Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jan 29 2020 1:23pm

Before we dive into this deck list, let me explain what Project X actually is. While I don't recall where the name Project X came from, the archetype was an Abzan Midrange deck from the original Ravnica/Time Spiral standard format. For reference, here is a sample deck list.

Like most Abzan decks throughout history (also known as Junk), you basically play all the best cards those colors have to offer. Discard, beefy creatures and removal were of course the meat and potatoes of what Junk was, but this archetype in particular also had a combo built into it.


By having a Soul Warden and a Saffi Eriksdotter on the battlefield, you then would play a Crypt Champion without using the color red. Then while both Crypt Champions ability of bringing back a creature with the mana cost of 3 or less and the check if red was used to cast this spell or it gets sacrificed went onto the stack, you would target the Champion with Saffi before you had to sacrifice the Champion, then use the Champion's ability to return Saffi back to play and then due to Saffi's ability, the Champion comes back, rinse and repeat. While Soul Warden is in play, this is not only an infinite loop, but also infinite life.


The deck list I am bringing you today follows much of the same principles that Project X would go by. However, now it is the year 2020 and over a decade has passed since the archetypes creation, which means we have plenty of new tools to work with and the cool part is that some of them happen to be Pauper legal. Without further interruption, let's get into checking out the deck list.



At first glance, you might think this is just simply a Golgari Midrange deck, but there is much more than that at your disposal here. This archetype actually contains an infinite combo and not only can you assemble it rather quickly, you also can win the game that turn.


Carrion Feeder and Bloodflow Connoisseur – These are your sac outlets for the combo. Carrion Feeder is your best option because it only costs 1 mana to play and Bloodflow Connoisseur is basically your fifth copy. The reason why these are your best options are because they get +1/+1 counters that stay, so you can attack with them for prophet as well as just use them to combo with.


Rendclaw Trow and Safehold Elite – These are your persist creatures of choice. Safehold Elite is great because it is an elf and can be tutored for with Wirewood Herald, while Rendclaw Trow can be good blocker because of the Wither ability.


Wirewood Herald – While this isn't a direct combo piece, Wirewood Herald is great in this deck because it can allow you to tutor for either your Safehold Elite or your Ivy Lane Denizen.


Ivy Lane Denizen – This is your other main combo piece. This is what helps your Safehold Elite go infinite by constantly canceling out the -1/-1 counter it gets from persist. Although keep in mind that Ivy Lane Denizen only has 3 toughness, so Lightning Bolt can easily deal with and it does cost 4 mana, so it can be a little slow.


Essence Warden and Falkenwrath Noble – These are your final pieces of the combo that actually help you win the game. Essence Warden helps you gain infinite life to get as many turns as you need and Falkenwrath Noble can drain your opponent infinitely to death.


*How the combo works: While you have Ivy Lane Denizen in play, you use Carrion Feeder to sacrifice Safehold Elite over and over again, as much as your heart desires. Why this works is because when Safehold Elite comes back with a -1/-1 counter on it due to Persist. Ivy Lane Denizen can then put a +1/+1 counter in it and cancel both of them out, effectively creating an infinite loop. You can then either create a giant Carrion Feeder and attack for lethal, you can gain infinite life with Essence Warden or you can drain your opponent to death with Falkenwrath Noble.


Now that I have shown you the combo part of the archetype, we will see why another good part of this archetype is it can also be a decent midrange strategy as well.


Putrid Leech – A pretty solid 2 drop creature that can be a good blocker or a good attacking creature. Just remember, don't Lightning Bolt the leech!


Crypt Rats – We all know this card very well. It's here to do 1 job, clear the board if you need it to. It can also drain your opponent for the rest of their life total and win the game, just be careful of your own life total as well.


Okiba-Gang Shinobi – I am not sure I like this over something like Duress, but if this creature goes unanswered, it can be very devastating for just about any opponent to deal with.


Pulse of Murasa – A really good way to return a creature you need from your graveyard to your hand and it can be done at instant speed. The 6 life can also be relevant against any aggro strategy to help buy a bit more time.


Sylvan Ranger and Thorn of the Black RoseSylvan Ranger can help fix your colors and thin your deck of a basic land and Thorn of the Black Rose is always just a good card to have. Becoming the monarch and drawing extra cards is always a good thing and this deck is pretty good at staying the monarch with good removal and decent blockers.


