cRUMMYdUMMY's picture
Dec 30 2008 11:43pm
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Each format has some variant of a Rock deck.  At its heart, The Rock is a midrange Black/Green deck that gains card advantage through some form of recursion and control elements such as Eternal Witness and Pernicious Deed.  Without access to these cards, the Rock must take on a very different form in Pauper Standard.  This version gains card advantage from almost every single card.  This deck started humbly with Ravenous Rats, Civic Wayfinder, Phyrexian Rager, and Elvish Visionary as a way to steadily accumulate card advantage.  I played around with a Red splash for cards like Carrion Trash and Blightning.  Over testing, I decided a Blue splash with Agony Warp and Mulldrifter was superior.  Though Red provides reach and a huge finisher, the Blue version was more consistent and had a lower curve.  This is the final list I won MPDC 4.09 with.




4 Civic Wayfinder

4 Elvish Visionary

4 Mulldrifter

4 Phyrexian Rager

4 Ravenous Rats

4 Warren Pilferers

3 Wickerbough Elder



4 Agony Warp

3 Raven's Crime

3 Terror


11 Swamp

6 Forest

4 Terramorphic Expanse

2 Island



4 Relic of Progenitus

4 Toil to Renown

3 Festercreep

1 Eyeblight's Ending

1 Terror

1 Unmake

1 Wickerbough Elder


























Card Choices

Civic Wayfinder, Elvish Visionary, Phyrexian Rager, Ravenous Rats, Mulldrifter = These creatures all provide some form of card advantage.  Wayfinder is excellent here as it both fixes mana for the early game and provides lands to Retrace Raven’s Crime with late game.

Warren Pilferers = The 3/3 body is more important than the lower mana cost provided by its cousin, Gravedigger.  The larger body is fantastic as most creatures in the format are 2/2.  Carrion Thrash was dismissed in the Red splash for many reasons.  Thrash requires an incredible seven mana to recur a single creature.  However, the biggest deal breaker was that unlike Pilferers and Gravedigger, Thrash provided an extra body only upon being put into the graveyard rather than coming into play.  This made card advantage harder to come by since Oblivion Ring, Recumbent Bliss, and Unmake deal with creatures without putting them into the graveyard, thus bypassing the card advantage.

Wickerbough Elder = This slot is more of an open metagame slot and there are a variety of creatures that can fill this hole, but with so many hybrid enchantments and Esper decks running around, Wickerbough Elder seldom lacks targets.

Agony Warp = This is the best removal spell in Standard. 

Terror = Terror has several benefits over other removal.  It’s not toughness-based, costs only two mana, and is instant speed.  This is important against all aggro decks and treefolk.  I originally had Bone Splinters in this slot, but it was cut due to Sorcery speed. 

Raven’s Crime = I often found myself mana flooded during games.  Crime is better than Oona’s Grace and Monstrify as it lets me empty my opponent’s hand, giving me better matchups against control decks and denying aggro decks gas.  Both result in me having a better defensive position.

Festercreep = Deals with Faeries, Deft Duelist, and token armies.  Always an important sideboard card, no matter what deck. 

Eyeblight’s Ending/Unmake = I wanted removal to deal with creatures that Terror could not handle.  Unmake is the better removal spell, but I also wanted consistency, so I have the one each split.

Toil to Renown
= Red based decks are hard to deal with in this format lacking good life gain.  Toil to Renown buys you time until your card advantage wins you the game.

Other cards I considered but decided to cut. 

Llanowar Sentinels = While Sentinels are good in this deck, they were often a late game mana sink.  Raven’s Crime solved this problem and has a lower curve to boot.

Bog-Strider Ash
= While good against any decks packing Red or Black, I could not consistently trigger the life gain, which was a problem.

Farhaven Elf = The mana acceleration let me drop a turn four Mulldrifter or Pilferers.  Outside of that one play, Civic Wayfinder was better in all aspects. 

Viscera Dragger = Dragger is still a good fit for the deck, but Wickerbough Elder is a better metagame card. 

Playing The Rock

The Rock is fairly straight forward and almost plays itself.  The concept is simple: drop your hand and reap the card advantage.  The only real decision that needs to be made is how many lands to feed to Raven’s Crime.  This depends entirely on the progress of the game and needs to be thought out.  While it is usually best to wait until you have at least five lands with one of each type, sometimes the best play is to Retrace your all lands before you hit your fifth land drop or even all your colors.  So don’t be afraid, but don’t be overzealous. 

