AndreaFonseca's picture
By: AndreaFonseca, Andrea Fonseca
Feb 02 2011 9:57am
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I wanna tell you a story. Some time ago, a new format was born. It had behind it all the weight of the hopes of all Magic Online community. It had a healthy feel around it, where anyone could play the best deck no matter the price. It's name was Pauper. People all around the world started brewing, everyone had their one take on almost every strategy. and PDCMagic were a big part of the format's evolution with almost a daily article talking about it and lots of people pushing it ahead.  Real life events started to show up and everyone was loving it, and one deck, was considered to be the best deck available for almost every metagame: Mono Black Rats.  I would recommend to read this article before you keep reading.  Done? Let's take a look at the deck right now:

Mono Black Rats
Plaguelord01 (4-0) Pauper Daily #2022715 on 01/31/2011
3 Chittering Rats
4 Crypt Rats
1 Okiba-Gang Shinobi
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Ravenous Rats
16 cards

Other Spells
3 Befoul
4 Corrupt
4 Disfigure
3 Grasp of Darkness
4 Sign in Blood
3 Unearth
21 cards
23 Swamp
23 cards

Crypt Rats


To understand why MBC dominated the old format, things have to be kept in perspective. Storm was a big player, alongside Mono Blue heavy control that had as a kill condition a couple of Errant Ephemeron and Fathom Seer. The current Pauper metagame has evolved a lot since then... Hum... Wait... Mono Blue and Storm are 2 of the most played decks. Mono Blue won 2 of the last events (to date) and Storm is one of the decks that keep winning despite whatever you throw at them. Unearth brought a big reach to this deck that it didn't have before. (Grave Digger) and Warren Pilferers are not good cards and Unearth gave us a way to still recur some cards without using bad ones despite the 1 card drawback. Let us consider the top decks in the current pauper metagame:

Tier 1:

Frantic Storm
UR Post
MUC (Faeries)
Green Stompy
Mono Black

Tier 2:

UBx Teachings
UW/UWR Momentary Blink Decks

Rats has a good way of dealing with ANYTHING any of this decks throw at them and its a very easy deck to adapt to any metagame despite being mono colored.
 Diabolic EdictBefoulTendrils of CorruptionDisfigure

With almost every kind of removal available both cheap and mass, it kind deal with all the onslaughts that your opponents may deploy. Crypt Rats can deal with the Goblin and Green Stompy menace, dealing with both creature mass and untargetable creatures such as the Silhana Ledgewalker. Both Green and Red decks are great matchups since you can kill their threats and then rip the burn spells from their hands or end the game with Corrupt. Storm is a tricky matchup, despite being good on paper.  Crypt Rats can give a way to deal with Empty the Warrens and all the discard + Befoul in their tap lands should keep them off "going off" with Grapeshot. UR Post it's a decent matchup in my opinion, especially because I've been playing with the deck a lot and I'm never happy to play versus black. UR Post has a small concentration of relevant spells and hand disruption its actually very good against it. Corrupt puts them out of Thunder reach and lots of removal can deal with Ulamog's Crusher. Ravenous Rats really shines since its almost always a 2 for 1. Okiba Gang shinobi can also wreck havoc since Lightning Bolt and Staggershock are the only instant removal they use. MBC vs MUC was one of the big standouts in the previous Pauper seasons, despite both decks evolving a lot in recent history there's always a strange feel when they match. The dice roll is almighty here since dropping a Ravenous Rats or a Duress or Distress before they can counter it can make all the difference. If you keep them out of Ninja of the Deep Hours reach or Disfigure it passing through Spellstutter Sprite  you should be fine since your end game is bigger than theirs.

Frantic Storm is the new big bad boss in Pauper.  Combining the power of Sunscape Familiar and Nightscape Familiar with Cloud of Faeries and Frantic Search it can draw almost the entire deck and drop game breaking Temporal Fissure that besides bouncing your permanents can also bounce Cloud of Faeries and Mulldrifter for an encore. Hand disruption is key here, keeping them off options, also Befoul on their karoo lands and killing of the familiars. 

The deck can be altered to fight off almost everything since you can drop low on the disruption spells and increase removal in an aggro field of do the opposite if needed. Between Duress and Distress you can have 8 disruption spells main deck allied with Ravenous Rats and Chittering Rats . Okiba-Gang Shinobi its one of the hidden gems of the format, it can wreac as a turn 4 play, besides retrieving a guy you'll use as card advantage yet again (all the deck's creatures habe come into play abilities besides Crypt Rats). The deck's sideboard can be modified for almost any need, being also able to use land destruction spells such as (Chocking Sands). 

Overall I believe MBC to be one of the best Pauper decks available in the current metagame and I advise you to try it out!

Until then,

Andrea Fonseca



grandpoobah's picture

You did at least discuss the meta, and a reasonably current take on it too. Still, you should have included some explanation of how to play the deck, the strategies and tactics and so forth, along with an account of at least one sample game you find to be representative.

