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By: ScionOfJustice, Evan Anderson
Dec 08 2014 11:08am
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If you are playing pauper in the current meta, you have two options: play Treasure Cruise or play Forest. Now I've already wrote an article on playing Stompy, so the other options that don't involve cruise are Hexproof and Elves (note: Infect is not playable in the current meta due to the amount of Izzet burn decks). Now here your article on Hexproof, I see Hexproof as one of the playable decks in the format because like Stompy you can put a very fast clock on your opponent, but unlike Stompy, your creatures can't be burned into oblivion. The only red burn card you have to fear is Electrickery. The removal that you do have to worry about is edict effects, but since edict effects are played by MBC, Dimir Control and Trinket, it isn't as worrisome now because those decks are seeing much less play, particularly MBC.

So after looking over the other hexproof decks and seeing what they were running, I ended up playing putting together a list of my own.  Then after testing those lists for a bit, this is what I ended up with:  

 

I'll run through the list and explain what value each card brings to the deck.

Creatures

Gladecover ScoutSlippery BogleSilhana Ledgewalker

These are your main creatures, they all have hexproof and that is where the deck gets its name.  You use these guys as your silver bullets, you can safely cast your auras on them and get them to be gigantic.  The ledgewalker has a higher casting cost than the other two guys, but it has invasion which is great against some decks.  The fact that it cost two mana can also be helpful in resolving it against decks with Spellstutter Sprite

Aura Gnarlid

Your other creature in the deck.  It doesn't have hexproof but it has two really powerful abilities.  One is evasion, this creature is more or less unblockable, the second goes great in this deck as each aura on the battlefield pumps him, so even in the mirror your opponents aura will make your Gnarlid bigger, versus Stompy their rancors will make him bigger.  The only downside is that being the only creature in your deck without hexproof means that if your opponent does have targeted removal, that they are not dead cards and he may become  a (Victim of the Night) upon arrival to the battlefield.  If he does stick on the battlefield, you're in great shape and he will often be better post sideboard because your opponent may side out all of their targeted removal.

Spells

 Manamorphose

This card makes it so you are effectively playing a fifty-six card deck, assuming you hit land drop number two or forest and Utopia Sprawl.  It fixes your mana and makes your deck more consistent.  

daze

This is Daze, it's a thirty dollar common.  We don't use this card. 

Auras

Abundant Growth

This card does what Manamorphose does for the deck, but better.  It doesn't just fix your mana for one turn but for the rest of the game.  It is an aura so it makes Ancestral Mask, Ethereal Armor and Aura Gnarlid better and it draws you a card thus making your deck more consistent.  

Utopia Sprawl

This card will fix your mana, add another aura to the battlefield and help ramp your mana.  It can only enchant forest though, so not all of our lands are valid targets.

Hyena Umbra

You get a lot for one mana here.  First of all you get first strike which is really important when you want to attack into your opponents creatures but don't want to lose your guy.  You also get +1/+1 which take your hexproof little guy out of electrickery range.  Lastly you get totem armor which is great if you are up against Crypt Rats or if you get this on your Gnarlid to protect versus targeted removal.

rancor

We're all familiar with this powerful enchantment.  For one mana you get a two point bonus to your power and trample so your opponent can't chump block your guy once they get huge and you get damage through.  If your guy does die after this resolves, you get it back.  The downside is that it doesn't pump toughness and this alone on your hexproof guy will just be a 3/1 trample that will die if they block it.  Also against red decks with open mana post sideboard, be aware that they can Electrickery in response to you casting this to kill your guy and counter the Rancor so you don't get it back.

Ethereal Armor

Ok now we're talking!  This is one of the really powerful enchantments in the deck.  For one white mana we get first strike and +1/+1 for each enchantment you control, and with twenty-six enchantments in the deck, this is capable of making your 1/1s into monsters. 

Ancestral Mask

Similar to Ethereal Armor this enchantment gives its bonus based on the amount of enchantments in play.  In the mirror match, clearly this is the card you want to draw as its bonus is based on the enchantments in play irrespective of who controls them.  It's not uncommon for you to find yourself losing a game, drawing this and casting it on a Silhana Ledgewalker and swinging for the win.

Armadillo Cloak

Another one of the super powerful enchantments in the deck.  This gives trample, a bonus to the power and toughness, and effective lifelink.  Note that it grants effective lifelink but not lifelink.  It's lifegain is a triggered ability of the enchantment which will differentiate it from lifelink in three ways:

1) With normal lifelink, the life gained during combat happens at the same time as the damage, but this is a triggered ability that uses the stack, you can die with the triggered ability on the stack.