MPDC 4.09 Tournament Report 

Round 1 v EamGael (Esper)

g1: I'm color screwed, so we spend the first few turns passing as I find mana sources.  He recurs his Moonglove Extract with Sanctum Gargoyle after killing my Rager, but I find a Terramorphic Expanse and start playing my Green cards.  After playing several Wayfinders, I have an excellent board position.  With a six man army against his lonely Gargoyle and Etherium Sculptor, my two Agony Warps and Wickerbough Elder clear the path for me to victory. 

Sideboard: +1 Wickerbough Elder, + 4 Relic of Progenitus, -3 Terror, -2 Warren Pilferers

Comments: I generally board out Pilferers here in expectation of them boarding in Relics to combat my recursion.  In addition to my own Relics, this makes recursion less effective.  Raven’s Crime still works beautifully against graveyard recursion despite Relic, so I leave them in. 

g2: I drop a Relic on both turns one and five, stopping his recursion for the rest of the game.  However, he pummels me with a Steelclad Serpent, putting me down to a measly three life.  I stabilize off an Agony Warp killing his Serpent then win with a Wickerbough Elder. 

Matches = 1-0

Games = 2-0 

Round 2 v Kage72 (Naya Aggro)

g1: I’m on the play, allowing me to Terror his turn one Wild Nacatl.  We exchange creatures and removal for two more turns.  I land two Ravenous Rats on turn five leaving him with one card left in hand.  He uses Recumbent Bliss on two of my guys while we both wait it out in topdeck mode.  I eventually get a Visionary, which digs into a Mulldrifter.  The Mulldrifter, in turn, digs into Rager and Wayfinder.  It's only a matter of time before I chip him down from his 30+ life.

Sideboard changes: +4 Toil to Renown, +1 Terror, +1 Eyeblight's Ending, -3 Wickerbough Elder, -3 Raven's Crime 

g2:  The game is closer this time, but plays out similarly.  After several turns, we are both in topdeck mode with empty boards again.  I'm down to four life through Retraced Flame Jabs and am forced to Toil for a measly four life to put myself out of Giantbaiting range (which he conspired earlier).  I eventually draw a Mulldrifter which lets me empty my hand and Toil to Renown for 12+ life...twice.  He concedes before I even get him below twenty life. 

Matches = 2-0

Games = 4-0 

Round 3 v L.Yagami (Jund Mana Ramp)

g1:  My deck comes out way too slow and he gets an active Carrion Trash loop going. 

Sideboard changes: +4 Relic of Progenitus, +1 Unmake, +1 Eyeblight's Ending, -2 Warren Pilferers, -3 Wickerbough Elder, -1 Raven's Crime

Comments:  He was running Cloudcrown Oak, so I kept Terror in. 

g2: I have an excellent hand with multiple Mulldrifters and Pilferers as well a Wayfinder and Agony Warp to hold the board.  I win this one before he even gets the seven mana to recur Carrion Thrash.

g3: We spend the first dozen turns exchanging creatures and removal.  We also both played an early Relic and regularly empty each other's yards. Like many games before and to come, the game ends when I topdeck Mulldrifter. 

Matches = 3-0

Games = 6-1 

Round 4 v bloodrose (UWg Shrouded Beats /w transformative sideboard into Rogue Control)

Note:  I’m surprised to see someone else play Shrouded Beats, which is a deck I created early in the Alara season.  His board is far different though, so he may have designed the deck from scratch. 


g1: I Wickerbough Elder a Favor of the Overbeing on his Bogle and his army is entirely too small to handle my 4/4 Elder. 


Sideboard changes: +1 Wickerbough Elder, -1 Terror 


g2: With his transformative sideboard, I'm totally caught off-guard by the number of fliers he has.  I lose in a race despite having a hefty ground force and removal still in hand. 


Sideboard changes: +3 Festercreep, +1 Terror, -4 Wickerbough Elder 


g3: He flies over me with a single Mulldrifter and I draw no Festercreeps to blow past his Deft Duelist wall.  To end it, he counters my Warren Pilferers putting me in topdeck mode.  I draw nothing and die to his flying onslaught. 


