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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Mar 11 2021 7:01pm
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Love the archetype or hate the archetype, Hexproof will always be a deck to worry about in Pauper. Hexproof is an extremely powerful ability, especially in the Pauper format since there is no true board wipe spell such as Wrath of God.

If you are new to Pauper, trying to introduce some friends to the format or looking for a powerful deck to take into the challenges or leagues, Hexproof is definitely a good deck to look at.

The list we are going to look at today got 6th place in a challenge that took place on 2/20/2021. The list was piloted by reizouko and has some pretty interesting card choices that I personally think are good for the archetype. Let’s get right into it!


Gladecover Scout and Slippery Bogle – The namesake cards of the deck. These are your main win conditions. All you gotta do is play one of them on turn 1 and throw enchantments on them. Not much more to it than that. I like that there is only 3 Slipper Bogle here because a lot of times you can end up losing because your flooded with do nothing 1 drops.

Silhana Ledgewalker – Here is your other Hexproof creature. It is quite good to because it can only be blocked by creatures with flying. The only downside is that it costs 2, as opposed to 1, which can be a huge when trying to play as many spells in a turn. However, it is always good to have backup threats.

Transcendent Envoy – I really like the inclusion of this creature. Not only does it have flying, making it a fine creature to attack with (prioritize your Hexproof creatures first when playing Aura’s), but it makes all your Aura’s cost 1 less, making it way easier to dump your hand and make the clock quicker. The less time your opponent gets, the better.

Heliod's Pilgrim – We end the creatures on a tutor creature. Although Pilgrim is great, it does cost 3 mana, which makes it slow. You don’t really want to draw more than 1 a game. Yes, there is an argument to be had for, “what if the game goes long”, the counter point to that is, you don’t want the game going long at all.

Ancestral Mask – Here is your big game Aura. This is what helps your creature become huge. Only problem is that it doesn’t give Trample, but you have other great enchantments to help with that.

Ethereal Armor – Here is your mini version of Ancestral Mask. It only gives +1 power and toughness instead of 2, but it gives First Strike, which does come up.

Armadillo Cloak – One of the most important enchantments for the deck. Not only does it give +2 power, it also gives Trample. However, there is one more thing to this card. Notice it says, “whenever enchanted creature deals damage, you gain that much life”, it does not say Lifelink. This card was printed way before Lifelink became a keyword in Magic and so because of the way it is worded, if you have 2 Cloaks on 1 creature, you gain twice that much life instead. Pretty soul crushing for any red based aggro deck.

Setessen Training – So, there is no Rancor in this list. I am not particularly sold on that, but Training is a good Aura that gives +1 power, Trample and draws a card, which does allow you to possibly snowball a big turn. In theory, it could allow for faster wins because of the snowball effect of being able to draw into another Aura, rather than allow for being able to fight through removal like Rancor does, on the other hand though, the difference between 1 mana for Rancor and 2 mana for Training could make a big difference.

Cartouche of Strength – Not only does it give Trample and +1 Power, it also is a removal spell (most of the time), which is great for clearing the way of blockers. A really cool thing is, since it is fighting, you also gain life if the creature has an Armadillo Cloak attached.

Utopia Sprawl – This helps fix your mana and ramps you a tiny bit so you can go fast. It also adds to the Ancestral Mask count.

Abundant Growth – This doesn’t help you ramp, but it does replace itself by drawing a card and helps you fix your mana.

Ram Through – I love this card and in my personal opinion is the best removal spell this deck could ask for. In this archetype, you should always have a huge creature, which means Ram Through should kill just about anything and if your creature has Trample, you can deal damage to your opponent, driving home the last few points you would need to win the game. The best part of all this? Ram Through is instant speed. While I understand you only have so much space in the main deck, I would like to see the third copy somewhere. Based on certain meta’s, you could even play 4 of them I think.

Fling – Much like Affinity, you can also Fling a huge creature at your opponents face to win outside of combat. However, unlike Affinity, you are not really a go wide aggro deck that can grind down your opponents life total with multiple threats so that you don’t have to put everything into Fling. I just feel you are more all in with Fling in this archetype, making your opponents counter magic much better. Fling is also weak against Prismatic Strands, which is a fairly popular card. Now yes I admit, you can play around counter spells and Strands, but I personally like Essence Harvest here instead. It can’t be prevented by cards such as Prismatic Stands because it’s loss of life and it doesn’t make you lose your creature in the process, but this is just my opinion.

Kruphix's Insight – While 3 mana is a lot, you get 3 powerful Aura’s for the price of one card. Card advantage is always a good thing and can help you “combo” out much faster or just help you turn the corner in general when you are a little behind.

