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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Nov 03 2021 12:11pm
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UW control is an archetype that isn’t all that popular in Pauper. You don’t have access to any board wipes, most of your removal is slow and your win conditions aren’t all that great. Although, we have an extremely cool list to look at today that did very well in a recent challenge.

Today we will look at UW Ephemerate control deck that has Soul Migration and a lot of ways to loop it. The list we will look at today was piloted by Milkk and got 6th place in the Pauper challenge over this past weekend at the time of writing this article. The results were posted on 10/18/2021.


Mulldrifter – Not just one of the best creatures in Pauper period, but in a deck like this where you can have it come back into play over and over, this is a perfect creature.

Sea Gate Oracle – A good 3 drop that blocks well and gets a bit of card advantage.

Archaeomancer – Here is how you loop your Ephemerate and go off. Although it is double blue and can be a little difficult to cast, it does cost 1 mana less than Mnemonic Wall and it can attack.

Soul of Migration – Here is your main win condition of the deck. With this creature and all the ways you have to trigger its enter the battlefield ability, you can easily build a huge army of tokens and slowly grind your opponents life total to 0. The cool part is, you can Evoke it and still get it into play for cheap with a card named Angelic Renewal. More on that later.

Dawnbringer Cleric – Although not the strongest creature, it has 3 relevant enter the battlefield triggers to choose from and you can loop it with Archaeomancer and Ephemerate.

Palace Sentinels – Becoming the Monarch is always a strong play in Pauper and in this deck, since you have a good amount of flicker type of effects, you won’t even need to attack to take back the crown most of the time.

Counterspell – You are a control deck and this is one of the best control cards in the format.

Preordain – You are a grindy deck and so getting to the late game is part of the game plan. Preordain is the best of the 1 mana cantrips for that because it helps you filter the bad cards to the bottom of the deck.

Ponder and BrainstormPonder is okay when you are looking for something specific but it isn’t the best when fighting the late game compared to Preordain. Brainstorm is good at putting more cards in your hand in a pinch and getting some card advantage, however it isn’t great without a way to shuffle your library. Luckily you have 5 fetchlands in the deck so Brainstorm is a good card for a deck like this.

Dispel – For 1 mana you can counter a ton of stuff in the format. Honestly I think more copies of Dispel should make it into the main deck of more archetypes.

Ephemerate – This is a control deck that utilizes a lot of enter the battlefield effects and you have Archaeomancer. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see this here.

Late to Dinner – This a cool card that is popping up more in the format. Between Mulldrifter, Soul of Migration and Archaeomancer, this is going to be a great card for fighting the late game against almost any opponent.

Journey to Nowhere – One of the best removal spells in the format.

Last Breath – The life gain shouldn’t matter too much in the long run and the fact that you get to exile the creature you are killing is very helpful.

Angelic Renewal – I love this card and especially in this deck. This allows you to play this on turn 2, then evoke either a Mulldrifter or Soul of Migration and return them for either more creatures or more cards. It creates for a lot of cool and powerful plays early on in the game.

The Manabase

Ash Barrens, Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse – Here are your fetchlands for the deck. There isn’t much else to it. Both Barrens and Wilds/Expanse are good in certain situations and so by having some copies of both, you should be prepared for any of them. Do remember that you have Brainstorm, so saving your fetchlands until you have a copy of Brainstorm can be very helpful.

Tranquil Cove and Azorius Chancery – Here are your dual lands for the deck. While you do have 3 bounce lands in your deck, this archetype will be mana hungry, so try not to keep land light opening hands just because you can.

The rest of the manabase are basic lands in the form of 7 Island and 2 Plains. I wish there was there a Campus land you could play for Azorius colors. Maybe in the future there will be.

The Sideboard

Dawnbringer Cleric – Another copy just in case you need it.

Dust to Dust – Everyone needs Affinity hate these days.

Gut ShotGut Shot is an interesting one. You aren’t a combo deck that needs to kill something like a Standard Bearer, but Gut Shot is still good against a wide range of decks and it helps you be able to tap out without worry against something like a Spellstutter Sprite or against a deck like Elves. I personally love Gut Shot as a sideboard card in general.

Holy Light – This is an old school card you don’t see a ton of these days, but it is actually very good. Every control deck needs a board wipe and this is a good one because it doesn’t kill anything in your deck. (Yes it effects your blue creatures, but non of them have only 1 toughness). Just be careful playing it in combat as it does effect your blue creatures.

Hydroblast – For those pesky red mages.

Negate – A good catch all counterspell. If you are expecting more low to the ground aggro decks, Prohibit is also a consideration.

Relic of Progenitus – Everyone needs graveyard hate. Just be careful about your own graveyard since you want to loop Ephemerate.

Revoke Existence – I am not sure if this card is all that needed. Yes exiling things can be important these days, but I feel the instant speed of Disenchant or something like Leave no Trace might be better in the long run. This is just my opinion.

Verdict and Conclusion

I really like this deck. However, I am biased because I really miss my Reveillark days. On paper I think this deck has the tools it needs to handle almost anything.

While it can be a little slow, you can have a good control draw or some explosive early plays with Angelic Renewal. While yes, Faeries can go under you or Tron can go over the top, I honestly don’t think they are soul crushing matchups. I think you also have a good aggro matchup and Affinity should be decent. Just gotta watch out for Atog out of nowhere.

I will say that this might not be the perfect build of this archetype and you can play around with the sideboard quite a bit to fit the meta. For example, a card like Serrated Arrows might be a decent addition. This will open you up to taking advantage of playing a card like Kor Skyfisher to add a bit of beatdown while also keeping the control aspect around. There are a lot of ways to take this archetype and I think you will have fun doing it.

Do I think you should play this deck? With a lot of practice, I think this deck has a lot of potential for both the leagues and the challenges in theory. While I do think luck plays a big factor in magic, you don’t top 8 a challenge on luck alone (not usually anyway). You need to have a deck capable of winning and you need to be a good pilot of said deck. Milkk took this deck into a challenge and did really well with it which I can’t imagine was easy and they definitely deserve a shout-out for it. I’d like to think that is not a 1 time thing.

While leagues with this archetype are fine. Challenges should be played with caution. It is not cheap to enter a Challenge and this deck is hard to play. Make sure you test, practice and take lots of notes so you go in prepared.

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!