Long live Pauper!
As you may remember from our last article, the September 27th Pauper ban announcement has left us deck-less and destitute. On the upside, we've got a fresh format to prepare for and a wealth of opportunities ahead of us.
You guys offered up a number of suggestions for a follow-up deck, ranging all the way from Golgari Tortured Existence to Pauper Turbo Fog. I have to say that it's really cool to see players getting excited about the format again, specifically on the brewing and testing end of the spectrum.
Since we don't know completely what to expect from Pauper in the coming weeks, I really like the idea of trying out multiple decks rather than settling on one right off the bat. Your comments from the previous article (which I must say were awesome) seem to echo this sentiment.
While variations of Urzatron appeared to be the most popular with voters, control strategies and White Weenie were not far behind. The support for White Weenie in particular has surprised me a little bit—but definitely in a good way! I think now may be the perfect point in time to be tapping basic Plains.
As far as Urzatron goes, I'm expecting to see multiple builds and color combinations vie for Pauper dominance for a good while. Expect to see blue and green featured heavily in Tron, the former for its card advantage and controlling elements and the latter for its land tutoring.
If it's all the same to you guys, I'd like to begin our experimentation by looking at Urza control decks. Doing so kills two birds with one stone so to speak and gets us thinking both about post-ban control and the Urza lands as a successor to Cloudpost and Glimmerpost.
Let's go ahead and jump into our analysis of Tron in Classic Pauper!
Control & Tron Post-Ban: Your Thoughts
"I think there might be a big opening for control decks to fill the void left by Cloudpost. Previously, it was difficult to play non-Cloudpost control because the Cloudpost decks would have inevitability over you in the late game. The two-for-one control decks are going to get a lot better, and I wouldn't be surprised if one of them rises to the top of the metagame." — Daniel Brooks
"I've been rocking the Urzatron in Modern and have enjoyed it. Expedition Map and Ancient Stirrings are both really good in that strategy, but I'm not familiar enough with Pauper to know what you could possibly use to 'replace' Oblivion Stone and Karn. It would be very interesting to see how that might come along, especially if it hasn't really been done before." — Sean Thrasher
Control & Tron Post-Ban: My Thoughts
I really like how well tenets of Cloudpost port over to Tron. With that being said, one of the main things we need to keep in mind is that Tron is, for lack of a better term, a worse version of Post. It requires twelve colorless sources instead of just eight, is a little more tiresome to "turn on," and doesn't provide us with any life gain. Regardless, there's still a considerably powerful mana engine to take advantage of here.
I hope you enjoy this preliminary Tron list, a control deck with late-game oomph that I'll be talking about in depth. Feast your eyes!
First of all, why mono-blue?
I usually like to try out ideas in their simplest form at the very outset. This means starting monocolor and looking for any gaping weaknesses that other slices of the color pie could cover from there. It's also important to consider how the twelve colorless Urza lands will negatively impact a multicolored mana base.
As for blue, well, blue is blue. It has so much to offer, particularly in an Eternal format. Blue also arguably takes the most advantage of a powerful mana engine in Pauper by drowning lesser decks in card advantage and denying their few late-game outs with countermagic.
Mono-Blue Tron: The Maindeck
The inclusion of Prophetic Prism may appear strange in an all-blue deck (the flashback cost on our one Mystical Teachings not withstanding) but gives us a critical sixteen blue sources and helps with resolving multiple Capsizes and replicating Train of Thought. Mulldrifter needs no real explanation, as it is (perhaps) the best multipurpose card in the entire format.
The philosophy behind playing this deck is slightly different than many control decks you're familiar with. It harkens back to the controlling Post decks formerly piloted by Pauper regular newplan. The philosophy is as follows; we should not concern ourselves with removing every threat on the board, but rather we should concern ourselves with advancing towards an endgame where those threats simply cease to matter.
You can see this philosophy emphasized by the relatively low number of removal spells, the incorporation of Man-o'-War and Repeal as temporary stopgaps, and the full set of Expedition Maps tasked with assembling our "combo."
The card that deserves the most skepticism is Train of Thought. I've yet to actually need to resolve it, so it could quite possibly be a "win more" card. Nevertheless, its flexibility and potential to draw a ridiculous number of cards is currently too enticing to pass up.
Mono-Blue Tron: The Sideboard
Control has traditionally been known for its sideboard flexibility. I'm hoping that Mono-Blue Tron is no exception.
