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By: PiDave, Dave
Oct 13 2011 12:16pm
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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 14 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 mtgotraders.com, which also brings you this very article. If you're interested in past articles on this topic you should find them all here. Have a nice read!

Hello everyone and welcome back! MPDC attendance is going down while the Paupers wait for Innistrad's release to start anew with a whole new metagame, but that doesn't Hinder the player's creativity at all. New decks are still popping out of nowhere and experimental builds are all over the place even though they're not successful as old and proven decklists. This situation is however going to change in a couple of weeks since there are just one more event of the regular season and MPDC 14 Worlds to be played before rotation; while certain old decks will remain viable there will definitely be an improvement in both variety and attendance. Meanwhile, let's take a look at this week's results:

Gatherling Entry -- Tier 1 decks thread on pdcmagic.com -- Buy winning deck on mtgotraders.com

Congratulations to Mace_Windu for his victory with 4 Colors Control! The deck seems to be hitting the current metagame's sweet spot with two back to back first places from different pilots. In 2nd place there's joekewwl with MBC, a deck that struggled until the very end of this week's event. In the Top4 we have another MBC from ShiftingShadows and an equipment-based White Weenie build by ScionOfJustice. The Top8 is composed by a MetalHawk list by FabioS, pk23's UB Turtle Control and two currently missing decklists from Cleomar and moromete. While I took a wild guess at Cleomar's list and counted his entry as 4 Color Control I can't do the same with moromete's deck since he's quite a good and unpredictable rogue builder and player. I'll be glad to fill in the missing info as soon as they get posted on Gatherling, you'll find them in the comments of this article alongside updated graphs.

Ladies and gentlemen, this week's spotlight is pointed to what seems the most radical deck of the season:

 

 

Yes, there are just four creatures in this list. Yes, they are four copies of the same creature, Calcite Snapper. The Snapper is a powerhouse by itself, clocking in as soon as turn 3 to act as fantastic ground blocker and becoming a very good beater in the late game once the opponent have exhausted his/her resources. The strategy of this deck is quite evident: search for a turtle, drop it as soon as possible and ride it to victory while countering the most dangerous spells (I'm thinking Foresee and other Card Advantage spells here) and removing every threat that trumps it. To do so the spell list is varied and full of options: counterspell wise we have Deprives and Negates, the first also being synergistic with the late game turtle-strike. On the removal side of things there are full sets of Doom Blades and Grasp of Darknesses and two singleton spells that could be useful in case of hexproof creatures (Geth's Verdict) and a fifth Doom Blade, the rarely used Hideous End. One copy of Shrivel helps to deal with multiple x/1s like the omnipresent Squadron Hawk or Infect's early threats. The deck relies so much on its creatures that it definitely must have one in its opening hand or at least be able to find one pretty soon, hence the abundance of draw spells: full sets of Foresees, Preordains and Gitaxian Probes make up for the lack of a (arguably stronger) engine like the Sea Gate Oracle/Cadaver Imp pair. I said "arguably" mainly because the deck's main strength is that it turns all the opponent's removal into dead cards; the inclusion of a creature based recursion engine would just provide targets to something like Searing Blaze, and that is never a good thing, especially when you're playing with little to no lifegain; furthermore, Gitaxian Probe will not have such a big impact on the board like the one Sea Gate Oracle may have but it lets the player see if the coast is clear for the little price of two life points and also leaves the mana open for a counterspell or another draw spell. I know I just said that the deck has little to no lifegain but one thing is to suffer three damage and lose a creature and another is using one's resources in the best way possible. Versatility is at a premium in Pauper, so it's always nice to have one more option available. Moving on, the list also has four more card drawing spells even though there's only one that can actually do just that: Mysteries of the Deep, that can provide a very powerful hand refill in the late game. The others are two Nihil Spellbombs - the necessary graveyard hate - and a singleton Prophetic Prism that also helps with the many double colored casting cost that this deck has.


ColorPie: Spells inside, lands outside, taplands in lighter colors.

The mana curve seems carefully crafted and well balanced, with a big spike at 2CMC that should enable multiple mid and late game spells in any given turn after the player's out of the early game. Speaking of which, the early game exit point is the usual 3CMC, when Calcite Snapper becomes available. However the colorpie clearly shows that black is the most important color in the early game since many powerful threats in the format come down as early as Turn 2 and with such a "sink or swim" style 2 CMC Black removal spells are pretty important.

The sideboard seems well built and provides good substitutes to Doom Blade and Hideous End in case of a heavy Black matchup with Sorin's Thirst and Geth's Verdict; the first can also help against very aggressive decks with a little boost to lifegain and the second is quite good in a hypothetical mirror match, against hexproof creatures or as an answer to an Infect's player Vines of Vastwood. The lifegain subtheme is also powered by two Pristine Talisman, a card that is impressive in Scars block but that rarely cuts it in Standard. Anyway, this situation could very well change with the upcoming rotation when Lone Missionary and Kabira Crossroads will be out of reach, leaving Sylvok Lifestaff as the only "staple-level" lifegain option. Two Dispels and three Stoic Rebuttals up the count of the total counterspells of the deck; I can see Dispel as an option against Infect's pump spells and Stoic Rebuttal as additional answer to CA spells like Gravedigger or Foresee, although it can be a little out of the curve with its 3 CMC. The three remaining cards are in for additional flexibility. Chapeau to pk23 for making Top8 with such a daring and skill-intensive deck.