2) You can cast this on your opponents creature and you will still control the triggered ability and gain the life.  Note as stated above, if you cast this on their creature and make it a 5/5, and they hit you with it and you're at five life, you will still die with the trigger on the stack.

3) The effects of the life gain are cumulative, so you can have multiple of these on a creature and will gain the life off of each one.  So if you have two cloaks on a bogle making it a 5/5, when it hits, you gain ten life. 

This is a great enchantment for the games where you need to race, if you resolve this against burn, you win.

Lands

Blossoming Sands

This will fix our mana and gain us one life which in pauper is very relevant.  It does come into play tapped which will slow us down and it can't be enchanted by Utopia Sprawl, it fixes our mana at a cost.  

forest

I love playing these in the current meta.  They cast the spells you want to be casting, they don't tap for white mana though, so we don't run 17 of them.

Khalni Garden

This is in here to give us edict fodder.  Sometimes the plant token is used to block a Ninja of the Deep Hours in which case it effectively gained us two life and stopped our opponent from drawing a card.  In some scenarios you may not draw a creature and will have to enchant the plant token.  I have used the plant token combined with my enchantments to do 100% of the damage in a game and win without drawing a creature spell.

Sideboard

Flaring Pain

You can bring this in if you suspect you are up against Circle of Protection: Green, Prismatic Strands, for Fog effects.  

fogtanglemoment's peace

Fog effects, take your pick.  You can bring these in for aggro decks that are reliant on having big attack phases.  This can include delver fiend, white tokens, elves, goblins, infect, and the mirror.  

Gleeful Sabotage

Very versatile removal against artifacts or enchantments, you can get a two for one with this card or just try and power through counter magic to make sure a (Spire Holem) dies.  Good against the mirror, delver, and affinity.  

Ray of Revelation

Similar to Gleeful Sabotage but at instant speed and only for enchantments.  Great in the mirror or against Curse of the Bloody Tome or Jace's Erasure decks trying to mill you out since it has flashback and can be cast from your graveyard.

Relic of Progenitus

This is pretty much a staple sideboard card in pauper.  This card hoses any deck trying to utilise their graveyard like Golgari Tortured Existence decks, familiar storm decks that try and recur Ghostly Flicker, and can be brought in just to fight off of decks with a lot of flashback cards or Treasure Cruise.  

Oblivion Ring

Most versitile removal.  This can hit any troublesome card on the battlefield but some of the most important targets are Circle of Protection: Green and Standard Bearer.  It is also an enchantment so it will add to the bonus of your Ethereal Armor or Ancestral Mask.

Scattershot Archer

This is in here for decks running Spellstutter Sprite but it gets to cause splash damage to deck running Squadron Hawk or Battle Screech.

Standard Bearer

This comes in for the mirror, stompy and elves.  If you can get this in play early and get it to stick, it will shut down a ton of their deck.  

Young Wolf

These guys are here for two reasons; the main reason being edict fodder but the secondary reason being that some decks you go up against have no disruption for your creatures anyways so hexproof is meaningless, just swap out two bogles or Gladecover Scout for these guys because undying is better than nothing.  

 

To the Dailies!

Round 1 

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

 

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 1

 Round 2

 Round 3

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4 

Round 1

 Round 2

 Round 3

 Round 4

 

Alterations

So you may have noticed that I've been tweaking the deck throughout those events.  The mains tweaks came after I looked at Dain5's list which ran seventeen forest as his mana base and no Hyena Umbras.  Even though I do like having Hyena Umbra on my creatures, I like being able to cast my spells better.  I still didn't want to go all in on Forest so I compromised and cut all of the umbras and most of the non-forest lands so I have more targets for Utopia Sprawl and better tempo with only three come into play tapped lands while keeping a few non-basics to take advantage of either their mana fixing or plant token.  Here is my current version:

 

