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By: PiDave, Dave
Nov 16 2011 9:38am
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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 mtgotraders.com, 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!

Welcome back everyone to another issue of this continuing series! This week's MPDC has seen a little rise in attendance with 37 players; it seems like the new cardpool went a long way in increasing the interest about the format: this is the third week in a row that the Top8 is composed by 8 different decks, most of which are new entries. Let's take a look at the results:

Gatherling Entry -- Tier 1 decks thread on pdcmagic.com


Click on trophy to open decklist in another window

Congratulations to MrNancy and his victory with 3 Color Combo Hexproof! His deck is simple yet powerful; more on that later on, since it will be under this week's spotlight. Desilion is in 2nd place with Mono Red Kuldotha, a very aggressive Kuldotha Red variant that also runs full sets of Blood Ogres and Gorehorn Minotaurs with Goblin Fireslingers as early Bloodthirst enablers; the deck has quite a good record against the current metagame, losing only to this week's winner both in the Swiss Rounds and in the Final. In the Top4 we have dwarshadow with Grizzly Preparations and FlxEx with Next Delver Blue; the first one is a very interesting Green/White aggro-weenie list that tries to exploit the powerful effects of Travel Preparations, currently one of the strongest Flashback capable cards in the meta. The second deck is the one I covered last week (shameless product placement: click on the link to read it!) with just a few modifications: Aether Adepts are out of the list, a singleton Spire Monitor is in, one of the (Stitched Drakes) went out and the counterspell pool was remixed a little with the inclusion of two more Negates. Flayer Husk was also sided out for an additional Sylvok Lifestaff. In the Top8 we have once again Brooky_Djinn with his vampire-based SuckFace, now with 2 maindeck Blisterstick Shamans that give additional reach and removal. Last week's winner Mace_Windu is also here with a slightly modified version of his Redomatic: Rally the Forces is out (which is a pity since I took that card's art as the trophy's background ;-) ) for Accorder's Shield. PatheticLoser is here as well with Skyguard, a White Weenie-like deck with powerful flying creatures. The Top8 is then closed by Preswylfa and his BU Control; this deck is the only one in this week's finals that tries to exploit the graveyard as a resource to gain Card Advantage. It seems like the fear of being neutralized by maindecked Nihil Spellbombs is keeping many players away from the once usual Gravedigger-based recursion engines. As Preswylfa said in his deck's comments, it's good to see the meta widening again. About that: check out this week's winning deck!

MrNancy's list really is a surprise. Its basic strategy is aggressive, yet it runs just 15 creatures. As everyone knows Auras are a bad thing that give the opponent the possibility to go for a 2-for-1, yet there are 9 of them in this list. Lifelink is even worse than your typical Aura, yet it is one of the cornerstones of this deck. And the worst thing is that this one is a tri-colored aggro: it should belong in a special hell of manascrews and colorscrews and yet it thrived successfully until the end with a perfect 7-0 score. How is this even possible? Let's take a look at the decklist:

 

3 Color Combo Hexproof
1st place by MrNancy in MPDC 15.03 (7-0)
Creatures
4 Gladecover Scout
4 Perilous Myr
4 Sacred Wolf
4 Viridian Emissary
3 Aven Fleetwing
19 cards

Other Spells
4 Lifelink
4 Ponder
4 Spectral Flight
4 Travel Preparations
2 Traveler's Amulet
1 Accorder's Shield
1 Bladed Pinions
1 Trollhide
21 cards
Lands
7 Forest
5 Island
4 Plains
4 Shimmering Grotto
20 cards

Lifelink

 

