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By: PiDave, Dave
Apr 20 2011 9:36am
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This article is about MPDC, a Player Run Event organized by the PDC Community for the MTGO Community at large. The format is Pauper Standard, one of the most rapidly changing formats around. It has a very lively metagame and lots of incredibly talented players and deckbuilders. You can find all the info you need to participate to this series of events in the MPDC Season 12 Master Document and in the MPDC Player Primer, the latter being an incredibly thorough guide written by the event host himself, gwyned. MPDC is sponsored by players themselves and, which also brings you this very article. Have a nice read!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the Pauper Standard weekly metagame update! This week's event has seen quite a lot of new entries placing in the Top8 - but beware! I'm not talking about decklist as much as I'm talking about players: three out of eight are new to the format and, what's more impressive, they ended up filling three quarters of the Top4. Overall the event reached another record presence with 40 (forty!) players that called for an extra round of swiss to even out the standings.

Let's just look at this week's performance, with comments to follow:

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

First of all congratulations to pk23 and his second win with the fabulous 3 Colors Control! This week's performance should have quite an impact on the season's overall standings since it's a clean 4 Performance Points. We'll see about that later on.

In 2nd place came Ofelia with a slightly tweaked Boros Landfall build that incorporates Flayer Husks in place of Adventuring Gears. She left some (very appreciated) comments on the deck's Gatherling page about the strategy she used throughout the tournament. She (quoting) "just wanted to test [the Flayer Husks] out...Later on made best use of them by showing my opponents legal targets for their artifact removal to blank it afterwards (in games 2 + 3) by boarding". I encourage you to read the rest of those comments as well, there's always something to learn from more experienced players...even when they're rookies in the format!

At Top4 level we encounter another Boros Landfall deck, piloted by nybaseb3; he's a veteran in Classic but has apparently joined MPDC for the first time with very good results indeed. The other Top4 is a variation on the MonoRed decks based on Kuldotha Rebirth that the Paupers have been developing in the last few weeks: Kuldotha Red (a.k.a. Goblins), piloted by new-entry Leflypower669.

In the Top8 we find FlxEx with Esper Control, gwyned with Bant Tokens, another Boros Landfall piloted by last week's runner up ssWakizashI and Thetmes with a RUG Tokens deck that resembles moromete's original TOKENS! plus some interesting Card Advantage inclusions from Mirrodin Besieged (Vivisection and Viridian Emissary).

I'll point this week's spotlight to a deck I have a love/hate/"it's complicated" relationship with:



Yes, Sligh style MonoRed aggro is back, this time with 100% more artifacts! The spell that started it all is the namesake Kuldotha Rebirth and its perfect interaction with the otherwise sub-par Ichor Wellspring. Together they basically read: "2R: put three 1/1 goblin tokens in play and draw a card". If my memory doesn't fail me this is the first time Red gets such a good Card Advantage engine, even though it needs the help of colorless artifacts to get it going. Anyway, artifacts are good: they enable metalcraft for Galvanic Blast and enable some other pretty tricks; on of them is based on the inclusion of Ferrovore in this list: the beast can eat all the sitting Ichor Wellsprings and the unused Panic Spellbombs to boost its power in a substantial way while making the player draw more cards in the process. Myr Sire has also built-in Card Advantage and both Perilous Myr and Blisterstick Shaman have built-in removal. There's not a single creature in this deck that does not serve a secondary purpose...when its secondary purpose is not actually being a creature! I'd play Goblin Bushwhackers even if they were an instant, and the Flayer Husks are not even a creature to begin with, but they surely can stand in the 1CC creature slot. The rest of the deck is a nice blend of removal (with just 9 card reslots though) and a single Rally the Forces for that added surprise effect. I like this last card very much both as a combat trick and as a finisher so I'm really glad to see it here.

As you can see the curve is very steep and progressive - pure Sligh style! The deck should require 4 lands at most to run smoothly; that said, the list has a land count of just 18. During my playtest of the deck I was running a 17 lands version and I was never really satisfied of my opening hands, most of them being 1-landers. Anyway, this deck requires an aggressive mulligan strategy towards a two-lander with a Spellbomb or a Wellspring since you really can't count on drawing lands; failing to do so easily gets the player stuck one land away from half of the deck's spells, playing removal after removal to just stay alive. No good at all, believe me. The sideboard takes care of most of the metagame letting the pilot vary the type and quantity of removal in the main: Wrap in Flames against Squadron Hawk-based decks, Manic Vandals and Blisterstick Shamans to deal with Tokens and/or Infect based decks, Burn the Impure as specialized anti-Infect removal, a single Act of Treason as a silver bullet and a Tumble Magnet to try to slow down aggressive decks such as Boros Landfall.

Even though the deck is built with Sligh in mind it does not primarily relies on Burn to win, therefore a different kind of playing approach is required to successfully run it. I encourage you to try it out and see for yourself; just keep in mind that all of your creatures can die to a single Shrivel or Seismic Shudder and that the MTGO shuffler can be very frustrating. But I'm sure you already knew that...

Time for the recap graphs:

Control usage has returned to its previous levels after last week's spike: this season seems widely dominated by aggressive strategies, with Bant Tokens, UG Infect and Boros Landfall dominating the landscape. The one control decks that breaks the mold is however performing remarkably: its second position in the Performance rankings is very well deserved. The other decks still lag behind, probably thanks to the extremely high number of lists that actually reached Top8 during this season: the total number rose to 20 with this week's event.
That's not counting small variations, just deck with specialized strategies.

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


"Buy this deck" link by PiDave at Wed, 04/20/2011 - 10:50
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I forgot to update the winnning deck's link, here's the correct one:


Oh no! I've been away from by rpitcher at Fri, 04/22/2011 - 12:12
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Oh no! I've been away from Pauper PRE's for months and return to see an old deck still winning.

Oh well! Nice article.

I like that red deck. I'm a notorious "sligh" hater but that one actually has some fun in it.

To anyone coming straight by PiDave at Sun, 06/12/2011 - 15:07
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To anyone coming straight through the frontpage link: the series goes on, you can find my subsequent articles here.