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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jun 01 2023 12:46pm
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Serpentine Curve decks are not new to the Pauper format. In fact, from the first week that Strixhaven got released, players were trying ways to break Serpentine Curve. Eventually, players settled on Izzet or Dimir as their deck of choice. However, today I want to talk about an extremely sweet Mono Blue version.

The deck list we will be discussing today took 5th place in the Pauper Challenge that took place on 5/6/2023 and was piloted by the player Renaar. This player also achieved 2 5-0 finishes with the same archetypes in Pauper leagues. Alright Aquaman, we are coming for you! Let’s rock!

 

Delver of Secrets and Tolarian Terror – Although Serpentine Curve is the thing everyone will focus on in this deck, you will need other win conditions. Terror and Delver are easily the 2 best win conditions for a Mono Blue deck like this. It is possible to work in a couple copies of Spire Golem if you feel the need, but it isn’t a very fast win condition and comes down a little slow. I am not a big fan of it in this archetype.

Serpentine Curve – The big win condition of the archetype.

Artful Dodge – This is your combo with Serpentine Curve. You cast Curve for a large amount and next turn give it unblockable. You can also give another creature unblockable as well in the same turn because of Flashback. This also may help in counter wars where you are playing around something like Negate as well.

Mental Note and Thought Scour – You need ways to fill your graveyard for Terror and Curve and these are the best ways to help turbo your plan. I think you could cut 1 copy of Mental Note and replace it for something else however. That is just my opinion as I do not like how tied to variance you are when playing self mill cards. Maybe I am just unlucky, but I have bad luck at milling my win conditions and it makes me sad when that happens.

Brainstorm – You don’t have any ways to shuffle in this deck, but you have 7 Thought Scour effects in the deck. In this type of archetype, Brainstorm is perfect.

Careful Study – I like this spell in this archetype. You can easily turbo out a Tolarian Terror or if you are a bit flooded it is 1 mana to see 2 cards deeper. 3 might be a lot though and I would consider cutting 1 and a copy of Mental Note for 2 copies of Ponder. I like Ponder in a deck like this because you are looking for specific cards for a specific plan. You don’t necessarily want the game to long so I do not think Preordain would be better in that spot.

Accumulated Knowledge and Frantic Inventory – The perfect draw spells to play along side your self mill cards.

Counterspell – You are a Mono Blue deck and so it should be a surprise to no one that we see 4 copies of Counterspell in this deck.

Spell Pierce and Dispel – In this archetype, we only see 17 lands. This means you are gonna function on very low mana. Having these 1 mana counter spells in your deck help a ton and are extremely important at protecting your win conditions. While Pierce does hit more targets than Dispel, since Dispel is much better in a counter war or straight up countering removal, I would not be opposed to going from a 3/1 split to a 2/2 split.

The Manabase is very simple with only 17 lands. You are going to see so much of your deck that hitting 4 lands should be no problem and you just want to be fast. Stay away from any come into play tapped lands or gimmick lands in this archetype.

The Sideboard


Annul – Tell Affinity and Bogles that they don’t need all of their spells to resolve to win the game. They are doing just fine.

Blue Elemental Blast and 4 Hydroblast – Say no to the red menace today!

Lose Focus – This can be a good card in a counter war or just good if you need extra counter magic. Think of it as a slightly worse version of Flusterstorm. I don’t know if this card is necessary however and might consider changing it for something else. Depends on the meta you expect to face.

Spreading Seas – This can be decent against decks with extremely greedy manabases, but yes, it is mainly to help say no to Tron I would think.

Verdict and Conclusion

Over the years in the Pauper format, Mono Blue has come in many different builds. We have seen Delver, Faeries, Spire Blue and much more. Now in the format we see Serpentine Blue and I gotta tell you, I am a sucker for the Serpentine decks.

Some of my favorite decks have always been hardcore control types. As an example, UW Millstone from back in the years 2000-2001. It was full of counter spells, board wipes and card draw. It had 3 Millstone as the win condition and maybe 1 Mahamoti Djinn (creatures have come a long way since then) as an alternative. There might have been something else to win the game with, but the point is, the idea of Serpentine Curve functions with the same principles.

With the Izzet version you have a combo kill, with the Dimir version you have good removal to control the game with. With this Mono Blue version, you can turbo out everything. You also don’t necessarily rely on Curve alone either, as you have Terror and Delver. What the Mono Blue version lacks in removal or the combo kill, is speed and that might be what you need in the meta today.

In Pauper and MTG as a whole today, every format has so many powerful things. We live in an age where controlling the game just isn’t easy anymore because most decks can top deck 1 card and snowball quickly, or you can be under so much pressure from turn 1 that it will be extremely hard to play the game. Mono Blue counteracts this by having the potential of being extremely fast and staying on pace with the other fast decks of the format. Personally I like that.

Do I think you should play this deck? If you want to jam Serpentine Curve, I think in the current Pauper meta where Mono Red of some form and Affinity are everywhere, Mono Blue would be my choice. That doesn’t mean Izzet isn’t also a good choice, but I think being fast and consistent with Mono Blue may be the way of the current future.

While I do love Serpentine Curve, it is easy to fall short with. Tron can go over the top of you, Affinity is just so damn powerful, Faeries can do everything you do but faster and Mono Red can get under you before you get to start playing the game. I believe this deck is very reliant on winning the die roll, but that is my personal opinion. At the end of the day, I think going Mono Blue is your best bet.

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!