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By: Arctic_Ghost, Arctic_Ghost
Aug 07 2017 11:00am
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I know you all remember when I brought a similar deck like this to you that contained Peregrine Drake and won by getting infinite mana, then using Ghostly Flicker to blink your creatures and have a Sage's Row Denizen in play so you can mill your opponent out, similar to how the deck functioned when Cloud of Faeries was still legal. By now everyone knows that Peregrine Drake is long dead as far as the Pauper world goes, but 420Dragon figured out a different kind of way to win with this archetype and take advantage of a newly printed common from Modern Masters 3 in the form of Dinrova Horror.

The main way that this particular version of Esper Familiar wins, is by playing a few copies of Nightscape Familiar or Sunscape Familiar so that your blue spells cost much less to cast. Then you can assemble the good old Ghostly Flicker combo with Mnemonic Wall and use that to draw cards with Mulldrifter, you can stop your opponent from attacking with Stonehorn Dignitary (fun fact, if you flicker this creature more than once in the same turn, the effect will stack, which means if you flicker him 3 twice in 1 turn, for the next 3 attack fazes, your opponent can not attack and you do not need to flicker it again until 3 turns have passed), or you can bounce back all of your opponents permanents with Dinrova Horror.

You also play a bunch of bounce lands ((bounce lands are lands such as Azorius Chancery) and Snap. With these combination of cards, you can play multiple spells in a turn and build up such a board presence and draw so many cards, you will be way of ahead of your opponent in just a couple of turns.


This deck does come with its faults though. It does not perform well without any Familiar creatures on the battlefield, as all of your spells cost a lot of mana to cast. You don't have any removal and Snap is your only way to remove a threat from the board. You also can run into the unfortunate luck of having only bounce lands (Azorius Chancery) in your opening hand and be forced to mulligan. Let's break the down and see what we are working with.



The Creatures

Sunscape Familiar and Nightscape Familiar – These are the 2 cards that make the deck function. You have to be careful about running them out because they are not very hard to kill and once you lose them, it can become very hard to win.


Mnemonic Wall – The reason this is here instead of Archaeomancer is because it does not die to Lightning Bolt, but more importantly, it only costs 1 blue mana to cast. Costing only 1 blue mana to cast is huge when you are trying to play as many Ghostly Flicker loops as you can in one game.


Mulldrifter – We all know why this is here, it draws you 2 cards and can be used to combo with Snap and Ghostly Flicker. You will also find yourself winning with multiple Mulldrifters they also attack in the air fairly well.


Sea Gate Oracle – Not only can it draw you through your deck like Mulldrifter can, but it is also a very good blocker for only 3 mana. A big thing about this deck is being able to keep your life total above 0 for long enough to combo off and win the game. Sea Gate Oracle does a great job at blocking in the early game as well as the late game.


Dinrova Horror – This is your main way of winning the game. The plan is to bounce all of your opponent's permanents and then win the game by turning your creatures sideways.


Stonehorn Dignitary – This is a great creature to combo with in this deck because it stops your opponent from being able to kill you with combat damage. The best part about this card is that if you flicker it twice in a turn, the ability stacks and so this means your opponent will not be able to attack for the next 2 turns. It is a great way to keep your life total above 0 and be able to set up and win.


Lone Missionary – With Snap and Ghostly Flicker in your deck, it is easy to gain tons of life and keep yourself in the game long enough so that you can buy enough time to set up and win. I have personally gained over 40 life in some games off of this card alone with the Ghostly Flicker loop and without I would have lost many times. By having this in the main deck, your Burn and Red Deck Wins matchups get much better as well.


The Spells

Snap – This card fits quite a few rolls in this deck. While it can remove a threat off of your opponents battlefield for a short time, the more important role is being able to return a creature of your own (such as Mulldrifter) and take advantage of their come into play abilities. With you playing 6 bounce lands, you can also generate a lot of mana because the lands produce 2 mana for only 1 land. This allows you to play many spells in a single turn and get very far ahead, very quickly.


Ghostly Flicker – Well we all know why this card is here, I don't think I need to explain it and so I will move on.


Impulse – This card is great because it digs you 4 cards deep, which will usually result in helping you find what you need. The best part is that it is an instant as well.


Preordain – It is always better to push dead cards to the bottom. This deck needs very specific draws and cannot afford to draw useless lands later in the game and so I think that makes this better than Ponder.


Compulsive Research – This is the best card draw available for only 3 mana. Digs you 3 cards deep and you can always discard lands you do not need.


Reaping the Graves – Your creatures are small and pretty easy to kill and you will end up playing multiple spells in a single turn. You will be building a good storm count and you will be able to return a good amount of creatures for the price of only 3 mana and the best part is that it is an instant, so you can cast it whenever the timing is right.


The Manabase

The Manabase isn't anything very special. You have some fetchlands in the form of Evolving Wilds and Ash Barrens because you play 3 colors, but you mainly want as much blue mana in play as possible. You only play 6 bounce lands (Azorius Chancery and Dimir Aqueduct) because you don't need more and you only need 2 of them to really be able to “go off” with Snap. By only playing 6, it also lowers your chance of getting stuck with opening hands that only contain bounce lands and force you to mulligan.


The Sideboard

3 Hydroblast – Damage based removal such as Skred and Lightning Bolt are very popular these days, as are decks such as Burn and Red Deck Wins. It is always a good idea to pack these in your sideboard to protect your creatures or your life total.


2 Dispel – A very good way to fight against the control decks using tons of instant speed removal or CounterSpells.


1 Deep Analysis – I love this card and it helps a ton to fight against control decks. It only draws 2 cards for 4 mana, but it is the Flashback on the card that makes it so good. I would like a second copy of this card somewhere.


2 Circle of Protection: Red – Helps fight the red decks, that is basically what this is for.


3 Prismatic Strands – A great way to either counter burn spells or to Fog for a turn against any aggro deck. The best part as always is that it can be easily Flashbacked to use it again.


3 Lone Missionary – Again for the red decks or the aggro decks where you need some early life gain and an early blocker.


1 Stonehorn Dignitary – This is a great card against light removal decks such as Elves and Stompy.


The Videos


Verdict and Conclusion

I like what this deck is doing and I think it is a lot of fun. It can combo off very quickly and it has great matchups against most of the aggro decks of the format. It's Red Deck Wins and Goblins matchup can be tricky, but after sideboard they get much better. The control matchups are also not great, but I think the sideboard just needs to be tuned for those archetypes.


Do I think you should play this deck right now? I honestly can't say yes and I can't say no. It is a very glass cannon sort of deck and what I mean is you will have games where you win quickly or win by grinding your opponent out and using good sequencing with your spells. However the deck can be very fragile.


The problems are if you kill the Familiars, the deck loses the ability to play a bunch of spells and chain them all together. If you stop the deck from drawing cards, it won't be able to keep the gas flowing and again you won't be able to chain spells together. It just isn't very difficult to counter this archetype, but that doesn't mean I think you shouldn't play it because like any good combo deck, the best players always know how to fight through the hate, so make sure you practice a lot.


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 for reading and watching! See you guys next time!