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By: gwyned, gwyned
Nov 07 2011 1:22pm
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I. Introduction

Welcome to this special Monday Pauper Deck Challenge Double Feature. Innistrad has at last come to Standard Pauper, and with it the rotation of Standard, creating a brand new metagame that promises to be quite a different experience from what has come before. Just before the start of the new season, I gave a quick summary of my thoughts going forward and highlighted what I saw as the potential new decks to emerge. Although I predicted that Aggro strategies would be more pronounced in the new metagame, as it turns out viable Control options may emerge more quickly than I anticipated. In Part One of this special Double Feature, I covered Izzet Delver, a Control decklist that I piloted to a Top 4 finish in MPDC 15.01. This time, in Part Two, I want to cover the Finals from this same event by briefly analyzing both decklists and giving you a videocast of the final match.

Let me remind you once again that the goal of this series is to highlight relevant information about the Standard Pauper format from the results of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, commonly referred to as MPDC. MPDC is a weekly PRE featuring a Swiss tournament in the Standard Pauper format, with prizes awarded for the Top 8 finishers thanks to the sponsorship of MTGOTraders. As always, if you've never checked out MPDC, I encourage you to browse over to for all the information and then come join us at 2:00pm EST / 6:00pm GMT in the /join MPDC room. You can also check out any of my previous articles by clicking here.

II. The Decklists
A. BW Midrange

BW Midrange
played by hyku in MPDC 15.01
4 Doomed Traveler
4 Village Bell-Ringer
4 Fume Spitter
4 Glint Hawk
4 Phyrexian Rager
2 Gravedigger
2 Perilous Myr
2 Vault Skirge
23 cards

Other Spells
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Pacifism
3 Flayer Husk
2 Revoke Existence
2 Sylvok Lifestaff
15 cards
11 Plains
11 Swamp
22 cards


Like any good mid-range deck, this variant of the classic BW deck combines efficient creatures, removal, and some card draw to create a list that has decent matchups against both Aggro and Control archetypes. In effect, it is very similar to the Monochromatic Midranger deck that was popular last season in MPDC, minus that deck's all-stars of Kor Skyfisher and Squadron Hawk. Gone too is Prophetic Prism, which was the Artifact of choice to bounce with Glint Hawk to create a decent card-draw engine. In its place is Ichor Wellspring, but this list lacks any means to actually sacrifice it for additional value. The pilot has also chosen Pacifism over Black removal like Doom Blade or Grasp of Darkness, which does have the advantage of avoiding any graveyard effects from cards like Gravedigger, Sylvok Lifestaff, or Perilous Myr. As far as creatures are concerned, Fume Spitter, Phyrexian Rager, Perilous Myr, and Gravedigger are all strong choices, although given the limited graveyard hate the choice to run only 2 of the diggers seems less than optimal. This list also receives a nice boost from Innistrad with Doomed Traveler and Village Bell-Ringer. The Doomed Traveler is surprisingly effective, serving as a decent early beater once enhanced with some Equipment and upgrading into a solid 1/1 flyer. Village Bell-Ringer, on the other hand, has not been as effective as I had hoped, but still makes for a nice combat trick and a solid defender on the ground with its 4 Toughness. Finally, the inclusion of Revoke Existence in the Main deck is testimony to the power of Artifacts in the metagame right now; by the same token, it also makes Vault Skirge a lackluster choice.

For the Sideboard, the deck includes full playsets of two cards that will be very common in weeks to come - Geth's Verdict to deal with Hexproof creatures and Nihil Spellbomb to deal with Flashback and other forms of Graveyard recursion. The additional Sylvok Lifestaffs and Perilous Myrs gives the deck some options against aggressive decks, while the extra Revoke Existences play a similar role in dealing with heavy Artifact decks. Other potential options might include Doom Blade to side in against opponent where Pacifism is sub-optimal, Pith Driller to punish other weenie decks, or Mind Rot to help out against Control decks.

B. Kuldotha RU

In my article covering what changes I expected to see in the metagame with the release of Innistrad and the rotation of Standard, Kuldotha Red was one of the decklists I identified as still having some great potential for a new season. This particular decklist, however, went in a totally different direction than I had anticipated. Rather than adding solid Red creatures like Bloodcrazed Neonate or Crossway Vampire and staying with the mono Red theme, the pilot instead decided to reduce the number of creatures considerably and in their place splash a number of powerful Blue spells - Think Twice, Vivisection, and Negate in the Sideboard. He also dramatically increased the total number of spells, including the two new burn spells from Innistrad - Geistflame and Brimstone Volley. The result is almost more of a Control deck that relies upon superior spells and card draw over time to eventually overwhelm an opponent with a slow but relentless attack from Perilous Myrs, Goblin tokens from Kuldotha Rebirth, and Germ tokens from Flayer Husk. Flameborn Hellion can also make for a nice surprise, serving almost as a Lava Axe that can crash in again and again, assuming one can keep the virtual Battlefield clear. Perhaps the only issue I might raise with this particular list is the low number of total burn spells. Given that this deck expects to play the long game, at the very least increasing Incinerate up to a full playset by bringing the other two out of the Sideboard seems a wise choice.

For the Sideboard, this list also plays the requisite playset of Nihil Spellbombs to strike back against Flashback and Graveyard recursion. Ancient Grudge is also an excellent choice given all the Artifacts in the metagame, although one might argue whether or not Manic Vandal is a better choice given the potential need for additional Creatures in this deck. For this same reason, Nightbird's Clutches seems an odd inclusion, as the deck doesn't really have enough Creatures to get much value out of this card in my opinion. Act of Treason, on the other hand, seems perfectly suited for this deck, and one can even combo with Vivisection to sacrifice the creature before it returns to your opponent. Other potential Sideboard options might include Silent Departure to deal with heavy Creature decks, Delver of Secrets to take advantage of all the Instants and Sorceries, Artillerize to get increased damage and synergize with Ichor Wellspring and Mycosynth Wellspring, or Rally the Forces to enable a nice Alpha Strike at the proper moment.

III. The Match

Unfortunately I had significant problems in capturing and creating the video for the Finals between these two decklists. This, combined with some illness, not only delayed getting this article published in a timely fashion but also resulted in a final product that is not up to my own standards of excellence. Nonetheless, I still believe these videos will be helpful in understanding exactly how these two decks play out. So, those caveats aside, let's take a look at the Finals from MPDC 15.01.




IV. Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this feature on the Finals from MPDC 15.01. As always, let me remind you that if you would like a sneak peak at my content before it goes live here at, you can always browse over to, search for "gwyned42," select one of my video-casts, and click the Subscribe button. You can also now follow me on Twitter at the username gwyned42; check out my profile here and click on Follow. Let me also extend a special thanks to all my fellow Standard Pauper players who have taken the time to thank me for these articles. I truly believe that Standard Pauper is an important format for Magic Online, and I also enjoy the opportunity to meet new Standard Pauper players and help them jump into this format. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts, watch the videos, and comment on my articles.