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By: gwyned, gwyned
Feb 01 2012 11:21am
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I. Introduction

Welcome to another special edition of Standard Pauper Deck Tech. This series, which originally ran during Season 9 of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, took the winning decklist from each week's tournament and offered an analysis of the components, a quick run-down of the deck's strategy and Sideboard, and a video-cast of a sample match showcasing the deck. While it eventually proved to be too time-consuming to prepare that level of information each and every week, it was also one of my greatest successes as a writer, and one that I enjoy returning to from time to time. For today, I want to present you with what is arguably the most proven deck in the Standard Pauper metagame right now - Kuldotha Hawk.

As always in my articles, let me remind you that the goal of this series is to highlight relevant information about the Standard Pauper format from the results of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, commonly referred to as MPDC. 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 EST / 7:00pm GMT in the /join MPDC room. Season 15 is quickly drawing to a close, and with the release of Dark Ascension this upcoming season would be a great chance to experience the spectacular format that is Standard Pauper.

Kuldotha Hawk derives its name from two of its most defining cards - Kuldotha Rebirth and Glint Hawk - which combined with Ichor Wellspring creates a synergistic mix of cheap creatures, artifacts, and burn spells. Over the past season, one variant or another of this decklist has captured almost half of the weekly trophies (5 out of 11, to be precise), and despite the recent popularity of different strategies, should probably be considered the deck to beat as the season draws to a close with the upcoming release of Dark Ascension. So then, let's take a look at the decklist.

II. The Decklist

Boros Vandals
played by Yantos in MPDC 15.11
4 Glint Hawk
4 Perilous Myr
2 Manic Vandal
10 cards

Other Spells
4 Brimstone Volley
4 Flayer Husk
4 Galvanic Blast
4 Geistflame
4 Ichor Wellspring
4 Kuldotha Rebirth
4 Sylvok Lifestaff
3 Incinerate
1 Remember the Fallen
32 cards
10 Mountain
5 Plains
3 Shimmering Grotto
18 cards

Glint Hawk

III. Deck Strategies

At its heart, Kuldotha Hawk is an Aggro deck, relying upon cheap creatures and a swath of burn spells to destroy an opponent before he or she can stabilize the virtual Battlefield with more powerful spells. Although earlier builds tended to be more creature-heavy, as the season has progressed the emphasis has been much more on spells, usually leaving 12 or less creatures in the main deck. Of course, both Kuldotha Rebirth and Flayer Husk should be considered creature spells as well. These creatures can be further augmented with Equipment, as the deck usually runs full playsets of both Sylvok Lifestaff and Flayer Husk. These equipment also contribute to the total of 24 or more Artifact spells, allowing the deck to easily achieve Metalcraft, which this particular variant only utilizes for Galvanic Blast. Finally, burn spells such as Geistflame, Incinerate, the aforementioned Galvanic Blast, and Brimstone Volley make for a potent suite of burn spells, with a Morbid-enabled Brimstone Volley often serving as a powerful finisher for the deck.

Despite its clear role as the aggressor, Kuldotha Hawk is capable of drawing a surprising number of additional cards, allowing it at times even to keep pace with some Control strategies for sheer card-draw. This is enabled, naturally, by Ichor Wellspring, which in addition to simply being cast from hand can be sacrificed by Kuldotha Rebirth, bounced back into hand by Glint Hawk, or even destroyed for value with Artillerize or Manic Vandal, although the former is not included in this particular decklist. And, after Sideboarding, Nihil Spellbomb can serve a similar role, particular when one draws multiple copies over a prolonged match.

This particular decklist is enhanced with specific options for the current metagame. Geistflame is a strong choice given vast number of decks running Delver of Secrets, and certainly has its use in mirror-matches as well. Remember the Fallen, while only a 1-of, makes quite a bit of sense given the number of removal spells in the average decklist. Finally, including two Manic Vandals in the main gives the deck some card-advantage opportunities against most decks, given the increased role that Artifacts are playing recently.

For the Sideboard, Nihil Spellbomb is a must have in certain matchups; namely, against monoBlack and several new Green-based strategies making use of the surprisingly effective Gnaw to the Bone. Revoke Existence shines brightest against Hexproof, but certainly has its uses against cards such as Ichor Wellspring, Perilous Myr, or Myr Sire. Silverchase Fox is a great way to remove that pesky Curse of the Pierced Heart, and 2 additional Manic Vandals give the deck even more options against Artifact-heavy strategies.

IV. The Match

I will be the first to confess that I am not an expert in running this particular list. Despite some blatant mistakes in this particular match, I nonetheless felt like it was a good representation of how the deck operates and illustrates some of the particular choices and strategies. If you have some additional hints or tips to help improve my play, I'd certainly enjoy hearing them!

V. Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this Standard Pauper Deck Tech on this powerful decklist. In closing, let me remind you that if you would like a sneak peak at my content before it goes live here at, you can always browse over to, search for "gwyned42," select one of my video-casts, and click the Subscribe button. You can also now follow me on Twitter at the username gwyned42; check out my profile here and click on Follow. Let me also extend a special thanks to all my fellow Standard Pauper players who have taken the time to thank me for these articles. I truly believe that Standard Pauper is an important format for Magic Online, and I also enjoy the opportunity to meet new Standard Pauper players and help them jump into this format. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my thoughts, watch the videos, and comment on my articles. See you next time!

VI. Bonus Content

Just in case you missed it, last week I wrote up a quick article on what I believe will be the 13 most relevant Commons for Standard Pauper from Dark Ascension. Click here to check it out. Looks like another great season of MPDC is ahead!