CottonRhetoric's picture
By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Sep 11 2013 8:28am
Login to post comments

Time for three CASUAL PAUPER decks.  Notice the all-caps.

Deck 1 Domain-queathal

Matca Rioters    

"Are there any powerful commons with Domain?" I once pondered.  Scouring the list I quickly noticed Tribal Flames and Gaea's Might, of course. But... zzzzzz!!!!  Done to death already!!!!!  No need for me to throw my hat in that ring.

Less commonly used ones, that were perfectly suited for the Pauper metagame, were Matca Rioters and Aven Trailblazer.  The former can stomp over nearly any ground creature you're likely to see, excepting only Kiln Fiend and Ulamog's Crusher.  And the latter can stomp over basically any air creature, most notably Delver of Secrets and Liliana's Specter.  It's even pretty great against ground creatures, most of whom are 2/2 in this format.

Wandering Stream could be cool in the right deck but it didn't fit in with my plan here.  And Strength of Unity was tempting but didn't make the cut in the end.  Basically all of the other options were underwhelming for one reason or another. Which brings us to the all-important question:

How do we enable domain?

We're already in green, so land searching seems to be the obvious route.  And as to the question of which land searchers to use, when there are so many to choose from....

It occurred to me that a certain subcategory of them was synergistic with a card I've been in love with since it was printed in 1998...

Green's own Ancestral Recall... it's...





What a cool card!  Why does nobody but me seem to use this thing!

Granted, it's unreliable in most decks, and runs the risk of being neutralized by creature removal while it's still on the stack, but with some careful play and proper deck building we can get the same deal only accessible to overpowered Affinity decks with their Thoughtcasts.  But without the accompanying guilt for playing an overpowered affinity deck in the Just For Fun room!

So Sakura-Tribe Elder and Dawntreader Elk are our land searchers, either of whom looks tremendous wearing a BequeathalYavimaya Elder is a fine option but a bit too clunky for this particular deck.  Viridian Emissary is no good since he can't control the timing of his own death.  And Diligent Farmhand is just a worse Sakura-Tribe Elder, isn't he?

Sylvok Lifestaff is a card that is way more powerful than you might guess if you haven't seen it in play.  You'll actually be seeing a lot of it today, since all three decks are about death triggers, and it's about the best common death trigger combo there is.

With some removal in Sunlance and Journey to Nowhere, and some added beats and resilience in Centaur Healer, and with the all-around greatness of Rancor, we have our deck!



Of all my pauper decks so far, this is the one I would most like to port to regular Magic, where I could have access to Collapsing Borders, Ordered Migration, Planar Despair, and of course Draco!  Maybe one day.


Deck 2 Ramp-queathal

Llanowar Druid    

This deck also has Bequeathal, yes, but it arrived there from a completely different direction than the above deck (and only shares 6 non-Bequeathal cards with the above deck).  The starting point: Llanowar Druid, as shown on the left.

I was talking in an earlier article about how Tinder Wall is a delayed Dark Ritual in green. What's Llanowar Druid then?  A delayed High Tide?  It's sort of even better, since High Tide doesn't let you get 6 mana out of three lands.  Llanowar Druid can cast a Kindercatch on the third turn.  Is there a single other card in pauper that can make that boast?  Only Culling the Weak comes to mind, but we're looking at even worse card disadvantage there.

It looks like we're in mono-green, so what expensive spells should we go for?  Kindercatch might seem like the best 6-mana deal, but with all of the anti-creature removal, almost every deck can kill him at will, and since we're sacrificing a card to get to him, we want something a little more resilient.

A superior option is Aurochs Herd.  It may sound weak, but in Pauper, a single one of these is a respectable body.  And the self-replacing effect takes its toll on any opponent—even against those slow, grindy, two-for-one decks Pauper so incentivizes.  Maul Splicer is another good option.  He's not a third-turn play, of course, but we do have to plan for other game situations than that you know.

    Aurochs Herd  Llanowar Sentinel

Another surprisingly good card is Llanowar Sentinel.  He's serviceable as a three-drop when you're against an aggro deck and have no other plays.  He can kill and survive most combat situations there.  Of course, you usually do have other plays in this deck, and often end up casting him as a five-drop.  Still a good play!  When you get up to X=7 or X=9... well that power should be obvious, right?  And this deck has no trouble getting there. The Sentinel is good in the early-, mid-, and late-game.  Give him a try!

We need tons of ramp, which of course green accels at.  Like the above deck, I went with ones that combined with Bequeathal, since the centerpiece of the deck (that being Llanowar Druid) already did itself.  Sakura-Tribe Elder is back in, and you know what?  Devoted Druid forms a nice combo with it.  It ramps nicely from 2 mana to 5 on the third turn (perfect for that Llanowar Sentinel), and when its mana production is no longer useful, you can put a Bequeathal on it and commit suicide with -1/-1 counters.  Last, with all of the two-mana accelerators, Ondu Giant is a nice third-turn play to keep us ramping towards six.  And his body is usually relevant in this format!

One thing I noticed after playing with this deck for a while is I would sometimes find myself in the late game with, say, seven forests in play, and a Llanowar Druid in my hand, and nothing to do with all of that mana.  Green commons don't cost more than 8 mana ever, and the only X-spells at common are pretty weak.  Except one, to my surprise... Untamed Might.  I'm only running two, since they're bad most of the time, but in the late game?  Even without doubling our mana, we could still get off a game-winning X=7 pretty easily.  And when we do double our mana... let's just say I've stolen some wins from behind that not even a Hatred deck could accomplish!

