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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jun 25 2018 11:00am
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Welcome to the last part of my combo talk. This time around I will be bringing the lesser played combo decks of the Pauper format. They aren't the best decks you could be playing , but they are challenging and quite fun to play as well.  

Today I will be bringing you only a couple of decklists to look at. Those decks will be One Land Spy and RUG VineStorm (yes you are reading this correctly, not every storm card was banned). They aren't the most powerful decks you could be playing, but can still get there with enough practice.

First up we will talk about RUG VineStorm  

Although the major Storm cards are banned (Empty the Warrens), Grapeshot and Temporal Fissure), there is still Sprouting Vines. The way this deck wins is by building up enough of a storm count to cast Sprouting Vines and putting a bunch of lands into your hand, you then cast Inner Fire to generate a bunch of red mana and finally you use Kaervek's Torch to burn your opponent out for the win.

In the 1 drop slot, you have Rite of Flame to help you ramp into Inner Fire and it also helps to build your storm count. You have Preordain instead of Ponder because you have a lot of dead cards you want to push to the bottom as to give you more card selection. You need to draw very specifically in order to win with this deck and so Preordain I find has been better and Brainstorm is very good here with all the shuffle effects you have. Finally you have Gigadrowse to help you tap your opponents creatures down to basically Fog for a turn or you get to tap your opponent out of blue mana so that you can go off and not fear counter spells messing with your plan. Last we have a copy of Conjurer's Bauble because you can and probably will end up drawing your whole deck, so this can be a 5th copy of whatever spell you need to get back so you can win the game. Usually it will be a copy of Inner Fire.

In the 2 drop slot you have Accumulated Knowledge to draw a ton of cards and it's very good in this deck in particular because you need so many cards in hand to generate red mana and win the game, the best part is that Accumulated Knowledge is also an instant. Manamorphos shows up here because it helps you filter all of your red mana into blue mana so you can cast your draw spells. Elsewhere Flask is also here to help you cast your spells, but I personally have not been very impressed by it as sometimes I have such little mana in play that I am already tapped out and can't use its effect anyway, I personally like Chromatic Sphere or Chromatic Star more, even Terrarion would be better in my opinion. Finally we have Tolarian Winds and this is what helps you draw through your whole deck very quickly because between Sprouting Vines and Gush you will have a ton of cards in your hand to discard to Tolarian Winds and you will end up drawing a good chunk of your deck.  

Sprouting Vines. Inner Fire and Kaervek's Torch are your win conditions, so there should be no surprise why they are in here. You only have 3 copies of Sprouting Vines because you only need 1 copy to win so you don't need the full 4. Finally we have Gush which is one of the strongest spells in the deck because not only does it draw you 2 cards for basically free, you get to add 4 cards into your hand when you bounce back 2 Islands, which makes both Inner Fire and Tolarian Winds much better as well.

The mana base sees you playing only 4 fetchlands because you don't want that many come into play tapped lands and the rest are basics. You need a lot of Islands so you play more of them than the other 2 options and that is about all there is to talk about here.   The Sideboard isn't anything very special as you see some Dispels and Pyroblasts to help fight against the blue players. Moment's Peace helps you fight against aggro and helps you buy the few extra turns you may need to win the game. Flaring Pain makes an appearance here so that Circle of Protection: Red or Prismatic Strands doesn't just outright make you lose the game. Electrickery can help against the small creature decks such as Elves or Goblins, then Natural State for whatever you made need it against (like destroying Circle of Protection: Red for example). To end the Sideboard we see another copy of Conjurer's Bauble just incase you may need it.  

The next deck we will talk about is the Belcher archetype of Pauper, One Land Spy!


I have talked about this deck once before, but for those who have no idea what this deck is, here is the way you win. You will need a Songs of the Damned in your hand and your only Forest in play, then you cast a few Dark Rituals and Tinder Walls so you have enough mana to play a Balustrade Spy and you mill yourself so your whole deck is in your graveyard. You then use Conjurer's Bauble to put a copy of Lotus Petal into your hand so you can float a red mana, then you Flashback cast a copy of Morgue Theft and return Anarchist back to your hand and then you use Anarchist to return your copy of Haunting Misery to your hand and cast it for the win. It really is that simple.

For your creatures you have Tinder Wall and Wild Cantor to help you fix your mana and ramp you a tiny bit and then you have Street Wraith, Monstrous Carabid and Deadshot Minotaur just so you can cycle a bit and also it helps to fill your graveyard of creatures so you can cast an early Songs of the Damned so that you can go off. Then you have Dimir House Guard to help fetch up the next creature, Balustrade Spy, who is what gets your combo started. Last up you have Anarchist, which is also part of your combo. This brings up a total of 24 creatures and when you go off you should only have 2 in play, leaving you with 22 creatures to deal 22 damage with Haunting Misery.  

You have the full set of Dark Ritual and Cabal Ritual and you have Manamorphos to help fix your mana so you can cast your spells. Songs of the Damned is your big ritual card so you have enough mana to go off and complete your combo. You only play 1 Forest in your deck so that you have an easy way of casting your Tinder Wall and Wild Cantors and you have 4 copies of Land Grant to go find it. Morgue Theft and Haunting Misery are part of your combo so you can win the game. Lotus Petal helps you fix your mana and also helps you accelerate so you can go off. Conjurer's Bauble is meant to be played early so when your deck has no cards left, you can return another copy of Songs of the Damned to get even more mana into your pool. Finally the last spell is good old Gitaxian Probe so you know what your opponent is doing and how to sequence your spells, which is extremely important in this archetype because odds are, you only get one chance to combo off.

The sideboard has Ingot Chewers to help against graveyard hate such as Relic of Progentus. Flaring Pain is seen again here to stop spells such as Prismatic Strands. Pyroblast is here to help you fight the blue mages and you also have Duress to help as well. Then you have Mnemonic Wall and Drain life to have a second way of going off and finally a copy of Blood Celebrant to help you cast all of your non black spells after sideboard.  

Conclusion and Verdict

Let me start off my saying I find these 2 decks to be extremely fun and they really do work beautifully when they get to do their thing and go off. However with that being said, they are both easily disrupted and the little definition of the term “Glass Cannon”.

If I was to play in a league with either of these decks, which would I choose? I will be straight up honest, I wouldn't choose either of them and stay away. VineStorm can easily miss and brick real hard, not to mention that one Hydroblast targeting an Inner Fire can lose you the game on the spot. One Land Spy is even worse because you now also lose to graveyard hate and you lose to a single Counterspell, not to mention it is even easier to brick off because you need to draw so specifically well to be able to have a chance in the first place.

For VineStorm, you can end up not having enough blue mana to go off and not enough ways to generate blue mana at all. With One Land Spy, you can easily be forced to go off a few turns to early and lose because you are a mana or 2 short, or you could not draw your Balustrade Spy. The difference between these archetypes and the old Empty the Warrens or Grapeshot storm decks of the past is that they had more rituals to work with and all the blue cantrips, they also didn't need so many specific pieces to go off either.  

Neither of things decks are consistent and can lose to a single Duress at the right time and I wouldn't feel good about walking into a league with those odds. I suppose the question is why bring these decks to your attention? That is because you don't have to take my words as gospel and can easily try these archetypes yourself and if you do, let me know the changes you would make and how well you do!