If you’ve been keeping up on Pauper, the format is really cool right now. There are a number of new decks surfacing, and a monocolor deck of each color is cashing regularly. Affinity with Perilous Research and the Sage’s Row Denizen deck have taken the place of the combo decks in the format, and both aggressive and controlling strategies are both viable.
Considering the diversity of the format, I don’t like my list from last week very much. It’s more a pile of removal spells than anything, and these spells fluctuate a lot in power depending on opposing strategy. Here are my notes from battling with the deck:
Daily the First
The first daily I took the deck for a run in resulted in a pretty embarassing 0-2, losing to a UW Trinket Mage/Squadron Hawk deck and UB Trinket Mage Control. I mulligained in both games against the UB deck and the games were pretty close. I’ve played the matchup a few times and I’d say that Rats! is somewhat favored.
The matchup against the Squadron Hawk deck, on the other hand, was not close. Having a handful of removal, particularly edicts, against a handful of Squadron Hawk is pretty poor. Without a more proactive game plan, Squadron Hawk plus Bonesplitter is simply backbreaking.
Daily the Second
Round 1 Vs. Monoblue Delver
The matchup is an attrition battle, which feels somewhat favorable. You have more answers than they do threats, and just need to find a way to navigate their counters. Post board Stormbound Geist is, however, a real problem. Particularly if they let you kill it once and then counter your removal spells thereafter. Much worse if they also have access to Serrated Arrows. If you’re unfamiliar with the interaction, using an arrow counter on an “undead” creature resets it to having no +1/+1 counters, turning your Serrated Arrows into three rebuys of any undying creature. I ended up winning the match, but once again I found myself wanting for a more proactive gameplan with the thoughts on Stormbound Geist in mind.
Round 2 Vs. White Weenie
Another Squadron Hawk deck, another easy loss. White Weenie has so many creatures with rebuys that a heavy removal plan just isn’t going to work. The matchup with the list I posted last week is just… very bad.
Round 3 Vs…
Soooooo, now and again on MTGO your opponent doesn’t show up. Mise.
Round 4 Vs. UB Trinket Control
This time I was able to keep good hands and win 2-0. They don’t play many counters for Corrupt and killing their guys in response to them equipping Sylvok Lifestaff will generally keep them low enough on life to “burn” them out. I thought this was a bad matchup on paper, but in practice Corrupt has been a very real trump, as they don’t kill very quickly and they’re so light on counters.
I’m not saying that I wouldn’t have cashed this daily if an opponent showed up in round three, but after playing that one I felt pretty bad about my list. After filtering through some daily results I came across a few lists playing Gray Merchant of Asphodel, and I got excited. One big card that I had missed was Oubliette- a much needed difficult to remove source of devotion. The lists that I saw were also maindecking Duress, which I didn’t understand entirely. At this point I altered the deck to play fewer removal spells and four Gray Merchants. I don’t remember exactly what my list looked like, but I scrapped it after this daily anyway (after which I came up with the updated list that you’ll find at the bottom of the article):
Daily the Third
Round 1 Vs. The Blightning Deck
So, there’s a new BR burn deck that plays Piranha Marsh (Rakos Carnarium lolol) so now when your opponents leads with Piranha Marsh they are officially bad and/OR playing the Blightning deck. I ended up winning both post-board games by casting a bunch of Chittering Rats while my opponent missed land drops. I think that the matchup is fine but not spectacular. Duress really shined post-board…
Round 2 Vs. Burn
Burn, on the other hand, is a pretty bad matchup by my estimation. Their burn spells are super efficient, unlike our lifegain spells. They just kill you too fast, and every Sign in Blood and Phyrexian Rager only helps them. I lost 0-2 here very quickly. Duress would’ve been pretty good…
Round 3 Vs. Affinity
This matchup is kind of weird now. Affinty plays a lot more like a combo deck now, using the newly common Perilous Research along with Ichor Wellspring, Thoughtcast and a number of other cantrips to beatdown with 4/4s as well as “combo” off with Atog + Fling. If the game goes long, it’s not hard at all for them to combo you off, and all of their 4/4s and Galvanic Blasts make it so that you need to gain a rather large quantity of life to be out of Fling range. You need a good mix of proactivity and reactivity to compete in this matchup. I lost this one 1-2, but I don’t feel like the matchup is terrible.
Closing Thoughts and an Updated List
After playing that last daily I think that there’s definitely something to maindeck Duress. It stops you from dying against decks like burn and protects your big spells against most everyone else, which I like.
Interestingly enough, I was never impressed with Crypt Rats in any of my battles. It just felt too slow against decks that I wanted to sweet and fairly useless against decks that I didn’t want to sweep. I like having it available against “swarm” strategies, but I feel like it looks better on the sideboard.
Going forward, this is the 75 of this deck that I’d recommend:
The deck is pretty fun to play, particularly if you like griefing people with Chittering Rats, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend the deck. There are very few matchups where I felt very favored, and I don’t really like playing The Rock. While the results of the Dailies I sampled don’t suggest great results, I do think that the deck can consistently 3-1 and occasionally 4-0, but you won’t get many free wins along the way. Who likes paying for their wins? If Monoblack is your jam, then the deck is definitely viable. I’m just of the opinion that Gray Merchant of Asphodel is considerably better positioned in Standard than it is in Pauper.
Thanks for reading.
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