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By: PiDave, Dave
Nov 02 2011 12:06pm
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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 15 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. If you're interested in past articles on the Pauper Standard topic you should find them all here. Have a nice read!

Good day everyone and welcome to the all-new MPDC Season 15! Innistrad is finally tournament-legal and Zendikar rotated away into the Extended card pool once and for all; this makes for a brand new metagame with tons of new decks and strategies, new linears to be exploited and new technologies to be discovered. The first event took place last Halloween - which was coincidentally Monday - fitting the "gothic" theme of Innistrad quite well. Enough for the chit-chat let's take a look at the results!

Gatherling Entry -- Tier 1 decks thread on

Click on trophy to open decklist in another window

Congratulations to hyku, the first event-winner of Season 15! His port of BW Midrange from last season did pretty well, radically changing the creature selection but exploiting the very same artifact/graveyard interactions that did so well during Season 14. The new expansion added Doomed Traveler and Village Bell-Ringer to the mix while no trace of Pith Drillers is to be found. Revoke Existence is another sweet tech that seems to have worked pretty well against one of the nastiest creatures still available, Perilous Myr, as well as providing a quick solution against the opponents' equipments. The choice of Pacifism over Doom Blade for creature removal seems sound enough since there's a whole lot of new creatures with "dies" abilities. DonFluso2 took the 2nd place with an innovative U/R Kuldotha list which merges the Burn strategy with the Goblin Tokens one while using Blue's card drawing spells to keep on top of its game. The new cards included are the mighty Brimstone Volley, the subtle Geistflame and the just-reprinted Think Twice. The most surprising of them all perhaps is the singleton Flameborn Hellion which acts just like Lava Axe-on-a-creature if left unchecked; it's also worth mentioning the other singleton inclusion of the deck, Myr Sire, which effectively ups the artifact count of the deck by two while taking just one card slot.

In the Top4 there are two other U/R decks with the same basic strategy but each one with its own approach; these are both Aggro-Control decks but the one arcbounddaylabor was running is far more aggressive than the one our host gwyned decided to play: both decks revolves around Delver of Secrets as a very early and powerful threat with Aether Adept acting as a tempo-disrupting play, then they fill the spell slots with Red removal and Blue draw-spells; the first one has a much wider creature base with Bloodcrazed Neonate, Stitched Drake and Furnace Scamp while the second one tries to control the board with Spire monitors, some more removal, counterspells and additional bounce - courtesy of Silent Departure. The Top8 has Brooky_Djinn with a new-born RB Vampires list with all the new faces from Innistrad (Crossway Vampire, Markov Patrician, Vampire Interloper and the aforementioned Bloodcrazed Neonate) as well as good old Child of Night with a lot of removal spells, some graveyard recursion in form of the quite efficient Morbid Plunder and the alpha-strike enabler Vampiric Fury. Another RB Aggro deck made it to Top8 thanks to Cmcafee but his deck construction is a lot different from the one we just talked about: the creature list has a couple of Vampires in it but the chosen linear is more likely the Bloodthirst one, as a fully powered Blood Ogre can pack quite a punch against other aggressive decks thanks to its first-strike ability. Owain's list is still missing from Gatherling as I write but the deck I'm going to cover in this week's spotlight is the one that closes the Top8, MonoBlue Aggro by Malum:


MonoBlue Aggro
Top 8 by Malum in MPDC 15.01 (3-2)
4 Phantasmal Bear
4 Delver of Secrets
4 Makeshift Mauler
4 Stitched Drake
3 Armored Skaab
2 Stitcher's Apprentice
2 Merfolk Looter
2 Oculus
8 cards

Other Spells
4 Claustrophobia
4 Forbidden Alchemy
4 Ponder
4 Think Twice
2 Mana Leak
2 Negate
12 cards
16 Island
4 Shimmering Grotto
20 cards

Stitched Drake


Why would I choose this one? Because the idea of exploiting one's graveyard to cast cheap, giant zombies just tickles my interest in the right spots! Makeshift Mauler and Stitched Drake are brutal if played in their on-curve turns: the second one is especially good just because it's the biggest flying creature in Pauper and in a dedicated deck it can be cast quite consistently on Turn 3, providing early beats and air superiority. Anyway, both these creatures have a subtle requirement in their "exile a creature from the graveyard" additional casting cost; a friend of mine toyed around with this very deck's idea since a couple of weeks ago but ended up discarding it because he didn't think of the great piece of tech that's included in Malum's list. No, I'm not talking about the pretty obvious Armored Skaab - it comes down too late for a Turn 3 Drake - or the extremely powerful Forbidden Alchemy - ditto; I'm talking about Phantasmal Bear! The illusionary plantigrade is fragile enough to be dead in a couple of turns and if it's not it just means 4 damages done in the first three turn by it alone, exactly the kind of efficiency an aggressive deck could hope for a single mana card. The list has other pretty good means to get a creature in the graveyard anyways: Merfolk Looters help with both card filtering and early-zombie casting, Oculus can die with a chump-block as well netting an additional card in the process and Stitcher's Apprentice can sacrifice and replace itself (or another cheap creature) as soon as Turn 3. The spell list, aside the aforementioned Forbidden Alchemy, has excellent card drawing ability and filtering thanks to Ponder and Think Twice, the only draw spell that is not completely dead after being milled by an Armored Skaab. Some counterspells find their way in the deck in form of two Mana Leaks and two Negates; some pseudo removal does that too as Claustrophobia, an interesting but more expensive replacement for Narcolepsy.

ColorPie: Spells inside, lands outside.

The land count stops as early as 20 with a full set of Shimmering Grottoes tossed in to enable the Flashback ability on Forbidden Alchemy. The mana curve is very aggressive, escalating from 1 to 3 CMC and topping out at 4 with Makeshift Mauler. The deck should run smoothly with just 3 lands in play anyway as the fourth land can wait until the mid-late game to be brought out. The sideboard has some nice options to play the tempo game with a full set of Frost Breaths and Silent Departures, two additional Mana Leaks to disrupt the opponent's early game, two Gitaxian Probe to dive into the deck while scooping up as much information as possible and 3 Blazing Torches as additional creature removal.

The deck is not all rainbows and (zombie) unicorns though, since a timely played Aether Adept can cripple the whole cheap-zombie affair pretty badly. The sideboard should just adapt to that with a full set of Psychic Barriers in my opinion, just to be on the safe side of things. Also, following the decks' strategy I'd probably go for Deranged Assistant in place of Stitcher's Apprentice as another way to put a creature in the graveyard after a Ponder. Anyway, this is just me being the tinkerer that I really am, never quite satisfied with any list. I'm curious to know if I'm hitting the right spot or if I'm totally off the target here, so please leave some feedback in the comments section if you think I'm wrong. I really like this deck's approach so I'd like to hone it as much as I can.

One more thing: the deck seemingly has 65 cards in it. I don't know if it's an error but it stands to reason if one considers that this list can dump as much as 36 cards in the graveyard with the Skaabs and the Alchemies. It's just a nice touch and after all the mad-scientist theme is a must in Innistrad block!

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

P.S. It seems like I forgot the Top 10 card for this week. I did not! I just want to have a complete Gatherling entry before doing those graphs: I hope next time I'll be able to do both this week's and the next one graphs. Maybe I could add some "trends" as well...We'll see. Meanwhile, take care and have fun!



Great read. by NextLevelMTGCoaching at Thu, 11/03/2011 - 05:30
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Great read.

Thanks! by PiDave at Thu, 11/03/2011 - 12:46
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