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By: PiDave, Dave
Feb 01 2011 9:16am
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Hi everyone, welcome back to this continuing series! The most surprising thing, to me, is that I'm actually continuing this series without hiccups. But the most surprising thing for you, well, could it be that this week's winner is not Esper Control? Or that, adding insult to injury, Esper Control did not even make Top8? I really don't know what exactly happened, but it sure comes as a big surprise.

(If you're reading this and you don't know what I'm talking about, you could check my previous articles as well as MPDC's Master Document on forums.)

Anyway, let's celebrate this week's winner: Bant Tokens! The aggro deck finally returned to victory, nailing an impressive 1st place with just one entry in the Top8, thus maximizing its Combined Performance and finally ending the UBW deck's winning streak.

Let's take a look at this week's graphs:

Gatherling Entry -- Winning deck thread on -- Buy winning deck on

As you can see all the other Tier1 decks get some points: 4 Color Control in 2nd place racks up a 3-pointer while Infect comes back with a solid two points. Boros Landfall lags behind but after last week's demise it manages to get again into the Top8, struggling to keep its season leadership.

Halimarmill shows up again (nice!) as well as UBG Allies, the latter being quite consistent considering the last 3 events. However, that's still not enough to pass ahead of WUR Control in the average season performance.

Before looking at the updated trend graphs, I have to thank this week's Top8ers: they all put in the decklists within hours since the end of the tournament. Thank you all guys for your effort, you gave me a nice head start on my weekly deadline. And a special thank goes to the host, gwyned, for all his hard work on running MPDC so smoothly.

Let's now proceed with the the graphs:

Aggro is on the rise again! This is most welcome especially since this time is not because of Boros Landfall alone: Bant Tokens' exploit finally manages to contain control predominance in this week's event, shrinking down the overall gap between the main archetypes. Aggro/Control receives a boost again thanks to Infect's placement and combo gets again in the pie, giving us the most varied metagame to date.

Performance-wise, Boros Landfall still leads the pack, followed again by 4 Color Control. Esper lost the 2nd place and is closely followed by both Infect and Bant Tokens, now tied for the 4th place. WUR Control looses some ground as nobody seems to be interested in running it these days. I wonder if anyone will pick up this still excellent control deck next week.

This week's spotlight is on the UW/Skyfisher Control decks. Let's go back in time for a bit: some days ago Agur posted a very interesting article about the Standard Caw-Go deck. By the way, Caw-Go is not a Pauper deck: it's an excellent piece of control technique that can rival most Tier1 decks in the current Standard metagame; however it's namesake card is a common: Squadron Hawk.

Squadron Hawk

No matter how you look at this card, it's still awesome: card advantage, excellent blocker and excellent beater. I don't know if Agur's article inspired the Paupers that built these UW control decks but I can assure you that he inspired me. But that's a whole different story.

Here is FlxEx's list:



The key of this deck is, once again, Kor Skyfisher. Control is achieved mainly because of the interaction between the flying soldier and Sea Gate Oracle, which yields an impressive amount of card advantage. This is used to dig for counterspells (which this deck packs aplenty) removal ( Journey to Nowhere and the undervalued Puncturing Light ) and other key cards like Kor Sanctifiers and Lone Missionary. It basically has an answer to most threats, it just has to find them. To do so the deck can also count on a full set of Foresees and the cantripping (Prohetic Prism). Interesting enough there's no trace of Halimar Depths in this list: the deck relies on spell-lands just for the lifegain provided by Kabira Crossroads. The game plan is nice and easy: once board control is achieved via counterspells and removal the deck's flyers should beat down the opponent in a few turns.

Let me go back for a moment to the "whole different story" I mentioned before: while I was looking at Caw-go's list I thought about a possible replacement for the finisher. The Standard deck uses both Gideon Jura and Celestial Colonnades to put the opponent on a two-turn clock (10 damage per turn, that is) in the late game. In Pauper Standard we have no such thing as man-lands nor we have Planeswalkers. But we have level-up creatures, specifically Halimar Wavewatch; the two-mana leveler can be boosted up to a 6/6 creature with Islandwalk; this could work perfectly with a previously casted Spreading Seas. Also, it could be nice to exploit the manland-like ability of Glint Hawk Idol to dodge removal, activating the Hawk only when it's safe to attack. The idols could also provide metalcraft for some underpriced Stoic Rebuttals. In the end, I'd like to see a deck built around this skeleton, but it probably could not have all that and the essential Skyfisher-Oracle pair. There's just not enough room.