(First of all, full disclosure: MrNancy is one of my clan mates - the most recent one to be precise - and he described his list in detail on our forum. I'm kinda summing up and translating his thoughts about the deck.) The global strategy of the deck is really that simple: cast a Hexproof creature, pimp it with some powerful Aura, add a Lifelink to the mix and start the beatdown. The first part of the plan stands on the shoulders of Gladecover Scout, Sacred Wolf and Aven Fleetwing: they fit the deck's curve quite nicely and provide a powerful threat in every stage of the game. The other two creatures are Perilous Myr and Viridian Emissary which are both better than your average bear just because of their "die" effects: they are the only two legal targets available to the opponent's removal and yet they provide the greater part of their value when they go to the graveyard, so the opponent is put before a hard decision every time the player cast them. The Emissary in particular is another cornerstone of the deck, fixing and ramping mana while keeping the aggressive pressure on the opponent. The second part of the strategy is to make use of the best auras and pump spells available in the Hexproof colors: Spectral Flight is awesome right now because the metagame is currently scarce of flying creatures, meaning more often than not that the enchanted creature will be almost unblockable. Travel Preparations is extremely valuable in this deck because it can pump two creatures at the same time and do it again as soon as the mana is available; this often means that two creatures will have +2/+2 bonus permanently on themselves in the midgame, and that is just the effect of a single copy of this card. The most important Aura is the most surprising one: Lifelink. It's a horrible card that has just found its one and only home. It lets the player survive to a horde of goblin tokens swarming around while beating the opponent's face. It's awesome in the current metagame since Infect basically disappeared. It's also the best way to cheat when racing with the opponent, but it's useless on any creature without Hexproof. And with this, we made a full circle: the Aggro-Combo nature of the deck is therefore explained. The remaining part of the deck is devoted to hand-fixing and mana fixing with a full set of Ponders and two Traveler's Amulet; the decklist also has what MrNancy defines as "three bonus slots" that can be used to tune the deck alongside the evolution of the metagame: in the current version he choose to run one Accorder's Shield, one Bladed Pinions and a Trollhide maindeck, siding these cards out after the first game accordingly to the matchup; these slot can really be anything, from triple Mana Leaks to a singleton Think Twice and two Rebukes.


ColorPie: Spells inside, lands outside.

The mana base is pretty tight, considering this is a GUw deck with a strong need of early Green: 20 lands seems a little to few at first sight but they just might be enough with six ways to fetch a basic land in the early game. Ponder definitely smooths out the way this deck mulligans but my guess is that any hand with more than two different lands should be an easy keep; Shimmering Grotto is a great way to fix mana in the mid and late game but it's definitely not that great in the opening seven. Anyway, since the curve is very aggressive (the deck is actually capable of running on two mana) it might just be possible to keep an hand like this one:

IslandTraveler's AmuletPonderAven FleetwingGladecover ScoutLifelinkTravel Preparations
To keep or not to keep?

and hope to find another land with the first-turn Ponder.
Sideboard's another piece of really good metagame choices: a full set of Negates enabled the player to out-control both Next Delver Blue and BU Control, the third Traveler's Amulet helped him fix his mana when he had to side out the easily Geistflamed Viridian Emissary for the full set of Wall of Tanglecord against Mono Red Kuldotha and Redomatic. The Walls were really good against aggressive decks especially when the opponent sided out artifact hate in the second game. The two Trollhides, one in the maindeck and one in the sideboard, are the plan in case of a mirror match.

On with three weeks worth of condensed metagame statistics:

As you can see Aggro is definitely the dominating archetype, with Redomatic being the best performing deck so far, closely followed by the BW Midrange and 3CC Hexproof; both these decks won one event each. The rest of the pack follow behind with steady placements (SuckFace, Deep Purple, Skybear/Skyguard) or very good one-time placements (UBeR Control, Kuldotha RU). As I said in the opening, the metagame is really open: there is a total of 18 different decks in the first three events' Top8 and probably many more brews will pop up in the next few events.

There's one more graph that could be interesting, the condensed Top 10 Cards:

As I hinted last week Perilous Myr had a very strong Top8 showing in the last three weeks, averaging out at just a little above 17 copies and maxing out this week with 24 copies. This little critter is steadily advancing toward the "Best Creature" title of the current format; the runner-ups are Delver of Secrets and Bloodcrazed Neonate, but they are far behind with an average of 10 copies; their usage trend is declining from the starting 12 to the current 4, in stark contrast with the Myr's rising usage trend. The "Best Spell" race is an affair between Geistflame, Ichor Wellspring and Think Twice; the latter started out big with 15 copies in the first event but quickly descended to the current 7. However both the removal and the card-drawing artifact are experiencing a fast decline, with their current usage down to 4 copies.
The card that's experiencing the most increase in usage is Sylvok Lifestaff, which started with a mere 5 copies and is currently standing at 13 copies.Shimmering Grotto is however the most used card by far, with an impressive 20 average copies which means an average of 5 decks out of 8 with full sets.

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