Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Mar 22 2022 12:25pm

The bans are in. Expedition Map is back on the menu, Storm is fully dead (again for the second time) and Affinity may have gotten a bit weaker. However, that is not today’s topic.

A few years ago in the Pauper format, Mystical Teachings control decks were quite popular. It took quite some time for the deck to actually win a match, but it was good at doing it. You played no creatures, only reactive spells. You had counter spells, removal, board wipes and a little bit of life gain. It was quite the hard deck to beat for a lot of the decks at the time.

In today’s meta however, you don’t see it often. I think that is because it just isn’t powerful enough and the format has gotten much faster, which means more decks just go under it and coming back can be somewhat impossible. Realistically though, has that ever stopped someone from still trying?

However, today we will be looking at a list from the 5-0 dump posted on 3/2/2022 and was piloted by the player Fuz65. I won’t try to be funny this time and so we are gonna get right into it,

Dimir Teachings by Fuz65

First thing you will notice is that there are no creatures in the main deck. There are 2 in the sideboard which we will discuss later. The only creature I would consider for a deck like this is Augur of Bolas, but I think it is unneeded. One of the main strengths of this archetype is rarely having to ever cast anything on your own turn.

Counterspell – Doesn’t get better than good old Counterspell for a deck like this. Never play less than 4 in my opinion.

Exclude – Great counter spell that draws you a card. It can be a bit slow at 3 mana, which is why you don’t play the full 4.

Devious Cover-Up – Man did I love this card in Guilds draft. I love it in Pauper to and hope one day it becomes its own archetype that puts up numbers. While this is slow, it is both a counter spell and can be a win condition as you can loop them later in the game thanks to its putting 4 cards back from your graveyard. Another good perk is that it exiles whatever it counters. This is a great card at fighting the late game.

Spell Pierce – This is a weird one. While Dispel is much more powerful, Spell Pierce can counter a wide variety of spells such as Cleansing Wildfire or Thoughtcast. If you are trying to strictly beat decks like Burn or win counter wars, Dispel is better in my opinion. However, I think the pilot of this deck was trying to be a wide variety of decks at the time.

Capsize - A great silver bullet to fetch with Teachings to fight the mid-late game. Just be careful about what you bounce. You don’t want to be bouncing back a card with Cascade for example.

Mystical Teachings – Ah yes, the namesake of the deck. This card is extremely powerful is this gets any instant you need, be it removal or counter-magic at instant speed. It also has Flashback and you can search for a Teachings with Teachings to be able to get even more options. Some lists play 3, but I like that this list plays the full 4.

Accumulated Knowledge – Where most would play Think Twice, this pilot went for full value. You can search these up with Teachings and go to town with drawing cards. If more players start playing Knowledge, you can substitute it for Frantic Inventory.

Brainstorm – You don’t have a ton of quick ways to shuffle, but if you have one of your shuffle effects, Brainstorm putting multiple cards in your hand should give you more to work with, rather than playing Preordain to push bad cards to the bottom. Not to mention, with Teachings, you should be shuffling so much that Preordain won’t do all that much.

Disfigure – While black doesn’t quite get a Flame Slash or Lightning Bolt type of card, Disfigure is still a very good removal spell for the mana cost. I like playing 2 so that you see a copy early but then as the game goes on and it becomes somewhat irrelevant, you shouldn’t see it. You can also search it up with Teachings at the very worst.

Innocent Blood – Edict effects are great, especially against the Hexproof menace. You have no creatures and this only cost 1 mana to cast. It honestly doesn’t get much better than that. Yes, with it not being instant speed, this means you cannot search it up with Teachings and you can’t 2 for 1 your opponent in response to something. However, being 1 mana is pretty huge in its own right. Teachings wants to do 2 main things in my opinion, those are to never miss land drops and be able to cast enough answers in 1 turn.

Chainer’s Edict – Here is the more popular of the edict effects. This one is great of course because it can be used again later thanks to Flashback.

Cast Down – One of the best removal spells in the format period. I am a little surprised to not see 4, but you need to make cuts somewhere to fit everything.

Crypt Incursion – This is quite the card. Not only do you get to exile all creatures from your opponents graveyard in one shot, but you gain tons of life on top of that. This is just the silver bullet you need to help survive and turn the corner against aggro decks. I love this one of.

