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Mulldrifting for a Minute

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Last Thursday I tried to put my Young Pyromancer list to work but my bat signal for Young Pyromancers missed entirely. There was a small crowd urging me to open a box of M14, but I was in no such rush to incinerate my money. I've been thinking about the deck some more and I've concluded that I probably want Wasteland but don't want Nivmagus Elemental, but I'll need to track down some uncommons before I have more to report on that front.

Instead this week I want to talk about Pauper. It's not the most relevant format in terms of qualifying for the Pro Tour, but I find it to be very skill intensive and it is easily the format I would recommend for anybody trying to "go infinite" on MTGO. I've been cashing most of the dailies I've played lately with MUC Delver, but I've been having issues with playing a deck running Daze, Gush and Spire Golem. The Golems and Gushes have been doing work for me but Daze is something of a disappointment. That said, you can't really cut it from a Delver shell without it negatively impacting your primary game plan. It's simultaneously the deck's best tempo-spell (it's free) and worst card (crazy easy to play around).

This in mind, I decided to try my luck at playing a Delver-less MUC deck in a Daily. Of course, I did this on one of my days off and decided to try something a little different... Let's say more challenging. I had a case of 16 oz. Grain Belts in my fridge and decided to try what I'm calling the "Pound-a-Round Daily Challenge". Basically you drink 16 ounces of beer during every round of your daily. This exercise not recommended for the faint of heart nor frugal of wallet.

Beer in hand and thinking cap on, this is the list I decided to try out:

The game plan here is pretty straightforward- tempo them in the early game, counter anything game-breaking and then Mulldrifter your way to victory. Here's how the daily went:

Round 1 Vs. B/u Grim Harvest

I refer to this as a Grim Harvest deck because as far as I'm concerned it was the only card that mattered against this deck. The blue splash is pretty unconventional in Chittering Rats decks as it weakens Corrupt, but Corrupt is way worse against MUC than Grim Harvest, which my opponent used to grind out one of our three games. As far as I remember the blue splash only yielded Mulldrifter for my opponent, but Probe is something to keep an eye out for against this color pair.

Though I ended up winning the match 2-1 thanks to some strong tempo plays and the fact that my Mulldrifters tended to resolve while my opponent's didn't, I really found myself wishing I had Relic of Progenitus in my sideboard, which I usually do. This was actually just a mistake on my part and I was legitimately surprised when I went to sideboard and didn't have any graveyard hate. Luckily, Stormbound Geist does a ton of work against removal heavy decks.

Round 2 Vs. R/B Tortured Existence

I don't know how, but I always seem to get paired against the 1-2 people playing this deck. Once again, it was very unfortunate to not have graveyard hate on my side. I took advantage of the clock in this matchup by forcing my opponent to go through a lot of Tortured Existence activations in a game that I couldn't win by Vapor Snaging some choice creatures, which is a line some people wouldn't support, but when I'm playing in a daily in a format which doesn't exist IRL I don't really see the problem. I ended up legitimately winning the match (though my opponent's clock was at approximately one minute when I did) thanks in some part to using Echoing Truth and Counterspell to take down a turn one Tortured Existence, which is otherwise very close to unbeatable for MUC without graveyard hate. [card]Tortured Existence[/card is heavily favored with their engine online and heavily unfavored without.

Round 3 Vs. U/R KilnClops

I don't think that MUC, Delver or no, can realistically lose to the Kiln Fiend/Nivix Cyclops deck with any sort of consistency. The bounce and counterspells put a lot of pressure on the KilnClops' minimal win conditions and Quicksand + Hydroblast post board really sure things up. All you really have to remember is not to get greedy and to use your spells which target their creatures while they're tapped out instead of waiting for them to "go for it". Apostle's Blessing can wreck you, but generally only if you let it.

Round 4 Vs. Affinity

I felt pretty good being 3-0 going into this round, and with three pounders downs I had a solid buzz going... Until my opponent led on Vault of Whispers + Disciple of the Vault.

Delver of Secrets really is the difference maker in this matchup. Mulldrifter, while very powerful, only works to try to make up the fact that every 4/4 out of Affinity requires multiple cards or some very specific ones (Curse of Chains) to deal with. This matchup has been historically very bad for MUC and without Delver I wasn't surprised to get 2-0'd here.

Is This Where We Want To Be

Despite relative success, I believe that the fourth round is more telling than the first three combined. The simple truth of the matter is that Delver of Secrets provides a clock for Monoblue decks that allows them to tempo out otherwise extremely difficult matchups. Affinity isn't the only deck that Mulldrifter control has a very rough time with. Temporal Fissure decks and Monogreen Stompy also gain some significant percentage points against non-Delver blue. Temporal Fissure gains its edge from inevitability while Monogreen draws its edge from sheer aggression. In both circumstances forcing these decks to race you makes your Vapor Snags and Counterspells dramatically better.

That said, this still leaves us with the problem of Daze. It's bad against Post, Temporal Fissure and basically everything that isn't aggressive, while often being somewhat marginal against even the aggressive decks.

Currently I'm trying out Repeal, which is pretty awesome against the Mirror and anything aggressive while being a pretty neat trick to protect your own Delvers against anybody going big. I haven't had the chance to Daily with this list yet, but I've won a handful of two-mans so far with this list:

A quick note about this list is that while Coral Net has proven to be strong against Monogreen, I recently discovered a card called Mana Chains in a pile of Forrest Ryan's bulk, and after confirming that it is, in fact, a common I intend to try it in this slot. I cant's say whether it's better or worse at a glance, but it looks good against Monogreen, Monored and the mirror. It clearly gets worse the later you draw it, but against mana-tight creature-based decks or creature-based slower decks I can see it being a pretty serious card. I'll let you know when I find out.

Thanks for reading.
-Ryan Overturf
@RyanOverdrive on Twitter

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