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By: PiDave, Dave
Jan 27 2011 11:41am
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Hi everyone, welcome back to the weekly MPDC metagame update. As someone made me notice, I did not properly introduce MPDC to you since I was taking for granted that everyone knows about it. However I have a tendency to forget that Standard Pauper is just a subset of Pauper...which in turn is a subset of the whole MTG experience; that makes MPDC the (arguably) main event of a niche's niche.

(...Sorry for that.)

Anyway: MPDC is a Player Run Event which usually takes place on Monday, starting 2:00PM EST / 6:00PM GMT in the MPDC chatroom (type /join MPDC in any MTGO chat window). You'll find all the details about how to participate in this thread of the forum.

With that out of the way, let's dig in this week's graphs:

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

Congratulations to Esper Control for its "hat trick" ( = three wins in a row)! This deck's performance is great: four wins this season with four different pilots. By the way I don't mean to belittle the pilot factor: it really is something unusual to see such a situation. If tou take a look at the gatherling entries for the current SPDC season (SPDC being a more NA-timezone friendly Pauper Standard event) you can see what I mean: there are few players that take all the wins, all with (almost) the same deck. And what's interesting is that there is no trace of Esper Control at the top of that tournaments: 4CC wins them all. Almost.

Oh, by the way, where is 4CC? And Boros Landfall? And Infect? As you can see from the gatherling entry (and the graphs) they all but vanished from the Top8. Not that I miss them! In fact, I'm thrilled to see a "mill" deck coming through in second place! I've listed it as combo archetype (that's what the purple slice of the pie is) since it's been entered that way in Gatherling, although I think it qualifies more in a genre of its own, the "I'll-try-to-survive-until-I-make-you-run-out-of-cards" one. It just won't fit the graphs, so there you have it.

The Top4 entries are Esper Control, which rakes up enough points to still be in the lead of this week's Combined Performance, and UBG Allies, which finally gains enough steam to get through. Land Destruction makes its appearance again, as well as Bant Tokens; we also have a new Top8 entry: UW Levelers, a deck based on level-up creatures (hence the name) that get pumped up by Venerated Teacher.

While the level-up deck is very interesting this week's spotlight is on the now-Top4-worth Allies:


UBG Allies
Top 4 by Griiisu in MPDC 11.11 (3-2)
4 Bojuka Brigand
4 Graypelt Hunter
4 Oran-Rief Survivalist
4 Umara Raptor
3 Nimana Sell-Sword
19 cards

Other Spells
4 Doom Blade
4 Vines of Vastwood
3 Foresee
2 Disfigure
2 Duress
2 Unsummon
1 Prophetic Prism
18 cards
6 Forest
6 Swamp
4 Terramorphic Expanse
3 Evolving Wilds
2 Halimar Depths
2 Island
23 cards

Oran-Rief Survivalist


I like this deck for its explosive power although its strategy simply comes down to "protect your creatures while keep playing and pumping them and beat the hell out of your opponent". It has 23 Allies of the "add +1/+1 counter" type: every creature that gets played pumps itself and triggers the others; they can grow out of control in a few turns: once a Bojuka Brigand reaches 5/5 it's not easily killable with Red or Black removal, leaving a Blue bounce effect or a White semi-permanent removal as the only option to deal with it outside of the red zone.

To prevent removal the deck has a full set of Vines of Vastwood that can make any targeting spell useless, effectively acting like a green counterpell; Duress takes care of removal when it's still in the opponent's hand and/or break control's game before it's too late: forcing an opponent to discard a Foresee at the right moment can turn the tide of a game or secure a win. The deck has 3 Foresees of its own to refill the hand for the mid-to-late game or dig for more answers when in deep trouble. Removal-wise there's a full set of Doom Blades, two Disfigures and a couple of Unsummons that can also be used as "emergency exit" for a soon-to-be-killed Ally or even to replay one and re-trigger the others.

The sideboard has some unusual (but nice!) cards: Brindle Boar and Fog are good choices to enhance the chance of survival against other aggro decks; the rest is just the usual set of graveyard hate, enchantment/artifact hate and mass token removal.

Time for the trends update:

Esper Control rises in 2nd place, Boros Landfall still has the overall lead after all.

And on that bombshell, I'm out!

See you next week! :)


Post Scriptum: the gatherling entry for MPDC 11.11 still lacks one Top8 deck at the time I submit this. I'll post updated graphs in the comments if that gets fixed. arcbounddaylabor, where are you? =)


Another great update by Copperfield at Thu, 01/27/2011 - 18:56
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I played a slightly different non-black Four Color Allies deck that was a tweak on a list I made Top Four with at the SPDC just before MPDC 11.11. I probably should have used black allies due to all the Doom Blades running around Standard these days. I lost on Monday thanks to this, including the one archbounddaylabor was running, which if I remember correctly was a Four Color Control list.

It's also worth mentioning that you have to be careful with the +1/+1 counter Allies against decks using Fume Spitter. Dudes like Oran Rief-Recluse, Umara Raptor, and Bojuka Brigand may seem like bears in your head, but they enter the battlefield as 1/1s. A smart opponent with a Fume Spitter on the board will sacrifice it in response to the Ally's ETB ability, thus killing what seemed like a 2/2. And getting quite a bit of value out of his little Phyrexian pest! I think Fume Spitter in particular poses quite a hurdle in Allies' path to the gold.

They're still fun if you want to run something other than Esper, though :-)

So there was a 4CC after all! by PiDave at Fri, 01/28/2011 - 03:02
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So there was a 4CC after all! Thank you Copperfield, I'll fix the graphs as soon as possible. :)

Indeed, Fume Spitter is very strong against Allies. That's why I was kinda surprised to see the BUG deck reach Top4. I guess there weren't enough Spitters in this week's meta to fend the allied assault. However, Griisu managed to win against arcbounddaylabor's 4CC in their Top8 match. I'd like to see that replay!

Graphs Updated! by PiDave at Sat, 01/29/2011 - 06:44
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As promised the updated graphs are in:

After putting 4CC into the equations the landscape for archetypes changed a bit as you can see. Control has now a more definite lead on the other types. 4CC still loses the 2nd overall placement but its distance from Esper is less than it appeared to be at first look.

As I kinda suspected, the BUG Allies win against 4CC in the Top8 was partially driven by poor draws on the control deck's side. However, that's part of the game too: even I managed to win a tournament with an absurd deck against my worst matchup some years ago. These kind of things just happen. ;)