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By: gwyned, gwyned
Nov 14 2016 12:00pm
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I. Introduction

Welcome back to another Standard Pauper Deck Tech. This series, which originally ran during Season 9 of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, takes the winning decklist from previous week's Monday Standard Pauper tournament (known as MPDC) on Magic Online and offers 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. We are three weeks into Season 35 of MPDC, and with the next set now scheduled until the end of January, I suspect there's still plenty of innovation and surprises in store for the format. Today, I will be looking at a new Dimir Artifact archetype that utilizes cheap creatures, Artifacts, and removal spells to power out a quick victory.

The deck, created and piloted by cRUMMYdUMMY, includes two new Black creatures from Kaladesh to Crew Sky Skiff, powers them out with Prophetic Prism and Terrarion, uses efficient removal to keep the board clear, and finally relies upon Gearseeker Serpent as its big finisher. What sets this deck apart from similar strategies is just how quickly this deck can get going, putting a ton of pressure on your opponent early, and then pressing home that advantage with its big finishers, with includes not only the Serpent but the most important card in the format right now: Self-Assembler. Let's take a look at the decklist.

II. Decklist

Dimir Artifacts
1st place in MPDC 35.03 by cRUMMYdUMMY
4 Dhund Operative
4 Night Market Lookout
4 Self-Assembler
4 Sky Skiff
3 Gearseeker Serpent
1 Sanitarium Skeleton
20 cards

Other Spells
4 Grasp of Darkness
4 Prophetic Prism
4 Take Inventory
3 Murder
2 Terrarion
1 Fortuitous Find
18 cards
12 Swamp
4 Evolving Wilds
4 Island
1 Holdout Settlement
1 Mountain
22 cards

Gearseeker Serpent

III. Deck Strategy

Unlike most Dimir archetypes, this deck wants to curve out with its creatures early, getting Dhund Operative and Night Market Lookout onto the battlefield in the first couple turns, and immediately start turning them sideways. Ideally you are also able to start generating card advantage off Take Inventory, backed up by the cycling abilities on both Prophetic Prism and Terrarion. These two early drops really come into their own once you've found Sky Skiff, especially since you get an extra two point Life swing every time the Lookout Crews that Vehicle (this same trick works with the lone Holdout Settlement as well). The early pressure you put on your opponent then allows you to quickly finish him or her off as you move into the midgame, pressing your advantage with either Self-Assembler or Gearseeker Serpent, the latter of which can come down quite early thanks to all of the Artifacts included in the deck list.

You only have seven removal spells before Sideboard between Grasp of Darkness and Murder, so it's important to save these for threats that you have no other way of dealing with. Sanitarium Skeleton can help in this regard, as the lone copy of this creature can act as an almost free blocker every turn or used to Crew the Skiffs when not otherwise needed. But even if you find yourself in a late game board stall, this is where Gearseeker Serpent really shines, as it allows you to ignore all of your opponents other creatures and crash in for five points of damage each and every turn once you have the six mana available to trigger its ability. Finally, should your plan go awry, the singleton Fortuitous Find can help bail you out, as you have multiple good Artifacts and creatures to recur.

Post Sideboard, you have a number of good options. First, you can dramatically increase your removal capacity, utilizing Oblivion Strike and Murder for large threats or Dead Weight for smaller ones. Second, the deck includes a lone Mountain in its mana base just for the purpose of running a full playset of Boiling Earth, which remains the strongest option available against token strategies. Finally, you can instead choose to play more towards the long game, bringing in permission spells in the form of Negate to sidestep enemy spells, Deny Existence as a great surprise hard counter, and one additional copy of Fortuitous Find to help you recover your spent resources.

IV. The Match

My opponent this week was littlefield, who was running the Simic Big Stuff deck that went on to take 2nd place in the event. That deck can be slow to get going, and also can have difficulty dealing with Flyers if it can't keep Wretched Gryff on the table. Since this Simic archetype is pretty popular in the metagame right now, finding a deck that has a good matchup against it would be a pretty big advantage. Hope you enjoy the video of the match.

V. Post-Game Thoughts

First off, congratulations are certainly in order to cRUMMYdUMMY, who was undefeated in MPDC 35.03 with this deck (and in fact, dropped only a single game in five rounds, losing one to littlefield in the Finals). Overall this seems like a very solid deck, tuned to play a very aggressive early game but with enough mid to late game options to fall back on when that plan doesn't work. One obvious option that was not included is a couple copies of Renegade Freighter, which would help the deck have a strong ground presence in the midgame (and another Artifact to help power out Gearseeker Serpent). Foundry Screecher also seems like it's very well suited for this type of deck, as you have plenty of Artifacts to pump up its Power. Unfortunately, Sky Skiff probably fills this role better already. Grotesque Mutation is another card that might be worth considering, as this is a decent combat trick that has the bonus of providing a nice Life boost that can make all the difference in a prolonged match. On the whole though, while these cards might be worth at least trying as Sideboard options, I suspect the deck is probably better as is.

VI. Conclusion

And with that I conclude this Standard Pauper Deck Tech on Dimir Artifacts. In closing, let me remind you that you can check out all of my previous articles here on PureMTGO by clicking here. I also publish over on my blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and encourage you to keep up with all my projects there. You can get a sneak peek at any of my videos before they go live here at over on Simply search for "gwyned42," select one of my videocasts, and click the Subscribe button. You can keep up with everything I'm doing on Twitter at the username gwyned42; check out my profile here and click on Follow. Finally, I am the host of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge, which 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 #MPDC channel.