Poke around with this deck; try different builds.  It's pretty fun.


More casual pauper
4 Llanowar Druid
4 Devoted Druid
4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Llanowar Sentinel
3 Ondu Giant
4 Aurochs Herd
3 Maul Splicer
26 cards

Other Spells
4 Bequeathal
2 Sylvok Lifestaff
2 Vines of Vastwood
2 Untamed Might
10 cards
24 Forest
24 cards

Untamed Might


Last up, a deck with no Bequeathals, or even Forests....

Deck 3 Mono-B Death

Innocent Blood    

If we're talking about death triggers, we would be foolish not to talk about black.  So many of its creatures naturally have "when this dies" effects, and it's the king of sacrificing as well... let's run with it and see where it takes us!

We have two main options.  One is creatures who sacrifice themselves paired with cards that benefit from their death.  Two is cards that sacrifice creatures paired with creatures that benefit from dying.  Either one is a perfectly fine route.  I'll go with... Option B I guess!

For how to kill our creatures, let's run cards that also accomplish something else in the process.  Innocent Blood and its partner Bone Splinters are the removal of choice here.  Altar's Reap was good enough as sorcery speed when it was Skulltap, but now it allows for combat tricks and foiling our opponent's targeted spells!

Festering Newt is the best 1-mana creature with a death trigger, slightly beating out Festering Goblin since it can't kill our own guys by accident.  Deathgreeter seems at home here but he's a bit underwhelming in action.

At two mana we have much better options.  Black Cat is surprisingly strong.  Butcher Ghoul can be considered the same card as Black Cat, except its bonus is a 2/2 instead of a random discard.  Those are worth about the same.  Abyssal Gatekeeper would be good in a different deck, but is a bit much in here.  (It says "each player," if you didn't notice.)  We can also conscript the colorless Perilous Myr.

    Driver of the Dead

The last creature in this vein I want to show off is Driver of the Dead.  Pretty useful when every other creature in your deck costs only 2 mana!

Now for the tricks.

1, Undying Evil.  The only thing better than casting Bone Splinters off a Black Cat is getting that Black Cat back again... and even bigger this time!  Not to mention you can get him back even again with Driver of the Dead.  (Undying doesn't exile the creature when it dies that second time—still goes right to the grave.)

2, Shade's Form.  This started as an Unhallowed Pact, until I realized that, to my vast surprise, Shade's Form does that exact same thing.  I thought Shade's Form only protected your own guy!  But no, it can also Control Magic an opponent's moribund creature.  AND you can use it for the pump effect.  Pretty versatile!

3, Skittering Skirge.  It's not that tricky, but it is very techy.  It's an absolute beast in its stats and cmc.  Its drawback is moot if we don't play stupidly.  It's small enough to return with a Driver of the Dead.  It's painless to sacrifice if we do need to cast more guys.  It almost always sneaks in for a good 6 damage before it dies (a great deal for 2-mana).  And can you imagine how great it looks with an Undying Evil?


Here's the list:


Cas' paup'
4 Festering Newt
4 Black Cat
4 Perilous Myr
4 Skittering Skirge
3 Driver of the Dead
19 cards

Other Spells
4 Bone Splinters
4 Innocent Blood
2 Undying Evil
2 Sylvok Lifestaff
4 Altar's Reap
2 Shade's Form
18 cards
23 Swamp
23 cards

Shade's Form


See you next time, and have fun with pauper!


Funny that I used to play by Kumagoro42 at Wed, 09/11/2013 - 11:10
Kumagoro42's picture

Funny that I used to play with all those green cards at some point. Of course, they're green cards. I've probably played with every single one of them at some point (except Tarmogoyf. Never owned one.)

I had a Gruul midrange pauper deck with the Aurochs a few years ago. They're one of the best finishers for green.

And I played with Bequeathal too at that time! Honestly, didn't find it myself, I read it in an article here about a competitive pauper deck. So it was in a serious list at some point, some kind of stomper I believe, dunno what became of it.

I used to put 1 Sylvok Lifestaff in every pauper deck and another in the sideboard. It's very strong even when you don't sacrifice your own creatures, makes attacking hard for the opponent. (I remember I had a WUG deck with lots of ETB effects and tokens, where all those vanilla creatures were then improved by the staff). (Some of the tokens were Eldrazi Drones of course, and those can sac themselves while wearing the staff).

And boy, Llanowar Sentinel! That one, I used to play all the time in non-pauper Elf decks, like 15 years ago, back when Elf decks would ramp but were still honest. I miss those decks, now Elf = annoying combo time. They really ruined them.

I think of bequeathal as the by Tom the Scud at Wed, 09/11/2013 - 21:59
Tom the Scud's picture

I think of bequeathal as the green Thoughtcast - takes some setup and only works in some decks, but great when it does. That last deck really wants some Pit Keepers, I think. Those guys are just dirty with driver of the dead.

Don't forget lush growth by Cyrulean at Wed, 09/11/2013 - 22:39
Cyrulean's picture

Lush growth will help with domain and its only one mana for a Forest, plains and a mountain all in one!

omg Cotton, you may have by Cyrulean at Fri, 09/13/2013 - 21:17
Cyrulean's picture

omg Cotton, you may have stumbled on to something big. See Nylea's Pressence:

Enchantment - Aura Common
Enchant land
When Nylea's Presence enters the battlefield, draw a card.
Enchanted land is every basic land type in addition to its other types.