Raven's Crime – You don't need a ton of mana to work with, so extra copies of dead lands sitting in your hand can be better used by making your opponent discard cards and running them out of resources.


Tragic Slip, Chainer's Edict, Echoing Decay, Eyeblight's Ending and Nameless Inversion – These are your removal spells of the archetype. With Carrion Feeder, you can easily trigger Morbid and making Tragic Slip deal with just about any creature in the format. Chainer's Edict is your edict of choice because it has Flashback.


Echoing Decay is good against token strategies or against just any aggro type of deck in general because it has the potential to remove multiple threats in one turn. Nameless Inversion and Eyeblight's Ending are great because they can be tutored for with Wirewood Herald (remember it says it can search for an elf card, not just a creature). While Eyeblight's Ending can easily kill more things, it can't hit other elf creatures, which can be very relevant against a number of different strategies you might run into and Nameless Inversion can be a pump spell to help finish off your opponent if need be.


The Manabase – You have your usual basics in the form of 3 Forest and 4 Swamp. Then you have 3 copies of Ash Barrens to either be a fetchland and help fix your colors, or just be a land in general.


Your dual lands are 2 Golgari Rot Farm and 4 copies of Jungle Hollow. You only play 20 lands, so having more bounce lands in your deck could be a bit of a liability. Then your utility lands (your lands that do stuff) are 2 copies of Bojuka Bog against graveyard strategies and then 1 of each cycle land being Barren Moore and Tranquil Thicket.


The Sideboard

2 Duress - Good old Duress, never fails to be a good sideboard for any deck that can cast it.


1 Reaping the Graves – Another archetype where Reaping the Graves really helps at refilling your hand with gas. What is even more important is that your combo pieces are all creatures and you can return multiple creatures with a big Reaping the Graves.


1 Cower in Fear – This card does cost 3 mana, making it a turn slower than Nausea, but it is instant speed, allowing you to get your opponent to possibly over commit.


1 Faerie Macabre – There are tons of graveyard strategies in Pauper and Faerie Macabre being able to remove 2 specific cards at instant speed or be a 2 power flier (if need be) is quite helpful. This can also be returned with Pulse of Murasa.


2 Thorn of the Black Rose – A couple more copies of Thorn just in case you need to become more of a midrange deck or you think the game is going to last really long and you need the extra card advantage.


2 Caustic Caterpillar – A Naturalize effect is always a good thing to have in the sideboard. The good thing about the Caterpillar is that it can block and it can be returned with Pulse of Murasa


2 Weather the Storm - Probably the best card against any red strategy. It can gain a ton of life, countering burn spells and making the game last longer, allowing you to buy more turns to set up and win the game.


1 Spidersilk Armor – I will be honest. I do not see much use for this card in this particular archetype, but that is just my opinion.


2 Relic of Progentius – It helps against graveyard strategies and it draws a card. Honestly what more could you ask for?


Final Thoughts

There is a special love for combo decks in my heart and this archetype definitely shares that love. BurtofParadise has been fairly doing well in all the Pauper Classic Tuesday's that he has competed in with this archetype and he has beaten plenty of different archetypes.


Onto the big question. Do I think this archetype will bring you a winning record in your future Pauper adventures? I am hesitant to say yes because while this deck can be quite powerful, it is very slow and easily disrupted.


A big problem with this archetype is fairly obvious. It requires a lot of pieces to go off and they are all very easily killed by Lightning Bolt. You also have to ask yourself, what would be the reason to play this over something like Tron or Flicker strategies. Does this archetype handle creatures decks better? Is it able to put pressure on Delver decks fast enough? Can it combo faster than the other combo decks already in the format? These are the questions you need to ask yourself.


It is always fun to experiment with new ideas and strategies in this format. I do love this deck, however I am unsure if it will bring you a high win percentage in the long run over the already established archetypes. With that being said, I always encourage anyone who reads my articles, to try the decks I bring to you out for yourself and don't necessarily take my opinion as the be all end all. If you do take this deck into a league, Pauper Classic Tuesdays or maybe even a Pauper Challenge, do let me know in the comments on if you like the archetype and how you might change it going forward!


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!


I've started to stream Pauper Classic Tuesday's fairly regularly. I do not play in them because I don't like hosting and playing at the same time, we do watch matches that go on and have a good time. Visit my stream at and thank you so much if you do!


Thank you so much for reading. See ya next time!