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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jul 23 2018 12:00pm
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I know many of you like playing blue decks. Today I bring you the question, do you like playing a control deck with a ton of answers and 4 or less win conditions? If the answer is yes, then I have some deck lists for you.

In Pauper, most of the archetypes you see will have a large creature base to win with. In the lists I am bringing you today, they are very old school style control decks, where they pack a ton of answers to whatever your opponent is doing with a mixture of good and cheap removal and a lot of counter spells. The games will go long and really test your skill as a control player overall. Let's go ahead and check out what they look like.



The first thing you will notice is that there are no creatures and no, that is not a typo. This build of UB Teachings is completely made up of lands and spells. The main win condition is Curse of the Bloody Tome and it works quite well because in game 1, not many decks (if any of them) are going to have enchantment destruction, so it should stay the whole game once it sticks. There is a downside to this however, having only 1 win condition that does not win the game quickly, you can end up decking yourself if you draw it way to late. After sideboard you can plan on how to use your counter spells to protect your Curse from being destroyed and to stop your opponent's threats. You can also win with having 2 Pristine Talismans and Evincar's Justice hitting your opponent over and over until you win the game.


For counter magic we have 4 full copies of good old Counterspell and 1 copy of Deprive. While it is true that Deprive sets you back a land drop, your spells are cheap enough to make up for it and you have some lands with enter the battlefield abilities to use. Next up we have a copy of Prohibit and a copy of Removal Soul for more counter magic and to fetch up with Mystical Teachings. Last but not least, we have a couple of Excludes to help up us not only counter a creature, but to also help draw a bit deeper.


For removal we have a copy of Agony Warp to get a decent 2 for 1 interaction. 4 copies of Chainer's Edict and a copy of Devour Flesh to make a total of 5 edict effects and you can search up Devour Flesh with Mystical Teachings. We see Doom Blade as a hard removal spell and then an Echoing Decay as another good way to remove lots of tokens off the board or to remove multiple creatures for the price of 1 card. For our 1 drop removal we have a couple of Innocent Blood, a copy of Disfigure and a copy of Tragic Slip which is quite good because if you are able to trigger Morbid, it can usually kill anything on the battlefield. Finally we have our board wipe spell in Evincar's Justice.


The reason to have 1 copy of a card in decks like this is because not only can they be searched up with Mystical Teachings, but also because it keeps your opponent guessing on what to play around and you may be able to get them for playing around the wrong spell. The reason for so many Edict effects is not only because they are cheap and Chainer's Edict has flashback, but matchups such as Hexproof can be hard if you get caught with to much targeted removal and it makes it easier to play around any decks that might have copies of Vines of Vastwood or Apostle's Blessing.


For ways to draw cards we have 4 copies of Think Twice because it can draw cards at the end of your opponents turn so you can always keep your mana open to respond to whatever you may need to. A copy of Deep Analysis because it can draw cards early but also be Flashbacked to draw a couple of cards later without actually using a spell from your hand. You can also target your opponent and deck them if they have 4 or less cards in their library, which does actually come up more than you may think. Mystical Teachings of course makes an appearance because it is probably the best spell in your deck as it can get you anything you may need in a pinch. A good play to make is to Flashback Mystical Teachings and to get another copy so that not only can you use it for a cheaper cost but now you can use it again from the graveyard to get even more cards. Finally a couple of copies of Preordain for some quick card selection.


For the rest of the spells we have a Capsize to be a repeatable bounce spell and keep your opponent's threats in check. A couple of Pristine Talismans to not only ramp you, but to help gain life and more so, off set the life loss from your Evincar's Justice so that you can cast it 7 times and win the game. Finally we have the Curse of the Bloody Tome, which I already talked about earlier.


The manabase has 7 Island and 4 swamp because it helps a lot to have some lands that come into play untapped so you can cast your spells quickly. You have 4 copies of Dismal Backwater and 4 copies of Dimir Aqueduct to have as many duel lands as possible because your color requirements can be hard to play with so you need to fix your mana a lot. While it can make you slow, again your spells are cheap enough to make up for it. Dimir Aqueduct has another purpose in that it can reset a land with a come into play ability as well. Last we see a copy of Evolving Wilds to help fix out mana.


For our utility lands we have a couple copies of Radiant Fountain to help us gain life against aggro or burn so we can live longer and we have a copy of Bojuka Bog to fight against any graveyard tricks. Archetypes such as the mirror or Tron use the graveyard a lot and Bojuka Bog can sometimes steal a game by shutting them down.


The sideboard is a bit interesting as we see a couple copies of Gurmag Angler which is a great alternate win condition to sideboard into because your opponents will usually side out their removal and Gurmag Angler is almost impossible to remove from the battlefield, not to mention it can win the game quickly. You also have a second copy of Curse of the Bloody Tome to fight enchantment hate.


A copy of Duress for any spell heavy matchup and also to give you perfect information early on so that you know how to use your spells. Dispel helps fight any instants you will come across and Hydroblast helps fight Pyroblast or any red decks in general. Next we see Shrivel and it can often be a good board wipe against a lot of aggro strategies in Pauper. We see another copy of Deep Analysis to help fight the control mirror, then we see a copy of Complete Disregard to fight decks with graveyard recursion. Last we have 3 copies of Relic of Progenitus to fight against any graveyard strategies. While it is true that Relic of Progenitus can remove your graveyard and you don't want to be doing that, you can usually play around it easily.


