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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Jul 15 2019 12:00pm

On August 24th 2019, at 1pm EST, I will be hosting a tournament on and played on MTGO.  It is the Pure Pauper Tournament. This is a No Ban list tournament featuring Pauper! With the recent unification of the format between paper and online, this means newly banned cards like High Tide and Sinkhole are legal. To much of my regret, I am allowing Hymn to Tourach as well. I know plenty of people have messed around with No Ban list Pauper before, but I would love to help the communities spark reignite and make No Ban list Pauper a big thing again!

For the coming weeks leading up to the tournament, I will be bringing you a bunch of lists you could be playing and testing today! First up I will talk about Pauper TPS (The Perfect Storm), which features Grapeshot, Empty the Warrens and the sac lands from Invasion, such as Sulfur Vent.


TPS was around for a long time and for a good while, dominated the Pauper format. It was fast, consistent and just down right over powered, to the point where Wizards decided that it was too oppressive and no matter what people did to try and beat it, it would usually come out on top. Back then, the only deck thought to be able to rival it was Infect, but that is an archetype for another day.


In January of 2013, Wizards felt it was time to give Empty the Warrens and Grapeshot (and another card, which we will talk about at another time) the dirt nap. However, I believe it is time to resurrect them once again and see just how good they are. Let's check out a sample deck list.



Ah yes, TPS and all of its glory. Oh how I have missed you. (I am evil, yes I know). First and foremost, there are no creatures in the deck, it is completely spell based. That being said, you could play a few copies of Goblin Bushwhacker to have a one turn kill with Empty the Warrens if you feel you need the extra speed.


This archetype is based around generating a ton of mana through Ritual cards (For example Cabal Ritual), drawing through your deck with a bunch of draw spells, all while building a huge Storm count and then ending the game with either Grapeshot or a Goblin army thanks to Emtpy the Warrens.


Empty the Warrens and Grapeshot – These are your win conditions. Grapeshot is much harder to deal with for most decks because the Storm mechanic puts a ton of different individual copies of Grapeshot onto the stack and so a few counter spells aren't going to stop it. You could gain a bunch of life, but TPS can kill you from quite a high life total with Grapeshot alone. With Empty the Warrens, it isn't too hard to beat it. Electickery, Nausea and Holy Light are just a small number in a large pool of cards that can beat it. Prismatic Strands is the actual best card against this archetype, but it can be beat, more on that later.


Chromatic Star, Chromatic Sphere, Manamorphose and Lotus Petal – These are your main ways of filtering your mana into colors that you need. While you are mainly a Grixis deck consisting of Blue, Black and Red spells, your lands when sacrificed for 2 mana, will add colors you don't need. The color black also doesn't feed into your win conditions or most your draw spells as well. The best part is that these cards also replace themselves, digging a card deeper and keeping the combo going. However with Lotus Petal, while you don't draw a card, it costs 0 mana to play, so when you are needing to discard because you have more than 7 cards in hand, you can just play it and leave it in play. It also helps build towards your storm count when you are going off.


Cabal Ritual, Rite of Flame, Dark Ritual and Seething Song – These are your “ritual” spells. A ritual is a spell that gets you more mana and is named after Dark Ritual. These are the spells that give you a ton of mana to work with and get your combo going and are non negotiable when building this deck.


Faithless Looting, Idea's Unbound, Sign in Blood and sort of Gitaxian ProbeGitaxian Probe helps to give you perfect information and helps you know when to cast your spells and in what order. More so, it helps you know if the coast is clear to go off.


The other 3 spells are your main ways of drawing cards and digging into more gasoline to keep the fire going. You want to draw multiple cards and dig through your deck. The reason you don't see Ponder or Preordain are for the reasons that they only draw 1 card. While yes they can allow you to see more cards and get selection, you have so little lands and need multiple cards to win that you need actual card draw. With Idea's Unbound, you can play it to draw cards, discard 3 cards you don't need and help sculpt your hand for when you are ready to go off, but usually it is just draw 3 cards for the price of 2 mana during the turn you are going to win.


The Manabase uses the sac lands from Invasion and some needle lands such as Sandstone Needle from Mercadian Masques. Sulfur Vent is literally the perfect land to help cast your black spells such as Duress so you can set your turns up and also transmute Shred Memory to get a spell you need as an example. The reason for the sac lands and the needle lands are because they add the most mana to your pool. Being able to add 2 mana for the price of 1 land when you want to go off is huge because you are so mana hungry and with all the filtering and color fixing you have, each land serves its purpose and gives no dead mana.


The Sideboard

2 Ancient Spring, 4 Deep Analysis, 2 Pyroblast – Against control decks that revolve around counter spells, you are going to be fighting a longer game. Ancient Spring helps you naturally make land drops and cast Deep Analysis without having to go off, which is huge because the game plan against blue decks or hand disruption decks are to go off at the last possible second and to sculpt the perfect hand, as to give you the best chance to win when you start going off. You don't need to win quickly, you just need to win the game and take your time doing it. Pyroblast is also amazing here because it counters an opposing counter spell and because of the way it is worded, you can target any permanent with it so you can +1 to your storm count.


1 Echoing Decay 1 Echoing Truth – While both are good against token strategies and against Empty the warrens based strategies, Echoing Truth also being able to bounce back a problem card such as Circle of Protection: Red is also huge.


1 Flaring Pain – This is to help against Prismatic Stands and Circle of Protection: Red type disruption and it does a good job of it as well.


2 Curfew – This is for the Hexproof matchup.


2 Shred Memory – This is a good card to bring in against control strategies as well. It can get a copy of Grapeshot to help make it easier to go off. It can get one of your Echoing cards or it can get you Manamorphose to help with color fixing and going off. It is a very useful toolbox type card that I would not take out, but that is my personal way of playing this archetype.


Verdict and Conclusion

While writing this article, the nostalgia and fun memories of playing this archetype are flowing through me. I really have missed playing Pauper TPS, as I feel it was both extremely powerful and had to play because it had so many decisions to make.


One big card I want to mention is Treasure Cruise. This card came out well after Storm was basically banned in Pauper, but I would consider adding it to this archetype. I think maybe shaving a couple copies of Idea's Unbound and Sign in Blood could make room for Treasure Cruise. I don't think it is better than Idea's Unbound straight up because Idea's is always 2 mana, as where Cruise could be a ton more and mess with your math. Sign in Blood is also good in the situation where you have a ton of floating black mana and can't filter it.


This would be a great place to start testing and I hope you find fun doing it! For more information, please check out this link for the Reddit thread I made. I will be posting more information in due time as well so be on the look out for it. Thank you so much for reading, see you guys next time!