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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Aug 20 2018 12:00pm
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For a little over a year, the Monarch cards have taken the Pauper format by storm. They have shown up in tons of different lists and many, including myself, love to play with the Monarch cards. For those of you do not know what becoming the Monarch actually is, take a look at Thorn of the Black Rose. When you become the Monarch, you get an emblem that makes you draw a card at the end of turn, but if you ever take combat damage, you your opponent becomes the Monarch and so on.

The Monarch cards are very powerful and can win games sometimes on their own. They give the midrange decks of this format a way to out card advantage control archetypes or just keep up with them and it also helps you not lose steam against aggro archetypes as well. The 2 main Monarch cards, Thorn of the Black Rose and Palace Sentinels, are also great blockers, which is a very good thing because it makes it harder for you to lose the Monarch.


First up we are going to look at an old favorite, Mono Black Control.


For the creature base, we see 3 copies of Cuombajj Witches for any aggro matchup or for the Delver Blue archetypes and we see 1 copy of Crypt Rats to either act as a board wipe or a big burn spell to win the game with. Next up we see 4 copies of Phyrexian Rager for a decent 2 power creature that digs a bit deeper into your deck and then we see 4 copies of Chittering Rats to slow your opponent down and help you go on the beat-down plan.


Getting into the win condition creatures of the deck we see 2 copies of Thorn of the Black Rose to not only be a very good blocker in combat, but also to make you the Monarch so you can keep drawing multiple cards a turn. Grey Merchant of Asphodel is your big end game creature and it pretty much does everything you want it to. It gains you life, it helps in killing your opponent and it has good stats for the combat step as well. At the cost of 5 mana, it can seem a little slow, but for what Grey Merchant does, playing 4 copies of them is well worth it as they get better in multiples. Last up we have a couple copies of Gurmag Angler and even in this archetype it never disappoints to put a ton of pressure on your opponent.


For removal we see 2 copies of Chainer's Edict and 2 copies of Geth's Verdict for edict effects. While Chainer's Edict can be Flashbacked for a second use, Geth's Verdict is instant speed, which allows you to get a good 2 for 1 over your opponent and the 1 life it drains can make a big difference.


For 1 mana removal we see 1 copy of Disfigure and 1 copy of Dead Weight. 1 copy of Victim of Night for instant speed removal. We then see 2 copies of Oubliette, which is crucial removal for this archetype because it deals with just about anything and it adds 2 more to your devotion for Grey Merchant of Asphodel. Next we see a copy of Tendrils of Corruption for a good removal spell and it can gain you a lot of life, however at 4 mana it can be very slow. Last we have Pestilence and Evincar's Justice for board clear spells. Pestilence combos very well with (Cuombajj Witches;ME4) and Grey Merchant of Asphodel because since they have a good amount of toughness you can usual burn for 2 or 3 damage a turn and keep Pestilence around to keep your opponents board clear as well.


For card advantage we don't see much. All there really is, are 4 copies of Sign in Blood and I have used them to kill my opponent in the past so it can be used as a burn spell. If you feel like you want another draw spell, Read the Bones is my recommendation.


The manabase is very simple with 18 Swamps, 2 copies of Quicksand to be able to kill a creature without spending a spell from your hand. 1 copy of Barren Moor to draw a bit deeper into your deck when you need to and 2 copies of Bojuka Bog:WWK) to help against graveyard strategies.


The sideboard is very stock with 4 copies of Choking Sands for anti Urza Tron tech. In the Urza Tron matchup, you are the aggro deck and want to beat down as quickly as possible, Choking Sands also deals 2 damage for destroying a nonbasic land, which helps further that plan. 3 copies of Duress and 2 copies of Wrench Mind help against the control and midrange matchups.


2 copies of Relic of Progentius for further help against graveyard strategies such as Ghostly Flicker combos. Last up we see 2 copies of Shrivel and a second copy of Crypt Rats for the aggro matchups.