However, you're more than welcome to prove me wrong. ;)

And on this bombshell, I'm out!
See you next week!
- Dave


Great to see these updates by Copperfield at Tue, 02/01/2011 - 13:32
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Great to see these updates coming up so quickly. Props to the editors of PureMTGO for getting this up so fast and to you for pumping it out right after the tournament.

I like the connection you make between Money Standard's Caw Go deck and how this idea is "ported" to Pauper. This happened last season with Soul Sisters as well. Both variants are specific answers to well-defined metagames. I think that in our case, the heavy counter magic suite is a perfect foil for the Gravedigger-based Esper and 4CC decks. There's just no other way to halt the recursion except to counter it outright. So rather than go all-out Esper, it looks like FlxEx decided to keep the Oracle-Skyfisher-Hawk skeleton and cut out black altogether in favor of seven maindeck hard counters. Smart move!

Keep up the good work!

Wow, that was quick! O_O I'm by PiDave at Tue, 02/01/2011 - 15:42
PiDave's picture

Wow, that was quick! O_O

I'm glad you liked it as usual, Copperfield. I'm still punching myself for a couple of mistakes in the article. Three proofreadings are still not enough. :(

I was absolutely fascinated by Caw Go last week: it has so many commons that the desire to "make it pauper" is still burning in my heart. However the Money Standard ( btw: I LOVE this definition! :D ) has so many multi-purpose cards...the manlands and the Planeswalkers are just awesome. And sadly, irreplaceable.

To cast a cast... by Copperfield at Tue, 02/01/2011 - 19:14
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I stop by each day in part to see if my own Pauper Standard article I submitted has been published, and in part to see if your updates have been published as well. I think you've edged me out, but that's fine with me. By now, posting mine would be quite redundant as you've covered all the bases.

With regard to proofreading, I didn't see too many errors. The most egregious error I saw was the word "casted." This is not a word, but it's an easy mistake to make. English, like Magic, breaks its own rules frequently. Just keep in mind that the past tense of "cast" is not "casted." It's just "cast." This can be seen on the cards themselves. It's best seen in the rules text for Storm:

"When you cast this spell, copy it for each spell cast before it this turn."

The first instance of the word refers to the future tense; the second instance refers to the past tense.

It's a crazy word that has many different definitions and uses. You can cast a fishing line if you're a fisherman; you can cast a shoe off if you're a horse; you can cast an actor in a leading role if you're a director; you can cast a ballot if you're a voter. The list goes on and on, and even somebody whose first language is English can find a new use for the word.

To wit, I just found out that it can used as a noun with regard to falconry: A "cast" can also mean a pair of hawks put in flight together. So if you end up getting two Squadron Hawks onto the battlefield in a single turn, you've literally just cast a cast! Go figure :-)

Yikes, I forgot "cast" was an by PiDave at Wed, 02/02/2011 - 02:50
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Yikes, I forgot "cast" was an irregular verb! :embarassed: (Also, it has 76 different meanings according to That's impressive!)

On a serious note: I'm very sorry if my articles are keeping any other article from being published. I (re)started writing because I thought there weren't enough pauper-related posts on Pure. Anyway, I'm confident that now that I'm on par with MPDC's schedule there will be more room. :)

Caw-go by Scottish Wayfinder at Mon, 02/07/2011 - 21:59
Scottish Wayfinder's picture

I was surprised looking at the list at the lack of brainstorm. From playing caw-go in standard I feel using jace to brainstorm with sqaudron hawk is about the most powerful thing you can do with the deck and one of the most powerful in standard. So I was wondering with this deck is there just no requirement at all for the huge card advantage engine delivered by the hawk, brainstorm package?

Sorry, this article is about by PiDave at Tue, 02/08/2011 - 12:51
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Sorry, this article is about Standard Pauper. No Brainstorms around. ;)

All we can do is play Foresees and Preordains while exploiting Skyfishers and Oracles.

I cannot believe I read that by Scottish Wayfinder at Tue, 02/08/2011 - 16:48
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I cannot believe I read that entire thing and did not pick that up, foolish me.