Arctic_Ghost's picture
By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Feb 14 2023 12:00pm

In the Pauper format, we are all used to the usual Caw-Gate archetype as it is one of top decks of the format. However, what if you are bored with the deck or feel like it isn’t doing the job? That is what I want to talk about today. The deck we will talk about is not exactly full on Naya colors, but its close enough.

The list we will be looking at today got 17th place in the Pauper challenge that took place on 2/4/2023 and was piloted by the player yugi_muto. Alright it is time to put our heart into the cards and rock! To answer your question, no I am not ashamed of the reference I just made.

Sacred Cat – We have seen this creature in a good number of midrange white decks and it does a good job here. It needs 2 removal spells to deal with and has Lifelink. This is a great creature for a deck like this where you will be using Basilisk Gate to pump it. The best thing about this creature in my opinion is that it’s Embalm ability only costs 1 mana.

Thraben Inspector – Probably the best white creature in the format period.

Dawnbringer Cleric – Great on defense with 3 good enter the battlefield triggers. I would say Dawnbringer Cleric is a staple of the format at this point.

Kor Skyfisher – One of the power cards of the format, it is no surprise to me to see 4 copies here. You also have a good number of creatures with great enter the battlefield triggers you will want to use a second or third time.

Gatekeeper Vine – Here is a good benefit to playing Green. A way to tutor your Basilisk Gates or it can help with color fixing.

Inspiring Overseer – Another good creature with flying. It attacks well, gains you life and draws you a card. I expect this to also become a bit of a staple for the Pauper format for the foreseeable future.

Guardian of the Guildpact – Here is your main win condition for the deck and it does an extremely good job of being one.

Saruli Gatekeepers – This card is just backbreaking against any aggro deck. Not only is it a big body to block with, but it gains you a whopping 7 life when it enters if you control 2 gates. I am a little surprised to only see 2 copies in the 75.

Ephemerate – I am surprised to only see 2 copies and not 3, but I think we all know why this is in the deck. I suppose you don’t want to draw 1 early, let alone 2, and have it be dead in your hand. That is a good reason to only have 2 copies.

Journey to Nowhere – One of the best removal spells in the format. A little trick you can do, is play Journey and use Ephemerate on Kor Skyfisher before Journeys ability resolves. The creature you target will remain exiled forever due to Journeys wording and you get to use it again.

Abundant Growth – This is another way to cantrip and help you cast your spells.

Lightning Bolt – One of the premier spells of Pauper. I am not surprised to see a little red splash for this card.

Smash to Dust – This is an interesting one. It has 3 relevant abilities that are good against almost any deck you will face in the format so it can be a powerful card to have. It does suck that it is sorcery speed, but for the options you get and in the current meta we are in, it isn’t all that bad.

The Manabase

Glacial Citadel, Cliffgate and Manor Gate – Although rare, here we see the full 4 of each dual land to make it as easy as possible to cast your spells. You might be a little slow, but you can play the control game very well so you can afford it.

Heap Gate – Another way to help with mana fixing, but it is also mana ramp as well because it can add Treasure tokens. I wouldn’t play more than 2 however because once you draw passed the first one, your draw will be clunky.

Basilisk Gate – Here is your win condition for the deck.

1 Forest and 1 Plains – Here are your basic lands for the deck to round out the full 20. I like the manabase, I don’t really see a reason to change it and you wouldn’t want to make the deck slower by adding more come into play tapped lands.

The Sideboard

Crimson Acolyte – This should be good against Kuldotha Red. I think it would be better than playing more board wipes or Weather the Storm because Acolyte can actually win the game instead of just buying time.

Dawnbringer Cleric and Smash to Dust – An extra copy of both just in the case of you needing it.

Dust to Dust and Revoke Existence – Tell Affinity to go fall into a ditch somewhere.

Red Elemental Blast – Some help against the blue menace.

Relic of Progenitus – Graveyard hate is always a good thing to have access to and this is one of the best you can have.

Verdict and Conclusion

I do like what this deck is doing, but I feel like it was built to beat a very specific meta. This archetype is great against aggro decks and should have a good matchup against Affinity, but against control archetypes you will have a problem in my opinion.

Against Dimir Terror they can easily kill your things, get down a fast win condition and control the game from there. Tron will go over the top of you and combo you out most likely and then with the Faerie decks they are most likely going to out race you while countering most of your key spells.

I will say this, this seems like a deck built to do 2 things and that is to beat Kuldotha Red as well as Affinity. With getting a 17th place finish, it seems the pilot of this deck achieved part of that goal, but I do not know what they lost to or also beat so I cannot swear why this archetype was truly made.

Do I think you should play this deck? If your goal is to beat aggro decks or Affinity, then I think this is a great archetype. For a wide open meta however, I personally would not trust it. That isn’t to say I think the archetype is bad, just that in the long run, it might not bring you the success you want.

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 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!