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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jun 07 2021 12:00pm
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In Pauper, you don’t see Grixis Control decks a lot. I think some of the reasons why is that the archetype can be too slow, or the red cards aren’t worth it over going straight Dimir Teachings and there are other reasons. However, that doesn’t mean Grixis shouldn’t be looked at.

The list we are going to be looking at today was part of the 5-0 dump from 3/24/2021 and was piloted by the player Eastonmd21. If you are a control lover, then this is definitely a list for you. Instead of rambling on, let’s get into the list!


Gurmag Angler – I don’t think it is a secret that Gurmag Angler is one of the best creatures to play for any control deck in this format. It doesn’t surprise me to see it here.

Augur of Bolas – Since you are a very spell heavy deck, I am not surprised to see this one here either. A good blocker and the possibility of getting you a good spell, it serves its purpose.

Brainstorm and Preordain – You play a good amount of ways to get rid of the 2 cards you put back with Brainstorm, so I like it here. Preordain helps you fight the long game better than Ponder does in my opinion.

Thought Scour – This one works well with Brainstorm and helps you turbo out a Gurmag Angler. You also have some cards with Flashback as well. I would personally rather see the 4th Preordain and more copies of Brainstorm. However, I am biased because Thought Scour hates me. Also being able to turbo out an Angler can win the game extremely quickly.

Mystical Teachings – No doubt one of the most powerful cards in the Pauper format. If you are a Dimir Control deck (which this qualifies), Mystical Teachings is never a bad inclusion, as it helps you fight the long game extremely well.

Behold the Multiverse – This card pops up here and there in the format, but this is the first list that I have seen that plays 4 copies of this card. I like it a lot in a deck like this because you can Foretell it early and then cast it a few turns later when you need gas. If you Foretell it, for only 2 mana, you get to Scry 2 and draw 2 cards, which is a lot of card advantage. The best part, it is instant speed. You can also just hard cast it as well.

Counterspell – Since you are a blue control deck, it should be no surprise that Counterspell makes an appearance here.

Exclude and Essence ScatterExclude is good because it draws a card, but it costs 3 mana, while Essence Scatter does not draw a card, it does cost 1 less to cast. This can matter when trying to cast more than 1 spell in a turn or when trying to fetch one of them with a Teachings.

Cast Down – In my opinion, in the top 5 for best removal spells in the format. I believe 2 is a fine number to have in the main deck because you have to make cuts somewhere and it does cost 2 mana. The difference between 1 and 2 casting cost can be quite big when trying to play multiple spells in a turn.

Suffocating Fumes – Board wipe spells are always a good thing. As usual, this one is good because it is an instant and can be cycled if you can’t use it effectively.

Fiery Cannonade – Another good board wipe spell. Although you can’t cycle it away, it deals 2 damage to creatures instead, being able to kill more threats.

Lightning Bolt – We all know why this is here. It is 1 mana, kills a ton of threats you will run into and can sometimes finish the game.

Abrade – One of my favorite spells. There are plenty of pesky artifacts that you will run into in game 1 and it deals 3 damage to a creature, making it a good and flexible removal spell. It isn’t the strongest in the world, but it gets the job done when you need it to.

Firebolt – You don’t see this one too often, but it has the ability to deal with 2 threats because it has Flashback. Also, thanks to Flashback, it works very well with Though Scour because milling it is fine, as you can still get one use out of it.

Bonder’s Ornament – You are not a ramp deck, but you are 3 colors and you only ever need 1 copy of the Ornament out to draw cards yourself, or to put your opponent with an opposing Ornament in an awkward spot. I think a 1 of is just fine.

The Manabase

Thriving Isle and Thriving Bluff – I like these dual lands because you don’t want to have problems casting your spells. You are mainly a blue deck, so having 4 copies of Isle is definitely correct. You don’t want to have a ton of come into play tapped lands, as you risk being to slow, so having 2 copies of Bluff is perfectly fine. You rely more on red a bit more than you do black in this deck, so having Bluff makes sense.

Evolving Wilds and Ash Barrens – The usual 7 fetch land split we see in most decks like this. If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

The rest of the lands are just basic lands consisting off 5 Islands, 2 Swamp and 2 Mountain. I don’t think this archetype can afford lands such as Bojuka Bog because, as I said before, too many come into play tapped lands can be a problem.

The Sideboard

Curse of the Bloody Tome – Against heavy removal matchups or matchups where you think Gurmag Angler isn’t going to be good enough and you know they won’t have a way to remove this card, Curse is a great win con to fall back on.

Dispel – If you have access to blue, this a great sideboard card for any deck to have access to.

Hydroblast and Pyroblast – For those pesky Red and Blue mages you will run into.

Stormbound Geist – This is a pretty good card against the Faerie matchups because it takes 2 removal spells to kill it and it blocks really well. It can also be good against other control decks, but I am not sure it is needed since you have Curse of the Bloody Tome. Honestly I am not sure this card is needed in the sideboard at all and could easily be something else.

Wrecking Ball – This is a funny sideboard card to have because it either can deal with a Tron piece or it is more removal to bring in after sideboard. My issue is that it is 4 mana, which gives Tron plenty of time to set up, but those are just my personal feelings.

Verdict and Conclusion

In the Pauper format, pure control decks are a bit hard to play these days. The biggest argument in my opinion is, why play this deck over something like Tron or the Faerie archetypes? Honestly, I don’t have a good answer for you for this one.

The Faerie archetypes are extremely consistent and can control the game, while also being able to beat down. The Tron archetype is also very consistent, are very good controlling the game and can run away with the game and/or go over the top of everyone extremely quickly.

I don’t think this archetype does anything overly powerful when compared to most other archetypes and it can sometimes be too slow. Things can also get a bit complicated with being 3 colors and sometimes stumbling for a turn or 2 can mean the whole game.

In the Pauper format, there are plenty of established archetypes and so when picking up a new deck, you have to ask yourself, “does this beat those established archetypes better and more consistently than just playing one of those archetypes instead?”. The biggest reason to play a new deck is because its something new and fun, as even I have to admit, playing the same archetypes over and over again can be boring.

Do I think you should play this deck? I think you can for the leagues, but for the challenges, I personally would not. I don’t think this archetype can consistently beat the top decks of the format. I am not trying to be negative and I am not saying this deck is bad by any means. I am just being honest that I wouldn’t risk so much money on this archetype.

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 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!