This is the 2nd in the series of 2 about Rakdos-coloured control decks in Pauper. You can see the prior entry right here.
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!
As mentioned last week, I was recently tasked by a friendly viewer with making a reasonable Blightning deck. It was a welcome challenge since the card certainly has sufficient power to be played, and you can add it to a few kinds of decks.
Said viewer sent me a rough list and I got to work. After playing and tweaking the numbers for some time, I came up with… this. I refer to it as Thermo Control. It’s not the same as the Br version, even though there are actually more black spells than red even if it is a red deck in spirit. I mean, Justice and Brush are basically burn spells.
This deck has some spice in it. Here it is up front so that I can explain myself:
4 Bloodfell Caves
4 Rakdos Carnarium
3 Terramorphic Expanse
2 Bojuka Bog
1 Forgotten Cave
2 Phyrexian Rager
1 Sprinting Warbrute
4 Gurmag Angler
4 Lightning Bolt
2 Funeral Charm
4 Night’s Whisper
2 Chainer’s Edict
1 Searing Blaze
1 Brush with Death
1 Read the Bones
1 Pristine Talisman
2 Evincar’s Justice
3 Gorilla Shaman
2 Martyr of Ashes
2 Grotesque Mutation
The best thing to do when brewing up a deck – in my mind – is to try and make the deck as successful at its plan as possible. In this case, we’re trying to maximize a damage spell + Mind Rot, so I wanted to make a deck that was taking advantage of both facets of the card, rather than doing something like simply splashing Blightning into a burn deck or MBC list.
Unfortunately there are not that many synergies available in making your opponent discard, but if I threaten my opponent’s life total the choice of discarding becomes difficult having to choose between discarding threats or answers. If I vary my threat types between Alchemist (pings), Anglers (high toughness), recurring burn spells (non-creature), and a dash creature(needs instants), it makes life difficult for opponent to answer everything.
The philosophy of the deck was that I would want to play a reasonable number of cards that could deal damage, allowing me to take an aggressive posture and kill off my opponent quickly if given the chance, or gradually chip away at my opponent if creatures needed to be killed first.
The basic plan of playing Thermo-Alchemist was locked in early. Thermo-Alchemist gives this deck a different avenue of attack compared to a normal control deck, as most control decks don’t have a threat they can play on turn 2. It naturally goes very well with cards like Night’s Whisper, and makes the various Bolts more effective at burning out opponents that don’t have creatures. It even blocks small creatures, so it counts as a control card!
Gurmag Angler is just the best threat you can play. Blightnings are actually really good at clearing the way for Angler to come down unopposed, so even though it’s a boring choice it was unavoidable.
Evincar’s Justice feels like an underplayed card. Bad against Drake, yeah, but it’s the closest thing to Wrath of God in the format. It’s even better in this deck, since nugging the opponent for 2 is actually really useful. It doesn’t kill Alchemist so I can deploy threats AND sweep the board, and it even transforms into a buyback burn spell late game.
Firebolt and Lightning Bolt are fairly self-explanatory but the Funeral Charms are unusual. I wanted some extra discard to supplement the Blightnings. Duress wasn’t aggressive enough. Charm is surprisingly useful in Pauper, killing Delvers and Elves (like a burn spell) and giving Swampwalk or +2 power to an Angler is relevant.
Making your opponent discard one doesn’t sound like much but if you’re following it up with a discard 2, as long as you are decreasing their overall number of cards, it’s fine. And unlike Duress, it never misses and can be used in topdeck scenarios.At 2 mana, Night’s Whisper was the clear choice for me. I have a relatively low land count, but I made sure I have things (buyback) to do with a bunch of mana so I don’t mind that it’s not as good as Read the Bones at avoiding drawing lands after the early game. Also, between Alchemist and Whisper I can keep basically any hand with 2 lands in it.
Chainer’s Edict‘s stock has fallen a little recently however it is still too good against enemy Anglers and Cyclopes to not to play a couple along with Terminate. I did try additional Searing Blaze and while it fits the plan perfectly, there were too many 4 toughness-or-greater creature to justify any more than one maindeck.
4 Night’s Whisper wasn’t quite doing it alone. I originally had additional Staggershock at the 3 drop slot, but I was running out of gas too often against the Blitz and Delver decks over long games. Thus I added a couple of Phyrexian Rager and a Read the Bones. Without at least some Ragers my Anglers and Alchemists were too soft to opposing Edicts and I didn’t quite have enough creatures in general. Read the Bones is the best possible topdeck in the mid-game, and 5 ‘lose 2 life’ draw spells was about the limit in conjunction with Evincar’s Justice.
Pristine Talisman doesn’t immediately look like it belongs, but I had several games in testing where I could have locked opponents out the game with an Evincar’s Justice. It basically takes the Radiant Fountain flex slot, with the added potential lock up a long game. It has a job, and it does it well.
Brush with Death though, I am sure some of you didn’t know this card exists. Basically I really wanted a Buyback burn spell. Evincar’s Justice is one of those, yes, but ideally I would trigger Thermo-Alchemist forever without killing myself. I started with Flame Jab, but discarding lands was rarely a good plan in the early game and instead of binning the lands and running out I figured I might as well reach 7 mana and lock up the game. It is very bad to draw too early, and it’s not exactly fast, but this deck *does* hurt itself a fair amount so Brush sometimes wins games few other cards would (while remaining immune to removal). Bringing you out of topdecked Bolt/Blast range while finishing off an opponent already softened up by Blightnings and Alchemists is incredibly satisfying.
Sprinting Warbrute is the last one-of, and like the others, it’s there to fill specific overlapping roles. I was having a certain amount of difficulty closing games against heavy resistance + lifegain, so I wanted a creature that was resistant to the Chainer’s Edicts and Journey to Nowheres that were making my Angler’s fail to get the job done. Warbrute also functions as another pseudo-buyback burn spell, smashing the opponent with it for 4 any time they tap out forces the opponent to play very differently. It’s not great when you just need to murder the opposing creatures, but it can still surprise-kill opponents out of nowhere even then.
As for the lands, there’s nothing too unusual here. Maxing out on Rakdos Carnarium makes sense for this kind of deck. I would have played more cycling lands, but then I’d have too much mana entering the battlefield tapped. Bojuka Bog gives a lot of incidental value going long in tandem with Carnarium, and if the game’s going on a really long time you’ll usually be able to assemble those.
Anyway, the battles!
4-1 is not a bad result! I think we got some good match ups here, but the different games let the various cards shine in their roles. Take round 1 for example against Mardu Metalcraft, where the opponent is gearing up for a long value game with Glint Hawk and cantrip artifacts, but Thermo-Alchemist has none of it, or Sprinting Warbrute instantly putting them into a defensive posture. We got to bypass the attrition stage of the game by just going face!
The deck is not perfect or anything, and I’m sure it could be tailored to suit whatever preferences you have. However I did find it a ton of fun to play, so that makes it worth a look in my opinion.
The sideboard as always has many things you can do with it. If you don’t see any Elves around, changing Martyr of Ashes for extra cards against your most often seen decks.
I mention in the video that Smash to Smithereens also fits the deck theme perfectly, so those may even be a better fit in the sideboard than Gorilla Shaman.
What do you all think of the deck? What will I play next time?
Stephen ‘Jecht’ Murray, over and out.