I like this sideboard because it is very straightforward and to the point. It doesn't have a some 1 of cards to have fun with. This player knows knew what they wanted to and what plan to use after sideboard.


Next up we will look at a personal favorite of mine, Rakdos Midrange.



For the creature base we see 4 copies of Phyrexian Rager and Chittering Rats for the same reason they are in MBC. In this archetype we see 4 copies of Thorn of the Black Rose to make sure you are always the Monarch and drawing cards to keep the fuel going. The best part of this archetype is the access to burn spells you can chain together to finish off your opponent. Last up we see Gurmag Angler as our big win condition creature to swing with.


For removal we see 4 copies of Terminate to deal with any creature you need to. It even deals with a creature like River Boa out right because it can't Regenerate. 4 copies of Chainer's Edict for your Edict effect. Finally we see 4 Lightning Bolt and 3 Firebolt to be used as either removal or burn to finish the game off.


For card advantage we see 4 copies of Night's Whisper over Sign in Blood because it is easier on the mana to cast. We then see 3 copies of Duress to help deal with troublesome spells and 2 copies of Raven's Crime. Raven's Crime is quite good in this archetype because we don't need that mana lands to play the game. After you reach 7 mana, you won't need lands much anymore, if at all, so this helps to keep your opponents hand empty and keep them living off the top of their deck.


The manabase is straightforward with 4 copies of Bloodfell Caves and 2 copies of Rakdos Carnarium for your duel lands. A copy of Bojuka Bog for graveyard strategies and 2 copies of Radiant Fountain to help keep you alive against the aggro decks. Finally we see 5 Mountains and 8 Swamps to finish it off.


Playing the color red allows for great sideboard cards to be played and you see them here. 3 copies of Pyroblast for the blue matchups, 3 copies of Electrickery for Delver, Elves or any aggro matchup where it shines and 3 copies of Gorilla Shaman against Affinity, but Gorilla Shaman can also be used against Tron archetypes to destroy their Prophetic Prisms to try and keep them off colored spells. It can also be another creature to attack with if need be.


For the rest of the sideboard we see 1 Duress just in case it is needed. A copy of Crypt Rats for almost anything since it can clear the board and/or be a big burst of burn. We see 2 copies of Okiba-Gang Shinobi and they can be amazing in this archetype. Not only can they make your opponent discard 2 cards if they get in, but they also deal 3 damage to kill your opponent quickly, they can return a Chittering Rats or a Phyrexian Rager to use their come into play abilities again, which can put you extremely far ahead. Last up we see a couple of copies of Relic of Progenitus for help against graveyard strategies.


Conclusion and Verdict

I have played both of these archetypes many times and they don't disappoint. Both of these decks can play the control game, switch to the beat down game and right back to the control game when needed. They both have a good amount of card advantage and resiliency to fight as long it takes to win the game.


Which one would I choose to take into the leagues? I personally would choose Rakdos Control. I do not think MBC has enough tools to fight the meta game as it stands at the moment, while Rakdos control gets access to red cards such as Pyroblast, Firebolt and Electrickery to name a few, can be crucial in winning in Pauper today.


It is true that MBC gains access to cards such as Cuombajj Witches, which can be a powerhouse against any deck full of 1 toughness creatures, which is a large majority of Pauper. You get to play cards such as Grey Merchant of Asphodel, among other cards, but these threats are easily dealt with and can often not be enough or be a little too slow.


I feel that Rakdos can be faster, generate more card advantage and is just better built in general. The power level is much higher and you get access to almost all the same cards MBC has and more. Let me know what you think in the comments!


Where is the green king?! ^^ by jcf at Mon, 08/20/2018 - 16:00
jcf's picture

I would love to see some love for Entourage of Trest! ^^

Haha that makes 2 of us! by Arctic_Ghost at Tue, 08/21/2018 - 11:18
Arctic_Ghost's picture

Haha that makes 2 of us!