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By: Pujols_Teh_Destroyer, Christopher Oliver
Sep 28 2015 11:00am
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Siege Rhino is obviously one of the most iconic cards from this past Standard season.  The Khans of Tarkir Abzan trampler has been the glue holding together the different flavors of junk for the last year.  With impressive stats, trample and a Lightning Helix strapped on, it’s hard to remain calm when the siege beast is moving towards your walls.

 

Siege Rhino

Turns out Pauper has a similar creature, but you have to do some work for it. 

Kuldotha Mardu is a different take on the Boros Kitty style decks that grind out games by turning the “drawbacks” of cards like Glint Hawk and Kor Skyfisher into card advantage by utilizing Prophetic Prism and Ichor Wellspring

There are a number of reasons to splash a third color into an already very powerful RW Midrange deck.  Jeskai Kitty is a deck that saw significant amount of play when Treasure Cruise was legal, allowing the deck to not only grind games out, but get way ahead in card advantage while still maintaining pressure with efficient creatures.  Currently, Jeskai Kitty decks focus less on the interaction between the bounce creatures and more on the Trinket Mage package coupled with the raw power of Mulldrifter, making blue one of the obvious splashes for the deck. 

The black splash in Kuldotha Mardu is, in my most humble opinion, more impactful.  Black gives the deck access to better removal in the form of Terminate and Chainer’s Edict.  Additionally, it provides a very powerful card in Bleak Coven Vampires.  The five-mana 4/3 doesn’t do much by itself, but with metalcraft active, the eight-point life swing makes it comparable to Gray Merchant of Asphodel, with a more aggressive body. 

 

Bleak Coven Vampires

 

The deck has performed well in Pauper dailies thanks to its creator and pilot MADTRICKS.  It was also MADTRICKS who coined the phrase “Pauper Siege Rhino” when referring to the 4/3 black vampire. 

Since MADTRICKS has put the deck on the map, I’ve been playing it extensively.  In 15 games, most in the Tournament Practice Room and one Pauper Classic Tuesday event, I’m 13-2 with my slightly different list. 

Here’s the list I took to the Top 4 of the Sept. 22 PCT.

 

The only changes I made were in the numbers and a few of the sideboard slots.  The decks I beat included Goblins, Jeskai Kitty and UB Control.  I also lost to UB Control in the Top 4. 

Looking at each matchup, my only concern would be more action against the control decks.  While the deck has plenty of burn, it can sometimes durdle with taplands and cantripping artifacts when pressure should be applied.  I also wouldn’t hate a fourth Duress or maybe even a Castigate against the Mystical Teachings deck, as taking a key removal spell or win condition could effectively end the game early. 


 

Card Choices

Creatures

Bleak Coven Vampires Glint Hawk Gurmag Angler Kor Skyfisher

The creature choices include your obvious bounce creatures with four copies each of Kor Skyfisher and Glint Hawk.  Not only do these grind out value with your artifacts, but even doing things like resetting a Journey to Nowhere or bouncing a lifeland against aggressive decks can be useful.  Additionally, the bodies on both flyers are aggressive, which allow for some draws that allow you to curve out and end the game as early as turn 4 or 5. 

Bleak Coven Vampires is obviously the reason o play this deck and to splash black in the first place.  The body is aggressive, with the four power being no slouch.  If you drain an opponent and get a hit in, you’ve already taken control of the game.  The three toughness is sort of unfortunate, as Lightning Bolt kills it, but the eight-point life swing is well worth the small drawback.  In the late game, the vampire can also be bounced with Kor Skyfisher and replayed if needed. 

The one-of Gurmag Angler is a choice I’m relatively happy with.  The power of the zombie fish is obvious when we look at how Pauper has shifted in the last few months.  Sometimes it just comes down and cleans up the board, forcing bad blocks or threatening to end the game quickly.  It is also a card I have boarded out in some matchups, but that may be a mistake.

Removal

Lightning Bolt Galvanic Blast Terminate Chainer's Edict Journey to Nowhere Firebolt

In addition to the four copies of Galvanic Blast and three copies of Lightning Bolt, the black splash provides access to Terminate and Chainer’s Edict.  These cards really push the deck forward with the ability to deal with opposing zombie fish, as well as hexproof creatures. 

The one-of Journey to Nowhere and Firebolt are just powerful removal/burn to the face when needed.  The one-of Firebolt is a concession to more aggressive decks and the need to have more turn-one action.  A fourth Lightning Bolt could easily make its way into the deck if the format speeds up.. Journey to Nowhere is arguably some of the best removal in the format.  Two mana to deal with almost any creature in the format is fantastic.  

Recursion/Utility

Prophetic Prism Ichor Wellspring Grim Harvest

The eight cantrip artifacts are essential to maintaining card advantage.  These allow our Glint Hawks and Kor Skyfishers to provide cards instead of a drawback.  Prophetic Prism also helps fix the mana, which at times can be sketchy, as with most three-color Pauper decks.  Ichor Wellspring has the added synergy with Kuldotha Rebirth, providing three power and a card when sacrificed. 

The one-of Grim Harvest is perfect for grindy matchups like UB and Mono Black.  Rebuying Bleak Coven Vampires puts the opponent on the back foot and helps keep you going in full gear.  

Land

Ancient Den Great Furnace Vault of Whispers Wind-Scarred Crag Scoured Barrens Bloodfell Caves

The deck runs the full sets of Ancient Den, Great Furnace and Vault of Whispers.  To shore up the color requirements, it also runs four Wind-Scarred Crag and three each of Scoured Barrens and Bloodfell Caves.  Impressively enough, the lifelands have been invaluable against aggressive red decks.  I've played games in which I've gained seven to eight life off of my lands alone, allowing me to get into the late game to start dropping vampires.  

Sideboard Choices

Honestly, I feel the sideboard can be tweaked in a number of ways.  I’ve opted for cards that are solid in control matchups, against fast agro decks, the tokens decks and Affinity.  Copies of Pyroblast should probably make their way in as well.  Luckily, having access to red, white and black provides the pilot with an enormous swath of sideboard options in preparing for matchups.  Prophetic Prism opens this up even more, allowing me to board two Ancient Grudge with essentially a free slash into green.  

Wrapping Up

While perhaps not the consistent deck that Boros Kitty is, there is no doubt that the addition of black has upped the power level of the deck overall.  If you’re looking for a new spin on an old style, this could be a solid choice for you.  Normally, I’m a big advocate of three-color jank, but this deck does not fit in the “jank” category. 

I know I'll be playing this deck alongside my jank Tier-2 brews at least until BFZ hits.  After that, I'm all Allies. :)

Thanks for reading! 

Pujols The Destroyer