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By: PiDave, Dave
Nov 30 2011 9:23am
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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!

Welcome back everyone to this week's MPDC metagame update! This week we have once again an almost completely heterogeneous Top8 with seven different decks and two decks that have striking resemblances but differs in the choice of finishers. Let's see what I'm talking about:

Gatherling Entry -- Tier 1 decks thread on

Click on trophy to open decklist in another window

Congratulations to WhatNow for his victory with Kuldotha Hawks! This is the second event in a row that's won by a player piloting this RW deck. The combination of the Glint Hawk/Ichor Wellspring Card Advantage engine and the (Kuldotha Red)-enabled alpha strike capability is apparently very strong. In 2nd place there's The Old Dog with Almost MBC, a deck we will be talking about in a couple of paragraphs. The first Top4 place is taken by kayfeiyu's version of the RW menace, aptly named RW Tokens, which is basically a Kuldotha Hawk with 3 Bloodthirst high-end creatures (one Blood Ogre, two Gorehorn Minotaurs) in place of the cheap Doomed Travelers; the other Top4 slot sees the return of Infect to the metagame thanks to morpphling's performance with his BG Poison deck which runs 21 Infectious creatures and Dark Favors, Copper Carapaces and Mutagenic Growths to buff them up. It's clearly a more Control(lish) build than the old UG version we saw during the last few seasons but with the disappearance of Distortion Strike Infect's game plan had to forcedly change.
The Top8: DonFluso2 with his new version of BlueDelver, splashing black for Forbidden Alchemy's Flashback, Nihil Spellbomb advantageous activation and Vault Skirge as early evasive beats; FlxEx with NextDelverBlue, the Aggro-Control deck that's capable of running on just 14 Islands (read more about it at this link); joekewwl with a pretty interesting version of White Weenie that runs lots of "Silver Bullets"; Yantos with his aggressive Rakdos Vandals, an Red/Black deck that tries to capitalize on aggressive creature, removal and direct damage to quickly deal with the opponent.

A quick analysis of the rest of the field seems to prove once again that Artifacts are still the main factor to take into consideration when building a deck: the Card Advantage engine that Kuldotha Hawks exploits is the same that RW Tokens uses as well as the one that even White Weenie runs. The second factor, in order of magnitude, seems to be the self-replacing creatures like Doomed Traveler and Myr Sire that provide additional CA, making opposing removal spells much less valuable. The third factor is definitely the lack of sweepers, a lack that is exploited (once again) by Kuldotha Hawks with the namesake Kuldotha Rebirth. It's clear that all of these factors are the key to the RW deck's success so anyone that wants to go for the win has to find a way (or multiple ways!) to deal with all of them - and the way to cope with the lack of sweepers is not obvious at all.

On with this week's spotlight:


Almost MBC
2nd place by The Old Dog in MPDC 15.05 (5-2)
4 Blind Zealot
4 Fume Spitter
4 Gravedigger
4 Phyrexian Rager
4 Thraben Sentry
3 Stromkirk Patrol
23 cards

Other Spells
4 Altar's Reap
4 Grasp of Darkness
4 Sorin's Thirst
3 Distress
15 cards
15 Swamp
7 Plains
22 cards

Altar's Reap


As the name of the deck says, the list is almost entirely made of Black cards, with the only exception being the White Thraben Sentry. Ironically, this creature is perhaps the strongest finisher such a deck could desire to run: with so many ways to trigger the Sentry's transformation into the much more powerful Thraben Militia this is basically a 5/4 trampler for 4 mana, a creature that stands well ahead of the curve. The first card that can enable such play is Fume Spitter, one of the staples of last season's Control decks; the Spitter's ability is very powerful by itself but it's even better when it is reusable thanks to Gravedigger, another long time staple for Black and Black-based decks. Blind Zealot is another excellent way to trigger Thraben Sentry and a very good metagame call, considering most of the field is currently very light on Black creatures: the Zealot should therefore pass right through the opponent's defense and act as additional removal. Good old Phyrexian Rager makes once again an appearance to bring along some Card Advantage with a respectable body attached and Stromkirk Patrol closes the ranks as a growable late-gate threat that can quickly take care of the opponent's remaining life points once the coast is clear. The deck's weak point seems to be its lack of flying creatures but this weakness is counterbalanced by the good number of powerful removal options at the player's disposal: Grasp of Darkness is able to deal with most of the creatures and Sorin's Thirst can take down the little ones while feeding the player with a little boost to his/her life points. Furthermore, each one of this cards can effectively trigger the Sentry's transformation, providing even more value. Distress is the best way to strip the opponent of his/her most powerful spells and to prevent them to enter the battlefield at all. The spell list is closed by Altar's Reap which, in my opinion, is one of the best Card Advantage providing Instants of the last few years (the other being Think Twice and Mysteries of the Deep), especially in a deck where a creature's death could mean the difference between a stall and a game-winning attack.

ColorPie: Spells inside, lands outside.

The mana curve seems fine for this kind of Aggro-Control deck, dedicating early turns to the removal of the opponent's threats while the player establishes his/her board position with Phyrexian Ragers and Blind Zealots. Then, with the coming of the fourth land, the graveyard recursion engine kicks in with Gravedigger; if any of those land happens to be a Plain the deck can enter its late-game phase and start to chew at the opponent's life points with a fully activated Thraben Militia. It seems kinda weird for a Control deck to be capable of a fast strategy like this one, but it seems like it worked good enough. The mana base seems a little too skewed toward White but it makes perfectly sense when the sideboard is taken into consideration: Silverchase Fox is a powerful enchantment-hate stuck on a decent body that can also activate the Sentry's transformation while Revoke Existence is a very powerful tool to deal with those pesky Perilous Myrs. Its only drawback is it being a Sorcery, so it just seems right for this to be a 3-of. When both these White cards are sided in the land balance seems just right and those two Shimmering Grottoes could turn out to be very valuable assets to prevent heavy color-screws; this makes the deck quite easy to mulligan: the player should keep almost any hand with two lands, exception made for a two Plains hand like this one:

PlainsFume SpitterSorin's ThirstPhyrexian RagerPlainsThraben SentryThraben Sentry
It's a pity, but this must be shipped back. And yet there's a 45% possibility to find a swamp in the first three turns...

The sideboard also sports a full set of Geth's Verdict against the Hexproof menace, two Sylvok Lifestaffs that provide additional value to all of this deck's self-sacrificing creatures and a little boost for the Militia's Trample ability. Two Nihil Spellbombs seems just fine in the current metagame to try and stop various graveyard shenanigans. In the end the deck seems simple and solid; it just lacks a way to fight in the air but if the player manage to stop a flying assault it should quickly gain the upper hand of most games.

This is all for this week's folks! Next week we're going to take a look at the aggregated metagame of the first six events, much like we did after MPDC 15.03 for the first three events.

See you next time!
-- Dave



nice read, just a heads up by joekewwl at Thu, 12/01/2011 - 18:01
joekewwl's picture

nice read, just a heads up that this was WhatNow's first pauper event. Congrats to him on doing so well his first time out.
- Joe

Thanks for pointing that out by PiDave at Fri, 12/02/2011 - 08:43
PiDave's picture

Thanks for pointing that out Joe! And even more congratulations to Mr. WhatNow!! :-)