Now the main deck only has eight white mana symbols in it and thirteen ways to get white mana and more Aura Gnarlids which is great if your opponent doesn't have spot removal or if they do, it is damage based spot removal like Lightning Bolt or Flame Slash and you can hold the Gnarlid until you have enough aura's on the battlefield to play around.  One thing I did not like about Dain5's list was his sideboard answer to edict effects.  Instead of running Young Wolf he runs Raise the Alarm which I think is a mistake.  With Young Wolf you can play it on turn one and have your edict fodder up at the expense of one mana and start attacking with it right away, while if you take the Raise the Alarm sideboard strategy you still have to develop a threat which is a creature with aura's and have your edict shields down, then you have to hold up mana to cast Raise the Alarm in response to the edict effect.  Now what happens if you do get your threat out and hold up mana for Raise the Alarm on their turn and instead of edicting you they pass?  Do you end of turn Raise the Alarm because if you do, they could respond with Geth's Verdict or Diabolic Edict, and if you don't, well then you just held up two mana for nothing and you should have used that mana to improve your board position.  Also Raise the Alarm is another white card and it is best to try and minimize the reliance on white mana as much as possible.  If you lose your bullet proof auraed up bogle to an edict while holding a Raise the Alarm that could have been a Young Wolf because you didn't have your mana fixed at the time, you will feel horrible.  The cost to benefit of getting to possible surprise someone with a raise the alarm does not seem very great, if they have edicts in their hand, they have to cast them anyways if they want to stand a chance because you can put a lot of pressure on them.  

Other Options

Here are some other cards that I've either thought about putting and testing out in the deck or have done so.

kruphix's Insight

In a deck with tons of enchantments you're likely to get a three for one with this card.  Getting the ability to reach into your deck and find that Armadillo Cloak or Ancestral Mask when you need it is great, especially when you can grab both at the same time.  The problem is that when you cast this card, it doesn't affect the board at all and at three mana it is already at the high end of your curve.  If you do add this to the deck, what are you going to cut?  If you end up cutting enchantments, you lower the use of this card, if you cut creatures, then you can magnify one of the weaknesses of this deck which is when you have a ton of auras but not target for them.

Heliod's Pilgrim

Much like Kruphix's Insight, this card will let you reach into your deck, with this card your whole deck, for that aura you need.  This guy will always hit, be card advantage with his body and the aura you grab.  The downside is that being white, he is a strain on your mana base, having converted mana cost of three, like Kruphix's Insight means he is slow and already tops your curve and like any other card you'd put in, it means you'd have to cut something else.

snake umbra

When first testing this deck I was running these instead of Ancestral Mask because I didn't have the masks as they are the most expensive cards in the deck.  Snake Umbra is a fine card, not fantastic like Ancestral Mask or (Armadilo Cloak).  If you can get your enchanted guy to connect and draw cards that is great, but since it only gives +1/+1 you'll need something else to be able to push it through blockers.  As with the other cards in this section above, it is three mana and thus a little slow.

commune with the gods

Of all the cards on this list, I think this one has the most potential.  It is only two mana so it will come out a lot faster.  It also solves the biggest problem the deck can have and that is a bad mix of either auras or creatures.  Sometimes you get a hand that is full of creatures and nothing to enchant them with, sometimes you get a hand full of auras and have no creatures to target.  This card lets you check the top five cards in your library for the missing piece.  If you want to play this deck but not the list I played exactly, I'd recommend trying this out.

Rofellos's Gift

I've seen this in other people's sideboards and think not only could it be a decent sideboard card, but depending on how you want to play the deck, could be main deck material.  It can get your best cards back and can be a way to get easy card advantage late game.

Elephant Guide

Everything about this looks pretty good, +3/+3 on a 1/1 and you can pretty much attack into anything other than affinity and when your guy dies you get a 3/3.  I wouldn't blame anyone for running this card in one of your slots, maybe cut one mask for one of these.

Moldervine Cloak

Another good cloak.  This card means that you'd always have the option of giving a +3/+3 bonus and applying pressure with what should be at least a 4/4.  The dredge ability means it could have good synergy with rofellos's gift if you want to run that too.

Karametra's FavorNylea's Presence

More ways to fix your mana while drawing a card.  I can see playing these and cutting Manamorphose or some of the enchant lands.

Leafcrown Dryad

It's a creature, it's an enchantment, it's super synergistic!  Reach is a very relevant ability in pauper and this card can be great against delver decks.

spider umbra

My hexproof deck in modern runs these and like I said with Leafcrown Dryad reach is a very useful in pauper.

Ending Thoughts

As you can see I really like this deck and I think it is positioned rather well in the current meta.  I have noticed though that since it has been preforming rather well, the meta game is adjusting to it and you will be seeing more Annuls but hopefully no Serene Hearts at least as of yet.  As you see I've done very well against both MBC and Trinket Mage decks which is supposed to be the harder matchups and the only other tough matchup is probably elves which, if they get the right draws, is probably unwinnable, but elves is not a very large part of the meta game right now due to Electrickery being a very popular sideboard card at the moment.