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By: gwyned, gwyned
Jun 15 2010 2:26am
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I. Introduction

As I mentioned in my previous articles, the goal of this series is to highlight the winning decklist from each event in Monday Pauper Deck Challenge this season. MPDC is a weekly PRE featuring a Swiss tournament in the Standard Pauper format, with prizes awarded for the Top 8 finishers thanks to the sponsorship of MTGOTraders. As always, if you've never checked out MPDC, I encourage you to browse over to for all the information and then come join us at 2:00pm EDT in the /join MPDC room. We've seen quite the diversity in the Top 8 thus far, so there's plenty of options for even a newcomer to chase after a coveted MPDC trophy. So check out the current metagame, shuffle up your own virtual 75, and come battle against the best and the brightest of the Standard Pauper community.

To view only the recent metagame, select "MPDC" under Series and "9" under Season and click on "Filter Events."

This week, I will be exploring an interesting 5 color build, the likes of which hasn't been seen in MPDC since the early days of Conflux as Paupers explored the potency of the Domain keyword. Following the success of the 4 Color Control decklist in Standard Pauper, recently other variations have emerged, using a similar mana-base to support 4 or even all 5 of the mana-symbols, creating a list that takes advantage of the best cards available, regardless of color. As you're about to see, Prismatic Rioters seems to fit in quite well within this trend.

II. The Decklist

The Standard Pauper metagame has shifted away from the aggressive builds that dominated soon after the release of Zendikar, giving way to the more subtle power of control archetypes. Much like BW Control, Prismatic Rioters uses its suite of removal spells, including Flame Slash, Lightning Bolt, and Journey to Nowhere, which function here in a similar fashion. And again, much like BW Control, Prismatic Rioters relies upon recursion tricks powered by Gravedigger and Kor Skyfisher. However, in addition to the endless Gravedigger loops and extra life from a recycled Lone Missionary, this deck also gets excellent value out of recurring Sea Gate Oracle, Prophetic Prism, and even Mnemonic Wall, the latter of which is itself a strong piece of recursion, returning any one of an excellent selection of Instants and Sorceries, such as Blightning, Flame Slash, or Mysteries of the Deep.

Prophetic Prism makes for an interesting choice in Pauper. On the one hand, it provides a very handy source of mana filtering, allowing one to play any of the cards the mercurial shuffler sends to your hand regardless of the Lands in play. Filtering effects, by themselves, typically are not very strong, but the Prism has the added advantage of immediately replacing itself when it comes into play, which boosts its value from mediocre to playable. With Kor Skyfisher in hand, it can even serve as a virtual ": Draw a card," which, while by no means poor, may still not be the most effective choice to return to one's hand. Whether the effect of strongly diminishing the chances of color-screw is worth the space in the decklist is certainly up for debate, and perhaps further testing will show whether all four are truly necessary.

As far as color preference when 'popping' fetchlands (either Terramorphic Expanse or Evolving Wilds), Red is definitely needed early to provide protection from early creatures by means of removal. White and Blue, in that order, are typically the next picks, followed by either Black or Green, which are represented equally in the deck. Obviously Sideboard considerations, as well as cards in hand, may sometimes dictate a change in this order, but I found that generally this is the ideal order.

Speaking of Sideboard, I strongly appreciate the versatility that this Sideboard represents, allowing one to tailor the deck in Game 2 and 3 to target specific weaknesses. For example, while clearly Blightning is quite strong, its usefulness against very aggressive decks is limited, and makes for an easy swap with another piece of removal or the excellent Rest for the Weary. Or, if you're playing against a strong suite of Enchantment or Artifact hate, such as Qasali Pridemage or Kor Sanctifiers, swap out the Journey to Nowheres for additional Blightnings or a Mysteries of the Deep. Or if swarms of tokens are getting you down, bring in a full package of Seismic Shudders to ruin your opponent's day. There are lots of different possible configurations, and the lone Mnemonic Wall often acts as a 5th Silver Bullet, allowing you to get one more use out of your best answer.

