Chain Lightning: This is Lightning Bolt as sorcery speed. This makes it a strictly worse card, but certainly not bad. If you've already filled your deck with Lightning Bolt and Firebolt and still want more, this card is something you should consider.
Summary: Great against Combo and Burn. Good against Goblins, MBCu, and WW.
Deck Spotlight: UW Blink
My favourite blink deck so far, this UW list has been making a splash in recent PEs, usually piloted by Dust_ aka Andrea Lassi for strong results. Last time I checked, he has taken a 1st place win with it and has also top 8’d on another occasion. You can watch Andrea discussing the deck in-depth over here: http://www.mtgoacademy.com/pauper-decktech-bluewhite-control/
Here we have a list that is quite capable of handling aggro with a healthy amount of lifegain from riftwatchers and crossroads, a roadblock in deft duelist, and counters to stop the nastier spells. All this is complimented by very strong card draw from the awesome synergy of mulldrifter and momentary blink, keeping your hand nice and full in the late game. Pestermites solidly live up to their name, annoying the opponent by delaying their alpha strikes or their ability to cast spells by tapping their lands (tapping an early karoo is especially painful). Guardian of the Guildpact is another underrated card these days, which can cause headaches to most decks you come across as it can only be removed by WW's Unmake, black control's Diabolic Edict or Innocent Blood, and UB's Agony Warp. Goblins can only pelt it with harsh language. All this leaves you with a deck that stomps on aggro and burn and is no chump against control decks, especially post-SB with access to all those Circle of Protections where it can easily stall the match long enough to drop it on the board.
I chose to talk about this deck so I could also sing my praises for the hands-down best reason to play UW, Momentary Blink. I’d go as far as to say that it’s one of the top 5 strongest cards in the format. It’s no wonder that it’s one of the most played cards in pauper history, being the key card in Orzhov Blink, Grand Entrance, Stars n’ Cogs, Cogs n’ Stripes, Battlefield Pauper, Blinksicle, and every other Blink deck that are basically all the same but people decided to give a separate name for.
Why is it so good? Well, it’s instant speed, meaning you can use it as a pseudo Negate against the majority of removal in the format, like Disfigure, Tendrils of Corruption, Lightning Bolt, Journey to Nowhere, Unmake, Agony Warp, etc. You can chump a fat creature and then blink your blocker, acting as a pseudo Fog too.
Even if we ignore the amazing benefits of instant speed here, it's still the best bounce spell in the format. I think a lot of people neglect the fact that most bounce cards puts the creature you bounced back into your hand. This beauty puts it right back into play for you without the need to pay the creature’s cost again, which is enormous tempo gain. Then for the cherry on top, you can use this card twice for built-in card advantage. Simply awesome.
Now thankfully, UW has more than enough creatures to abuse Blink to its fullest. Blink a spellstutter sprite and you can counter another low-cost spell. Blink pestermite and you’re either locking down lands or creatures. Riftwatcher gives you a healthy lifegain boost against aggro and burn, and makes the creature stay on the board longer. A solitary skyfisher on the board can even be saved from Diabolic Edict by blinking it and bouncing itself to your hand. You could also use a well-timed blink with skyfisher to re-use journeys by (ab)using the stack. And of course, the unquestionably best blink target, mulldrifter, conveniently fits in the colors too. A lot of goodness here.
The other slots for this deck are very easy fills; draw, counters, and removal are all things UW has a strong selection of. With all slots filled with good cards, there's no reason to splash a third color like black, which is a trend in some blink decks like Orzhov Blink. I really dislike the idea of splashing a third color in pauper in general, due to the unavoidable slowness and mana inconsistencies you'll run into. The exceptions to this, of course, are combo decks and green ramp decks, which do not rely on karoos or terramorphic expanse to mana fix. This deck is a great example of how dual-color is more than enough.