Next up we will see a more creature heavy version that try's to end the game just a bit quicker.



This version of UB Teachings does run creatures as you can see. This version is for the players that like to get the games over quickly. It can be a better plan because a popular theory in Magic is the longer the game goes, the more draw steps you give your opponent to find something. However by playing this version, you turn your opponents removal cards into something useful.


For the creatures we have Sea Gate Oracle as an early blocker and I find it to be better than Augur of Bolas because it can actually find lands or a Gurmag Angler. The other creature available to us is our main win condition, Gurmag Angler. You have seen me talk about Gurmag Angler a lot in the past and for good reason, it is one of the most powerful creatures in Pauper because it hits for 5, takes 2 burn spells to die and it can be cast for as little as 1 mana. In this archetype it is even better because casting it for only 1 mana, allows you to not only get a big clock down quickly, but also because you can leave up the rest of your mana to play the control game.


In this version we see 4 Counterspell again, we see 3 copies of Remove Soul to counter any creature we need to, we see a copy of Exclude to counter a creature and dig a bit deeper and finally we have a copy of Dispel for a quick way to win a counter war or help keep out Gurmag Angler protected. Dispel is also great because it is a cheap answer that can be searched up with Mystical Teachings.


For removal we see 3 copies of Chainer's Edict and 2 copies of Diabolic Edict for an instant speed Edict effect to try and 2 for 1 your opponent. I would like to point out that Diabolic Edict costs a few more tickets than most players are willing to spend and that is why you may see some players have Devour Flesh in their lists.


For hard removal we have a copy of Disfigure in the 1 drop slot. Next we see Doom Blade for a deal with almost anything, no questions asked removal spell. Agony Warp and Echoing Decay make an appearance again for their 2 for 1 potential (2 for 1 means using 1 card to deal with 2 threats, thus providing you a small advantage in cards). For out board wipe cards we see a copy of Evincar's Justice and where the second copy would be, we see a Wail of Nim, which can either save your Gurmag Angler from removal such as being hit with 2 Lightning Bolts, it can wipe the battlefield of small creatures or because of Entwine, it can do both. The best part is that it is an instant so it can be searched up by Mystical Teachings.


For card advantage we only see 4 copies of Think Twice for instant speed card draw and we see 4 copies of Mystical Teachings. With Gurmag Angler as the win condition, we don't need much more to fight the later part of the game. The last spells we see are a 1 of Capsize to keep the tempo war in your favor and 3 copies of Pristine Talisman to gain us life and help us cast out spells quickly. Also they combo with Evincar's Justice to win the game over time.


The manabase is nothing special as it is almost the same exact as the other list. One card I have seen some use is a copy of Haunted Fengraf to get back any Gurmag Anglers that have died and I personally like it in this version.


One card to look out for specifically is Journey to Nowhere. It deals with Gurmag Angler straight up and the only way for you to get it back is through bouncing it with Capsize.


For the sideboard we see a bit of a reverse as Curse of the Bloody Tome makes an appearance because against an opponent with a ton of removal, it is pretty great at winning the game while your opponent has a full hand of blanks. We also see another copy of Pristine Talisman for the burn heavy matchups.


We see 2 more copies of Evincar's Justice for the aggro archetypes such as Elves and Goblins. A few more copies of Agony Warp and Doom Blade just in the case of you needing them. We also see Complete Disregard as a good removal spell against decks with creature recursion, such as Mono Black Control or Tortured Existence. Finally we see a copy of Victim of Night which can kill a few things that Doom Blade otherwise can not.


Hydroblast is good for countering Pryoblast and dealing with red decks in general. Relic of Progenitus helps for any graveyard heavy strategies and finally we have one of my favorite Mystical Teachings targets, Crypt Incursion, which can gave you a ton of life in a pinch to make the game go longer against any aggro archetype.


Conclusion and Verdict

Mystical Teachings archetypes will always have a special place in my heart because I have played them for so long and these lists have brought me much joy. If you like a good, hardcore UB Control deck, then I think you would have a lot of fun trying these lists out.


Which one would I choose to play in the leagues? I personally think that aey_mtg35 is better because it just plays more control elements. It has a bit more counter magic, more card draw and the removal is just as good. Of course the sideboard is always up for debate as sideboards are always built according to personal preference. I also like having only one win condition that once it lands, you barely have to protect it or focus on it, making your game much easier to navigate.


That being said, I do not think jamiewvh list is bad in any way and I think more players would have an easier time playing it. It is a more, lower to the ground version of Mystical Teachings with a few less decisions to be made and so amount of mistakes you make could be less, but I think the overall power level is less than the first list.


Whichever list you choose, I do not think you can go wrong. I caution everyone reading this to test and practice a lot! It is very possible to flood out or to find yourself with the wrong spells at your disposal to deal with what your opponent is doing. You have to know how to make most of every counter spell, every removal spell and you must remember that you don't lose the game unless you go below 1 life, so use your life a resource. If you spend your gas on things that don't matter or deal with threats in the wrong order or with the wrong cards, you could lose the game very easily. Have fun practicing!


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. Have a good one everyone!