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By: gwyned, gwyned
Jul 07 2014 12:00pm
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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. Next season, I hope to be able to submit a deck tech for each and every winning deck for Season 26 of Monday Pauper Deck Challenge. But for today, I want to share with you a list that made a comeback into the metagame after a long absence - Junk Gatekeepers!

In case the terminology isn't clear, Junk is the typical name given to any midrange White-Black-Green archetype. In this particular case, this decklist falls more on the control side of midrange, and features three members of my favorite Common cycle in Standard - the Gatekeepers from Dragon's Maze: Saruli Gatekeepers, Sunspire Gatekeepers and Ubul Sar Gatekeepers. These three creatures all provide significant card advantage when they enter the battlefield, assuming that you've been able to get at least two Gates into play before they're cast. While not as broken as they were when Ghostly Flicker was in Standard, these three creatures form a powerful core that allows the deck to survive the long game and power out the win over your opponent. So let's take a look at the decklist.

II. The Decklist

III. Deck Strategy

While there are a lot of pieces to this deck, the game plan is fairly straightforward: utilize removal and low-cost creatures to survive the early game, create a stable board state with the Gatekeepers and lifegain, and then power out with your expensive cards. For removal, this deck relies on Celestial Flare, and Grisly Spectacle, as well as the powerful Stab Wound which can act as an alternate win-condition should the board become completely stalled out. Deadly Recluse and Seller of Songbirds also helps you survive the early game, especially against low-cost flyers. Then, once you've managed to get your mana sorted out and at least two Gates online, you're ready to start pumping out value with the Gatekeepers: Sunspire Gatekeepers provides you with two solid attackers or defenders; Ubul Sar Gatekeepers often functions as a two-for-one, eliminating an opponent's creature while creating one of your own; and Saruli Gatekeepers, which gives you a significant boost of Lifegain which, especially in combination with Centaur Healer, makes it very difficult for even aggressive decks to finish you off. Finally, with a little help from Elvish Mystic, the deck powers out either Nessian Asp or Coursers' Accord to dominate the board and eventually overwhelm your opponent. Additionally, the deck includes a couple copies of Altar's Reap to get value out of irrelevant or Pacified creatures and a single copy of Sundering Growth as a nod to all the powerful Enchantments and Bestow creatures in the metagame.

The Sideboard is designed to give you additional removal, utility against heavy Enchantment decks, some targeted hand-disruption, and some counters to popular strategies. Duress is a nice general answer to decks such as Azorious Aggro that runs lots of spells, but is also useful against almost any Control archetype. Sundering Growth is clearly about removing Enchantments, but also gives this deck some nice options given the tokens that are generated from Sunspire Gatekeepers, Seller of Songbirds, and Coursers' Accord. Razortip Whip is nice against very slow and grindy decks like Dimir Mill, and may also be a good option in the mirror. Additional copies of Grisly Spectacle and Celestial Flare provide extra removal when you need it, with the latter being particularly good against Hexproof or strategies that revolve around attacking with one or two large creatures. Finally, Crypt Incursion not only provides a bit of extra lifegain, but is also the perfect counter not only against Graveyard recursion, but also as an answer to an opponent's own Crypt Incursion while it's on the stack.

IV. The Match

For this article, I was lucky enough to get a mirror match against the pilot and creator of this particular decklist, a great player known as Forli. I think this is the first time I have ever featured a mirror match in one of my deck techs! Enjoy!

V. Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this look at the excellent Junk Gatekeepers deck. 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, Thursdays, and Saturdays, 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 / 6:00pm GMT in the /join MPDC room.


A great read as usual, by Mundisv at Tue, 07/08/2014 - 07:45
Mundisv's picture

A great read as usual, gwyned. Nice to see Standard Pauper getting love. Also, I'm surprised to see midrange deck emerge so late in our "solved" format.