Finally, the deck's strongest weapon, at least in terms of a late-game finisher, comes in the form of Matca Rioters, which is a beefy 5/5 once you've managed to fetch out all 5 Basic Land types. While still vulnerable to Black removal, the Rioters are one of the strongest and most flexible creatures in Standard Pauper, especially once you can protect them with some strong recursion tricks. Very few creatures can stand toe-to-toe with a 5/5 in Pauper, and unless your opponent's managed to land an Eldrazi, a strong flyer, or a Crypt Ripper backed by a bunch of Swamps, these rioters can bring an end to a game pretty quickly.

III. The Match

 Most of the time, I believe this deck actually wants to start on the draw rather than on the play. Like any Control deck, it's important to not miss your early Land-drops. Additionally, one hopes to find at least one non-fetch Land by Turn 3, so as to not fall too behind in tempo. Here, even with 2 Matca Rioters in hand, I still think following the order of Red, White, and then Blue regarding mana sources is the proper play. Additionally, unless your opponent is able to create a horde of creatures (typically with tokens), it's usually better just to ignore Soul Warden and its ilk.

 This match in some ways was the classic aggro vs control matchup, with me desperately seeking to stay alive long enough to survive an early onslaught of Creatures and take control of the game-state. Obviously here the ability to recycle the Lone Missionary, once again, proves to be the key to staying alive. Tapping my land wrong at one point aside, I felt pretty good about staying alive until I was finally able to take control of the game. Here I think my opponent's concession was a bit premature, especially given the fact that he had a very respectable 47 life to my paltry 12, but as I mentioned in the video, I was pretty confident at that point that I had the game well in hand.

 Casting that early Lightning Bolt on the Stormfront Pegasus might not be ideal, but it certainly proved to be invaluable in this instance, saving me a pretty large chunk of life all things considered. Of course, then I forget to tap the Mountain before I bounce it, making for one of several small but awkward mistakes in this match. For all my good plays, I definitely also made more than my fair-share of misplays. Additionally, I truly was fortunate that my opponent was unable to fully capitalize on my lack of resources in the early game. A couple of small misplays by my opponent, like sacrificing the Relic of Progenitus prematurely and miscalculating the damage of Flame Slash on the Plated Geopede certainly didn't help his cause.

I was definitely pleased with the Sea Gate Oracle finally gifted me with that 4th Land drop, and at that point the outcome of the game seemed well in hand. My opponent's tendency to not trade creatures was also a decisive point in my favor, since it allowed me to race despite the scarcity of resources. I wasn't exactly at the top of my game either, so in that sense I suppose we were pretty evenly matched.

IV. Conclusion

And with that, I conclude another edition of Standard Pauper Deck Tech. I have been quite pleased by a few people who are now subscribing to me on YouTube, which gives them a sneak peek at the article, since I always upload the videos at least 48 hours before this article actually comes online. If you would like to do the same, simply browse over to, search for "gwyned42," select one of my video-casts, and click the Subscribe button. I hope these articles continue to be a pleasure to read and give you a nice introduction to these great decklists, and as always I value your feedback and comments. See you next time!

V. Bonus Content

I played several matches on the night I recorded my final videocast, and even won my very first one. However, I did not think it was much of an interesting match, so I ultimately played three other matches before I was satisfied with my result. But I have included below Game 2 of the first match I played that evening to give you a little more insight into how Prismatic Rioters plays out. If you've ever wondered what a 'Defender.dec' list might look like in Standard Pauper, this might be of particular interest. Enjoy!


At one point you could have by Lunco at Tue, 06/15/2010 - 08:22
Lunco's picture

At one point you could have gone Skyfisher, bounce the plains, replay the plains, play another Skyfisher, bounce the Mnemonic Wall and get back Flame Slash next turn. And what's the deal with not playing Rioters any sooner and put some pressure on him?