. We also don't have any bad enough matchups where we really need to transform, mostly thanks to the utility of our burn spells and the power of our universal answers.

If you're going to take Kuldotha Boros into an MTGO League, the primary decks you need to be prepared for are (in no particular order):

Affinity
UR Kiln Fiend
UB Control
Temur Tron
Burn
Elves
Mono Black Control
Kuldotha Boros with Battle Screech
Mono Blue Delver

That's nine different decks, which is quite a lot to prepare for. Fortunately, Galvanic Blast kills almost everything and two-power fliers attack into or over almost everything, so we have game against pretty much all of these. Nevertheless, it's important to know your game plan against all of them. There are two general approaches that you'll use. Depending on the matchup, you'll either be an aggressively-slanted tempo deck trying to apply sustained pressure and burn your opponent out, or you'll be a more controlling midrange deck trying to remove your opponent's creatures and keep your life total high until you can overwhelm your opponent with card advantage. Which role you are trying to play depends on which deck has inevitability in the matchup.

Generally, you have inevitability against creature decks, including Elves, Delver, Affinity, and Kiln Fiend. These decks probably make up more than half of the meta game. Against these decks, you should prioritize controlling their board and not be too afraid to chump block with Goblin tokens or Thraben Inspectors. When in doubt, take the line that prolongs the game, as you are able to make much more effective use of your mana in the late game than they are.

Bring in Flame Slash and Journey to Nowhere against all of these decks, Electrolyze against the decks with a lot of X/1s, Pyroblast against the blue ones (not Affinity), and Circle of Protection: Red against the red ones (Affinity and Kiln Fiend). Board out Faithless Looting except against Kiln Fiend, where the games go long, and Kor Sanctifiers against all but Affinity. You can board out some number of Thraben Inspectors against Affinity and Delver, as they don't block or attack profitably against those decks. I usually board out Lightning Bolt against Affinity because all their creatures are X/2s or X/4s.

You don't have inevitability against spell-based decks, including UB Control, Tron, and Burn. Against these decks, you should prioritize attacking and save your burn to kill them from 7-10 life. I had one game against UB Control where I had 17 points of burn in my hand/graveyard and burned my opponent out over the course of two turns through a Counterspell, but that was a bit of an extreme situation. When in doubt, take the line that forces you to topdeck for the win instead of prolonging the game, as all of these decks have ways to lock the game out if you give them too many draw steps--Burn just kills you, UB Control has countermagic, and Tron has Fangren Marauder as well as in some cases Rolling Thunder.

Bring in Pyroblast versus UB Control, Molten Rain versus Tron and UB Control, Journey to Nowhere versus Tron, and Circle of Protection: Red versus Burn. Kor Sanctifiers comes out against all of these decks, and Angelic Purge comes out against UB Control, although it is worth keeping in versus Tron because of Marauder and Crusher and usually worth keeping in versus Burn because of Curse of the Pierced Heart. Journey to Nowhere comes out against all but Tron. Against UB Control and Tron, your life total doesn't matter at all, so bring out Kabira Crossroads on the draw.

There is one more class of deck, other midrange decks. Which deck that has inevitability depends on how each player's hand lines up. You have to manage both card advantage and your life total in these matchups, but if you like midrange mirrors that reward precise play and knowledge of your and your opponent's decks, these matchups can be some of the most challenging and engaging Magic you've ever played. These decks are the mirror and Mono Black Control, both of which are relatively good matchups.

Against the mirror, if you see Battle Screech or Rally the Peasants, make sure to bring in Electrickery, as it's the card that gives you inevitability. Molten Rain is great as well, especially targeting Boros Garrison, the cycling lands, or the artifact lands. Never board in Journey to Nowhere, as it just isn't efficient enough. If your opponent is running the more traditional build of Kuldotha Boros, you should board out your maindeck copies to avoid getting blown out by Kor Sanctifiers. Angelic Purge is inefficient, but if you see Oblivion Ring or Journey to Nowhere in game two, you should board them back in for game three. Getting any of your creatures back nets you an extra card.

Against Mono Black Control, board in Flame Slash and Journey to Nowhere to deal with your opponent's big creatures. Kor Sanctifiers is pretty bad, and you can cut Kabira Crossroads on the draw and Lightning Bolt on the play as the third cut. Mono Black Control is quite a good matchup, and the only way you lose is getting tempoed out by Gray Merchant of Asphodel or dying to Corrupt when the game goes long.

If you know your deck and how to play against the majority of the format, you should be moderately favored against every deck but Tron and UB Control, and significantly favored against some of them. Pauper is very similar to Modern in that practice makes perfect and passing familiarity with every deck in the format will make finding the right line with your chosen deck much easier.

Thanks for reading!