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By: gwyned, gwyned
Jan 11 2016 1:00pm
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I. Introduction

For the past two months, I have been running a special "league-style" Player Run Event called the Standard Pauper Double League. As the name implies, this is an event in the Standard Pauper format where players are assigned a pairing each week in a Swiss style tournament for five weeks before cutting to a Top 8 Double Elimination round. However, once that first phase is complete, all players who didn't make Top 8 in Phase One are automatically eligible for a second five week Swiss round phase, which once again will culminate in a Top 8 Double Elimination round (hence the moniker "double"). Thanks to donations from our great community and even directly from Wizards of the Coast, the total prize package for this event is over $175 in value - not too shabby for a free event!

While we are currently in the final week of the Swiss rounds of Phase 2, today I want to bring you the final match in the Double Elimination round of Phase One between ZombieNeko's Jund Allies deck and tikimunkee's Izzet Tokens deck. As this is Double Elimination, ZombieNeko finished in the so-called "Winner's Bracket," meaning that he had not lost a single match, while tikimunkee finished in the "Loser's Bracket," meaning that he had already suffered one loss (you can view the complete bracket here, but it does spoil the final results). According to Double Elimination rules then, ZombieNeko only needed to win a single match, whereas tikimunkee had the difficult task of winning two matches back-to-back in order to be crowned the champion of Phase One. But before we get to the matches themselves, let's take a look at their decklists.

II. The Decklists and Strategy
A. ZombieNeko's Jund Allies


When I first previewed the Allies from Battle for Zendikar, I was pretty skeptical that there was enough power level to make a dedicated Allies build work. In this case, I am glad to be proven wrong, although technically the Allies are only a small part of what makes this deck work. Tajuru Stalwart in a three color deck is an excellent 3/4 for 3, while the combination of Kalastria Healer and Kalastria Nightwatch makes the latter a very powerful card as it swings in for 4 Power in the air. The deck also benefits from the excellent Elvish Visionary, the late game value of Valakut Invoker, and the best of the new Landfall creatures in Valakut Predator.

The deck also has just enough card draw, combat tricks, and removal to help clear the way when need be or survive against early game aggression. Read the Bones is one of the best card-draw Commons in Black ever, allowing you to not only filter but refill your hand for a very reasonable cost. Stonefury, Touch of the Void, and Twin Bolt give you solid removal options against a variety of threats, while Butcher's Glee and Unholy Hunger provide some nice combat tricks, with the former also potentially giving you a major boost in Life when played at the right time.

The Sideboard is quite diverse, with additional copies of Twin Bolt, Unholy Hunger, and Read the Bones to increase the odds you'll draw one of these when it's really needed. Additionally, Complete Disregard, Douse in Gloom, Flatten, and Reave Soul give the deck even more removal at its disposal to help deal with smaller creatures, while Fetid Imp can not only deal with larger creatures but also help shore up the deck's vulnerability to flyers. Finally, Boiling Earth gives the deck some answers to token strategies, while the lone Duress is quite useful against pseudo-combo decks and control archetypes.

B. tikimunkee's Izzet Tokens


This build is a more aggressive version of the typical Izzet Prowess deck that has been dominating the Standard Pauper metagame as of late. It plays fewer creatures, instead relying upon token generators such as Dragon Fodder and Ojutai's Summons combined with the Land creature tokens via Clutch of Currents and the Eldrazi Scion tokens from Eldrazi Skyspawner. With all of the spells in the deck, Elusive Spellfist is also at its best in a build such as this, as is Jeskai Sage, which also typically acts as a 2-for-1 thanks to its ability to cycle when it dies.

Of course, all of these small creatures synergize perfectly with Impact Tremors, which can do a surprising amount of damage very quickly if you can find it early in a game. Fiery Impulse gives the deck some much needed removal, while Trumpet Blast ensures you get maximum value out of the tokens you're generating. But it's the copies of Anticipate and Treasure Cruise that make this deck seem so unfair, as it can quickly empty its hand like any aggressive deck, only to use its Graveyard to quickly refill its hand via Treasure Cruise and continue to exert enormous pressure on your opponent.

The Sideboard provides additional hard removal via Claustrophobia against large creatures, and more conditional removal in Collateral Damage, which works well with all the tokens in the deck. Send to Sleep is also very strong in a deck like this, allowing you to get multiple creatures out of the way for successive turns to allow you to finish off your opponent. Finally, both Negate and Whirlwind Adept help the deck survive in a longer game, giving you the ability to counter important spells from your opponent and present them with a threat that is not only difficult to kill but synergizes well with the large number of spells in the deck.

III. The Match(es)

I was fortunate enough to be available when these two excellent players scheduled their final match, and as such I was able to record the results. Enjoy!

With tikimunkee easily winning the first match, both players now had one loss. Thus, the players would play a second match, with the winner this time being crowned the champion of Phase One of the Double League.

Congrats to ZombieNeko on his comeback win! After having some serious mana issues along the way, he managed to hold on long enough for the shuffler to shift in his favor. Both players played very well, and I certainly enjoyed the opportunity to witness both matches.

(After this match, due to a misunderstanding of the Double Elimination rules on my part, I did ask both players to play a third match, thinking that since both had one loss in the Finals, a 3rd match made sense. ZombieNeko ended up winning that match as well, so it didn't affect the outcome of the tournament; however, in retrospect, I believe this was a mistake on my part, so I did not include the video from that third match).

IV. Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this look at the 1st and 2nd place decks and their match in Phase One of the Standard Pauper Double League. 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 PureMTGO.com over on YouTube.com. 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 PDCMagic.com for all the information and then come join us at 2:00pm EST / 7:00pm GMT in the #MPDC channel.

See you again soon for the next set of Finals from the Standard Pauper Double League as well as my upcoming review of Oath of the Gatewatch for Standard Pauper!