Against the format's most aggressive decks, slower cards are boarded out for the third Curse of Chains and Oona's Gatewarden. The defensive Faerie is really handy because she not only comes down early but also thwarts evasive threats and creatures that we can't target. Wither circumvents temporary pump effects, which are prominent in this format. Depending on which flavor of aggro deck we're facing, Curfew or Hydroblast will also be incorporated.
Having bullets in the sideboard can be quite handy when considering an open format. Deep Analysis is one such bullet, providing value in control mirrors and against discard decks. Relic of Progenitus is another, hosing mechanics like dredge, flashback, persist, retrace, and undying among other things.
I'm anticipating other players bringing Tron into early post-ban Daily Events, and a playset of Spreading Seas will be waiting for them in games 2 and 3.
Please keep in mind that this is a preliminary list, and I would love to hear your thoughts on how to improve it! Any general ideas about the Urza lands in a mono-blue shell are similarly appreciated.
Let's put Tron on the backburner for now as we look at one of the game's classic archetypes: White Weenie!
White Weenie Post-Ban: Your Thoughts
"Sleeve up White Weenie! I think it is a marvelous meta choice now that we don't have the silly combo/control-with-infinite-mana decks (which White Weenie couldn't hope to interact with). The meta will now be flooded with Delvers and Stompys and Hexchanters, which I think all have an answer in White Weenie." — Eduardo Soares Rossetto
"WW—this is the moment you have been waiting for." — Greg Stoodley
White Weenie Post-Ban: My Thoughts
In a way, this is the moment I've been waiting for. White Weenie is one of my favorite archetypes in the game, and some of you have heard (or read) me say that many times at this point. To help familiarize you with the deck, I'd like to direct you all to an article penned by SCG's own Alex Ullman focusing on White Weenie.
Much about the archetype has been discussed already, so I'd like to move ahead and show you the list I'm currently working with.
- 4 Doomed Traveler
- 4 Icatian Javelineers
- 2 Kor Sanctifiers
- 4 Kor Skyfisher
- 4 Loyal Cathar
- 4 Squadron Hawk
- 4 Veteran Armorer
- 4 War Falcon
- 22 Plains
For me, the "staple" cards that should be included in every White Weenie maindeck are as follows:
I'm not saying we should automatically play four of each, but I am saying we should play more than zero of each.
Bonesplitter is quite key to getting small dorks to trade up and to shorten our overall clock by a turn or two.
Filling a number of roles (namely saving our backside) is Prismatic Strands. Strands is somewhat debatable, but personally I go back to it every time I'm building or updating a list.
White Weenie: The Maindeck
The first thing that will probably stand out is the fact that I've opted to stick with a War Falcon shell. This may or may not be correct depending on the speed of the new format. Before the printing of War Falcon, a bigger version of White Weenie reigned supreme. It consisted of Benevolent Bodyguard, Razor Golem, and Guardian of the Guildpact, all of which are absent here. We did receive a comment last time about the necessity of Golem, so I will do my best to incorporate it when updating the deck.
While my numbers may be off, I feel like twenty Soldiers is about right for consistently powering up Falcon. These Soldiers are pretty much the best of the bunch excluding Doomed Traveler and Veteran Armorer who are up for debate.
Kor Sanctifiers, while not a Knight or Soldier, has historically put in work. For that reason, I'm giving it a shot in the main.
I've never enjoyed the thought of playing three or fewer copies of Bonesplitter, but I've done so here to make room for everything else. Similarly, I've cut down on removal, and this may be a mistake if the format becomes even more creature centric.
White Weenie: The Sideboard
The sideboard hasn't changed much for this deck in a while. Solid hoser cards and matchup trumps are still present, including Dust to Dust and Standard Bearer. I like the idea of Aven Riftwatcher as a general anti-aggro component as opposed to narrower guesswork cards like Crimson Acolyte.
I have a feeling that Journey to Nowhere will be coming in a lot, and a promotion back to the maindeck is a reasonably strong possibility. Conversely, Rune of Protection: Black may prove unnecessary depending on the field.
Who's On First? You Tell Me
I'm going to let you guys decide which of these decks we showcase first. My aim is to take both decks into Daily Events, but that could very well change if enough of you want it to. Either way, your thoughts and ideas are highly valued and appreciated!
We're getting very close to plunging into the post-ban era of Classic Pauper! I'm feeling good about our overall deck choices, but I think there is definitely some room for improvement. Go ahead and share what you like about the decks and what you think could be reworked in the comments section.
As I get more familiar with these decks, I will be checking and joining in on the discussion below, looking for ways to incorporate your insightful contributions. In the meantime, feel free to follow me on Twitter (@DimeCollectorSC) and visit my YouTube channel. I can't wait to hear from you!
Until next time!