Matches = 3-1

Games = 7-3 

Top 8 v Baron_Sengir6989 (Faeries)


g1 and g2:  There's not much to say about these games because he is stuck on two lands while I make a land and creature drop every turn.  I have a very well developed board by the time he hits his third land in both games.  It’s always easy to beat a mana screwed opponent. 


Matches = 4-1

Games = 9-3 

Top 4 v bloodrose


g1: He drops a Shorecrasher Mimic and casts Favor on turn three.  Another Mimic joins his side on turn four.  His last swing puts me down to two life before I strip Favor with a Wickerbough Elder.  Just like our previous game one, my 4/4 Elder finishes the job. 


Sideboard changes: +3 Festercreep, -3 Wickerbough Elder 


g2: I'm ready for his shenanigans this time and pop a Festercreep against his Duelist and Squire, taking out his defense and offense.  He is forced to pop his Relic at this point because he is far behind in board position and needs the additional draw.  My Pilferers and Mulldrifters take it in from there. 


Matches = 5-1

Games = 11-3 

Finals v joekewwl (Its Only a Flesh Wound)


g1: I play two Agony Warps putting him behind on board position and life.  He is forced to play all his Gravediggers from hand as I have complete board control.  Two Wickerbough Elders add to my already superior board position.   With a huge army, higher life, and no recursion left in my opponent's hand, I attack and attack until its over. 


Sideboard changes: +4 Relic of Progenitus, +1 Eyeblight's Ending, +1 Unmake, -3 Terror, -3 Wickerbough Elder. 


g2: He starts his recursion immediately on turn four putting me behind on card advantage.  I'm forced to pop Relic the turn after I drop it due to a Pilferers coming into play.  I even up the board with two Agony Warps.  With three lands in hand and another impending recursion loop, I topdeck Raven's Crime and Retrace it to empty my opponent's hand of Pilferers, putting him in topdeck mode as well.  I win this one by having the first Pilferers draw. 


Matches = 6-1

Games = 13-3 

The Rock’s Soft Spot

The Rock capitalizes mainly on card advantage and recursion.  It is a slow but steady pace that requires building up bodies.  Decks that play off tempo can deal with the Rock if they come out of the gates fast enough.  Safehold Aggro, RDW, and Rogue Control use these elements and each provides a distinct way to defeat the Rock.  Safehold Aggro uses larger and cheaper creatures along with pump spells to negate toughness based removal.  So long as they have two creatures on the board and a hand full of pump, you are likely to lose.  RDW sacrifices its card advantage for burns.  If The Rock does provide enough chump blockers early, the game will be lost.  Rogue Control has evasive fliers and Shroud creatures that can win so long as they have the appropriate counter backup. 


Closing Thoughts

While The Rock is good, it is far from the best deck in the format.  It has to come a long way before it can claim that title.  It has its fair share of drawbacks, but which deck doesn’t?  Test out The Rock at next week’s MPDC.  We always welcome new players.



by cRUMMYdUMMY at Wed, 12/31/2008 - 10:40
cRUMMYdUMMY's picture

Thanks!  That's correct.  The PREs run Pauper in every flavor including Standard, Extended, and Classic.  If you want to try something other than Pauper Classic drop on by!

WTG!! by Rerepete at Wed, 12/31/2008 - 10:58
Rerepete's picture

I likw the analysis of the deck, keep it up.

Congratulations! by Katastrophe at Wed, 12/31/2008 - 03:15
Katastrophe's picture

This was a player run event, right? Pauper, but standard, not classic?

Congratulations! And that was fun to read. Those Pilferers look like a beating.

Sakura tirbe elder is much by Anonymous (not verified) at Mon, 01/19/2009 - 19:23
Anonymous's picture

Sakura tirbe elder is much better than Elvish Visionary.
and i think 8 5 drops is too much. But the deck seems very nice;)

Sorry if I didn't make it by cRUMMYdUMMY at Tue, 01/20/2009 - 23:01
cRUMMYdUMMY's picture

Sorry if I didn't make it clear, but MPDC is Pauper Standard. It is neither Extended or Classic. Sakura Tribe Elder is not legal in the format.