Hello again friends! Here at my Pauper Flophouse of fun I bring you a variety of sweet Pauper decks and give them some quick and dirty brawls in the leagues. Hopefully showing off what the decks can do, having some sweet games and making suggestions on how to make things even better. Let’s go!
What a Time to Be Alive. When Vintage Masters brought a common reprint of Peregrine Drake, Nothing Was the Same. When combo players ousted by the bans of Cloud of Faeries and Storm cards saw it, they said “Hold On, We’re Going Home” and returned to the format. Drake made Headlines with it’s Fancy combos, and has remained Successful ever since. Some people say that it’s Too Good, but honestly there hasn’t been Too Much of it in my experience. In the last 8 or so Leagues I’ve played, I’ve only seen it once that I remember.
I do think, as mentioned previously, that I think it’s the best deck in the format all-round. And while well represented at the 5-0 tables, it’s hardly everywhere? Why? Possibly the main reason is that the combo is actually pretty annoying to perform yourself. So fair everyone I’ve played against (while I’m on Drake) has exhibited the Worst Behaviour and made me go through the whole combo every time. Now, I Take Care not to time out, and I haven’t yet, but it is annoying to have to click 500 times or whatever when they are totally dead. Even if the deck was the Best I Ever Had, I often prefer it when I’m Goin’ In on some Fireblast deck instead just because it doesn’t take Forever.
So yeah, if Pauper had so many tournaments played in real life, I would expect more people to be Fed Up with it. I could see it getting banned at some point, but the mitigating factors of everyone being fast, preparing for it, and the not-overwhelming numbers of it mean it’s not too terrible for it to be legal either.
Let’s look at these matches, then talk more. Gotta get those youtube Views right?
So okay, clearly the deck is not unbeatable. Whether from pilot error (the bad sideboarding in match one was All Me) or draws that match up poorly against enemy threats, you can beat Drake. We also talked about why the deck is good for a bit before, so let’s jump to card choices.
The maindeck of UR Drake is pretty tight at this point, with little variation, (ignoring the other variants like Drake Tron) but it’s not completely uncustomisable (particularly the sideboard), so let’s look at the variables:
- Rolling Thunder/Cinder Hellion: These different-looking cards fulfil the same role – killing the opponent a bit faster when you get the combo going. I prefer not to use them, but they do change how some match ups play out. Opponents too focused on the Pryoblasts and Graveyard hate can leave themselves vulnerable.
- The removal: Whether your deck is good game one against Drake can vary wildly on the removal they pack. Playing 4 Flame Slash can be hard times for Affinity, just as extra Firebolt make attrition matches harder. Even Electrickery is potentially maindeckable the more Elves and Bogles there are in the metagame.
- More counterspells: maybe you play at a time of day when there are nothing but Drakes and Mulldrifters as far as the eye can see. In this situation, changing a couple of the removal spells to False Summoning can make a big difference.
So that’s about it for the maindeck barring sweet miser cards. To be fair, with all the card drawing in the deck, you are more likely to make a noticeable impact on your matches by adding 1 card than in a deck like say, Stompy, where you see few cards per game. What sideboard cards should you play exactly? Well, let’s see:
- Gorilla Shaman: against Affinity, Gorilla Shaman is the best card, especially with 4 Flame Slash to handle Myr Enforcer. If you don’t, and you want to save 15 tix, Ingot Chewer has some sweet interactions, but I like a good Shattering Pulse too. Also, bring in some Hydroblast, as I received a harsh reminder of that in match 1.
- Hydroblast is the best card against Red, not close, since it handles everything including the annoying Curse of the Pierced Heart. I know they are ~5 tix and this is Pauper, but just get some, you’ll Thank Me Later. Consider a couple Pristine Talisman if you can’t get any ‘Blasts, since no one will bring in Smash to Smithereens against you.
- Aura Flux is an appealing best option against Bogles in these colours, if you expect a lot of it. On the other hand, if you don’t expect that much, you can get away with some mix of Electrickery and counterspells like Negate and Annul. In the video series, I think I overloaded on Fluxes, and would have been better served with more flexible slots.
- Electrickery: I wouldn’t overload on this card. It’s actually pretty hard to catch an early Hexproof creature with this, since they have so many ways to increase toughness, and even the tokens decks play stuff like Lumithread Field. Consider some Subterranean Shambler: does similar things but can combine with Ghostly Flicker to wipe out 2 toughness hordes and be reusable!
- Pryoblast: is the best by a large margin against the Mirror and Delver decks. Hydroblast is weirdly not great in the mirror, since most of the red spells aren’t good in the match up except Pyroblast. If you want something a little different, consider…
- Stone Rain: Against decks with 5 drops, an LD sideboard transformation could be spicy. Opponents often tap out for Sea Gate Oracle and such early, so getting a mana advantage and potentially recurring LD is nice, especially against Drake Tron.
- Pingers: Cards like Razorfin Hunter or Vithian Stinger are great back up for the burn spells already in the deck, letting you pick off the small fry while saving real removal for the important targets like Timberwatch Elf out of Elves or flipped Delvers. Competes with Electrickery, but pingers help that out too. Just don’t play Shambler with these.
- Gigadrowse: for people who are playing 4 Archaeomancer and never want to cut the combo, playing this in a late game scenario against another blue deck is basically game over. You just need to get there, and have the pieces ready.
- Relic of Progenitus: as much as I don’t like cards like Faerie Macabre, Relic always remains at least mildly useful because of the cycling. Great against Reanimator and annoying for UB graveyard-using strategies too, you can’t go too wrong with this.
- Stormbound Geist: I always end up wanting some of this card. Makes sure you have enough win conditions if you trim on combo stuff, blocks really well against the Delver decks and almost always is 2 for 1 against attrition decks.
- Grazing Kelpie: Bear with me a second! The Kelpie is a swiss army knife of a sideboard card. It can block surprisingly well, eat up removal spells, and also is an on-board answer to things like Archaeomancer. With 2 of them you can even play a hard Controlla game with no win condition other than Mulldrifters and these, since they can keep putting each other on the bottom your library with Counterspells and Lightning Bolts to deal with every card in their deck, while you keep drawing cards but never get decked.
- Aven Fogbringer: Okay, we’ve entered into the real jank zone now, but if you feel like trolling some people, cards like this and Rishadan Cutpurse are legal. Just sayin’! If your local store is filled with Bouncelands and Tron lands… I’m sure someone out there could Make Me Proud and lock out people with Gulf Squid. Okay, back to reality.
- Curse of the Bloody Tome: If Mystical Teachings makes a comeback this has always been sweet. You can remove the combo pretty much entirely and go full defence if you want to.
Okay, that’ll do. I’ll probably do more matches with this deck in the future, but what will be next?
Stephen ‘Jecht’ Murray, Over and out.