The Manabase

Arctic Treeline – Having access to a dual land of some kind is never a bad thing, but in this archetype you don’t want too many come into play tapped lands because you can’t afford to be too slow, not even for 1 turn.

Khalni Garden – Edict effects are your worst nightmare. Garden is a great way to help play around that and you can even win with the Plant token itself sometimes.

Cave of Temptation – This one helps fix your mana and sometimes can help make your creature just big enough to win the game.

The rest of the manabase are just basic lands. You only need 1 Plains because you have 4 copies of Utopia Sprawl and 4 copies of Abundant Growth to help fix your mana, so all the other lands are just Forests.

The Sideboard

1 Fling – If you are facing off against the Mirror, Stompy or any archetype where you know they don’t have much to stop your Fling, a second copy is never a bad thing when trying to win the game quickly. If you were to change the Fling in the main deck for a copy of Essence Harvest, you can leave the Fling in the sideboard, as it being 1 mana cheaper could be relevant against decks such as the mirror, Stompy or elves (to name a few) because it is 1 mana cheaper. That being said, I personally still like Essence Harvest.

3 Aerial Volley – The Faerie archetypes can be a pain to play against, however this is here to help. There might also be other matchups where you can find a use for this card.

2 Benevolent Bodyguard – I don’t think this card is very necessary, but it does help protect Transcendent Envoy against removal, which I suppose could come up. I’ve seen this card in the sideboard of Bogles in the past and still don’t think it’s a good card to have, just my personal opinion. I’d rather have Standard Bearer or Flaring Pain in this spot, depending on what you think you will run into.

1 Calming Verse – If you expect a lot of the mirror, I like this card. Most anti Hexproof cards destroy all enchantments, so you can’t really play them. However, this card, if you meet the requirements, can win the game on its own against the mirror.

2 Duress – Always good to have something to help fight against a control deck and get your cards through. Having perfect information can be crucial when trying to sequence correctly and you are a deck that wants to tap out a lot, so a card like Pyroblast isn’t at its best in this deck.

2 Gorilla Shaman – Do you hate Affinity? Well here ya go!

1 Phyresis – I like the idea of this aura. It speeds up your opponents clock a ton and can make the game end super early. Remember, the less time your opponent gets to play the game, the better it is for you.

1 Weather the Storm – If you don’t get Armadillo Cloak going early, red decks can and will give you a hard time by racing you quickly. Weather the Storm can gain tons life and sometimes undo a couple of turns worth of what a red deck can do to you. Lifelink itself can be an option as well, but Weather the Storm doesn’t need the combat step to help, which could come up.

2 Young Wolf – As I said, Edict effects are your worst nightmare. This is the best answer you can have against Edict effects in my opinion.

Verdict and Conclusion

As I said in the beginning of this article, whether you hate the Hexproof archetype or love the archetype, it will always be a deck to worry about and it will always be a good way to bring someone into the format.

The archetype is very simple and does the same thing every game. For new players it’s great because it helps them get a grasp of the format, while playing a powerful deck that can win a lot. For those who have been playing Pauper or for long time veterans of the format, Hexproof is a great deck that rewards correct play and proper sequencing of your cards.

I honestly think it goes without saying that I definitely think you should play this deck. I think with a proper sideboard to battle whatever the meta game is that day or weekend, this archetype will bring you success in both the leagues and the weekend challenges.

While I don’t agree with certain card choices that Reizouko chose, I can’t deny the fact that they are the one that got 6th place in a challenge and most likely know much more than I do. I wouldn’t fault anyone for starting with this exact 75 and then possibly adjusting cards and numbers as time goes on.

One problem for Hexproof I want to talk about, are Fog effects and Stonehorn Dignitary. Luckily when it comes to the Fog problem, you can pack Flaring Pain, which is the perfect answer. When it comes to Stonehorn however, it gets a bit tricky. Fling and Essence Harvest are good ways of ignoring Stornhorn, but the problem is that you don’t have any counter spells, such as Dispel or hand disruption, such as Duress to help get the spell through.

This is why I talk about preparing for a certain meta game. Bringing the right sideboard cards for the league or challenge you are playing, is going to make a huge, if not, all the difference. Especially with a deck like this. Hexproof, at its core, is an all in combo deck, so you need to bring what we call in magic, anti hate cards. So I again, I must insist you test and practice a ton so that you are well prepared for a good sideboard plan against whatever you may face. Another good reason Hexproof is good for helping people learn the little things about Pauper and magic in general.

With all this being said, do remember my words are not gospel. Results will vary and above all, again, make sure you practice! I wish you all the best of luck in your next tournament and let me know in the comments how Hexproof does for you!

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. Good luck in your next tournament and I will see you next time!