Sprout Swarm – One of the 2 win conditions of the deck. (I suppose the 3rd win condition is boring your opponent into submission. Last time I try to be funny in this article).

Prismatic Talisman – This is a great card for Teachings as its life gain and mana ramp. It can also be a win condition with Evincar’s Justice. There are no copies of Justice in the main, but there is a copy in the sideboard.

The Manabase

Ash Barrens – Mana fixing and a shuffle effect. In this archetype, being able to play it as a regular land is also a good thing to have access to.

Radiant Fountain – The 2 life this gives you can mean the difference when needing one more turn in order to get over the last hump and start winning the game. I like this as a one of.

Dimir Aqueduct – This bounce land is quite good in this deck. Now keep in mind, you are a pure control deck, so you can’t just keep any hand with little mana, but still Aqueduct should help you keep more hands. More importantly, it helps you pick back up your life gain lands or an Ash Barrens if you need to.

Dimir Backwater – Your main dual land of the deck.

The rest of the manabase is just basic lands. You could play a 1 of Bojuka Bog if you’d like since Tron should be coming back into the format in numbers.

The Sideboard

Exclude – Against creature heavy aggro decks or some midrange builds, this is a great way to get even more ahead.

Spell Pierce – A second copy of Pierce. If you need it, it is here. Again I am not exactly convinced this is better than Dispel. The decks you could use this against, in my opinion, will eventually have access to so much mana or their spells will be cheap enough that this basically becomes dead. I could easily be wrong, but I am not a big fan of Pierce. Especially now with the new bans.

Duress – Great against opposing control and combo decks.

Evincar's Justice – A reusable board wipe that can also kill your opponent and combos well with Talisman. I would move this to the main in place of a Chainer’s Edict and either add the third edict to the board or just have access to 2 copies of Justice.

Gurmag Angler – If you are up against a deck that lacks removal for this, it can be a great win condition and/or wall for a cheap cost. Other win conditions you sometimes see are Curse of the Bloody Tome. All a matter of meta call.

Hydroblast – Take this you red menace!

Nihil Spellbomb and Relic of Progenitus – Your graveyard hate spells. Be careful though as with Relic, you don’t want to be exiling your Teachings.

Steel Sabotage – This is a pretty good way to fight Affinity. However, with the Disciple ban, if Affinity falls out of favor or moves to playing a more aggro approach with cards like Carapace Forger, this might not be that amazing of an answer and take up unnecessary spots. If that does end up being the case, straight up removal spells might be better. I would also consider adding some more Hydroblast to fight Burn and other red aggro decks if you have the slots.

Verdict and Conclusion

Ah good old Teachings. No matter what the format looks like, you will always have players trying to put up numbers with this deck. The deck is quite resilient and powerful as well, its just that, as I said, recent years have made it hard for Teachings to do its thing.

With Expedition Map coming back into the format and Tron most likely becoming popular again, that will in my opinion make it difficult for Teachings to rise up. Tron isn’t a great matchup for this deck in my opinion because Tron gets cheap counterspells, more mana to work with and can just produce threat after threat. It can fight a longer game than you can as well.

However, with Storm and Disciple banned, more aggro decks or combo creature decks could start to rise in numbers and that is where Teachings shines I believe, however do keep in mind that sometimes aggro can be too fast for even this deck to handle, so it isn’t an automatic win type of thing. Your Faeries matchup isn’t all that bad as you have lots of removal and can keep up with counter magic, but this particular build might need to adjust to that with more instant speed removal and some number of Suffocating Fumes in order to fight the matchup. I won’t lie though, Them having access to Pyroblast is a problem, but Blast does not counter your removal spells.

Do I think you should play this deck? For leagues I think its fun and perfectly fine. However for the challenges, I don’t think I trust it just yet. Teachings is good deck, don’t get me wrong. However, your Faeries matchup will always be an uphill battle, Boros Midrange and the Cascade midrange decks can be problematic as you might not have enough answers because they can keep up card for card and in some cases go wide enough that your 1 for 1 removal plan won’t be good enough. Tron will also be hard to combat.

I personally believe Teachings is a meta call and until the meta settles and we see what conclusions people come to and what becomes popular, I am not ready to say yes to the challenges just yet. I think this list a great place to start, but I personally would change Spell Pierce for either 1 Prohibit in the main and a Dispel in the sideboard, or 2 copies of Dispel between main and side. This is of course my opinion.

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 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!