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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Dec 19 2022 10:14am
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It is rare that we see a true and dedicated hardcore control deck these days as decks like Affinity can out grind you while also going aggro or the format itself can end up being a little too fast for you to thrive. However, one person seems to have said non of that is true and we will be looking at their list today.

The list we will be looking at today made it to the top of the challenge posted on 11/27/2022 and was piloted by the player Crazyloop. The deck is a Dimir Control deck splashing for some green cards, but more importantly one of them is the win condition. That card is old faithful Spout Swarm. Let’s do this!


The first thing you will notice is that there are 0 creatures in the deck. Not even the almighty Augur of Bolas is making an appearance. The whole point of this deck is you are full of reaction cards and almost never want to tap out on your own turn.

Sprout Swarm – Here is the main win condition of the deck and it does the job quite well. With this 1 card, depending on how much green mana you have access to, you can make an army of Saproling tokens very quickly. In this deck you will see only 1 Forest and that is fine because this card also has the Convoke keyword on it.

Devious Cover-Up – One of my favorite cards. This is your second win condition. You have 2 of them in the deck and so you can loop them over and over. This type of win condition is extremely slow and takes a lot of time however so do keep that in mind.

Counterspell – You are a hardcore control deck that can support double blue on the early turns fairly easily. If you meet the criteria, Counterspell is one of the best spells you can have.

Exclude – In a deck like this I think Exclude is fine but not my favorite. The extra card does help, but I feel like going down to 1 and having access to a copy of Prohibit would be better on the curve.

Mystical Teachings – The card that glues this deck together. You don’t want 4 copies because you don’t want to see 2 copies early because it will clog your hand and make your draw too slow.

Think Twice – A very old school draw spell. This is great because it has Flashback and can help you draw a card in an instant when you need it to.

Frantic Inventory – This will end up drawing you a lot of cards. I like it better than something like Deep Analysis.

Consider – Usually you would see Preordain or Brainstorm in this spot. However with cards like Frantic Inventory and cards with Flashback, Consider has a lot of synergy with this archetype. I am not sure it is better than Preordain necessarily, but I can see the argument for it.

Behold the Multiverse – We are seeing this card more and more lately. It is quite good at helping you dig for what you need and it has Foretell so you can protect it from discard effects so that you can use it later.

Innocent Blood – This isn’t an instant, but it is removal for 1 mana. The cool part is that it is a sacrifice effect, making it good against Bogles and other protection spells in the process.

Diabolic Edict and Chainer’s Edict – More edict effects isn’t a bad thing. Diabolic Edict is an instant so it is good to have with Mystical Teachings, while Chainer’s Edict has Flashback and can be good throughout the game. In this situation, one Edict spell isn’t better than the other necessarily so it is good to have options.

Cast Down – The pilot of this deck decided to go heavy on Edict effects over spot removal. Don’t be fooled, if the meta calls for less Edict effects, this is still one of the best removals spells in the format.

Spinning Darkness – I haven’t seen this spell in forever. While yes it does cost 6 mana, you can just exile 3 cards from your graveyard to make it free and you get a Lightning Helix type of card. Keep in mind though this only hits nonblack creatures so if you see a lot of MBC, this card is useless.

Crypt Incursion – A fantastic spell at gaining tons of life and screwing over creature decks that use the graveyard a lot. This is a classic one of in most Teachings builds.

The Manabase

Ash Barrens – You need a way to find your Forest and just need the mana fixing in general.

Dimir Aqueduct and Dismal Backwater – Here are your dual lands for the deck. I don’t necessarily like 4 Aqueduct because if you a few very early, you might be a tiny bit slow. There is also the issue with land destruction, but both of these concerns don’t mean much depending on the meta at the time.

Bojuka Bog – Graveyard shenanigans are always annoying to deal with so you have 2 copies here to really stick it to those strategies and honestly I like that idea from a deck like this. While yes you are supposed to grind into the late game, graveyard decks are tricky because they can keep recurring the same spells over and over which will eventually run you out of resources to deal with what new cards they draw. Just keep these things in mind.

The rest of the Mana Base are just basic lands. It is a fairly straightforward Mana Base and in my opinion, the similar it is, the better it is. There are plenty of gimmick lands you could play, but you don’t want to be too slow as you need to be on pace or slightly ahead of the opponent to keep control of the game.

The Sideboard

Hydroblast and Blue Elemental Blast – Red decks are a problem for archetypes like this so you need to be prepared. They also can help fight Pyroblast.

Annul and Steel Sabotage – Both cards are very helpful against Affinity while Annul can also help against Bogles.

Weather the Storm – Say no to Burn.

Capsize – This is quite the old school card. It can be good against Midrange decks where they rely on one or 2 big threats to get the game over with. I am exactly convinced Capsize is good enough in the format anymore, but I can’t necessarily argue with this list getting to the top 8 of a challenge. I personally would change this for something else. Either more removal or a second copy of Weather the Storm.

Verdict and Conclusion

Let me start off by saying this. If you have a friend that wants to get into the Pauper format and loves decks that take a year to win the game, show them this as they will have a good amount of fun.

Moving on to more important things. While I can’t argue with the fact that this deck did make it to the top 8 of a challenge, I don’t think it would be great in the long run. Affinity will be a pain no matter what and Burn will be extremely tricky for this archetype to beat.

Against Bogles and Dimir Terror Control I think this list has a good shot, but I think Faeries and even Terror Control are ahead because of how much quicker and low to the ground they are. I just don’t think a list like this can survive long term because I just find it too slow. However, I have been wrong plenty of times in the passed.

Do I think you should play this deck? In your local tournament and/or the leagues I think the archetype can get results but I think long term it might have a negative win percentage. For challenges I personally don’t like it. I think you are too slow and just generally do not have enough “stuff” to compete.

This type of deck is a very meta dependent deck and even then, I think there are better options. Don’t get me wrong, the deck isn’t terrible or anything like that, I just think with an archetype like this you end up giving your opponent too much time to draw the cards they need and you take a little too long to set up control of the game.

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 I 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 Gatherling.com 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!