From Pauper to Pro

by Michael Bonde on 28 November 2018, Wednesday

Michael Bonde

Hello and welcome everyone! It’s been a while, but I’m happy that you are back. Today I have some lines about one of the newest releases on the Magic Online competitive Magic scene.

Recently Wizards announced changes to the layout and structure of the MOCS (Magic Online Championship Series) and a new way to qualify for the Pro Tour through a championship. This championship gets unlocked through the Challenges that myself and Andreas Petersen so eagerly play every weekend. While reading the news it felt like a Darksteel Axe through my chest when I read that Wizards are cancelling the support for 1v1 Commander. I was however instantly invigorated when I saw the news about Pauper! 

We now have the following:

1. A way to qualify for the Pro Tour playing your favorite deck in your favorite format (read: Pauper)!
2. A playoff (championship) alongside increased prizes in the weekly Pauper challenge!
3. A COMPETITIVE Pauper league! 

You read that right – the stakes will now go up in the Pauper Competitive League. We are ready for a vacation, because this needs attention!

I have been playing Pauper for a while, and I would like to show you all the two decks that I have been rocking lately in a two-part article. The decks somewhat give away their angle of attack, but I will try and tell you some of the cute and awesome interactions.

Five-Color Tron

This deck is one of the most fun decks to play – period. You have tons of card draw, and after assembling Tron it is often a bit hard to decipher what the correct line. The deck works around Tron, Prophetic Prism, and Capsize and eventually kills with either Mulldrifter or a massive Rolling Thunder. It gets there through a card draw/tool box build.

Having only a few win conditions and having to filter mana through Prophetic Prism on most turns really puts the pressure on our timer and I have lost more games to me timing out than to a kill from the opponent (at least that’s how it feels).

As I mentioned, the deck has a working toolbox engine with Mystical Teachings but also by getting back spells from the graveyard with Mnemonic Wall and Ghostly Flicker. So it is important to get to a point where there is breathing room to start assembling the spells we need to kill. This can be done in a number of ways, but don’t be afraid of firing off an early Ghostly Flicker, Capsize or Rolling Thunder to stem some bleeding. Due to how the deck works, we will be able to retrieve these cards later on.

Some essential and cool interactions:

Mnemonic Wall + any enters-the-battlefield triggered ability + Ghostly Flicker, lets us get back Ghostly Flicker and get an additional trigger. This gives us the ability to repeatedly draw 1-2 extra cards, gain 1 life, return an instant or sorcery card to our hand from our graveyard, or a free Sleight of Hand

- To go further on the above. When we have Prophetic Prism, Mnemonic Wall and a lot of colorless mana, we can target Prism and Wall X times, where X is the amount of time we can generate three mana of any color, since the Prophetic Prism will reset, and we draw a card, we get to filter the mana again, rinse and repeat.

- When we assemble a lot of mana and draw Mystical Teachings it can sometimes be crucial that we use the first Teachings to find the second Teachings. Since we will have enough mana, it is ways to deal with things or getting to return later on that is of the essence.

- Some decks flood the board with 2/2s. With Electrickery in our deck, more often than not, we will have enough mana to cast it, Mnenomic Wall it and cast it again, dealing with all of our opponents creatures. 

- If we have 6 mana, we can evoke a Mulldrifter, and then in the response to the evoke trigger, we are able to Ghostly Flicker it and then get to draw 2 additional cards as well as keep the Mulldrifter itself. 

Cards to look out for from other decks:

Hydroblast/Pyroblast and Dispel – most decks have a couple of these, quite often a total of 4 Pyroblast and 1 Dispel and then a few others. It’s almost impossible to play around them, especially if they have Counterspell, Daze or Spellstutter Sprite. We need to use our mana, and this makes it necessary to cast our spells at end of turn to try and take out these tempo counters.

Relic of Progenitus and Bojuka Bog – These can be reasons to think twice before firing off the 1-of Ghostly Flicker if it isn’t really essential.

Prismatic Strands – Most White decks play 1-3 copies of this annoying card. It is possible to play around with double Counterspell but it takes a bit of a setup, which some situations just don’t give us. When I get destroyed by these cards, it’s more often due to me trying to 5-for-1 or more with my Electrickery or Rolling Thunder while having traded a lot of life to set that up.

Palace Sentinels – Against the decks that play this card, their win percentage rises significantly whenever they get to resolve this card. Going to great lengths to counter this creature can be what makes the difference.

Outwit – This is a super narrow card but it can blow us out in one specific situation: when we target them with Rolling Thunder for value, trying to wipe their board.

Flaring Pain – My current list only plays 1 Moment's Peace. But if there are more aggressive decks we can play more copies of that, which makes this card quite good against us. It can be dealt with using a Counterspell or simply not relying on preventing only the lethal swing, but stem some of the early bleeding.

Earth Rift – I don’t play this card, but it is a contender for sure. In matchups with the Karoo lands (like Izzet Boilerworks) or other Tron lands, it can be another Capsize, sometimes even a better one. The reason that it is on the list is that sometimes we can deal with pretty much everything, and we can’t come up with a card that can set us back – but this can. Turning off Tron or cutting off our Blue sources can be very hard to get back from.

Spidersilk Armor – To echo what I wrote about some of the other cards that try and help creature decks to survive the cheap mass removals, it’s a good idea to chip away a creature here and there, instead of always relying on the blowout 5-for-1. When they get to resolve 1-2 or even 3 copies of this card it can become too hard to deal with the continuous flow of creatures

That’s it for this deck. Shortly part 2 will be available with my second favorite deck in the format and a sideboard guide for both decks.

Thank you all for tuning in – see you all soon!

This article was written by Michael Bonde in a media collaboration with

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