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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jan 19 2021 1:28pm

I am sure many of you loved the 4 color Pestilence deck. However I am starting to think that for newer players, playing a 4 color deck that does many things and needs a lot of repetition might not be very helpful.

This week I am bringing you a more traditional version of Pestilence control. It only has 2 colors and is a classic archetype. The plan of the deck is more straightforward and also has Pestilences best friend in the form of Guardian of the Guildpact.

The list we will be looking at today was taken to a 20th place finish in a Pauper challenge taking place on 1/4/2021 and was piloted by the player Amoras27. Instead of me rambling on more, let’s get into the list.

Guardian of the Guildpact – This is the only creature in the deck and it is usually the only creature you need. I say usually because you do not have a way of making tokens or anything of the sort, so spells such as Chainer's Edict and Diabolic Edict can really get you. Although there is no blue in this deck, it is still a hardcore control deck. Which means less creatures and more spells.

Pestilence – The name sake of the deck. Playing less than 4 is out of the question in my opinion. One word of caution though, remember this deals damage to you as well, so keep an eye on your life total.

Evincar's Justice – A sort of 5th copy of Pestilence. It can also be a win condition with Pristine Talisman.

Castigate and Duress – A big reason I like this archetype a lot is because you get to play Castigate. Not only can it take creatures, as well as spells, but it also removes the card you take from the game and that is huge against a lot of archetypes these days with graveyard recursion. Duress is also helpful because it can be played on turn 1 or later in the game it only costs 1 mana, which helps when wanting to cast multiple spells in a turn.

Night's Whisper – Every deck wants to draw cards and this is a good way of doing that. However, I can see wanting to play Read the Bones for the extra scry.  Although it does cost 1 more mana to cast, it does help a bit more when digging.

Disfigure – A good removal spell for only 1 mana. Helps a ton to curve out when needing the game to go as long as possible against aggro decks.

Cast Down – The best removal spell in the format in my opinion. I have to assume there is only 3 copies because you need to make cuts somewhere to make sure you have the right numbers for your removal spells. I could see cutting an Edict effect for the 4th copy.

Chainer's Edict and Diabolic Edict – Edict spells are always a good thing to have. Between opposing Guardian of the Guildpacts, the Bogles archetype and the Heroic archetype to name a few things. However, in the format today, most aggro archetypes (including Heroic) are able to play around Edict effects, so it might be alright to cut a copy or 2 and move a copy to the sideboard for more direct removal spells.

Pristine Talisman – Between Pestilence and Evincar's Justice, you end up dealing a lot of damage to yourself. Pristine Talisman is a great way of off setting that damage.

Bonder's Ornament – This is a popular card in the format and for very good reasons. It literally does it all for you. Mana ramp and draws cards. Honestly what more do you want.

Darksteel Pendant – This might seem like an odd choice, but it does scry every turn and help you smooth out your draws. It also can’t be destroyed easily as it has Indestructible, so once it sticks, it is here to stay.

The Manabase

Bojuka Bog – Graveyard shenanigans are a popular thing in Pauper. Always great to have some form of graveyard hate in the main deck if you can afford it and Bojuka Bog is pretty free because it is a land.

Orzhov Basilica – Helps with mana and allows you to keep a hand that might be 1 land short since it produces 2 mana. Also combos great with Bojuka Bog, as well as your gain life lands. However, be careful because land destruction is a thing these days. You don’t want to play this land on turn 2, only to have it Stone Rained.

Radiant Fountain – This archetypes matchup against Burn and Red Deck Wins can be very troublesome. This land helps with that just a little bit, as well as being good at giving you more Pestilence activations.

Kabira Crossroads – This is here for much of the same reason as Radiant Fountain. The problem with this land is that, while it does produce white instead of colorless, it comes into play tapped.

Scoured Barrens – Another good dual land and it gains life when it comes into play. Never play less than 4 copies of this land in this archetype.

Finally last up we have 8 basics, split between 8 copies of Swamp and only 1 copy of a Plains. The reason for so many Swamps is because of having Pestilence in the archetype. Also if you notice, you are mostly casting black spells and your white spells all cost only 1 white source to cast.

The Sideboard

2 Castigate – This card is particularly an all star against Tron. It is also good against control matchups.

1 Diabolic Edict – In case you find a matchup where you need more edict effects.

2 Duress – Facing off against control? Here is a little more help.

1 Evincar's Justice – Facing off against aggro decks? Especially the like of Elves or White Weenie? Here is some extra help!

1 Circle of Protection: Blue – Enjoy facing this Delver!

3 Circle of Protection: Red – If you want to have a chance of beating Burn and/or Red Deck Wins, you will need this in your sideboard. Having access to Duress effects is cool, but you stop what they draw off the top of their deck, keep that in mind.

3 (Fragmentize) – It is always a good thing to have some kind of Disenchant type of effect in the sideboard. (Fragmentize) being only one mana is a big help, but keep in mind, it doesn’t kill Myr Enforcer.

2 Nihil Spellbomb – Need some extra graveyard hate? This will help a ton. Another good part about it, is that it can draw a card. The reason this is here over Relic of Progenitus is because it can be used to remove the whole graveyard in a pinch for 0 mana, while still having the option of drawing a card for 1 black mana as opposed to needing 2 mana when using Relic of Progenitus.

Verdict and Final Thoughts
Orzhov control has become one of my go to decks when wanting to play Pauper because it is very solid and does pretty much the same thing every game. It can be simple to play, while at the same time, reward you for sequencing correctly.

While there are many ways to build Orzhov Control, this one in particular does 1 thing best, beat aggro decks. However, that doesn’t mean it loses to control. With discard spells and Pestilence with a Guardian of the Guildpact in play, even control matchups are very winnable.

Do I think you should play this deck? Yes I do. I think this is a great choice for the leagues and may even be a great choice for the challenges with some tweaking to make sure you prepare for the right meta game. However, remember that my words are not gospel, results will vary.

I don’t think this is the best build of Orzhov control, but if you do take this archetype for a spin, this is a good place to start. It doesn’t do too many things, is very straightforward and will teach you to manage your life total with Pestilence, which is a very big part of playing this deck. Let me know in the comments how the deck preforms for you!

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. I will see you all next time!