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By: gwyned, gwyned
Dec 19 2011 12:23am
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I. Introduction

Welcome back to another special edition of Standard Pauper Matchups. My goal in this particular series is to analyze the two decklists that make the Finals of the weekly Monday Pauper Deck Challenge tournament as well as provide video-commentary from the Final match itself. This is still an idea I am refining, so I would enjoy hearing any comments on what you think of this particular type of article and how I might improve it in the future. For those unfamiliar with this particular tournament, Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, commonly referred to as 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. You can also access a wealth of information about this format by checking out my previous articles here at as well as those of PiDave, who sends out a weekly update on the current Standard Pauper metagame based upon results from MPDC.

Today I want to bring you the Finals from MPDC 15.07, where FabioS's Kuldotha Red deck battled against MagicPoint's Mono Black deck for the trophy! Strategies revolving around burn spells, Artifact creatures, and those pesky Goblin tokens have been dominating the field as of late, with the more popular Boros version claiming the trophy for the last three weeks. Did this trend finally come to an end, or is this Red star still ascending? Before we get to that, let's first take a look at both decklists and analyze their plan for success.

II. The Decklists
A. Kuldotha Red

At first glance, this list seems much more like a dedicated burn deck than a more traditional Kuldotha Red build given that only 8 card slots are devoted to creatures. However, the number of creatures in the deck is effectively doubled by the inclusion of both Flayer Husk and Kuldotha Rebirth, which not only gives the list plenty of creatures but almost transforms this into some form of token-style deck. Perilous Myr and Myr Sire are perhaps two of the strongest creatures in the metagame right now, not so much for their inherent power as much as their ability to gain extra card advantage. Perilous Myr is often a two-for-one, and at a minimum will usually block a more beefy attacker and then trade-off with another creature on the opponent's side of the virtual Battlefield. Myr Sire's ability to automatically replace itself is also quite strong. Beyond its creature base, this deck also boasts a potent removal suite of Incinerate, Geistflame, and Galvanic Blast, the last of which is particularly strong thanks to the presence of so many Artifacts in the list (16 to be exact). Ichor Wellspring also gives the deck a bit of card draw in combination with Kuldotha Rebirth. Finally, Curse of the Pierced Heart rounds out this particular list. While not great as a singleton, either in multiples or played early in the game this Curse becomes much better, inflicting a fair amount of damage and doing so in a way that is difficult for most opponents to interact with.

The Sideboard gives the deck a bit more versatility. First, it includes additional direct damage options: Burn the Impure, while strong against Infect, can also simply be used for additional burn spells; and Artillerize, which is particularly good with Ichor Wellspring or Myr Sire to generate a powerful 5 damage blast. Second, the Sideboard gives the deck options against Graveyard recursion with Nihil Spellbomb and other Artifact-heavy decks with Manic Vandal. Finally, you can also side in either Traitorous Blood to enable a surprise 'Alpha-strike' by stealing a powerful creature at the right moment, or make use of the unexpected presence of Ogre Menial, who could be useful against other Infect decks or even against decks that lack good creature or removal options. 

B. Mono Black

by MagicPoint
4 Duskhunter Bat
4 Fume Spitter
4 Phyrexian Rager
3 Gravedigger
3 Perilous Myr
3 Vault Skirge
21 cards

Other Spells
4 Dead Weight
4 Geth's Verdict
3 Flayer Husk
3 Sylvok Lifestaff
2 Doom Blade
2 Grasp of Darkness
18 cards
21 Swamp
21 cards

Vault Skirge

Mono-Black Control, typically abbreviated MBC, has been a perennial favorite in Pauper, thanks to its combination of advantageous creatures, powerful removal spells, Lifegain, Graveyard recursion, and often some sort of sweeper-effect. This build, which debuted this week in MPDC, combines all but the last into a potent list that plays out more like a Mid-range style deck than pure Control. First, the deck includes 12 removal spells, including Dead Weight, Doom Blade, Grasp of Darkness, and Geth's Verdict, the last of which has the advantage of being a 'silver-bullet' against the Hexproof deck, which while diminished in numbers still has a place within the metagame. Second, the deck makes use of both Sylvok Lifestaff and Vault Skirge to gain enough life to resist the initial assault from aggressive strategies. Third, each of the creatures has an important role to play: Gravedigger to provide the aforementioned Graveyard recursion; Fume Spitter to provide additional defense and removal against aggressive decks; Phyrexian Rager to provide some additional card advantage; Perilous Myr to give the deck a defensive edge and additional removal options; and Duskhunter Bat, which proved to be surprisingly effective thanks to its low casting cost and evasion. These features certainly elevate this decklist to the status of a worthy contender, and if the current Standard Pauper cardpool including a Black sweeper effect at Common, that alone might be enough to elevate it to one of the best decks in the metagame.

The Sideboard is fairly standard, giving the deck additional options for removal and lifegain from Sorin's Thirst, Grasp of Darkness, Vault Skirge, Perilous Myr, and Sylvok Lifestaff. Additionally, Nihil Spellbomb allows the deck to counter-act other Graveyard recursion strategies, while Mind Rot helps deal with Hexproof and other Control-style decks.

III. The Match



IV. Conclusion

And with that, I conclude this edition of Standard Pauper Matchups. Just a reminder, 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, at least 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!