Specific comments:

1) Doom Blade should be main, Befoul side. And you need to think about whether you really want Befoul in the side, or just straight LD for 1 less mana. If you're using it against Post or Storm, you need your LD to work early.

2) 4 Corrupts is too many. Many games won't last long enough to cast it.

3) If you're going to play Okiba-gang Shinobi, you should play more than 1.

4) Chittering Rats is probably the best card in the deck, why only 3?

5) Echoing Decay is probably a must-have SB card. You can't just rely on your rats.

Finally, if you're going to recount some history of Pauper, you might mention what it is. Either assume people know what it is, or don't. Now, if we could just get a combination of this article and that MG Post article from the other day...

Im kind of offended you by TheRegularGangster at Wed, 02/02/2011 - 17:50
TheRegularGangster's picture

Im kind of offended you didn't include affinity - it's a tier one deck for sure. My 2-Man results with it have been overwhelming.

plus you need the tendrils of by Salgy at Wed, 02/02/2011 - 18:41
Salgy's picture

plus you need the tendrils of corruption in main too. helps fight goblins and other crazy aggro decks. by letting them swing swing cryptic rat during their combat phase, wipe board, sit back next creature they play you drain netting life and so forth till you stack a huge corrupt. but like grandpoohbah said you need atleast 2 okibas and most def 4 of each rat. and hate to burst your bubble storm decks can go off with 2-3 lands so befoul isnt a for sure stop them from going off. the real meat and potatoes of MBC was card disruption, mass life gain off of tendrils and corrupt and board control with cryptic rat. And why no grim harvest? grim harvest is sooo awesome in the deck.

Well affinity is a tier 1 by AndreaFonseca at Wed, 02/02/2011 - 18:54
AndreaFonseca's picture

Well affinity is a tier 1 deck for sure, but at least from my grinding I didn't quite see it, also red deck wins can be found to go 4-0 if needed but its really not that much played. Affinity has a problem concerning lack of consistency besides being underwhelmed by UR post. I consider it a good matchup for mbc.
Salgy: I also like Tendrils of Corruption a lot but goblins play something like 8 sac enablers making it a lot weaker, alongside with Vines in stompy, also the green aggro decks are also a big part poison, making the life gain kind of irrelevant

Decade_of_Statues's picture

I went 1-3 in yesterday's TPDC tournament with this. The main deck wasn't the problem, it was SB against reanimation effects and flashbacks and the like. Seriously needs some Graveyard hate. I had an opponent repeatedly "Disturbed Burial" an "Aven Riftwatcher" which I assure you was no fun for me. Maybe 2 "Bojuka Bog"s main deck, I know it lowers swamp total for "Corrupt", but disturbing their game whether it be through their graveyard or hand with discard is equally important. I'm going to be putting a couple of "Relic of Progenitus" in SB also.
I'm still pretty newb at MTG so please flame me if my comments are irrelevant.

Relic and Bojuka are decent by AndreaFonseca at Wed, 02/02/2011 - 20:59
AndreaFonseca's picture

Relic and Bojuka are decent cards in the mirror and versus Tortured Existence , UR Post or UB teachings decks. You could probably make some space for them.

Disciple and Atog have really by TheRegularGangster at Thu, 02/03/2011 - 14:32
TheRegularGangster's picture

Disciple and Atog have really improved the consistency of affinity. I've added 3x of another spell (that isn't typically played in affinity) and I blow people out with it. I'm going to keep it in my pocket though, as I feel a lot of the pauper players probably read most pauper articles on this website.

I didn't quite understand your UR comment, but I always win g1, and usually steal 2 or 3.

Goblins does have a ton of sac guys for the Tendrils, but I'm not sure that's a good enough reason to play it when you can just kill their sac guys with other stuff and bury them with ToC.

mono-u vs mono-b by walkerdog at Thu, 02/03/2011 - 23:35
walkerdog's picture

Mono-U vs Mono-B in past seasons was decided by knowing the matchup and the counters that the U deck played. Rav Rats didn't matter that much b/c often U could tap out to bounce the ninja you'd try to follow it with and then play a 2/4 boss. The way to beat mono-u at that time was with expensive spells, oddly enough. Mono-U ran a counter suite of counterspell + typically 1 faerie trickery, plus a ton of situational counters that couldn't stop your Corrupts if you played smart. If you DID play smart, you used Warren pilfs to bait out their "good" counters as they'd typically use the cantrip-creature counters on the cheaper critters, then Corrupt them 2-3 times ftw. Rav Rats was relevant, but not so much for the card-advantage it brought as for the beats + threat to ninja (not that big of a deal, but it mattered if you got it off) if they refused to bounce or tap some to play a blocker. You basically either baited 3/5 of their hard counters out and hoped that tendrils would keep you alive long enough to corrupt them 2x, or you'd discard a hard counter or two to get the corrupts through for 7+ each.