Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jun 02 2021 12:00pm

The Learn mechanic isn’t really being utilized in the Pauper meta at the current moment. It shows up here and there, but we don’t really see any archetypes that truly use the Learn mechanic.

However, today I want to talk about a really sweet looking deck that uses some Strixhaven cards and also makes good use of the Learn mechanic. This list was part of the 5-0 dump from 5/5/2021 and was piloted by Tinkmaster. I won’t waste any more of your time, let’s get right on into it!

Quandrix Pledgemage – Your main win condition for the deck. While being a 2/2 for 3 isn’t all that impressive, the Magecraft ability is what makes this creature shine. Every time you play an Instant or Sorcery, of which you have a lot, this creature grows bigger. You can grow a Pledgemage to big stats fairly quick, which will put your opponent under a serious clock early.

Mulldrifter – If you are a midrange deck with access to the color blue, Mulldrifter is usually a really good creature to play.

Archaeomancer – While this creature provides a good amount of value already, you are playing a couple copies of Ephemerate for the combo loop. In today’s Pauper meta, this combo can still end a game on its own.

Augur of Bolas – While this is a good creature to play early because it has good stats for blocking, I really hate playing it in a deck like this because of how many creatures you play. However, I will admit I am biased because Augur does not like me and I constantly whiff with it.

Counterspell – Although you are a 4 color control deck, you are mostly blue. Your mana should be good enough to make playing Counterspell easy.

Preordain and Brainstorm – Since you play 7 fetch lands, Brainstorm should usually give you a good amount of card advantage and Preordain is the best 1 mana cantrip spell for fighting a long game as a control player in my opinion.

Pop Quiz – Here is our first Strixhaven card. It isn’t all that impressive as it is just draw a card for 3 mana, but it has the Learn mechanic and you have some good lessons to go get from your sideboard, which we will discuss later.

Abrade – While this isn’t the absolute best removal spell in the Pauper format, being able to deal with most of the threats you will see or a destroying an Artifact, makes Abrade a really good spell to have access to for flexibility.

Cast Down – One of, if not, the best removal spell in the format because it literally can kill anything.

Agony Warp – This can be a good spell to throw your opponent off. It can kill a creature and at worst, stop you from taking damage from another. At its best, if you have a creature to block with, this spell has the potential to kill 2 creatures for the price of one card.

Snuff Out – In a deck like this where you need to tap out occasionally, I really like the edition of Snuff Out. However, do be careful as paying 4 life can be a lot.

Cram Session – Here is our other Learn card. Cram Session is the most powerful card, as all it does is gain 4 life, but the life gain can be crucial against aggro decks, Burn and offsetting the life loss from Snuff Out. The biggest part of the card is the Learn mechanic, which we will discuss what Lesson cards you have available in just a bit.

Fiery Cannonade – As always, board wipe spells are a good thing to have these days. This card being an instant and dealing 2 damage is particularly valuable when trying to bait your opponent into dumping more of their hand onto the battlefield. This spell also hits creatures with flying.

Bonder’s Ornament – If you are a midrange deck, there better be a damn good excuse for not including a couple copies of this in your deck. This is especially helpful here because it fixes your colors.


The Manabase

Evolving Wilds and 4 Ash Barrens – Here are your fetch lands for the deck and you will need them to help fix your colors.

Izzet Boilerworks – I am not sure this land is needed, but it will help fix your mana and allow you to keep land light hands. However, this can be a very mana hungry deck, so do keep that in mind when choosing whether or not to mulligan. You don’t have any special lands like Bojuka Bog or Radiant Fountain, but if you have to play an Ash Barrens out as a land, this can pick it back up as well. I am not exactly sure why this is here over Dimir Aqueduct, but the red becomes very important after sideboard against some matchups, so that might influence it.

The rest of the manabase are basic lands. Since you are mostly a blue deck, you have 8 Islands. You have 2 Swamps because black is your second most played color and you need a Swamp in play for Snuff Out to be somewhat free. Then to finish the Manabase off, you have 1 Mountain and 1 Plains so you can cast the rest of your spells. Overall, a pretty well built manabase in my opinion.

The Sideboard

Fiery Cannonade – Having access to more board wipe spells is never a bad thing. The really cool thing about Cannonade is that you will never kill your own Pledgemage because it will grow to be a 3/3 before Cannonade resolves. Keep that in mind.

Chainer's Edict – Against Heroic and Bogles, you will need Edict effects and this is the best one in my opinion.

Environmental Sciences – Here we see our first Lesson. Sciences is good because you are a control deck and need a good amount of lands in play and you don’t want to be stuck on a small amount of lands. I like having access to Sciences for these reasons. A small bonus is that it also gains 2 life.

Gorilla Shaman – Affinity can be tough for anyone, hopefully this creature helps with that.

Hydroblast – For those pesky red mages!

Introduction to Annihilation – Here we see our second Lesson. If you are having a problem dealing with a pesky nonland permanent, this is a good silver bullet answer to have. Do remember though, it allows your opponent to draw a card, so remember to try and play around that fact.

Introduction to Prophecy – Our final Lesson. If you are behind on cards or need something specific, this can be a huge help.

Leave No Trace – No one likes losing to Bogles.

Pyroblast – The best answer to any blue heavy deck.

Relic of Progenitus – Graveyard hate usually a must these days in the Pauper meta and this one is one of the best you can have access to.

Verdict and Conclusion

As I have said before, I love my control decks. Particularly, I love my control decks that play a ton of colors and do a ton of things. I also like that this particular deck is running some new cards with the Learn mechanic.

However, while I do like this deck, I don’t think it is worth it over Tron or the Faerie decks if you want to play a control deck. While Quandrix Pledgemage is a fun win condition and it can grow quick, it still takes time to get going and it doesn’t have Trample, so it can blocked for quite some time. Your mana also isn’t the best because you are playing so many colors and you don’t have a ton of fixing, so it can make you slow out of the gates.

The thing about the Faerie decks is that they have easier mana and just overall play smoother. Tron can have trouble with their mana, but they have plenty of mana rocks to help fix that problem and they just go over the top of their opponents very quickly.

Which brings me to the question of, Do I think you should play this deck? For the leagues I think it is fine, but I don’t think it will guarantee you a big win %. For the leagues, I would probably just something else. I don’t think this archetype will just auto lose in the challenges, but I think will be quite an uphill battle most of the way.

However, with all this being said, as always, do remember my words are not gospel. I will always encourage you to try a deck that bring you despite my personal feelings. Remember that results will vary and always remember to practice!

Would you like to compete in a free Pauper tournament with some great prizes? Head on over to on Tuesday nights at 8pm EDT and play in our weekly Pauper Classic Tuesday's event! Join the chat #PCT to chat with us and feel free to find most of the competitors on Discord!

Thank you so much for reading. Best of luck to you in your next tournament and I’ll catch you all next time!