Time to wrap up the three-part rotation analysis: this week we're going to look at Green and Colorless, if you missed the other two part you can find them here (U/W) and here (R/B).

Out:

Vines of Vastwood Nest Invader Groundswell Harrow

In:

Vines of Vastwood will be greatly missed by Infect decks because of its versatility and overall power; it gets replaced by Ranger's Guile, a similar spell that however is just a shadow of the often-game-winning green kicker. Anyway, the +1/+1 boost and hexproof ability is definitely not bad since it can be effectively used as a reactive spell and with Innistrad's transformation condition being the amount of spells played in a given turn this could lead to some interesting - if not unexpected - interactions. Nest Invader has served the Bant mages very well in the last few seasons both as mana accelerator and as source of cheap bodies in the early game. Groundswell is the other key pump spell for Infect decks and its departure will probably nerf such decks for good or at least until another cheap and powerful pump spell will be printed. Harrow has not seen the same amount of play that got in Money Standard with Valakut based decks but it has been an incredibly good way to fix mana while double-triggering landfall abilities. Mana fixing will be a big issue in Future Standard but Green will definitely play an important role in that: Caravan Vigil is probably the cheapest way ever to get a basic land out of the deck and it gets even better when its Morbid ability is active, since the land directly enters the battlefield untapped. Untapped! It's the first "free" spell Pauper gets since forever! After this deceptively harmless sorcery we have Prey Upon, another "never-seen-before" for Green, since it's basically a removal spell; it's quirky, it requires a creature on the player's side but it's still powerful enough to become a staple in Green decks. Woodland Sleuth is another impressive new entry for this color, since graveyard recursion effects are long gone from the Green part of the color pie; it is a little more cumbersome than Gravedigger but it still is powerful enough to boost Green into Tier1 deckbuilding territory.

OUT:

Evolving Wilds Terramorphic Expanse Prophetic Prism Bojuka Bog

IN:

This time it's for real guys, our dear fetchlands are leaving us for good. This and the contextual departure of Prophetic Prism will make harder for everyone to just splash a third color and easily put the final nail in the coffin of four-colored decks. Anyway the new and improved Wayfarer's Bauble, Traveler's Amulet, will smooth the transition a little alongside the reprint of Shimmering Grotto. Green based decks will have the best mana-fixing options with the aforementioned Caravan Vigil and the White-mana producing Avacyn's Pilgrim but even those option will end up in the spell slots instead of the land ones. Also, we can forget the whole "deck-thinning" side effect that the fetchlands provided.
However terramorphic Expanse and Evolving Wilds are not the only lands that are leaving us: the two whole "spell-land" cycles from Zendikar block will be gone as well. I choose Bojuka Bog as it is the most representative of them but the whole Worldwake cycle saw maindeck play in many winning decklists. I'm sure they will be all deeply missed as there is no replacement for them. The two other colorless cards I picked out from Innistrad's visual spoiler are Blazing Torch and Wooden Stake; the first is a nice delayed removal that can also be very good in MetalHawk and BlackHawk decks and the second is an interesting option to have around in the sideboard if the Vampire tribal theme gets developed a little better that it is right now. Nothing too spectacular anyway.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot about this dude:

Ulamog's Crusher

Yes, the (arguably) best high-end creature Pauper has ever saw is gone, with no replacement whatsoever on the horizon. It's been nice playing with you, buddy; it was hard to have you stick around more than one turn but when you did it really was memorable. May you see better days in the Modern cardpool.

And with this we're done with the brief analysis about the upcoming rotation. In the end I think Green and Blue are the color that gain the most while White, Red and especially Black remain a little behind in term of sheer power. But this is just my speculative thinking, I guess we'll have to wait for the actual MPDC Season 15 to start to see what lists and what techs will be the most powerful.

This week the Top10 cards will be postponed until the two missing decks are entered since the 120 missing cards can impact the standings greatly. I'll just post the graph as soon as possible in the comments alongside the updated results, much like I did a couple weeks ago.

Folks, this is all for this week!
See you next time!
-- Dave

1 Comments

Update: Moromete was by PiDave at Fri, 10/14/2011 - 02:56
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Update:

Moromete was playing his Dark Star deck last Monday, so we get a slightly more Control-shifted metagame. Anyway the actual list is still missing so we'll have to make do with an incomplete Top10 Cards standings:

The usual suspects are still there but it's interesting to note the nice bump in Bojuka Bog's usage.