Although I like this deck, I do have some disagreements with some of the card choices. One card I’m not too thrilled about is Deft Duelist. She’s certainly not bad, but just not as good as you’d believe. You could say that she’s tough to block because the 2power first strike can kill most creatures in the format, and you’d be right, until your opponent drops a second creature on the board and double blocks the duelist, turning the combat into a 1for1 trade. This is a very likely scenario in pauper. The duelist is also praised for being a strong defense against decks like Goblins and WW. In fact, when talking about WW, Andrea Lassi said the duelist, "laughs at their creatures." While it's true the duelist can be a thorn in Goblin's side, they can easily skirt over the problem as soon as they play one of their eight goblin sledders, sacrificing one of their goblins to turn their 2/2 creatures into 3/3's to kill a blocking duelist, another likely scenario. And WW is actually the one that laughs at Deft Duelist, since Razor Golem, Shade of Trokair, Kor Skyfisher, Aven Riftwatcher, Order of Leitbur, and Benevolent Bodyguard all easily deal with her. Personally, I'd cut this card for more counters or draw spells.
Next up is a certain SneakyMcBluepants, aka Ninja of the Deep Hours. In my second article I discussed my dislike for my ninja, especially in decks without evasive beats or ways to protect your card-drawing bear once he's in play. Thankfully he's much better off here, with tons of evasive creatures to get him in play easily and counters to protect him. This is a big step up from his poor inclusions in decks like Rat Teachings and Parlor Tricks. When testing him in the deck though, I still didn't like him and ended up replacing him with Kor Skyfisher, which also provides the role of bounce but offers a far nicer 2/3 flying body. I guess it's up to personal preference here.
Finally, by Andrea’s own account, Storm is a bad matchup for this deck. I think an easy solution to this without devoting too many SB slots would be Hindering Touch. It doesn’t get played often these days, which is a shame, because nothing feels better than stopping the grapeshot they spent 5minutes of your time preparing with one simple spell. I wouldn’t recommend UB decks to run this card since hand disruption spells are just as good and are useful in other matchups too, but UW is really boned over here and hindering touch does the trick.
Let your tears flow, storm players! They’re a healthy part of my diet!
You Make The Play:
Here’s the second installment of what may become a regular feature of my articles. This artificial scenario was a collaborative effort by me and First Strike. Please be courteous and don’t post the answer in the comments section. I’ll have the answer posted in the following article.
You are playing a UW control list similar to the one featured in this article’s “Deck Spotlight.” Your opponent, Jimmy, is playing MBC. It’s been a grueling first game that has nearly decked you both, and though you’ve been putting up a good fight, things are looking grim. Jimmy finished his last turn by playing crypt rats. His next turn he can burn away your remaining life with the rats, but if you're up to any funny business this turn he can still activate it for 1. To make matters worse, you know Jimmy runs four Corrupts maindecked and you’ve only seen one so far. With only three more cards in his library, you’re quite certain that after his next draw he’ll be casting one at your face and there’s nothing you can do to counter it.
It’s your turn. You draw Mulldrifter. You have one more card in your library, and looking at your decklist, you know it’s Deep Analysis. Your first main phase starts right now. Win this turn.
Life total: 3
Useful cards in graveyard: None
Life total: 7
Lands: 24x Swamp (1 untapped)
Cards in hand: None
Cards in library: 3
Useful cards in graveyard: None
One last thing to wrap things up: congrats to fathom for piloting Dead Dog to 10th place last PE! I was told about this player while the PE was still underway and got to see a replay of him steamrolling a goblins deck 2-0. He ended up going 4-2. When I asked him what the losses were, he told me he went 1-2 against a goblins deck due to mana screw and lost to storm due to a mull to 5 and not seeing any discard cards. Hard luck, but I'm proud to see that my list is doing well.
Here's a revised list that I'm working on right now. Gone are the Rancors, making room for maindecked Festercreeps, which are strong against WW / Goblins / Elves / Storm that have been showing up last PE. Keep in mind the only reason to play the creep instead of Crypt Rats is because it destroys WW's prot black creatures, the maindecked Order of Leitbur and sideboard Obsidian Acolyte. If you have no fear of those cards and want a more powerful sweep, go for the rats.
The maindecked creeps added more room in the sideboard which I filled with more combo-specific hate (Okiba) and more Stinkweed Imps as an answer to this deck's weakest matchups, flyer-heavy decks like UWcontrol and Faeries.
I'm also still tweaking the madness / discard ratio, adding in two Brain Gorgers. 4/2 creatures are amazing and their only real poor matchup are against goblin decks. Just remember that if your opponent has a chump blocker, use the hounds / mongrels to play the gorger BEFORE the "declare blockers" step, or else you'll be chump blocked and the opponent will gladly sacrifice the already doomed blocking creature.
That's all for now! If you want a specific topic addressed in the future, feel free to make a request in the comment section.